Giving Canning Rings A New Life

Once every 2 or 3 years, our family likes to leave the traditional tree decorating fare in the attic, in favor of handmade adornments. This is just such a year. Is it coincidental that we also have a fledgling walker this Christmas? Hmmmm…I think not . In short, this little tradition helps us remove the stress of breakables, find beauty in the mundane, and brings us together creatively (while being easy on the budget!).

To prepare for this, we set aside Sunday afternoons throughout late October, and November to create. Five of our six children (the fledgling supervised) were involved, so we kept the projects very realistic. On the list were traditional cinnamon ornaments, dried citrus slices (grapefruit slices are our favorite), button icicles, paper roses, popcorn strands, pinecones in a few variations (glittered, plain, and some that were transformed into owls), and up-cycled canning rings. We did make an exception to the handmade rule to include candy canes.

Dried Citrus Slice
Button Icicle & Cinnamon Star
A handmade paper rose!

For now, let’s focus on the jar ring ornaments. I know you all have a box of rusty rings existing deep in a closet somewhere because none of us can bear to throw them out. After all, we might need them someday when that last minute, September truck load of tomatoes comes rolling from a well-meaning friend (who’s really just sick of canning for the year) and you just may need those extra rings-rust and all! But I digress….

Pull out those rusty rings and then head out to the barn. Yes, the barn. You need baler twine. Now grab your glue gun and any embellishments you may desire: buttons, scraps of ribbon, felt, florals etc. You are now ready to begin.

Using hot glue to hold the twine in place, wrap the ring tightly.

Start by putting a glob of hot glue inside the threaded area of the ring and secure the end of your twine there. (I like to hold the twine in place with a pencil until the glue firms up to avoid third degree crafting burns on fingers that just recovered feeling from the above mentioned canning season.) After that, it’s simple, just wrap until you can no longer see the rusty ring. Glue the tail in place and then glue on another loop for hanging purposes. Add the pretties you chose and voila, you have a mini wreath ornament!

Upscale Country Monogram, Wrapped in ribbon.

Another option, for those who desire a little more polish and class in their up-cycle, is to follow the above steps but use ribbon in place of twine. I like a wide grosgrain, but any ribbon will do. Wider ribbon=faster results, because who has time??? For this one, I also used the jar lid from the green beans we had for dinner. I simply hot glued scrap fabric to cover it and my handy dandy gold paint marker to add a fancy “L” for our family name. Getting the lid into the wrapped ring may require calling on a little brute strength, but with a small amount of effort, you should be able to press it into place. It should fit tight enough that you will not need to secure it with anything. So easy!

There you have it! Simple, cost effective, stress free holiday décor!

As always, Striving4Simplicity


Fully adorned homespun Christmas tree!

Extra Cinnamony Cinnamon Rolls

I am always looking for ways to improve my cinnamon roll game, and I think I have finally created cinnamon roll perfection. Go figure there is a secret ingredient that’s a smidge unusual…TEA! Yep! Instead of using plain water or milk as some recipes call for I went the extra mile and infused rich cinnamon flavor into the dough. I used Cinnamon Hearts Pu’erh from Steeped Tea, it’s a warm black tea with cinnamon and cassia and is probably the most cinnamony tea I have ever had the pleasure to drink, I love a warm cup of tea on a cool day with a splash of milk and a spoonful of honey so it seemed ideal for this recipe. It smells like a cinnamon roll even before it becomes a cinnamon roll and I think I’m in love…not only with these rolls but with the endless possibilities of tea flavors that could be used! Here is the recipe and I hope you give it a try, you will not be disappointed.


1 package active dry yeast, dissolved in warm water according to product directions

3 cups flour, plus more for kneading

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup melted butter

1 tsp salt

1 egg lightly beaten

1 cup warm not hot steeped cinnamon tea (I got mine here)

a splash of milk if desired


For Filling:

1 stick softened butter

½ cup or more cinnamon sugar

½ cup brown sugar


For Frosting:

1 stick softened butter

¼ cup cold cinnamon tea

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients with mixer and set aside.

Start by dissolving yeast packet in water according to the directions on the packet. While the yeast is doing its thing, in a medium sized bowl, add 3 cups flour, & salt. To this add the maple syrup, melted butter, egg, and warm tea *Note: Do NOT use hot tea, hot liquids will scorch the yeast and render it useless, allow the tea to cool until warm before adding it to the recipe.

Add dissolved yeast and stir until a nice dough is formed. Depending on the day you may find that you need to add more flour or more tea/milk. I find that humidity plays a huge roll in bread making.

Dump dough out onto floured surface sprinkle with flour and knead until the dough is no longer tacky and is smooth.

Grease the bowl the dough was mixed in with oil and place the dough in the bowl to rise in a warm place.

When dough has doubled in size turn out onto floured surface sprinkle with flour and knead once more adding flour until no longer tacky. With a rolling pin, roll dough flat.

Spread softened butter onto flattened dough with the back of a spoon, sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar, then sprinkle with brown sugar.

Starting at one end, begin rolling the dough into a log. From here you can cut the roll into a log the length of a loaf pan to make a cinnamon loaf, or cut into1 ½ inch disks and arrange in your favorite pan.

Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees and bake for 25-35 min depending on the pan you choose, watch them closely.

Allow cinnamon rolls to cool, then frost and serve!

Roll out the dough
Spread surface with butter and sprinkle cinnamon sugar liberally over the top
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar
Roll it up and cut into loaves for cinnamon swirl bread, Allow to rise a second time.
Or cut into 1 1/2 inch disks for cinnamon rolls, and allow to rise again.
Cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven

How To Make Brown Sugar

I want to share a little “kitchen hack” with you that will hopefully save you some swearing and a trip to the store! According to my husband we are always out of brown sugar. Lets be clear, he never bakes. I only hear this when he’s getting ready to put something in the smoker. For instance, last week he smoked two pork butts and thankfully we had brown sugar when he needed to make his rub so all was right with the world. When I started making a double batch of my famous “Mrs. Yoder’s Cookies” yesterday guess what…the brown sugar canister was empty. Most people would probably jump in the car and run to the store. Not me. I have everything I need to make brown sugar right in my pantry.

I’m sure some of you probably already know this, but for those who don’t: Sugar + Molasses = Brown Sugar

Yep. Two ingredients, that’s it! Plus you can make it in a snap in any quantity you desire. I typically like to make enough to fill up my little brown sugar canister

Brown Sugar:

  • 3 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Molasses of Your Choice
  • Medium Sized Bowl
  • Whisk

Keep in mind this is one recipe you just sort of eyeball. You can start with a ½ cup of molasses, but you may find you need to add more depending on your preferences.

Place both ingredients in the bowl and whisk until no molasses blobs remain. Use immediately or store in an air tight container. I like to keep a nice clay disk in my brown sugar to keep it from turning into a sugar brick, but that is optional.

Combine sugar and molasses
Whisk the sugar and Molasses together
Scoop homemade brown sugar into your canister or use immediately!