If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to make tinted glass lanterns from old jam jars then scroll down until you see Blue’s paw print below.
This episode is subtitled: ‘That’s told you, Gary…!’
‘I can’t believe I’m finally flying the nest!’ said Jaz excitedly as we pulled up onto the wide drive of the large Victorian semi on Wesley Road.
I see Jaz every day in the same clothes (almost), carrying the same bag, spouting the same anti-consumerism slogans, so I was surprised by just how much stuff we were moving in to her new home. We grabbed a box each and walked up to the front door.
‘Welcome!’ said Ruth, who’d come down to let us in. Jaz had guessed correctly that the middle buzzer was for the flat she was going to be sharing with Ruth. ‘Let me show you round,’ she continued, relieving Jaz of her box, and we headed up a beautiful staircase that swept round onto a big landing. The sturdy Victorian door had had a Yale lock fitted but Ruth had propped it open so we were able to go straight through.
‘This is Carol. This is Mags,’ Ruth said when we popped our heads round the door of the living room. It was a large grand room – or rather, it was once a large grand room – with high ceilings, a decorative plaster cornice and a huge bay window looking out onto the road. Today the curtains were threadbare and too short but what was making them most dysfunctional was the fact that more than half of the hooks were missing so they lolloped at the window, looking like they couldn’t care less.
Carol and Mags said hi and went back to their conversation, one of them scribbling in a notebook. Is that weed I can smell? I’m not sure I’d know so I thought I’d better not jump to conclusions. ‘You’re sharing with Carol,’ said Ruth. ‘Come on, I’ll show you your room.’
We went back onto the landing and Ruth produced a key to get us through the other door where the bedrooms and bathroom were. Weird.
‘Where are the beds?’ asked Jaz, looking down at the dusty floorboards and a couple of old rugs that were damaged by red wine stains and cigarette burns. Sensible question, I thought.
‘Did I not tell you? We sleep in sleeping bags on the floor. We’re lucky enough to have a roof over our heads but we like to empathise with the homeless. Walk in their shoes, so to speak.’
Jaz looked sceptical. I was horrified. We brought the rest of her things in and I gave her a reassuring hug before I left. ‘Call me if you need anything,’ I said.
‘Thanks Jenny. I really appreciate your help. See you tomorrow night at Kim’s.’
I thought there might have been a wobble at that point but Mags thrust a cup of tea into her hand and when the four of them waved me off she looked every bit one of the gang.
She wasn’t working at Tulips the next day because she’d agreed to help out in her dad’s jewellery shop while he was away but I was dying to find out how she was getting on. I was torn between hoping she was fitting in and worrying how long it would be before she had an arm full of tattoos.
‘Hi Jaz, how’s the new flat?’ I heard Kim ask at the party the following evening. Kim was in full wedding planning mode and was hosting an engagement party for Beryl and Tommy. I looked up but saw no visible signs of body art on Jaz, just a card in her hands, presumably for the happy couple.
‘Fine thanks,’ said Jaz, but she didn’t elaborate. ‘Where’s Beryl?’
‘Oh she’s in the orangery showing off her new ring to her friends,’ replied Kim.
I’d already seen it earlier in the evening and, hopefully, I’d made the right noises. I don’t really do bling and the large pink stone with the slightly smaller yellowish stones on each side, plus the tiny pink ones part way round the gold band made it far too garish for me. And, if I’m honest, it’s too big for Beryl’s hands, but she loves it so that’s all that matters. I didn’t actually know what the stones were but they were certainly dazzling in the electric light of the kitchen. ‘Wow what a sparkle!’ I’d said truthfully.
Gary came over when he heard Kim mention the ring and said, ‘Have you seen it? It looks like something Tommy’s won at the fairground! He’s such a cheapskate.’
‘Oh no he’s not,’ said Jaz. ‘They picked it up from my dad’s shop today after it had been resized for her. It’s pink and yellow diamonds set in 18-carat gold. The diamonds weigh over 2 carats in total.’
‘No wonder it sparkled!’ I said, delighted that Gary had been put in his place. But Jaz had more news for us.
‘Apparently, Tommy’s got a buyer for his massive house in Australia and they’ve been looking at those posh new bungalows on Summer Lane today.’
Good for you, Beryl, I thought.◊
How to Make Tinted Glass Lanterns
I’d made some lanterns for the garden earlier in the week. Beryl thought I’d been really clever to find out about the ring and match them up. I didn’t have the heart to tell it was a total fluke.
I’d seen quite a few posts about tinting glass items with food colouring and Mod Podge so I thought I’d give it a go. Here’s a few jam jars I’d collected.
I had some liquid food colouring and some gel. The gel didn’t work for me so I would recommend the liquid variety.
The mixture is roughly 20ml of Mod Podge (I used the gloss version because that’s what one of the posts said) to 4-5ml of water for each jar. Just to give you an idea, a table spoon is 15ml and a medicine spoon is 5ml. I used a large empty yoghurt pot for mixing. Add food colouring to whatever strength you fancy, bearing in mind that the colour will be paler once baked.
Mix it well so all three ingredients are combined.
Before you do anything else, get a baking tray ready with some old newspaper (or parchment) on the bottom to protect it and some pieces of cardboard (or similar) to raise the jars off the newspaper. For five jars, I cut 20 strips of cardboard so I could stack them two high and provide two little stacks per jar.
Then pour some mixture into the jar, turn it on its side (holding it over your container to catch any drips) and twist it until the entire inside of the jar is covered. Tip any excess liquid back into your container and rest it, upside down, on the cardboard strips. It’s best to leave them for about an hour in this position to let any remaining mixture run out.
I played around with different strengths of colour. You can see the difference between the pink one and the red one but the green (which looks like yellow) didn’t really make much difference in the final product for some reason.
I waited until my last one had been upside down for an hour.
Then you need to dispose of the newspaper and cardboard, add fresh newspaper to your tray, and turn them right way up for 10 minutes. At the end of the 10 minutes, bake them in the oven for 45 minutes at 110°C. You’ll see them get paler, giving them that tinted look, but don’t touch them until they’ve cooled down. The peach one was made with the gel colouring and wasn’t too good so I discarded it (actually, I soaked it in water and the whole tinted lining came clean out in one piece!).
I made some macrame hangers to sit the jars in so they could hang from ‘shepherd’s hooks’ in the garden. Here’s the post that I used for my inspiration. I used string rather than fabric and I used five lengths not four, but the principle is the same. My lengths were 1.5m each which meant I had quite a tail to cut off at the end.
- Here is the tinted glass post that I followed.
- I wish I’d wiped the excess mixture off the top rim of each jar before I baked them. The finished product would have been neater.
- Use a long match to light the t-light inside the jar rather than trying to drop a lit one in.
- Make sure your flame is no where near the string hanger.
- Old glass jars
Another easy project with old glass jars. Hope you liked it.
There is a new episode every Thursday. If you’d like a little reminder so you don’t miss out then please subscribe to our mailing list. Rest assured we won’t share your details with anyone and you can unsubscribe at any time.