Friday, April 13, 2012

Patio Lanterns & Pesto

Last summer my dearest friend, Heidi, shared a recipe for a Green Bean Pesto Salad that is both heavenly and healthy.  You'll find the recipe at the end of this post and I hope you'll try it because it is delish!  Making it (and just using the pesto on pasta) a "few" times left me with a whole bunch of cute little jars.  Even though they are imprinted Atlas Mason in the glass, and  look to be about the same size as a jelly jar, the top is smaller than any canning sealers and rings I've found.  So... they are becoming a craft/garden art project and finding new life, with the help of a roll of concrete tie wire, as hanging patio lanterns for some soft candle light on summer evenings.

I probably should have used gloves when cutting and bending the wire but you know I didn't bother with safety precautions.  And even with my reckless behavior no fingers were bloodied or permanently maimed in the process.  You can find the tie wire in a roll with the concrete and related supplies at any home improvement store.  I got mine at Lowes for less than $5.  You'll also need wire cutters, needle nose pliers and an abundance of patience.

Here's the steps:

Cut a length of wire big enough to wrap around the neck of the jar plus enough to twist the ends together to secure in place.  Don't twist it down yet, however.  Cut 2 pieces of wire about 1 inch long and form each into a small ring.  Place them on each side of the jar - this is how the handle/hanger will be secured.  Slip them onto the wire you wrapped on the jar neck and twist it down securely.  Next, form the handle/hanger.  Cut a length of wire approximately 9 inches long and using the pliers form a curly-q at each end then bend the wire up just above each curly-q and into an arch that will span the top of the jar.  It took some work and frustration and even some not-so-nice words to get the curly-qs even but with time and patience it can be done.  You can get a better look at this piece viewing the finished lantern above.

Then I decided that I wanted a bit more length in my handle/hanger and made 3 of these S shaped pieces using about 5 inches of wire for each.  They slip apart easily so if 2 ends up making the length I want it to hang that's easily accomplished.

I also made a hook for hanging it using an approximate 6-inch length of wire.

And a little dangly with some flower shaped beads to add a spot of color, movement and visual interest.

So what do you think of my first attempt at a wire project?

I'm pretty happy with it in all its quaint, rustic and imperfectedness.  Maybe by the time I finish a dozen of them I'll have it mastered!

And now, the recipe that got this whole project started:

Heidi's Green Bean Pesto Salad

1 Cup Fresh Cut Green Beans
1 tsp Sea Salt
3 Cups Cooked Salad Macaroni
1 Cup Diced Mozzarella
6-7 oz Pesto with Basil

Cover green beans with water, add sea salt, and cook until water is gone. Let beans cool then mix all ingredients together. Serve.

My Notes: I like green beans to still be a little crispy so I picked fresh from the garden and just tossed them in with the pasta the last few minutes of cooking and then drained and cooled all in a big colander with ice cold water. The crispiness added a nice texture. I also added a bit of parmesan to the mix and used half again more mozzarella. It's a family size recipe, more than I could eat in one day, and it dried out a little storing overnight in the fridge so I tossed with a tiny drizzle of olive oil the second (and again the 3rd) day.  Perfecto!

I've shared this post at FarmGirl Friday Blog Hop! #53 on White Wolf Summit Farmgirl.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi! I'm visiting from Farmgirl Friday. Your little lanterns look great! I never seem to be able to get wire projects to come out right -- probably because I totally lack "an abundance of patience", lol. That pesto salad looks yum, too.