It's canning time and our local farms have oodles of amazing berries. I started canning last year and one thing I've realized is that I really really hate cleaning old labels off of perfectly good jars and I dislike it enough that I'd rather buy more jars than reuse the existing ones. Madness. And frankly, my handwriting is nothing to write home to mom.

hand written labels
You should see how bad it is when I'm not trying to write neatly

It wasn't until I was putting together a selection of goodies for father's day, that I hit upon a solution for canned goods that I'll be storing for our own use. I'll still use stickers for stuff I give as gifts, since toppers and tags are easy to lose, but for our own use, these work great and they add a nice polished touch to items given as gifts.

father's day
Four types of jams/jellies, reusable plastic jar lids and the best gummy bears on earth

For regular sized two piece canning lids, these paper labels sit right atop the lid and under the ring, no glue needed. For other sized jars or single piece lids, you can punch a hole in the label to make a tag, and tie it on with a pretty little ribbon. I used heavy weight paper so that they would be opaque and resistant to humidity but regular printer paper should work too.

Since this solution works well for me, I thought others might like it too, so I've put together a selection of PDFs you can download and use yourself. They come in two styles, 8 toppers to a page.

PDF forms allow you type in the info

Plain PDF can be printed and filled in by hand

Fill in with PDF fill in by hand
The PDF forms are formatted with coordinating text and allow you to create 8 identical labels in one quick step. Great for big batches of canned goods If you aren't able to use forms or you have lovely hand writing, use the print and fill labels. Lines are included to keep your writing neat.

Download the PDFs from the following options

Label Style


all 8

All 8 styles on one page.

Download PDF form

Download PDF to print and fill in by hand


Red labels, great for berries

Download PDF form

Download PDF to print and fill in by hand


Orange labels great for marmalade and citrus

Download PDF form

Download PDF to print and fill in by hand


Peach labels, great for peaches, of course

Download PDF form

Download PDF to print and fill in by hand


Yellow labels great for marmalade and citrus

Download PDF form

Download PDF to print and fill in by hand


Green labels, great for pickles and mint jellies

Download PDF form

Download PDF to print and fill in by hand


Purple labels, great for berries and plums

Download PDF form

Download PDF to print and fill in by hand


Burgundy labels, great for berries and plums

Download PDF form

Download PDF to print and fill in by hand


Brown labels, great for apple butters and pie filling

Download PDF form

Download PDF to print and fill in by hand

Using the fill in forms in Adobe Acrobat Reader

Be sure you have a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. I cannot promise that these forms will work in other programs.

Note: If you have a full version of Adobe Acrobat, you can also go in and change the text formatting and location using the Forms tools. These files are not locked in any way. These files can also be opened and edited in Adobe Illustrator, if you wish to change the color of the decorative elements or change the typeface.

Once you've opened your PDF, it's a simple matter to enter your own customized text into the labels. For any of the PDFs containing just one style of label, all labels will update if you change one of them. For the labels showing 8 different labels on a single page, each label is edited individually.

How to edit the labels in acrobat

Once you are done, print out your toppers/tags on heavy paper or card stock and cut them out. They can be glued onto lids or left loose under the ring or you can punch a hole in them and use them as tags.

Happy Canning!


A few years ago, I blogged about my grandmother's starting a new life in Texas after my grandfather died.

Grandma was my last remaining grandparent until today. She died after a very long healthy life and a short period of serious decline.


She was no fan of children but I would never have known it, as a child, because she loved me so much.


A true product of the depression era, she was frugal to a fault which made her endless generosity all the more meaningful.


I always knew my grandmother loved me, that I was special in her life. When I called, the joy in her voice was infectious and I was so happy to talk to her too.


She gave me these photos, and many more, when she moved out of her old home in New Jersey. They are a small consolation to this huge hole she leaves in my heart. I feel truly fortunate that I had so many wonderful years with a grandmother who loved me so much.


I had an airline ticket to see her in just a couple of weeks. I wish I could have told her, one last time, in person, how much she is loved. It is sad to know that I cannot but perhaps, in her honor, you could all take a moment to tell someone you love them, someone you don't have a chance to say it to, as often as you'd like. Fate has it's way of reminding you how much that means when it's too late.

Fall 2011 Twist Collective is Live

The new Twist Collective is live and it's beautiful. I have seen these patterns from their thoughtfully laid out submissions right up to their final tech edited PDF. I've read the articles from their early drafts to their polished finished composition. I feel personally invested in each and every piece's success and receptions from knitters.

There's a lot to love in this edition, including two beautiful garments from my dear friend, Julia Trice, and a must read article on seamed knitting, by Sandi Rosner. And while I think all the articles are fantastic, I'd be remis if I didn't direct you to this story, where you'll struggle to decide which is more endearing, the story itself or the beautiful illustrations.

Of course, I've made my own contribution to this edition (beyond my work behind the scenes), about which I plan to do a separate, more in-depth post. Make sure you cruise by my his and hers pattern, Doppler.

Photo copyright Jane Heller

Originally conceived as just a men's garment, with an asymmetrical ribbed pattern to keep the knitting interesting but not too fussy, I added in a women's version too, sized proportionally for women's standards, with just a hint of waist shaping. Both patterns come with both the crew and turtleneck instructions, so you can really tailor this garment to your preference.

I know it's simple, without the excitement of some of the myriad designs also available in the edition, but I hope it'll be a wardrobe staple for those who choose to knit it.

Now stop reading my blog post and go check out this amazing new edition.


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My friends, Mel and Steve came to visit from Hawaii for a week and seeing as Leo and I live in a town called Aloha (pronounced "a-low-a" by the locals, here. I guess the "h" went back to Hawaii) and seeing as it seemed like we were saying, goodbye too soon after saying, hello, "Aloha" seemed like the perfect blog title.

It's always fun to see where you live through fresh eyes. We haven't been in Oregon all that long but Mel and Steve wanted to really get to know the place and it meant hitting all our favorite spots in one short week.

We went berry picking at the local farms

Mel and Steve visit Portland_025

And said, aloha, to some alpaca.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_013

We had microbrewed beer at little bars with live bands.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_018

And hiked around the coastline.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_019

We even went salsa dancing.

can't see the video, click here.

Ok, well, I went salsa dancing and everyone else enjoyed the live music and people watching.

Luckily, they are both crazy dog people and spent plenty of time dolling out belly rubs, treats and generally helping to keep the dogs properly spoiled.

Mel and Steve visit Portland_004
What? You don't invite your dogs to sit next to you at your breakfast nook?

I didn't come close to documenting all the places we went and things we did, but suffice it to say, it was great fun hosting them and hopefully just as much fun for them to be here. The dogs are a bit displeased at the precipitous drop in ear scritches, since their departure.

Crunch time

It's been Crazypants City, population, Marnie, lately. We rolled out a redesign of our self service site, at work. Wait, is that Thea you see? Why yes it is. Oh and hey, did you just see Panda over here too? I think you might have. We cranked out that new site in an absurdly short period of time, with two trips to the mothership, for me, and a lot of extra hours. We're still cleaning things up, improving, adding, subtracting, but it's good to have the bulk of it live.

And for you knitters, you may know that Twist Collective has a new edition going live in a couple weeks so it's crunch time there as well. Being completely entrenched in the process, I become both incredible attached to the edition and also, oddly numb to it too, so that I am never quite sure how it will be received. It's like saying the same word over and over until it sounds suddenly foreign.

But there are some things in life that don't care about schedules and work and traveling. Things like delicious local strawberries that must (MUST) be made into jams and jellies.

Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Wine Jelly_05

I made a batch of less sugar strawberry jam in big jars and a small batch of strawberry wine jelly (click image for recipe) just because it sounded so interesting. The former has all the sweet and tart flavor of the amazing hood berries that grow here and the latter tastes almost like honey, with just a hint of wine flavor. It's supposed to be great on a cheese plate, but I like it just fine on toast.

I also have managed a little more dog abuse sewing.

SophiaBag_24 SophiaBag_18

This is from an Amy Butler pattern. While I find her fabrics a little over the top for my taste (says she with the new bag that looks like it was made from a Hawaiian shirt) her patterns are worth every penny for their detailed instructions and professional construction. I would happily recommend them.

Next week, one of my oldest and dearest friends comes to visit for the week, and then we launch the new Twist and then, perhaps, I will take a three day nap and eat all the buttered toast with homemade jam I can fit in my mouth.

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