Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Make a Jar of Dill Pickles

Ingredients for making pickles: pickling salt, white vinegar, cucumbers, dill, and garlic
As hobby gardeners, we don't often grow or harvest enough fruits and vegetables to store excess long term. Fruits like strawberries and blueberries are frozen to be used within a month or two, and vegetables like snow peas, peppers, green onions, okra, cucumbers, asparagus, tomatoes, and squash are eaten in season, within a week or two - or gifted to family and friends.  

On those rare occasions when we have a few more veggies than we can eat in salads or stir fries, I make quick pickles, often just one jar at a time. 

I most often pickle cucumbers, but we also enjoy pickled okra and pickled asparagus. This same ratio of salt, vinegar, and water can be used to make brine for any of those vegetables.

Ingredients for a Quart Jar of Pickles

  • 1/4 C pickling salt
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 sprigs dill

Quick Pickle-Making Supplies

Jar lifters and 4 cup measuring bowl with handle and spout
Jar Lifters and Measuring Bowl
  • 4 cup or larger glass measuring bowl with pour spout
  • 1/4 cup measuring cup
  • 1 quart jar and lid with ring
  • Tall kettle (taller than your quart jar)
  • Hot pads and oven mitts
  • Knife

Optional Supplies

  • Cutting board
  • Canning jar lifter
  • Tongs
  • A second jar for excess brine or pickles

How to Make a Jar (or Two) of Pickles

Prepare, Pack, and Process

1. Sanitize your jars and lids. I boil mine in the same 12 quart kettle I'll use to process the pickles. Once they boil for 3 minutes, I remove them with my jar lifter and tongs, and I leave the hot water in the kettle on the stove.

Pickles packed in a quart  and jelly jar
Pack pickles and add brine, leaving 1/2" space.
2. While the jars are boiling, prepare the cucumbers, dill, and garlic by rinsing, trimming the ends, and removing the skin of the garlic.

3. Next, prepare the brine: I add 1/4 cup pickling salt, 2 cups water, and 1 cup white vinegar to the 4 cup measuring bowl. I also add my garlic and dill to the brine. I boil the brine for 5 minutes and return it to the measuring cup. The brine can also be boiled in the microwave.

4. Once the jars are ready, pack the pickles into the jar(s), leaving 1/2 - 1 inch of space at the top. Because I always have a little extra brine, I can sometimes make a jar of sliced pickles or baby dills, too!  I add 4 sprigs of the boiled dill and 4 garlic cloves to the large jar, and I add 2 each to the small jar. 

5. Once the jars are full, loosely add the lids and rings.  
Loosen lids before placing in water to boil
Loosen lids and boil for 10 - 15 minutes.

6. Place the jar(s) right-side up  into the tall kettle and add more water as necessary. Bring to a boil and process 10 - 15 minutes. 
7. Remove the jars using the jar lifter (or hot pads), let them cool, and seal them tightly. 

Remember that these instructions are not for pickles that will be stored long-term, so there's no sealing wax or rubber rings used. These are to be used within a month or two.

Additionally, always follow all food safety and supply-specific instructions and recommendations for a healthy, happy, pickle-making experience.

Want to read more recipes and how-to's? Try

Copyright Amy Lynn Hess. Please contact the author for permission to republish.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Three Ways to "Un-Altoids" a Tin: Hammering, Decoupage, and Polymer Clay

Altered Altoids Tins

Removing "Altoids" from an Altoids Tin

When altering an Altoids tin, makers generally begin by thinking about the inside, what the tin will hold, or its new purpose. Once its purpose is determined, however, the maker should also consider the outside of the tin; specifically, how the outside will give hints about that purpose or have some meaningful connection to its inside. Because the inside assuredly will no longer hold Altoids mints, most makers do not want to see "Altoids" on the lid or ingredients and nutritional information on the bottom unless it's part of a meaningful artistic juxtaposition, a clever camouflage, or when the inside is meant to be hidden or a surprise.

Remove the paint easily with flame and steel wool.

Removing the Exterior Paint and Labeling

The first step in removing "Altoids" is to remove the paint and labeling. For each of these examples, I removed the paint by setting the tins in hot coals in the fire pit for about 20 minutes, removing them with tongs, letting them cool, and scrubbing them with steel wool.

Polymer Clay, Hand-Hammering, and Decoupage Covered Tins

Covering a Tin with Polymer Clay

If a maker has polymer clay on hand, covering the tin is fairly simple and makes little to no mess. The polymer clay is rolled to 1/8" thickness and rolled onto the lid and its edges. This thickness completely hides the embossed "Altoids" lid.

Excess polymer clay can be cut away with a razor-blade before hardening in the oven, and it can be sanded after hardening and cooling. Some polymer clays will take paint or stain.

Additionally, as long as the maker carefully trims around the hinges, the tin will still open and close when the process is completed. The tin in the image will be used for seed storage, as the lid now clearly indicates, so it's important that it opens.

Hand-Hammered Altoids Tin

Another straightforward method for removing the embossed "Altoids" name from the lid of the tin is for the maker to hammer it out using a ball peen hammer. Either a 4 oz or an 8 oz hammer will do, as long as the peen is well-rounded. A peen with an edge or point will work, but it's much more difficult to make sure the tin isn't damaged.

The maker should remove the lid of the tin, and place newspaper or rags underneath it before hammering. Working on the center, first, then working to the edges will create a rounded lid. It takes several strikes to hammer out the lid, but occasionally placing the lid back onto the tin will ensure it doesn't get hammered out of shape. 

The tin in the image was painted with a metallic copper paint and lightly distressed after hammering. "Altoids" is still slightly visible, but the obviously distressed aesthetic allows for it. 

Decoupage Altoids Tin

Lastly, Altoids tins can be covered using decoupage. This is by far the messiest option and requires more supplies than either the polymer clay or hand-hammering methods. This method also requires an artistic eye. 

When done well, decoupage covers the lid entirely and helps establish a mood or style for whatever appears on the inside of the tin. Paper, cloth, leaves, and other thin ephemera make excellent coverings. 

In this case, a glossy dimensional resin was used over black cotton cloth and household findings. The tin will be used as a antiqued, small memorial shrine, so the items are quite personalized.

Using polymer clay, hand-hammering, or using decoupage techniques are all methods for hiding or removing the Altoids label from the lid of a tin before reusing. Each method has its pros and cons, from level of mess to level of coverage, but each also allows for the tin to become a very personal expression. Each method allows for the creation of a meaningful aesthetic.

Want to read more about Arts and Crafts? Try

Punch Needle Embroidery Supplies for Beginners
Point of View and Emotion
Crochet Christmas Tree Ornaments

Copyright Amy Lynn Hess. Please contact the author for permission to republish.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Identifying the Rhetorical Situation and Rhetorical Appeals

After Lysippos  from the Ludovisi Collection
Jastrow 2006 / Public domain
If you're currently in a composition or rhetoric course, you may be learning about the rhetorical situation or rhetorical appeals first identified and explained by Aristotle. 

There are five elements of the rhetorical situation, according to Aristotle: pathos, logos, ethos, telos, and kairos. All together, these relate to the audience's characteristics and sensibilities, the logic and structure of the work, the credibility of the author and content, the purpose or mode of the work, and the time and place of its presentation.

Writers use these elements in their attempts to convince or persuade readers to do something or believe something. These elements are like tools in a carpenter's toolbox: Just like a carpenter uses a hammer to drive in a nail, a writer might use one or more of the five elements to make a convincing argument.

Kairos and Telos

Although the elements of kairos and telos are not often taught by name, they are still used today. For example, the writer may wait for the opportune moment (kairos), time and place, to write a particular essay or make a particular argument  based on what's happening in the world. The writer may use a particular mode - narrative, descriptive, persuasive, or expository -  to present their main ideas in the most convincing way for a particular audience (telos).

Appeals to Ethos, Pathos, and  Logos

A writer might also use one of the three appeals most commonly taught today: ethos, logos, or pathos. The writer may emphasize their own credibility or the credibility of those from whom they borrow content (ethos).  The writer may persuade by providing facts and statistics, logic and reason, in an effective structural format, thereby appealing to the readers' sense of logic (logos). Lastly, the writer might convince the readers by telling a story that elicits a particular emotion in that particular intended audience, thereby appealing to their emotions (pathos).


When writers purposefully appeal to readers' emotions or sensibilities, we call it an appeal to pathos. The effectiveness of the appeal is partially determined by the characteristics of the intended audience.

Here are some examples of the use of pathos. Notice that the different examples are specifically meant to elicit specific emotions in a particular type of person. Think about whether or not these particular appeals to pathos would work on you or someone very like you, your friends, or specific members of your family.

  • Eagerness: Buying this red Corvette will make you the most popular and enviable man on the road.
  • Fear: Clean up the riverbank this Saturday or risk losing access to it forever. 
  • Pity: The homeless need your donations, and if you don't help, no one will. 
  • Guilt: Your grandparents won't be around much longer, so you better come home to visit this summer.
  • Relief: With this widget, you'll never forget a deadline.

Also notice that pathos is generally not found in academic or scholarly writing. With the exception of the use of description or narration in lead-ins or conclusions of essays, the use of pathos is generally frowned upon. On the other hand, appeals to logos and ethos are encouraged.

Logos and  Ethos


When writers use sound logic and reason, verifiable facts and ethically-gathered statistics to prove a point, they are well on their way to appealing to logos. However, writers must also clarify their content by using enough of the best kind of evidence, and they must apply the principles of unity and coherence to their writing. Only when a writer has checked their work for clear thesis statements and topic sentences and an effective order and flow have they truly appealed to readers' sense of logic.


When writers emphasize their own credibility, or the credibility of the source content they incorporate into their writing, they are appealing to ethos. They might use personal observation or testimony to try to prove a point. They may incorporate facts and statistics from reputable sources.

Take a look at the following examples of appeals to logos and ethos.

  • Ethos: As someone who's been a hairdresser for over 30 years, I can tell you that the classic French bob is always in style. 
  • Ethos and Logos: As someone who's been a hairdresser for over 30 years, I can tell you that the classic French bob is always in style. Seventy percent of the cuts requested by clients are the classic French bob or a very similar style. 
  • Logos: "Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers."
  • Ethos and Logos: According to a fact sheet published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2018, "Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers."
  • Logos: The lack of consistent forensic evidence leads us to believe the defendant did not commit the crime.
  • Logos and Ethos: The lack of consistent forensic evidence presented by the coroner, the forensic expert, and the police chief leads us to believe the defendant did not commit the crime.
The difference between the use of logos and the use of both ethos and logos is that the use of ethos includes a bit of bragging about the writer's or source's credibility or authority. 

Whether you're a writer looking to use the rhetorical situation to effectively communicate with an  audience, or you are looking to better identify the use of rhetoric by others, gaining an understanding of kairos, telos, ethos, logos, and pathos will be of benefit.

Want to read more about Writing and Argumentation? Try

Syllogisms as Structure
What's a Research Narrative?
Adding Coherence to an Essay

Works Cited

Smoking and Tobacco Use. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018, Accessed February 18, 2020.

Copyright Amy Lynn Hess. Please contact the author for permission to republish.