Sunday, June 06, 2010

Everybody Can Can!

So they've found a new way to advertise to us, and it's called House Party.

Tons of brands wanting you to host a party in your own home to garner interest for a new product. Compared to the Tupperware parties of yore, it's a pretty low key sales pitch. The branding is there, but there is no pressure for your guests to buy anything.

Perusing the site, I saw that a canning party to make salsa and pepper jelly was being sponsored by Ball. I knew a lot of my friends were interested in canning, so I signed up. You fill out a questionnaire to be one of thousands to host a party on the same date across the nation. Luckily I was chosen to host!

(My *official* presentation. The flip chart makes me an expert, right?)

Ball sent a ton of great swag - even a full-sized canner! The *new* product they are promoting is the Discovery Kit, which is a little basket you can use in a regular stock pot to can a small quantity of jars. They also sent two copies of the Ball Blue Book of Preserving, shopping bags, coupons, and boxes of pectin to give out.

In addition to these items, I added a chili pepper dishtowel and Have'A corn chips to the bags. I also went around to several Jack-In-The-Box restaurants to get their plain drink holders to use for folks to bring home their jars. The labels I added to the drink holders were provided on the party website that House Party creates for you.

For this party, Ball sent coupons for the jars, but you needed to provide all the produce to make the items, and party food for your guests. Here is the chopping station set up and ready to go.

No need for center pieces when the produce is so pretty!

I was fortunate to find some cutting boards at the dollar store that matched the Ball colors pretty well.

For food, I served (store bought) pepper jelly and chips and salsa, naturally. We also had veggie sticks served in individual cups

(always wanted to do this!), tortilla roll ups, fruit skewers, mini lemon cakes, and Meyer lemonade served in Mason jars.

The Archer Farms water bottles from Target fit with the table scheme nicely. BT made the food labels using a Ball inspired font.

I knew there would be some lag time (ended up being a little more than anticipated), so I made a bin of craft supplies for people that wanted to make labels for their jars.

In fact one of the contests was to name the salsa. The winning name (which ended up being Many Hands Salsa) won one of the canning books.

The Bluebird girls came to the party, and I made craft jars for them as favors.

Since I already have a canner, I gave the one Ball sent away, along with the Discovery Kit and a utensil set. This went to the person who guessed how many beans were in a quart sized Mason jar (1,876, in case you were wondering).

I *think* everybody had a great time, even though it was a lot of work. I had invited a few more people, but truth be told, my house is so small that I think we would have been too crowded if many more had shown up.

Everybody did such a fabulous job chopping all the produce. The issue became lack of space - on the stove, to have multiple big pans going at once to cook, sterilize, and can (I don't have a dishwasher, so I need to keep the jars on the stove as well). Also, without enough space in the kitchen, we couldn't all be there at once to do the actual canning. But, I think everybody left with a little more knowledge about this classic domestic art.

Now I just have to go around and deliver the final product to everybody!


Favorite of the day: Wouldn't it be fun to go around and cover all the poor cold animal car emblems in the world?

Working on: Relaxin'


Rebecca said...

Oh how fun! My friend Shone and I used to have "Jamapalooza" but it was just the two of us and one year we made red wine jelly and let's just say that we drank more of the wine than we put into the jelly so it's wasn't a stellar year for our canning.

Very Mary said...

I live SOOOO far away. *pouts*

em said...

It sounds like it was a complete hit! I would have loved to attend.

sweet little sister said...

It was a great party Dearest Feltmouse <3 I learned so much & your presentation was meticulous. I'm really glad I could come :) By the way, your relaxin' is much deserved!! xoxo

Gina said...

Wow! You are a braniac, all the ideas and tricks up your sleeve. It looked awesome. Your hard work paid off I can see.

Jaybird and Me said...

I'm very excited you got that House Party. I was really hoping to get that one but alas.

I really love your spread, especially the pre-portioned veggie and dip cups!! Such a great idea!