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Take a step back in time as you display a favorite jar, be it canned goods, potpourri in a jar, or a scented candle. Nothing says 'love' like homemade, and this jar tote turns it into a gift of love when you fill it with your homemade goodies.

If you have a hankering to fill your jar with fresh flowers, you can achieve a perfect flower shop bouquet with even fewer flowers using the included flower frog. Keeps your flowers standing straight and tall without leaning.

Canning jar tote and flower frog are Project F.A.R.M. (First-class American Rural Made) products by Kaspar Wire Works, a company feautured in "Artists in Aprons", the 9th issue of MaryJanesFarm. To read the feature in its entirety, open the Item Details tab.

In the same way Virginia Helweg brings home orphaned aprons, her husband, Brian, adopts old cars. (He has some beauties!) He also adopted me and my two brothers a few years back when we showed up on his Texas doorstep looking for American-made goods. It was 2004, and Time magazine had just asked Americans, “Is your job going abroad? All told, 2.3 million jobs have vanished.”

Not one to ignore a social ill, I employed a technique I’ve used since the 1980s when the threat of nuclear war was in the news. I remember loading my two children into the wreck of a car I had at that time and driving an hour to attend a presentation put on by the “Physicians for Social Responsibility.” After the panel of doctors had scared the pants off everyone in the room, one mother raised her hand to say, “But why bother? This is so much bigger than me. I feel helpless.” I’ve never forgotten what one of the physicians, an eye doctor, said to her: “I don’t see it that way. You’re right. Anything we do to help may be useless. I mainly want to be able to turn to my kids when the bombs go off and say, ‘I did everything I could.’”

It was a YES moment for me, and ever since, I’ve lived my life accordingly. I don’t work to fix things based on whether or not I can actually fix them. I’m here to do my best. That’s all. Although I favor American-made goods, I have my share of China-made things as well, but doing what I can, when I can, is the notion I live by. I still have a drawing my son created in second grade. In it, I’m a stick figure standing next to a river. My hand is pointing to a pipe that’s spewing poisons into the river. Across the bottom my son wrote, “My momma helps the world.” Living up to his expectations is a tall order, but so far, I’ve never let him down.

For over forty years, Brian Helweg has worked as a sales manager for a company in Shiner, Texas (“the cleanest little city in Texas” and the home of Shiner Beer—available even here in Idaho). Shiner, with its one stop light, is also the home of Kaspar Wire Works, a third-generation, family-owned business founded in 1898 when August Kaspar discovered that smooth wire, discarded when barbed wire was invented, could be used to make things like corn-shuck baskets and horse muzzles. He ended up “recycling” wire decades before recycling was fashionable. Envision anything “wire” that was integral to your grandparents’ and parents’ lives and it will probably point back to Kaspar—things like wire baskets, fly swatters, easels, florist supplies, clothes hangers, refrigerator racks, newspaper racks, shopping carts, farm and animal supplies, and more. Kaspar still employs more than 700 rural people, remaining steadfast to August’s commitment to quality, integrity, and service. Kaspar Wire Works speaks the frugality of August and the frugality of the era it grew up in. But today, they’re losing more and more of their market to cheap wire goods made overseas. And that’s where you and I come in.

Working with my two brothers, Scott and Rex (Scott works for a heating and air conditioning company and Rex is a tool maker who owns his own business), I started out calling my campaign something like S.O.S. (Sharing Our Skills). We played around with logos and tags that said “American Rural Made,” the last three letters in FARM. We envisioned that over time, I could use my magazine to tell the stories of “American-made” companies that we could support. Maybe MaryJane (MJ) could also stand for Making Jobs. FARM Made as in Farm Aid.

My brothers and I got imaginative. The first thing I dreamed up was a MaryJanesFarm wire line for farm use (farmers selling produce and goods at farmers’ markets—a burgeoning industry). Scott and Rex got out their welders and their wire and started creating, while I sketched out everything I’d love to have in my farmers’ market truck—collapsible shelves and tables; egg baskets; bread baskets; milk and canning jar totes; hat stands; potato, garlic and apple baskets; flower baskets; flower frogs (for holding bouquets upright); on and on. We gave our blueprints to Kaspar and they got out their tools. Since then, our customers have discovered uses for our wireline in their homes and offices, and especially in their outpost getaways! Down the road, we’ve also designed a wheeled farmers’ market shopping basket, handles for gallon jars (think iced tea), collapsible baskets, outpost candle chandeliers, etc. You name it, Kaspar can make it.

There’s no doubt in my mind that if I could take each and every one of you to Shiner where my brothers and I were given a bushel basket full of good old-fashioned rural hospitality (a welcome that included a fried-chicken picnic on a hilltop), you’d be as committed as I am to Kaspar Wire Works and Project F.A.R.M. (First-class American Rural Made). Join in and sign up! Be a collector of goodwill tempered by hard work, wrapped in wire, and welded to American history.

No returns on MaryJane’s Curations. We don't have the infrastructure to process returns, so please note that each item is sold as is. Our goal is to be transparent about condition and if we deem it necessary, we’ll take the time to photograph any obvious wear-and-tear problems so you have a good feel for what you're purchasing. In most cases, wear-and-tear ouches will be an easy, doable farmgirl mend.