Yes You Can! A Beginner’s Guide to Canning

Looking for a creative gift idea or a way to store your homemade jams? Learning the art of canning is a fantastic way to do just that. While there are many canning methods, waterbathing is the easiest and most recommended method for those just starting out. Here’s our step-by-step guide to what is sure to be one of your new favorite hobbies.

Supplies Needed

Waterbath Canning Steps

Step 1

Place the canning rack in the pot, and fill the pot with enough water to cover the jars by an inch or more. Heat the water to simmering, then turn off the heat, cover the pot and set it aside.

Step 2

Wash your jars in hot water. Leave them in a water bath to keep them warm.​

Step 3

Prepare your recipe! Make your favorite sauce or jam, or try something totally new.

Step 4

Dry your jars and fill them with your prepared food. Don’t forget to leave room for potential food expansion.

Step 5

Remove air bubbles from your food by using a non-metallic spatula to press the contents against the sides of the jar.

Step 6

Wipe off the rims of your jars and screw the lids on. Make sure they are snug but not too tight. If the lids are too tight, air will not be able to escape during the sealing process.

Step 7

Use the jar lifter to place jars onto the canning rack in the pot. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil.

Step 8

Boil the jars for the amount of time specified on your recipe.

Step 9

Once the time is up, turn off the heat and let your jars stand in the water for five minutes.

Step 10

Use the jar lifter to remove your jars from the water. Allow jars to cool on a wire rack for twelve hours.

Step 11

After your jars have had time to cool, check the lids to make sure they don’t pop up and down.

Step 12​

You’re all set! All that’s left to do is label your jars and store. Or give them to your loved ones as gifts.

Ready to gear up for your first go? We’ve got all of your canning needs covered at Orchard. Stop by your neighborhood store and give canning a try today!

One Paint Can Challenge

Creating and maintaining a space at home that you can fully enjoy takes some work and maintenance. And we know that can sometimes seem daunting. Here at Orchard, we’ve been challenging ourselves to think of quick and easy ways our neighbors can tackle the sort of projects at home that often seem daunting. 

So, here is your mission: the one paint can challenge. What are all the little things you could do around your house with one can of paint and no deep painting expertise to make a big difference in your home? We believe that, with one can of paint, you can have an impact– bringing new joy to a space you’ll be enjoying every day. And with the right color choice, you can find several ways to bring your personality into your space without spending significant time and energy on the project.

And it’s easier than you think.

To kick off your brainstorming, here are five of the types of small paint jobs you can tackle with one can of paint to accentuate—and transform—your home.

1. Give your pots a makeover

Adding a little splash of color to your pots—especially with interesting lines and angles—can accentuate the beauty of your indoor plants and add personality to the space around it. 

2. Turn your picture frames into a mini gallery

Bring new life to your old picture frames—or even pick some up at the local flea market or craft store—and turn them into a beautiful entryway or hallway display with the right paint choice.

3. Turn vintage luggage into furniture

If you have some beat up luggage no longer suitable for their original function (or want to go on the hunt to find some), stacking and giving them a paint job can transform them into an ideal nightstand or table. 

4. Express yourself on the inside

If you’re looking for a place to add a bold dash of personality, the inside of dresser, vanity, or nightstand drawers can be a great place to introduce a bit of color.

5. Dip-dye your seat

One easy way to “dip your toe” into the dip-dying trend is to transform a stool. Tape off the same amount of the leg of each stool and then dip it in a bright hue to create a bold accent for your furniture.

These are just a few quick ideas to inspire you as you think about all the things that you could do to transform and accent your home with one can of paint. If you’re looking from more ideas, come into your local Orchard to talk to one of our paint specialists about other ideas that will inspire you.

We hope that you’ll find a color that is truly you. (And don’t forget about our paint color guarantee; we’ll find a way to match whatever color you need.) And then embark on the one paint can challenge.

If you take us up on the offer, be sure to take photos of the results and share it with us on Instagram and/or on your local store’s Facebook page. We want to see what you can do with one can of paint, to inspire us all to take those small, easy steps to try something new and give us a fresh reason to enjoy our homes.

Co-Creating the Orchard Store Experience with Our Neighbors

A pressing question has been on the minds of our team these past few months: How can Orchard involve you, our neighbors, as partners from the beginning as we think through the products we offer and the experience of shopping our stores?

“We want our customers involved in co-creating our experience and our assortment together as we move forward,” said Diane McKnight, Orchard’s VP and Head of Merchandising. “We feel it’s really important to show up with our customers on the front end rather than make important decisions without their crucial input.”

That spirit of “co-creation” inspired a weeklong experience recently at our Store Support Center in San Jose. As we started preparing for the range of new tools we’re bringing into our stores later this year, including new assortments as part of the relaunch of Craftsman, we wanted to really think through what it’s like for you to shop for tools at Orchard.

Driven by that idea, a small group from across our company came together to spend a week thinking about shopping for tools at Orchard. That team designed a shopping experience based on that thinking in our merchandising lab. (Yes, we have a merchandising lab. And we get really excited about it.) And then, at the end of the week, we brought in a few of you to go through that shopping experience and talk to us about it.

This exploration of the tool shopping experience with some of our neighbors had immediate benefits.

“We learned a lot about how our customers shop, what they’re looking for, and what graphics to educate would be helpful to the customer,” said Annette Boynton, Orchard’s Director of Merchandising for Tools and Hardware.

Orchard Divisional Merchandising Manager Eamonn Murtagh said those customers have already impacted how his team is thinking about the tools section moving forward, and making sure our energy is devoted to what you actually care about.

“For instance, we had people talking about the color of the tools, which I didn’t even think about,” Eamonn said. “And we also had customers who felt strongly that they wanted the tools sorted by brand rather than type.”

Creating the Orchard Experience with You

This was the latest of an ongoing series of projects focused on involving our neighbors in thinking about new products coming to our stores at the start of the process. For instance, earlier this year, as our teams started thinking about the 2018 holiday season, we reached out to some of our Club Orchard members with a customer survey to gain insight into the types of holiday decor they like.

And, in February, we hosted a Smart Home Show at our Princeton Plaza San Jose store. The event brought a wide array of smart home products that Orchard doesn’t currently carry into the store to see what mattered to our neighbors there.

“We had the big guys in the category here,” Diane said. “First Alert. 3M. Ring. Nest. We were able to bring these big, powerful brands to our customers in a very human-to-human way.”

While those companies got to hear from some of you about what products mattered most, Orchard learned a lot from you, too. For instance, we noticed our neighbors who came to the store that day were more interested in where and how Orchard’s smart home assortment might enhance the safety and security of their homes, more than purely convenience features.

Diane said that, at the Smart Home Show, “We wanted to know what was important and what wasn’t important. What should our smart home assortment look like, based on what our customers need from us?”

As a result, our merchandising team made several new decisions about what to carry from a smart home standpoint, what the in-store display of smart home products should look like, and how it should provide information to you, based on what we heard in the store.

Pushing Ourselves to Stay Centered on What Our Neighbors Need

These projects are just the beginning of an ongoing process to challenge the way we think and to ensure our approach is always centered on what matters most to us: what our neighbors need and want when they shop our stores.

“What we turned around in a week around the tool shopping experience was pretty fantastic,” said Stacy Sutter, Orchard’s In-Store Promotional Marketing Manager. “Some of our hypotheses were validated, but on some of them we are now taking a totally different path. Now, we’re thinking about how we apply this approach to lighting, and other sections of our stores.”

Diane agreed.

“This is changing the way we are thinking about how we bring products to market,” she said. “These approaches have been the first-of-their kind for us, but they aren’t just flashy one-offs. We want to take what we’ve learned from each of these experiences and apply it to an ongoing customer-first way of thinking moving forward. This is the essence of Orchard.”

Behind-the-Scenes of Designing Spaces

If you’re an avid viewer of Lifetime’s Designing Spaces, you may have seen a familiar sight last Friday, as one couple’s desire to transform their backyard brought them into Orchard in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Missed it? The segment is available over at the Designing Spaces website.

In the episode, homeowners Jeannie and Kenny are getting their backyard ready to host a party. After checking out Orchard, they decide to come to the store in person and talk with our experts to think through how they can build a backyard ideal for hosting friends and family.

It was a fascinating experience for our team to follow Jeannie and Kenny, and the Designing Spaces team, throughout this journey­– from first being contacted by the show about the idea all the way to celebrating at the couple’s home and seeing all of their selections come to life in their backyard oasis.

“The team from Designing Spaces had shopped our stores and thought it would be a good fit for what they were doing,” said Scott Hankal, Orchard’s Director of Promotions and Performance. “We felt that the viewer of Designing Spaces is just the sort of home enjoyer that we seek to serve at Orchard.”

Scott said he was especially happy that the Designing Spaces piece featured the Orchard associates who make our stores unmatched in the marketplace and demonstrated Orchard’s commitment to bringing the humanity back to the retail experience.

“We really appreciated the opportunity to showcase some of our human services like our WorkBench and Potting Bench and that the segment ended up featuring our patio furniture and grill experts,” he said.

Designing Spaces producer Erin Parker agreed.

“The experts at Orchard were so friendly, and I think we were able to capture that in their genuine personalities in their piece,” Erin said. “They were all extremely knowledgeable of their area.”

“The store looked absolutely stunning--very colorful,” Erin added. “It made our job really easy. The signage is amazing there, so we wanted to be sure to capture it and ensure that we got some of the specialty products that Orchard carries.”

Stacy Sutter from Orchard’s promotions team made the trip down to watch the shoot unfold in person.

“It was a really fun, spontaneous project,” Stacy said. “The team there in Florida was jazzed. The associate who ended up guiding them through the store was just a cool dude. It was great to look at this diverse group of experts we have down in Florida who represent Orchard Supply Hardware.”

The taping of the episode wasn’t without its drama, though.

During taping of the episode, Florida’s weather was up to its usual tricks.

“In the midst of shooting, it started pouring down rain,” Stacy said. “Luckily, it rained while we were in the store, but all our external shooting ended up happening during good weather.”

Stacy said that it was clear the Designing Spaces team saw in Orchard a store that exemplified what their show was all about.

“You could genuinely tell that the Designing Spaces team loved the store,” Stacy said. “They even welcomed our team to the homeowner’s home at the end of the shoot. They really embraced us. It was a great relationship.”

Mary Arfeli, who is part of Orchard’s team in Florida, said that, while she had done trade shows, having about a week to think through and get prepared for a television shoot was a new experience. For instance, as they prepared for the shoot, it of course caught the attention of other customers in the store.

“We knew a patio set the owner was interested in,” Mary said, noting that as they prepared the store to have the camera crew come in, their work around the patio sets caught the attention of neighbors shopping in the store. “It inspired customers to come sit on the patio sets...They wanted to buy it!”

Luckily, they didn’t run out of the furniture the homeowners wanted to look at on their visit. In fact, they found just what they wanted to bring their vision for their backyard to life.

“It was great; we found everything we needed, and probably more,” Jeannie, the homeowner, said during the episode.

“Orchard Supply Hardware made it fun and easy,” she added.

Stacy said she was most proud of watching the team in Florida come together to make this episode possible.

“Overall, it was this whirlwind experience and adrenaline rush, pulling this all together,” Stacy said. “One of our Florida associates said that you can go elsewhere to build your house, but you come to Orchard to build a home--to find all the personal touches to keep your home humming and create that happy space for yourself.”

Are you thinking about a transformation in your own backyard? If so, check out the Designing Spaces episode for some inspiration. And then come in and see our team at your neighborhood Orchard. We’ll be ready to help you think about your own backyard oasis. (Our team members really do know how to help you create homes you can enjoy. They don’t just play experts on TV.)

Create Your Outdoor Dining Room

Turn Your Dining Inside Out.

One of the best parts of summer is being able to spend time outside while the weather is still warm. So why not take your dining room outside? Whether you’re planning to entertain or just want to enjoy your space, we’ve got what you need to dine al fresco from daylight to twilight.

Start by Setting the Table
What’s a dinner party without the perfect table setting? Get creative. Choose fun placemats or elegant candles to set the mood. Don’t forget, you’ll need the perfect place to serve up your gourmet meal. If you have a large backyard, consider investing in something classic like a 7-piece dining set. Want to make the most out of your smaller outdoor space? Add a stylish bistro set for two.

Show Off Your Style
Cushions not only provide comfort for the ultimate relaxing experience, but liven up your outdoor space with style. Pick out cushions and pillows that can create pops of color and interest. And don’t forget to look down – adding a patterned rug to your outdoor dining room brings the homey feel outside while adding texture. The more you play with bringing elements inside out, the cozier your space will become.

Add Character
Your table is set and your chairs are as comfy as can be. But don’t stop there. It’s easy to create a mood with simple décor essentials like lighting and accessories. If your patio is covered, make a statement with a pendant light above your dining table. For a smaller space, string lights add subtle ambiance and an element of charm. Accessorize the outdoors-y way by adding potted succulents and lavender plants to your space.

Lounge Long After Dark
Why not make the most of those summer nights that stay warm after the sun sets? Create a space to lounge, relax, or play a board game with friends after dinner. Classic Adirondack chairs make the perfect place to sit back and sip your favorite drink. Side tables double as a great place for a board game tournament. And if your ideal summer evening ends with making s’mores around the fire, grab a few armchairs and a show-stopping fire pit.

It doesn’t take much to embrace your summer nights this season, and moving your dining room outside might be just the answer. So whether you’re planning to entertain or just want a place to relax, we’ve got everything you need here at Orchard.