Fun with canning rings

I'm pretty sure that canning rings are like rabbits - if left alone to their own devices, they will multiply and breed.  I have three huge bags of canning rings, but at the end of a long winter, I have enough for five bags.  No idea how that happens.  Seems kinda gross to me, so I just leave it alone.

In an effort to use up some excess rings recently, Jack and embarked on a fun craft project this weekend.  Please note, "fun" and "crafts" are not two words that usually go together in this house.  I sew and knit and other stuff for functionality, and Jack would rather do anything other than pick up a crayon. 

But this was fun.  And quick.  And kept Jack occupied for about four minutes.  A huge win in my book.

The project was inspired by a craft that I saw at our local Cenex when Jack and I went to pick up chicken feed the other day.  J boy was the first to notice it, but I spent a few minutes studying it closely.

Also, if you tell your four year old to "keep busy" while you go feed the chickens, this is what you come back to:

Canning Ring Pumpkin
-string or yarn
-1 to 3 cinnamon sticks (purchase them from the bulk spice section for dirt cheap)
-canning rings (number depends on how big you want this to be
Look deep in to my eyes.  You're under my power now.  Now, go buy me candy.
1) Cut a length of string/yarn about 10 inches long.  You won't use it all (that's what she said), but you'll want to be able to work with it (that's what she said x2).  I started with yarn, but found it pretty weak when tying the rings tightly.  I eventually moved on to string.

2) Thread the rings on the string, making sure they're all basically facing the same way.

3) You're going to want another person for this part, but tie the string in a really tight knot, creating a compact circle.  Double knot the string, and snip off the ends.

4) Starting with one cinnamon stick, place it in the center.  Some of our pumpkins required two or three sticks before the force was tight enough to keep them from falling out.

5) This is entirely optional, but let your four year old take the cinnamon challenge.  Laugh your ass off as he proceeds to consume an entire cinnamon stick "for fun".

Canning Ring Use #2 - chicken props
I love roasting chickens.  Like LOVE it.  You get a great meal, some leftovers, and then the makings of a perfect (and free) stock.

But...I've found that chickens aren't built for perfect roasting.  Unfortunately they're a little tippy in the pan which can lead to uneven roasting.  The solution is two canning rings under the base of the chicken.  This creates an even surface for roasting that produces an amazingly crispy chicken.
So, I took the photo after we ripped apart the bird.  Food photography fail.
What other things do you use canning rings for around the house?
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