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8/5/2014 4:28:58 PM

Getting Spicy In Style

cooking   crafts   DIY   ideas   low budget   style  

After the rough Saturday we had, we decided that when we found the label sheets I ordered in the mail on Sunday morning, that it was just the better part of valor to hole up in the house and re-do our spice labels.

I was very taken with these amazing labels that DIYDiva did for her spices:

And they would be REALLY nice if we had 10, 20, or even 30 spices... But with over 100 spices in our cupboard already, I think I would quickly run out of anything humorous to say and definitely run out of patience for finding and typing that kind of useful information for each spice.  Secondarily, I also realized that in our case smaller labels would be of better use, since hubby and I both look in the correct area for a spice, then at the color in the bottle, and only then really take a look at the labels to pick the right spice.

Now I know what you are thinking... who has 100+ spices?  Or better yet... Why?  But hubby likes to cook and try new things in his cooking, so he pretty much wants every spice he can find.  I am sure there could be a lot worse things to be addicted to, so I humor him for the most part, though I finally had to make the rule that each spice needed to have relatively distinct qualities from the spices we already had, and that he can't buy any new spices until he uses every single spice we have... at least once.  On the other hand, I regretted making him use a few of the spices... because NOT all spices are my friend,  But it did slow down the spice avalanche to a more manageable level.  And if you have never tried Toasted Granulated Onion... you are seriously missing out in your spice cupboard.

I made a nice spice rack when we first moved from Colorado and hubby really started collecting spices, but we quickly ran out of room and it was terribly annoying to have so many different shape and sizes of spice jars and the type of organizational nightmare that OCD people just can't take for very long.

So we started hunting for a moderately sized spice jar that we could buy without having to buy a pre-built spice rack, and that we could buy a whole herd, and that had a good seal and shaker insert on the top, and looked nice instead of like cheap plastic... and that cost very little per bottle.  Now that hunt was an impressive story on it's own, but after almost two years of effort, we finally found a bottle that met all our needs at the "Cost Plus World Market".

Of course, our limiting factor then was the size of our spice rack, but since we moved here and I found a small lazy-susan for our upper corner cabinet and added two more shelves to it, we now have room for around 125 spices.  Yep... that's-a-lot-a spice.

Of course, back when we bought our first set of around 40 spice bottles, we needed a nice way to label them.  And it was great!  I formatted labels to fit on some old address labels in a way that would create a nice border and small label.  There were two problems with this... first was that I didn't expect more than a dozen or two more spices would need labels, so I ran out some time ago... and second, the labels were great for a while, but you can see how poorly they wore over time on the bottles that we used the most...

So I ordered some weatherproof labels for ink-jet printers, and some clear labels as well, just in case the weatherproofing caused the ink to not stay put.  I did testing on the new label and ended up quite pleased.  The first test was to see if the ink would smear... it did not until I scratched it with my fingernail quite a bit and wet it as well.  The second test I put clear label over half of it and wet it for a minute and scratched at it.  And the third test I put clear label over the whole thing and put water on it for a minute and scratched at it.  Then I tried peeling up the labels to see how well they stuck to the bottles.


Despite the fact that I really had to work at messing up the un-covered labels, and they would probably do fine for most light to heavy use, I decided that I would go ahead and use the clear labels to cover the ink on the white labels, which should really guarantee life-time use...  And I already had them on hand so there was no reason not to.

Either way, I would absolutely recommend weatherproof labels for ALL projects that might EVER get even the slightest wet, humid, or even touched frequently.

We did some extensive looking at borders and fonts and came up with a somewhat old-fashioned decorative border and a complimentary bold font that should be both attractive as a label and easy to read.  Then we needed to test the formatting.  Since I could not get Word to align properly with the decorative borders, I went with Excel to create the layout.


If you are not familiar with printing labels, you might just think you have to measure, guess, and pray... but the trick to guarantee alignment is to print on a sheet of paper and then hold that paper behind the label sheet up to some light.  With a few adjustments and a couple test-prints, you can get your alignment perfect without wasting any labels.


With the labels printed and ready to go hubby scraped off the old labels and cleaned the jars while I put on the new labels and the clear label over the top of it, assembly-line-style.  Well, if an assembly-line ever had just two people on it.


The first label cover was, of course, a little crooked.  Not terribly so, but I got much better as we went and started to get many of them so perfect that you can't even tell it is two labels.  Practice makes perfect I guess, and with 100+, I got a lot of practice.



And for a couple specialty spices that I mix myself, I even printed an ingredient label for the back.



I ordered enough labels so that we will be able to print more when we need to so that everything stays matching, and even made notes on the spreadsheet about the printer, what kind of labels, and font types.

Hopefully we will never again have to scrape and re-label spices, and we will have matching labels on all our future spices, too.  Of course, hubby only has space for about 15 more spices anyway, so unless we build a spice-overflow rack...

No........ Nobody tell him that.  

I could be buried under spice-jars by morning if anyone tells him that.

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8/5/2014 4:38:01 PM Hubby
Okay... so I REALLY like cooking. But to be fair, TinkerT REALLY likes eating the stuff I cook 99% of the time. Sure, if I cook something with tomatoes it won't be happening, but then again, I do cook things I consider poisonous for her.

So if salted, garlic infused asparagus dusted with parmesan sitting on a plate next to a medium rare petite sirloin that has been coated in FlameKist Steak Seasoning, a touch of toasted granulated onion, and a dash of cayenne pepper and a Colorado Red Potato that has been baked, cut open with butter, shredded cheddar, and salt and white pepper with Alaskan Salmon Bits sprinkled over the top sounds good... Well... then... perhaps I really DO need over 100 spices currently and even more so considering over 80% of those are meant for cooking and not baking, and I DO bake too...

Did someone mention an expansion for the spice area? I think we have 14 bottles or so left, and I DO know where to get more...

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