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check out my rack!

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check out my rack!

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I have been wanting a spice rack for several years. Around the time I moved to Lincoln, Mom picked me up a spice rack at a garage sale; though it was nice of her, and I did appreciate it and use it even now for some things, lots of things refused to fit the shelves (which is a common problem I have noted), and I thought it was rather ugly. Also, I wanted to buy spices from the bulk jars at the coop, but I didn't like keeping my spices in the plastic bags they provide, and baby food jars or whatever would STILL not fit on the darned rack.

Initially I was going to buy a bunch of small jars that would fit the rack, but after playing with the concept a while, bouncing ideas off of parkrrrr, I decided to make a magnetic spice rack. I am told Alton Brown has one as well (UPDATE: Now I hear Alton's is actually velcro. Neat, but I like magnets better - and I wouldn't want to have to wash either the fuzzy side or the grabby side!), but I didn't get the idea from him.

First I bought a bunch of tins from a company called Specialty Bottle. I bought the second and third size of round ones. It took forever to wash them (the plastic tops are not dishwasher safe, or at least not with the water as hot as it is in my apartment) but it was so worthwhile! The tins live on the front of the fridge at present (though at this point I have packed most of them) (someday I will get a real camera that I can FOCUS, but you can see it well enough to get the gist, I think) (check out all the parentheticals!):
tins, picturesque

tins, closer for scale

I wrote the spice names on the plastic inserts with a Sharpie - I could have gotten some clear printable labels at an office supply store, but this feels homier and more personal to me (plus I really like Sharpies):
tins, closeup

I labelled the tins with the numbers on the spice jars at the store (I will add another set of labels when I find a new bulk spice source after my move, but I might leave these on for nostalgia):
tins, label view

Uber thrift-wonk moment: those white labels are from the edges of the printable mailing labels we use at work - I cut them off and save them instead of throwing them away, and they are so incredibly useful - I use them instead of Whiteout as well, and I hope to think of more uses, as I have tons of them. /thrift-wonk

I also bought some cheap magnets from the craft store:
tins, magnet view

Through the wonders of magnetism, I have not had to use glue in the project so far, though I may ultimately opt for permanence. I may replace these particular magnets before I do that, however, as I think they were a little TOO cheap - they are made of some rubbery material (it's not just a coating - I was able to cut one in half with scissors) which leaves marks on the fridge and will not take paint - or at least not the neon modelling enamel I have on hand *chuckle*; it might be worth a bit more experimenting. I might also try covering them with clear con-tac paper before giving up on them completely for this particular project. If I do replace them, I will go for metal magnets of about the same size - I have 2-3 on the back of most tins and they serve as legs to keep the tins level when they are on the counter for use.

I liked this project because it has been fruitful even though it's not technically done. Eventually I plan to get some strips of metal to decorate and hang so I can have them wherever - on the walls, on the cabinets, the skylight's the limit! - but the front of the fridge has been a remarkably functional place for them. They do not stick out too far - since June I have knocked down tins about three times (pretty good, considering that I have my klutz moments). Only one even came open, though it was a mild disaster; peppercorns, as it happens, spill a lot like ball bearings, and I was finding them for a couple of weeks after. They are also really attractive, and convenient, and really helped me in my goal to increase my interest in and frequency of cooking. Mom and Bob were taken with them as well. :)

These tins also really helped with the bulk spice thing at the coop; the one in town gives points for bringing in your own containers rather than using their packaging, and I can bring in my tins to fill up super cheap, bringing an extra for tare, and fight back a little against our throwaway culture (I don't want another real Depression, I dread it, but in that "silver lining" way, I would be glad of the things it would teach people about reducing waste).

I was going to wait until it was FINISHED finished to post, but with the move that's going to be on hold until I have my own place again, and having seen a link to a company that sells what I made for myself, posting seemed like the thing to do. Plus, I felt I could use a bit of distraction from departure difficulties.
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