Spice Tins D.I.Y.

And now for something completely different…but I can’t write about writing all the time, can I? “All work and no play”, you know?

So, this is not my own original idea, but I did tweak it to fit my needs, so I thought I would share. I saw the idea over at A Beautiful Mess, to make these cool spice tins that were space-saving, efficient, and nice to look at. However, the original idea was to add magnets to the backs of the tins so that they could stick on the refrigerator. My refrigerator is already full of pictures, notes, and magnetic poetry, so I wasn’t interested in that. I was, however, interested in cleaning up my spice cupboard, and I’m going to swallow my pride and show you why.

Yes, it’s a horrible mess. You can just see some adhesive on the inside of the cupboard door where I had some cork for holding takeout menus, but my idea was to utilize the spice tins idea there. At first I thought I would have to find a thin sheet of tin or something, to put inside the door for the magnets to stick to, but then I realized I was looking at it the wrong way around–all I needed was a magnet for the tins to stick on to, since they’re already metal. This also cut down the work considerably since I didn’t have to cut pieces of magnet sheets for every tin. I knew I could get magnet sheets, since I had found them before. So, line the inside of the cupboard with those, and I’d have my magnetic surface.

As the gals at A Beautiful Mess did, I ordered my little tins from here, but I think you can get similar items from bulk stores. The other materials needed were the magnet sheet (I got mine at Michael’s, a nice long roll that just needed a bit of trimming to fit my cupboard door), scissors, ruler, pencil, and some labels.

I washed all the tins out first, and if you’re doing this, I’d recommend leaving them overnight to dry. The covers tend to hold a bit of water around the edges, and you don’t want to get your spices wet. Dry them off and then give the residual water time to evaporate.

While you’re waiting, you can take stock of your spices and go off and make your labels. I did mine on the computer and used plain white mailing labels (they needed just a little trimming on the edges), but you could hand-letter them, use colored labels, or whatever strikes your fancy. Get creative!

The magnet sheet was easy to trim to shape with just scissors, but the adhesive was VERY sticky. I could have used another set of hands to help me get it in place, nice and straight with no air bubbles. I was alone, so this took me a few minutes, and was actually the hardest part of the project. It turned out well in the end, though.

The final part of the project was to transfer the spices into the new tins. I did discover that the tins would hold only about half a jar of spice, so I have a few jars left hanging around, waiting until it’s time to refill the appropriate tin. From now on I will plan to buy spices in bulk, so I’ll only buy enough to fill the tins. The final product looks great, I think! I arranged them with those I use most on the bottom, within easy reach. You could, of course, arrange them alphabetically, or by color or texture, or whatever way your heart desires. The magnet strength is just perfect–the hold is nice and firm (they don’t fall off if the cupboard door bangs shut) but it takes only the tiniest bit of effort to pull off the one you want to use. They look much nicer than the previous jumble of jars, it’s much easier to find what you want, and BONUS! I have a clean cupboard with much more space for other things.

The week behind, the week ahead

Last week I did nothing on the novel editing. Nothing. I have a fresh copy of the manuscript all printed and waiting patiently for the not-so-gentle attentions of my red pen, but it spent the week unscathed.

Instead of editing, I was running the book fair at my son’s school, which ultimately results in a lovely pile of new books for the school library, and I spent one school day doing Writers In the Schools presentations at another local school. While both undertakings were highly successful, they precluded any notions of working on the edit, and although I might have squeezed in a bit of time on it here or there, I honestly didn’t try. My brain was not in the right place and had too much other stuff filling up the forefront of it to believe that I’d really accomplish anything useful.

One very nice thing that happened at the school presentations was that I read the opening of my middle-grade novel, “The Seventh Crow” to three classes. In each case they listened with rapt attention and begged for more, so that was a very encouraging test-run.

The upcoming week should be a different story with regard to the editing. I hope to work at it every day, but I don’t really have any idea of how quickly it will go or where I want to be on it by weeks’ end. Have to wait and see on that one. I also have to look to the March issue of The Scriptorium this week and try to write some more on a story I want to submit by the end of March, as well as keep moving on Third Person Press work, so…it’s going to be busy.

However, if you read this blog with any regularity, you already know that’s the story of my life… ;)

*Photo by malko at sxc.hu