DIY: Making homemade labels for our spice jars.


We’ve been storing our spices in a couple of cardboard boxes pretty much since the day we moved into our first apartment all those years ago. It started with one box and as our cooking skills grew we added another box – one for baking and one for cooking basically. But the boxes were impossible to organize – you’d take one jar out and the others would fall over or shift which meant alphabetizing them was a lost cause. This resulted in “Why do we have 3 bottles of cinnamon?” or “I know we have rosemary around here somewhere, but I can’t find it.”

After eight years of marriage and owning more cinnamon than we probably know what to do with, I decided it was time to try something else. The thing is – we’ve been looking for the perfect spice rack for years and never found one worth taking up the counter space. I.e. We’re picky. I don’t like those rotatey spice racks and didn’t want to live with the spices they thought we wanted.

We finally settled on 12 of these spice jars from World Market that were $1 each (sold online in packs of 6) along with this metal spice rack for just $10 that can either be hung on a wall or cabinet door or just placed on a counter if you have the room. World Market has a ton of different jar styles by the way. These were by far the plainest they had but that kind of appealed to us. You could also totally just keep your spices in the jars they came in and put them in the rack, but we were loving the idea of uniformity so we splurged on new jars. In the long run, we’re probably going to need another rack and more jars to hold the rest of our spices but this got us started with the spices we seem to use most often.

So we had our jars and a rack and we found a home for it that we could live with – now we just needed to pick twelve spices to move into the rack and label the jars. We were originally thinking of picking out labels in a store but didn’t find any we liked. Then we were going to use a sticker or label maker to make our own and went through the whole mental process of figuring that out, when my husband found this link to a tutorial for making your own labels using a laser printer and packing tape! I was skeptical but it totally worked! Head over to The Proper Pinwheel for further instruction on making the labels.

I designed my labels using PicMonkey which is an awesome online photo editor / graphic designer that is available for free though there are a lot of spiffy extras for people who pay for a Royale Membership (totally worth it, in my opinion). This label took me about five minutes to design. Feel free to steal it as long as you use it for good and not evil:


Now you just need words. You could add the font for the label right on picmonkey if you want (and they have a lot of beautiful fonts) but I was worried that this would be tedious to then save 12 different images and then compile them all onto one page. In an effort to save time, I saved the logo above and then copied and pasted it 12 times into a LibreDraw file. LibreOffice is basically Microsoft Office but open source (i.e. free). I tried doing this in a word document and it was really difficult to get the text to line up where I wanted it. Helpful Hubby recommended the Draw program which let me make text boxes that I then positioned over each label.

Which method would have been faster in the end? I’m not sure. Either way, I finished the whole process in under and hour, printed the page and then we used the methods shared at The Proper Pinwheel to turn the laser printed page and packing tape into beautiful, homemade labels for our new spice jars.



We are both really thrilled with the end result. The labels are so special to us because we designed them ourselves, making them truly unique and we love that if we want to use a bottle for a different spice, the label is just packing tape so it should be easy to remove (and it’s pretty water proof, too!). And having the spices right where we want them and finally, finally alphabetized is making it so much nicer to cook.

Organization never tasted so good!


Aloha Friday: Imaginary House Hunting

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blog land anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

So one of my favorite hobbies is imaginary house hunting. I figure I’m doing something to stay familiar with the housing market, hone into what types of houses my husband and I like… and well it gives me something to fantasize about. Between our recent unemployment stint, the move to Wisconsin, the new baby and my upcoming dental needs I really have no idea how long it’s going to take us to save up a decent down payment although we do have the advantage of having excellent credit and no debt to speak of – point is – I don’t know when we’ll be buying the house of my dreams, but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming.

Last weekend we went for a drive through our neighborhood, checking out the houses I’d found nearby that were for sale, in our imaginary price bracket, that I liked from what I could tell in the pictures on We’ve found quite a few drool worthy houses or houses that we liked enough to say, “Sure that’s a really nice house,” but this weekend we found It. The House. The place I want to raise my children. The backyard, oh my god, the backyard. We couldn’t stop talking about our little fantasies of what our lives would be like there – Dan cooking on the grill that would be on or near the gorgeous little patio – our children playing in the beautiful little garden that trailed the fenced in perimeter of the yard – and of course me, sipping some lemonade or iced tea while reading a book or blogging on the imaginary lap top I don’t own. It was perfect.

And from what I could tell of the pictures, the inside is perfect, too. Drool worthy kitchen, good lighting. And the curb appeal is nice, too, complete with a cute little front porch with a picturesque bench by the front door. It’s everything we want and if we HAD a price, the price would be right. If we could fast forward two years or so, giving us time to re-save up a down payment… and the house magically stayed on the market… Point is – I want it. And that makes me a wee bit heart broken because I know the odds of it still being for sale are slim. Now I’m sure there is something wrong with this house – there is something wrong with every house, but still. This is my fantasy and in my fantasy, it’s The House. So I’m in mourning for it because I’m 95% sure we’ll never own it.

The nice thing is my husband and I are getting good at spotting the types of houses we would both like and we know what we both look for in a home. The two first things I look at in a home are the kitchen and yards and I’d venture to say it’s the same for Dan. Anyway, my questions for you this week are:

  • What are the most important things to you when looking at potential homes? What do you look at first?
  • Do you have (or have you ever had) a The House – the one you would drop everything to move into if it were feasible?
  • Do you imaginary house hunt, too? Or maybe imaginary vacation shop? I do that, too. 🙂
  • If you were going to buy a house today, how much of a down payment would you ideally want saved? What do you think a bare minimum acceptable down payment would be?

The Grand Tour: Part One

People keep asking me, “When are you going to show pictures of the new place?” and I’m like, “What the zoo and children’s museum and playground aren’t enough?” But apparently the people want to see, “pictures on your walls, and your kitchen, and… I dunno… YOU!” (as quoted from the bestie). And then I grumble and groan and procrastinate because you know, it’s an apartment. It has dirty dishes and bad lighting and all that jazz.

But in keeping with the spirit of It’s Real Life, I’ve decided to post an impromptu set of pictures that show what our apartment looks like. This is by no means a complete coverage of the place – I haven’t photographed, for instance, the master bedroom, bathroom or living room yet. But here are a few things mentioned in Ange’s demand, myself not included. Oh and remember – if you aren’t hovering over each picture, you are missing half the fun!

First: The View From Our Balcony

Next, our dining room:

The Hallway, complete with pictures and one crazy child:

The Kitchen:

MM’s Toy Room:

The Kid(s) Bedroom:

The End (For Now)…