Many of us would remember our Nanna's pantry or have seen pictures of pantries from years ago. I think of shelves lined with pretty paper, a row of lace stuck along the front of the shelf, all kinds of old jars with labels. Remember lovely old canisters that had "Sugar" "tea" "flour" written on them? And bread bins, stackable cake tins, biscuit tins (cookie tins) and so many lovely things! Mum always lined shelves, things looked fresh and clean. Later contact was the in thing to transform the inside of your cupboards. Both my Nan's and Andy's Nan used big jars with screw top lids and they would fill them with biscuits to send with our families on holidays. We both had Nan's who did this! And they both made biscuits with a forcer and "glued" them together with icing! So nice.
I know that women used to cut paper trims, even from newspaper, to decorate their shelves and add transfers (decals) to pretty up jars or cover recycled tins with pretty paper so they could become kitchen storage. Baby formula tins were transformed into a row of canisters. Women just found one way or another to pretty things up, create storage and build up their pantries. I know all kinds of things were used including wooden crates to create shelves, recycling and repurposing back before that was fashionable.
We can still do all of these things. I can't help but love a row of jams lined up with pretty labels or covers. That somehow represents something so lovely to me! I am happy to make over jars or tins to use in my pantry.
Once I had a comment from a lady that she disagreed with me and didn't understand why I needed to make pretty cards and note pads and things and why couldn't I use an old envelope? Well, I didn't mind for her to do that and good on her for recycling I said. But my answer to why do I want things to look nice is because God must have made me that way. Even in Grade 1 I decorated my pages at school with flowers in the corners. Mum and Dad got a letter from the teacher about it...
Anyway I know I am not the only one who likes making things look nice. Women have been making things lovely from nothing and straightening things up forever! And in the case of jams and preserves it makes them into lovely gifts as well.
When we first moved here there was no pantry cupboard at all. My first attempt to create storage space was made from an old bakers stand Andy found on the road side. Actually a lady came out and said to him it was junk and he shouldn't take it. He said to her he thought his wife would like it. She thought he was crazy! Lucky he stuck to his guns and I loved it! It needed a new shelf and painting. Andy cut a new wooden shelf and I painted. Then I decorated tins and lined up my jars ready to fill...
Once I stocked this up it was a great help in the kitchen.
Good storage is really important. But I want to spend my money on produce not the containers. I have been able to collect all sizes of jars and tins over the years and I am still collecting. When I get a few the same size I paint the lids and decorate them. Just love doing this! I used to use decals but now tend to cut out little flowers or birds from pictures and just varnish them on.
Some jars have come from cheap shops but I often don't like the lids. So painting is my solution.
I have also bought spice racks for a couple of dollars and painted them up. These are also awesome for nail varnish collections! This one came with all the little jars as a set.
I really love labels. You can print free labels for just about anything. If you search online you will find just so many. You can use contact to stick them on or print them onto special label paper. This is a good list of labels that includes jam labels as well as pantry labels... Kitchen Printables.
Another idea is to paint your lids with blackboard paint so you can identify the contents with chalk and change it anytime you want. Blackboard is also available now in contact form so you can make a lot of labels by cutting out the shapes and sizes you want.
Jars that have the lids that come apart have great potential! I think most canning jars are like this. You can add any picture or label your heart desires! I did these for Christmas presents...
I added birds to a row of jars just recently as the lids were just plain...
Old tins are really wonderful too. Often you can find tins that have contained biscuits or chocolates and have a brand picture on them. It is really easy to paint them any colour you want. I find tins keep things really crisp and fresh. I am saving tins just now and when theres enough my palest pink paint is coming out and then rose decals.
Having a day where I have time to fluff around with kitchen things is lovely. We have nice shelves now and my cellar storage to bolster up my supplies on a more serious level. But I keep my pretty stuff in the kitchen cupboards.
We have a trip coming up and I will be hunting for more jars and tins. The best jars are really old thick glass preserving jars. They are amazing. Country op shops are pretty good for them and they are usually 20c or 50c. Larger ones with lids can be a couple of dollars. But comparing that to some brands of plastic containers that are huge prices each I think this is a bargain.
Looking at old images of past kitchens is really interesting. One picture I saw gave me an idea. Helen will faint at this I think. It was a narrow strip of red gingham softly gathered up into a ruffle and stuck along shelf edging. Ooohhh it reminded me of I Love Lucy and old kitchens like that. Adorable! A plain old book shelf painted up with shelf trim could be an improvised and lovely pantry.
How do you pretty up your kitchen? It might not be "pretty" it might be stylish or country or industrial or another theme. It might be making do with what you have or what you can recycle into storage containers. I think we can all be quite inventive when we need to be.
Overall I like things to be practical/useful and pretty. I think I like old fashioned things a lot over modern. I would choose jars and tins over plastic containers. It is really fun to collect things for my pantry and as my storage grows I need more containers so I have the excuse to hunt for more!
I love that we can find so much joy in this important aspect of building up our nests!