The one with all the spices

Gneiss Spice

I’m a bit of a Kickstarter addict. I’ve backed many, many projects.

From little bits of titanium metal, to tops, video games, movies, leather goods, tungsten cubes formed under intense pressure, and…  spices? Really? Yes!

Spices tend to migrate to different cabinets, get lost in the back, and then can’t be found. Several times now, I’ve purchased a spice I already have. They go stale quickly, especially if they are stored in plastic containers. By the time you find one, chances are it is well past its prime.

This is all very disappointing.

I’m a backer of the Gneiss Spice Kickstarter project (pronounced nice spice). This is a small business run by Beth, her husband, and her newborn baby way up in the upper-right hand corner of the United States (Maine). Truth be told, I’m not entirely certain how much the husband helps, but Beth is a powerhouse, and I’m guessing the baby is no slouch, either.

Their main business is very simple, as it should be. They load up fresh, organic spices into hexagon-shaped glass jars (think honeycomb), and put custom-made magnetic lids on them with the name of the spice stamped into it. For the non-metallic refrigerator people, like myself, or for those who just don’t want to see spices on their refrigerator door (also me), they sell an attractive brushed steel mounting plate. They call it stainless, but if it is stainless, it is a very low grade (by design), because true stainless isn’t magnetic. That’s why nothing sticks to the front of my fridge without adhesive. We did that with tape early on for Tessa’s artwork, but now she’s older and we like the clean look.

And, no, neodymium rare earth, really strong magnets don’t stick either. I know, because I’m really into magnets, so I have all that, in various grades, and they don’t stick. Even the one that is a little scary and can crush a bone if you misuse it.

Which is good! So, yay LG!

I funded Beth’s Kickstarter project at the “everything and the kitchen sink, plus I need a semi-stainless metal plate” level.

And when she started to ship the items out to her backers way back in December (2014!), what did I do? A crazy thing. I asked her to hold off shipping mine. You see, she had just placed an order for custom hexagon jars without the large mold number on the back. Why does this matter?

Well, two reasons. One is that the numbers are large and unattractive, which is irritating, but not enough of a reason to wait.  The other is that with those big numbers molded into the back, it isn’t easy to put a label on the back of them. More on that, later.

Very long story short, the new jars took forever to arrive, and had fun visiting the entire countryside before finally making their way over to Beth in Maine, where they finally arrived, well over six months later.

Not only did Beth (and her baby), send me my order as soon as it arrived, she also included a free gift, which was, very appropriately, an extra jar of spice. Which one? Well, it is possible she read my blog first, because it turns out it is applewood-smoked salt, which you might know is Tessa’s favorite. And mine, to be honest. It makes everything taste like bacon, and that’s never a bad thing.

Last night I made dinner, then called (okay, yelled) up the stairs for Tessa to shut Minecraft down and come down to eat. She said she would be down in five minutes. I’ve been down this road before, so I decided to start my spice project while I was waiting.

I started by opening the cabinet door where I keep my existing spices. Then, I put double-sided sticky tape all along the edge of the “stainless” plate that came with the kit. Not to keep it up, mind you – all those glass spice jars are heavy! Stick the mounting plate up with just tape and you are basically asking for a disaster.

Cabinet with plate

Cabinet with plate

Door with plate close up

Door with plate close up

I used my digital level, got it in exactly the right spot, then pushed it down to engage the tape.

After that, I got four wood screws that were leftover from my front door kickplate project, and secured all four corners.

Make absolutely certain the screws are not going to go all the way through your cabinet door and poke out the front before you do this.

Check twice. Seriously.

There were a lot of jars!

All the jars

All the jars

After I had the plate secured, I pulled off the white plastic sticker that keeps the surface from being scratched.

Plate without sticker

Plate without sticker

Plate without sticker far away

Plate without sticker far away

Here they are all stuck to the plate on the inside of the cabinet door. I think I need two more to make it look complete!

Plate with spices

Plate with spices

Plate with spices far away

Plate with spices far away

So, two problems with this entire thing.

The first is that the plate needs to include four short wood screws, and it doesn’t. I had some left over, but it needs to come with them. Double-sided tape will never hold the weight of all these glass jars for any length of time, but it is great for helping to line things up. That probably shouldn’t be included, because if it is, some people will try to get by without the screws. But, it is helpful.

The second? Take a close look at the spices stuck to the plate. Click on the photo to enlarge it. Now tell me which spices are in which jar. Sure, you can guess a couple of them, but in general, there is no way to know without pulling them off individually and checking the label stamped into the lid.

The new, custom jars without the numbers on the bottoms means it is possible to put a label on them. They need to come with those labels, preferably already applied. They look really good the way they are, but unless you enjoy seasoning your food with random spices (and I’m not judging you, if you do), this isn’t going to work.

So, now I need to buy a label maker or round write-on stickers for the bottoms of the jars to know what they are. That’s worth it to me, because the entire system is, frankly, awesome, but it is something to be aware of before placing an order.

You can find Beth, her baby, and husband over on Etsy, though I hear they are starting their own site, which is definitely the right thing to do.

I very much recommend ordering your own spice kit. If you label the bottoms, send me a picture and I’ll post it, especially if you beat me to it.

The living room/den project is next, so I don’t have the time right now to look into the labels.

That will have to wait for a later time!

Comments 3

  1. Sean, Cool review! You can buy the labels from Beth at Gneiss Spice ! They are silver letters on a clear background ( don’t know if they have other choices). Love my spice set!

    1. Post

      Coolness! And a much better idea than the label maker.

      Side note: I love the idea of label makers, but every one I’ve ever gotten, starting with the raised letter plastic thingy from Radio Shack I got as a kid, through today’s thermal printers has disappointed me. I’m not sure exactly how they should be better; I just know they should be, and it bugs me.

      Oh, and yes – I’m loving mine as well! You should see the looks on people’s faces when I casually open the cabinet door to reveal the honeycomb of goodness.

  2. Pingback: Spice labels part two! - Sean Logue

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