It all started when we were registering for wedding gifts at way-too-expensive stores. Well, to be fair, it probably started earlier than that, when I decided to learn how to cook and started accumulating spices… and more spices… and more spices… and, as a typical beginner cook, I would decide to try a recipe and then realize it had 3,000 new ingredients I didn’t own, including, of course, several unheard of spices. Before I knew it, I had a collection of over 40 spices, and so when Brian proposed, I said yes, and we started thinking about what we’d like in our home, I, of course, wanted a spice rack… that could hold over 40 spices.
So, back to the way-too-expensive stores, we found an awesome looking counter-top rotating spice rack that could hold 48 spices… perfect! Except that it cost $250…
My wonderful (then fiancé and now husband), Brian, looked at the spice rack, and said, “We could build one for a lot less money.” I looked at the spice rack and thought, “How do you build one of those things?” Brian and I made up our minds to try it, registered for $1 spice jars that would fit in the spice rack we hoped to build, and it was settled. I decided I could find cute spice labels to go on the jars, and started looking online… but with no success… all I could find were patterns and nice fonts, but no pictures, which is what I really wanted… so I decided I’d just draw them myself.
We turned the whole thing into a fun project that we worked on together during the first year of our marriage, mostly in the evenings when I got home from teaching and he’d finished a day of research in his chemistry lab. I learned about things like hole saws and gluing wood joints together, and we both learned about making decisions, communicating, and problem-solving together. When, finally, the spice rack was completed, I had the beginnings of my ideas and a few attempts at drawing cute spice labels, but the school year had gotten busy, and we ended up just putting our store-bought jars of all sizes into the rack temporarily (all 44 of them had been sitting on our kitchen counter for months).
This past summer, life finally slowed down for me (I teach elementary school, remember?). During a trip to Canada to meet our nephew for the first time, there was a lot of down time when he was sleeping, and I’d remembered to bring my drawing supplies. I started drawing, and by the end of our visit had drawn cute labels for all 44 of our spices! Brian and I had talked about the labels quite a bit, and he’d had the idea that if we scanned my drawings and printed them on stickers, we’d be able to replace them easily if one got messed up, rather than me having to re-draw the label. I loved his idea, and not long after, our spice rack that we’d built together was filled with the jars people had given us as wedding gifts, each with one of our cute spice labels decorating the tops and the sides of the jars.
I think it was Brian who first had the idea that others might like my spice labels too, and he suggested that we could sell them on Etsy. With his computer skills, some higher quality labels, and our combined efforts in the evening hours after work, we started our Etsy store, Pass The Garlic. We opened our shop in August 2015 and have been delighted to find that others like our labels too! Our collection of spice label designs has expanded quite a bit from our original collection… I love drawing new designs for custom orders, and am often surprised when I research to see what sorts of plants and seeds the spices come from. Mace has been the most surprising… who knew that bright red stringy fibers grew around the same seed that nutmeg comes from?
The spice labels have really become ours, not just mine... I do the drawings, but Brian takes my drawings through the rest of the process that turns them into the wonderful labels you can put on your jars. I love working on this project together with Brian; it has been an amazingly fun way to start our marriage and grow together, learning how our skills can compliment each other and produce creative and wonderful things neither of us would have made alone. God has blessed and continues to bless us greatly, and we are thankful to Him for the opportunity to share our spice labels with you.