Labels - Recession style

I am extravagant in many ways.  There is some really very expensive stuff that I like a lot and sometime buy for myself and as gifts.  Generally I would not at all consider myself a cheapskate, but I still have a very thrifty side to me.  I think that comes from my German grandmother.  She was a beautiful woman and she loved pretty things which is why I put her photo in the most pretty frame I could find.  But my grandmother was known to be thrifty and although a generous woman, there were some things she didn't like to pay too much for.

I don't think that the recession is what has caused me to be even more thrify.  I rather have a feeling that it was the overwhelming abundance of the upswing.  It just got to be a little bit too much.  I, at least, noticed this trend towards homemade and homegrown everywhere around me (i.e. on the Internet) quite some time before the recession hit.

But anyway, I have been experimenting with drying herbs and drying them and making oil infusions myself.  I have learned from the bitter past that labeling the jars is essential.  I always think I am going to remember exactly what that is in there, but... not so.  So I came up with a cheap way to quickly label my jars.  I bought a couple of rolls of old adding machine paper for 40 cents a piece.  These I tear up and use as labels.  They are rather narrow, so suit my purpose beautifully.  I store them in an ice cream container that I got while on vacation in Florida.  Nothing special, it just took my fancy.

The glue that I use is home made.  I love that!  How cool is that!  I found this wonderful book in a bookstore.  This is one of the reasons why the Internet will never be enough.  I would never have looked for this book, I hadn't known that something like this existed.  Just found it while browsing.
The Green Guide for artists, by Karen Michel (find out more about her at: is just a really cool book.  It contains a lot of recipes for artist materials, gesso, glue, paint and stuff and I made one of the glue recipes.  I would really like to make the milk paint!  I mean, who knew!  Milk paint!

But the recipe for the glue that I used is really simple recipe and easy to make:
The ingredients are:
Gum arabic
Glycerin (or honey)
Clove oil (or peppermint, lavender, rosemary, lemon or thyme essential oil - these have good preserving qualities)

1. Mix 1 part Gum arabic with hot water.
2. Combine 5 parts of that mix with one part glycerin (or honey)
3. Add 2 drops of essential oil - I used lavender.

Apply with a paintbrush.  This will last about a year.

I use my finger to wet the paper and stick it on the glass jars that I use.  This is not a very strong glue, but perfect for paper and I like it because it is easy to wash off.  I'm so tired of those labels and packaging that require an army and nuclear devices to get off!

The photos: My German grandmother, Ellý in the most ornate frame I found in Urban outfitters. she would have loved it. The pen and ink I bought in the Bronte museum in Haworth and I use it a lot to write notes.  The other photo: My kitchen is overflowing with jars full of herbs and flowers infusing in oils. It works really well to tie muslin over the top.



  1. Hi Ambra! I'm so glad you listed the ingredients to your glue. I was getting a bit nervous, but was relieve to find no horse involved! LOL! I just love your many interesting and varied posts! Always a treat!

  2. LOL :D I think my mom told me about an old cookbook that she had once and all the recipes started with: "Take a sheep and cut..."
    And the Yellow dock infusion is pretty yucky. I used fresh roots that I grated and chopped so I have all sorts of bits and pieces in mine. It looks lime green right now :)


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