Butler County Times Gazette
  • Through the Front Door: Fabulous uses for clear canisters, apothecary jars, biscuit jars

  • These lovely glass jars with lids are more useful than one might imagine
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  • I consider myself to be an observer. Part of the ongoing training of an interior designer is the simple fact that we notice the world around us. Recently, the use of wonderful clear canisters in home interiors struck me. These lovely—and oftentimes inexpensive—glass jars with lids are more useful than one might imagine. Washed to a pristine clarity, they literally become the display window for items from the rather mundane to the magnificent. You can mix and match sizes as it’s the visibility that makes them blend so beautifully with one another.
    Clear canisters often seal while apothecary jars feature taller, more decorative lids. Biscuit jars are the English cousin to American cookie jars; these rounder containers house biscuits for tea. Apothecary jars were originally used by pharmacists to store elixirs and herbs—including “eye of newt”! (If you remember your Shakespeare, in Macbeth the three witches cast a spell with “eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog.” Oh my!)
    Following is a list of items one might house in these grand glass containers.
    • Flour and sugar. Glass offers a nice clean alternative to flour and sugar canisters and offers a quick assessment of what you have on hand. Add a pretty colored scoop for easy use plus a tiny dose of color.
    • Grains. In your pantry, fill glass jars with pasta, rice or cereal. Once again, this eliminates the guesswork of what you have available. Clean, clear and obvious!
    • Cookies. Place it on your kitchen island full of cookies for a hungry grandchild. The visibility alerts grandma to the need for a trip to the grocery store—or a day of baking.
    • Candy. Layer wrapped candy to create a nice ending to a silly buffet setup.
    • Spices. Try long lovely sticks of fresh cinnamon.
    • Cupcake wrappers. Stack an assortment of charming cupcake papers.
    • Centerpieces. Create a centerpiece of sea shells on a layer of sand for a dinner featuring steamed lobster as the guest of honor.
    • Wine corks. Start a collection of wine corks, which makes for a lovely presence when so many are combined. If you loved a particular wine, you can make notes on the cork for quick reference.
    • Toys. The joy of Legos gone to the way of growth. If you still love the primary colors, load a canister full and park it on a book shelf.
    • Soap pods. Add unexpected sparkle to your laundry room with a canister of the wonderful new pod laundry soaps.
    • Clothespins. Again in the laundry, stock a clear jar full of new or antique wooden clothespins. They’ll be at your fingertips when it comes time to hang up your delicate items to air dry.
    Page 2 of 3 - • Pet supplies. Get a sturdy container for doggie bones, leashes and the like.
    • Toiletries. In the bathroom, display bars of wrapped soap, cotton swabs and cotton balls.
    • Thread. Stuff your growing number of spools of thread (plus all those little pieces that come with new sweaters) in a glass canister. The result is so charming and it’s so easy to find that spool of purple thread.
    • Buttons. Display a collection of antique buttons along with all those little buttons that come with new garments. If you keep the buttons in their little envelopes, be sure to write on the packet what the button is a replacement for!
    • Faux plants. A convincing faux potted plant looks quite lovely as a coffee table accessory tucked into one of these gleaming pieces.
    • Jewelry. I use a glass canister for all of my bangle bracelets.
    • Fall décor. Fill a glass jar with convincing faux apples for a delightful island or kitchen counter accessory.
    • Christmas décor. Use the same clear canister from your fall apples, but fill it with antique Christmas balls. This display allows them to be appreciated, but protected.
    • Seasonal candy. On the coffee table in the family room or living room, fill a jar with candy in seasonal colors. For Easter, try a layer of pastel Easter grass with the pastel Hershey kisses.
    The list goes on and on! The glass canister can help you corral and organize so many items.
    Many clear canisters are manufactured from the less-expensive glass that you might pick up at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Bed Bath & Beyond and even Ace Hardware. While these are great for utility in areas such as the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room, do consider some of the finer pieces. Empty and polished to a blinding sparkle, they can stand on their own as a wonderful accessory. You can find exquisite canisters and apothecary jars in handsome brilliant crystal, although these well-designed pieces will demand a heftier price.
    For higher-end options, try Things Remembered for gorgeous ones you can have engraved. (Engraving anything just makes that particular piece so important and special.) Companies such as Waterford makes lovely biscuit jars in cut crystal. Abigail’s Gifts, a home furnishings company, has some stunning apothecary jars in medium and large sizes for around the $100. You can find them at specialty gift stores such as the Plaid Giraffe in Wichita.
    I hope I’ve made the joy of storing and displaying valuables and sundries in glass abundantly clear. As with the hurricanes I am always touting, you will find use after use for these beauties.
    Have a wonderful and happy-go-lucky week. I will be back next week to alert you to something your home is begging for!
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