Just a thought....
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

We like to do things differently

Saturday morning.... laundry's in the machine, Jurgis is outside working on some mysterious project, the vibrating hum of the orbital sander providing a background to my day, both the dog and cat are out there somewhere sunning their bellies. It's a lovely day. I really need to sweep/vacuum/make the bed, but yeah... :) That can wait till this blog is finished. I also want to visit everyone's blogs to catch up on the week. What a week it's been!

When you think of a pantry, what comes to mind? For me, it's a small room that has no window and is cool and lined with shelves, storing groceries and all kinds of yummy things. Here in Brazil, it is very, very rare for a house to come with any form of cupboard, never mind a pantry. Cupboards, for us, have had to be rather, let's just say, inventive. The first thing we do when moving to a place is to put up shelves and pray they stay up. Grocery storage was a major challenge, especially considering that this is a land of bugs and damp and mildew.

When we arrived here, we spent a few years without a fridge of any sort. Groceries were bought daily and what needed to be kept cold was stored in the cooler box. We managed. Eventually, a friend at the consulate said that, with staff rotation, they had a storage facility with loads of furniture, each dip. wanting their own brand new furniture and would we like a fridge. Dumb question. We said yes. We got a huge double-door fridge that was half-working - we have since come to the conclusion that diplomats abuse their furniture badly. It worked for a little while, then died. Instead of throwing it away, Jurgis removed the gas and the grids and we got ourselves a pantry cupboard.

In short, it's perfect. It seals completely. It's temperature controlled. It has plenty little sections for various items. And it's a solution to filling up a garbage dump with an old 'useless' fridge.

On the front of the 'pantry', I have two photos of a place with special memories for us, a copy of a poem I wrote a long time ago, a magnet with the number of our gas company and a magnet with the number for the place we order our pet food. Hanging in front there are my agate chimes. They're more pretty than sounding good. I wish they were in front of the window where the crystal would reflect light, but we can't have it all : )

Some time back, I promised to post a photo of my fridge (the real fridge) with its magnets...

The funky green looking one is art by Tatiana, aged 9. It was meant to be a Picasso reproduction. The one next to it is self-explanatory. Below that, left to right is: a wood magnet from Campos de Jordão, a picture of some landmark in Vilnius - Lithuania, a magnet from the UAE sent by a friend who was working there at the time and my "I'm not plump, I'm fluffy" magnet that goes back to 1985 or possibly even earlier. Below the camel is my Paraty magnet showing their typical boats.

To the right of that is the old South African flag, bought for me by Tat at the Voortrekker monument in SA, currently the only place you can legally buy the flag. Below that, left to right is: "My home is clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy", a magnet from the South African consulate showing their sight which is badly out of date, and the polar bear magnet saying "I'm not a morning person" that Anne thought suited me perfectly. Just to the bottom right of that magnet is another Lithuanian magnet, this time depicting the Lithuanian coat of arms.

Left to right below that is: a wooden Campos de Jordão magnet with copper 'pots' hanging off it, a bulldog clip with a note from Tat :), and my "The opinions of the husband in this household are not necessarily those of the management" magnet.

The last two are my toucan, which comes from Iguaçu falls, brought to me by Anne and a Celestial Seasonings tea, which says, "Wonder is the seed of knowledge by Francis Bach."


  1. I think that's a great idea! Europeans and people from other countries seem to be more "recycle" oriented--before it became fashionable. I do the same things because my grandparents and parents did it. It's totally smart! And it works (without 'working' haha).

    I love magnets. I have them from people who know that---lots from Scotland, and when I go anywhere I pick one up as a souvenir. I have an alligator from Florida, and I brought one home for everyone else too.

    Blogs like this make me very happy. I feel like I've visited!

  2. Damn, that is so clever! Smart, Tint. :) Good to see another little touch of your life. :) You were right when you said your pantry was different. I love it!

  3. It really is! Very similar in thought to our spice cupboard. I went to the store and got a bathroom vanity (cheaper than any kind of spice cupboard/rack you can find!) and put it up in our kitchen to hold our more commonly-used spices. You can't tell it's a vanity unless you really look, and it functions perfectly. Not quite the same, but similar line of thinking. :)

  4. I have one too...my father had a perfectly useable cabinet he had made with louver fronts...he had it in their bathroom and my mother wanted an upgrade. It fits vitamin bottles perfectly. And it's cute.

  5. Your agate charms are ginormous or is that just an illusion?? Love the magnets and the pantry! :)

  6. What a great way to use an old fridge. Here we pay an extra (little) amount of money when we buy a new one for the old one to be taken away and properly recycled, without damage to the environment.
    But I so like your idea!

    And I love the magnets! When you want to ... PM me your address and I send you a Dutch one!

  7. what a GOOD idea!!! Let me know too, and I'll send you a NY one!!!

  8. Kat, in South Africa, we were often looking for ways to use thing instead of tossing them. Here, Jurgis (hubby) makes things for me out of recycled timber scrounged from demolished houses. We get valuable (ie. expensive and often rare) timber that way for nothing. I love weathered timber! I'm a 'waste not want not' freak : ) I'm not a *huge* magnet fan, but I enjoy the ones I have. To me, each one needs to be a memory or something special. Glad you visited!

    Kippy, not smart. What do they say? "Necessity is the mother of invention." I love the idea of odd items of furniture being useful in strange places. Back home, we had a bathtub as a fish pond outside.

    Katey, they go from... hm... *measures* 10cm - the largest - down to 5cm - the smallest. There are 7 hanging on that chime set.

    Riete, I love that they dispose of them safely, but I'd rather see them refurbished and in use.

  9. I grew up that way. So it's second nature for me!

  10. My Mom always said "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without". I "caught" that bit of wisdom from her. It drives my hubby crazy, but he manages to deal with it. Your pantry make perfect sense to me!

  11. That is so smart and clever and wonderful! I am actually looking for something like that to live on my back porch to store all my big pots, pans, fryers, etc, that need a home and I have no room in this teeny, tiny kitchen of mine-- but I have a fridge! You are clever :-)
    I love the front best, you have seen pics of my fridge, the front is covered with pics, drawings, magnets made and given and purchased, all with special meanings and memories! I love that, naked fridges are odd to me! This is a lovely story!

  12. Reading what you have written it reminded me that sometimes something from one's childhood makes a lifetime impact and affects the way we live.

    For me it was a picture in my colouring book. A real gypsy caravan and a horse tethered nearby. Well that got my instant favourite picture vote. But included in the picture was the old gipsy woman sitting on the caravan steps preparing a meal and peeling the vegetable skins into a separate bowl. The caption underneath said: waste not,want not.

    Love your pantry.

  13. Very creative way to use a somewhat "worthless" item! We wouldn't need to use our creativity very much if everything was the way we wanted it, would we? Sure, I'd like to have everything just so, but I also enjoy fanagling around to make things work.

    Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your house!

  14. Love it! Everything is always useful in some way, what a great idea that pantry is. I love your magnets, we try to buy a magnet in each place we travel to, they're light weight, small and not banned from entering Australia!

  15. It's interesting that Brazilians don't have cupboards high up on their necessity list. With mildew, bugs...Ah well. I like your use of the fridge, and the light is the best part I think!! As for magnets; I have scrounged a bunch of magnets from doctors offices, etc, and just used rubber cement to put my own family pictures on them. My fridge is covered with pictures of the kids and I, as well as our cats. That's a bit of recycling, reusing too...

    PS I like the light in your kitchen, too my dear. Let's have a cuppa...!!!

  16. PS again....I adore the mindset of Jurgis. Not only is he happily sanding away in the background, but he's using that brilliant mind of his to remove the unnecessary parts of the old fridge...good man, good man, indeed!


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