All that we can’t leave behind

6 Apr

I have a weakness for containers: bags, pots, tupperware, terra-cotta, more bags, tiny boxes, funny cups, endless coffee mugs, teapots…  It’s dangerous. Combine this predilection with the amazing deliciousness of La Fermiere yogurt and you end up with this:


A veritable wall of terra-cotta yogurt pots.  What can I do with them all?  They’re too cute to throw away or put with the recycling.  They cry out for a purpose.  I’ve used them for pen holders, cutlery settings at the table, candle holders, ashtrays for visitors who smoke (who are relegated to the driveway with their little ash pots), snack holders for cut veggies or dips … but, mostly, I use them as ballast in the belly of my cabinets and worry that I will eventually be sunk.IMG_5029

But … but … they are SO PERFECT.  Internet investigation has revealed that I am not alone in this possibly diagnostically significant eccentric collection.  People all over the world gather up these pots and then wonder what the freak they are going to do with them.  Some people sell them on etsy. Some people use them in giveaways.  Some people do fabulous crafty things on pinterest.  Most are a bit like me, slowly drowning in terra-cotta cuteness and not sure of a way out.IMG_5040I love them, you see.  Surely life can be solved, if only one has enough pots to apply to the problems at hand.  Sort everything into tiny, perfectly rounded clay shapes in various fashionable colors and — viola — everything clean and tidy.

Maybe I should keep them in a massive stack by the front door, and ask friends to ‘take a pot, leave a pot’ as they come and go.  Anyone need a paperclip holder?



26 Responses to “All that we can’t leave behind”

  1. Sergio Caltagirone April 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    Where do you get this amazing product?

    • Monique April 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      My source is Whole Foods! For some reason not with the milk/rest of the yogurts, but set out with the breakfast-to-go section of the prepared foods. Mmmmmmmmm.

  2. Zazzy April 6, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    Oh dear. My mom couldn’t even throw away plastic yogurt containers seeing how they might be useful for something. But those are charming! I have a collection of glassware roughly the size of highball glasses because the candles I enjoyed for a while came in them – but not nearly the number I would have with those yogurt containers. A pity that it would cost so much to ship them, I’d take a few off your hands.

    If you plant in larger pots, you always need pottery shards or rocks to put in the bottom of the pot. So you could break some of them up for that purpose.

    • Monique April 7, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

      That’s a great idea! Although after cleaning and saving them, I might feel bad to break them — then again, it might be very satisfying to smash open some free space in the cupboards and finally put them to good use.

  3. Rebecca Forbes April 7, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    Oh, Monique, we could build a little house with them. Cordwood houses use bottles in the walls as colour accents, but little pots could be set at the ends of the wood inside with mortar to add the colour. we could make little trays to fit 3,4,5 of them and make little herb gardens. terra cotta is easy to drill with masonry bit. stacked and glued together to make mini fountains, small circulating pumps are easy, too. set into archways between rooms. mini ollas for houseplants. 3 little holes and some macrame for hanging mini pots, drill more holes and they are little garden candles. oh, i would be in repurposing heaven with those little pots! here is a link for cordwood houses.

    • Monique April 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      Gasp! You are a terrible wonderful enabler! Make a mini fountain?? Macrame for hanging mini pots? Build a hobbit house??! All things it sounds like I should do, but never ever in my life will! Maybe little herb gardens. Maybe small plantings to give away as presents? Gah, I should go get some more yogurt while I think this over…

  4. thebookgator April 8, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    Me too! I have two of these. I also have the “container weakness” particularly small and cute boxes that you can store almost nothing in, except perhaps a pair of earrings.

  5. Aubrey Price Pettyjohn April 10, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    My embarrassingly large La Fermiere collection (yet, ahem, not as large as yours…) is on top of my refrigerator. What is it about those precious little pots?! I’m not usually a hoarder, so why can’t I get rid of these things?!

    • Monique April 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm #

      If your collection is embarrassing, then I don’t want to think what mine must be. They are just too useful to toss. You can cook in them! Not that you ever will, but you could! Who can toss out a perfectly good cooking vessel?

  6. Helenm April 22, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    I have hundreds of these too – came across this having googled what to do with my empty pots! I’m so glad I’m not alone!

    They are great to take camping for white wine as the terracotta keeps the wine cool much better than glass. But that and a few rice puddings and chocolate mousses and I’m all out of ideas.

    Will have to try Pinterest and see if I could manage something craft like!

    • Monique April 22, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      I love the idea of glasses for camping or picnics! Much sturdier than glass, and if one does breaks, eh, I obviously have replacements. 😉 Thanks for commenting!

    • Susan Sarran April 18, 2018 at 10:21 am #

      Where are you located. I could take 40 off your hands!

      • Monique April 18, 2018 at 7:10 pm #

        Ah, this was several years ago (and several thousand miles ago as well). They’ve all been reused, rehomed, or recycled!

  7. Anonymous May 19, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    I ended up making a whole bunch of citronella candles in my collection and have them dotted round the garden for bug repelling and again, no worries if one gets broken!

    • Monique May 20, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

      What a useful (and fragrant) idea. Thanks!

  8. Rebecca G August 26, 2013 at 3:12 am #

    I’d be happy to purchase a dozen from you! No french yogurt in Kansas City. 😦

  9. Archiryan December 25, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    I have about 80 of these pots. I decided to start collecting them so that I could have a dessert party at my place. I even convinced my work colleagues to buy the yoghurt so that I could get the pots. Planned work. Only problem is that I had to start hiding the pots at home as my girlfriend was getting annoyed finding stashes of la fermiere pots everywhere. Anyway. I really need to have that dessert party.

    I love these pots. ;-).

    • Monique January 7, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

      It’s bad when you have to hide them. 😉 I like the idea of a dessert party! We’ve been using them for toothbrush holders, lately. And I’ve discovered where to recycle them, but that’s a story for another post …

  10. Michelle Edwards June 29, 2014 at 7:54 am #

    I use these little pots for storing cotton buds and making petit pots de creme. I would be very happy to buy some from you to help empty your cupboard! My sister is visiting Paris this week and I asked her to bring some home to Australia for me but the version available at the moment is the horoscope, I’m not so interested in those. Let me know

    • Monique June 30, 2014 at 9:32 am #

      More good ideas for re-use! Lately I’ve been using them as cups for outdoor picnics. We don’t mind if they get chipped or broken. I think shipping to Australia would be a bit beyond my ability — they are very heavy! I don’t remember if I have updated the blog on this critical issue, but we have found they can be recycled with brick, tile and plaster at the county recycling centre.

  11. hayley kleinknecht January 8, 2015 at 9:01 pm #

    Hi would LOVE to buy some pots from someone! I have a few from a recent trip to Paris but would LOVE a few more. I can’t buy them here. I am in the USA. Let me know if you are interested in selling a few!! thanks!

    • Monique January 10, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

      Hi Hayley! I love that this post keeps popping up years later. I’ve since found ways to use or recycle almost my whole “collection”.

  12. blakemaree May 1, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    Can you please sell me some, or possibly through eBay? I live in Australia…

    • Monique May 1, 2015 at 5:56 pm #

      Hi! This post is a couple years old, now … my stash has been almost fully re-homed and recycled, the mere dozen I still have are well used at home! And I don’t live anywhere where I can buy new ones. (Sob!)

  13. Karol Ross August 16, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

    According to the ceramic maker on, they are both resistant to freezing and to hear in an oven up to 350 F. That means you can make individual frozen desserts days before you have guests and freeze them in the beautiful La Fermiere pots. You can add a little whipped cream and a few currents to the top and voila! Or you could bake a custard and set aside until the guests are finished with their dinner, then serve individual custard cups. Or you could fill with onion soup, pot a piece of double toasted bread on top and a hand-full of cheese, pop under the broiler for 5 minutes, and individual French onion soup! There are so many uses for these cups, it is phenomenal.

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