Pickling: Thoughts on what to add

I'm a little obsessed with pickles and have always wondered about how I could make my own. The other day a colleague of mine discussed Making Barrel Pickles at LarkCrafts.com. This sparked some thoughts about what I would put in my first batch of pickles. I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas. My first thought was chili peppers and garlic...maybe curry? How many peppers is too many? I don't want to burn my mouth off! I admire the Spicy Pickles of McClure's. Advice on what to add and how much?

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