Category Archives: Art & Design

How I upgraded to junk-status

Junk-status – the word of the moment…or maybe it has been for the last few months.

As an ordinary South African, I have some idea of what it means for our country. In a nutshell, it means that we have been flushed down the credit drain by a plague of bad leadership decisions. And a reshuffle.

This news spread unwanted doom and gloom in an already unstable economy. Instead of wallowing over something I have no control over, in a strange way, this news immediately reminded me of my own downgrade I experienced about 10 years ago.

I was blacklisted and cast out of the credit system through a bad financial investment. This caused me and my family many years of financial trouble and sleepless nights. Inadvertently, our lives changed forever. For many years it was a struggle to survive…we literally lived from hand-to-mouth.

About 6 years ago, I started building furniture for my own home, out of necessity. Guess what I used to build it with? RUBBISH…JUNK!

The strangest thing happened – out of lack and with some creativity, I started my business, Lilly Loompa.

I decided to use the resources I had and started building beautiful, useful pieces that made my home better. It made me feel better about my situation. These pieces made out of junk, was the manifestation of the mess I found myself in.

Unknowingly, I UPGRADED to junk-status, and I loved it! This is what this experience has taught me:

  1. Use what you have! I am a firm believer of this and it has become one of my life-values. When you have nothing in your grocery cupboards, start growing a food garden! Live off the earth!

Made with junk! Tin can lamp by Lilly Loompa

  1. Stay positive – It is so easy to become downcast and depressed when you find yourself in an unwanted situation. Read motivational books and autobiographies of people that inspire you. Exercise more and eat healthier.

 

  1. Downgrade your lifestyle – Do not even attempt to keep up with the Jones’. Learn to live with less. Sell your fancy home, and buy a more affordable one. Eat less at restaurants, and have more picnics.

 

  1. Live simpler – Get rid of complications in your life. Try to break away from the rat race by going to the park after work. Why not try to cook outdoors tonight? Instead of being cooped up inside the house?

 

  1. Be creative – Creativity grows more, through adversity. I have said this before and I still believe it now more than ever. Being strapped for cash should be an opportunity to start multiple income streams. Make a list of your skills and investigate and pursue income opportunities in those industries.

 

  1. Be content in the situation – Be happy. Laugh more in spite of what your reality says. See the lighter side in every situation…a good laughter session can cure the saddest heart.

 

  1. Don’t let depression rob you – I remember clearly many days I just wanted to get under the covers and stay there. I wanted to wallow and sulk. I felt like I was entitled to be depressed. Surround yourself with positive people that will decline an invite to your pity party.

Made with junk! Block lamp by Lilly Loompa

 

  1. Rags to riches – believe it can happen to you. Believe the unthinkable. Believe that through hard work and commitment, you story can change. Also know that your success story can free someone else from their prison!

 

“If people throw stones at you, pick ‘em up and build something.”

Lecrae

In my case, I have adapted it to read:

 

“If life throw stones at you, pick ‘em up and build something.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

My dream living room is a quirky one

I never thought of myself as quirky, but as I have grown as a Designer, I find myself more and more drawn to the unusual.

General Geography Lamp

One of my designs – a desk lamp made out of a used book-end (Lilly Loompa)

So much so, that I am trying to break away from the traditional in so many areas of my life. Some may think I am a rebel, but maybe I just don’t like the conventional. Conventional is boring!

My most recent stint to fuel my hunger for the off-beat, is my home. My family and I live in a shipping container, called “House Madeline“.

It is far from complete, but it is a labour of love. We have been living in this home for close to 2 years and have recently shipped it to our home province, the Western Cape, where we live in it now.

As mentioned, it is far from complete. We have big plans to make it a comfortable, yet stylish home with personality! (maybe my personality…don’t tell my husband!)

Another design inspired by the environment I find myself in…Jozi Art (Lilly Loompa)

I want our house to reflect our true style and personality. I want it to be filled with items that make me happy and pieces that tell a story…just like my furniture pieces. So I have some ideas of what our living room should look like:

Crushing on Marissa Tomei’s apartment

I love Marissa Tomei’s style (not to mention that she is my hubby’s TV crush!). I really like the animal-skin tripod chair and the lamp, they add a uniqueness to her apartment.

I love retro furniture, especially this couch!

Again, above the natural elements speak to me! The nguni skin rug and the leather couch make the space feel warm and inviting.

The artwork is unique but unified by framing it all in black

Light and airy spaces are essential for me.

Patterns, texture and plants are also non-negotiable!

I have recently seen a beautiful couch on Arhaus. I have decided to build a mood board around it:

Neutral colours for the base furnishings

 

Continuation with neutral colours and pops of turquiose

Colourful accents

Obviously these are ideas of what I would want to see in our living room. As a Eco-Designer, I have to stay true to my values and principles by re-using and buying green products. But I will use this as my guide for inspiration.

Have you designed your dream space? Are you living in it right now? Would love to hear from you! 🙂

Sources: Lilly Loompa, Arhaus, Nkuli Mlangeni, Marisa Tomei 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY: Rubik’s cube inspired art

Rubik’s Cube is a 3-D combination puzzle invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik. Wikipedia

In 2005, whilst living in Kuilsriver, Cape Town, I did a course in art. In fact it was a course geared for kids after school! Here I was, a 27-year old learning to paint with 7 and 8 years old! It was so much fun!

The fact that I do not have any formal training in art used to intimidate me…but in that year I let go of my insecurities and just painted!

The piece below I made later in 2005 and it managed to survive all our moves from house to house. I realised when I found it in a box earlier this year, that it reminded me a whole lot of a Rubik’s cube.

Art rubik's cube1

You can see the date in my signature! 10 years ago!

Art rubik's cube2

Same colours and shapes

Rubik's cube

Right at home on the wall in our new container home

I love painting! As a creative, it is one of the avenues I use to express myself. It makes me happy! While I am no Pablo Picasso I love surrounding myself with art that I love and that holds sentimental value.

071192af45d40a36d57fd1e46ae06e47

Grab a paintbrush and make yourself happy!

Tagged , , ,

House Madeline – a concept house

Concept:~ {An abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances}

It is finally happening. At long last we are going to build our dream home! At times it seemed like our dream was just going to stay that…a whiff…a dream. But even when all the odds were against us, we managed to persevere and push through.

Our fascination with this build started 5 years ago. Read about it here and here.  We fell in love with a tin can…a shipping container…and knew this was part of God’s plan in sending us to Johannesburg. Container housing was still a fairly new concept in South Africa in 2010, although in certain countries it was already rife and accepted.  The whole concept of debt-free and off-the-grid living immediately struck a cord with us.

Earlier this year we secured a piece of land in Florida, Johannesburg, and if all goes according to plan…our first 2 containers will be delivered next week! I wish you can understand how excited and thrilled we really are.

The land in Florida

The land in Florida

At long last we can build a concept home that could be a solution to our country’s dire housing problem. Have you spared a thought to the destitute and homeless lately? I haven’t lived on the streets thus I cannot fully comprehend how bad it must be.

We are humbled. We feel blessed and grateful that God chose us for this work. Everyone has a work to do. Each one of us must fulfill our God-given purpose. I cannot wait to finally start on mine!

I have started a new blog for this specific purpose. It is new…I should upload a few pics shortly.

www.housemadeline.wordpress.com

Be sure to follow us!

Signature

Tagged , , , , , ,

DIY: Bed-side table that will turn heads

Many retail shops revamp at least once a year. They regularly throw out very usable items that can serve as storage solutions or furniture pieces. A few months ago, one of our leading pharmaceutical chain-stores got rid of some of their old shop fittings. I got quite a few things, but the two aluminium table frames were my favourite. I also got some supa-wood off-cuts at a local carpenter recently. With it, I made a very cool dual purpose table. It is a side table that can serve as a bed-side table with a lamp fixture.

Bedside table

I love the slats in the supawood

 

Here is how to do it.

What you need:

Aluminium table base

Wood off-cuts

MDF backing

Lamp holder kit (with wall plug)

Round energy-saver light bulb

Drill and hole- saw

Screws

Start off by cutting the off-cuts to size, to fit on the table base. Also use the MDF board and cut to size. This will serve as the back support board. Use screws to secure the off-cuts to the back board.  Also secure the whole wood unit to the table base with screws. Using the hole-saw, cut a hole in the corner for the light fitting to rest in. Make sure it fits snugly. Assemble the lamp and light fitting kit. Fit the bulb, plug it in and switch on!

 

DSC08031

Perfect table for reading

It has been featured in the Jan/Feb issue of Green Home Magazine, on the shelves now. Once again proof that recycling does not mean you have to compromise on design. I am really proud of this one…it is functional and beautiful at the same time.

Till next time!

Signature

 

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

DIY desk lamp: Looks like a Pixar character

Deciding to live green does not mean you have to compromise on design. In actual fact, recycling discarded goods, gives you the ability to revamp and possibly improve on an existing design, without spending a fortune.

Reading increases knowledge. Thus visiting the library is always beneficial. It is a Mecca of knowledge and is a great place to unwind and get lost in a good book! My daughter’s school re-organised their library recently. They threw out the old bookends and I could not resist! They represent the rich history of the school and I like the worn look of the yellow paint coming off. I decided to repurpose the block into a desk lamp. It almost looks like a character from the Pixar movies and I like the contrast of the contemporary steel against the old, worn wood.

What you’ll need:

Wood block (size in relation to the lamp-base)

Lamp base (I used a stainless steel base)

Drill and hole- saw

Lamp holder kit (with wall plug)

Energy-saver light bulb

Screws

Discarded book-ends

Discarded book-ends

Pixar light 3

Reminds me of a Pixar character

Doesn't it?

Doesn’t it?

Pixar light 2

Start off by cutting a big hole in the wood block using a hole- saw. Once you are done, change the size of hole-saw to a smaller size to accommodate the light fitting. Flip the block so it stands as a rectangle. Drill a hole on the inside and centre of the big circle you made earlier. This hole is for the light fitting to rest in. Once again, flip the block to the other end. Use a normal drill bit and make a hole for the electric wire to fit through. When done, pilot the electric wire through the hole and connect the light fitting. Test if the connection works. Connect the block to the metal lamp base and flick the switch!

I love it! Till next time!

903f609d82a514f19d4773da4c7c87ff1

Tagged , , , , , ,

Thrift stores and surprises

I love Kensington!  *It’s my neighbourhood.

Yesterday I had some time to wander and explore.  Kensington is filled with interesting history and places.  One of them is Queen Street.  It is lined with loads of coffee shops, thrift-shops etc.

kensington_top

I love rummaging through antique shops.  I love looking at items of years gone by…and even better when I can buy them!

DSC04774

Where to look?

DSC04772

Love these art deco light fixtures

My photographer friend, Michael Abrahams would love this antique camera collection.

DSC04775

Vintage camera collection

And to my surprise…I found a vintage tea set!  Just like mine!  Wow…was shocked to see the price!

DSC04770

Growing up, I used to admire this tea set my granny had.  She kept it locked up in her sideboard. Remember those sideboards?

sideboard retro 1

Sideboard

She knew I loved it, so on my wedding day…she gave it to me!  God willing, my granny, Ryce Damonse, will turn 100 years this year!  I love her!  Thanks Mamma!

I love my tea cups.  I’ve lost a few during my moving years.  😦

DSC04622

I love putting it out when I receive special guests…like my girlfriends.

DSC04685

Me (on the left) and some of my girlfriends…

Good times…and I will guard my tea cups and save it for my daughters to enjoy one day!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unfocused

Unfocused ~ {(of an image) not being in or brought into focus} ; {Not concentrated at one point or upon one objective}

About 2 weeks ago I was privileged to do an urban hike through Jozi CBD.  Wow…I promise I haven’t had time to edit my 400+ photo’s of this amazing day! I promise to write about it!  Below are some pics I took that are accidentally out of focus.

This one below is my favourite. I took it early morning before the hike started while we drove into the city.  I love how the layers of window, the camera, the building and graffiti create a textured effect.

Unfocused layering

This one was taken at the Johannesburg Art Gallery.  It is a artwork of prayers made of suspended felt animals.

Unfocused felt prayers

Hotel lobby

This one was taken at the 12 Decades Hotel, in the Maboneng Precinct, in JHB East.

Tagged , , , ,

Let there be light!

Genesis 1:3 “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

A few months ago I saw a very cool lampshade on Young House Love and I had to try it and make my own version.

Young House Love peg light

Material needed:

Wire basket or lampshade frame

Pegs ( I used about 144 pegs)

Spray paint

  • Grab a wire frame and shape it like a drum

My friend Edwellan helped me

  • Finish the frame with spray-paint
  • Once dry, start hanging the pegs on the frame
  • Please note that this fixture is quite heavy
  • Once done…hang (or stand) and enjoy!!
Tagged , ,

Going back to yesteryear…

Although I would consider myself a contemporary designer, I do appreciate design of yesteryear. Two of the projects I am currently busy with are in fairly old houses.

We are currently refurbishing the kitchen of this house of 114 years and in a leafy suburb in Jozi. But what really impressed me was this:

Ornate design and ceiling rose

Original pressed tin ceilings are suddenly surfacing again. The trend is to try and preserve the old…I love it.

Historically, tin ceilings were introduced to North America as an affordable alternative to the exquisite plasterwork used in European homes. They gained popularity in the late 1800’s as Americans sought sophisticated interior design. Durable, lightweight and fireproof, tin ceilings were appealing to home and business owners alike as a functionally attractive design element that was readily available.

It was during the Victorian era (1839–1901) that thin rolled tin-plate was being mass-produced. Between 1890 and 1930, approximately forty-five companies in the United States marketed metal ceilings; most were in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, located along railroad lines that served as the main routes for delivering the pressed metal products directly to contractors. Sheets of tin were stamped one at a time using rope drop hammers and cast iron molds. Using this method of production, metal was sandwiched between two interlocking tools.

In the 1930s, tin ceilings began to lose their popularity and ceilings as a design element were ignored. In the 21st century, some renewed interest has been shown in tin ceilings. ~ Wikipedia

Different design

The other house is in Roodepoort and is about 45 years old. (Sorry don’t have pic).We will be refurbishing the kitchen and dining room into an open plan area.  The ceiling height in the two areas are at different heights. The dilemma is whether to keep the tin ceilings or rip them out.  I have suggested we try and replicate it with the polystyrene versions to help keep the character of the house.  The client has yet to decide.  Two guesses what I want?

Tagged , , ,

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hidden

Table Mountain playing hide and seek

I love taking pictures from the passenger seat when Ashley is driving.  It is spontaneous and surprising!

I have been visiting my home province for 2 weeks now and I got to visit Cape Town this past Monday.   A familiar sight as the cloud covers our beloved Table mountain.  And sometimes for a moment this majestic mass of land is hidden.

Please remember to vote for Table Mountain to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

More great news!  Cape Town has been named World Design Capital for the year 2014, ahead of fellow short-listed cities, Dublin and Bilbao.  I am so proud of our City.  Also nice to see how clean it still is compared to other cities around the country! Although I stay in Jozi I will keep close tabs on the progress and happenings.  Exciting times!

Tagged , , , ,

We are the world

I always find it interesting when travelling to see how our cities’ architecture have been shaped by European influence.

Residential flats, Barcelona - Spain

Old building, Joburg - South Africa

Big Ben, London - UK (photo Alan Hutchison)

City Hall, Cape Town - South Africa

Acropolis, Athens - Greece

Monte Casino, Joburg - South Africa

Ironically, I am struggling to “find” our style.  I mean South African style.  Our cities and towns are crowded with Tuscan Villa’s that don’t reflect our uniqueness at all.  If you think you found a house or building that encompass our style, please take a picture and send it to me!

Tagged , , , , ,

This was our day…

Today is June, 16th, a significant day in our history as a country.  You can read the full history right here.

We went to see the production, Alice in Wonderland, at the People’s Theatre at Johannesburg Theatre. This was really exciting as this would be the girls’ debut to theatre.

Show is about to start!

The guys and girls after the show

Our dear actor-friend, Solomon Cupido (on the left), is part of the cast.  Soon you would be able to see him in the new movie, “Ek joke net.”  which opens on 24 June at Nu Metro Cinema’s nationwide.  Check it out!

So after the show we decided to get together and have a braai since we were in the holiday spirit.  Solomon’s family were also visiting from Paarl, so before the braai we decided to take a whirl-wind tour of Soweto like we always do.

Wow…what a day it turned out to be?  We didn’t realise it would be such a brilliant day. We started out in Freedom Square in Kliptown, moved over to Regina Mundi church, then to Hector Pietersen Museum.  All these places were packed with people attending commemoration events…it was emotional and humbling.  Here follows our day in a photo story:

Jozi on the move (pic taken while driving in the car)

The Walter Sisulu Square (Freedom Charter)

Sundial in Freedom Tower

Freedom Charter

Eternal Flame (sadly not in working order)

Regina Mundi Church

Impressive interior of the church

Stained glass windows

Statue of Jesus in foyer

The story of Soweto

Hector Pietersen Museum

Struggle

Freedom

Democracy

Sjoe, I am still reeling.  It is so humbling to think and remember all our heroes of the past. I thank you…I thank you for your suffering and sacrifice.  Actually my words don’t do you justice.  Let me just keep quiet and remember you.

Tagged , , , , ,

MONTE, SAMA, HOO-HAH

I took this picture of the Acropolis when we visited Athens in 2005.

Athens - Acropolis at night

Monte Casino at night

The above picture might as well be one of an ancient city…but it is just around the corner at Monte Casino.

The South African Music Awards happens this coming weekend at Monte and I am honoured to be a part of it.  Even if I play a small part…it is really exciting.

The South African Music Awards (SAMAs) are an annual award ceremony, run by the Recording Industry of South Africa (RiSA), where accolades are presented to members of South Africa‘s music industry. Winners receive a statuette is called a SAMA. The event was established in 1995. The ceremony is held in April or May every year and contenders are judged on performances made in the previous year. For the first time in ten years, the the show will be held at a venue other than the Super Bowl in Sun City.  It will be held at Monte Casino and will be broadcast on SABC1. The ceremony features live performances by some of the nominees. The SAMAs are the South African equivalent of the American Grammy Awards.

SAMA Dome interior

Check out the impressive dome that will house this magnificent event.  It is 3300 sqm big, and can seat 4216 people.

I am thrilled and nervous at the same time.  This is a career highlight and I am really looking forward to the event.

Will keep you updated!

Tagged , ,
%d bloggers like this: