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Our story of hope: Waste to wonder

Hi, I’m Lizl and I’m a recovering nomad.

This wandering lifestyle, although interesting, wasn’t necessarily by choice. Up until today, as a couple, we’ve moved over 42 times. In 2002, at the age of 24, Ashley and I tied the knot and started our lives together. I still smile when I think about our naivety and the level of optimism we had when we took on the world!

We both worked in corporate, but our passion and purpose have always been connected to communities and people. After all, our love story began at the age of 21 at a community centre in Paarl, where we first met.

Five months into our marriage, I had an unfortunate freak accident at our duplex flat, when I fell off the stairs and nearly broke my back. I can still hear the doctor’s words ringing in my ears; ‘If your body swung a little to the left or to the right, you could have been paralyzed!’ His words haunted me for weeks while I recovered at home. Turned out I only broke the 2 wings off my lower vertebrae.

But locking up a creative for 8 weeks in a bed is not a good idea! I was bored out of my socks! Ashley went to work daily and I was stuck in bed! After about 3 weeks I really felt well enough to drive, against the doctor’s initial orders not to! I carefully got in my car and slowly drove to the closest bead shop! I was desperate to get out! ūüėä

To cut a long story short, making jewellery in bed was a lifesaver. It gave me so much pleasure and when I returned to the office most of my colleagues were interested. After careful consideration and consulting with Ashley, I decided to quit my job, to pursue the jewellery business fulltime.

So in 2004, Lilly Loompa Jewellery was born. It took me some time to settle on a name for the business, but I knew it had to have longevity and substance. When I was a child, Lilly was my nickname and Loompa comes from my favourite children’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. ūüėä

Some of the custom jewellery I used to make

Fast forward to 2010. By this time I have qualified as an Interior Decorator and Lilly Loompa Jewellery is no longer. Our family has grown with two girls added, Chelsea and Kirsten. In blind faith we decided to move to Jozi after a series of failed business transactions and investments. I start a blog to chronicle our moves and adventures so our family back home can stay in the loop. Because we never have any budget for decorating, I’m always rummaging for treasures to upcycle as furniture. I post these DIY stints on my blog and occasionally submit them as articles to a few magazines.

One of my favourite memories of our time in Johannesburg. We used to hike through the city on weekends

Another few unfortunate events happen over the next few years, which culminates to us losing everything over 4 times. Illegal evictions, robberies and our car stolen, among a few. During these desperate times of homelessness and being uprooted, I cling on to my passion of making a home and doing it with NOTHING. We are barely making it with no income and no budget, only by the grace of God. He dispatched so many angels, too many to mention. Not forgetting our parents and family who supported us so faithfully and still continues today.

I remember one specific day in 2014 when I fell to my knees and cried out, ‘LORD, please just give me an idea!’ Being the humorous God He is, He showed me waste! So Lilly Loompa was resurrected again, this time as an upcycling business.

Moving back home

In 2016, our season in Jozi came to an end and we moved back to Paarl! Since then, we’ve been rebuilding our lives and God has slowly, but faithfully, been restoring our lives.

Lilly Loompa is part of my life story. Ashley always says she our eldest daughter. ūüėāShe is strong, creative and passionate. Above all, she is tenacious and determined to showcase the possibilities that can be found in waste.

Waste is an unearthed mountain of possibilities!

Lilly Loompa manufactures a variety of products, from storage holders, lamps, to dinner table accessories, among others. Our homeware is created through a process of hipcycling, which is essentially upcycling discarded waste and transforming it into desirable products that would complement your home. Eco-friendly, handcrafted and 100% South African, each Lilly Loompa piece, once trash, is now a meaningful piece of treasure.

My lockdown story: The history of the My Africa Range

In the midst of a global pandemic, and SA’s first lockdown in history, an idea was born.

Allow me to share my story of HOPE with you.

In May 2020, during lockdown, my family and I took a walk around the small holding where we live. I noticed a discarded piece of wood and picked it up. It was a little heavy, so I put it aside and asked my hubby to collect it with the car when he passed there again. It took him a good few weeks to eventually remember! 

Discarded plywood

He finally brought it home and having a slight obsession with the shape of the African continent, I immediately knew what it was going to be ‚Äď an artwork in the shape of Africa. I didn‚Äôt know how to do it, but my gift kicked in, and God gave me the insight on how to do it with the limited tools I had. What makes this even more unique is that I drew the Africa shape by hand, so not every nook and cranny is accurate. But that makes it even more special.

I cut out the shape of the African Continent

As some of you might know my nature, I couldn’t waste the negative of the cut out, and I took it a step further. I cut a border around the negative and it became a frame. Then I sort of parked this project for a few days.

I cut a frame with the remaining piece of wood

Oblivious to the response I would get, I posted a picture of me holding the frame on AFRICA DAY!

Posing for a picture on Africa Day!

Surprisingly, I was inundated with people requesting the product. I was quite unprepared for the response and just politely informed them that I would consider it and let them know if I decide to start producing it someday! ūüėä

Unaware to the growing interest, a few months passed when I received another few inquiries. I seriously started to consider the Africa Frame as a product to my range. I consulted with my creative team (me, myself and I lol!) and I contacted all the clients who showed interest, and they were still serious about wanting it! So, the journey of the My Africa range was born.

First orders

I contracted the manufacturing to a local environmentally conscious manufacturing studio with a creative approach to industrial design, interiors and architecture. They get timber from demolition yards or building sites under renovation. All of their timber off-cuts go to people who can use it for firewood or building and fixing their homes.

Lizl with frame
In client’s home
In client’s office space
Trio family of frames in client’s home

Then, when I thought it couldn‚Äôt get any better, God gave me another brilliant idea! The “My Africa Lap Desk‚ÄĚ, which is totally original and exclusive to Lilly Loompa! The only one of its kind in the world! WOW! I am so humbled by God and the work He is doing in our lives. I am not telling you this story to brag, but to testify of the goodness of God!

Lizl with desk
Multi-functional item
The main function of the desk is a remote working tool

Am I allowed to choose a favourite? It is definitely the My Africa Lap Desk!

Remember, as entrepreneurs, my husband and I was also hard-hit because of the lockdown so we didn’t have any income. So what started out as a personal DIY décor project for my home, is now a range product added to my range, and has allowed my business to explore new markets and possibilities!

Don’t brush off your God-given talent and gifts. Learn to unearth what He has placed inside of you! Try and listen to His nudges, and you will surprise yourself with your own capabilities! Are these products perfect and complete? Nope, but instead of waiting for the perfect design and favourable circumstances, I have stepped out in faith and allowed God to do a work through my hands. May God bless you on your journey, don’t be afraid, take that first step! The world is waiting to be awed by your gift!

What we got up to in 2021

Being natural optimists, we tackled 2021 with vigour and passion! And, we are happy to say, our efforts paid off!
Allow us to share a few highlights with you! 

In March we were one of four ladies to receive the very first SiAWECCA award!

Working with waste can be a dirty job (excuse the pun!), but it is all worth it when we can play a part in reducing climate change!
As part of our prize, we were awarded a small grant, a website upgrade, a corporate video as well as a 6-month incubator. Excitement grew as in May we travelled (for the first time in a long time lol) to Pretoria for our first in-person workshop! 

Last month we opened our first ever showroom!

Lizl in the showroom space

Mail & Guardian 2021 Greening the Future Winner!

We are truly honoured to have been recognised as a Mail & Guardian 2021 Greening the Future Winner in November!

Being recognised gives credibility to our cause of “Cleaning SA through innovative upcycling!”

Work with us in 2022!

We have a goal to clean our neighbourhoods, and ultimately South Africa, through innovative upcycling! But we need your help!

  • Consider supporting our cause by purchasing our goods as gifts for your friends and family!
  • Share our content on your social media platforms
  • If you have purchased from us, consider leaving us a review on social media! This creates awareness of our products and services 
  • Corporates – support local! Talk to us regarding your corporate gifting needs!

Thanks again for your wonderful support! 

Proposed container home floor plan

House Madeline


Ashley drew up this plan in January this year. So far we are right on track with following through. The plan illustrates how the home will consist of 4 shipping containers on the bottom floor. We have plans to build another floor…but that is only later.

I have highlighted in green the section that is completed.

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Going home…

I love going home. I love the familiarity of the breath-taking surroundings…and believe me, it is truly beautiful!

My mother must be the most excited of all about us coming home. She eagerly anticipates it, weeks before. She will send me weekly messages to announce her excitement.  Then, as the weeks go by…it becomes daily.  I love getting these messages.

We usually drive…it is a 14-hour trip.  Then, when we finally reach the Boland Mountain Complex, we already feel at home. We slowly meander through the pass and as we emerge from the Huguenot tunnel, the longest road tunnel in the country, we reach our beloved Paarl.  We breathe relief and a sense of peace as we make our way home.

Huguenot tunnel

We pass rows of colourful blocks of flats of a nearby suburb called Amstelhof. This suburb in turn houses smaller districts with strikingly foreign names like: New York, Dallas, Las Vegas, etc. Maybe named so as a reminder of the locals and their dreams of travelling and a better life.  As we drive we marvel at how much we missed our beloved mountains and valley.


The girls literally start jumping up and down in the backseat and you can touch the surge of hullabaloo in the air. We enter the street where my parents live and see familiar faces; some people are working in the garden and others sitting on the stoep (porch). We notice some neighbours have painted their houses and some neglected them. We try and make a subtle noise by hooting as to not disturb the late sleepers. In a flash my Mom appears and rushes to meet us by the car. The sheer expression of joy on her face is priceless. She squeals with delight that all her chicks are back in her nest. This must be one of the most beautiful and emotional encounters of my life. We exchange hugs and kisses and shed some tears of joy. It feels great to be home.

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My new fad: Shadows

Shadows: {Shade within clear boundaries}

Are they not beautiful? They are like artworks.  The only reason we can see them is because the sun moves across an object and it casts a shadow.  Take in mind that we generally associate shadows with darkness and evil. But they also remind us of the past and that does not mean it is all bad.  Take some time out today and reflect on the good and blessings.  We need to the past to review life lessons and improve on who we are today! Do you have beautiful shadows in your life?

























Wimbledon in Jozi (A world in Jozi)

@ I was driving around again.

Around Jozi you can experience all kinds of sights. As mentioned before…I am intrigued by ¬†the different styles of architecture. ¬†We as a city have been influenced by cultures all over the world.

I have heard someone mention once that Joburg is a melting pot of cultures.  I agree.

I saw this colonial-style house for the first time a few years ago as we renovated for a client just opposite the street.  It immediately transported me to Wimbledon 2005.  Hubby and I backpacked through Europe and found ourselves meandering through the leafy streets of the village of Wimbledon.  It was inspiring and surreal.

This home immediately transports me to that memory:

Photo 2014-03-10, 1 55 52 PM


I love the well-kept grounds and garden.

Wonder what treasure I will find next!

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DIY: How to make a funky table!

As mentioned before, we moved into a new house a few months ago. We entertain a lot so our dining room was in need of a seriously funky table.

I had a vision of a puzzle and immediately knew I wanted to have that kind of effect.

I have to apologize ahead of time, I have no pictures of the process as I had my laptop upgraded and accidently wiped those! Lesson? Save, back-up and back-up!

So here it is!



I used free supawood off-cuts from my Wood supplier. I also bought miss tints from my local paint store. Once primed and painted, I used super-strong glue to mend the pieces and clamped it together overnight. I updated my old table by giving it a lick of paint and lay the new top on top!

And voila! Another cheap masterpiece! Go on and try it! It is a real conversation piece!


Another gorgeous kitchen complete!

I am very proud to say we’ve just finished another gorgeous kitchen! ¬†Well that is what I thought!

Just when I thought we were done, we found out we made a real big (but honest) mistake.  Let me give you some perspective on what happened.

These pics are of the kitchen before:

I am showing you these pics to illustrate the problem at hand.  The one above specifically shows the washing machine and dishwasher under the sink.  We kept the height of the new top the same as above, which now poses a problem.

We just assumed the new kitchen will work the same. Turns out the appliances don’t fit under the new top. #deep sigh!

So let me show you this stunning kitchen as it is now: (I absolutely love it!)

Honest and expensive mistake…I suppose that is how I learn. ¬†We discussed all the options with the client and thankfully she has been very understanding. ¬†So after the weekend we will tackle the issue. ¬†The granite will be lifted, and the cupboards raised.

Will keep you updated!

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Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited ‚Äď #1 Rome, Italy

I was fortunate enough to visit Rome in 2005. I found this article of Lesley Carter very interesting…

Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited ‚Äď #3 New York, United States of America

I love Lesley Carter’s travel journals, she is one serious¬†traveler! ¬†When I grow up I want visit NY!

Being on live TV was the most nervous I’ve ever been…

Lilly Loompa appeared on TV yesterday. ¬†I was humbled to be interviewed on etv’s Sunrise Breakfast Show..

First of all let me pay my respects…it is no joke doing live¬†TV. ¬†I take off my hat to Sindi Mabe & Stacey Holland, anchors of the breakfast show. ¬†They get up before the crack of dawn every day, drive to the studio, get powdered and styled (not that they need any beautification…they are both gorgeous!) and give us the latest scoop on current affairs, news etc. ¬† Well done girls…I loved meeting you!

It was really exciting and a first for me. ¬†Here is a photo essay of the morning…(and oh my camera is still out of order so I took these with my BlackBerry)

On our way to the studio

Jozi early morning skyline

Walking down the corridors

Welcome to the Sunrise Show!

In the guest waiting room

My creations waiting to be featured

Everything happened very quickly and my nerves were shot! I didn’t know what to expect but what I can say is that everyone I met knew my name and I felt really important. ¬†Then I had to get my make-up done. ¬†Now I didn’t realise how much make-up you needed to be camera ready. ¬†I put up some make-up before I left home but they had to get me tv-ready.

Totally out of my comfort zone with made-up eyes and reddish lips

I had butterflies all over and my legs felt like jelly. ¬†What if I say something stupid…I mean once it’s out there, there is nothing you can do about it!

Nombongo Koti is one of the producers from the show and she was absolutely great. She made me feel at ease and introduced me to another producer, Annelie who took me to the studio. ¬†Now at this point I had to leave all electronic equipment including my phone so I couldn’t take anymore pics!

They hooked me up with the microphone and then us was time. Instructions from the floor manager: “Lizl don’t fiddle, don’t look to the camera, don’t do this and don’t do that!” Oh my, now it was on!

Let me say, TV looks very glamorous but really these people are as down-to-earth as you can get. They are all very professional with extraordinary talent to present live TV.  Sindi was great and really made me feel at ease.

On TV!


It is very weird and gruelling watching yourself on TV. ¬†I didn’t even realise how many times I repeated… “like I said”! ¬†And I made the weirdest movements with my mouth many times! ¬†The interview went by so quickly and I had so many things I still wanted to say!

All in all…one of the best experiences of my life ever. ¬†Very educational and informative.

PS: I recorded the interview on DSTV PVR but I am unable to download it from the hard drive.  My brother, Dustin, is hoping to get the clip soon to those who missed it!  I will try to upload it once I have it!

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Snakes galore

We found another one.  It seems brown house snakes love dressing rooms or clothes.  This is the warehouse where we store all the donations we get as the 1in1out charity.



So the warehouse is being cleared and shifted a bit this week. ¬†So Eric, the church’s caretaker, came around yesterday announcing they found another snake while clearing the corner where they keep the pillows and fabric off-cuts. ¬†See the picture below:

Clothes pile in the corner

I spoke to a snake expert a few weeks ago. ¬†He reminded me that we live on grasslands and snakes are inevitable. ¬†They were here way before we were, and we are actually disturbing their habitat. ¬†He gave me a few tips on keeping them at bay…though this is no guarantee:

  • Long grass is a favoured habitat of snakes so keep yours well mown
  • Keep shrubs trimmed round their base and away from the house
  • Ensure that branches of trees do not overhang your house or seating areas in your garden
  • Stack your wood on a suitable platform ‚Äď such as a pallet ‚Äď off the ground.
  • Regularly sweep up leaves and other garden debris.
  • Fill gaps, cracks and crevices in brick and stone walls
  • Wooden decking in seating areas should be solid, rather than slatted, to prevent snakes climbing through it.
  • Be aware that play areas such as Wendy houses, Tree houses, sand pits etc are potential harbourages for snakes
  • Compost heaps could potentially attract many different species of wildlife which, in turn, may become the prey of a snake.¬† Ensure that your compost is made in a sealed and sold structure, preferably raised off the ground, and can be securely sealed against any wildlife but particularly rodents.
  • Do you have screens on your windows and doors?¬† Are there gaps around the frame or holes in the actual screening?
  • Do you have gaps under doors in & out of the house, garage doors, shed doors?¬† If so, bristle or sealing strip can be an effective way to seal these.
  • Are there are holes, cracks or crevices in the brick or plaster work of your house?
  • Are there any holes, cracks and crevices between patio areas or pathways and your house? ‚Äď Drainage areas in patios are a perfect point of entry.
  • Is the gauge size of any grates covering your drains small enough to stop snakes going down it?
  • Make sure that there are no holes in your roof that snakes can get through – particularly if trees overhang your house.
  • Ensure Skirting boards do not have gaps under or behind them
  • Seal all holes where wiring, plumbing or gas enters your home
  • Cover gutters and drain pipes with fine gauge mesh
  • If your home has wooden floorboards ensure that access to the floor space beneath them is sealed and that gaps between the boards themselves are filled.

Now our snake was a house snake.  The name House Snake is appropriate in this species as it is often found near human habitation as it is drawn to them by the rodents that inevitably accompany humans. The brown house snake is harmless and an economically valuable snake as it preys primarily on rodents. This snake has become popular in the South African pet market because it is harmless, settles and breeds well in captivity. As with all other South African snakes, permits are required for possession. It lays six to 12 eggs which hatch after two and a half to three months.

2 things…Firstly, to me a snake is a snake. ¬†Secondly, what if the snake I found laid eggs in my dressing room? ¬†Oh my goodness! ¬†That just freaks me out!

On the subject of that…we are slowly but surely making head-way with the dressing room. ¬†

Carpet in dressing room

We still have a far way to go, but we are getting there.  Everyone knows how we like to recycle so a client who is renovating gave us cornice this week.  Now all we need is ceiling board.  All good things come to those who wait.

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Library love

Don’t you just love libraries?

I love the movie City of Angels…especially the scenes of the angels hanging around in the majestic San Francisco Library.

San Francisco Library

I have tried to instill the same passion in Chelsea since last year‚Ķand she goes crazy for ‚Äúbib-le-teek‚ÄĚ, as she calls it.¬† She loves books and that I am grateful for.

So I dropped the kids at school today and found that the local library is situated just behind the school.  How exciting?  So I couldn’t resist and flipped out my camera and snapped away.

Library interior

I like the industrial design style with the red exposed pipes…however the pink rails are just a little too much!

When I looked closer I found a little gem of history.

Houses for all campaign

Freedom struggle campaigns

These are copies of the posters that were used as campaigns by the ANC in the apartheid era.  Check the one on the left.  It’s a call for the National Stay Away that happened on that fateful day, June 16, 1976.

According to the government-appointed Cillie Commission of Enquiry 575 people died. Police action resulted in 451 deaths.  3 907 people were injured. The police were responsible for 2 389 injuries.

It’s a pretty amazing piece of history the library kept.  I felt so moved by it; I decided to spend some time here.  I needed to check some emails and do some work in any case.

Working in my new office

I love the stillness of the library.  Except for the dull sound of the radio in the reception area, and the cooing of a pigeon outside…it is dead quiet.  It is so conducive for working; I think I should make it my office?  I will save on overheads you think?  Uhmmm?

Now next goal: visit the National Library in Pretoria…

State Library Pretoria

State Library Interior

I can’t wait…look at it! ¬†Construction of a state of the art 33 000m2 library building was completed in 2007. ¬†This building is the National Library‚Äôs flagship facility, providing space for the vast collection as well as seating for 1 800 library users.¬† It attracts around 15 000 users a month. ¬†Unfortunately it¬†is a reference library and no materials are allowed to leave the premises.

Doesn’t bother me at all…I just need a creative space to work and play for a day. ¬†That’s the beauty of working from home…you can take your office anywhere!

Can love be bought?

So our daughter, Chelsea, turned 4 on Valentine’s day, 14 February. Yes, and no she wasn’t due on that day, nature just took it’s course.

I was one of eleven women who gave birth, but I was the only one who went natural while the others decided to have C-sections. ¬†All part of the plan to have a Valentine’s baby.

I actually don’t like the fact that she shares her birthday with this overrated day. ¬†Not even sure what the history is, it just doesn’t make sense to me. ¬†Regardless of the origin, the holiday is now entrenched in our culture. And if you think you aren’t going to take part, beware: 53% of women in America would dump their boyfriend if they did not get them anything for Valentine’s Day.

My husband has a philosophy…every day should be Valentine’s day. Though I am not so sure I have had 2920 valentine’s (we’ve been married 8 years), or 4015 (together for 11 years)!

However he does surprise me now and then, and mind you not with flowers but with power tools! Yes, I love drills, sanders and all things powerful! ¬†That’s me and our friend, Edwellan, hanging floating shelves.

So does the fact that he buys me something make me love him more…sad to say but yes! ¬†I am only hu(wo)man! ¬†We women like to feel appreciated. ¬†We love the fact that they took the initiative and time to pick up something special for us.

Do they always get it right? ¬†No, I have had some weird surprises in the past. ¬†I won’t mention it (for obvious reasons). ¬†But men are not the only one making blunders when it comes to buying gifts. ¬†Don’t become labelled as someone who¬†buys gifts with no thought or imagination. ¬†(Yes, I know, sometimes I am culprit too).

The fact is we love being spoiled by our better halves. ¬†And no we don’t want another pirex dish or another candle holder. ¬†Give us romantic holidays to exotic islands. ¬†Give us intimate picnics in rolling meadows. ¬†Or just run the bathwater, or cook the food!

Barbecue or braai?

What do you prefer?  A barbecue or braai?  Braai is such an unique word, describing all that we are as South Africans.  It is a rugged, tenacious word.  It represents all that we are and have been.

South Africans don’t need an excuse to make a braai…I think on average I attend a braai every second weekend. ¬†Usually I am only familiar with the host and I get to meet his/her circle of friends.


This is how we do it…the bigger the flames the better!

We love braai so much…we have a whole day dedicated to it! National Braai day happens on 24 September and was instituted a few years ago to commemorate our rich heritage. ¬†It seems it’s great platform for all races to get together to discuss our differences etc.

Our friend Clint smoking away.  Boerewors is always on the menu.

My husband, Ashley is an avid braaier. ¬†If I don’t stop him, he will braai every day. ¬†Or make a fire everyday.

Fire helped to spark language and culture. Society was born around a campfire.

Even today, when we stare at a fire, there is something mystical about it ‚Äď as if something primitive from within calls us to stare into the fire and dream‚Ķ

Ashley & our friend, Ronwyn, around a campfire

The use of fire helped our ancestors survive. It provided heat, light, shelter and protection from predators and enabled them to cook and preserve food, and perhaps also sparked language and culture.

And the list of what to braai is endless…whatever you fancy. ¬†The other day our dear friend Edwellan came to visit and we thought it a special occassion.

Ashley & Edwellan at the braai

It was a great day at Hartebeespoortdam and we put gammon on the coals!

We brushed it with orange squash since we forgot the glaze at home. It was beautiful.  Tender and succulent and we will definitely not wait till Christmas to have gammon again!

We are faced with so many social issues today and a braai is the perfect place to gain common ground. ¬†I challenge you to organise one and let’s tackle the hard core issues. ¬†A juicy steak has crumbled many a man’s heart.

Does a dump make a mountain?

I am from the Boland, Western Cape…Paarl specifically. ¬†Dubbed one of the most beautiful valleys in the world.

(photo: reijame)

Paarl is the third oldest town in South Africa and is situated 66 km’s north-east from Cape Town. ¬†The area has a Mediterranean climate and is lined with vineyards that produce world-class wines. ¬†And we have purple mountains…

Yes, in the late afternoons, the majestic Drakenstein Mountains turn a pinkish-purple as the¬†sun’s rays¬†play on it. ¬†It is breathtaking.

(photo: londonboy)

I was fortunate enough to go back home last week for a wedding. I lived in Paarl for 32 years and never will I grow tired of this sight. Despite the soaring temperatures (somedays up to 40+ degrees), it was great.

Then I had to return to this…

A mine dump…or the closest thing to a mountain in Joburg. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, I love living here.

“South Africa’s biggest city lies six hours from the sea and six hours from the nearest ski slopes, but the metropolis built on gold is dotted with abandoned mines, many filled with powdery sand that has even inspired a new sport…sandboarding.

The dunes have been around for a century, after an 1880s gold rush gave birth to Johannesburg. But modern mining techniques can now extract gold from the sand, and companies are already chewing away at the dunes.” (Mail&Guardian sept 2009)

They estimate the dumps to still be around for another six-ten years.  Another reason I cling to my mountains.

Nothing can compare to my Boland mountains.  Every morning I would wake up to the singing of birds and when I open my windows I am taken aback by the presence of this land mass that is a deep blue before the sun hits it.

It is awesome…hey, my God is awesome! ¬†And at least I know they’ll be there when I head home again!

Don’t break your back

This was my bed for the last 6 months…

I must admit, I was not to excited at first as I am totally convinced that you sleep on a bed. But we moved to Joburg in such a hurry we couldn’t take our bed we have had for the last 6 years.

We have moved with it a few times as seen in the pics below..

Philadelphia, Western Cape, 2006

Kuilsriver, Western Cape, 2008

Naturena, Gauteng Province, 2011 (room not done yet, watch this space)

As you might figure by now, we have moved a few times in between, but (un)fortunately I don’t have any pics! I am starting to sound like a really mad (moving) person!

But back to the story about the futon mattress. ¬†When we first bought it, it was purely as an extra bed for our guests. ¬†Then Ashley dubbed it his bed as it was conveniently plopped in the second TV room. ¬†He spent many a happy nights there…and it saved me from his endless snoring!

A futon¬†mattress¬†it has really good benefits and it is reputed to be good for your back. ¬†It is a mattress type that originates from Japan and other eastern countries. They are usually filled with cotton or wool. Though some have also more exotic fillings such as latex layers in them. Compared to usual mattresses, futons are much less soft. Because they don’t give up under body weight, many say that they are better for your back. Some also like them better for sex as they give better support. (source:¬†

As an Interior Designer, I prefer a normal mattress and base. It could also be because I haven’t had the opportunity to design a Japanese style room. ¬†And I also found that my back was sore every morning.

I love my bed, but have been thinking of changing the look of it.  I am getting tired of tagging this dark furniture everywhere we go. So I am up for a new challenge.  Not sure what to do yet.  It just seriously needs an update. Keep a look out!

Going “hole” the way!

When we first started emptying this really backed up room, we discovered a concealed room which made me quite nervous.

After rumours heard about snakes on the property, I was really squeamish.  I am normally the first to tackle a room, but there was no way I was opening that door! Because the property has so many buildings and rooms, we had really no idea what could be lurking behind it!

So, we mustered all our courage together and finally opened it…

Sjoe, at least nothing sprang out!  But now the actual work needed to be done.  Who was going to start moving and pulling all that stuff out?  Once the guys started moving it I jumped right in.

Among the things that popped out were a tumble dryer and old computers from yesteryear.  Also about 10 round foldable tables, paint, and a pulpit!  Yes, the previous home-owner is a pastor.

After about an hour it was finally empty…

It looked like a hell-hole!  It had no ceiling, no floor and the walls had major cracks in it.

We once again had no budget for this room, but immediately knew we wanted to use it as a walk-in closet.

So, we cleaned it up, prepared the walls a bit and painted it.

I know, it doesn’t look like much now, but we are making strides. ¬†I found some¬†raffia¬†sheets on site and used it as a temporary ceiling cause I couldn’t stand the¬†openness. ¬†Not sure what could be peeping down from up there! ¬†We seriously need a flooring solution a it is quite dusty now. ¬†I also need to buy loads of clothing hangers!

Will keep you updated…check this space!!

To tile or not to tile…

Oh, these tiles just gave me the creeps.  It was greasy and not laid properly.  With no budget and replacement tiles, I just decided, it has got to go!!!

So, with much delight, I got the pleasure of chopping and thumping them off. ¬†Sjoe, it is a great stress reliever. ¬†Check the chaos…

I told some of you about the miracle of us moving to this house. God has just been providing and we are literally living off the fat of the land.  I found these wood panels while scouring the house.

So we decided to clad the one kitchen wall with it.  It took a lot of accurate measuring and leveling as the house was built fairly skew.

That’s hubby Ashley getting dirty.

It’s a great alternative to tiles as it adds warmth and another dimension to the kitchen. ¬†One thing I’ve learnt over the years is that you don’t always need a big budget to do nice things.

All you need is imagination, patience and some elbow grease!

Container living

This is my dream home…

What?  I hear you asking!  No, seriously, I love the concept of container living.  This container is at Naturena and the idea is to sell the concept to government as a solution to the housing crisis.

The one above is 2 containers that have been joined to create a 3-bedroom home.¬† I takes 14 days to complete, is insulated which means it’s cool in summer and warm in winter.¬†

Check how big and airy the rooms are.  It is not finished yet, so the end result will look much better.  The rooms are fairly spacious and will suit a family of 4. 

And check the views.¬† It literally means you can¬†camp in the bushveld and have all the luxuries that you’re used to.

Check some of the container living concepts from abroad…

SG Blocks is changing that though, creating some amazing modern dwellings that aren’t out of place in the hippest design circles. Recycling the existing structures is Earth-friendly, too. SG Blocks co-founder David Cross told CNN:

‚ÄúThese containers weigh about 9,000 pounds, and it takes about 9,000 kilowatt hours of energy to melt down 9,000 pounds of steel,‚ÄĚ Cross said. ‚ÄúWe modify that existing piece of steel with approximately 400 kilowatt hours of energy input. [That’s a] 95 percent energy footprint reduction.‚ÄĚ

There are other major benefits. Shipping container housing can reduce construction time by half. Cost estimates vary- some speculate that pricing runs equivalent to traditional ‚Äústick frame‚ÄĚ homes. Others indicate a savings of at least 15%.

Another benefit is durability- the homes are stronger than their wood-framed counterparts, and termite resistant, too. Around 18 million shipping containers are currently in use worldwide.

You know I am a nomad, and this is perfect!  It is portable and can be loaded on a truck and you can take it wherever you go!

 References: CNN

                      SG Blocks

Recycle and re-use!

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.¬† I had endless problems with the internet and finally got sorted today!¬†

I am a big fan of recycling and re-using.¬† I come up with the weirdest ideas and always find treasures in other people’s garbage.¬† They find it quite strange me going through what they consider junk.¬† But¬†I love their¬†reaction when they see the end result.¬†

For instance, the lamp below was a broken bamboo blind I bought years ago.  I keep everything, and see beauty in everything.

Then there’s the cable tie lampshade…

It took me 8 hours and nearly 400 cable ties to complete.  It also scored me 99% in the exams.  We had to make a contemporary furniture piece inspired from either the Medieval of Baroque era.  I chose the Medieval times and below was my inspiration:


The cross is the actual frame of my shade and the cable ties illustrates the candle wax dripping. 

Last week I got this garden screen in someone’s backyard.¬†

And converted it into a cool bathroom cabinet for all our toiletries.  I wanted something airy and open. 

I must still complete it with a nice knob! 

We once again moved without a budget to fix up the place.  So I was once again forced to improvise.  The house was filled with office furniture and junk. 

I immediately knew I wanted to use the credenza for a kitchen cabinet. 

I wanted a eye-level oven, so we cut the top and put the plates in and pushed the oven in the corner.

I love them.¬† They’re different and cost me absolutely nothing.¬† I used the paint on-site to create a dark wood effect.¬†

I believe that every person should recycle in some way.  I will soon start a recycling centre here at our new house.  I will keep you posted!

Another move on the cards…

We are moving again. ¬†This is no 15 and we have only been married 8 years! ¬†Call us nomads, or crazy…in a weird way we get a kick out of it.

There have been a few times when I really didn’t want to move or it was just too emotional. ¬†But we have learnt so much from each of these moves. ¬†It has¬†definitely shaped my character for the good.

In October 2010, we got involved in a charity organisation called 1 in 1 Out.  Check them out on  In February 2010 they acquired 5,8 hectares of land in Naturena to set up the Breakthrough Skills Development and Agriculture Centre. In 2010, they fed, clothed and provided groceries to about 4200 families that live in dire poverty. They gave out school uniforms and school books to about 650 poor children.  They also provided basic requirements to hundreds who lost there homes by fire and flood.  This was all possible through the grace of God.

So we will be directly involved in the setting up the Breakthrough Centre. ¬†That’s why we will be moving on site as its more practical.

Here are some pics I took in December:

The front of the house

Our daughter Chelsea and the church in the distance.

Some of the outbuildings on site.  The blue container on the left is a fully fitted bakery.  We are busy acquiring funding to get it started. Once operational, it will provide 500 loaves of bread to the community for free.  Thereafter the remaining bread will be sold for cost price.

The house in the center is actually 2 shipping containers that have been converted into a 3-bedroom house.  Just adjacent to it is a RDP house.  Both cost R70 000 to build, but the container can be build and finished in under 14 days.  It is insulated and very spacious.  It is a great alternative as the structure is built to last.

The house is said to be strong, mold-free, fire and termite-proof and 70% of its construction can occur off site, therefore reducing construction waste.  We are hoping to get government involved and get them to buy in and solve the never-ending housing problem.

We will be living in the main house, and as you can see it needs a lot of work.  We started renovating about 2 weeks ago.

I will post some pictures later in the week. ¬†But I have to add that this project is funded purely by God’s grace. ¬†We started with no money but everything we have needed thus far we have found on site. ¬†It is astonishing…and I have endless examples of items we found on site. ¬†Thus we have only spend money on labour and a few small things like nails and drill bits.

Truly the verse:

Gen 45:18¬†‘ and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you¬†the¬†best¬†of¬†the¬†land¬†of¬†Egypt¬†and you can enjoy the¬†fat¬†of¬†the¬†land.‚Äô

is true in this case.   We are living off the fat of the land!  Watch this space!

Jou ma se Parys (Joie de vivre!)

In 2005, Ashley & I backpacked through Europe.¬† We were supposed spend 2 nights in the romance capital of the world, Paris.¬† We had such a hard time, the locals were unfriendly, and they refused to give us directions.¬† We ended up spending only a few hours before we headed for Barcelona.¬† So this is the only picture we have of Paris…

So a few weeks ago, we at last had our fling with the real Parys!  Yes, Parys, Freestate, South Africa.  What a welcome and refreshing experience compared to Paris, France!

We decided on the morning of 1 December 2010 (our 8th wedding anniversary) to go there. ¬†The people were friendly and the place is so quaint.¬† It’s streets are lined with the most interesting little shops and the town is situated on the banks of the mighty Vaal river.

Eiffel tower at circus

Eiffel tower in town

Eiffel tower at the Old Ferry House

It was so cool, and all over town¬†you’ll find interpretations of the¬†Eiffel tower.

We were told we couldn’t leave Parys without having¬†pink drinks at¬†Old Ferry House.¬† What a cool bar?¬† You feel like floating on the Vaal river as the bar is elevated just over it.

And the best part, its a mere 125 km’s from Johannesburg.¬† With very affordable accommodation,¬†it’s the perfect weekend getaway.


Whenever we get guests from out of town, we always take them around Joburg.  One of the stops is always Soweto.  It is just so humbling to drive through Vilakazi Street.  It is street where Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu lived as children.  It is also the only street in the world where two Nobel Prize winners was raised.

Another stop on our tour is the National Soccer Stadium…or the FNB Stadium.  Although people affectionately refer to it as Soccer City as it was called during the FIFA Soccer World Cup 2010.

I am not a sports fan but earlier this year, we attended a rugby game here, and was quite weary to go as I suffer from claustrophobia.  It can house 90 000 people and I never felt squeezed once.  The layout is great and spacious.  And doesn’t it look like a space ship at night?



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