Tag Archives: recycling

Upcycling a fish can: The journey of the humble “Toona can”

Who would have guessed that one of my smallest products, would become my most popular?

The idea to upcycle a can came to me about a year ago when I developed the Pea can stationery holder. Read about it here.


As I was designing a product for specifically the tourist market, I realised that this specific can was not practical in terms of size and packaging. So I went back to the drawing board!

I started designing a few icons and lids for the tuna cans…yes…fish cans. They immediately started selling, but the product development was far from done.

I went on to work on a few different ranges from animals to plants, etc. I also had a set-back when the supplier’s laser machine packed up. I quickly had to find another supplier to help me roll out the product fast enough to satisfy the demand.

I found a great supplier who helped me refine the product even further. Since then, I have been supplying some tourist shops in and around the city.

However, we needed another platform to officially launch our product into the market. So we recently took part in an awesome local platform for handmade creativity, called Kamersvol Geskenke, or KAMERS/Makers.

Chatting to clients

Explaining the benefits of the product


Gained some new fans!


Tuis Home Magazine loved it!


A picture sent by a fan/client after the show


The response to the product has really surprised me. Not that I didn’t expect it…I LOVE IT! It really is such a cool way of upcycling tuna cans!


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The inspiration behind the Slave Bell Lamp

I am no social activist, but as of late I find I want to express my opinion regarding social matters through my designs.

A native of the Western Cape, I lived in Johannesburg for the last 7 years and recently returned back home. In a way, my absence made me oblivious to certain ills of our tainted history.


Ironically, despite all the efforts made, the great divide still exists and it is more and more evident that the gap of inequality is getting bigger…instead of narrowing.  The effect it has had on me is quite shocking and monuments like the slave bell towers that are scattered on many farms, has started an emotional battle within me. And instead of ranting and raving, I have decided to create constructive awareness through design.








Enough said. All I ask is that we remember.

#blackconsciousness #rememberslavery #remembrance #slavery


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DIY – Salvaged chest of drawers

Chest of drawers ~ {Furniture with drawers for keeping clothes}

I love going to the rubbish dump. Last year I got this beauty from the local dump by chance.


Just a skeleton

So I used it as is, without drawers, in our bathroom. About a year ago I did not have the skills to restore it. My training in carpentry has definitely paid off! I have managed to make 3 drawers to fit!

Drawer front

Drawer front


Drawer inside

Front view

Done – Front facade

Side view

Side view


Up close

Up close

I used Saligna wood and decided not to finish it with handles. I wanted a simple look and just made big holes for our fingers to pull it out. I have also decided to not paint the drawers white. I just love it!

Another great up-cycled project that cost me very little!

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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


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!



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!




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What is your intention exactly?

Meaning, how do you re-purpose or re-use?  This question drives me daily.  As you might know by know…I am huge on recycling as you can read right here.

Here are a few small projects I have been busy with this last few months:

Let’s start in the bathroom.  I worked on an event project last year and my boss was clearing out her garage.  Being a natural scavenger, I left with a few ‘goodies’.  This included a bag of empty CD & DVD holders and an old dog kennel.  Yes, I loaded an old rotten kennel in the car.

Normally these ‘finds’ would lie and wait till one day I get a light bulb moment as to how to use it.  So later I got inspired by this picture I saw on the Internet:


I made my own version of it in the bathroom.  It is still in progress as I plan to expand it to fill the whole wall.

CD holder art

Then we also needed a duck board in the bathroom.  I wanted a nice rustic look and decided that the weathered wood from the rotten kennel would be perfect.  I would use those pieces that were still in a better condition.  This project took me about 2 hours  and saved me buying one.

Duck board

Also the girls’ room needed a light fixture.

Need some TLC

When we visited Harties earlier this year, I picked up this box with Styrofoam-like stuff at the mall.

Protective plastic for bottles

I had this drum-light but it needed some spunk.  I loved the organic look of the foam.  So I slowly fixed it to the drum with a hot-glue gun.  Hot, sticky stuff for sure.  I still have a few blisters as a result.

Busy me

This is the end result:

Recycled drum light

I am still working on the design of the girls’ room as mentioned here.  So the light might change, but I like it for now.

Food for Thought:

The average person generates about 2.04 kilograms of rubbish every day – about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year. Although it is estimated that 75 percent of solid waste is recyclable, only about 30 percent is actually recycled.

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Being a cheapie pays off!

I am an recycling junkie.  I also love spending little to get maximum results.  I guess that makes me a stingy, recycling Interior Decorator?

People always ask me how I do it.  Thus I have decided to give you a practical example of how a space can be transformed on a minimum budget.

This is our dining room…

Dining room

Now this is how it looked a few weeks ago…

Dining room before

Now here is a breakdown of how I personalised the space in a few weeks time:

  • First we cleared the room.  Then we painted it with paint found on site.
  • Then we cleaned the gunk of the floors.
  • We brought in the table we also salvaged from the site.  The chairs are ours but it was an olive green colour.
  • We painted the table and chairs a crisp white colour
  • I decorated the space with items I found in and around the house

Salvaged dining table

Green chairs before

Here is a breakdown of the items in the room so you can get an idea.

Dining room breakdown

  1. This lampshade is one of my own designs.  I made it from a old bamboo blind. The stand I bought at a factory store years ago for R120,00.
  2. The glass jar I picked up for R5,00 at a Boere-basaar when we stayed in Philadelphia a few years ago.  We now live on a grassland, so the grass I picked outside.
  3. The artwork of the Cross I painted myself in 2008.
  4. Ashley loves red.  He picked up the red Chalice glasses at R15,00 each a few years ago.
  5. The cutie-pie teacups and saucers are an heirloom from my Granny who stays in Cape Town.  She is 97 years old and still going strong!
  6. Our friends Frank and Jo-Anne brought the coconut from Mozambique earlier this year.
  7. I bought the grass place mats in Jeffreysbay in 2007 at R20,00 for the set of 6.
  8. The table we salvaged and painted ourselves.  The paint cost R110.00
  9. The white dinner set was a gift from my mom on my 29th birthday.  Over the years I have added to it.  That’s the advantage of having a white set.
  10. The chairs we bought at Weylandts annual warehouse sale in 2008 at R 99.00 a piece.
  11. The “Holy Spirit” branch I picked up while taking a stroll with the kids last year. A friend made a remark the first time he saw it and said it reminded him of the Holy Spirit hovering over us.

So if you add the totals we spent R 600,00 over a period of 4 years.  Take into account that most of the stuff I bought before we moved here. This brings the total of the project down to R110,00 for the paint we used for the table and chairs.  This is proof that with little money, creativity and time you can transform your place into a beautiful space that you love coming home to!

PS: I guess you saw the shortage of Cornishes and Skirtings.  We also need proper lighting. We are working on it, will keep you updated.

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