Tag Archives: south african national flag

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.”


In my case, I have adapted it to read:


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

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How to make a grocery bag holder

I guess DIY Friday can also be Crafty Friday?  I have been wanting to make this cute grocery bag holder I found on the Internet.

Grocery bag holder

If you have a sewing machine and nice fabric, here are the instructions:

You’ll Need:

  • If you want your holder all one color – 1 piece of fabric, 51cm x 64 cm. If you want strips like pictured here, you’ll need 9 pieces of fabric, 51cm x  8.90cm.
  • 2 pieces of narrow elastic (1/4 wide or smaller).
  • 1 piece of ribbon – 36cm long.
  • Thread
If you’re using strips, sew all of them together along their long sides. Iron all of the seams open.
Then make a seam for the elastic on both ends.

Now, thread your elastic through each end and sew each end of the elastic securely to the opening of each end of the casing. Keep in mind, the larger piece of elastic is for the top of your holder (so you can shove many bags in) and the smaller piece of elastic is for the bottom (so that you only pull one bag out at a time).

Lastly, sew the 2 long sides together, with right sides together.

Hang…………….and stuff.

It is so nice I had to try to make my own version.  Now let me get it straight…I don’t sew.  I don’t even have a sewing machine.  So this one was going to have to be made by hand!

I am extremely impatient and lazy when it comes to sewing.  I try to stay clear of it except for the odd button or to mending a hem.  That’s it.

So here is my very very simple version made by hand.  We had another spat with 5 mice last week.  They created havoc.  Among the items they chewed on was one of our South African flags!


So I decided to recycle it as I do everything else.  I was actually a bit nervous as I know there are regulations regarding using the flag in any other way as it was intended.  You can read about it here.

So after about an hour of sewing (and pricking myself with the needle twice) I managed to finish it!

It is too long!  I guess I am going to have to stuff it with a whole lot of plastic bags now!  I couldn’t even find enough bags to stuff it for the photo as the mice chewed through them when I stored it below the kitchen sink.

That’s it.  It is not perfect…in fact it is too long and narrow, but it is really practical.  And once again, it cost me nothing.

Would you try to make this?  Please send me pics when you’re done.

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