Tag Archives: upcycling

Cheap Luxury – Xmas craft #1

Cheap Luxury is a South African blog run by Natalie and Elaine up in the Big Guava Johannesburg.  (We Capetonians have a reputation for thinking our city is superior to all others – sorry guys!).  The favourite joke a while ago, before the Transvaal became Gauteng, was:  What’s the definition of a Transvaler? Answer: Someone who can’t get a job in Cape Town.  (‘Gautenger’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it?). Okay, sorry sorry guys, kidding.

So, I’ve been following Cheap Luxury for a while now and love the local tips and info about our own strange little world down here at the tip of Africa. They once featured me as a “Fabulous Follower” (here), and for weeks afterwards I was recognised by strangers in supermarkets and stalked by the paparazzi.

The girls asked if anyone wanted to submit ideas for affordable and quick xmas crafts, so I came up with this yesterday:

1. Clean an empty jar and paint the inside with red acrylic paint – just sort of swish around inside with a brush, doesn’t have to be perfect.  (I see that I left a bit of gluey stuff on one of my peanut butters jars – so don’t do that).

2.  Wind some thin wire tightly around the neck of the jar and make two loops, into which you hook another piece of wire for hanging.

3. Cut a piece of tinsel long enough to go round the top of the jar, and stick it in place with a glue gun.

4. Hang on something.

I thought these would look nice with a candle in (obviously being careful that the flame doesn’t catch the tinsel), or bits of hanging greenery. I don’t think I could think of anything much cheaper and easier to make, so they’re probably great for children (except the glue gun bit – ALWAYS be careful when using those things!). They could also stick on bits of glitter or sequins or stickers or whatever else their festive little hearts desire.

To be continued…

Getting trashed

I can feel a spate of trashiness coming on. I thought it started with the tuna can pincushions last week, plus the experiments with cement and plastic milk bottles (more on that when the stuff has set properly), but I’ve also been thinking lightbulbs, empty wine bottles and peanut butter jars. Scrabbling for a coffee mug in the wrong cupboard just now, my eye lit on this and I remembered it was once a can of chili tomatoes.



I like it more now than I did when I made it.  I’ve put it on my window sill with a sprig of mint, which should grow roots soon.

Seems I’ve had trash on the brain for longer than I realised.

To be continued…

It’s a cruet, cruet world

So, we have the first Spring Market at Kirstenbosch coming up this Sunday 30th September. Hoo ha.

Been busy with these salt and pepper sets (hence the pun!) (sorry – but you know how fond I am of puns!) :-

And these are my first attempts at the tuna can pincushion, à la Doreen.

My efforts still need tweaking – the sides of the lilac one go up too high, and the blue-grey one was the wrong size can altogether!!! (Maybe it was salmon? oops). But I’m working on a raspberry one now, and it’s looking better.  Please note – these guys are stuffed with dried lavender from Zimbabwe (courtesy of Doreen’s stash), which apparently prevents the pins and needles from rusting. I don’t know about that, but I do know that they smell wonderful.

Right, back to the coal salt mine.

To be continued…

Junk? what junk?

When it comes to junk-combing, I thought I had already sunk as low as I could ever go. Other people’s rubbish bins, construction sites, the side of the road – if there’s ‘stuff’, I’m there.

But yesterday I discovered a deeper level: driving a long way down the coastal road to collect my new driver’s license in Fish Hoek, I passed two guys pushing a trolley full of – well, who knows what exactly, I could just see STUFF. The promise of treasure, someone else’s cast-offs to be lovingly renovated and given a new lease of life. Something else to pack into the garage to ensure that I will never ever be able to get my car in.

These chaps may have been surprised to see a middle-aged woman in a Mini Cooper screech to a halt, leap out, rush over and excitedly inspect the contents of their junk haul, but they didn’t show it. Like professional hucksters, they had set a price on the two items I suddenly felt I couldn’t live without, got them into my car and roped them up so I didn’t get banged on the head as I turned corners, in less than 2 minutes. What a fix!

And here they are:

My two beautiful finds. My doors. Warped, broken glass, cracked, paint peeling, filthy, probably full of woodworm – aren’t they totally fabulous!? I have stashed them in a corner of my spare room for now, while I ponder on the possibilities.

To be continued…

crockery upcycle

I spent most of my morning at Nicola’s house. She is my hairdresser – the best in the west!! Every now and then I timidly suggest that I should let my grey grow out, because maybe it would be all platinum and shiny and sexy (in a kind of faded, middle-aged way hahaha). She only ever has one response: Over my dead body. So that’s a No.
Karen was also there this morning, which was so nice because she was going straight to a birthday party afterwards with two gifts (one a belated one for someone else), so I could see what she’d made:

Cupcake stands! Out of old plates and sherry glasses. Nicola promptly ordered one for herself, and then one of her other clients followed suit. I’m really pleased – Karen hasn’t been herself lately (I’m not quite sure who exactly she has been, but I prefer the original) so I think a bit of encouragement and support did her good. She is extremely creative, but never seems to see herself that way.

Nicola had saved some chipped mugs for me, to use in my mosaics:

Not quite sure how I’m going to work them in yet, but perhaps I’ll be able to think of something so unusual and gorgeous that I’ll be spared the kind of comment I received from someone at our Open Day. She was looking at my mini mosaic mirrors on their little wire stands and she said, ‘You know, I have a friend who does mosaic work. She’s really good, and she sometimes gives lessons – why don’t you contact her and see if she can fit you in?’

To be continued…

Before and after

A few months ago I found this table at a Moving-On sale in Goodwood.
I’d gone to the sale hoping to pick up a mannequin but my entry number was one of the last ones called, so there were only unwanted dregs left for me. Peeved, I thought I should at least justify the trip by purchasing something, and lit on this. R50 = score!

Mosaiced and sprayed and socked, it is now this:

And I don’t mind telling you that everyone who saw it on Saturday laughed themselves silly at the crocheted socks. But I don’t care. I think socks are going to be the Next Big Thing for furniture. Am I alone in this, or does anyone agree with me?

To be continued…

Occupational therapy. Not.

You’ll remember how I recently raved on about Solveig in Norway and her wonderful crochet ideas? I was eager to make a lampshade like she does, using an old frame and a shell stitch pattern. I’ve covered a lampshade before, but I made the cover separately and then fitted it on afterwards.

It seemed to work well, but I thought perhaps Solveig’s method would work just as well, if not better, and be more professional. It occurred to me that it might occasionally be awkward to work directly onto the frame, but I figured if she could do it, so could I.

All I can now say is that Solveig must have a zillion times more patience than I do, and maybe smaller hands. And a bigger lap. It’s a real flipping mission to get the angle of the thing right as you go round, balancing it on your lap at the same time. I have tried doing it leaning far back, then leaning far forward, propping the frame against a small table, even tried holding it sideways. Aargh. Nothing is comfortable and it makes for very very slow work. It has taken me two entire evenings to get this far:

At this rate, it might not even be finished by Chanukah, let alone Christmas. I will finish it, and I’m sure I will be pleased with the result, but those other old frames lying in the garage waiting to be covered…? — they are definitely getting the Jill-quickest-way-possible-Goldberg treatment. And I bet no-one will be able to tell the difference. (Except Solveig!)

To be continued…