Who’s Your Daddy this Father’s Day?

Father’s Day is this coming Sunday, and what better way to thank your Dad for his awesomeness than with a R1,000 voucher from Builders Warehouse?? Just tell us Who’s Your Daddy: is it DIY Dad, Garden Dad or Braai Dad?




Does your Dad love to get his hands dirty in the garage? Is he always working on things, building and tinkering with projects around the house? Then he is most likely DIY Dad, that guy that can fix anything and everything with his tools and tool belt.

#2: BRAAI Dad


We all know this guy! Rain or shine, he’ll make any excuse to light a fire and cook his meat the way God intended. He has every possible gadget that he could ever need for his outdoor culinary adventures. And loves to hang around the fire showing off his skill.

#3: GARDEN Dad


You can spot his exquisite garden from the window of an aeroplane. The borders are perfect, the gravel meticulous and he takes pride in his roses and gladiolas. Not to mention the harvest from his kitchen garden!

Now tell us Who’s Your Daddy!

Click here to enter the lucky draw to win a R1,000 voucher from Builders Warehouse for your Dad this Father’s Day.


Give Crockery a Creative Make-Over with Paint and Plants

This post was first published in March 2015.

Everyone has some old crockery that they don’t like. It might be something that you got as a gift (those quintessential horrid wedding gifts from 13 years back!) or something that just went out of fashion.

Which brings me to the 4 unused bowls I’ve had in my kitchen cupboard for years now. Sometimes I get into a let’s-throw-everything-out-that-we-don’t-use-anymore mood, but even after several of those, these little creations remained. I realized that’s because I rather like the shape of them, even though the designs were not my style at all. So I got out some paint and started playing around!


You will need:

Paint (I used Chalk Paint™ decorative paint by Annie Sloan because it sticks to anything!) | Brushes | Leaves and things to print with | CPG (Ceramic, Porcelain, Glass) Podge

You can paint the bowls any way you like: with a brush, a roller or by swirling it around in the bowl. I painted directly onto the ceramic without preparing the surface first. The paint gives a rough texture which gives the impression of clay – love it!

paint me pretty

The fun starts when you work a with a few leaves or plants from your garden to see what patterns they make. Have a look at the play-with-print session we had earlier – anything can make a print!

natures stamp

To dip a bowl, add some packing tape to the back. This will give you a better grip on the bowl and will help with getting just the right depth of dip on the edges. Leave it dry by balancing it on a can of spray paint – works like a charm!

daintily dipped

To finish, paint the dried bowl with 4 layers of CPG Podge and bake according to the instructions on the bottle. This will seal the paint and prevent it from coming off. I won’t advocate putting it in the dishwasher or using a scourer on it, but you will be able to gently wash it in warm water.

colorful snack bowls

So now you also don’t have any reason to have ugly crockery – go on, paint and stamp them!


Printing with Vegetables – a creatively fun experiment!

This post was first published in July 2014.

I have very fond memories of my fibre art class in high school and all the amazing textile-related techniques I was taught there. Amongst others, I learnt that a potato makes a very handy printing tool and can be carved into various shapes to create all manner of interesting patterns. Lately, though, I’ve been wondering if other vegetables could also be used as printing tools and when I walked through my veggie garden today and found a mammoth cauliflower, an idea started taking shape. So, I have taken it upon myself to do a bit of experimental printing with vegetable, and oh my goodness, was I surprised?!

v 1 - watermarked

v 8 - watermarked

CAULIFLOWER. Seriously, who knew? I certainly didn’t! I am already conjuring up images of walls being printed with this interesting floral pattern – watch this space and expect amazing things! I really feel that the sky is the limit when it comes to this one.

v11 - watermarked

Break off a large floret and cut through it so that you get a nice smooth face with a curly edge and stem (using a VERY sharp knife greatly helps). Print them in a circle with the stems touching to create a floral pattern or any way you want really!

v 7 - watermarked

GARLIC: It makes beautiful butterflies or hearts and pretty little flowers. You can also half the entire bulb and use that to print – perfect for gift wrap or a small canvass.

v 10 - watermarked

v 6 - watermarked

ONION: It’s amazing that it makes a perfect set of concentric circles. So beautiful that I just had to do a whole canvass with it. Isn’t is stunning!?

v9 - watermarked

By printing your own, you can create original artwork, gift wrap and cards, fabric and linen.

v 2 - watermarked

It’s so simple; even my kids got involved although Jean much preferred printing himself than the paper!

There is all manner of amazing patterns in nature: cucumber slices,  halved beetroot or citrus fruit, apples and pears with the seeds in the core. Go on, experiment a bit and then share with us what you’ve created!

Happy Printing!

Simple Scandinavian Ladder

I never throw away cut-offs and wood scraps! They have a special place in my small backyard, where they often prove to be little treasure troves of pain, especially when feet find them. But they are treasures nonetheless; throw-away scraps are perfect for odd jobs, and their size and shape largely dictate what you can do with them; which is how this ladder came into the world.

This ladder is not the most original DIY, but it is practical and pretty. Initially, I left it unpainted, but when I saw this West Elm version, I was convinced white paint had to be part of my ladder.



Difficulty: easy

Time: 1 hour without drying between paint coats



  • 2 x 35mmx35mmx3.0m timber battens
  • 16 wood screws
  • Cold wood glue like Alcolin, or a strong wood bonding glue
  • white water-based paint
  • Painter’s tape or masking tape


  • Jigsaw
  • Drill
  • A piece of sandpaper (or electric sander)
  • Screwdriver
  • Paintbrush
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil


rustic decorative adder

Measure and cut battens to 2x 1.5m pieces for the legs and 4x 0.5m pieces for the rungs.

Pro tipUse a carpenter’s square to ensure the pieces are cut perfectly square. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a wonky ladder.


make a ladder

Sand down the pieces to the desired smoothness. I only sanded the edges, because I wanted a rougher texture.


vintage ladder

Mark the positions of the rungs on the sides of the legs: I spaced mine 300mm apart. Remember that the rung will sit in the middle of the measurement. Drill two pilot holes for each rung, one a little higher than the other. This will prevent the wood from splitting and will ensure a stronger hold.


wood ladder

Put a drop of cold glue on the edges of a rung, wait a few seconds, and press it against the inside of the leg where you drilled the pilot holes. Move the wood against each other until you feel the hold securing. Use your carpenter’s square to ensure a 90-degree angle.


diy storage ladder

Fix the two screws in place for each rung and then allow the cold glue to dry.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 for each rung until your ladder is complete.


timber ladder

(If you want a smoother finish, now would be the time to sand!) Use painters tape to demarcate the areas the be painted. I measured 20cm from the outside leg.


make your own storage ladder

Paint the sectioned area of the ladder. Allow to dry between coats until you’re happy with the finish. Lightly sand in between coats if you want a smooth modern appearance.

Pro tip: Brush away from the painter’s tape, to avoid the paint bleeding. And don’t use too much paint.😉


Remove masking tape. I love this part – it’s stressful and exciting!

Optional: Apply a clear sealant or treat the exposed wood. Wait to dry…and you’re done!

DIY storage ladder 2

Congratulations! You are now the owner of a self-made Nordic-style ladder ready to hang your towels or blankets! Well done!

Happy DIYing!



How to make your own DIY Midcentury Modern TV Stand

This TV stand upcycle has been such an awesome project, that I’ve decided to revisit it! It is now nearly three years since I’ve done this project, and this TV stand is still perfect for our living room. If you can’t get your hands on an Ikea shelf to repurpose, then any tall, narrow shelving unit will do to create this DIY Midcentury Modern TV stand.

A recent clearing out and cleaning up of my house left me with a dilemma: the teak TV stand that we had loved and used for ten years suddenly didn’t go with anything in my revamped living room! While storage in any house with kids is a dire necessity, my designer training got the better of me: I needed something slick and contemporary, and since I had fallen love with mid-century inspired furniture, I needed tapered legs as well. So off to Gumtree to scour the furniture for sale section!

Gumtree Furniture for SALE the loot

I spent a few days looking for things I needed, and finally found the perfect ingredients for my project: an old IKEA floating wall shelf (damaged on top, exactly what I wanted!), a box of left-over oak parquet blocks, and four vintage tapered legs.

The result is a stunning contemporary TV stand with character – here are the step-by-step instructions!

Search Gumtree for the following:

  • Shelving unit or something that will be suitable as a base structure for the unit
  • Tapered legs
  • Parquet blocks

You will also need:

  • wood glue
  • sander
  • 40 grit paper & 100 grit paper
  • screws
  • small wooden battens

Gumtree Furniture for SALE roughing it

STEP 1: Sand, the top of the shelving unit with the 40 grit paper, to create a rough surface. The glue will work better if it is applied to something with a bit of grip. This would also be a great time to fix up any damaged areas.

DIY midcentury modern TV stand

STEP 2: Lay out the parquet block in the pattern you desire – but don’t glue it down yet. We used a traditional herringbone pattern, but you can also use any of the patterns here. It takes a while to get the position right and to cut down all the smaller pieces, but take your time – this is the most important step. Measure twice, cut once! You can also getting little budding designers in on the action 😉

DIY midcentury modern TV stand

STEP 3: Remove the parquet blocks on one of the corners and replace them with two timber battens. Screw fix these in place – they will form the guide that you will be working from.

STEP 4: Start to carefully glue down the parquet blocks, making sure that they don’t move or slip as you carry on. When you have all of them in place, make sure that they are all perfectly positioned before the glue sets. Leave for at least 24 hours before you proceed to step 5.

STEP 5: If the parquet block that you got was new, then sand the top and edges with the 100 grit paper until everything is smooth and gorgeous – remember your safety goggles! If you bought vintage wood, then you’ll need to put in a bit of effort to remove all the grime and oil first before you can start to finish off the top. Use sugar soap and then a 40 grit paper, finishing with the 100 grit.

STEP 6: Turn the unit over and fix the legs in place.

STEP 7: Dust the top off and seal the wood with a few glugs of linseed oil. It doesn’t cause yellowing, and it brings out the natural colour variations in the wood beautifully. It smells amazing too!

I am so pleased with the result that I can hardly contain myself. If you have an idea for an upcycle, have a look through the hundreds of pieces of furniture for sale on Gumtree – you might just see something that will be perfect for your project.

Happy Upcycling!

DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by Gumtree South Africa

The Prettiest Little DIY Terrarium for Indoor Gardening

This pretty little DIY terrarium has to be one of my favourite projects for Ideas Magazine! Give your houseplants pride of place with this functional statement piece. You can repurpose a collection of old frames or buy new ones for the project and finish it in the colour of your choice – although this green really works!

How To Make Your Own Mini DIY Terrarium

How complicated: easy

How long: 1 ½ hours, excluding drying time

 You will need:

diy terrarium

  • 6 picture frames to make up the body of the terrarium. We used:
    • 2 x 37cmx47cm for the front and back
    • 2 x 25cmx37cm for the sides
    • 2 x 25cmx47cm for the pitched roof
  • 8x plastic corner blocks
  • 6x 25mm steel butt hinges
  • 3x10mm wooden screws
  • Spray paint (we used Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover paint and primer in Meadow Green gloss)

You will also need:

  • Electric drill with 2.5mm wooden drill bit
  • Screwdriver


diy terrarium

Remove all the glass and backing boards from the frames and place them on a flat protected surface. Then spray the frames, taking care to cover the sides as well. Remember also to spray the back! Allow to thoroughly dry before moving on to step 2.



diy terrarium

Position the corner blocks roughly 5cm from the top and bottom edges of the frames and drill pilot holes. This will prevent the frames from cracking when you fix the screws.



diy terrarium

Use the 8 corner blocks to fit the 4 “walls” of the terrarium together. Place the caps on the corner blocks to finish it off.



diy terrarium

Fit the “roof” of the terrarium by connecting the long edges of the 2 remaining frames with 2 of the hinges. Then fix the roof in place with the remaining 4 hinges.



diy terrarium

Carefully replace the glass and populate with your favourite plants!

Happy Indoor Gardening!

Pressing Flowers: An Easy DIY Gift for Mother’s Day

Mothers Day is around the corner, and every year, we try to come up with An Easy DIY Gift for Mother’s Day – something a little different for mom that doesn’s cost much and that the kids can make as well. This year, we chose simple pressed flowers, arrange in a mandala-shape: it’s pretty and different and great fun to make!

How To Make A Pressed Flower Mandala For Mom This Mother’s Day

You will need:

  • A variety of flowers and leaves (we even used thinly-sliced grapes!)
  • Spray glue
  • Picture frame with two pieces of equally-sized glass*
  • Spray Paint (we used Aerolac Postbox Red and Signal Green)



Carefully place the flowers and leaves on some tissue paper, and then place some heavy books on top to press them. You can leave them for three days or so to ensure that they are nice and flat.



Remove the glass from the frames and spray the frames in the colour of your choice. Apply a second coat if necessary, and allow to dry.



Using the flowers, create your design on one of the panes of glass. Once you are happy with it, you are ready to stick it down!



Clean the glass, and then apply a layer of spray-on glue to one of the panes. Carefully but quickly, recreate your pattern by placing the pressed flowers on the glass. You will most likely not be able to lift up the flowers once you’ve placed them down, so you’ll have to work quickly! If the glue gets too dry, you can just apply some more – it won’t damage the flowers that you’ve already placed down.



When you pattern is done, place the second pane of glass over the first, and carefully place them inside the frame.


* I revamped old frames for this project. If you have two frames in the same size, you can use the two pieces of glass with 1 of the frames. Alternatively, have a piece of glass cut to the same size as the glass in the frame.


As simple as that! You can really play around with pattern based on what flowers and leaves you have. We hope that you’ll try this project with the kids for mom or granny this year – and send us your artwork, we’d love to see!


Happy Mothers Day!


Make Your Own Designer Paper Maché Lampshade

I love well-designed, beautiful, and unique products. So, when my friend sent me an image of a gorgeous lampshade and asked me if I could make one for her, I happily agreed! The lampshade was for her nursery, but it took me a few months to collect enough egg cartons, so I totally missed the deadline. Nonetheless, the lampshade was made and my new Thomas Shade, in honour of gorgeous baby Thomas, is proudly hanging in the playroom.

How to make your own designer half-dome paper maché lamp shade

You will need:

  • Egg Cartons – lots and lots of them. I used about 30 large trays, but it all depends on the size of your lampshade.
  • A packet of wallpaper glue powder
  • 1 cup cold glue
  • Yoga Ball
  • Spray paint: I used matt black for the outside and dayglow yellow for the inside.
  • Light cord and bulb


papier mache lamp shade

Tear the egg cartons into smaller pieces and throw them in a bucket. Then cover them with water and let it soak for 24 hours.


papier mache lamp shade

Use an electric mixer to beat the mixture to a pulp, roughly the consistency of sloppy oatmeal.


papier mache lamp shade

This is where it gets awesome! Add the packet of wallpaper glue powder, and use your hands to mix it up. It feels wonderfully gooey! Or you can use a wooden spoon, but hands are much better 😉


papier mache lamp shade

Let it rest for a while according to the instructions on the wallpaper glue manufacturer’s packaging. In the meantime, blow up the yoga ball and prepare your work surface: it’s going to get messy! I placed my yoga ball inside a flat bowl to prevent it from rolling around.


papier mache lamp shade

When the mixture is ready, add the cold glue and mix well. Then start creating the lampshade by applying handfuls of the paper maché to the yoga ball. It sticks remarkably easy and really goes quick. You are only going to create 1 layer* so make sure that you are happy with the thickness.



papier mache lamp shade

Allow to dry. This could take anything from 24 hours to 5 days, depending on your atmospheric moisture. My shade took 3 days, and when I took it off it was still wet on the inside and therefore very fragile. I placed it upside down inside a large bowl and left it for another 2 days.


papier mache lamp shade

Once everything is thoroughly dry, deflate the ball just a little and use your hand to loosen the edges of the lampshade.

Then slowly deflate the ball, ensuring that the lampshade doesn’t stick to it.


paper mache lamp shade

Use the electrical fitting as a template to ensure that the hole left at the top is large enough.


Spray the inside and outside in the colours of your choice.

STEP 10:

Attach the electrical light cord, get an electrician to install, and switch on!

Happy Lighting!

* I had to make this lampshade 3 TIMES before it worked. VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: you can’t add a second layer when the first one is dry. The moisture from the pulp makes the first layer soggy and then the whole thing falls apart.

** Explain to your kids that they cannot play with the yoga ball while mommy is busy with the project. You’d think this is obvious, but in my experience, it isn’t 😉


Give A Tired Staircase A Budget-Friendly Refresh

When Ed O’Riley and his wife, Joanne bought their Plumstead just over 2 years ago, they set about renovating the 60-year old property bit by bit. The kitchen and bathroom were first on the list, but the staircase soon became an eyesore they couldn’t live with. Here’s how they gave their old staircase a budget-friendly refresh.

You will need:

  • 19mm shutter ply
  • Wall paint in the colour of your choice
  • Genkem contact adhesive
  • Flexible Wood Sealant (we used Alcolin Flexible Wood Sealant in pine)
  • Foam flooring underlay
  • Wood sealer (we used Woodoc Water-Borne Clear)


You Will Also Need:

  • Jigsaw or Bandsaw
  • Router
  • Sander


The first task was to lift the tired old carpet. When the carpet fixings were removed, it damaged the cement structure underneath, so Ed repaired the cement and painted it with universal undercoat.

Using paper, he made templates of all the treads and carefully cut the 19mm shutter ply to size. Shutter ply is a compressed wood made up of several layers of pine sheets. It is much more affordable than solid wood and gives a beautiful linear pattern on the edges. 

The edges were routered to a bullnose and then the treads were sealed using Woodoc Water-Borne sealer. It’s a clear sealer that doesn’t affect the colour of the wood too much, so it’s great to use on light wood. Each tread received 3 coats of sealer with a light sanding between coats.

Next, every tread got a piece of foam underlay fixed with contact adhesive. This ensures a soft landing on each step.

The wood pieces are then fixed on top of the underlay with contact adhesive. The gaps between the wood and the walls were filled in with Alcolin flexible wood filler. It’s applied using a caulking gun which gives great control over the amount of filler being dispensed and the exact position. It’s also very important to use a flexible filler to allow for slight movement or expansion/contraction of the wood.

Next, they painted the risers with a soft neutral grey after which Joanne added some patterns in a deeper grey with a stencil. The patterns add a fun personal touch to this neutral and light-filled staircase.

I love that this is such a clever idea that is super cost-effective while looking great. The risers can easily be repainted when they scuff, and the treads can be sanded and refinished if necessary. Here are a few things that Ed learned during this project:


  1. Remember that the wood will need to overlap the front of the stair by at least 15mm. So when you make your templates, add 20mm to the front. This will also allow for the wastage when cutting and routering.
  2. Be prepared for A LOT of dust if you remove a carpet – especially if it’s an older house.
  3. As always with any wood project: MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE!

Happy DIY-ing!


How to make your own Folding Screen

The IDEAS-team asked me to make this pretty folding screen for their March/April edition (it’s their 1st birthday edition, so if you haven’t yet got your hands on one, do it now!). Folding screens originated in China and have been used for centuries as a simple way to add some privacy to a corner of your home. It’s perfect to hide an unsightly mess or to create a barrier between spaces in an open-plan living area or loft. It is so easy to put together, and it looks fantastic too! Let me show you how to make your own folding screen in 7 quick steps. You can paint it any colour you want and use any fabric to personalize it for your home.

How to make your own Folding Screen

Difficulty: medium

How long: 3 hours, excluding painting


You will need:

  • 9x Pine PAR 22x44mm x 1.8m battens
  • 2x 16mmx1.8 pine dowels
  • 1x Pine PAR 22x144mm x 1.8m for the pediment pieces
  • 8x 3.5x32mm black chipboard screws
  • 24x 3.5x44mm wood screws
  • Wood filler and sandpaper
  • Black paint (we used Durum NuGlo water-based enamel in black)
  • 9x 50mm butt hinges
  • 4x Fabric panels, finished to 360mmx1420mm with rod pockets top and bottom


You will also need:

  • Pediment Template
  • Carpenter’s Pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • Drill with 3mm wood drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Spirit Level




Cut the wood battens according to the diagram. Then, use the template to cut the curved shapes for the four pediments. You will need to measure precisely to ensure the screen is stable.



 Drill pilot holes as indicated on the diagram. This will prevent the battens from cracking when you screw the frame together.



Use the wood screws to assemble the pieces. It is essential to ensure that everything is straight, so use your spirit level.



Fill the holes with wood filler and lightly sand to remove any rough patches once it has dried.



Paint the four frames and allow to dry.



Lay two panels on the floor next to each other and connect the hinges. Do the same with the other two panels. Now, turn both sets over on their backs with the hinges facing the floor, lay them next to each other and connect the remaining hinges. This will allow the screen to fold zig-zag.



Slide the fabric over the dowels and secure them to the frame using the black chipboard screws. Remember the pilot holes!


Happy DIY-ing!

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