see all cities »


Apartment living, balcony crafts 3: the upcycle

Last week I mentioned I was lurking behind your garbage. Well this week I am being a little more brazen. Yes this great weather means people are leaving their unwanted goods all over the sidewalk and I am just strolling around and picking them up. In the UK, we call dumping your junk, ‘fly tipping’, and it’s illegal, but here on the West Coast of Canada, it’s called ‘a really good deal’.

It’s amazing what you can create with a little imagination. Yesterday, I found this hat on the sidewalk. Well at least I think it’s a hat, it’s hard to say when your head is as big as Jupiter.

It could be a hat on a person with a normal sized head

Bringing it home, I trimmed it down, lined the deep brim with plastic and then filled it with soil. It’s going to be another herb garden. I just have fennel in at the moment, bought from someone’s home garden for $1. Once I have my other plants in, I am going to thread yarn or fishing wire through the edge of the brim and turn it into a hanging basket.


Hat Planter

This good weather also means lots of yard sales. On Sunday our family set out on a mission to track down a great yard sale and that we did. With it being Mother’s Day, there wasn’t much going on but then we struck upon a mother/daughter sale where just about everything they owned, we were meant to buy.

My favourite purchases were these beautiful candle holders, made by the young daughter herself. These holders are the perfect example of an upcycle. They are tree branches, sliced evenly top and bottom with a simple tea light holder groove carved in the top.

Tree branch candle holders

That yard sale, the voodoo sale as we now know it since we found so much stuff we had previously been looking for, also turned up a great little wire shelf unit for the balcony, now hosting our compost buckets, gardening tools and watering can.

Speaking of watering cans and upcycling, yesterday I turned an old milk jug into a little watering gadget for my son.

Milk Jug Watering Can. Image from:

So my balcony refurb is well underway. I still have to create my kids’ corner and find some sort of furniture we can sit on. I have my eyes all over my local Used site  and the sidewalks and am manifesting a bargain from this weekend’s garage sale tour. We will see what turns up.

In the meantime, I have been seeking inspiration. Check out these amazing upcycles of old chairs into swing seats for your patio or balcony!

Swing Chair Upcycle: From


Single swing chair upcycle from



Marketing Manager at Lover of yoga, bees, red wine, rock n roll music, good books and mountain views.

5 Responses to “Apartment living, balcony crafts 3: the upcycle”


amber, you are awesome! I love the hat herb garden Idea…how original! You can do it with an egg carton container too…that way each herb gets its own little space:)


Geanine Robey

Very creative! And the best thing is re-using found items rather than buying new.


Penelope Yolcher

TOTALLY BRILLIANT. It just shows what a little ingenuity can do Great ideas Amber.



Hi there,

Sorry, but the single swing chair upcycle from doesn’t look very safe or comfortable. I would rate it a fail.



    Really Andre? I think it looks just fine, I think you just need to use the appropriate rope that’s nice and sturdy. I am thinking if making one so I will let you know, Amber

Leave a Reply