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Apartment living: balcony crafts

Last week I shared some intimate secrets about my double life as Winona Ryder, my non-existent cleaning habits and my apartment lifestyle. My mission, already accepted, was to create an outside living space using recycled, upcycled and used goods. Already I have a Mad Mat made of 98% recycled plastic and I have some vinegar. (I am yet to ‘get on my hands and knees and scrub that floor’).

If you have seen a dark figure hovering by your garbage of late, chances are it was me. Yep, it was the 1st of the month this week and we all know that’s when people start chucking things to the curbside as they realise they have 1000,000 more glasses, trinkets, books and random pieces of furniture than they ever anticipated! This is the moment  I step in.

First up, I snagged myself a wicker sorting basket. After mulling over the idea of making my son a sensory toy – water in one compartment, sand in another and an array of stones and shells et al in the smaller ones, I eventually decided to use it as a pot for herbs.

First I threaded some fishing wire through the box so that I could secure it to my balcony without screws (or any sort of elegance). Then I lined the box with an old plastic bag and cardboard.  I planted Italian oregano, stevia, peppermint and cilantro. (One of the funniest newspaper personal ads I ever read was in Monday Magazine’s “You Pissed Me Off
column: Cilantro, I hate you, stay out of my salad, you taste of soap.)

My sorting box herb planter

With my eyes ever peeled for curbside treats, I hit up one of my favourite thrift store for trinkets, tins and random kitchen knick-knacks that would work well outside. Here, I got my hands on some pretty tin containers and lots of purple candles all for .39c each. Score!

It is so easy to recycle candles:

    • Set up a double boiler – saucepan with a few inches of boiling water and another heat proof bowl that will rest perfectly on top.
    • Put old candles into bowl and let water in saucepan boil.
    • Candles will melt.  As they do, carefully (I used an old chopstick) fish out the wicks and discard (or reuse for new candles if you can).
    • Once wax is melted, pour into your cleaned up tins
    • If the wax is deep enough you should be able to place a wick in the wax and it will stand but if not, you will need to spend a few minutes holding the wick in the wax until the wax has hardened.
    • Put to one side to harden.


Recycling candles and old tins

This week I will be making some shell candles in a similar way.

Sea Shell Candles from

I will also be making some wind chimes which I will provide a tutorial for another time. But quickly, another purchase I found this week which was a steal at $12, but unfortunately not a recycled product unless you count the fact that it RECYCLES THE SUN is this beautiful little outdoor solar powered lantern, from Homesense. After a day in the sun, this lantern will automatically start to glow once the sun goes down for about 8 hours! Love it!

Solar Powered Lantern


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2 Responses to “Apartment living: balcony crafts”


Cool ideas! Might make recycled candles myself. My only problem with such candles is that they create a crater in the middle after using it several times! Other recycled candles use some sort of oil, and you can reuse the candles infinitely without having to change the wick or refill the oil.


    Amber R Bosma

    Hey Dawn, you are so right about the crater but I didn’t know about the special oil that prevents it. Wonder what type of oil it is. Hmmm…..

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