Saturday Project: Before and After Dumpster Find Mannequin

mannequin, dumpster dive, repurpose, DIY, recycling, spray paint
Dumpster dive mannequin find before and after spray paint

I will go on and admit my secret shame: I dumpster dive. Not as much as I did back in the States, but if I see something interesting in the trash I have no shame picking it up. Australians also seem very good at putting their “nice trash” outside the dumpster… Council Clean Up Day, anyone!?

When I lived in downtown Newcastle the back entrance to my place was an alleyway where all the shops would dump their trash and it would sit for weeks before they got it emptied. Awesome for when my partner wanted to make seating for the veranda out of palettes, not so cool when it piled up and you couldn’t open the gate.

But I digress. One day I found this little gem shoved awkwardly in the side of the dumpster, probably by the guys who ran a t-shirt printing business at the end of the alley.

I carried it back up to the apartment much to the shock and horror of my partner.

Something needed to be done with it. I had all of these lofty ideas to paint it, put all sorts of designs on it, decupouge, cover in fabric or duct tape… None of this ever happened. I hauled it from one house to the other, thinking it would eventually go in the bin again.

I got some kick up the ass when I was home for a weekend and figured the very least I could do was spray paint it. One trip to Bunnings and $7 lighter, I had a can of blue spray paint.

I went to town on this thing. The partner tried to give me a few pointers (which I promptly ignored, even though he is amazing at anything DIY), and in about an hour it was done.

One thing I will recommend: clean off any marker before starting! I gave the mannequin a good wash but couldn’t get off the permanent market. I should have dissolved it with something to get it off, because as I was spraying the marker would dissolve from the paint. I wound up just giving it a first coat and letting it dry for a few hours but I could have saved myself some time and some of the nightmarish imagery.

Saturday Project: DIY Organic Lip Balm


I’ve been wanting to make my own lip balm for a WHILE now, because it seems like one of the easiest things to do in the world. I was dabbling with the idea of going commercial (HAR HAR HAR) but it’s been put aside for now since I’m away for work so much.

I made two relatively large batches (I think it was 8 of the bergamot and 6 of the lemongrass) and gave them to the Unsuspecting Partner and a bunch of mates. Results are in and they like it! The bergamot went over relatively well!

So, this is piss easy to make. Seriously. I don’t know why everyone and their mom doesn’t do it. From scouring the internet I used this basic ratio:

  • 2 parts coconut oil
  • 1 part beeswax
  • 1 part shea butter
  • 0.25 parts ‘nice oil’ (such as sweet almond/avocado/macadamia)
  • 2-5 drops essential oils
  • 1 to 5% vitamin E (this helps to act as a natural preservative)

I made approximately 100mL of lip balm, so I used this basic recipe*:

*Note that I used mL and g interchangeably at 1:1, which I know isn’t scientifically correct, but for this application I really didn’t give a crap.


1. Assemble tools (measuring spoons, scale, glass Pyrex bowl for mixing ingredients, pots for lip balm, spoon for mixing). Wash everything like it’s going out of style; I’m talking hot water, soap, the works. Dry thoroughly, because introducing water to beauty products is like asking to cover your face in mold. It isn’t okay.

2. Measure out ingredients. I used a scale to measure the solid items and just kitchen tablespoons to measure the liquids. Note that once you use tools for beauty products, they should ONLY BE USED FOR BEAUTY PRODUCTS. I know you can eat all of the ingredients, but still, cross contamination with food/things you put on your skin, kind of wigs me out.

3. Melt the coconut oil, beeswax, liquid oil and shea butter in a double boiler (Pyrex container in a pan of simmering hot water). Don’t have it as a rolling boil because it may splash and you will not have fun after that. Stir until the mixture is entirely melted and clear. This will most likely take longer than you think, as the last few bits of the beeswax took forever to melt in mine!

4. Take Pyrex out of double boiler. Add essential oil and vitamin E. Stir stir stir!

5. Pour into container of choice. If the mixture starts to harden, put it back in the double boiler until liquid again.

6. Cover containers (foil, plastic wrap, clean tea towel) and let sit for 4 to 6 hours or until hard.

See, super simples? Next time I make a batch I will be sure to include pictures of the process, even though there’s like a billion tutorials already on the internet. I just feel like everyone should be able to see my hideous 80’s designed rental house kitchen.

You should also check out my Instagram!

Saturday Project: Dresser Before and (somewhat) After

dresser, furniture, DIY, before and after, furniture sanding
Before and after of my free (thanks Sally!) wood dresser

Sanded the hideous varnish off of this dresser a mate gave me, and probably got cancer in the process from breathing in the varnish dust.

After sanding everything (stopping frequently to blow the varnish dust out of my nose and think about my life choices), I added a coat of Danish oil to seal and protect the wood. Just waiting on some hardware! I went the way of the EBay for some “cup” pulls, rather than a local distributor, because $2 for a pull was a bit more economical than $25 each pull for the EXACT SAME THING (I kid you not).

Seriously, Australia. Not cool.