Following on from last month’s blog, we would like you to make the acquaintance of another two of our crew. Alex and Joeleen are integral members of the Darkie Designs team who help to make the magic happen in our store on a daily basis!

With a passion and enthusiasm for all things creative and beautiful, we introduce you to…

  • Alex Giles – Darkie Designs Store Assistant

Alex was born in the bustling metropolis of Johannesburg and has been with the Darkie Designs team, which she describes as ‘wild and crazy’, since April 2017. She moved from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit at the age of 13 and is proud to call this part of South Africa ‘home’.

Alex is driven by the endless possibilities that come with each new day, as well as her family, friends and boyfriend who inspire her to live life to the fullest. She believes in making the most of each day, taking motivation from the blessings which surround her.

Describing herself as caring, kind-hearted and a little bit ‘crazy’, Alex loves the vibrancy, form and freedom of expression when it comes to design. Stimulated by the many different styles and textures in design, she thrives on the creativity involved in stringing ideas together to create a truly one-of-a-kind design.

Alex’s love for her fellow Darkie Designs colleagues stems from a feeling of warmth, acceptance and being ‘needed’. The opportunity she has been given at Darkie Designs is also a driving factor behind her love for the team, not-to-mention the many shared laughs and moral support on a day-to-day basis.

Working with the Darkie Designs team has taught Alex many life lessons and skills which she cherishes. Passionate about the mountain biking in the great outdoors, motorbikes, swimming and all things ‘DIY crafty’, Alex’s job at Darkie Designs affords her all the bits and bobs she could possibly need to make beautiful things for her home.

A favourite spot to unwind at home is in her garden, under the trees on the homemade hanging bed she crafted with her family. When asked if she had her eye on anything particular in the shop she was quick to point out the traditionally carved Makoro, decorated with plants and lights!

As with her fellow colleagues at Darkie Designs, Alex loves the diversity of living in South Africa – from nature, to wildlife to the people. But her first true love is Africa’s mountain ranges and unforgettable sunsets.

Her favourite quotes to live by? ‘If you never try you will never know’‘If you were able to believe in Santa Claus for 8 years, then you can believe in yourself for 5 minutes’.

  • Joeleen Peel – Bookkeeper Extraordinaire

Born in the city of Kroonstad, Joeleen grew up with the outdoors on her doorstep on a plot in Little Falls, West Rand. Hoedspruit is now the home which she shares with her husband, child and two beautiful Ridgeback dogs.

Joeleen has been a pivotal member of the Darkie Designs team since October 2016, and lives for family, sunrises, sunsets and picnics in dry riverbeds! With an intense love for the great outdoors, Joeleen and her family love to travel off-the-beaten track, exploring the African bushveld on game drives and with their two ridgebacks in their down-time.

Darkie Designs TeamShe describes herself as cheerful, passionate and conscientious. Her love for design is based on being exposed to other people’s styles and viewing design and beauty through their eyes.

Joeleen describes each day at Darkie Designs as experiencing a smorgasbord of creativity, Her time there has taught her that each new day brings with it challenges and new adventures. It’s all about how you apply yourself to these challenges that is the true life lesson.

She would take home just about anything from the Darkie Designs store. Joleen told us that if she had the opportunity to renovate any room in her home it would be her main bedroom, as, ‘My husband and I tend to put ourselves at the back of the queue, it’s time for a change!’ 

Her favourite home space is the patio, which they use to enjoy a daily cuppa and watch giraffe and other wildlife at the watering hole! How lucky is that?

Joeleen’s favourite aspect of living in South Africa is the beautiful range of diversity in both people, wildlife and landscape, describing it as ‘such a privilege!’

Her favourite quotes to live by? ‘When was the last time you did something for the first time?’ ‘How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?’


Summer time fun is upon us, and with the warmer weather, the ultimate pest comes out to play – the dreaded mozzie.

As a South African or visitor to our beautiful country you will – no doubt, have experienced the nightmare of having to sleep with a mozzie buzzing around your head, as you swat indiscriminately into the night. This is where our Darkie Designs mozzie nets are a game changer! Ideal for mounting around any size bed, you’ll never have a sleepless summer night again.

If you aren’t a fan of dousing yourself in Peaceful Sleep or other toxic mosquito repellents, there are also a few natural ways to rid your home of this unwelcome pest.

Eco-friendly Mozzie Repellent

Citronella is the perfect anti-mosquito repellent for the summer time. Citronella candles and citronella oil are eco-friendly, non-toxic and highly effective at keeping mozzies at bay.

If you love to entertain outdoors, grab yourself some citronella candles from most home décor stores or hardware shops and place a few along your outdoor table. You can also use citronella oil placed in outdoor torches and lanterns to keep these pests away!

Natural Scent Repellent

Nature is truly incredible, offering solutions to many of our mankind dilemmas! Scented plants such as lavender, basil and rosemary are highly effective as a natural plant repellent for mozzies. Just as a number of other colourful scented plants are.

Visit a garden centre and ask about the best types of bright and colourful plants to use to keep the mozzies away. Arrange your outdoor area with the pot plants as close to your seating areas as possible.

Better yet, crush fresh picked leaves from these plants and place in a small muslin bag to be hung on the back of each chair for a more close-up remedy.

Easy Breezy Bug Repellent

We mean ‘breezy’ in the literal sense of the word – mozzies and other insects will find it difficult to cramp your style when the draft is too strong! Consider installing a ceiling fan in lounge areas for the summer time or use a standing fan on full rotate to create a breeze in order to keep pests away.

Eliminate Breeding Grounds

A haven for mosquitos to breed? Any form of standing water! Do a recce of your garden and check for containers which could potentially collect rain water. These nooks and crannies quickly become a breeding ground for unwelcome pests.

Water features and ponds are also a hot spot for breeding – so make sure yours are installed with a pump in order to keep water flowing and prevent mozzies from laying their larvae.

If you’re looking for a good night’s rest this summer, our mozzie nets at Darkie Designs are back in-stock and make both an elegant and functional addition to your bedroom. Get in touch with us and place your order today.

‘Tis the season for entertainment! If you’re up next to host a themed dinner party for the festive season, we’ve got you covered with a few handy tips to host an event which will have your guests talking well into the New Year!

Forgo the rigid formalities and ensure three key items are always taken care of: plenty of drinks, good food and great conversation! These are the fundamentals your guests will remember and the memories they will take home with them for the festive season.

Host a modern dinner party without the fussiness with these simple tips:

Create a Reminder

Whether you’ve created a Facebook event, sent out email invites or created a WhatsApp group for your dinner party, a reminder with all the essential information is a must! Make sure to send out your reminder a day before, and include date, time, address, dress code / theme and what to bring.

Settle on a Theme & Share Your Idea

A theme for a simple dinner party may seem OTT, but it’s actually a great way to narrow down what you’re going to cook, the types of drink you’ll serve, entertainment, décor and what your guests need to bring. Once you have settled on a theme which suits the occasion e.g. a casual, summer braai, a Christmas-inspired Mexican feast, or a gold inspired New Year’s Eve dinner, share your idea with your guests so that they know what to expect, how to dress and what they may need to bring.

Invest in Efficient Décor

Efficient décor probably doesn’t sound very fun or festive, but it’s basically décor pieces which can be re-used from one occasion to the next. Efficient décor would include basic décor pieces which can blend in with other ritzy, fancy, sparkly or quirky items.

Basic tableware such as neutral-coloured white, grey or light-coloured crockery and cutlery are a good idea to invest in. You can then add character to your table with other items such as ornate glassware, wreaths, candles, centre-pieces, flowers and more.

Make Things Interactive

Have you ever been to a dinner party where everyone just sits around and stares at each other, waiting to be fed? Bet that’s not on your list of ‘top dinner parties’ to remember is it?

Creating an interactive atmosphere can really change the energy of your get together. Try incorporating a ‘welcome’ or DIY activity, such as a make your own cocktail station, build your own tapas board, or invest in a few simple lawn games which can be played while you are preparing your food courses.

Never Let a Glass Go Empty

Dinner parties are largely about the drinks, this is an important element for any get together, whether your drinks are alcoholic or not. Ensure you have a dedicated drinks station available upon arrival, where guests can help themselves to wine, water or build their own cocktail. Have plenty of ice on hand, and make sure your guests drinks are always kept cold if they are bringing their own! Having a drink in-hand will help your guests feel fully welcomed and at ease.

Catering to the Masses

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party for 5 or 15, cooking for a group has its challenges. If you know some of your guests may be fussy eaters, make sure you have made provision for them. Be subtle about your attention to detail so they do not feel overly fussed over – which some people can find embarrassing.

Some sort of pre-dinner snack, such as a round of canapes or tapas to tide your guests over will give you a little leeway if things go awry in the kitchen! Make sure to announce at least 10-minutes before each course is served so guests know to charge their glasses and find their seats!

Entertaining for a large group of people has its fair share of stresses. With the informal habits of new generations, things are far more relaxed than dinner parties hosted just a mere 20-years ago. Just remember to have fun with your entertaining and not take things too seriously – there is nothing worse than an overworked, uptight host who doesn’t appear to enjoy entertaining! After all, your guests are there for the company, not the food (or so they say!).

While the northern hemisphere typically celebrates an iconic ‘’white Christmas’’ each year, the southern hemisphere celebrates in a completely opposite climate! Instead of crackling fires, hot chocolate and snow men, we celebrate with poolside braais, cocktails and plenty of sunscreen!

The southern hemisphere rings in the holiday season with oodles of sunshine and to us, there’s no better way than to celebrate the holidays, cocktail in-hand!

With this in mind, you don’t need to go the traditional Christmas décor route each year. If it’s not a steadfast tradition, then why not mix it up with summer Christmas décor to bring a fun, summery feel to your home this festive season?

With just a few simple DIY tasks, you can create a summer Christmas look to your home or holiday house this season…

Summer inspired Christmas décor

  • Sea Shell Sparkle

If you live near the ocean or have a holiday home by the sea, collect yourself a basket of pretty sea shells and DIY them! Create Christmas inspired sparkle by decorating them with an adhesive glue and pretty glitter colours.

Prefer a glimmer of gold and silver? Create a metallic shine and spray paint them a gold, silver or a champagne colour for a glamourous finish. Attach a thin, gold metal wire and hang from your tree, in place of a picture, or scatter over your Christmas table.

  • DIY Christmas Wreaths

Christmas wreaths are a great way to spread Christmas cheer throughout your home, allowing for full creative license. For a summer inspired Christmas wreath, craft yours from items collected straight off the beach – driftwood, sea grass, sea shells and a few blue, light gold or silver baubles.

Alternatively, create a fun, tropical wreath with driftwood, palm leaves, hibiscus or any other bright flowers and a few cocktail umbrellas!

  • Light Things Up

Christmas time just wouldn’t be the same without the twinkling of lights – no matter the climate! Create a summer vibe, instead of a traditional one, and pack away your red and gold candles. Opt for natural-colour candles, place them in their vases and decorate with seaside inspired bits and bobs – shells, driftwood, sea sand and sea grass.

For a lovely, beachy Christmas table, source a few larger pieces of driftwood and scatter these across your table, interspersing with your beach-inspired candle décor.

Fill a couple of glass jars with strands of fairy lights which look great hung up around the room or on the dinner table. Cluster them together or individually for different effects.

  • Beachy Wrapping

Another fun and creative way to translate the feel of summer to your Christmas guests is through DIY, beach-inspired wrapping paper. Forgo the expensive rolls of wrapping paper and save a penny or two on using simple brown packaging paper, and decorate with white and silver ribbons, sea shells, natural twine and bits of sea grass.

  • Summer-Inspired Stockings

Mix things up with summer-inspired Christmas stockings to hang from a mantel piece or place under a Christmas tree. Simply DIY your Christmas stockings from pieces of hessian, decorate with a lace trim and small sea shells throughout for a fun, summer sun inspired look.

If tradition is not for you, then have fun this summer Christmas season with some of these simple DIY ideas – perfect for bringing both summer and seasonal cheer into any home!

Summer is just around the corner and with it comes long, balmy evenings – perfect for outdoor entertaining.

With just a few weeks left until the start of the summer holidays, now may be a good time to look at sprucing up your outdoor entertainment area! There are a number of ways to liven up an outdoor living space which may have seen a bit of battering and neglect during the winter – just one of these ways is with paint.

You really don’t need to spend a fortune on updating this area – but getting a little creative with paint can go a long way in bringing a tired deck or furniture back to life.

Here are a few simple hacks to preparing your outdoor entertainment area for summer…

1. Go for solids 

When it comes to livening up a weathered deck or ceiling, there’s very little a fresh, new coat of paint cannot fix! Unless of course your deck or ceiling has holes or requires further repairs, a solid coat of paint is sure to resurrect a faded deck or ceiling.

Try and stick to a solid, matte colour for both the deck and the ceiling to create a warm and inviting feel, while adding a bit of character to your entertainment area. If you’re feeling simple, go with white, dark grey or a deep brown, if you’re feeling adventurous- pastel blue, yellow and light pink are fresh and trending colours at the moment!

2. Sage is all the rage

If you’re looking to create a tranquil and laidback feel to your outdoor space, the colour sage exudes an understated, sophisticated feel. Additionally, sage pairs well with natural wood in furniture and the surrounding environment to create an earthy vibe to your entertainment area.


3. Add a low-maintenance rug

The ultimate low-maintenance rug? Paint it on! Add dimension and texture to your deck area by painting a solid block of colour to resemble a rug. It’s a great way to create contrast. Place your dining table over the painted rug, tying your outdoor entertainment area together perfectly.

4. Go bold, go geometric 

A fun and bold statement to make is by adding geometric pattern and texture to your deck with paint. Perhaps a little more on the eccentric side, but if you’re looking to mix things up a little – go bold with bright, colourful patterns on your deck flooring or even on an accent wall.

5. Jazz up your doors

A simple yet effective way to jazz up an area of your home is by re-painting a feature door. Up-paint your front or back door in a bold, striking colour which will create contrast and interest. Popular colours to paint main entrance doors include solid black, dark grey, red and deep blue – tie it all together with gold finishes!

6. Give that fence the TLC it needs

If there’s anything that can really make a garden or outdoor area look ‘tired’, it’s your property wall or fence. A fresh lick of paint or varnish will do wonders for bringing it back to life and livening up your outdoor living space.

Alternatively, add a bold and intricate pattern in the form of a wall mural to create an accent wall in this area!

Don’t be afraid to mix and match

While bold, solid colours do wonders for brightening up an outdoor area, don’t be afraid to use more than one colour when up-painting your deck or patio. This way you can have more than a little fun when incorporating your décor. Use colours that complement each other or even the same colour but in a different shade. Outdoor colours that are ideal include blue and white, grey and yellow, greens and browns and even red and blue.

Sometimes all a certain area in your home needs is a little bit of colour. Livening up your outdoor entertainment space doesn’t have to blow your budget – keep it simple and start with a fresh coat of paint, then you can build your décor and furniture from there!