In September 2015 Secondsguru introduced the #under50dollars challenge, a creative twist to #SG50, to commemorate the 50th birth-year of Singapore. It was devised for our readers to appreciate the inherent value of things used and old. If one has a good eye, can do some minor touch up or upcycling… and $50 in one’s pocket, he or she can join in and take up the challenge!

Secondsguru #under50$ challenge
#under50$ challenge_ By Nivedita Salam

We are delighted that our very first #under50$ challenge has been taken up. It has been contributed by Nivedita Salam, who lives in Singapore. She executed a stunning yet simple transformation to make her garden even more beautiful. Here is how she carried it out, in her own words…

Egged on by my friends (you know who you are, love you girls!) to rekindle my artistic-self that was buried deep under my work-self, I finally decided on take up the #under50$ challenge by Secondsguru!

I had a stack of about 7 small IKEA planters whose plants have long since been transplanted onto larger ones. These long neglected terracotta and the ceramic planters were calling out to me to be given a new life – after all they were still in a very good condition. All I needed to spruce them up were sharpies in different colours and some imagination. I bought five Marabu ceramic paint pens each costing 7 SGD. These are easily available at Art Friend (Plaza Singapura). Now I got to work on these planters.

Deciding what pattern to use didn’t take me too long. I had recently acquired new cushion covers with a diamond pattern that appeared simple, clean and easy to draw. I started with one and followed a variance for uniformity yet creating variety. I let them dry for 24hours and then baked them in the oven at 180 degree C for 20mins. I plan to repurpose them as remote-caddies in the TV room!

I really enjoyed the experience and I cannot wait to spruce up more items at home! Of course I managed it all in less than 50SG$! Hoping those that will follow will also be under 50 $ so I can send them in to Secondsguru! 


Nivedita is a fab cook, loves fine teas and wine (Yes in the same breath) and is an ex-cricketer who can no longer find her line or length. She works in a software solutions firm and loves her job. She is a bundle of energy and plays futsal for one of her company’s teams.




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