Category Archives: Adaptive Reuse

Earth Day DIY with Standard Wax

Standard Wax is an awesome local company that creates beautifully scented candles in handmade ceramic vessels.  Once you burn through your candle you can ship it back to Standard Wax for a refill OR use the ceramic log in a new way.  To celebrate Earth Day, we teamed up with Standard Wax to show you our favorite way to reuse our ceramic logs!


  1. Stop by your favorite local nursery and pick up some succulents or cacti.  We found our cacti at Whitfill!
  2. Clean the excess wax out of your Standard Wax ceramic logs.
  3. Cacti and succulents need aerated soil so be sure you mix gravel in with your soil as you plant.
  4. Fill half of your ceramic log with your soil and place your cactus on top.  Fill in the sides with additional soil if necessary!


We also had the opportunity to learn a bit more about Standard Wax.  Check it out!!

Where do you get your inspiration for your candle scents?

We try to stay away from your typical scents and really make people say, “wait what?” when we talk about the scents. You won’t find a “Baked Sugar Cookie” or “Ocean Breeze” scent here! We are super inspired by the outdoors (as you can probably tell from the log containers), so that’s where a lot of our scents originate. Citrus + Black Currant reminds us so much of spring time in Phoenix with all of the grapefruit trees blooming! We added the black currant to make it unique and different, and get people thinking about what else is going on in the scent. Leather +Tobacco came from time spent in cabins up North. That smell of the rustic leather furniture and cigars! Brings back so many memories.

Are you entirely self-taught? If not, where did you learn about your craft?
We are both self-taught! Andrew has been working with ceramics as a hobby for over 10 years. When we met, he was making planters and I wanted to buy some for Christmas gifts. Looking at them, I said “those would look really cool with candles in them” and Andrew replied, “then learn how to make candles”. So I did, and it wasn’t easy! So much trial and error, research, etc. The result was some really gross candles for a while. But as we kept trying new processes and ingredients, we finally had our aha moment and the product you see today is the result! It’s taken over two years to get the candle making down, as well as get the ceramic containers to a place where we can make enough to meet demand and still maintain a consistent look to them.

Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs who might not have a ton of experience in their chosen field?
Just keep trying! Our first several sets of candles were tragically disgusting. But we kept trying new things and never let the setbacks stop us. Reach out to people that can help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Network!

What is your favorite part about being a small business owner?
Seeing the community that we’re growing and connecting with people that love our products. I love seeing how our company impacts the lives of people we don’t even know! We are so lucky to be able to do something we love, that also makes other people happy.

What’s the coolest re-use you’ve ever seen using the amazing containers that house your candles?
Kitchen ingredients and supplies! Imagine a few pots lined up in the kitchen: one with coarse salt, one with a fresh potted herb and another with kitchen utensils. SO cute.

What’s next for Standard Wax?
We’ve got a few surprises up our sleeves when it comes to making it fun and easy to re-purpose our ceramic containers! We’re also super pumped for our next show, Unique LA on May 3-4. We’ve done it before and its just incredible. So many creative businesses under one roof. It’s hard to not buy everything there!

What’s up with the ceiling at Federal Pizza?

Have you ever taken a moment to look up while dining at Federal Pizza?

Federal Pizza Ceiling

Here at Upward Projects we try to reuse materials whenever possible. During the construction of Federal, we discovered that cardboard boxes were great at absorbing sound, so we lined our ceiling with a pizza box-inspired noise buffer.  The actual boxes used originally helped deliver wine to Postino!

Federal Pizza Ceiling

Next time you’re in, take a peek at the ceilings.  What do you think?  We love adaptive reuse :)!!