Sunday, April 21, 2013

Celebrating Earth Day, Locally, with Recycled Crafts

Our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore's anniversary coincides with Earth Day each April, and this year they kicked off celebrating their 12th year with a "Mixed Greens" arts and crafts show April 20 and 21.  Artists and craftsmen offered their creations with only one requirement:  they bring items that contain at least one element of recycled or repurposed things.

Although the fair was small, the setting was inviting.  Great, recycled installations covered the walls of the community center room of the local ReStore, where vendors set up their booth spaces.  Proceeds for booth space rentals went to Habitat for Humanity.
One wall installation - PVC and Metal Pipes, drenched in paint - this was huge!
Another wall installation - two doors cut around corners & mouldings.
My sister and I both came away with some great stuff, all of which we intend to use or give as gifts.  Here are some photos of the crafty ideas showcased:
This candle ($35), was created by Adam Morton (, with a hand-cut wine bottle.  He uses 100% soy wax for a clean burning candle, and this scent, fresh linen, smelled so clean, which I personally love.  The lid is crafted from maple wood and, after I chose this one, Adam shared that this lid was his favorite.  When asked why, he replied because it was maple and its two knots gave it character he appreciated.  Now I appreciate it that much more!  Adam also uses liquor bottles, and has several scents including cucumber mint and bacon (!), and he provides wholesale pricing for resale also.

This little bracelet ($35), was made from an elasticized watch band and rose, gold florentine brooch by artisan Beth Nogay Carenbauer (  I have small wrists, and it's super-cute on, especially with the openness of the circle brooch (and rose is my birth month flower).  Suffice it to say, this gal also made some very attractive jewelry from clever use of materials such as bicycle inner tubes, washers, and vintage dominoes and checkers.

I purchased this 24" circle rug ($30), made from recycled, polyester clothing, to place in front of my sink for my laundry/mud room.  The lady who made it, Anna Copenhaver (she was so cute with her - and I quote - "hillbilly", hand-written calling card with phone number, 304.342.2404), fashioned it from scraps of her deceased mother's clothing - sweet story.  And we all know how durable polyester is, so this should hold up well in its place, and certainly last my lifetime. :)

I think this artist's items were my favorite, simply because I love vintage textiles - always, always.  And, I already know what I'll be doing with these.  These were made by Julie Greathouse, and she'll be opening a shop on Etsy come May:  

Fashioned from coffee bean bags, Julie made bunting banners, tote bins of various sizes, throw rugs, runners, floor pillows, and even covered a storage ottoman and couple of cast-off chairs, all with the bags, all with extra touches such as the cotton crochet trim on my WELCOME banner above ($14), and toile lining on my small tote bin ($20).  She also had banners spelling LOVE, which I special ordered to match my banner above (she originally made them in barn red lettering, with both red rick-rack and ticking trim, super cute).  But my plans are to use these for my daughter's Fall wedding decor, so I opted for the black.  And the red - I went back on the second day and bought just a few more items.  ;)

Here's a photo of Julie standing next to her display of wares - such a sweet gal.
And you know how burlap usually has that chemical smell?  These smelled so good, and when I asked how she laundered them, Julie said she used Purex crystals, which is salt-like in texture, on gentle cycle (to keep the graphics from fading),  and she noted it not only makes them smell good, but softens them really nicely.  I concur!  I kind of gasped when she answered yes to my question of whether she used a front-load machine.  She said, "Heck, my washing machine cost more than my first car, so I put anything I want to in it!"  She also noted that ice cream salt would also work - I'll trust her on that one.

After shopping the fair, my sister M and I also went through the store, and picked up a mother load of vintage hardware - lots of drawer pulls, and some small, copper cabinet trim with pre-drilled holes that will make some jewelry crafter really happy, we're certain.  All for a pittance.

If you haven't ventured to your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore shop, I strongly encourage it.  There is so much waste in this world, and it's so satisfying to be able to re-use even the smallest of cast off things, and see others doing such great things with them too.  Happy Earth Day!

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