1,500 Garments Rescued from Shredder!

August 8, 2009 at 8:40 am | Posted in News | 4 Comments

11_02_09_21_36_12_BellSouth.Logo1Rescued from almost-certain destruction, over a thousand articles of clothing are now enroute to people who really need them, thanks to a clever scavenging project cooked up by a pair of big-hearted coworkers. And thanks to Shane from Knoxville for sending us the tip and a link to this great story that appeared yesterday at KnoxNews.com:

Two Knoxville AT&T employees prove that helping the community is just a matter of getting creative.

When AT&T Inc. acquired BellSouth Corp. in 2006, the original plan was to burn or shred all the employees’ work clothing that featured the BellSouth logo for security reasons.

But Fred Waters and Jay Foster came up with a different idea.

Waters and Foster are both part of AT&T’s Pioneer Program – a volunteer group that uses grassroots projects to bring about change in local communities.

“We got with the company and asked if they would allow us to partner with someone in the community to remove the logos and give them to those who need them,” Waters said.

Waters then presented his idea to the Knoxville District Baptist Missionary and Educational Association, which then found church volunteers to de-brand the clothing.

Volunteers tediously removed the BellSouth logo from more than 1,500 articles of clothing, including button-down shirts, polo shirts, khaki pants, shorts and heavy Gore-Tex coats.

The end result was given to Lost Sheep Ministry, which will distribute the clothing to those in need.

“We are just excited to get these clothes,” said Lost Sheep Executive Director Maxine Raines. “They are so needed and are a true blessing.”

Several hundred items were donated to an orphanage in Kenya, she said.

Raines said the remaining clothing will be given to those in need in Knoxville – some clothing given out immediately and the heavier clothing when the season changes.

Makin’ Paper Beads

August 7, 2009 at 10:37 am | Posted in Recycling | 3 Comments

_wsb_430x374_pink+paper+beadsI’ve spent much of this morning making paper beads, which I’ve never done before. Apparently, thrifty and crafty Victorian females made beads with scrap paper, which they then strung to make bead curtains as a cheap way to divide rooms and screen areas for privacy. Instructables has a handy how-to, created by the folks at Mzuri Beads, a company in Uganda that sells cool beads (as seen at left) made from recycled paper.

I’m experimenting with this because tomorrow I am helping to throw a baby shower, and I was sitting here trying to come up with a participatory craft/ritual/activity in which all the party guests can participate. The guest of honor loves handmade items, and she’s into nature and spirituality, but not into any specific religion, so I wondered: What can we all make that would let us put our wishes into it for her and for her partner and their baby? Maybe we could each write our private heartfelt wishes on slips of paper, then do … something … with the slips to create … something … beautiful and lasting. But what? And how to do it so that the messages remain private, so that they stay kind of secret? Hmm. By rolling them up! But … what can you make with tightly rolled slips of paper? Beads!! But … how to make them? Hmm. It’s on the Net!

So I had to practice, because tomorrow at the party I’m going to put out a tray containing glue stick, skewers, pencils, and a bunch of very long slim isosceles triangles, snipped from colorful magazine pages. Each guest can write a wish on one side of a triangle, which becomes the inside; glue stick is spread over the wish, and the triangle is rolled tightly, wide side first and message side in, around the skewer. When dry, the beads are removed, varnished, and strung. Obviously — because varnish and parties don’t go well together — I’ll have to take the beads home with me and then varnish and string them here, sending or giving the finished necklace to our guest of honor later. But she can keep it forever … and it will be full of good wishes!

In the process of practicing, I learned that two centimeters is a good width for handmade paper beads. I’m not into the metric system; it just came out that way. And I learned that “busy” magazine pages with lots of colors and patterns — and no white space — create the effects I like best. Others might prefer subtler colors, less contrast, and/or a repeating overall pattern such as flowers, dots or checks.

Tomorrow’s the party! I’ll let you know how our experiment works out.

Did a Medieval Relic Turn Up at a Secondhand Sale?

August 6, 2009 at 9:26 am | Posted in Finds | 1 Comment

templarCar-boot sales are England’s version of swap meets. So when we read in the Daily Mail about a man who recently bought what might be a priceless relic of the Knights Templar at a Yorkshire car-boot sale, we think: Wow!! The lucky shopper (seen at left; photo from the Daily Mail) isn’t just an average joe. He’s an antiques dealer, so he knows what to look for:

“The small piece of painted wood is believed to have come from a box which the Knights Templar used to protect religious items as they moved across Europe during the Crusades of the Middle Ages. Quite how this ornate piece of wood found its way to a car boot sale in Yorkshire is anyone’s guess. But it could bring Leeds antiques dealer Martin Roberts a big windfall at the next stop on its unlikely journey — an auction house in London.

“Analysts believe the item, which measures 10 inches by four inches, is the lid or door from a tabernacle and could be 1,300 years old. If the piece commands a large sum, it would be a second major triumph in two years for Mr Roberts, who bought an ancient Egyptian artefact for £50 and sold it for £30,000 in 2007.

“He acquired the tabernacle door from a friend at a car boot sale in Otley, in exchange for a pine chest of drawers and six Victorian glass handles which he had bought for only £13….”

Well, if he bought it from his friend, and it turns out to be real, wouldn’t you say he owes his friend a percentage of the profits?

“Mr Roberts said the item would be analysed by experts at auctioneers Christie’s before becoming one of the lots at the firm’s Old Master sale in London in December: ‘Christie’s have never sold a tabernacle door because they’ve never seen one, so we really have no idea what it might fetch,’ he added. ‘It will be very interesting to see what happens after the people at Christie’s have done their research because I think the Roman soldier depicted on it may well have a name. People have told me that it’s likely to date back to between 700 and 1200AD, but I would rather let Christie’s do some carbon testing on the wood before I estimate how old it might be.’

“Mr Roberts, a former professional golf player and keen guitarist, began selling antiques online in 2003, taking it up while he cared for his wife Maria, who died from cancer the following year: ‘If the tabernacle door sells for £600, it sells for £600,’ he said. ‘If it sells for £6m, then of course that would be absolutely fine by me. It’s not the money that matters to me; it’s the absolute buzz of doing the research and meeting wonderful people who are so knowledgeable about their subject.'”

Yeah. Plus the money.

“Trashonaut” Probes Meaning of Garbage

August 3, 2009 at 5:57 am | Posted in News | 2 Comments

BXP39417Junk is in the eye of the beholder. Newsminer has this story about 40-year-old Karen Hawes, who drove her Honda Element from California back to her home state, Alaska, in June to start examining trash:

“During the next 10 months, the budding ‘trashtronaut’ plans to seek out Dumpsters, salvage yards, landfills and trash pits on two continents, learning something about people and the garbage they leave behind.

“The trip began last weekend, when she traveled to Prudhoe Bay for a peek at the local landfill. After a week in Fairbanks, she left on Monday for Dawson City, the next stop on a southward journey she is planning all the way to Argentina. Hawes hopes to complete her trip back to the U.S. by spring 2010. Trash is an odd obsession, the personable Hawes said, but the thought of spending the next year immersed in it is thrilling: ‘It’s more personal curiosity than anything,’ she said. ‘I enjoy meeting people too, so this fills that need.’

“There’s no master plan behind Hawes’ junk journey, although she intends to chronicle her adventures on a Web site, http://www.trashtrip.com. Hawes has pondered a book about the trip, but she has no solid plans other than to hit the road and explore.

“Hawes has been living a minimalist lifestyle since quitting her engineering job with Lockheed Martin in 2005. Her vagabond approach consists of ‘couch surfing’ with friends while traveling the country in her Element….

“She said her fascination with trash began during a trip near Olympia, Wash., in 2006, when she found a seemingly remote site to set up camp. But after finding beer cans strewn across the area, Hawes said she realized how hard it is to get away from people and their junk. The spark for a trash trip smoldered for a few years. Since everyone leaves garbage behind, she figured an objective ‘observe and report’ approach to junk would be a good way to glean something about various cultures along the way.

“The early stages of her trip have already made an impression. Hawes was interested in the struggles that come with disposing of trash in Prudhoe and said the fans of Fairbanks’ transfer stations were fascinating to behold.

“Checking out the yards of a handful of local garbage hoarders also made an impression, she said: ‘It’s just amazing what people will amass,’ she said. ‘Acres and acres of useless junk, but they can’t give it away — it would be like giving away a child.'”

Thanks to David in Long Island City for the link.

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