Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Once upon a time there was a dump

 Long before the Barn of Opportunity and curbside garbage pick up, folks had a trash heap, or place out back where they would toss things no longer used.  My daily dog walk includes a stretch of Merrymeeting Bay shoreline which is the dumping spot for the adjoining 1800 farmhouse. The Bay was an easy toss out the front door. Low tide exposes lots and lots of turn-of-the-century trash.

This picture is just one 3 foot square (no, I didn't stage the picture!) which includes a belt buckle, a frying pan handle, some type of masonry with the letters MO pressed into it, pottery of several colors, china dish shards, old bottles and more old bottles.

I pick a little up each day, recycle the broken glass and save what is absolutely charming.

Some of it is not so charming.
If anyone remembers Royal Luncheon Cheese, please comment!          
   You have your chance to explore this stretch when Friends Of Merrymeeting Bay hosts their annual Bay Cleanup this Saturday. Anyone who wants to park at the Cutko house just needs to email us.  Or come and walk your dog with me before Saturday for the best pick'ns.

And then came the era of the Town Landfill. Bowdoinham had a town dump or landfill on the Ridge Road and another on the Carding Machine Road.  I explored the property on the Carding Machine Road last week with my dog, and enjoyed it very much.  The landfill was closed in 1992 and covered and capped off with some nice composted soil.  The vents and a nice grassy mound are all that is left of that era.  This land is still owned by the town.  I am told the landfill parcel on the Ridge Road was sold. 
The adjoining property on the other side of the unmaintained town road has been acquired by the State Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and is a designated wildlife management area.  It is a beautiful parcel and Bowdoinham is lucky to have it protected.  The red post in the picture is the IF& W marker.  I'm told the road goes back to "Head of Tide" of the Abby River.  I'll save that for a day when I have boots on.  The ticks were heavy and I brought three home with me, but Bristol brought none that I could find (hooray for Frontline).
The access road is gated but there is room to park your car in front of the gate.  Dotty Baker at the Town Office showed me the tax maps so I was sure not to trespass on private land. The gate is on the righthand side of Carding Machine Rd, 1.7 miles up from River Road.  Walk down a short way and you'll see the old landfill mound on the left, and the State land is on the right.  See the bouquet in the third photo?  I wasn't sure what to expect at the site of an old landfill, but I was so pleased that the smell that hit me as I walked along the access road was Lily-of-the-Valley. Please share your dump memories with me!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Woolens from Bin #2

 Many people have discovered the joys of repurposing old sweaters. I know this because it is harder and harder to find old sweaters at the barn! We wool- seekers enjoy felting the sweaters up in our washing machines, chopping them up while avoiding moth holes, and sewing them back together.  The edges are semi finished due to the felting process and it's dreamy to work with.  Sara Cox was captured by the paparazzi at the Barn a few weeks ago, dressed in a great shawl that she made out of a few holey sweaters, adorned with buttons, a pocket and some hand stitching. Work it, Sara.

And then there is my friend Hannah.  Hannah Beattie has been making  have been turning old sweaters into great stuffed animals she calls "softies" for a few years now and been hard at the craft-show-circuit.

Recently, Hannah and her sister-in-law Leslie Beattie have secured a great studio workshop in Fort Andross, above the Flea Market, and they call it the Beattie Chicks Makery. The Beattie Chicks offer craft classes for kids as well as grown-ups.  There is also a small retail space which you can visit by appointment.  The Makery is a huge, well-lit happy place where a gaggle of folks can come to make great stuff with these two women leading the way.  My daughter is all signed up for a week of their "girl camp" this June.

 I delivered a sweater to Hannah a few weeks ago that I found in Bin #2, knowing she loved stripes and knowing she would craft something wonderful out of it...

...and yesterday I visited the Makery and met the newest softie, named "Ellie".  Wouldn't some lucky kid just love that softie to bits?

Check out the books listed in my sidebar for more great ideas for recycling old sweaters. And I would just love it if you would keep reading my blog and I'll share more ideas. Hoo Hoo who knows what might come up?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Thanks, Mom!

 A few posts back I promised you a picture of the birthday gift from my mom, the talented and generous Becky Hatch Glezen.  Here is the basket, woven from pine needles and incorporating shells from her beloved Sanibel Island, Florida.  She took a pine needle basket class down there this winter and wove this while sitting on the beach.  Ahhhhh.
 Here is another gift from mom's hand. This, a Nantucket Lightship Basket woven over a glass liner so it can hold water. I get sad when I see the knock-offs of these baskets for sale at Christmas Tree Shops, because I know the hours and hours that go into making the "real deal" in the traditional style. The sailors aboard the lightships off Nantucket used to weave these baskets over wooden molds while they were at sea back in the 1800's.  Yup, it'll kill a hundred hours of idle time, I'd say. You can see another, more traditional example of her lightship baskets in Monday's post.
 But this post has got to celebrate the all-time, number 1 item that my mom found at her local recycling facility in our hometown of Glastonbury, Connecticut years ago and gave to ME! The "dump" takes her recycling but also has the wondrous "Put-and-Take" area which my mom checks each week after sorting her recycling.  Some crafty person, with 200+ Miller High Life Pop top cans (remember when the pull tabs actually came off?), hand cut each can and wired the ends together in four places, arranged them artfully and created this incredible piece of kitsch:

I think it is amazing and I have used it at dozens of craft shows to display my wares. I have had people admire it and others offer me cash for it. Thanks, Mom, for spotting this cool thing and for giving it to me. You really taught me to see the beauty in the things around me.

I could list dozens of items she has crafted, or salvaged, or repurposed, but I will refrain, and simply tell her I love her.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! Now will somebody please fill that glass of hers?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Recipe for a Field Trip

 Take one 65 Degree spring day, add one excited second grader, dress her in a costume collected at the Barn of Opportunity, pack a lunch( 1900 style) and send her off to school where she will attend a one room schoolhouse for the day somewhere near Auburn, Maine.  Enjoy the results at dinner as you hear all the details.

Details about the ingredients for this particular recipe:

 A pair of size large floral pants at the Barn last week.  I cut the leg seems apart and sewed it up to make a skirt. A tuck in the waistband and a drawstring helped make it into a kid's size 10.

 Thank you to whoever made this beautiful apron and bonnet and put them in the Barn TWO YEARS AGO!!!  My husband thought I was crazy but I knew that our little girl would need these in second grade (as all Bowdoinham Community School girls do) and so I saved them all this time.

The basket was made by my Mom 20 years ago, and the linen napkin was sewn and tatted by Bowdoinham's own Denham sisters who lived on Abbagadassett Rd.  The shawl was given to me by an old college beau and the blouse was a hand-me-down from a cousin.

There you have it. A happy girl and a lucky, thankful (and resourceful) mom.

NOTE:  First mother of an upcoming second grader to post a comment here gets the whole outfit!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bin Diving with Brigid

I am lucky to have a friend like Brigid.  She does what a good friend should: listens to me vent, brainstorms with me to solve problems, laughs at my jokes, shares a beer and a good cry about whatever hardship I'm working through at the moment.  But Brigid and I also share a love for the Barn of Opportunity and we know that there is a special depth of our friendship because of that.  We like to say "You hold my ankles, I'll hold yours",  and by that we mean, when one of us is treasure diving into the bin at the Barn, the other will make sure they don't fall in.

 We tested that last Saturday when I told B. that she and I were going to make a wreath out of little kid's plastic toys like the one I had just seen on the web. She trusted me, while admitting "I don't have a visual on this project!" She immediately collected (and washed and dried) a bunch of small plastic junk items from Bin #4.  We each went home and collected more. And today we fired up our hot glue guns out on my back deck and started gluing junk to a Styrofoam wreath that B. found. And soon it took shape. Upcycling at its finest.

Isn't that amazingly cute? Not bad for an hour and a half's work, a few glue sticks and only one burned fingertip.  If you want to see it in all it's plastic glory, it will grace the entrance to the 11th Annual Giant Rummage Sale at Bowdoinham Town Hall on Friday May 27 and Saturday May 28 which benefits our elementary school. Brigid donates a ton of time to running the sale every year.  So if you want to make your own wreath, she reminded me that bags full of toys at the the sale are always $2. If you miss the sale, then head to the barn, bring a friend and hold her ankles while she yells "I think I see the perfect Batman figurine!"

If you would like some nice detail shots and more commentary on the wreath-making, check out Brigid's blog post here.