Thursday, April 19, 2012

Upcycling for generations to come

When I was over at SLU for my check up lately I decided to also walk down Grand to visit a local business I had spotted on the web call Upcycle Exchange. It's a shop that participates in the Earth Day collections on the Forest Park Community College parking lot every year and it whetted my appetite for fun. So I walked down the street about a mile and a half to the small storefront at 3206 South Grand.

On the way I walked just a little ways into Tower Grove Park to sit for a minute and finish eating my post-fast snack, a Clif Bar. As a MetroBus and Metrolink rider I carry along extra cloth bags and the usual water bottle of course. The park was a verdant green that day with the early spring. Way back when I had a little daughter (now grown) I lived in the South Tower Grove neighborhood, so I get a little nostalgic over the place.

A woman runner passed me by on the way back over to the sidewalks. Past the bank and Bread Company, this lovely part of St. Louis City is busy with diverse people and restaurants, many Asian and Middle Eastern. Some of the windows have display items from some Old Country places on the earth. So I was enjoying every minute of it outside of some minor distractions.

Paying attention to the street numbers I crossed to the east side of the street just before arriving at the Upcycle Exchange. Walking in I found the propreiter, Autumn Wiggins, talking to another shopper, so I looked around awhile at the colorful offerings.

There are two long tables in the middle of the shop as though waiting for a group of folks to gather around, with some of the newest recycled donations being sorted through there now, towards the back. A stack of cubicle baskets is closer to the front for the customers to fill up with as many items they need, on a pay as you wish basis, and the whole space is filled with light from the front, where the tall window is simply decorated with the shop name in sparkling format.

To my left a wall is lined with drawer cubes which are filled with assorted crafting items, with a rolling step ladder in front of it all. Autumn came over to me now to introduce herself and her shop, chatting along about how she came to get interested in this business plan along with several others around the country who network together. The original store was on Meramec, and this space has given them more room to expand as well as to invite groups in who may want to have a crafting get together to work or teach skills. On Mother's Day they will be having a create your own terrarium event.

I told her that I had found her on the web so she reminded me to check out the Pinterest and Flicker posts for ideas. Then she showed me where to look for various items, and I got started exploring-- almost like at a garage sale but in much, much better order with tons of good stuff. I collected some yarn, fabric pieces, needle crafting items, molding clay and a used book about a baby panda. She checked me out with a space for me to name my own price.

It's the conscious way to shop, so check out this bright, creative store! Also bring your unused items from grandma's attic or your own stashes to the Earth Day recycling event at Forest Park C.C.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Revisiting Conservation Lobby Day: a month later

 After a dull interlude without a regular ISP I am back online again, & catching up on stuff. After getting around to signing a petition about monitoring water related to coal ash storage, i was looking over the photos on the local Sierra Club site & remembering what a good time I had on Feb. 29, Conservation Lobby Day in Jefferson City. We had a lovely group of conservationists who shared some goals about discussing issues with the Missouri General Assembly. Since some people were not able to come that day my friend Michael and I had the assignment of covering the St. Charles County legislators, all of whom are Republicans. After a couple of interactive sessions to begin the day, one with the whole Conservation Lobby alliance (/  and another with the Sierra Club members, plus some photo sessions (, we set to work.  

Michael, who works part time at the local Sierra Club office, and I climbed up several stories of stairs, after which I had to beg for an elevator next time, we set out to cover the issues with our list of legislators. In fact we landed on 2 floors after that & I continued with the stairs. We were dashing back & forth from then on, except for a short lunch break, carrying our heartfelt opinions on coal ash, energy efficiency, and CWIP, which we backed up with appropriate flyers. Most of the legislators were polite and receptive to the message, although several of them stated they do not oppose nuclear power per se.  We delivered a couple of cookies to each of them too, which were donated by Black Bear Bakery & included in our own lunch packs. YUM!  

With Michael a bit ahead of the game with experience and having knowledge aforethought in organizing the lobbying, I learned quite a bit. I also told a couple of the legislators to be sure to see the movie FRESH, which presents the case for organic sustainable farming, and was made with the help of educators from the School of Agriculture at Mizzou.

I loved the whole day, including the ride up and back to Jeff City with my friends Ginger and Linda. It was truly energizing and hopeful to spend a day with such a lively group of intelligent activists for the conservation of resources in the State of Missouri. Happily also met up with some of my facebook friends there.

Wow I slept well that night, & part of the next day too! : )