Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ten Ways to Repurpose Worn-Out Shoes

By Falesha Wojitysiak

Got the old shoe blues? These 10 reuse ideas will keep your eco-stylish and eye-catching.
How many shoes have you tossed out or donated in the last year? If you have children, it’s safe to say that figure is pretty high. Here is a list of 10 different ways to repurpose and recycle those worn-out shoes. Thank you for keeping them out of a landfill.

1. Redesign them
shoes-1.png Sometimes we toss out a pair of shoes because we are tired of looking at them. They sit in their little corner of the shoe rack, gather dust and mock our past fashion choices. Instead of throwing away perfectly good shoes and money, why not redesign them into something fun and funky to wear? Grab those canvas shoes and a couple of fabric markers and go to town!
2. Denim sandals
shoes-2.png This project is great because you are not only salvaging a pair of old sandals, but also a pair of jeans! If you are adept with a sewing machine, this project won’t be too difficult. Why not play with the color by dyeing the straps before you sew them in? You could also use a fine-tipped fabric pen to ink designs on the straps.
3. Gladiator sandals
shoes-3.png Here is another sweet project that reclaims more clothing waste. For these gladiator sandals, simply grab an old pair of flip-flops and a T-shirt. Don’t have a T-shirt in the color you want that isn’t junk-able yet? Hit up your local charity thrift shop, and be stylish while contributing to the cause. These sandals deserve to be made in a multitude of colors.
4. Espadrilles
shoes-4.png Those chunky, platform flip-flops hiding in the back of the closet have not been worn in quite some time. So, let’s make something cute and classy with them. The best part is that these babies require absolutely no sewing experience to put together. Fabric pens would be another way to jazz these up a notch, or you could even add a strip of coordinating ribbon across the top.
5. Flower planters
shoes-5.png If you are looking to add something unique and colorful to your garden this coming spring, why not grab some of those old dress shoes and start planting? The ability to rearrange your plants with very little effort makes this project a win. Coordinate the flower to the shoe, spray-paint the shoe a different color or experiment with different shoe styles until you find what works best for your garden.
6. Heel planters
shoes-6.png This is one of the most imaginative repurposing ideas of platform high heels I’ve seen thus far. If you have some of these hiding in a box, time to pull them out. Maybe your tastes have outgrown the nightclub scene, or you are no longer dating that guy that was 6 inches taller than you. Regardless, here is a way to make a very portable planter.
7. Snow-chained running shoes
shoes-7.png Give those old sneakers new life by making them the best for running on icy days. By adding some small hex-head screws to the bottom using only a screwdriver, you can now walk a little more confidently in the winter. The cost of screws are but pennies, and the money saved on cleated runners can be better spent on warmer running clothes.
8. Baby shoe pin cushion
shoes-8.png If you are looking for the perfect gift for Grandma this year, look no further. Why only put those adorable baby shoes away for sentimentality when you can make something that is not only functional, but also sure to be cherished? This will also make a great present to tell that crafty loved one in your life that you are expecting!
9. Mosaic
shoes-9.png Shoe lovers in your life can, ironically, be hard to shop for. Shoes in general are out, unless you know their size in a particular brand. Crafting something from an old shoe is a way to repurpose an item that would otherwise be tossed. It will also create something beautiful that can be passed down for generations to come.
10. Dress them up
shoes-10.png If your level of craftiness prevents you from feeling comfortable tackling a big project, no worries. Here is the project for you. Simply dress up a pair of sandals you already own with a few well-placed charms. Your local craft store should have a wide variety of them, and assembling simply requires hot glue.
Instead of gluing the charms directly on the shoes themselves, try gluing them onto old broaches. This allows you to switch them out whenever the mood strikes.

All images used are copyrighted and used with permission of the photographers/artists.
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Friday, October 24, 2014

North Carolina corn maze shaped like Extension centennial logo

North Carolina corn maze shaped like Extension centennial logo

  • Guests who go to Gross Farms in Lee County, NC, can make their way through a 15-acre corn maze cut in the shape of Extension’s centennial logo.
EXTENSION CENTENNIAL LOGA etched into corn maze at Gross Farms in North Carolina.
Photo by Gross Farms
Guests who go to Gross Farms in Lee County, NC, can make their way through a 15-acre corn maze cut in the shape of Extension’s centennial logo.
Farm owner John and Tina Gross anticipate that about 10,000 visitors will come to the farm during the fall, when the corn maze and pumpkin patch are popular attractions. When the Grosses heard about Extension’s centennial, they wanted to honor the occasion by using the centennial logo in the farm’s corn maze.
Gross Farms is a North Carolina Century Farm, having been in John’s family for more than 100 years. The farm raises mainly row crops, but agritourism has been a part of the farm for more than 14 years.
In 2000, like many operations, Gross Farms was trying to diversify by introducing a we-pick, you-pick strawberry patch. The strawberries were successful, so in 2002 the Gross family decided to offer a corn maze and pumpkin patch (we-pick/you-pick) for the first time.
This year, while pondering what shape the corn maze should take, John and Tina learned about Extension’s centennial and asked Lee County Extension Director Susan Condlin about incorporating the centennial logo. Gross said she and her husband value the service Gross Farms receives from Condlin and other Lee County Extension professionals like Bill Stone and Kim Tungate.
The Grosses consulted the firm that cuts the corn maze, Maze Play, which was able to place the logo design in the corn field. Mazes like the one at Gross Farms are cut using tractors with Global Positioning System technology.
“We wanted to raise awareness about Cooperative Extension,” Gross said. “A lot of non-farm people don’t realize that Extension is here for them too.”
To help bring Extension’s message to corn maze visitors, Condlin said that Lee County’s Extension staff will offer an information booth at the site several Saturdays during the corn maze season. Look for Extension on October 4, 11, 18, and 25, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Gross, who has four children, believes it is important to introduce youth to agriculture through real farm experiences in order to grow the next generation of farmers. “To introduce kids to agriculture, you have to get them involved. They have to see it and touch it,” she said.
“If children have no hands-on experience with agriculture, they won’t even know that ag could be a passion for them.”

Halloween Reuse Idea: Egg Carton Pumpkins

By Maggie Wehri

These fun recycled Halloween decorations are the perfect way to reduce and reuse without compromising the festivities.
It’s official: All of our favorite stores are displaying their selections of the best Halloween gear. From the ready-to-go costumes to the cute decorations for your mantel, it can all be yours. But, instead of purchasing yet another product you may not need this Halloween, let’s take a look at how to create your own one-of-a-kind goodies: homemade egg carton pumpkins.

Start with a common household item, an egg carton. After making the last of the eggs for breakfast, save the carton and gather a few other items you may have around the house. Grab some orange craft paint, black or yellow craft paint (or black marker), a green twist tie or piece of chenille stem, a few sheets of newspaper, scissors, craft glue, candy (or rice or beans) and maybe a little construction paper.

Image via

First, cut out the cups of the egg carton and trim the edges to make this clean and tidy. Then, spread the newspaper out on your work surface and paint the cups orange. Make sure to let these totally dry before turning them over. Next, flip the cups over and fill one of the halves with your choice of rice, beans, candy or a similar item that adds weight and stability to the pumpkin. Apply glue to rims and place empty halves on top. If the paint needs a touchup, go over the area before continuing to the next step.

Next, use tip of scissors or a pencil to make a small hole in the top of the pumpkin. Select the chenille stem or the twist tie to use as the pumpkin’s stem. Dip this end into a little glue and insert into the hole at the top of the pumpkin. Finally, paint a face of your choosing on your little recycled pumpkin.

Use your little creation for a Halloween get-together or as a treat to someone special. Sure, the temptation is there to pick something from the store, but stop and think, do you really the extra item? Reuse your cardboard or Styrofoam egg carton to make your Halloween a little more creative and environmentally responsible.
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dirtball Green Jeans: How an Insult Led to Recycled Denim


By April Stearns

A North Carolina-based recycled apparel company got a unique start, and now churns out some of the comfiest, most sustainable jeans available.
The leaves are changing, which means autumn fashion trends are suddenly a hot topic. Shoppers may be looking for sweaters, scarves and, of course, a comfortable pair of jeans to brace for the colder weather. An eco-friendly jeans option are Dirtball Fashion’s recycled jeans.

North Carolina-based Dirtball Fashion creates American-made apparel products such as T-shirts, pants, shorts, hats, sweatshirts and socks. The company practices sustainability with its 100% recycled products. It also works to reduce carbon emissions by employing American workers and reducing shipping distances.

Dirtball was created in 2008 by former professional racecar driver Joe Fox, who was inspired when an ex-girlfriend called his good friend a “dirtball” during a breakup. The aforementioned friend jokingly started printing the name on hats and distributing them to Fox and other friends. After realizing they were very popular conversation pieces, Fox decided to build what started as a bar insult into a domestic, environmentally conscious apparel brand.

What exactly are Dirtball’s products recycled out of? Cotton, polyester and plastic water bottles. Billions of plastic bottles go into U.S. landfills each year, but Dirtball uses a fantastic technique to reduce the materials that harm the environment by reusing the bottles. Growing cotton uses plenty of valuable fresh water, and when Dirtball was founded, the South was in the midst of a terrible drought. Fox said he wanted to help create a solution rather than add to the problem. These recycled products save gallons of fresh water that would otherwise be dedicated to cotton crops.

According to Fox, for every 100,000 T-shirts Dirtball sells, the company keeps 700,000 water bottles out of landfills and 400 tons of carbon emissions out of the air. Dirtball also saves 500 barrels of oil and five manufacturing jobs (North Carolina had a diminishing economy in 2008). Best of all: This is only what the company accomplishes with its T-shirt production.

Dirtball’s new product, “green” jeans, are comfortable, high-quality jeans for men. Despite the name, the jeans do not actually come in the color green. They are available in regular (blue), rigid, khaki and enzymed at $100 a pair.

What is green about the jeans, however, is their environmentally friendly qualities that follow the traditions of Dirtball’s other products. Each pair is made up of about 70% recycled cotton and 30% recycled polyester. The company states these jeans will last “100% longer than your average pair.”

The jeans are constructed in sizes 28 to 38 with inseams ranging from 30 to 36. The features include a chain-stitched waistband, lock-stitch cuff, two-needle fell stitch on the inner seam and two-needle safety and top stitch on the outer seam. Each pair contains between eight and 10 recycled water bottles. All of the jeans’ facets are built in North Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky.

If you’re looking for comfort and sustainable style this fall, this is definitely the pair of jeans to check out.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Coastal reserves to hold local advisory committee meetings, public meetings this fall


RALEIGH – The N.C. Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve will conduct public meetings and local advisory committee meetings this fall to receive comments on the required five-year update of the N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve’s management plan.
The public meetings are an opportunity for members of the local community to learn about the purpose of the reserve and the management plan update, and provide comments through structured small group conversations on current and emerging topics, program implementation (research, education, training, and stewardship), and community involvement. There will also be an opportunity to provide general comments at the end of the meetings.
The local advisory committee meetings will provide a forum for committee members to share their thoughts on current and emerging topics, program implementation, partnerships and community involvement through facilitated conversations. Local advisory committees are groups of local residents, partners and leaders who provide reserve staff with guidance and feedback on reserve management. The meetings are open to the public.
The following includes the schedule of local advisory committee meetings:
· The Zeke’s Island Local Advisory Committee will meet at 10 a.m. Oct. 28 in the classroom of the Fort Fisher Recreation Area, 1000 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach.
· The Masonboro Island Local Advisory Committee will meet at 4 p.m. Oct. 28 at the UNCW Center for Marine Science, 5600 Marvin Moss Lane, Wilmington.
· The Rachel Carson Local Advisory Committee will meet at 3 p.m. Oct. 30 at the NOAA Administration Building, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort.
· The Currituck Banks Local Advisory Committee will meet at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 4, at the Wildlife Resources Commission Center for Wildlife Education, Currituck Heritage Park, N.C. Highway 12, Corolla.
The following includes a list of public meetings on management of the coastal reserves:
· The Zeke’s Island and Masonboro Island joint public meeting will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 27 at the UNCW Center for Marine Science, 5600 Marvin Moss Lane, Wilmington.
· The Rachel Carson public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 29 at the NOAA Administration Building, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort.
· The Currituck Banks public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Audubon Pine Island Sanctuary, 300 Audubon Drive, Corolla.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration requires National Estuarine Research Reserves, or NERRs, to update their management plans every five years. The updated management plan for the NCNERR will cover the period from 2016-2021. More information about the reserve program and the management plan update are available at the reserve program’s website,

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

N.C. Coastal Resources Commission's Science Panel meeting cancelled

N.C. Coastal Resources Commission's Science Panel meeting cancelled

RALEIGH – A meeting of the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission’s Science Panel, originally scheduled for Oct. 24 in New Bern, has been cancelled.
The panel plans to hold its next meeting in mid-November.

Home Electronics Disposal

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