Thursday, April 22, 2021

It's bEARTHday


Hello everyone.  You may call me Dr. E., Queen of Free.  I was born on Earth Day, which makes me all the more inspired to find free or nearly free items I can recycle. 

In case you have lived under a rock most of your life and have never heard of Earth Day, the first person to propose, create, and found it was John McConnell.  Originally, the date of the first Earth Day was to be the first day of spring, March 21, 1970.  However, many of us know that Gaylord Nelson, the senator and environmentalist from Wisconsin is considered to be the founder of Earth Day.  Originally scheduled to be a "teach in," it became so much more.  The date was set for April 22, 1970 and Earth Day is now celebrated on that same day every year.  Today Earth Day is 51 years young.

The first Earth Day and the next 20 years were focused in the states.  However, in 1990, Earth Day went International.  Over 100 million people in 192 countries celebrated Earth Day in 2020.  Being in lockdown may have helped the number of people who participated online.

We were going gangbusters until 2017, where many of the wonderful environmental and other acts that were in effect for many years, and others that were created by the Obama administration, were removed due to Trump's rule reversals.

You can see what devastation to our earth these reversals have caused.  If you would like to read more about each of these rules reversals, each is discussed in this recently updated article in the New York Times.  According to the article and a staff attorney at Harvard’s Environmental and Energy Law Program:
This (previous) administration is leaving a truly unprecedented legacy.

I was delighted to read that the Biden administration is holding a global climate summit today.

Every year I try to create art that I take from trash to treasure.  Here are a few I've created in the past.


I have this massive amount of 12 X 2 inches (30,48 X 5,08 centimeters) wood that I cut to varying lengths, mostly close to 12 inches each.  I also have a lot of old silk flowers that I've taken to graves I've decorated in the past.  The button was from my stash and the clock hands from a deconstructed clock.  The paint came from the Household Hazardous Waste Swap and Shop, where it was free.  The only things new were the doily and the glue I used to apply the various parts to the wood.


I named this Ticket to Ride.  I started with a sheet of cardboard from a cracker box.  To it I added a map of part of the states.  Over that, I added an acetate overlay from an area in Russia.  I found an entire box of these acetates at the curb in another town I was visiting at the time.  They were marked free.  Since I am always looking for ways to enhance my 7-Continents journal, I couldn't pass them up.  The tickets came from my stash of old or gifted goodies.  The only new item was the three paper doll children.

This started out as mostly white, used dryer sheets.  I colored the dryer sheets using fluid acrylics.  I dyed some lace lavender for contrast.  There was also part of an old lacy tablecloth I cut up after I immersion dyed it years ago.  I cut the image holder by hand from stained leather.  I was going for the darkest color of the dryer sheets when I stained the leather.  The image, the Last Supper, was from a book I found in my neighbor's trash.  I added the zipper pull for decorative purposes.  I sewed the various layers together using variegated thread.  I added the fancy fiber and fed the quiltlet through a stick from my yard.


I created this page in an old gifted calendar.  I called it Point the Way.  I did a lot of sewing on this page.  I also threw as many things as I could find on this page in an attempt to get rid of a few of my excess scraps.

A companion piece that sat next to the previous journal page, I called this one Back Story.  It has even more disparate pieces that were cluttering my scrap basket.  More sewing on this one, too.

What do you do when you have lots of old lids, some old telephone wire, and a rusty clothes hanger?  You make wind chimes.  It's hard to see the words I etched onto the lids from this photo, but the words are easily seen if you are in front of the wind chimes.  The words read: Wash, Rinse, Dry, Fold, Repeat.  That's why this wind chime is sitting on my clothes line.

I altered the following keys

and turned them into brooches.

This is a small collage I created from scraps and leftovers.  The base is a cracker box.  To that I added a map of Florida, a gifted die cut of the states, and a faux cloisonné heart with a peace sign inside it.

I dug this piece of styrofoam out of my friend Sally's recycle bin.  I had some leftover fun foam, so I created a chevron stamp.  Once I created it, I realized white glue was not the best glue for the project and I applied E6000 to the fun foam chevron pieces and reassembled the stamp.

Everything in this entry is recycled or repurposed.  I named it Can You Hear Me Now?  It started with one half of an old Reader's Digest Condensed book cover.  To that I added the gifted angel tissue paper.  I disassembled an old phone and used the board and amplifier.  I created the little piece hanging off the bottom by finding several green beads from my stash and running a piece of copper wire through them.  I added a few green stars along the middle of the "mother" board and added more beads along the top.  I computer generated the words and added them to the assemblage.  Finally, I used deconstructed telephone wire and beads from my stash to construct the hanger.

In an attempt to find ways to use wire hangers I'd been given, I tied two together, forming a cage in the process.  The rope came from my neighbor who purchased some wood that had been tied with the rope.  The branch came from my yard.  I purchased the bird in the late 1980s during a trip to California.  The plate had been one of the 24 from my grandmother's Christmas dishes.  It was chipped and couldn't be used anyway. 


I recycled this mint tin by recycling some rusted paper and cheesecloth.  The child was printed by accident, so since I already had it, I fussy cut it and added it to the tin.

I recycled a spring from a "dead" clothes pin and inserted a bead I made using polymer clay.  I inserted the assembly in a portion of used chain.

I colored some key heads using some old glitter paint I found in my stash.

I dipped a second set of keys in encaustic wax after failing to fully appreciate encaustics.

I used old nail polish (I don't polish my nails) to mark a few more of these.


Some of you were here yesterday when you saw my failed shrink plastic experiment.

I fared much better in 2015.

I even remembered to use the correct ink then, too.

It was also the first year I started making brooches out of keys.
I turned a few keys into hooks,
and I even used my metal stamps to add a few words of wisdom to some of them.  From left: BE, OK, FUN, JOY.  Some don't work well for adding words.
As if bending keys wasn't enough to severely damage my hands, I turned spoons into necklace potentials, too.

And one final cutlery project was when I revamped my Welcome wind chimes.  The original chimes were either missing or used in other projects.  I restrung the hangers and beaded cutlery so I didn't have to drill holes in each piece.

Please ignore the problems I'm having trying to left justify these final few photos.  No matter what I try, nothing works.  

Now for one final piece today.  I'm from an age where you went into a grocery store and the baggers asked

"Do you want Paper or Plastic?"  Last year in March my bank updated their ATMs and sent everyone new cards.  I didn't go to my bank until mid-December when I needed money to pay my property taxes.  That's when I learned my card wouldn't work in the new ATM.  Because I had waited more than three months to activate it, the bank cancelled it.  That meant I needed a new one.

The top one is my cancelled card.  It has the words Dr. Elizabeth and my last name, which I will NEVER, EVER allow on my blog.  Since some people (and I'm one of them) can read backwards, I covered my last name with paper I glued in place.

The bottom two are cards that were never activated, but sent to my residence, since my friend Joseph Peck kept his Panhead Music Production business at my address.

While I was there, the person waiting on me was putting all these bands that cover various dollar amounts away.  I asked what they did with them, and the teller told me they sent them to the recycle bin.  Never afraid to ask for art fodder, the teller gave me a ton of these bands.  

Sadly, there were only two $2000.00 tags, but that was enough to create this final entry.

That's when the idea for this entry became reality and Paper or Plastic was born.

I loved how there was a bit of texture in this very flat journal page.

For this page, I started by spritzing some of my handmade shimmering mists on 90 lb. watercolor paper.  Once the paper was dry, I assembled the money bands and credit cards on the page.  Finally, I wrote the sentiment using a blue felt tip pen.  Because I was inspired to recycle these cards and money bands, I'm also joining Erika, aka BioArtGal and Chris, aka Pearshapedcrafting our hosts this month at Art Journal Journey

Thanks for sticking around while I shared some of the things I've made during my previous bEARTHday events.  Tomorrow I'll share what plastic can and cannot be recycled in the states.  I thought this post was long enough as it was.  Again, I am SO grateful you stuck with me through these 22 days of recycling.  Just because it's Earth Day, doesn't mean we shouldn't be doing these same things every day.


25 thoughtful remarks:

Iris Flavia said...

Wow, never thought Earth Day was "older" than me. How come we still waste so much and treat Earth so badly often?
How come I had to use a car and drive so much for a job I could´ve done from home or my company here where I could walk to?!

Thank you for the history lesson! Why didn´t we learn about this at school?!

"from trash to treasure" is perfect, always.

Love all your art, the lids are my fav, though! Love it!

And the keys! The mint tin! WOW! Hooks, that´s clever! And spoons! You have me awwwing like crazy here!
Shoot!!!! Ingo accidentially destroyed... I think it was a fork. I kept the upper half - cute plastic, but threw away the metal. And for crying out loud I bought a rather expensive chime some years ago that is beautiful but so darn loud it must annoy the neighbors and hence I hardly use it.

Yah. Blogger, eh. I know.
And isn´t it so annoying with the cards. But interesting with the bands.

Paper or plastic... I think we didn´t have that here. Just plastic and luckily now you have to pay for both and most take a backpack or other own bags for shopping.

Well. Certainly!!!

I wish you a great new year in your life! Health and Happiness. Fun, great arty moments, lovely cooking and hopefully going shopping again, if it´s ALDI! Meeting friends again...

Valerie-Jael said...

Happy Birthday, dear Elizabeth. I'm sure you enjoyed creating all of these rescued treasures, and It's a good feeling that you saved them from the trash collections. Have a wonderful day, hugs, Valerie

Elephant's Child said...

A very, very happy Birthday and Earth Day to you.
Sadly my country fails on so many levels. A work in progress here. Always.

RO said...

Happy bEARTHday, and what fun ways you've come up with over the years to recycle. Those keys are fantastic, and such a clever way to cover up your name, and showcase those cards!(lol) Hope your day is as wonderful as you are, my dear friend. Hugs, RO

Laurie said...

I cannot think of a more perfect match to be born on earth day, you represent all we should strive for, I love them all, you are an inspiration!

My name is Erika. said...

happy birthday dear Elizabeth. I hope you have a great day. It is nice to see some of this art for a second view, and some for a first view. It is great to recycle things in art, isn't it? And I agree with you about the former president and all the thing he did to hurt the environment. And other things also, but let me concentrate on Earth Day today. You are good at finding ways to recycle for sure.I like the keys (boy you have a lot of them) and the spoons and of course the journal pages. Enjoy your day! Hugs-Erika

Annie said...

A very Happy Birthday to you, Elizabeth! As well as a very happy Earth Day! You are the queen of recycling. So many fun ideas and so many good ideas. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed traveling through time reading about your past and present recycling projects. Kudos to your dedication of recycled art. Have a fabulous day and coming year ahead.

CJ Kennedy said...

Happy Bearthday! 💐🎂 I loved the way you recycled the keys and made windchimes out of things the best. You're so clever.

Jeanie said...

Happy Birthday and Bearthday to you! I love seeing the vast diversity of projects you have done over the years. It's really interesting to me to see the variety of media and supplies in this collection. Well done, my friend. I can tell how much you love the Earth -- and I'm pretty darned sure it loves you back for all you do.

Have a wonderful birthday. I hope you will be able to celebrate.

Sami said...

Happy bearthday dear Elizabeth, hope you have a wonderful day.
I had no idea Earth Day was already 51 years old, only in the last couple of years did I get to hear about it.
Love your recycling projects - the wind chime lids, the key brooches and the key hooks are my favourites.
You are always so creative :)

Cindy McMath said...

Happy bEARTHday Elizabeth! I hope you have a lovely day. Enjoyed all your recycling projects all over again. Xo

Darla said...

When I saw Earth Day posts here and there on the web I immediatly thought of you. Happy Birthday my friend. You have been an inspiration all the years that I have known you online. I enjoyed the look back through some of your work.

Divers and Sundry said...

Happy Birthday and Earth Day! I wish we'd seen more progress since 1970 :( I especially love how you made the bead necklace :)

Empire of the Cat said...

Happy BEARTHday Elizabeth! I love all your recycled projects, especially the one from 2018 with all the sewings, and the keys and the bird in the cage. I am hoping that this past year with all the lockdowns, has made some positive impact on our environment. Elle xx

Mae Travels said...

The teach-in that gave rise to the first earth day was right here in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan.
"Teach-in on the Environment" was held from March 11 to 14, 1970, followed by the first EarthDay.

Happy EarthDay!
Happy BirthDay!

best... mae at

Sandra Cox said...

All kinds of creativity and beauty. I absolutely love the first one.
Joe Biden's hard after it, isn't he? Let's hope congress falls in line.
Hope your day is as special as you are, dear Elizabeth.

Halle said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I kept thinking about you today and have never had a chance to call. Pesky job and appointments.

I still really love last years project...and of course the cutlery windchime..another fav.

Hope your day was fantastic.

Olde Dame Holly said...

Happy Birthday! What a bountiful amount of unique reused and upcycled materials made into beautiful and interesting art! I can't pick a favorite, but the laundry paint lids and the spoon pendants really caught my eye. I had forgotten about being asked "Paper or plastic?" back in the time of the transition to plastic bags!

Neet said...

Happy Bearthday/Birthday Elizabeth. Gosh, I remember some of these things being on your blog but there are lots I don't remember so it has been a great journey for me reading all of this.
Love all of your projects but especially the ones that make wind chimes.
Take care, all of you
Hugs, Neet xx

Let's Art Journal said...

Happy birthday wishes! I hope you had a wonderful day 😀. I so enjoyed looking at your past makes and I remember the keys that you created - so pretty! Take care and enjoy! Hugs, Jo x

craftytrog said...

Happy belated bEARTHday Elizabeth. Hope you had a lovely day.
I love all of your recycled art pieces, especially your 'Welcome' chimes.
Alison xx

Meggymay said...

Sorry I am late calling in to wish you a Happy Birthday. I do hope you had a good day.
I loved seeing your recycled pieces you are a wonderful promoter of how we should take care to re purpose old items and waste pieces .
Take care and be safe.
Yvonne xx

pearshapedcrafting said...

Sorry to be late to see this post. I hope you received my E-card! I have used my plastic card three times today - it seemed very strange as most things we have bought recently have been online! We had a lovely day - T's birthday - all will be revealed on T day. I remember a lot of your previous recycling posts but it is the keys that fascinated me most - I still remember being so impressed! Hugs, Chrisx

Lowcarb team member said...

A very, happy Birthday and Earth Day to you.
My good wishes.

All the best Jan

Helen said...

I am so sorry I am late wishing you a happy Birthday/bEARTHday... I meant to do it in good time!! Hope you enjoyed the day. (Off to Kew very soon this morning!)