By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Sunday was Earth Day, a day to do something good for the home to 7 billion people, and at Honey Creek Resort State Park in northern Appanoose County, it was "Rubbish to Riches."
The brains behind "Rubbish to Riches," resort naturalist Hannah Wiltamuth, said 35 vendors occupying 57 tables came to the resort for this first-time event. One vendor came from as far as Sioux City, she said.
The concept behind "Rubbish to Riches" is to turn trash into something useful — "upcycling" — and judging by the large number of vendors and participants Sunday it appeared to be a success.
"It's doing well," Wiltamuth said after less than two hours into the event. "So far, so good."
"Rubbish to Riches" is all about upcycling and Amanda Selby made items out of yarn and plastic bags customers use to carry purchases. Selby, of Indianola, said each upcycled bag item she made required approximately 30 plastic bags and yarn, or what she calls PLARN, a plastic and yarn bag.
Other items available at "Rubbish to Riches" included clothing, jewelry, wood products, books, dolls, Tupperware, tote bags, food, plants, watches, scarfs, glassware, canned food, waxes, candles, hats, sunglasses, makeup, scarfs, lawn ornaments, antiques and other unusual items like vacuum cleaner covers and custom-made knives.
Jack and Evelyn Howard with Howard's Crafts in Ottumwa brought vacuum cleaner covers and cloth pouches to microwave vegetables in to "Rubbish to Riches." The Howards said they work out of their home and typically attend larger craft shows in cities like Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.
Evelyn said her inspiration was to cover an unsightly mechanical device that usually sits in the corner with something that was meant "to just too please people. It just is pretty to look at and they can smile at."
James Walker brought an assortment of wood and upcycled metal products. Walker takes used railroad spikes, car axles, old chain saw and bicycle chains and turns them into custom knives, something he has been doing the last 12 years.
Walker said his knives sell anywhere from $150-$450.
Walker in some degree for 20 years has worked on violins and for 30 years on gun stocks.