Upcycled Candle Sticks Using Clarinet Parts

Junk King Upcycled Clarinet Candlesticks, photo by Caryn

Junk King Upcycled Clarinet Candlesticks, photo by Caryn

Junk Lady was going though boxes and found one all chockablock with old clarinet parts. After attempting to assemble one working instrument and failing I got to thinking what non-musical way they could be recycled. CLARINET CANDLESTICKS!

Wacky Wednesday – TPAC Art-O-Mat

ARTOMAT at TPAC, Photo by Caryn

ARTOMAT at TPAC, Photo by Caryn

Our first visit to TPAC, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, brought many delights: the show, the architecture, the artwork and statues in expected and unexpected places, and the Art-O-Mat. After explaining to our daughter what a cigarette machine was, we both agreed it was a fantastic and productive up cycle. Placing $5.00 in this Art-O-Mat machine gave the patron a choice from a selection of palm-sized hand-made artwork from around the country. I say ‘patron’ because the proceeds go to support the TPAC Education Fund.

ARTOMAT at TPAC, Photo by Caryn

ARTOMAT at TPAC, Photo by Caryn

On further investigation we learned that the Art-O-Mat is not unique to TPAC. There are Art-O-Mats all over the country, with one of the newest being unveiled at Alfred University in New York State this week. Clark Whittington of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the founder and creator of Art-O-Mat, will be speaking about his work at Alfred University on March 19th.

Art-O-Mat continues to search for more artists to represent in their machines. There are very specific perimeters and uniform packaging – about the size of  pack of cigarettes. Here are the detailed guidelines. Once a prototype is accepted the artist needs to have at least 50 items together and ready to ship to one of the cities housing an Art-O-Matic machine. Usual price is $5.00 and once sold the artist will receive $2.50.

ARTOMAT at TPAC, Photo by Caryn

ARTOMAT at TPAC, Photo by Caryn

Guest Blogger: William Taggart, Junk King of Central Virginia

Two Old Doors; Unlimited Possibilities

As the old saying goes, when a door in life closes, another one opens. Here we have two doors wide open to almost limitless possibilities. Sure, they need a sanding and painting, but they’re solid wood and in relatively good condition, so why throw them away, when they can be converted into an attractive and useful addition to your home?

photo by william taggart, junk king of central virginia

Photo by William Taggart, Junk King of Central Virginia

Turn them sideways, attach simple wooden legs at each end, and they become a headboard and footboard for a king-sized bed.

Attach mirrors to the flat panels, turn the door sideways, attach pegs or hooks along the bottom edge, and hang it on the wall for a coatrack.

Lay flat, attach legs at each corner, and you have a coffee table. Top it off with a slab of tempered glass. Use longer legs for a breakfast table.

If you’re more ambitious and have some woodworking ability, these could be adapted into a mud room closet for kids to store their coats and boots. Or the seat and back for a bench on your veranda – or a porch swing.

Other adaptations we’ve seen: potting bench, free-standing hall umbrella stand/coatrack, chalkboard (using chalkboard paint on the flat panels), custom built-in kitchen cabinets or armoire, connect with hinges to make a room divider/screen, living room settee, writing desk, kitchen island, garden shed, garden trellis, garden gate or fence…

You can see examples of all of these at

The only limitation is your creativity!

Note from Caryn: William Taggart is the owner/operator of Junk King of Central Virginia servicing Richmond, Virginia and the surrounding area. Thank you so much for your blog, Bill.

Volunteering With Reverb

I don’t follow a lot of musicians on Facebook, but I do follow Guster. This Spring they posted about volunteer opportunities with Reverb on their upcoming tour with Ben Folds Five and Barenaked Ladies. This was the first I’d heard of Reverb. At each venue, mostly outdoor, Reverb works with the musicians to make the negative impact on the environment as small as possible, i.e. reducing the carbon footprint. Among other things (see hyperlink above) they have compostable plates and cutlery made of potato and corn starch, extensive recycling stations, solar power where possible, and the use of bio-diesel for all the trucks and buses.

reverb tent and solar stage at the woods at fontanel

Photo by Caryn of Reverb Tent & Solar Stage at the Woods at Fontanel

I applied to be a volunteer in the Eco-Village before and during the first part of the show at the Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel and was accepted within a few days. Volunteers were not just there to educate about recycling, they were also there to talk about the Lacey Act, which prohibits the trade of plants and wildlife illegally taken, transported or sold. We gathered signatures from people wishing to keep the Lacey Act

photo by caryn of the solar stage at reverb nashville

Photo by Caryn of the Solar Stage at Reverb Nashville

(in place since 1900) strong and encourage elected official to not let special interests weaken it. There were some interesting conversations with concert goers about this because Gibson Guitars, one of Nashville’s prized businesses, ran afoul of the Lacey Act a few years ago.

Volunteers received a t-shirt, training, and, after Guster’s opening act, free range to go in and enjoy Ben Folds Five and Barenaked Ladies performances. But, we got a preview on the ‘Solar Stage’ with Ed Robertson and Jim Creeggan from BNL and Reverb co-founder Adam Gardner from Guster playing a few songs. They were delightful and engaging and hit it out of the park with the Talking Heads ‘Psycho Killer‘.

photo by caryn of slow and low bbq bistros food truck

Photo by Caryn of the Slow & Low BBQ Bistro’s Food Truck

Also there were East Nashville’s non-profit Urban Green Lab and food truck Slow & Low BBQ Bistro. I enjoyed learning about Urban Green Lab and Slow & Low’s brisket was so good that I dragged the Junk King and Princess to their restaurant on 54th Ave North the next day for lunch. This KCBS BBQ judge thinks it is the best barbecue restaurant in Middle Tennessee.

So keep an eye out for the release of Reverb volunteer opportunities across the country for the 2014 season. 2013 saw opportunities to also see Fun., Maroon 5, Dave Mathews Band, John Mayer, Yo Gabba Gabba Live, Phish, and Jack Johnson.

Dryer Tubing + Paint + Cinnamon Sticks & Moss = Halloween Pumpkin Decorations

This project was found on Pinterest and has quickly become quite popular. Take inexpensive pliable duct tubing, turn it on itself and attach. Spray paint it and add a cinnamon stick for a fragrant stem with some moss and … you have a center piece.

1001 Uses for a Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrel


Spending a few days in Lynchburg, TN helping friends as they compete at the Jack Daniels Invitational BBQ I was able to visit the Lynchburg General Store. I am amazed at all the different items they make out of used Jack Daniels whiskey barrels.

From stools and chairs to tables and bars, they reuse both the side slats and barrel heads. I purchased a half barrel lid to commemorate my visit here this weekend on which our team and other friends may sign and write messages.


Don’t Throw Out Your Halloween Pumpkins!

arrington vineyards

Photo taken by Caryn at Arrington Vineyards, Arrington, TN 

A lovely visit with friends at Arrington Vineyards last evening got me thinking about pumpkins.  We are nearing Halloween and the end of ‘Pumpkin Flavored Everything’.  Many folks have the capacity to compost.  Others have their own gardens and can put the pumpkin remains out there to fertilize and perhaps plant volunteers for next year’s pumpkins.  Those who do not may still recycle their pumpkins.  Please check with nearby farmers to see if they would like pumpkins dropped off for their animals to enjoy.  Our two carved pumpkins will be delivered to Nolensville’s Windrow Farms for my friend Gertrude and her pals to have a treat.


Photo of Gertrude taken by Caryn at Windrow Farms, Nolensville

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