Until today, I've had schedule conflicts with the Thursday volunteer hours at Zerolandfill. This evening, a special cultivation time was scheduled from 5-7 for volunteers to process all of the donations from this afternoon's pollination. Laura and I were happy to help.
When we arrived, we were told that we were going to be doing something "kinda gross." There have been some leakage problems in the roof where the Zerolandfill materials are stored. We were led to the back corner of the building and told that our first job was to sort through all of the materials in the area where the leaks occurred and separate anything salvageable from the stuff that was mildewed. Everything inside the yellow caution tape border needed to be sorted with the mildewed materials removed and the useable materials organized according to type.
Gross is relative. I've been puked on by both of my daughters. I recently potty trained The Milk Belly Princess who went through a phase where she had a MAJOR aversion to putting poop in the potty. (TMI--I know, but you can see where I'm going with this.) While the smell of mildew is definitely not good, I didn't find it to be such a big deal. About every other box I sorted through had mildew in it, but there was a lot of good fabric as well. A slight problem arose a couple of times when I couldn't tell the difference between mildew and really ugly fabric.
As it turned out, this fabric was perfectly fine, just ugly.
Laura's allergies wouldn't allow her to work near mold, so she was in charge of stacking tile. I know that this picture is a little blurry, but we were women in motion. We had a LOT to sort in a limited time so we had to MOVE!
I'd been sorting fabric for about an hour when all of a sudden bags were brought into my sorting area. I was curious and, feeling like I needed a little reward after sorting through an especially moldy box, I opened one of the large trash bags.
All of a sudden I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. The bag was full of fabric. Yards and yards of clean, folded designer upholstery fabric....and more bags were coming. The material originally belonged to an interior designer who passed away and her daughter wanted to donate it so it could be used and appreciated by others. Not only did this wonderful woman donate all of the fabric, she stayed and helped us sort it. Laura joined us after all of the tile was organized. Here is a picture of Laura (left), our wonderful, benevolent fabric donor (center) and another really helpful volunteer (right) sorting the fabric.
As the four of us sorted the fabric by size, our generous donor (I was so excited about the fabric that I forgot to ask her name) asked us about what we were interested in and helped us find what she thought we could use. The volunteer on the right in the picture was interested in lace, and I said that I was looking for fabric that I could use to teach sewing to little girls. I walked away for two minutes to get some more boxes and when I returned I found this in on the top of the bag where I was collecting my own little stash:
There were THREE fat quarters of this whimsical goodness! After knowing me for all of 20 minutes my fellow volunteers knew that this would be right up my alley. I would like to think I said "Thank you" and smiled, but I have this nagging memory of clutching the fabric, squealing, then jumping up and down shrieking "Shut up!"
I think I was absent from school on the day they taught poise.
Two hours flew by and at seven o'clock it was time to leave. I could have easily stayed for another three hours looking at everything. I think that tomorrow has the potential to be the biggest and best harvest of the summer.
I arrived home, put Little Tiger and The Milk Belly Princess to bed, and set about staging all of my finds from today. This is what I found without even consciously looking today. I sorted much more than this, but this is what caught my eye and made it's way into my bag as I worked:
Aside from the fairy fabric, the other thing that isn't pictured here is this book of vintage stock images.
I've read that sometimes graphic designers donate these books to Zerolandfill, but I'd never seen one there until today. There were a few books similar to this, but I liked this one the best because it contains pictures like these:
If you are local (and by local I mean if you live anywhere between Pittsburgh and Detroit) and a crafter who likes fabric, it is DEFINITELY worth your while to drive over to the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District on East 131st Street in Garfield Heights on Friday August 12th between 12 and 3. After tomorrow there will be one more harvest at noon on August 19th, but since there aren't anymore pollination days, that harvest will be for everything that is left over.