Tag Archive for 'recycled'

City Museum




A few weeks ago I went to a wedding in St. Louis MO. I had never been there before and I didn’t know anything about the city other than the fact that it was on the Mississippi River and has a big arch. I was pleasantly surprised about quite a few aspects of the city (public transportation, re-purposed industrial spaces, pedestrian oriented streetcar communities still in tact) but I was in complete awe of the City Museum.

The ethic of the place was all about exploration and it appeared to be built completely from recycled and salvaged materials. It was a place that I am pre-disposed to adore – in fact, I’m actually fairly shocked that I had never heard of it before!

From their website:

Reaching no farther than municipal borders for its reclaimed building materials, CITY MUSEUM boasts features such as old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, and even two abandoned planes!

We went to the museum on the recommendation of some other visitors from the wedding. There were 5 adults, but from the smiles on our faces and eagerness to acquire rug-burns you might have mistaken us for 10 year olds. The place is one giant maze/jungle gym. It was a little bit like a 10 story tactile dome taken to the extreme. On Fridays it is open until 1am! The place was decidedly not an amusement park, nor was it a traditional museum in any way. Participation was encouraged (or required?). We even heard a museum employee telling all of the parents sitting around the outdoor structure that they needed to show the kids how it was done – i.e. get up and play!



The place had no maps (although I did find one on their website) and not much in the way of directional signage. This required visitors to find their own way and keep exploring to discover what other fantastic-ness awaited them. Several times I overheard kids discussing how to get back to some part of the maze that had a feature they really liked (a slide, or ladder perhaps). Problem solving and creative thinking were require everywhere. Everywhere I looked there were structures made from everyday objects. The top floor even had a vintage clothing store including vintage clothing printed with the museum logo.



We didn’t have adequate time to explore the place (and I didn’t have nearly enough time to take pictures because I was more excited about running around) but there were two main features that were big winners with our group.



The outdoor area, called the MonstroCity, featured airplane fuselages, construction cranes, a fire engine, a giant ball pit, and large metal mesh tubes suspended several stories in the air (you can see one coming off of the plane’s wing). Everything was meant for climbing on or through. I saw people problem solving to navigate their way, overcoming their fear of heights and mostly grinning from ear to ear.

The biggest single attraction was the 10 story spiral slide made from shoots welded from sheet metal. It looked like the shoots were part of the original shoe factory (in which the museum was built) that were connected together to make one long, very twisty, slide.



The slide is the spiral all the way on the left. There were no elevators to the top, you had to walk up a spiral staircase (into increasingly hot air) all the way to the top floor to earn your ride down. While sliding down it I kept thinking the ride would end but 10 stories in circles is a long way to go! The bottom of the slide dumps you out in a series of caves which were dark, eerie, and refreshingly cool.


If you ever happen to be in St. Louis you MUST visit the City Museum. The scope and scale of this place was inspiring and exploring within the museum brought back feelings of wonder and excitement from childhood that little else can replicate. My adult side was amazed by the structures made from re-purposed materials and inspired to build large scale sculpture. My child side just wanted to play like crazy and skin as many joints as possible.

Get ‘em while they are hot!

The Tweed Chicken had a photoshoot today out in the lovely spring sun.

Why so much attention? Well, I’ve opened an etsy shop. Thats right, now you can get your very own tweed chicken via etsy and the US Postal Service.

I’m also selling wallets made from recycled tyvek envelopes and vinyl banners from the bart station.

You can even get a button to show your tweed chicken pride.

I havent actually sold anything through etsy yet, but I know there are a lot of people out there who could use a little tweed chicken in their lives and hopefully this will help spread the love.

abmatic on etsy

California Style Christmas


How to have a California style Holiday Season:
1. Combine all aspects of Holiday season into one big-ole celebration. I like to put a star of David on top of my Chirstmas Tree (or Holiday Bush etc). I also enjoy jewish themed ornaments. Im not religious at all so I just like to celebrate Christmas in the true American fashion of consumerism, feasts and family visits.

2. Use recycled materials for as many things as possible. And I dont mean wrapping paper made from recycled material (though that is a step in the right direction) I mean use things that have already served another purpose. I like to wrap presents in jcrew catalogs. I get far too many in the mail and the shiny colorfull glossy paper makes great wrapping material. Make your own bows and “ribbon” too! Ill post a bit more about that later.
I also made a garland this year out of already used printer paper and some red yarn. I think it would look nice and do a good job reflecting the colored lights if my tree were strong enough to support them!

3. Get your holiday tree(s) and foliage from a sustainable source. Mine came from my parents yard where the Douglass Fir trees are taking over. My dad is scrambling to keep their numbers under control so I would classify that as than sustainable. The Berkeley Forestry Club also sells trees on campus which they harvest from the research forest in the Sierras.

4. Make gifts yourself. I know not everyone has the time for this and it isnt appropriate for every situation but I really enjoy the process. I enjoy giving gifts to people that I have spent time thinking about and working on.

5. Enjoy the sun and spend some time outside just because you can!