Old Baker Farm provides fun, fall, family outing

The $10 entrance fee included numerous activities. Upon entrance to the farm, the starting point of a corn maze was on the left. On the right, children played in an area specifically for them with pedal tractor races, a tumble bus and a large trailer full of fresh-picked cotton called a cotton bounce.

Because the weekend of Oct. 26 and 27 was the Cotton Pickin’ Celebration at Old Baker Farm, vendors lined the walkway as guests ventured deeper into the farm. The vendors sold everything from food to crafts to taxidermy animals. A Civil War battle reenactment was also part of the Celebration, complete with horses, guns and cannons.

The farm also had hay bale mountains, a petting zoo, and a cotton field. However, what drew most people to the farm that day was the pumpkin patch. Guests could take a tractor-pulled hayride out to a large field full of pumpkins. With the price of entry, each visitor was able to pick out one of the pumpkins, which ranged in size from tiny to large.

Sophomore nursing major Chrissy Hessing said, “It was the perfect fall outing full of hay bales, fields, red barns, crunchy leaves and, of course, pumpkins!”

Old Baker Farm is a place for all ages. Both families and college students alike enjoyed the fall festivities.

Freshman exercise science major McKenna Souders who went to the farm with friends said, “I loved going to the pumpkin patch because I think it allowed us to bond while having fun and feeling like a little kid trying to pick out the perfect pumpkin and find our way out of the corn maze like most of us did when we were little.”

By Katy Flinn

Buy a gift, change a life

WC logo

Just about everyone likes to receive a special gift.

With WorldCrafts, the Fair Trade division of the Woman’s Missionary Union, giving a special gift can feel as good as getting one.

“Our goal is to develop sustainable, Fair Trade businesses among impoverished people across the world,” said Emily Swader, the Marketing Strategist for WorldCrafts. ”Through purchasing WorldCrafts products, you can really change the life of someone.”

The organization started in 1996 with only one artisan group from Bangkla, Thailand. Today, WorldCrafts works with more than 60 artisan groups in 30 countries – offering dignity and eternal hope to each individual in every group.

“Everything we have is handmade,” Swader said. Each product also comes with a card with the maker’s picture and story on it.

But in a world that seems to be Fair Trade-crazed, what exactly makes WorldCrafts different?

“What sets WorldCrafts apart is that we are not only interested in people having that sustainable living income, we’re interested in them having eternal hope,” Swader said.

And because the WMU’s national headquarters are located here in Birmingham down Highway 280, local shoppers don’t even have to leave the city limits to change the life of a person thousands of miles away.

Mary Holland Novkov received a set of wooden coasters from WorldCrafts as a hostess gift from an in-town friend.

“They are a really great conversation starter,” Novkov said. “Every time people come over they ask about them and I get to explain their story.”

With several product categories including home décor, stationary and women’s accessories, similar stories from all over the world are waiting to be told.

The most popular items from WorldCrafts include nativities from around the world, ethnic jewelry and scarves made out of recycled sari’s from India.

From left to right, popular WorldCrafts products include a nativity scene (Jerusalem — Bethlehem Carvers, $39.99), a stationary set (India — Ergon Handicrafts, $14.99) and a scarf (India — Village Artisans, $34.99).

WorldCrafts products are mainly available for purchase online, through catalogue or locally at the gift shop located at the WMU’s national headquarters.

Individuals and churches are also encouraged to host WorldCrafts parties where guests can pick up catalogues of items available for purchase and learn more about WorldCrafts’ mission. Free party ideas and themes can be found on the WorldCrafts website.

“Thousands of parties are hosted every year,” Swader said.

For more information about hosting a WorldCrafts party or about how to purchase WorldCrafts merchandise, visit http://worldcrafts.org/.

By Sarah Anne Elliott
Photos courtesy of WorldCrafts

Annual Halloween festival unites artists of Montevallo, Ala.

Artists, musicians and dancers gathered last Saturday afternoon in Montevallo, Ala. for the third annual ArtStalk.

The Halloween-themed event, hosted by the City and University of Montevallo and the Montevallo Arts Council, dominated Main Street in the small suburb just 30 miles from downtown Birmingham. Its festivities included a performance by the Birmingham Ballet, fire dancers and a costume contest, according to its official website.

Brandon Mans, a junior graphic design student at the University of Montevallo and self-proclaimed Jedi killer, came not only to participate in the contest but also to enjoy his town’s unique culture.

“It’s great for families or for people who just want to derp [sic] around by themselves,” Mans said.

Artist and participant Andrew Cost agreed, saying he loved ArtStalk because it brought culture to the community and gave him a chance to participate with his fellow artists. ArtStalk also lets him celebrate his heritage. Cost grew up watching his father, an artist, and sought to follow in his footsteps.

“I’ve always been in the business,” he said. “It’s part of who I am.”

Sitting at an adjacent booth, Nathan Harper, a sophomore art student at the University of Montevallo and native of Florence, Ala., shared a similar childhood love for art.

“Ever since I was a kid, I always loved to draw with crayons,” he said. “I figured, ‘Why not make a career from it?’”

Seventeen-year-old Ivey Vinson, dressed in a bloodied warrior costume, also fell in love with art as a child. ArtStalk gives her an inexpensive way to share her art, she said, showing off earrings in the shapes of eyeballs, pizza slices and bacon.

“Things on Etsy are so expensive,” she said. “I like making cute and cuddly jewelry that’s inexpensive.”

Some artists, however, were slightly more serious. One of those was Jason Jeffcoat, a recent graduate and freelancer showing off his supernova collection. Jeffcoat’s pieces began in simplistic black-and-white and slowly transitioned into vibrancy. These were representative of real-life supernovas, Jeffcoat said.

Each piece also employed a special line-drawing technique, which Jeffcoat said is also representative of a supernova.

“Supernovas take millions of years to form,” he said. “These paintings also take a long time, about 48 hours each.”

Kily Payne, another recent graduate of the University of Montevallo, was displaying his “Open Door” exhibition, which was created by piecing various photographs together in Adobe Photoshop. He drew inspiration from his optimistic view of the future.
“You don’t know what’s on the other side,” he said. “So by opening up, you get to see what the future holds.”

The future had some unexpected twists and turns for fellow participant Bryan Crowson. Crowson, whose 27-year journalism career was cut short by a layoff, took up art as a second career. So far, he’s had some financial success, but there’s still room to grow, he said.

“I’m still learning myself, but I’m doing what I enjoy,” he said. “And what I enjoy is doing work that makes other people happy.”

By Jonathan Adams

Estate bares rich history and literature

I woke up bright and early last Saturday like any good treasure hunter would. I was up at 8 a.m. and out the door fifteen minutes later waiting in the cold rain for the start of an estate sale at 8:35 a.m. I ventured to three different sales that morning, walked through puddles, dodged cars, was nearly skewered by an elderly woman’s umbrella and narrowly escaped the inevitable estate sale stampede.

I regret to inform I didn’t find much that day, however one purchase I was able to make happened to produced some fine literature.

“All hardback books $2,” read the sign taped to the floor-to-ceiling bookcase that ran the length of the living room wall – thousands of books to choose from at only two dollars a pop. So I scoured the shelves – a Charles Dickens collection, a leather-bound encyclopedia from the 1800s, arithmetic school books from the 1950s, world travel books, modern history books and more.


I generally don’t purchase books since they don’t last the test of time well and were mostly mass-produced, decreasing their value. However, I found two items that I had to have.


First I found “History of the United States: from Aboriginal Times to the Present Day” written by John Clark Ridpath, LL.D. and published in 1901. The book caught my attention for a few reasons: one, the front ofthe cloth board cover is stamped with a beautiful golden gilt; two, the edges of the pages are rough and uneven, a feature I find appealing due to the antiquity of it; and lastly, the pages are adorned with handsome etchings of historical figures, buildings, maps and battle scenes.

The book I purchased for $2 has scuffs on the cover, significant wear and tear on the edges and corners of the cover and minimal remnants of the label on the spine. It contains two volumes of a four-volume set. The same book in much better condition and paired with the second book of the set is listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of $75 or Best Offer. The history of the listing shows two standing offers.

IMG_9925And second, I found the entire Harry Potter book series. All but one of the seven books is hardback and in like-new condition. I have seen each of the wildly popular Harry Potter films, many times I might add. But much to the dismay of all Potterheads I have encountered, I have never read the books. Now thanks to my $12 investment (they gave me the paperback for free) I can delve into the magical world of Harry Potter, whenever I find the time to read all seven books.

Total spent: $14

Estimated value: personal enjoyment and a tie to the past. Also, that history book will look really nice with my hodge podge of other vintage and antique items.

Falling into The Pepper Place Market


Crisp autumn air finally crossed the borders of Birmingham, which means everyone can officially start enjoying all things fall.

The Pepper Place Market on 2nd Avenue South offers seasonal goods for those who want to experience the farm but are stuck in the city.

Family farm vendors from just a few miles outside of the city set up every Saturday from mid-April to mid-December to offer produce, greenery, bread, jams, pastries and hand-crafted accessories.

The Saturday market started up in 2000 with the purpose of helping family farms connect with and sell to Birmingham residents. Since then, the market has developed into a large community of more than 100 tents in the downtown Birmingham lot with thousands of customers arriving each Saturday.

“Good people selling good food. Pepper Place gives a sense of community and quaintness to Birmingham’s industrial stereotype,” Samford student Christine Carrier said.

Saturday, Oct. 26, is the third annual Pumpkin Carving Contest featuring three St. Vincent’s surgeons and three local chefs.

So ‘tis the season for a cup of warm apple cider, a freshly-carved pumpkin on your doorstep and a few homemade jams for all of those seasonal recipes. You can find all of this and more at The Pepper Place Market, where the fall market is now in full swing.

For more information about The Pepper Place Market, go to http://www.pepperplacemarket.com/

By Rebekah Robinson

Freedom Night: the anti-trafficking movement


“Hope” was the theme of Freedom Night. The word against the backdrop of the skyline allowed for attendees to really understand the heart behind the night. 

At this moment, more than 27 million people worldwide are enslaved. I-20, the highway that stretches between Atlanta and Birmingham, is America’s most used avenue for sex trafficking. Girls of all ages are being taken and forced to participate in brutal and alarming modern acts of slavery- right in our backyard.

To help raise awareness, Sonya Hornsby, a Birmingham local, was inspired to plan an event to help educate people about human trafficking in the United States and around the world. Hornsby believes that by making others aware and providing a space for advocacy, the “27 million” become much more than just a vague number, they become real people who are in need of rescue.

“I think it’s easy to think that we might not have resources or the platform to make a difference, but we all have a voice, and that’s what I want people to know and grasp” Hornsby said.

There are anti-trafficking organizations throughout Birmingham fighting for the freedom of all people being exploited or held in bondage by the sex industry. While all of these organizations have different tactics, they share the same underlying goal: to grant freedom and restoration for those being held captive.

Last Friday, October 19th, 2013, many of these organizations gathered together to take part in Freedom Night- a night aimed to shine a light on the reality of modern day slavery. Several different bands were featured, including Sister Hazel and Steve Moakler, and many different people spoke about the potential victory that can come with perseverance in the fight against sex trafficking.

“I thought it was cool to see so many different types of people and organizations supporting the anti-trafficking movement. I’ve always known about human trafficking, but it going on so close to where I live makes it so much more real,” said Caroline Dill who attended Freedom Night.

To learn more about the anti-trafficking movement, and how to get involved, go to http://the-wellhouse.org/

By Kadie Haase
Photograph by Kadie Haase

George Ward Park: disc golf course for players of every skill level


Looking to take up the exhilarating sport known as disc golf? Or are you already a seasoned pro? In either case, George Ward Park in downtown Birmingham is the perfect place to spend a fall afternoon. Tom Monroe, the course pro and a multi-world disc golf champion, calls George Ward Park Birmingham’s best kept recreational secret.

The course is direct evidence of the passion alive in disc golf professionals—all the equipment was bought and paid for by local golfers who take pride in the immaculate course. The greens are always in great condition, which makes it easy to get from hole to hole.

At each hole, disc golfers will find a bench to rest on, a tee sign with hole information and a cement pad for the first drive. Each hole also has three pin positions and two baskets, which vary in difficulty.

The multiple baskets allow beginners and intermediate players to learn by practicing, while the further baskets give experienced players more of a challenge. The closer the basket, the easier the hole.

And if you ever need any tips, you can usually find Monroe in the parking lot. His passion for the sport is contagious: “If you haven’t played, come try!”

Because the first nine holes are on one side of the parking lot and the back nine are on the other, golfers have a chance to rest or grab a quick drink between the two halves of the courses. “It’s the most user-friendly course in the area,” Monroe said.

So, even if you’ve never played disc golf before, give George Ward a try.

For directions and reviews, visit this website.

By Abby Colella

Cardinal: EP release concert

Crowds flooded the University Christian Fellowship House on Highway 280 to see local band Cardinal premiere their EP.

Cardinal is a young band with three eager artists: Ethan Asters, Contemporary Worship Leader at Brookwood Baptist Church, Samford University student Brent Beachtel and University of Alabama at Birmingham student Kyle Carpenter. Cardinal produced their first EP through a Kickstarter campaign.

“Kickstarter is a way for people to fund their idea for a product by getting people to pay for the product in advance. We are so fortunate to have friends and family who helped us.” Brent Beachtel said.

In an intimate concert setting, Cardinal’s music brought together many supporters and established a strong connection with its audience. “We don’t want to just communicate to our audience, but we want them to feel emotion with us,” Beachtel said.

The group formed a little over two years ago when Asters called Beachtel with the idea to start a band. Beachtel was excited from the beginning and later recruited Carpenter as their drummer. Beachtel couldn’t pinpoint why the name Cardinal stuck but said Ethan had always been a big Cardinals baseball fan.

Juggling college, work, church life and music is not an easy feat, yet the members of Cardinal expressed their desire to prioritize rehearsal time and the call to pursue music.

Beachtel believes that they are unlike any other band in Birmingham. They want to add something unique to the Birmingham music scene. Their desire is to “stand out” and hopefully produce a full-length album sometime soon.

“We are in it for the long haul,” Beachtel said.

Cardinal’s music is available on iTunes, Spotify and CDBaby. To keep up with the band, visit the Cardinal Facebook page.

By Eleanor Stenner
Photography by Eleanor Stenner

Do it yourself: envelope clutch

Check out this easy step-by-step process to make your own envelope clutch. If you have a tight budget but are in need of a new accessory, this is the project for you!

Items you will need:
-wrapping paper
-clear contact paper
-needle and thread
-optional: adhesive velcro


Step one:
Cut out a section of wrapping paper. The larger the section, the bigger your clutch, so cut according to your preference of size.


Step two:
Cut your section of wrapping paper into a perfect square. This will help ensure the clutch is even when you fold it in later steps.

Step three:
Lay your square of paper on your flat surface. Precut a section of contact paper about an inch bigger than your wrapping paper piece. Begin to overlay the contact paper onto the wrapping paper (be mindful of the air bubbles that can pop-up during this step- keep a credit card handy to help smooth out any bubbles that do arise). Smooth out the paper as you continue to place the contact paper completely overtop the wrapping paper.


Step four:
Flip the entire project over and place another layer of contact paper on top of existing sheets- keep smoothing out the bubbles.


Step five:
Trim the excess contact paper on the edges of the wrapping paper, making sure to leave about a centimeter of contact paper on each side.

Step six:
Fold three corners of the project together to begin to form the envelope. Use small pieces of contact paper to help secure the folds.


Step seven:
Fold the top corner down to create a flap for your clutch. You may need to trim the top part of the pocket of your envelope to make a more well-defined fold.


Step eight:
Now it’s time to get creative! Add some embellishment with a bright button on the top flap. Sew the button with multiple cross stitches through the paper. Here’s where you can choose to attach velcro to the underside of your flap to help keep the envelope closed.


Step nine:
Time to show off your creation. This clutch is perfect for holding makeup, mints and money! The smooth surface of the contact paper prevents stains on the inside of your clutch. Smaller versions could be perfect for the inside of larger bags or preventing messes in bags during travel.


By Madison Miles