Eggshelland – A Colorful Easter Tradition Made of Eggshells

One of the world’s most impressive Easter traditions, Eggshelland features a number of colorful lawn mosaics made of Easter eggshells.

Every year, Ron and Betty Manolio, from Lyndhurst, Ohio, create a set of intricate eggshell mosaics right on their front lawn. It all started back in 1957, when Ron’s mother used 750 colored eggshells to make a cross on her lawn, and Ron and his wife carried on the tradition, coming up with different themes and complex mosaics each year after that.

First, the Manolios come up with a fresh theme, one that always includes the symbols of Easter – a fifty-foot cross and the Easter Bunny. Then Betty draws a plan of the display on a special piece of paper covered with a grid of small boxes, colors the pictures and they both count the number of eggs required and colors needed for the project. After they make sure they have all the necessary eggshells, they lay out the grid of the drawings on the lawn and start placing support sticks in the ground. Finally, the colored eggshells are placed over the sticks to create the actual mosaics.

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The Hill of Crosses – A Man-Made Christian Miracle

Covered with over 100,000 crosses of different sizes, Lithuania’s Hill of Crosses is both a symbol of the country’s nationalism and an international pilgrimage site.

Located 12 kilometers north of the small industrial city of Šiauliai, the Hill of Crosses is believed to date back to the 14th century, during the occupation of the Teutonic Knights. The tradition of placing crosses began as a symbol of the people’s fight for independence and their fight against foreign invaders, and evolved into a struggle of Lithuanian Catholicism against oppression. During the peasant uprising that lasted between 1831 and 1863, people erected crosses on the hill, in protest, and by 1895 there were around 150 of them on the site. By 1940, the number of large crosses grew to 400, surrounded by many other smaller ones.

Occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II, Šiauliai and the Hill of Crosses suffered significant damage when the Soviets took over, at the end of the conflict. The communist regime repeatedly removed all the crosses and leveled the hill three times, in 1961, 1973 and 1975, burning the wooden crosses and turning metal ones into scrap metal. The area was covered with waste and sewage to discourage locals from returning, but the Hill of Crosses was a symbol of Lithuanian nationalism and the pilgrims from all over the country quickly came back to the hill after each desecration, to place even more crosses. Many of them risked their lives sneaking past armed guards and through barbed wire fences to show their commitment to national struggle. The Soviet’s finally got the message and in 1985, the Hill of Crosses was finally left in peace, and its reputation rapidly spread throughout the Christian world.

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Jane Perkins Proves One Man’s Junk Is Indeed Another’s Treasure

British artist Jane Perkins creates beautiful works of art using everyday objects like marbles, toys or buttons picked up from recycling centers, second-hand shops and junkyards.

Jane Perkins worked as a nurse for 17 years, in a London hospital, before she decided to explore her artistic talents and got a degree in textiles in 2006. For her graduation thesis the artist chose a topic that would later be associated with her name  – “Recycled Materials in Art and Design”. She began her successful career by creating stylish brooches mad with discarded jewelry, coins, sea shells and other found junk, but soon moved on to other more complex and impressive works.

Taking inspiration from Ecuadorian artists who take broken pieces of jewelry and implement them in original hair designs, and from the found objects themselves, Perkins creates colorful masterpieces exhibited all around the world. She loves to make art with an element of fun and unexpected and says she will use anything colorful that she can get her hands on. Luckily, Jane doesn’t have to scour second-hand shops and recycling centers as much as she used to, as people in her neighborhood learned about her art and began leaving bags of unwanted stuff on her doorstep.

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Wacky Couple Share Their Home with 240 Love Dolls

60-year-old Bob Gibbins, and his wife Lizzie, 55, have a rather unusual collection of 240 different kinds of love dolls that they like dressing up and taking on shopping trips.

Bob says he has always been interested in dolls, but his passion really started to develop when he used to buy rag dolls and other toys for his two kids. He then moved on to buying shop mannequins for a few years and amassing a pretty impressive collection, but it wasn’t until he found an online forum about silicone dolls that he realized that’s what he really wanted to collect. With the help of his wife, Gibbins acquired his first silicone doll, Beverly, in 2007, for around $4,000. But that was only the beginning, as the couple continued to buy different kinds of love dolls, from cheap blow-up dolls costing $639 at most, to realistic silicone dolls like Jessica, who put a serious $11,202 dent in the family budget. All in all, Bob and Lizzie Gibbins estimate they’ve spent around $160,000 since they started collecting love dolls.

You’re probably wondering what someone does with 240 dolls and mannequins, especially when they live in a not so spacious bungalow. Well, according to the wacky couple, they love dressing up the dolls, washing them and fixing them up so they look their best, and since they’re both very picky about their dolls’ appearance, this takes up a lot of their time. Silicone dolls are apparently very needy; they sweat and need to be washed regularly, which can be a problem considering they’re pretty heavy, but Bob and his wife spare no effort tending to their precious collection.

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Man Builds 100-Foot Replica of the Titanic in His Backyard

Scotish ship enthusiast Stan Fraser has spent eleven years of his life building a 100-foot model of the Titanic, in his own backyard.

The 46-year-old former lighting engineer has always had a thing for the Titanic as well as maritime items in general, and his house in Inverness is filled with life jackets, models of other ships and copies of old newspaper articles reporting the Titanic’s tragic accident. His mother used to tell him lots of seafaring stories when he was a child, and he developed a strong passion for the sea that stuck with him throughout his life. He chose a nautical theme for his house and turned his cousin’s old rowing boat into a pirate ship for his kids.

But it was the famous Titanic that fascinated Fraser the most, as he says it was the most beautiful ship ever made, even compared to modern sea liners. He started working on a small replica of the Titanic for fun, but he kept making it bigger until he decided on a 1:100 scale model of the ship. Stan used two caravans he had in the garden as the base of his masterpiece, then someone gave him an old shed to use as material, and another friend who was building a house, helped him out with wood and nails. This got him started, but he spent the next eleven years working on his incredibly detailed model.

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German Girl Trains Cow as a Show Horse

Regina Mayer, a 15-year-old girl from Laufen, Southern Germany, rides her pet cow Luna as if she were a well-trained show horse.

The young girl always wanted her own horse, but her parents kept saying “no”, and since she had a stable full of cows at her disposal, Regina decided she was going to try and ride one. After hundreds of hours of training and many baskets of treats, she managed to teach Luna to jump over home-made hurdles, just like a show horse.

Regina remembers that she knew Luna was special ever since she was born, three years ago. The calf came right up to her, she wasn’t shy like most other young cattle, and they developed a special friendship ever since. The 15-year-old began riding Luna about six months ago and she even contacted a riding school in Switzerland, and received some tips on how to train and equip the bovine in a way similar to a show horse. The two went for long rides around the countryside of Southern Germany and Luna become more and more comfortable, especially since her friend Regina made sure to give her delicious carrots during each outing.

Young Regina Mayer says Luna is definitely very clever, she knows what she can do and what she can’t. Right now she’s able to jump over a-meter-high hurdles, but the rider is confident this year they will reach 1.20 meters. She admits people always look at her funny when they see her riding a cow, but she wouldn’t dream of trading Luna for a horse. The trained cow has become her best friend, following her around wherever she goes, something a horse would never do.

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Nestinarstvo – The Fire Dancing Ritual of Bulgari

A centuries-old custom that can be traced back to the Tracians, Nestinarstvo (Fire Dancing) is a mysterious ritual in which people actually dance on smouldering embers without getting any burns.

Believed to be one of the oldest pagan rituals in the Balkans, Nestinarstvo has defied persecution by both the Christian Church and communism and is still practiced in some Bulgarian and Greek speaking villages of the Strandzha Mountains. One of this remote settlements is the legendary Bulgari village, where people still dance on hot coals, just like their ancestors have done for thousands of years.

The enigmatic ritual of Nestinarstvo begins at sunset, when the chief nestinar (fire dancer), wearing a white shirt and red sash wrapped around his waist, arrives in Bulgari’s square and begins spreading the hot embers in a circle. Street lights are turned-off  and all the villagers gather around the scorching dancing ring, accompanied by the sound of bagpipes and drums. The nestinari begin dancing around the circle, carrying religious icons, and then suddenly walk through fire, their feet lightly touching the red-hot embers, sometimes pressing down hard in circular motion. The dance continues until the nestinari put out the blaze with their feet.

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Retired Farmer Spends 30 Years Building Scale Model of Herod’s Temple

Alec Garrard, an 80-year-old retired farmer from Norfolk, England, has spent the last thirty years working on a 1:100 scale model of Herod’s Biblical Temple.

Mr. Garrard has liked creating models all his life, but as he was getting older, he began thinking about a single big project that would see him through to the end of his life. Having always been interested in architecture and religion, the retired farmer thought to combine his two passions and create a unique scale model of Herod’s Temple. He had seen one or two other models of the structure during Biblical exhibitions, but he didn’t find them accurate enough, and he knew he could do better.

The expert model-maker started working on the project when he was in his 40’s. He first spent more than three years just researching the Biblical temple and then began constructing the model, exclusively by hand. The retired farmer cut the plywood frames of the temple walls, baked all the clay bricks in the oven and then stuck them together, and even sculpted and painted 4,000 half-an-inch figurines and dressed them in costumes. It looks absolutely amazing, but Alec Garrard says “I have been working on it for decades, but it will never be finished as I’m always finding something new to add”.

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Man Makes Quilt from Ladies Underwear

A man from eastern Missouri decided to show his appreciation for women’s underpants by making his very own ladies underwear quilt.

Louis Garret, from Louisiana, first saw a pantie quilt in a magazine he was subscribed to, and since he already had a collection of mannequins he loved to dress in old underwear and dresses, he decided to make a pantie quilt for himself. Garret, known to his friends as “Shovelhead”, becuase of his passion for Harley-Davidson bikes with shovelhead engines, asked his female friends to give him any old panties they weren’t going to wear anymore, and although some of them raised their eyebrows to his strange request, he ended up with some nice donations.

Shovelhead would go into women’s garments stores and pick out the pairs of underwear he liked, and he would tell all his new female clients about his special quilt and then asked them to donate their panties. But we’re talking about a man who wanted pure quality, so he wouldn’t accept any cheap, dollar-store polyester undies, just silk and nylon Victoria’s Secret-looking stuff.

The finished underwear quilt features 58 different ladies panties, and although recent media coverage could earn Louis Garret a hefty sum if he decided to sell it, the motorcycle aficionado says he never considered selling it, because he known most of the women who gave him their panties, so it has a weird sentimental value.

I wonder if he washed them panties before stitching them to the quilt…

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Living Keychains Are the New Craze in China

Live fish and small turtles sealed in plastic keychains have become increasingly popular items sold at subway entrances and train stations across China.

The living keychains containing  Brazilian turtles or king fish swimming in colored water are considered good-luck charms by many Chinese, but animal protection groups are outraged and call them a perfect example of “pure animal abuse”. Business is booming according to Chinese online newspaper Global Times, which reports one fish and nine turtle rings have been sold in just five minutes, on Tuesday, at the Sihui subway station, in Beijing.

According to vendors, the colored water in the 7-centimeter-long keychains contains nutrients that allow fish and turtles to live inside for months. While that may be true, Mary Peng, cofounder of the International Center for Veterinary Services, says they couldn’t survive in the sealed bag for very long, due to lack of oxygen.

While animal rights activists are protesting loudly against the sale of living keychains, there isn’t much else they can do, because China only has a Wild Animal Protection Law – if the animals are not wild animals they fall outside the law’s scope. Until the law changes to protect all kinds of animals, activists can only appeal to people not to buy them, and hope the market will die due to lack of customers.

Although some people buy these bizarre keychains to carry around for good-luck, there are those who buy them just to free the poor creatures from their tiny plastic cage.

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Cancer Survivor Makes Drug Jewelry to Pay off Medical Debt

Susan Braig, a 61-year-old cancer survivor from Altadena, California, began making jewelry from medication as a form of therapy, but now sells her creations to pay her medical bills.

Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer and started chemotherapy in 2004. She remembers she bought her first round of medicine our of her own pocket; it cost her $500 and looking at the little pills she got for that much money, it made her wonder if they were little gems. But the idea of actually using medication as jewelry came to Susan Braig in 2007, when she participated in a medical-themed art exhibition organized by the NewTown Pasadena Foundation. She decided to create a mock Tiffany & Co. jewelry advertisement for the exhibition, using different kinds of pills as diamonds, rubies and emeralds, but she eventually ended up making a princess’ tiara encrusted with her leftover cancer pills, as well as several other pieces. They were a hit, and many show-goers told Susan she should open her own jewelry line.

Now, seven years after starting her treatment, Susan Braig is cancer-free and running her own jewelry line, called designer Drug Jewelry. Friends and fellow cancer survivors donate their own old and leftover medicine, and she uses them to create colorful accessories priced between $15 and $150. She sells them at craft shows, where she wears a white medical robe, and is considering distributing them to hospital gift shops. The pills used for the over 500 pieces she designed so far are coated with a sealant and glued to the costume jewelry, to make them “non-abusable” as she says. The jewels come in an ordinary pill bottle, wrapped in a ribbon and placed in small bags made from surgical face masks.

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Woman Spends $8,000 on Plastic Surgery to Look Like a Drag Queen

21-year-old Collagen Westwood has admired drag queens ever since she was a little girl and is now doing everything she can to look like one.

The aspiring singer, whose childhood idols were Boy George, Lily Savage and Dead or Alive lead singer Pete Burns, says her mother had a lot of drag queen friends, so she grew up admiring them and wishing she was as glamorous as they were. The young woman from London was bullied and made fun of as a child, and from age 12 she’s been dreaming about plastic surgery and changing her appearance.

Now she’s living the dream, dressing up as a drag queen when she goes out at night and spending her savings on collagen injections and nose jobs to make her look more like her idols. ‘I have a couple of different wigs that I wear when I go out, and people are always assuming I’m a transvestite. I love it when people mistake me for a man. It doesn’t offend me – I think drag queens look fantastic,’ she says. When she’s getting ready for a night on the town, Collagen needs at least three hours and the help of a make-up artist friend to put on her huge blonde wig and doll-like make-up.

The drag queen wannabe says she loves looking plastic and can’t wait until she raises enough for more plastic surgery. She intends to have breast augmentation, as well as have some of her ribs removed so she can wear tighter corsets, anything to make her look more like a drag queen. ‘They’re glamorous and beautiful – what woman wouldn’t want to look like that?” Collagen concludes.

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Designer Makes Impressive Gown from Discarded Children’s Books

Boston-based fashion designer Ryan Novelline has created an amazing fairytale dress using only pages from children’s Golden Books.

If you had any doubts regarding human creativity being endless, this unique creation will definitely make you a believer. Now I’m not very big on fashion, but I know impressive when I see it, and Ryan Novelline’s gown made entirely out of recycled and discarded children’s Golden Books is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.

The skirt is made entirely of illustrations from the book sewn together with metallic gold thread, while the bodice is made from the books foil spines. Both have tape backing for reinforcement. The total surface area of the skirt is 22,000 square inches.

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Man Uses Donkeys to Tow Faulty Luxury SUV Back to Dealership

A Shenyang businessman made Chinese headlines the other day, after he used two donkeys two tow his faulty Range Rover back to the dealership, in protest.

Just two weeks after another dissatisfied car owner had his Lamborghini Gallardo smashed with jackhammers, in protest of poor quality vehicles that auto companies chose to sell in China, a similar incident took place in front of a Rover dealership. A man sick of having to repair his Range Rover every few months, rented two donkeys and had them tow his broken vehicle back to its manufacturer, and asked for a total refund.

The protester bought his luxury SUV in 2010, for 2 million yuan ($304,000), and it reportedly broke down six times before he eventually had to replace the entire engine. When the car died on him for the seventh time, the angry owner felt he had to do something to send a clear message to car makers about the shady quality of their products. So he rented the donkeys, glued a protest banner to the SUV and towed it back to the dealership.

Although his actions grabbed a lot of media attention, they weren’t enough to convince Rover to give him the total refund he asked for. They’ll probably just fix it for him, again.

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Clock Collector Has Plenty of Time on His Hands

With over 1,500 different clocks covering every wall in his house, Jack Schoff holds the Guinness Record for the largest collection of clocks.

A clock placed above the door to Jack Schoff’s home, in North Berwick, Maine, is meant to prepare every visitor for what awaits them inside, but the sight of 1,509 clocks adorning every square inch of a small studio apartment isn’t easy to take in, especially if it’s your first time visiting. Everyone lets out a “Wow”, but Jack Schoff isn’t impressed anymore because “everyone says the same thing.”

Unlike most other quirky collectors, Jack hasn’t always been fascinated by clocks. In fact, he only began collecting them seven or eight years ago, when health issues forced the former Portsmouth Naval Shipyard pipefitter to take some time off. With so much time on his hands, sitting idly at home, there was only one way to go – clocks. “I was going stir crazy, so I started taking clocks apart and putting them back together, you know, just for something to keep busy,” he says. He and a friend would drive throughout the Seacoast region, from one yard sale to another, buying all kinds of clocks. Then, people started hearing about his crazy hobby and began leaving old or broken clocks on his doorstep, so he doesn’t even know where some of the items in his collection came from.

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