Author Archives: Kat Moulton

July Artist Spotlight: Lys Santamaria

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, local artist Lys Santamaria transitioned from beadwork to mask making. ACR proudly donated materials towards her goal of making 400 masks for underserved populations in Austin. Thank you for using your talents to make our community better!
 
How did you start creating art?
 
I started creating art when I was very little – I’ve always loved using my hands.  My mom taught me how to knit and after that, I would read how-to books on all kinds of subjects from friendship bracelets to origami.  As an adult, I’ve kept it up until I finally quit my government day job to become a full-time Beadwork Artist three years ago.  It’s been a wild and wonderful journey!
 
 
How does reuse play a part in your art?  
 
Austin Creative Reuse has been a wonderful source of inspiration and accessibility.  Often times, art materials are hard to come by or can be pricey.  ACR makes it so that I can experiment with tools or materials that I would never think to use or that don’t make sense for me to purchase at full price.  This gives me the ability to create on a grander scale than I could have originally imagined.  With ACR, I have a wealth of materials available that inspire me to stretch and expand my creativity.  
 

How has your art adapted during the age of coronavirus?

During coronavirus, I began making and selling masks. I was inspired to pivot my business as all of my sources for income had ended.  I wanted two things: to continue creating and to serve my community using my talents.  Mask making was the answer.  During that time, I was donating a small number of masks to people in need but I wanted to do more.  So, I embarked on a BIG project of making 400 masks to donate to Austin’s underserved communities.    

 

What inspired you to embark on such an ambitious mask-making project? 

The pandemic was really difficult for me as a small business owner and I went through a lot of tough times and emotions.  I knew I had to change and keep creating to keep myself and my business afloat.  Once I started selling masks, I saw that there was a real need and wondered how I could serve those who could not afford masks.  Thanks to my friends at ACR and a grant from NEST Artisan Guild, I was able to embark on this mask-making project and create change for so many people in need who may not be able to afford reusable masks or do not have access.  My business mission is to create joy using my gifts and this project aligns perfectly with my goals.

 

Where can we find out more about your art?

My shop and information are at: www.LysSantamaria.com or on Instagram @lys.artist 

 

Make a Rainbow Catcher

This simple, repurposed frame is now a superstar rainbow catcher! See how to make it in just a few steps:

Make a Thread Spool Shelf

Check out this simple craft tutorial by one our staff members, Lori! Save those empty thread spools and combine them with a few basic materials to create this adorable, hanging shelf! 

 

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June Reuse and Rethink Contest: Rube Goldberg Machines

 

This month, we challenge you to use reused items in your home to create a Rube Goldberg machine! Named after a famous American cartoonist, a Rube Goldberg machine is a machine intentionally designed to perform a simple task in an indirect and overly complicated way. Create a series of simple objects that perform an action, triggering the next action, ultimately resulting in a singular goal. Please see the video below for an example!

DEADLINE
June 30th, 2020

HOW IT WORKS
– Materials must be reused
– You MUST incorporate a ladle and toilet or paper towel roll in your machine (so we know you made the video!)
– The submissions will be judged on three qualities: creativity, use of reused materials, and functionality of the machine
– Videos can be no longer than 3 minutes
– Submissions must be made on or before the deadline

PRIZE
A free bucket voucher from ACR and a $5 gift card

SUBMISSIONS
Please send a video of your machine, your contact info, and a short description of materials used to rethink@austincreativereuse.org. Winner will be notified and announced on social media!

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June Volunteer Spotlight: Charlene Ansley

Charlene, right

 
What motivates you to volunteer?
That’s an interesting question.  I guess I’ve never thought about motivation, it’s just something that I do.  In retrospect though, it’s almost always a joyful experience and it gets me out of my own head.
 
Why ACR?
ACR is the perfect combination for my love of the arts, my compulsive recycling, and my concern for Gaia and her creatures.
 
How long have you volunteered with ACR?
The first time I volunteered for ACR was a free-stuff-for-educators event that was held in Harley’s back yard (one of the original founders) where supplies were laid out on the grass.  I’m not sure when that was but ACR’s come a long way since then!
 
Are you more into the arts aspect of ACR or the conservation aspect and why?
Both, I think, but there’s another aspect of ACR that I really appreciate and that is that it’s such a well-managed organization.
 
Where else have/do you volunteer?
When I lived in Midland and my kids were younger, I volunteered for Meals on Wheels, my church, and the League of Women Voters.  I ended up getting a job in the Texas office of the League when I first moved to Austin.  Then there was a block of several years when I had so many part-time jobs that I didn’t have time to volunteer, but now I’m able to again and mostly volunteer for my neighborhood association and ACR with an occasional green space cleaning gig.
 
What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering for ACR? 
There are several layers there.  First, the people. The folks associated with ACR, staff, volunteers, and customers are such fun, interesting, good peeps.  I feel like I’ve found my tribe. Then there’s the stuff!  The thrill of finding that amazing treasure in a box of donations or a vintage something or other that brings back memories is intoxicating.  And really, where else could I find the kind of tasks that are a zen meditation for me, like untangling a huge wad of yarn, organizing seashells, sorting marbles, taping scads of bits of ribbon, stamping merchandise tags, and more?
 
Do you have any interesting or funny stories about something that happened while you were volunteering at ACR?
When the shop first opened there was a barrel full of red plastic 2 lb. coffee containers in the bucket section.  I thought they would never move, but while I was working one evening a kindergarten teacher discovered them and was so excited to have her class make crowns out of them that she bought them all.  Every one. That taught me to avoid rejecting something when sorting that seems too crazy because there’s usually someone who will love it and it will find its home.  I treasure overhearing people make those kinds of discoveries when I’m on the floor.
 
Thank you, Charlene for all your contributions to ACR! Charlene has been volunteering with us since before we even had a physical center and we can’t imagine ACR without her!

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Welcome, Calder!

Austin Creative Reuse is thrilled to welcome Calder Kamin as our newest board member! Calder will be helping us develop strategic partnerships and on special projects. She has jumped right in by supporting our social media and marketing strategies, and advising us on online sales. Calder has been a long time supporter of ACR and a frequent shopper, sourcing materials for her latest artworks. Her work was recently featured on MSN.

Artist, educator and advocate, Calder Kamin transforms trash into beautifully crafted creatures and opportunities to reeducate our cultural perceptions of waste. She’s engaged hundreds of museum visitors through her public workshops and art projects including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The American Museum of Natural History. The i.d.e.a Museum, Utah MOCA, The Contemporary Austin, Women & Their Work and The DoSeum. Kamin starred in an episode of the PBS series Arts In Context and two Disney Channel commercials sharing inspirational messages about creative reuse. She has a background in art administration, higher education and city government providing professional development for artists. A native of Austin, Kamin is the Career Services Manager and Lecturer at the University of Texas, College of Fine Arts. She holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute.

She can be contacted at calder@austincreativereuse.org

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Reuse and Rethink: Austin Landmarks Edition!

Deadline for submissions: April 30th

While we are all physically distancing at home, we’re bringing back an ACR classic – the Reuse & Rethink Challenge! This month, we challenge you to recreate your favorite Austin mural or landmark from any items (or people) you have in your home.

 

Guidelines:
♻️ All materials must be reused / found in your home.
🎨 The submissions will be judged on three qualities: creativity, workmanship, & use of other reused materials.
 Submissions for the month must be made on or before the deadline.

 

Submit your work for the opportunity to win a $10 gift card to enjoy at ACR when we reopen! 

Please provide up to 2 photos of your art piece, your contact info and a short description of materials used. Your submission can be emailed to rethink@austincreativereuse.org. Winner will be notified and announced on social media! 🧡♻️

 

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Creative Cardboard

Cardboard is one of those ever-present, but often overlooked materials inside our homes. Rather than break it down for recycling, repurpose it by trying out one of these activities with your kiddo!

 
Cardboard Nail Salon

Does your kid love painting fingernails? Draw a hand on a piece of cardboard and let them go to town! They can experiment with different colors and designs, while you get to keep your hands clean.

 

Cardboard Stencils

Use cardboard stencils to get some fine motor skill practice in. Cutout different shapes and patterns in pieces of cardboard and have your little one trace them onto another piece of paper. Encourage them to mix and layer the different stencils to create a unique masterpiece! 

 

Cardboard Weaving

Cut long, uniform strips out of a piece of cardboard. Cut long strips of colored paper for your kids to weave using their own pattern.

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COVID-19 Closure Updates

Over the past couple months, Austin Creative Reuse has adapted to to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to update this page with the latest information.


June 23, 2020

Our first outdoor sale was a huge success! Moving forward, each week we’ll pick different categories of your favorite crafting supplies and bring them out to the sidewalk for you to peruse. These sales will be accessible by appointment, only and we’ll announce the schedule through our weekly newsletter. Make sure you’re signed up to be the first to know!


June 16, 2020

We miss our community dearly!  Today, we held our first (of hopefully many more!) outdoor sidewalk sales. It was lovely to see everyone, we so appreciate your support. 
 
We had high hopes to begin the re-opening of our creative reuse center this week. Given the news on Monday of the City and County extending the stay at home order until August 15th, we have made the decision to re-evaluate our options. We know you are eager to get into the center and believe us, we are eager to see you too. However, the safety of our staff, volunteers and the whole Austin community is our highest priority. It is up to us to make these difficult decisions and be responsible in our business practices to ensure long term safety for all of us.  
 
We are researching different ways of getting materials into your hands and onto your crafting tables. Below you will find information on custom orders. Stay tuned to our social media channels for info on our next outdoor sidewalk sale, and don’t forget to visit our online store – new items are constantly added and curbside pickup is available 7 days a week from 10AM – 4PM. 
 

Thank you for all of your support and patience.  Remember to wear your mask!

 

Announcing Custom Orders!

Make a purchase from your couch and pick it up curbside! For 30 minutes, you’ll have a live, personal shopper available to you via the video conferencing app, Zoom. 
 
How it works:
  • Make an appointment – these are first come, first served!
  • Put together a list of items you’re looking for ahead of time – that 30 mins goes quick!
  • You’ll be emailed a link with your Zoom meeting info in your appointment reminder.
  • Payment will be collected at the end of your appointment.
  • We’ll wait for 5 minutes past the start of your scheduled appointment. If you haven’t joined by then, you’ll be considered a no-show and charged a cancellation fee and your appointment fee will not be refunded.

May 26, 2020

A quick update about all the happenings over here at Austin Creative Reuse! Although we still remain closed to the public, our amazing staff has been working hard behind the scenes to get items posted to the online store and into your hands, piloting a personal shopping program, and figuring out what opening in a post-pandemic environment looks like. We continue to accept material donations, and in response to overwhelming demand, we are nearly doubling the amount of appointments available! Last week, we eagerly welcomed back our core volunteers in a limited capacity. We started allowing contactless pick up of projects they could take home to work on and bring back to the center at a later date. Finally, keep an eye out for exciting news regarding private shopping appointments! (Yes, that means getting ACR all to yourself!)

Thank you to everyone for your support, patience, and creativity throughout all of this. We look forward to seeing you again soon!


May 9, 2020

We’re delighted to announce that ACR is receiving a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program! Having this funding secured helps shield our financial losses over the past two months, which means we can breathe a little easier and make things happen on a timeline that we are comfortable with. We’ve made the decision to keep the center closed until further notice, and will re-evaluate that decision on a weekly basis. In the meantime, we continue to engage our staff who choose to work during this period and pay them full wages.

While we remain closed to the public, we are boosting the inventory available in our online shop and will be adding new items several times a week. We are also actively researching ways that we can expand the remote ACR experience for our community through virtual workshops, custom orders, and other exciting programs!

Finally, drumroll please…we will restart accepting material donations next week! We understand many of you have been busy cleaning out craft closets, decluttering, and learning what you can live without throughout the past several weeks. We can’t wait to take those items in and find them a second home! Donations will be accepted by appointment only and this will be strictly enforced. No walk up donations will be accepted. Please read the new instructions carefully and be sure to look over our donation best practices and lists of items we accept and don’t accept prior to bringing your items in.


April 28, 2020
 
For the safety of our staff, volunteers, and community at large, we are continuing to NOT accept material donations at this time. We are making adjustments to our donation policies and procedures for the wellbeing of everyone in the Austin Creative Reuse community. We ask for your patience as we navigate this new normal together. Hang on to those donations, we will make an announcement once we’re ready to accept them! In the meantime, remember to check out the lists of: Items We Accept and Items We Don’t Accept, pre-sort them, and put them in a container you’re willing to donate as well. Do not leave donations outside of the center!

April 24, 2020

You asked for it, we listened!
We are very excited to announce that ACR is now open for online shopping and curbside pickup! At our new online shop, you can find tutorial kits with supplies and instructions to create unique pieces of art for the whole family, highly sought-after items such as sewing machines, and mystery grab bags full of miscellaneous goodies to bring the ACR experience to you. We are currently only offering sales of the items in our shop – but don’t worry, we hope to expand our online inventory soon. 

All orders must be picked up curbside until further notice – please read the pickup instructions carefully at the end of your checkout.


April 18, 2020
 
Here at Austin Creative Reuse, we take the safety and health of our staff, volunteers and customers very seriously. ACR will remain closed to the public throughout the extension of the City of Austin’s stay at home mandate, which goes through May 8th. However, with the governor’s new executive order that allows online sales and curbside pickup for retail establishments, we are researching different ways that ACR can offer sales in a limited capacity.
 
We are currently planning for how and when ACR can responsibly reopen once local, state, and national restrictions have been lifted. Please note, some of our policies and procedures will change regarding volunteering, shopping, and donating materials at the center. We appreciate everyone’s patience, flexibility, and understanding as we navigate this new normal together!
 

April 14, 2020
 
ACR will remain closed until further notice. On April 13th, the Board of Directors voted to continue paying staff for hours worked at home through May 11th. 
 

April 1, 2020
 
Due to the City of Austin’s stay at home mandate, the center will be closed to the public, staff and volunteers until at least April 13th or such time as the order has been lifted or changed and recommendations have been made to open businesses again to the public. 
 

March 25, 2020
 
Here at ACR, we pride ourselves on transparency. We want our community to know that we are doing all we can to help those affected most by the center closure, our hardworking staff. During an emergency board meeting held on Tuesday, March 17th, the following was decided:
 
“While the center is closed, ACR will continue to offer hours to staff who wish to work. We have provided take home opportunities to employees for the duration of the stay-at-home order mandated by the City of Austin. We would like to emphasize that working during this time is optional. There will be no impact on long-term employment at ACR for any staff who choose not to work during this period. ACR is committed to offering full wages to employees who work or are scheduled to work through Sunday, April 12, 2020. We will endeavor to give you as much notice and transparency as possible in this rapidly changing environment. We continue to monitor recommendations from the CDC, WHO and local authorities.”
 

March 15, 2020
 
After much painful deliberation, we have decided to be proactive and close ACR to the public, effective 8PM tonight through Sunday, March 29th. We did not make this decision lightly. Our mission, first and foremost, is to divert materials from the landfill. However, we did not feel that it was socially responsible to continue accepting donations at our center. Eliminating that piece of our operations while continuing sales feels like we are not staying true to our mission. Therefore, closing temporarily is the right choice to ensure the continued health of our volunteers, staff, and shoppers. We will actively monitor policies and directives at the local, state, and federal levels regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and will adjust accordingly, if needed.
 
ACR is a small non-profit comprised of a large volunteer community, and 11 paid staff members. While this closure will have an unknown effect on our livelihood as an organization, we are committed to ensuring that our staff have the opportunity to continue working if they so choose. Closing to the public will allow our staff to practice safe distancing, proper sanitation protocols, and limit the number of people coming in and out of the center. During this time, the staff will be working to organize the center and make it even better than before! 
 
We care about our community and understand that during these uncertain times, creativity and artistic expression are much needed. Be on the lookout for inspiring digital content from us! We also encourage you to stay engaged remotely via our Austin Creative Reusers group, or tag us @austincreativereuse to show us what you’re working on. If you have the capacity, consider making a financial donation or purchase an online gift card to use once we re-open.  
 
These are strange times. Take care of yourselves, and take care of each other. We will keep you updated via email and our Facebook page with any developments. 
 

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Learning with Plastic Lids

 

Plastic Lids are a Great Learning Tool!

Whether you notice it or not, most of our households consume lots of things with plastic lids. Those lids add up! Hang on to them and consider using them for some of these fun, interactive lessons!

 

Alphabet and Letter Recognition

Write lowercase letters on each cap and have your little one line up the lids in alphabetical order. Try playing with color – vowels in one color, consonants in another.

Take this one step further by writing uppercase letters on the lid’s corresponding bottles or pouches. Have your little one match the upper and lowercase letters. 

 

Counting and Number Recognition

Create number cards with whatever you have laying around the house. Place number cards down and have your child stack (or pile) lids behind the card.

 

Pattern and Color Recognition

See the cards linked below for patterns your child can replicate using colored lids.

Lid Pattern Cards

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2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Hours: Curbside Pickup, 10am-4pm, Daily
Tel: (512) 375-3041