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“Trash to Treasure” – Creating at Home

Color Matching

Collect small objects that you already have lying around the house, including those that may have ended up in the trash! Have your kids sort them by like color. Get creative with the sorting containers!

Cardboard Shapes

Cut cardboard into different shapes and punch holes into it. Use extra shoelaces, yarn, or string to weave through the holes, creating fun shapes and patterns. This can also be used as a tool to help learn how to tie your shoes!

Homemade Ring Toss

This homemade ring toss game is great for kids of all ages and it’s fun and safe for both indoor and outdoor play. Form pipe cleaners into rings, and use either an empty paper towel roll, or two toilet paper rolls taped together as the base. Use your imagination to figure out how to stand up your paper towel roll!

March Artist Spotlight: Janis Bergman-Carton

 

Janis Bergman-Carton

 

How did you start making art?

In my bedroom on a TV table when I was about 7 years old, messing around with anything I could put my hands on. More than once I clogged the plumbing in our house with plaster of paris. I thought I would be an art major in college but didn’t then have the fortitude to deal with critiques of my work (part of it I now understand was not yet having words for what I experienced as a young woman being told by my all male art professors that my work was “too personal”).  Anyway, after 25 wonderful years teaching art history I now am thrilled to circle back to where I began. 

 

What is your preferred medium?

It’s always been about texture for me. Clay, mixed media, and mosaics. 

 

What drives your creative spirit these days?

Everything, but I’m particularly interested in memory and place in art- evoking memories of absent loved ones or the historical and material textures of place. I have an ongoing project now called the Texas Cotton Series.

 

How does reuse play a part in your art? 

It plays a big part. Because I am interested in expressing connections to people and places over time, what feels like deep history and memory, I’m always searching for things or pieces of things that appear to have been well-used and well-loved in the past.  ACR is a treasure chest.  

 

What compels you to donate to ACR?

The idea of creatively recycling items more typically thrown away is magical. And the community ACR has created in such a short time of people of all ages and backgrounds is a big draw for me.

 

Do you have a favorite ACR find? What did you do with it?

An amazing sample board for porcelain colors from the 1960s with 12 tiny cameo heads. The heads show up in memory vessels I make. 

 

Where can we find out more about your art? 

Website: janisbergmancarton.com

Instagram: @bergmancarton

 

 

“With Great Space Comes Great Creativity”

After Weeks of Preparation, Ready to Open!

Just a Few of our Volunteers, Board and Staff

That quote comes from one our many community members upon seeing the new and improved Austin Creative Reuse Center.

Austin Creative Reuse moved to it’s new 11,000 sq ft home at 2005 Wheless and we could not be happier (or more exhausted)!  Our new Reuse Center is big, beautiful and completely reinvents the shopping experience.  We have so many plans for the future and will be offering more programs and services to our community.  

Austin Creative Reuse could not have done this without our dedicated staff, volunteers, and board members.  Next time you are in the center, be sure and say “thank you” to the staff and volunteers you meet. 

We would like to sincerely thank the following individuals and businesses who helped make this happen.

Realtors:  Max McDonald and Kristi Simmons at Aquila

Contractors: Green Building Energy Services LLC, Wally Colvin, JWL Electric, Elite Systems, North Loop Signs, and Stripe It Up

Short Break then Back to Work!

 

Making signs

Move In

Setting up Fabric

Game Ready

Welcome back to Austin, Rebecca!

Rebecca Stuch and Amber Scardino

First sale at our creative reuse center in September 2015

Cory Skult (left) and Rebecca Stuch

Cory Skuldt welcomes Rebecca back to ACR, January 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Austin Creative Reuse is excited to welcome Rebecca Stuch, our founder, back to Austin.  It was with Rebecca’s steady hand and complete dedication that we finally were able to open Austin’s first Creative Reuse center way back in September of 2015.  We grew a lot that first year with much of the credit due to Rebecca’s relentless promotion of ACR and the help of the solid business practices put in place by Rebecca.

Rebecca joined the Peace Corps a few years ago and  spent  two years in Moldova working on Community and Organizational Development, as well as traveling throughout Europe and Asia.  She’s back in Austin for a few months reconnecting with old friends and what had been her baby, Austin Creative Reuse.  It seems we are all experiencing big changes with ACR’s move to a larger location and anticipated growth.  With that, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to leverage Rebecca’s experience with  business development as well as her understanding of our mission to bring her onto our staff as our Transition Manager.  This is a temporary position created to help us with the move to a new location and the departure of our Interim Executive Director, Cory Skuldt.   Rebecca will help guide our organization’s growth as we add more staff, programming and services.  Rebecca will also be spearheading our search for a permanent Executive Director.  We couldn’t be more excited to have Rebecca onboard.  Look for her around the center and be sure to say “hi and welcome back!”.

February Volunteer Spotlight: Eleanor Schorre

Photo Credit: Lisa Hause Photography

 

What motivates you to volunteer? 

I’ve always enjoyed the community that is built around a volunteer organization. A place created by so much giving – of time, appreciation, care, and of course donations – is rarely a bad place to be. 

 

Why ACR? 

A thrift-type store for craft supplies?! I was hooked as a shopper immediately. After shopping for a bit, I noticed that there might be some need for organizing help, which is something I love to do! 

 

How long have you volunteered with ACR? 

I started volunteering in early 2019, so just over a year.

 

Are you more into the arts aspect of ACR or the conservation aspect and why?

I came in primarily for the arts aspect, though I’ve always enjoyed finding reuse through art and creativity. I grew up surrounded by artists and creatives of all sorts and I’d gotten out of the creative mindset somewhat because life happens. Through ACR I’ve found that spirit again, as well as a newfound appreciation for conservation and reuse beyond the usual recycling programs. 

 

Where else have/do you volunteer? 

I currently don’t volunteer anywhere else but I spent a lot of time in college volunteering for Autism Speaks. 

 

What do you enjoy the most out of volunteering at ACR? 

Sorting and organizing mainly – seeing all the donations that come in also exposes me to so many things I’ve never seen before and allows me to learn about new types of craft and new uses for ordinary things.

 

Do you have any interesting or funny stories about something that happened while you were volunteering at ACR?

I started volunteering shortly after I got engaged. Many things I found at ACR showed up as decorations at our wedding, most importantly the majority of the ribbon for our 5’ by 7’ ceremony backdrop.  A lot of the things we used either have been or will be re-donated, but I’m keeping that backdrop!

 

Thank you, Eleanor, for all that you do to help Austin Creative Reuse continue to grow!  Interested in joining our volunteer community? Visit the Get Involved section of our website today!

We’re Hiring!!

Clerk job posting

Shift Lead-Part time Job Posting


Loose Parts Play

Loose Parts offers children the chance to explore and learn using objects that they would likely come across in their own environments. It is also an easy way to introduce the concept of reuse into your classroom!

February Artist Spotlight: Verónica Vivanco

Verónica Vivanco

 
How did you start doing art?

When I was a child, I learned to crochet and tatting, and at 12 years old I was taught how to sew at school.

What is your preferred medium?
Fabrics and threads.

What drives your creative spirit these days?
The movies, music, other artists, and my daughters. I like that my daughters see me creating things, they learn and have a good example from me.

How does reuse play a part in your art?
For me it is very fun to make my designs with unusual materials, I like to experiment on different materials and create new things.

What compels you to donate to ACR?
ACR is one of my favorite stores, I always find something that I like.

Do you have a favorite ACR find? What did you do with it?
I have, several: a papel picado samples album: (I used it to make the base of the dress, inspired by the movie Coco), paintings, paper mache skulls, Coca Cola bottle tops, and light cables. I found some coffee bean bags and removed the threads, painted them, and knit a dress inspired by Spiderman.

Where can we find out more about your art?
Facebook: Verónica Vivanco

 
We’re so glad to have you in our community, Verónica! Thanks for all you do to help give reuse materials not only a second, but oh so beautiful life!
 

Bruce vs. the “Bucket” Serger – A Reuse Story

We recently received this wonderful message from one of our most devoted fans.  Bruce is a regular shopper and super creative!

  

Dear Austin Creative Reuse,

I love this place!
Here is a success story I had with a serger I purchased there recently. I actually purchased two sergers there the same day.  The first was in the “BUCKET” area where you can get a bucketful of goodies for $5 for the whole bucket or $0.25 per item.  It was a Hobbylock 787 with the following note presumably, from the person who donated it:
_______________________________
Multiple repairmen could not get this to work properly. Was heavily used and some parts are worn.  Sell as a parts machine.
Has…
Working Motor, Good Needlebar, Spare new Needlebar, Good Tension/Width Knobs, Extra plates, All Feet
____________________________
I already had a Hobbylock 797 so I felt that this “bucket” purchase was worth it just for parts and accessories. When I picked up the Hobbylock, Hali said that there was also another non-operational serger they were about to put out.  I was interested so Hali brought out the Bernette 334D featured in the pictures below.  The ACR sheet attached to this one said that “the motor is shot” unhappy emoticon. Having done considerable work on small electrical appliances since I was a teenager, I realized that “motor is shot” often means that some cord, connector, fuse, or the like is open and the motor does not turn because it is getting no power and that with some work the 334D might be just fine so I bought that one as well.Bernette 334D Serger

 

When I got home, I looked up the Bernette 334D and found that although it is a venerable machine (read this as very old), people still love it and swear by its quality and reliability. I read all of the blogs on the 334D and in one I found a comment that said if your motor does not run, check the D2MSL microswitch in the foot pedal.   The foot pedal is not a screwed together type but a bivalve (two plastic shells) type and, as I was to find out, is not as easy as shucking an oyster to get open.  Having taken apart lots of laptops and monitors, however, I was undaunted.  I got out my un-serrated butter knife and a flat screwdriver, and after some contortions and multiple failed attempts, I opened that oyster and spied the “pearl.”  There it was, the infamous D2MSL microswitch.  I unscrewed the printed circuit board and in seconds with my continuity tester (actually a Fluke 12 multimeter set to beep to indicate continuity) I had determined that the “normally closed” contacts on the microswitch were “permanently open” just as the blog had hinted.

 

However, into every life some rain must fall.  I looked up the D2MSL swtich on Omron’s (the manufacturer) website only to discover that it was obsolete and no longer available.  I tried looking for a cross reference to see what the recommended replacement would be but was not successful in that quest.  Again, undaunted, I read the specifications for the D2MSL switch.  Three amps and 125 to 250 volts seemed vanilla enough.  On the Omron site I found a 5A 125 volt/3A 250 volt switch with a nice high rated on/off lifetime of 200,000 cycles.  I went to Amazon and ordered four of them for about six dollars, Omron brand exact model SS-5GL with the specs I had found online.

 

In a couple of days, I had my microswitches.  I unsoldered the dead switch from the printed circuit board out of the foot pedal and again had to face some unpleasant music.  The solder lugs on the original microswitch ran lengthwise the switch body and the solder lugs on the switches I bought ran crosswise the switch body.  The printed circuit board had the lengthwise slots for the lugs and the microswitches I bought had crosswise lugs.  I could not mount the switch the same way he original had been mounted without some adjustment.   I bent the end two lugs on one of the new switches flat to the switch body and soldered a piece of wire to each normally closed lug as close as I could. Note: soldering is a technical skill and there are lots of YouTube videos and lots of online Instructables and such you can go study if you do not know how to solder.  A project like this is not where you should make your first attempts for reasons of safety as well as for reasons of not wanting to get frustrated.  Even if you know how to solder, I would recommend lots of liquid rosin flux and solder appropriate for electronic use. Microswitch specifications include soldering temperature and time limits in order to avoid damaging the switch.  If you exceed them you may fail at your repair.

 

Soldering the switch to the printed circuit board with its wrong-way lugs was a challenge for me even though I have decades of soldering experience.  Mounted to the board, the switch was about a half a millimeter higher than it should have been.  That means that the switch turned on later in the travel of the foot pedal than it should have and the serger would power on at about half speed instead of at low speed.  I used some needle nosed pliers to bend the potentiometer arm that actuated the switch just enough so power would energize the motor at the far low end of the potentiometer instead of in the middle of the travel.  Now the potentiometer is at the low end of motor speed when the microswitch applies the power to the motor.  That is, if I operate the foot pedal really slowly, the motor does not quite have enough juice to begin turning when the switch applies the power to the motor.  Note that this is a stressful state for a motor and any serger operator should not dally at this point prior to moving on to where the motor actually turns.  If I were adjusting this foot pedal for a random operator I would make sure that the point the switch engages the motor would be at some nonzero speed of the motor.  Since I intend to be the operator, I will just be sure not to sit at on-but-not-moving.

 

So, for basically coffee money and some effort, I now have a coveted workhorse differential serger. ACR, I love the place.  Oh yeah, I said that at the very start.  I am still right.  Go check out the amazing things YOU can find in “Bucket!”  Say hi to Carol, the guru machine tester and to Hali, a machine tester guru in training.  They are super nice and quite helpful.  They love it when their customers find some really useful tool at an unbelievably good price and come back happy.
How do I know ?  A am one.  Serge, serge, serge…

We’re moving to a bigger and better center!! March 4th, 2020

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve found our new home at 2005 Wheless Lane, and will move March 4th, 2020!

Please see our press release below for more details. If you’re interested in helping us move, sign up here

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Austin Creative Reuse Will Move to Larger Location March 4th, 2020
  • Austin Creative Reuse, a local 501(c)3 nonprofit, is Austin’s most unique destination for conservation, creativity and community building
  • The new Austin Creative Reuse Center will be over four times larger than its current retail space.

Austin, TX – On March 4, 2020, Austin Creative Reuse (ACR) will open the doors on a new, significantly larger space located at 2005 Wheless Lane, just north of the Mueller development. Fans of the popular reuse organization are thrilled to see it grow into more space for donations, shopping, volunteering, community activities, and educational programming.

ACR is a thriving nonprofit organization with a strong conservation mission, focusing on fostering reuse through creativity, education and community building. Hundreds of volunteers contribute thousands of hours to advance that mission every year.   

“Since opening our doors in September of 2015, Austin has embraced creative reuse in every way,” says Board President Carole LeClair. “We were bursting at the seams in our original location and can now offer a much better space to grow our reuse community.  We couldn’t be more excited for this move, and hope it brings creative reuse to a far larger audience across all of Central Texas.” 

“This move would not be possible without the dedicated volunteers, board, and staff who give generously of their time to make the vision of ACR a reality – and the hundreds of people who visit us every day to shop and donate,” adds Interim Executive Director Cory Skuldt. We can’t wait to offer them expanded programming, a better volunteer experience, and another big step towards Austin’s zero-waste goal.”

About Austin Creative Reuse: 

ACR is a successful model of a creative reuse center, diverting more than 280 tons of materials since it was established in 2009. The Center collects, sorts, and sells donated creative materials  at very low prices. The center also hosts workshops and meet-ups for teachers, artists, conservationists, volunteers, kids of all ages, and anyone interested in creative reuse. To learn more about ACR, visit: https://www.austincreativereuse.org/

 
 

2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Hours: Mon/Tues Closed, Wed to Sun 10am-8pm
Tel: (512) 375-3041