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December Reuse & [Re]Think Contest: Ornaments

 

The holidays are here! Spread cheer with reuse this year! For this month’s Reuse & [Re]Think contest, we challenge you to create a one-of-a-kind ornament made from unconventional reuse materials. What can you [re]think for the holidays?

Submission:

When you’ve completed your creation, please provide at least 2 photos of your art piece, your contact info and a short description of materials used. Your submission can be made in person at our center or in an email to rethink@austincreativereuse.org

Your creation should be made from Reused Materials — all materials will be available at a low cost (as always) at Austin Creative Reuse

One winner will be notified and receive a $10 Gift Card to ACR. They will also be announced on our social media!

 

Deadline: 11:59PM on Friday, December 31st

 

Please feel free to email rethink@austincreativereuse.org with any questions. Good luck!

Reuse on the Runway Recap

A giant THANK YOU to everyone who came out to support the 25 designers and artists who showcased their pieces in our first ever fashion show, Reuse on the Runway.

 

This event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our volunteers and generous sponsors. We had 16 people donate 66 hours of their time on the day of the event, not to mention the countless hours that volunteers spent alongside our staff planning the event! We’re incredibly grateful for your contributions and we hope to team up again next year! Stay tuned…

 

Re-live the magic by watching our Facebook live stream!

 

Reuse on the Runway Sponsors:

 

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Sandi Smith

 

Sandi is a relative newcomer to the ACR volunteer family, but she dove right in and it seems like she’s been with us for years! A fiber arts specialist, she has been instrumental in helping us make sense of all the looms, weaving machines and vintage bits and bobs that come through the center. She’s also a champ when it comes to quilting fabric – sorting boxes upon boxes of mixed sizes so they are ready for folding. Sandi is incredibly versatile and takes new challenges head on. She’s been such a welcome addition to our volunteer community! 

 

What motivates you to volunteer, and why ACR?

I love the sense of community here. Everyone is so open hearted and interesting and diverse! I recently retired and moved from a place I lived for 22 years. ACR gives me a sense of belonging – which is much needed through all my life changes.

 

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

I like both. I have younger people that I love. I want the Earth to be a beautiful place for them to live. I also love to create – sew, weave, knit, crochet.

 

Where else have you/do you volunteer?

Various social justice events. I’m a Volunteer Deputy Registrar. I’m involved in Powered By People – Beto’s org.

 

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

Making order out of chaos feeds my OCD tendencies. I also love interacting with all the wonderful people here.

 

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

I keep trying to implement dance breaks while fabric sorting – but, so far, I’m the only one dancing! 😉

 

What do you do when you are not volunteering at ACR?

Retired. Play with my cat. Visit with friends and family. Nap. Hope to travel soon. AND – all my hobbies!

Fall Volunteer Recruitment Campaign: That’s a Wrap!

 

And that’s a wrap! ACR was started by volunteers, and for the first year the center was open, we were completely run by volunteers. Craft night was born from the love a volunteer and our fabric department is organized and run by volunteers. We utilize volunteers in every aspect of the organization, from processing to graphic design to programming. We can’t do it without the love and time of our generous volunteers!

We’re excited to announce that we met our goals for our recent volunteer recruitment campaign! We’ve onboarded 18 new core volunteers in the last 6 weeks and engaged 23 volunteer groups! Thank you to all of you that have made the leap to become a volunteer.

 

Don’t worry if you haven’t, it’s not too late! You can fill out an application here. Wanting to just dip your toes in? Come to community volunteering! We have 3 weekly opportunities available, surely there’s a good fit for everyone. We’ll see you at ACR soon!

 

Make: Felted Wool Mittens

 

As House Stark would say, winter is coming. Our Board President, Carole, wants to help keep those hands and hearts warm with this simple tutorial using felted wool sweaters! Grab that old felt wool sweater that you don’t wear anymore, paper, marker, scissors, needle, and embroidery thread, and let’s get started.

 

First, create a template by tracing a mitten shape around both hands on a piece of paper. Give yourself a little wiggle room so they’re not too tight!

 

 

Cut out templates and pin to the fabric or use a fabric marker to outline on the wool. Cut out mitten shape from the wool.

 

 

You will need two cut outs from each hand. 

 

 

 

You can use colorful felt to cut out fun shapes or designs and embroider to the top of the mitt for decoration.

 

 

Use a blanket stitch to sew the two sides of each mitt together.

 

 

Now you have a comfy, cozy pair of mitts for those cold winter nights!

October Reuse & [Re]Think Winners: Amy & Remy!

In celebration of the season of darkness, this October we challenged you to create creepy creatures out of reuse materials. You did not disappoint! We were amazed at the creations that were submitted and had a very difficult time deciding on a winner. Ultimately, we couldn’t break the tie, so we have TWO winners this month! 

 

Amy created a haunted house out of some unconventional materials, including cardboard boxes, toothpicks, gauze, broken jewelry, scrapbook paper, and more! We were blown away by all of the innovative ways the materials were used and came together to create a truly haunted house with so much attention to detail.

 

 

Our second winner is ACR’s very own Remy! Remy started with an old oil diffuser base, added a shiny frame around it then put lots of embellishments on it to get her creepy creature to come to life. She used purple saran wrap, thick poster board bits, a metal casing, lots of broken tempered glass, and doll eyes. We were impressed with the how the teeth came out and appreciated that the hot glue used to assemble the piece became a part of the creation.

 

 

 

Here are the other creepy creature creations that were submitted:

Why Do You Volunteer?

We know that people choose to donate their time for many reasons – perhaps an organization aligns with their values, they want to cuddle cute kittens, or they get to see a tangible result from their work. We asked three of our Core Volunteers what keeps them coming back to Austin Creative Reuse, and here’s what they had to say:

 

Vernon Berger

Vernon is an ACR staple, he has been volunteering since before we even had a physical center! A true reuse artist and dumpster diver extraordinaire, Vernon is always willing to go out of his way to rescue materials from the landfill. Over the years, he has driven to every corner of Austin and the surrounding area to pickup from design firms, festival breakdowns, home-bound individuals, Craigslist ads, and more! You name it, it’s probably been in the back of his truck and dropped off at the center. These days, not only does he do donation pickups, he volunteers weekly to post items in our online store. We can’t imagine ACR without Vernon, it just wouldn’t be the same!

I really enjoy everyone at ACR. It’s my crowd of warmth. It’s like the conversation that I hear when I am volunteering, to hear what people are discovering or could create with something they just found. GREAT SOUNDS. Thanks for warmth.

 

Sandi Smith

Sandi is a relative newcomer to the ACR volunteer family, but she dove right in and it seems like she’s been with us for years! A fiber arts specialist, she has been instrumental in helping us make sense of all the looms, weaving machines and vintage bits and bobs that come through the center. She’s also a champ when it comes to quilting fabric – sorting boxes upon boxes of mixed sizes so they are ready for folding. Sandi is incredibly versatile and takes new challenges head on. She’s been such a welcome addition to our volunteer community! 

I started volunteering with ACR early in 2021, right after I retired.  I had been wanting to volunteer for a while, because I believe in their mission, but I didn’t have the bandwidth to work and volunteer.  But – now!  Wheee!  I am having so much fun being at ACR.  I love the feel of the place.  These are my peeps.  They are friendly and competent and passionate about what they do.  There are many different opportunities to help.  Sorting and folding fabric is the best way to feed my OCD … taking a messy pile and turning it into organized piles!    Volunteering at ACR has been a big factor in me being happy in the beginning of my retirement.  They have given some purpose to my days that might have felt empty.  I look forward to a long career of volunteering with ACR.

 

Katherine Kraus

Katherine came to ACR as a fresh transplant to Austin! Her moving boxes were barely unpacked when she signed up to be a Core Volunteer. She quickly became a familiar face around the center, taking on organizing projects and leading other volunteers with the ease of a veteran. We knew she had that special something and her incredible knowledge of textiles made the decision to bring her on as a staff member a no brainer. She’s the first paid person to work in our fabric department! [Disclaimer: we asked Katherine about her volunteer experience before we decided to hire her!]

I started volunteering at Austin Creative Reuse after looking for a local fabric store and stumbling upon their website. Their values were calling my name. Conservation through creativity, education, and community- it was everything I cared about in one place! I started with take home projects, I happily measured fabric and priced beads while binging shows. As soon as they were available, I started picking up in-center shifts. I loved it so much that I started coming in two days every week and I never get tired of my recurring shifts. Every person that I have met during my time at ACR has been kind and welcoming. I don’t know that I have ever been shown as much appreciation before as I have when I am working here. Volunteering here has allowed me to meet so many like-minded, amazing individuals and it has been very enlightening. I have been able to learn a lot while in the center, from information on different art mediums to different organizations with great causes. 

I love being a part of an inspiring, creative community and I love that I am donating my time to something that I believe in. I feel that I am finally using my sewing knowledge for a good cause. Every time that I volunteer, I am helping to divert waste from a landfill and supporting an effort to educate the community. As artists and creatives, we have a responsibility to pay attention to the impact our mediums have on the environment. We need to reflect on how we can help with conservation through both the physical aspect of our work (materials etc…) and the messages that we can spread with our work. Austin Creative Reuse is a great place to help with those principals. I am so thankful for my time volunteering in the center and can’t wait to keep helping, growing, and learning!

 

 

November Reuse & [Re]Think Contest: Coffee Cup Sleeves

 

It’s fall time in Texas! That crisp cold air calls for comfy sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes – and lots and lots of trash.

Here are some sobering stats about your morning coffee:

 

  • 50 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year in the US
  • Starbucks uses more than 8,000 paper cups per minute
  • 1.6 million trees are harvested every year for single-use coffee cups
  • Most paper coffee cups are lined with plastic and are not actually recyclable

 

While we all agree that pumpkin spice lattes are delicious, the waste created by disposable coffee cup culture is not. How can you rethink coffee cup waste into something new?

For November’s Reuse & [Re]Think challenge, make a creation using coffee cups, sleeves, or lids and submit for your chance to win a $10 ACR gift card!

 

Example ideas:

Coffee cup sleeves make great collage material, rip them apart, use them as textured paper, or use the texture to print interesting designs! The cup can be turned upside down to make a mini Christmas tree, embellish it with whatever you have around the house – old mardi gras beads, found objects, things from nature. With just a little imagination, the possibilities are endless!

 

Submission:

When you’ve completed your creation, please provide at least 2 photos of your art piece, your contact info and a short description of materials used. Email your submission to rethink@austincreativereuse.org

Your creation should be made from Reused Materials — all materials will be available at a low cost (as always) at Austin Creative Reuse

One winner will be notified and receive a $10 Gift Card to ACR. They will also be announced on our social media!

 

Deadline:

Tuesday, November 30th at 11:59PM

 

Please feel free to email rethink@austincreativereuse.org with any questions. Good luck!

Staff Spotlight: Lori Jones

 

Each month, we highlight one of the incredible folks who make the magic happen at Austin Creative Reuse. This month, it’s Reuse Specialist Lori Jones! Lori first joined us in February 2020, just in time for the pandemic shutdown! She adapted quickly and played a pivotal role in the early days of our online store. After leaving ACR for another opportunity, she quickly realized how much she missed her time here. We welcomed her back just 3 months later and she’s been with us ever since! You can often find Lori at the register chatting to customers about their ideas and projects, and obsessing over all of the unique treasures that can be found at the center.

Learn more about Lori below and see her tutorial on how to make an Ethereal Bat from everyday items!

 

How did you find Austin Creative Reuse? 

I heard about it through the grapevine, and stopped by after so many of my thrifty friends told me how great it was. Ever since, I’ve been hopelessly addicted! 

 

What’s your favorite part about working at ACR?

I get inspired by everyone at ACR! Each person is on their own unique treasure hunt, and that’s so fun to be a part of. 

 

Are you an artist, crafter, or maker? What mediums do you work with? 

I would say a mix of the 3. I will work with any medium, and my studio/bedroom reflects this! I surround myself with possibilities. Paper is my first love. 

 

What do you do when you’re not working at ACR? 

If I’m not out visiting cats, or at my other job, I’m at home listening to music or podcasts, and playing with my materials. 

 

What’s the craziest thing you found in donation mountain? 

This takes some thought! I’ve seen some wonders. The old photographs, documents, and vintage ephemera that come in are so special to me. I instantly go into research mode. 

 


About Lori:

Lori is a self-taught artist, starting in the 80’s with collaging inside of the expired department store catalogs piled up next to her granny’s recliner. She thought that these were the only books in the world that she could cut up and use for her amusement, because the other books around the house were by Louis L’Amour. This inspired a lot of seeking. She would use any newspaper, can label, AVON packaging, or shoe box that had any potential for the little scenes she had playing out beneath the table lamp. Cut to many years later, and her frequent visits to ACR, still seeking. She loves digging through the super affordable rubber stamps, older lace and trim, doll parts, vintage crafting magazines, unique miniatures, and $1 material scrap packs (to name a few of her favorite spots). Overhearing the staff and customers excitedly talking about their projects was another big source of inspiration for her. She’s happy to be part of the everyday magic. 

 

 

Make: Ethereal Bat DIY

 
 
 
For Reuse Specialist Lori, Halloween is celebrated all year. Her tutorial for this fantastical bat shows how easy it is to incorporate everyday items into your art! You will be so delighted to see what beautiful foil sculptures can be made from common reuse items. 
 
Supplies:
  • crumpled foil
  • granola box cardboard
  • 2-ply paper towels
  • a few squirts of paint
  • a few glittery rhinestone stickies
  • scissors
  • glue like Mod Podge
  • foam brush/paint brush
  • hot glue
  • some templates that you will have to make yourself
 
Instructions:
 
1. Obtain enough used (clean) foil to form a potato-like body for the bat. Make sure it’s compact.
 
 
 
 
2. Separate layers of 2-ply paper towels, spread glue/Mod Podge all over the foil, and cover foil with paper towel pieces until it’s completely covered. Set aside to dry. 
 
 
 
 
3. Use a cereal box or similar cardstock to cut out 2 bat wings that are a suitable size for the body. Glue 1-ply paper towel pieces to wings. Fold the flat end down about 1/2″. Set aside to dry.
 
 
 
 
4. Using cardstock again, cut 2 teardrop pieces for bat ears. Glue 1-ply paper towel to surface of ears. Set aside to dry. 
 
 
 
 
5. Once all of your bat pieces are dry, paint them whatever colors you think will look cool. This one is pale coral with golden wings. Notice how the flat end of the bat wings have been folded down 1/2″. This is the flap that will be glued to the body. The ears have also been shaped a bit. 
 
 
 
 
6. Add beads for eyes, or glittery rhinestones, or felt bits, or… it’s up to you! Same with the nose. 
 
 
 
 
7. Glue it all together! Use hot glue, and press the wings to the body for as long as it takes to create a strong bond. This part can be tricky, depending on what glue you go with. It needs to be strong and quick to dry. Put the bat on its back to fully dry. Once it’s dry, attach the ears. This bond will be easier. 
 
 
 
Marvel at your new bat friend! Make so many!! Did you know Texas has more bat species than any other state in the U.S.! How lucky are we? 
 
Note: This tutorial has been a twist on Mister Finch’s Spooky Bat DIY. 
 

2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Tel: (512) 375-3041