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Girl Scout Programming and Service Offerings

ACR offers a variety of programming tailored to Girl Scouts.  We have customized tours, service projects, SWAPs workshops and badge earning opportunities.  Girls can take a behind the scenes tour of the center, participate in a scavenger hunt, and complete a service project geared towards the ages of your troop members.  Credit is also available to girls looking to fulfill requirements for school, National Honor Society or other organizations.   

 

A guided tour of the Creative Reuse Center helps scouts learn about some of the kinds of donations ACR receives, how they are given added value through the sorting and merchandising process, and how they are displayed for sale or creative projects.  We will talk about the environmental impact of Creative Reuse Centers along with the role that reuse plays in the importance of the 3 Rs. 

 

For an additional fee per girl, ACR can provide materials to make custom SWAPs or offer reuse workshops including making  succulent planters, birdhouses, scrapbooks, or journals. 

 

All of the below offerings can be designed for Girl Scouts of any program level!

 

General Offerings

 

Girl Scout Field Trip $3.00/scout

Come to ACR where your troop will learn about reuse, tour the center and participate in a scavenger hunt. 


Girl Scout Service Project $3.00/scout

Field trip (above) + volunteer activity in the center based on the girls’ ages and interests .

 

Custom Girl Scout Reuse Workshop $5.00/scout

Field Trip (above) + a hands on creative reuse workshop using materials and tools provided by ACR.  Example activities include  making succulent planters, birdhouses, scrapbooks, or journals. 

 

Girl Scout SWAP Workshop $5.00/scout

Field trip (above) + a hands on workshop where the  girls can engage their creativity to design one-of-a-kind SWAPs using materials and tools provided by ACR.  .


Girl Scout Badge Earning Workshop $8.00/scout

In addition to general workshops and service projects, ACR also offers workshops tailored to specific badge requirements. Please see below for offerings. 

 

Don’t see what your girls want? Need SWAPs to fit a themed event? Please contact us to design a workshop to meet your needs.

 

Badge Offerings

 

Girl Scout Daisy – Use Resources Wisely Petal

Girls will read “The Earth Book” and learn about the importance of conserving resources and how ACR helps with conservation. Then girls will make a reuse creation to take home and have the opportunity to participate in a service project. Suggestions for the creation include: succulent garden, fairy house, bird house, or SWAPs.

 

Girl Scout Brownie – Painting Badge

Girls will talk with an art teacher about inspiration and review some photographs of works to talk about what they like and don’t like. Girls will then create four separate paintings: 1) a portrait or still life, 2) an abstract mood piece, 3) a set of note cards where no paint brushes are used, and 4) a part of a mural with others in the workshop.

 

Girl Scout Junior – Jeweler Badge

Girls will learn about jeweler’s tools and materials and have the opportunity to make multiple jewelry pieces to earn the Jeweler Badge. This workshop is a chance to explore different media while making wearable jewelry, key chains, and/or barrettes.

 

Girl Scout Senior – Collage Artist Badge

In this workshop, Girl Scouts will learn about the history of collage and collage artists.  They will then make  at least four collage pieces, including one  3-D collage and one advocacy postcard that will be flown on a rocket to space (with Blue Origin) and then returned to an  address of the girl’s choice.

 

Volunteer Call! Reuse on the Runway: A Night of Fashion, Costume, and Drag

Austin Creative Reuse is holding our first ever fashion show, Reuse on the Runway on October 22nd. This will be a community fashion show for all! We want to offer an inclusive, no judgment environment to show off your outfits and costumes, and to walk the runway as a model.

In order to pull off a night on the runway, we’ll need lots of volunteers!  We’re currently gathering names and talents and will be releasing a sign up with specific duties as we get closer to the event. 

Possible volunteer assignments will be listed on the sign up, some examples include hair and makeup, sound or announcements, check in attendants, set up and break down, dressing room assistance, and many more. 

Come help us make reuse dreams come true on the runway and fill out the volunteer interest form today!

 

FY2021 Annual Report

 

Whew!  What a year this has been!

 

New location.  Global pandemic.  Snowpocalypse.  It was definitely one for the books!

 

ACR’s Annual Report for FY2021 (April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021) is our reflection on the events of the last year and where we go next.  We invite you to flip through its pages and celebrate what we have accomplished together. 

 

  • We diverted 222,000 pounds of donated creative materials from the landfill. That’s a total of 466 tons diverted to date! 
  • Although our center was closed to the public for a total of 242 days, we quickly pivoted to find new ways to get creative materials out to our community including a new online store, sidewalk sales and personal shopping.
  • We supported the artist community with two firsts – our first online Reuse Gallery and our first Outdoor Reuse Market.
  • Volunteers continued to generously share their time and talents, donating 7,797 hours in the center and from their homes.
  • And perhaps most importantly, we kept our entire staff fully employed during this challenging year and even offered paid time off for the first time.

You can read the full report here .

 

The incredible support of our community allowed ACR to continue to put affordable creative materials back into the hands of artists, makers, students and more – and not in the landfill – during a year when creativity may have been needed most. 

 

Thank you for making reuse dreams come true!

Artist Spotlight: Melanie Muenchinger

Each month, we feature incredible reuse artists in the Austin community! This month we are featuring illustrator and avid-reuser Melanie Muenchinger. Melanie is a designer of art stamps professionally, and uses her passion for upcycling as a side hustle. Shopping at Austin Creative Reuse allows Melanie to find things to supplement her design work as well as experiment with new media and turn trash into treasure! Read more about Melanie’s artistic practice below.

 

 

When did you start creating art?

My mother loves to brag I drew a perfect rendition of Piglet from Winnie the Pooh when I was 2. Drawing and anything with my hands, especially paper crafting, came very naturally. My childhood was full of art. I draw in many styles, cartoons, botanicals, portraits, etc. I love drawing from life but love capturing an expression or as a way to tell a story. Children’s books especially captured my imagination, but also, films and animals. My parents saw art was my true gifting, but not being particularly artistic themselves, didn’t really know how to best help turn that into a profession. My grandfather was a dentist by trade but a very talented oil painter all his life. While he did win some awards an his art hung in some galleries, buildings and homes in Southern California, it was always just a hobby and side hustle. I had no idea how many careers there were in art beyond becoming a fine artist. For those reasons, I didn’t go to art school. (Wish I had, but oh, well! If you’re an artist at heart, that will eventually come out.) I have been blessed to be a professional illustrator the past 14 years for an online crafting company Gina K. Designs, creating a line of art stamps for card making, as well as publishing 2 books on stamping and paper crafting techniques with my stamp sets. I design and photograph sample cards for inspiration for our customers, and have a blog and Youtube channel with free tutorial videos to demonstrate the stamps and techniques in action. I love educating fellow crafters. It’s probably about the most fun you can have “working”!

 

What is your preferred medium?

I love drawing with pen or pencil, and enjoy coloring with alcohol markers. I like to work fast and move from one idea or project to the next, so media that require a lot of time and layering I haven’t had as much interest, aptitude, or the patience for! I really enjoy all the different inking techniques art stamps allow for and using them in new ways to make a pretty card that will celebrate a special date or lift someone up who needs encouragement. Many people who receive them say they have never received a handmade card before.  As for painting, which is my newest passion, I love the bold colors and immediacy of acrylics. Their quick drying time and opaqueness allow me to capture exactly what I want quickly, or cover things easily if I decide to make changes. I also like that they are inexpensive and don’t smell!

 

During the pandemic, the extra time allowed me to explore acrylic painting.

 

What drives your creative spirit?

Unique art, beautiful colors, flowers, new ideas, fabulous textiles, clothing, good food, humor, textures, toys, puzzles, fresh art supplies, and found objects with potential to be something more. I love feeling that I can see something special no one else does in a cast off and developing it to reveal its beauty to a larger audience. I don’t like doing the same thing twice, so I am driven to come up with things I’ve never seen in a stamp set, or to solve a problem or fill a need or gap in what I see in the crafting industry.  Trends are fun, but I like to start them if I can. Some of my favorite stamp sets work more like tools that make the process easier, more efficient or effective. In that way, I feel more like an inventor than an artist. I also prefer having a person to create the piece for, rather than playing with an idea for art’s sake. Definitely more time and love goes into that, and hearing how much joy it brings to the recipient gives me the same. Having said that, my curiosity for trying new things is boundless, so I can never pass up an opportunity to try a new craft when I see supplies or a kit on sale and just seeing what happens.  Those projects, successful or less so, are for me alone, a little adventure to experience. Before the lockdown, a weekly visit was a must!

 

I saw a fun article on MyModernMet about a thrift store owner who adds Star Wars elements to old landscape paintings he finds at garage sales, and it looked like something I’d love to try. When my friend who loves Star Wars turned 50, a quick trip to ACR yielded a textured print of a mill on a pond (and a frame the right size!) that was perfect for me to recreate a scene from Empire Strikes Back where Yoda raises the X wing! He loved it! 

 

How has your art adapted during the pandemic?

Increased shipping times of our product by manufacturers meant fewer releases of my new stamp sets, plus an unusual amount of downtime from designing and promoting, so I was not as busy with my usual work. I also now had more free time to explore new interests since I was cut off from my habitual shopping, thrifting, and cultural events like gallery openings, plays, and concerts. I discovered I love acrylic painting! I do a lot of pet and people portraits or capture special moments or places as birthday and Christmas gifts now, and friends and family are so pleased with their painting I am getting several commissions.  As bad as some of the past year has been, in many ways I could count as my best because of some of the art I’ve been making and new opportunities it’s created for me.  Both financial opportunities, and challenging me to out of my box to become a better artist through improving my techniques, going online to delve deeper into the best artists of the past along with what’s happening in the art world globally, whereas before the pandemic I was just doing that in person locally.

 

I am a big fan of the small 4×4 wooden block canvases to paint on, the finished colored edge is so sharp and contemporary, I knew they would make wonderful Christmas gifts for my family and friends. December was a wonderful month of painting their pets, children, or favorite places from photos, while watching movies or listening to Christmas music as I worked, and the result was more meaningful than any present I could have paid a lot for. Not only were they thrilled, I got a list of requests to paint more, so I had to invest in a case of the blocks (thank you, curbside pick up!) to fulfill all my commissions. The joy of making, gifting, and receiving more painting challenges, while also getting paid, is a win-win-win!

 

How does reuse play a part in your art? 

I am forever thankful my friend Kitty Crider pointed me to ACR 2 years ago, my only regret is that I missed out on the first two that  it was open! It checks a lot of boxes for me. Retail therapy, treasure hunt, home décor, gifts to which I can add my own personal touch, supplementing my overflowing toolbox, jumpstarting my mojo, or materials to magically monetize with a bit of manipulation! Check, check, check! The low, almost no cost materials virtually eliminate all fear of risk or starting, which can really hamper creativity. I don’t have to worry I have wasted money if I’m not 100% pleased with my results, or don’t want to continue pursuing that craft. It was a fun experiment. I learn something either way, if I’m good at it or not, enjoy it or not, want to keep putting more time and money into it or not. All valuable stuff! There is a time to buy the best materials you can find/afford, and that is rarely when you are trying something new! I also don’t get caught up in perfectionism if a canvas or object is old or cheap or possibly damaged or shabby from the start. It can’t get worse, only better! A blank canvas or fresh paints can be very inspiring, but also intimidating without a plan or the worry you might ruin or waste good materials. I never feel this way with ACR finds, only possibility and invitation to create. I have altered several painted canvases that had really good beginnings, adding my own touches to make it personal to my experiences, or the person I planned to give it to. And sometimes, the biggest obstacle is the best opportunity. A very nice painting with a very large rip found its way in the bucket section. I’d  just released a set of butterfly stamps, so instead of seeing the hole as a flaw, I imagined several of my stamped and cut butterflies emerging from the opening, to make a new dimensional piece about transformation. The beauty of brokenness and new beginnings this represents for me, in both the finding and recreating, I just find thrilling. I love that reclaimed pieces have a history and good story. It would be awesome to find out about who painted it originally! Until then I enjoy the mystery and imagining different possibilities.

 

I found an abstract piece with poppies that had such great colors and impact, but a very noticeable, unrepairable rip (lower left). I bought it for a quarter and added several of my stamped and die cut butterflies I illustrated flying off the canvas and emerging through the hole, echoing the metamorphosis that takes place.

 

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

Most useful: a large folding easel in a carrying bag I can set up indoors to work on commissions or take on excursions for plein aire practice!

Most trash to treasure/best investment: a $5 gallon bucketful of leather scraps I picked through for color and textures.  I streamed several movies while cutting these into hundreds of pairs of earrings (some of the jump rings and fish hooks were from ACR, some from another craft store) I was able to sell at craft fairs.

Most valuable: a gorgeous oversized chessboard with inlaid burlwood which I hope to have my husband make into a little side table. The craftsmanship is amazing and originally very expensive, but it needed a special product (which I had) and a little elbow grease to remove a bright red mark on its surface, now good as new!  For now it’s just a chessboard, of course I found some chess pieces to go with it on a subsequent visit!

Random finds: frames for my paintings, lovely jewelry!

 

One of my first ventures to ACR was handpicking a bunch of beautiful leather scraps from the bucket section to cut out leather earrings. A five dollar bucketful yielded hundreds of pairs of earrings to show at holiday craft fairs. I was able to sell them at a low price since my cost was next to nothing and it enabled people to get stocking stuffers for many with money still left over to treat themselves!

 

Where can we find out more about your art?

My channel: www.youtube.com/MelanieMuenchinger

My blog, Hands, Head and Heart: www.melaniemuenchinger.blogspot.com

My stamps are sold at: www.ginakdesigns.com/melanie

Instagram: @melaniemuenchinger

Contact for commissioned artwork: mmuenchinger@grandecom.net

July Reuse & Rethink Challenge: Wood Architectural Samples

Every month, we challenge our resourceful, creative community to rethink materials commonly found in the ACR center. This month, we challenge you to rethink wood architectural samples! These architectural samples come in all shapes, sizes, and colors so the possibilities for reuse are endless. How can you rethink a wood sample?

Here are some examples from our Pinterest board:

 

Guidelines for entry:
  • Materials must be reused
  • The submissions will be judged on three qualities: creativity, workmanship, & use of reused materials
  • Submissions must be made on or before the deadline

 

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. Submissions can be emailed to rethink@austincreativereuse.org

 

Prize:

One winner will be notified  and receive a $10 Gift Card to ACR. They will also be announced on our social media, along with photos of their creation!

 

Deadline: Saturday, July 31st, 2021

 

Want to enter but need a space to work on your creation? Join us for a ReThink Tank!

Each month, we’ll fill our workshop with a variety of materials and tools for you to create based on the Reuse and Rethink contest. Come explore the possibility of wood architectural samples with us on Friday, July 9th or July 23rd from 12pm – 4pm. No appointment or signup necessary, just drop in and stay for as long as you’d like! Participation is free but donations are much appreciated. Come ReThink with us!

 

Summer Reuse Market Wrap Up & Fall Vendor Applications Open!

 

 

What a weekend!  Despite the sweltering heat and humidity, we welcomed over 40 local reuse artists into our side lot to show off their wares to nearly 600 customers.  We are so grateful for your support to these artists after what was an incredibly difficult year.  We’re also excited to report that this was the first market for over two thirds of the artists and included 8 ACR staff and volunteers. Supporting artists is important to Austin Creative Reuse and it’s why we provide an inclusive, easy entrance to become a vendor. Our goal is to help build confidence and affirm that their time and talents are valued!

We saw so much great work over the weekend.  From Mad Max buggies to ant hill sculpted metal, wind chimes with keys, upcycled planters and hand stitched patches; there were amazing examples of reuse from everyone. 

The market wasn’t just reuse artists on display. Our board of directors raised over $600 for additional staff benefits and we launched a community quilt project with the talented Ashlee. Individuals can create a square and Ashlee will combine them to create a collaborative reflection of what we have been through over the past year in the form of a quilt.

We’re excited to continue these reuse dreams by announcing our Fall Reuse Market Days, September 25th and 26th.  Applications for vendors are now open!  The deadline to apply is July 30th.  

Please note that if you already applied and were accepted as a vendor, you do NOT need to reapply.  We will be in touch shortly about your participation! 
Vendor Application
Market Info Page

Staff Spotlight: Bee Cortez

 

Each month, we feature one of the incredible staff members who help make the magic happen at ACR. This month, it’s Reuse Specialist Bee Cortez! Bee’s buzzing personality and aptitude for reuse has made them an integral part of the ACR team. Read more about Bee below and see his DIY Cat Toys tutorial!

 

 

How did you find Austin Creative Reuse?

I found ACR through one of UT’s college job search thingies. It seemed extremely interesting and I had heard about ACR before the pandemic from one of my professors. I decided to give it a shot! In retrospect, I’m very glad I did. 🙂

 

What’s your favorite part about working at ACR?

One of my favorite parts of working at ACR is meeting the people that are in our community. There are so many wonderful people and artists that are extremely kindhearted and easy to talk to. I’ve always struggled with my creativity, but working here has motivated me more than ever to keep crafting. 

 

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

All of the above! I love to think I’m a jack of many trades, but my favorites are sculpture, painting, and drawing. I usually use art as a therapeutic source of comfort, but since working at ACR I’ve been able to expand that and really let my creativity flow! I’ve gotten back into sewing and dived into jewelry making, but I have too many hobbies and need to chill. (Lol)

 

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

Now that the semester is over, I use my time to relax and keep crafting. I have tons of shows and books to catch up on, and too many animes to finish. I’m so behind on everything! So when I’m not sleeping I’m doing something of the above, or maybe playing video games. 

 

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

I think its always wild when I find personal postcards, letters, and photos. They’re usually always between partners or family members and very sweet. 

 


About Bee:

Bee Cortez (they/them/theirs)

Bee moved from Houston to Austin to attend school at UT for Studio Art. They have always enjoyed all things crafty and artistic, leading them to pursue their degree in the field. They love to try new mediums and spend their free time completing projects, gardening, and cuddling their two cats.

Find them on instagram @biankahbear 

 

 

Make: DIY Cat Toys!

DIY Cat Toys! 

 

 

Make “kicker” cat toys easily with a few things from ACR, and customize them for your fluffy children’s needs 🙂

 

 

Materials: 
  • Fabric Remnants from ACR (the thicker, upholstery fabrics usually work the best because they are tougher materials and harder for your pets to rip apart) 
  • Crinkly cellophane, fabric scraps, paper scraps or whatever you want to stuff the inside of your toys with. (I choose crinkly plastic because my cats love it the most!) 
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks or liquid stitch glue (optional, if you want to glue them together instead of sew) 
  • Sewing machine (optional, if you want to sew them together instead of glue) Catnip (optional) 
  • Feathers, rope, bells, or any other extras you want to include 

 

Crafting time! 
  1. Remove any unwanted labels, etc from your fabric remnant that you want to use as your main body of the toy. 

 

2. Cut the fabric to your needs. If you sew, remember to give yourself enough room for a seam allowance.

 

3. Put the fabric together in your desired shape.

 

4. Sew (or glue) it together, leaving a hole in the shape so we can stuff it later. (if sewing- remember to sew the reverse side so it flips inside out to the right side!) 

 

5. (If sewing- turn it inside out to the right side of the fabric to prepare for stuffing)

 

6. Stuff away! My cats love the crinkly plastic, so I chose that to stuff with, along with fabric scraps as an extra filler. You can also add things like bells for extra fun. If desired, add catnip too! 

 

7. Sew (or glue) your final edge shut when the toy is stuffed to your cat’s desired squish-level. I sewed in feathers as well to this edge for an extra layer of fun- and because my cats love toys with feathers! 

 

Tada!

 

 

Cat Approved!

 

We’re Hiring!!

Reuse Specialist Job Description

Shift Lead Job Description

1 Million Pounds!!!

 

Today we accepted our 1 MILLIONTH POUND of donations!!! To put how much weight that is into perspective…

 

 

Where did it all begin?

On October 29, 2011, before we even had a physical home for Austin Creative Reuse, we ran our first public materials collection drive. We sent out requests for materials like fabric, egg cartons and tins. About ten people drop off items and an estimated 300 lbs of materials were collected! We commemorated the occasion in one of our very first blog posts.

Fast forward almost 10 years, and we’ve had 1 million+ pounds of donations come through our doors. We now occupy an 11,000 square foot space, and receive up to 3,000 pounds of materials on a busy donation day at our center. 

We can’t believe how much we have been able to grow and are incredibly grateful to be a part of such a conscious community. We’re sending a giant thank you to every single one of our donors over the past decade. We’re looking forward to the next million! 🧡♻️✨

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