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February Volunteer Spotlight: Julie Kennedy

Julie began volunteering with ACR in 2020, during a global pandemic. She has taken home numerous projects and helped us process, sort, label, and price the thousands of pounds of donations we get each month. A graphic designer by trade, Julie has also helped make craft tutorials for our social media channels to keep the community inspired in these crazy times! She was even featured as an artist in our Reuse Gallery back in November! We appreciate all of the work that Julie does for ACR and are so happy to have her as a part of the ACR family! Let’s get to know Julie a little more.

 

 

What motivates you to volunteer, and why ACR?

I was just raised that way. My mom was (and still is) a big volunteer. She volunteered at my school and in the community. I tend to volunteer with organizations that I’m passionate about… which is how I ended up volunteering at ACR!

 

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

That’s a tough question… both are important. I am a scrapbooker and card maker…. So I am always wanting to learn new techniques. I used to shop at garage sales and thrift stores to find cheaper items, as well as items I couldn’t find in local stores. I like to try new art techniques without investing a ton of money. Now I get all that from ACR! Plus, I love that I’m helping keep items out of the landfill. So many things can be reused. I also donate as much as I can to ACR. I have a child who, like all children, outgrows her interests as the years go by. So I take those things she’s outgrown and donate them to ACR. 

 

Where else have you/do you volunteer?

I have volunteered at my daughter’s schools over the years, as well as the local SPCA and Austin Pets Alive. I’ve also volunteered at a few Special Olympics.

 

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

I enjoy feeling like I’m part of something important… something that makes a difference in our community. And I like the people… and I can’t wait to meet more in person after this pandemic is over! 

 

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

I work full-time on my freelance graphic design business. But I travel whenever possible with my husband and my kiddo. Of course, with the pandemic, that’s on hold. So I make cards and think about catching up on my scrapbooking (for some reason, that always gets pushed to the bottom of the list). I have decided there are four hobbies involved when crafting… there is the watching of YouTube tutorials; the purchasing of craft supplies; the organization of craft supplies; and if time permits… the actual crafting. 

I also love to read and spend time with friends and my dog. I am also taking tap-dancing classes… just because it’s always something I’ve wanted to do. 

 

Here’s a sampling of Julie’s incredible handmade cards:

We’ve Been Keeping Busy!

Throughout this second closure, the team at Austin Creative Reuse has been working hard to improve the center and optimize how we use our limited space. We’re seizing every moment of having an empty center since changes that would have been impossible to tackle while open to the public, are suddenly doable. The next time you visit, you’ll be able to explore a new layout and unearth previously hidden treasures! 

The recently organized (and moved!) Floral and Glassware sections

So far, we’ve revamped several of our favorite sections, with our biggest project thus far being Fine Arts. This move took several days to accomplish and the results are stunning. Gone is the jumble of canvases, artist tools and paintbrushes! We have carefully curated this section to house several smaller categories like Drawing, Sculpture and Paint. We’ve been spreading love and attention throughout our entire center, with Craft and Floral also getting makeovers and many more changes just on the horizon. Never before has it been easier to find exactly what you are looking for, while also discovering things you’ve never seen before. 

 

Part of the new Fine Arts section

 

The new Drawing section

 

We’re so excited to see what else we can achieve before welcoming you all back into the center! Here are a few more sneak peeks!

 

Make: DIY Statues

 

Created by Reuse Specialist Sabina Dodge, these miniature, stone-like, DIY statues add interest to any garden or shelf. Try making them yourself by purchasing a kit from our online store. Be sure to share what you make by emailing us at info@austincreativereuse.org or tagging us on Instagram @austincreativereuse

 

Supply list:
  • 3 cork squares per statue
  • Small bag of moss
  • Small bag of small rocks
  • Trophy top(s)
  • White, Grey, or other neutral paint
  • 1 sheet green felt

 
Instructions

1. Remove any parts of the trophy you don’t want or that makes it look too modern.

2. Apply a first coat of paint to the figure. Holding the bottom screw with a clamp or pliers works great

3. Let coat dry while starting on base

4. Use a stick, or just the bottom screw of the figure to poke a hole in the middle of the cork squares. (Alternatively, wait until you have completed Step 7 to make the holes.)

5. Stack 3 cork squares to form your base, this will be tall enough for the screw on the bottom of the figure.

6. Line up the holes in the corks, then break off pieces around the outside of the cork to make the shape more irregular and natural looking. Each cork piece should be smaller than the one below it. This will add more dimension to the base.

7. Glue the cork shapes together, making sure to keep the holes lined up. 

8. Attach the figure to your base. The screw on the bottom of the figure will hold it in place, you can glue it in place if you want.

9. Using glue, spread the moss around the base, covering the cork. If a little cork shows through, it’s ok, as it’s still an earthy color.

10. Being very light with your glue or adhesive, sprinkle or place some rocks around the base, they’re great for filling in little gaps between the moss.

11. Using a slightly darker shade of paint (mixing a tiny bit of brown into grey works well), and a stiff brush, dry brush the figure to make it look more weathered.

You’re done!

 

Instructions for an Alternate Statue

1. After painting this figure, I decided I didn’t think the ball she was holding fit what I wanted, so I broke that hand off. Ancient statues often have limbs or other pieces broken off, so even damaged trophy tops will work great for this project!

2. Follow steps 4-7 above to make the cork base.

3. Cut a piece of felt a bit bigger than your base, then glue it over the cork base, pressing it down into the nooks and crannies of the base so it has more texture and dimension.

4. Trim all but a tiny bit of excess around the edge after gluing, then fold it under the bottom, gluing it in place.

5. Cut a small hole in the felt to match the cork, then attach your figure per step 8.

6. Decorate your base and figure how you want like in steps 9-11

Note: Using felt to cover the cork is nice if you want a more minimalist base, or if the brown cork doesn’t fit with your idea.

Staff Spotlight: Sabina Dodge

Sabina Dodge

Each month, we feature one of the incredible staff members who help make the magic happen at ACR. This month, it’s Reuse Specialist Sabina Dodge! Sabina started out as a volunteer when the center was located at the Linc, and we quickly realized that we had to have her as part of the ACR team. Read more about Sabina below and see her tutorial for DIY Statues!

 

How did you find Austin Creative Reuse?

In the Summer of 2019, I was searching for local fabric and craft stores, and when I saw ACR in the results, I decided that this is a place I have to check out. My first time at the center, I was approached by a couple of staff members interviewing customers about their thoughts on the center. After talking for a while, I was totally on board. After that, I’d volunteer at the center each week after class, and after a few months of volunteering, I had an opportunity to become a staff member.

 

What’s your favorite part about working at ACR?

The community. I sincerely love hearing about what all of our community members have made or are making. It’s just a great vibe, and I’ve met so many interesting people who do amazing things.

 

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

Crafter would probably describe me best. I really enjoy costuming, at the moment it’s mostly post-apocalyptic costume and prop projects, though one day I’d love to get into historical clothing and costuming. My projects definitely involve sewing and altering clothes, but my apocalyptic props often involve other mediums– metal, leather, wood, plastic, electrical components, or just weird random junk.

 

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

For other hobbies, I enjoy tabletop RPGs and video games, discovering music, learning about film, history, and philosophy, and socializing with friends (even if only online these days). 

 

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

Recently there was a sword, that was pretty cool.


About Sabina:

Sabina moved to the Austin area from Sweden as a child. She’s long had a passion for various types of art, craft, and music, so Austin was a fantastic city to grow up around. Environmental science, the outdoors, and conservation have been a big part of her life for a long time, and after majoring in Communication Studies at ACC, ACR was a perfect fit. She’s an amateur crafter, always learning and improving various skills.

 

Amplify Creative Reuse for City-Wide Day of Giving

What is Amplify Austin?

We are happy to announce our participation in this year’s Amplify Austin Giving Day 2021! Amplify Austin Day is a community-wide day of giving all across Central Texas. More than 700 nonprofits participate each year, raising funds to support the communities that we all live in. Support the community where you live and join the #ILiveHereIGiveHere movement this March 4th-5th. Visit amplifyatx.org for more information, and to browse the causes you care about in our city. 

 

 

Amplify Austin Creative Reuse

This Amplify Austin Day we are inviting you to help support our staff like they support our community. Our people are what makes Austin Creative Reuse possible.  Our dedicated staff and volunteers have powered our growth from our earliest days and in the last year, they have seen us through an unprecedented global pandemic.  Their well-being has always been our top priority – our commitment to them led us to close our doors to the public twice in the last year as we sought to do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus.  Our center has been closed more than 6 months over the last year.  We are putting the well-being of our community ahead of our bottom line, but now we need your help.

Your donation will help offset the revenue lost while our doors have been closed. It will allow ACR to continue to pay our staff’s wages and offer paid time off that allows our staff to take care of themselves and their families. It will keep our lights on, cover our rent and buy much needed safety supplies like PPE and hand sanitizer. It will fund technology to allow more staff to work from home during the pandemic. Help us put community first, starting with the individuals who make it all happen.

 

 

Ways You Can Help:

There are many ways you can support ACR during our Amplify Austin fundraising campaign! 

  • Donate to ACR. Help us support our staff that uphold our mission every day. You can donate at any time on our Amplify Austin profile
  • Become a Fundraising Champion for ACR! Be an advocate for creative reuse by engaging with your community and helping us fundraise for our cause. Click “Fundraise” on our Amplify Austin profile to set up your own fundraising page!
  • Share your love for ACR with your friends, family and neighbors. Use your social networks to spread the world and help us #AmplifyCreativeReuse. 

 

 

Although our doors may be closed, we continue to work hard to fulfill our mission to put affordable creative materials into the hands of our community – and not in the landfill – at a time when creativity may be needed most. Help us support our community this year and beyond – donate to ACR today.

Make: Valentine’s Day Snail Mail

 

Want to send a socially distant hug to a loved one during the pandemic? Check out our Valentine’s Snail Mail Card Making Bundle at shopacr.org or use your own crafty supplies to create some snail mail Love to send & support our USPS! Our newest Shift Lead, Diana creating the directions below to show your friends and family some love this Valentine’s Day.

 

What You’ll Need:

  • Scissors
  • Gluestick
  • Paper (we used double-sided scrapbook paper, 12”x12”)
  • Envelopes (any size will work, we used an 5.25” x 7.25” envelope)
  • Folded card for your note
  • Sticker or tape

 

Optional materials:

  • Stamps
  • Stamp Pad
  • Glitter or Embossing material
  • Paper punches
  • Postage stamps (vintage or regular)
  • Washi tape
  • Baker’s twine or ribbon

 

Directions:

Step 1: Gather supplies that inspire you — we are using scrapbook paper and any size envelope.

Step 2: Using the flap of the envelope as a template, let the envelope overhang the corner of the paper by half an inch on 2 sides – trace along the flap of the envelope & cut the paper along this line. Place the liner inside the envelope and adjust as needed, then glue to the inside of the envelope.

Step 3: Cut out a traditional heart shape from the same paper or any you choose.

Step 4: Fold the sides of the heart in towards the center – the trick here is to keep the folds parallel, creating as straight a fold as possible. It’s okay if the sides of the heart are not symmetrical – it adds to the charm!

Step 5: Fold the top of the heart down so that the folds you just made are divided/folded in half and the top and bottom edges of the fold meet.

Step 6: Fold the point of the heart shape up to create an envelope shape and secure with a sticker or wax seal (once you’ve written your note, of course!).

Step 7: Let your creativity run wild! Add any elements you like such as a handmade card with embossing, matching tags, paper confetti, and some baker’s twine to gather your goodies together in a pretty package.

Step 8: Decorate the front of your envelope and add your favorite postage stamps. If the envelope is super thick you may need extra postage.

Here are some other examples of cards created using materials found at Austin Creative Reuse!

February Reuse and Rethink: Packaging “Waste”

February Reuse & Rethink Challenge: Packaging Waste

 

Most of us have been spending more time at home these days, and avoiding crowded stores by ordering everything we need online. The down side to the convenience of online shopping is all the packaging waste it generates. How can you reimagine packaging into something completely new?

 

A previous Reuse & Rethink contestant found a great way to reuse her packaging waste – by creating an award-winning Halloween costume! Angie S. turned herself into a fierce Amazon warrior with heaps of Amazon packaging!

Angie as an Amazon Warrior

Amazon provides proper recycling methods for their packaging, which you can find on their website. However, are there other ways you can think of recycling Amazon packaging, like Angie?

 

What about those freezer ice packs from your food subscription services? Or all of the plastic bags used to carry out food from your favorite restaurants? While we are staying safe by staying home, let’s think about how we can turn the problem of packaging waste into something good!

 

A Japanese Artist, Harukiru, turns packaging waste into intricate, playful sculptures. We’re not expecting submissions quite on that level, but it’s a wonderful example of turning packaging waste into fine art!

 

Submission:

When you’ve completed your creation, please provide at least 2 photos of your art piece, your contact info, including any social media handles you would like us to tag if selected as the winner, and a short description of materials used. Your submission can be made by sending 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. See our online store or schedule a personal shopper appointment today to find all the secondhand supplies you need.

 

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

 

Deadline for Submission: Sunday, February 28th, 2021

 

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

January Reuse and Rethink Winner: Maria S!

This month, to kick off the start of a fresh year, we challenged you to show us your creative organizing hacks. We’re pleased to announce this month’s winner, Maria S! Not only did Maria repurposed old soup cans to organize her office supplies, she also repurposed wall paper and other embellishments to make them stand out.

 

 

Thanks to everyone who participated in this month’s challenge, you all continue to inspire us daily with your creativity! Here is a look at some of the other entries. Be sure to check out February’s challenge!

Shop ACR From Home!

Personal Shopping via Zoom

 

Itching for an Austin Creative Reuse shopping spree? Got a project lingering in your mind, or a social distanced party that you are planning? We’ve got you covered!

If you’ve ever visited ACR, you know how intimidating the aisles can be. With extensive knowledge of our growing stock and reuse possibilities, our staff make shopping easy. Reserve a Personal Shopper appointment with one of our Reuse Specialists and for 30 minutes, you’ll have a live, ACR staff member available to you via the video conferencing app, Zoom. Be sure to include a general idea of what you’re looking for in the appointment notes to help your personal shopper make the most of that time and your experience as smooth as possible!

Get a behind the scenes look at our personal shopper and online sales process in our Life Cycle of a Donation, Part 5. Reserve your personal shopper appointment today and support Austin Creative Reuse!

 

Here are some of the great testimonials we’ve received:

 

Rebecca M. – “I just had an exceptional buying experience using ACR personal shopping.  Barbara was so helpful and found what I was looking for.  From embroidery floss to beads and even scrounge through items in the $5 bin area, all within the 30 min allotted time. (I would have been in the store for a good 3 hours finding everything)”

 

Alicia Z. – “I have had great luck with online shopping as well. Barb helped me find things for our foster puppy kennel. They love it. And it’s so great to still be able to get art and craft things by thrift”

 

Niku A. – “I did one of these last week with Diana and it was not only super productive but it really was fun and scratched that itch! Thanks again Diana! ❤️”

 


 

Make: DIY Dixit Game

DIY Dixit Game Tutorial!

Do you want an excuse for you and your family/friends to play around with collage? Have a go at making your own Dixit game!

James Talon, one of our talented Reuse Specialists, created this step-by-step tutorial to guide you along the way. There is an accompanying video that gives you 20 tips for creating surreal collages, plus, we also have kits available in our online store!

Let’s get started!

A completed set of Dixit cards, created by James

What is Dixit?

This is a game that relies solely on having surreal artwork on a deck of cards, so it’s super flexible and fun to make, and even more fun to play! It’s similar to the popular games Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples, but think artwork instead of words. Everyone gets a chance to think outside the box in this really fun game!

 

What’s the game like?

The goal is to get the most points by the end. Everyone gets dealt a hand of cards which all contain surreal artwork, and players take turns being the storyteller. When it’s the storyteller’s turn, they look at their own hand of cards and pick one for that round. The storyteller gives the other players a hint at what their card might be by either telling a story, making a joke, giving a vague one word clue; whatever they want! All the other players look at their hand and choose a card that they think best matches the clue given that round. Then the cards are anonymously displayed in front of everyone… and it’s time to vote!  Points are assigned based on votes, and winners are the ones who have their cards voted on. Complete details about gameplay mechanics can be found here.

 

Sounds fun, what do I need to make my own Dixit?

 

Basic supplies:
  • Sturdy, matching file folders (or anything that would work as the back of the cards, such as empty cereal boxes)
  • Mod podge
  • Brushes (for painting and applying mod podge)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Water cup
  • Rag or paper towels
  • Scissors
  • Plastic wrap
  • Something heavy to press down on drying cards (such as a stack of books)

Ideas for sourcing collage material:
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Children’s books
  • Illustrative art (think of art that’s meant to tell a story or convey something specific, rather than art for the wall)
  • Abstract artwork
  • Vintage magazines
  • National geographic
  • Artistic or vintage photographs
  • Wall paint samples
  • Calendars
  • Sheet music
  • Maps
  • Other 2D stuff!

Optional, but helpful:
  • Other collage tools, such as: punches, flat, non-3D embellishments, mats, and cutting equipment
  • Paper cutter (to trim your file folders evenly into cards)
  • Laminator (makes the cards more durable)

 

Okay I have the supplies… How do I make the game?

 

Step 1: Trim the file folders into same size cards

After trimming off the non-rectangular elements of the file folders, I divided them evenly into thirds. You can choose to follow the example below, or pick whatever dimensions you prefer for your cards to be!

You need a minimum of 86 cards for a viable deck, but you can make as many as you want!

I used a paper cutter and some rulers because I wanted my cards to be exactly the same size. You could also look at getting sturdy card stock that’s pre-cut to a certain size if you want! The sturdier the better though, unless you have a laminator!

 

Step 2: Tear out background ideas

I used all kinds of things (listed above in the collage materials list) so look around your house or visit ACR to find more two-dimensional things that would make for an interesting backdrop!

I put potentials in a folder labeled backgrounds. There’s no need to cut them to size at this point in time, as you’re not even sure you will be using them!

 

Step 3: Cut out interesting characters

This is the most time-consuming step, but it’s also the most rewarding later on. Imagine trying to build a house out of Legos… if you had to carve every single Lego as you were building it! The same principle applies here.

Me and some friends spent some time cutting out characters before we went about designing our scenes. It was totally worth splitting the days, and we were shocked at how creative the scenes became!

If you’re sure you’re going to use a character, go ahead and finely cut out at least the top portion of its head and shoulders so you can easily compose a scene later. For other potentials, all you need to do is roughly cut it out, because you can always refine it later if you decide to use it.

 

Step 4: Organize characters and subjects

When you’re making 86 cards, you need a lot of organization to do it efficiently! I suggest setting up some folders with labels. That way, when you’re trying to find something for your frowning horse character to wear on his head, you’ll have a folder of objects you can dig through to find a perfect hat!

Suggested categories include:

    • Small, medium, and large characters (illustrated)
    • Objects
    • Symbols
    • Photographic / real life
    • Stickers

 

Step 5: Arrange a scene

This is the most playful and fun step! So much potential… Should the smiling dolphin man be dancing in a winter forest..? Or on a giant book! Don’t cancel any ideas just because they don’t make sense… If anything, it will add to the surrealness! 

 

Step 6: Glue down the scene

This is where it pays to be patient and thorough. Using your brush, carefully apply a small amount of mod podge to the entire front of the card, without getting any glue on the backside (otherwise your card will have a distinguishing mark).

Apply your background and make sure there are no ripples. Let it dry under something flat, like a stack of heavy books wrapped in plastic wrap (so that the cards don’t stick to the books, and peel off when dry).

Keep track of your characters since they will be separated from their background for this brief amount of time. I usually take a photograph before I separate them so I don’t forget any elements, then I put them in their own folder labeled In Progress.

Once your background is flat and dry, it’s much easier to glue down the characters. Again make sure that you completely cover the backside of the character before applying it to the backdrop. Any loose pieces will stick up as you play with this deck. Dry your card the same way as before.

If you don’t plan on doing any painting with acrylic paint, you can go ahead and skip the next step, moving right into Step 8, the final mod podge layer. This way you only dry your cards twice instead of three times.

 

Step 7: Blend with acrylic paint

To achieve a sense of surrealness to your scenes, it helps to tone down the collage aspect of the cards by blending elements with paint. 

 

Step 8: Add final mod podge layer

Finish it off with a layer of mod podge on top of the entire card before putting it under the plastic wrapped stack of books to dry for a final time.

When your cards are done, you can also laminate them if you have the opportunity! I recommend leaving the backs plain, without mod podge, but you can experiment on a test card to see what you prefer!

And that’s it! You’re done with the art and creation part. Now it’s time to learn the mechanics of the game so you can play with your friends!

TIP: You can try making one card all the way through with these instructions just to see the process, and then if you want to make a lot of cards more quickly, you can break it down into the big steps as I described above, not moving on before you’ve cut out all the characters for many cards, and so on.

 

 

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