Austin Creative Reuse Meets Austin Sewing Guild

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On a cold and windy Saturday, Austin Creative Reuse had a chance to meet up with the Austin Sewing Guild, a dynamic bunch of ladies (and a few men) who love to sew.

Those of us who do sew are a notoriously frugal bunch. In this case, frugal does not mean cheap, it means we like to make the most of what we have so left over material and notions are saved for future mini-projects or shared with members of the guild. Each guild meeting kicks off with a wonderful fabric and notion swap. Reuse at it’s finest!

After sharing the mission and future plans of Austin Creative Reuse, it was time for member so show off what they made recently. Several members brought their favorite “reuse” project.

One member who loves to print and dye fabric used her “drop” cloth to make a beautiful blouse, The rich, random colors gave the blouse a lovely batik feel. Another ambitious member made several dresses and one shawl out of a load of old ties. The colors were amazing! There were quilts and coasters made from scraps.  One of my favorites was an adorable holiday dress.  The dress began it’s life as a short sleeved, floor length number which had no styling what so ever.  After being purchased at a thrift store by a sewing guild member with an eye for fabric, she restyled it into a cute holiday cocktail dress.

We will be looking for ways to meet up again with this amazing group, maybe a fabric sale or swap, helping out with a “sewing” themed craft night. Can’t wait to see what we come up with.


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Thinkery’s Junk City

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Make sure to visit Thinkery by January 25, 2015 to check out “Junk City”.

It’s an amazing city created by Zach Dorn from reclaimed materials.  There are many wonderful hidden gems; look up to see hot air balloons made from light bulbs and look closely to see if you can spot the lady and her dog meditating.

Join us there on Saturday, December 13th from 11-2pm for a fun creative reuse activity.




#lasertrash, what’s that?

MakeATX , { a membership-based design and fabrication workshop }, runs a laser cutting workshop in East Austin, and during the East Austin Studio Tour, they will be selling bags of scraps from laser cutting projects, aka lasertrash.  The exciting news is that a percentage of proceeds from sales of these scraps will be donated to Austin Creative Reuse.  Check out the examples of the amazing materials that you might find there and make plans to stop by.

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Where: 1109 shady lane, Austin, TX 78721

When:  November 15, 16, 22, and 23; 11am – 6pm

Check out more photos on Instagram : #lasertrash


What are your favorite songs about Creative Reuse?

On Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, I had the great fortune to be a guest on KOOP radio’s ReMIX show.  The show asks a guest to select a set of songs about a topic and share the songs and the stories about the songs on the show. I was in the recording studio with Ken KC, Matt Johnson and Jenn Venkze and had a delightful time sharing stories about the songs and about Austin Creative Reuse. Let us know what songs you would have included in your set.

Here is my song list:
“Monkey Gone to Heaven” by The Pixies
“Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix
“Worn Out Shoe: by Reverend Peytons Big Damn Band
“Just Breathe” by Willie Nelson
“Nothing but Flowers by Talking Heads
“Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Pt 1.” by The Flaming Lips
“Mutual Core” by Bjork
“Go!” By Santigold (featuring Karen O)*
“Walk this way” by RUN DMC and Aerosmith
“This Too Shall Pass” bu OK GO*
“Hurt” by Johnny Cash, ORIGINAL ARTIST: Nine Inch Nails*
“Hard Sun” by Eddie Vedder*
* Songs were not played during ReMIX show

Additional songs considered but not included:
“Traffic in the Sky” by Jack Johnson
“Dont’ Drink the Water” by Dave Matthews Band
“Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchel
“Natural Beauty” by Neil Young
“The 3 Rs” by Jack Johnson
“Alice’s Restaurant” by Arlo Guthrie
“The Writing’s On the Wall” by OK GO

KOOP ReMIX on Facebook


Thank you for helping us Raise the Roof!

Thank you to everyone who came out for our Raise the Roof event on November 7th. It was a huge hit and we had a blast.

Many, many thanks! And stay tuned for more to come!


Behind the Scenes at Goodwill Outlet

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On Saturday, about 20 ReuseConex attendees including a few from Austin Creative Reuse,  were invited to a behind the scenes look at the Goodwill Outlet.  This massive store at 6505 Burleson in south Austin is indeed a bargain hunters paradise.  After Goodwill has actively marketed every sellable item donated, the unsold products make their way here.  Sorted items are wheeled out to the main floor where shoppers look for “the good stuff”.  Most items are sold by the pound.  During my visit, I found a lovely green bowling ball engraved with “The Beast”.  Luckily, bowling balls go for an cool $2.99 and are not sold by weight.

Besides bargain hunting we also toured the sorting area where unsold and unsellable items are sorted into 70 different areas (like suitcases, single shoes, hats, stuff animals), then baled.  Baled goods are sold to recycling, reselling and reconditioning businesses around the city, state or country.  While Goodwill does an amazing job of keeping lots of our extra “stuff” out of the land fill, it really brings home the effect of our constant consumerism.  To see bales of stuffed animals, even with Mickey looking so content, was an eye opener.  It really reminds us to purchase thoughtfully, then reuse, repurpose, regift, repair, reprise and value the things we have.  While it’s great there are places like Goodwill and other wonderful thrift stores around our town who are willing to help us give our stuff a second life, we might all aim to just have a little bit less and be a little more  content with what we have.


Austin Creative Reuse Visits Reuse Artist Greg Geisler of Wounded Wood

Austin Creative Reuse met up with Greg Geisler from Wounded Wood recently.  Greg truly embraces the spirit of reuse.  He’s his home and garden are simply filled with found and other free materials off craigslist.  He also lovingly creates beautiful wooden boxes and art using discarded dresser drawers, scrap wood and good old junk.

He has donated two of his amazing pieces to our Raise the Roof raffle and will be displaying some of awesome reuse art at the fundraiser.
You can check out more of Greg’s art by visiting:


Upcycle Challege during ReuseConex with Carole and Leslie

The Upcycle Challenge was a total hit during ReuseConex on October 23, 2014! Our very own Carole and Leslie participated.

Check it out!

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October 20th: Austin’s 2nd annual Reuse Day!


Austin City Council proclaimed October 20, 2014, as Austin’s second annual Reuse Day! This proclamation highlights the City of Austin commitment to the purchase, use, and/or donation of reusable, reclaimed, and remanufactured products.

I was honored to accept the proclamation  along with other Austin organizations who represented programs, organization and businesses that epitomize REUSE, including:

Austin EcoNetworkEcology Action of TexasGoodwill Industries of Central Texas,
Re-Sourcery, Texas Campaign for the EnvironmentTreasure City Thrift, and the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Here is my acceptance speech from the event:

We are very pleased to accept the City of Austin’s Proclamation for October 20th as Austin Reuse Day and the beginning of Reuse Week in Austin.

Reuse is about extracting the highest value possible from a product or material– preserving and even enhancing the integrity of materials through imagination, creativity and intelligence.

There are many ways that Austinites can support the reuse economy during this second annual Reuse week. Reuse is about car-sharing and bike-sharing, donating to and shopping at thrift stores. It is about darning socks, re-upholstering couches, using rechargeable batteries and bringing your own coffee mug to the coffee shop. It is about sharing yard tools with your neighbors, checking books out from the library or donating books to Recycled Reads, creating decorative mirrors from bicycle wheels or making robots from discarded computer parts. The City’s Shop Zero Waste initiative lists businesses that sell recycled or reused items, or offer repair or sharing services at You can also find these businesses by looking for this Shop Zero Waste decal in storefronts.

Austin’s reuse community is growing and we are grateful for all the individuals and organizations that promote reuse. We know that Reuse and a Sharing and Repairing Economy provide jobs and investment in our community. We know that aggressive Reuse will help Austin reach Zero Waste faster. We know Reuse supports our cultural arts and education systems. And we know that Reuse helps many people and organizations in our community save money and meet material needs for clothing, furniture, building materials, food and school supplies!

Together, we look forward to bringing more awareness to reuse and encouraging Austinites to consider reuse options when they find a need for a new item or to start a new creative endeavor.

Please join us for the Reuse Alliance international conference, ReuseConex 2014, next week, October 23-25 at the Austin Holiday Inn Midtown. The City of Austin is co-hosting this conference with numerous partners in reuse, including Austin Creative Reuse, Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, Habitat ReStore, Re-Sourcery and Treasure City Thrift. The event will bring over a hundred of reuse advocates to Austin for networking and learning.

There are several events open to the public at ReuseConex. On Thursday, October 23 join us for the Ultimate Upcycle Challenge, and on Friday, October 24th for the ReFashion show and the screening of the documentary “Reuse! Because you can’t recycle the planet”.

Follow along online with #REUSEATX.

Thank you again to the City of Austin for this proclamation and recognition of the value and power of Reuse!

Turn October 20th into National Reuse Day and make #reuse a national conversation topic. Sign the petition and be an eco-hero!


Halloween Decorations

Bring back reusable materials from the dead by making these sweet Halloween decorations!

1. Moo! Create a haunted house with milk bottle ghost string lights


2. Spice up your home with pumpkin garland made from paper towel and toilet paper rolls


3. Bibbity Bobbity Boo: Turn a book into a pumpkin


4. Trick or Treat: Disguise flower pots as delicious candy corn


5. Splash into fall by making pumpkins out of pool noodles




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