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Start the New Year with Gratitude!

It’s a New Year! Each year we begin fresh and ready to create the lives of our dreams. The process to fulfillment starts first with gratitude. Practicing gratitude regularly in your life will bring happiness, satisfaction, and appreciation for the life you currently live, and improve your outlook on the future.

 

 

Help you and your family be grateful this year by starting a gratitude jar or journal. To start a gratitude jar, get any jar you have laying around the house, or get one from www.shopACR.org, and place it somewhere centrally in your house like the mantle or dining room table. You can decorate the jar with whatever you’d like – this tutorial shows a fun way to create a colorful, glittery jar with your kids. Everyday, write down something you are grateful for and put it in the jar. Watch your wealth of gratitude grow as the year goes on. You can regularly pick notes out of the jar and remind yourself of things you are grateful for.

 

Similarly, use a journal to write down what you are grateful for each day. Grab a journal from our online store and use it to express gratitude in your life. Use these prompts to get you started. Don’t be afraid to make your own!

 

Helpful tips:

-Be consistent. Make gratitude a part of your daily routine.

-Be specific. Among the big things, what little things are you grateful for?

 

Happy New Year!

 

December Reuse and Rethink Winner: Bella L!

Last month, we challenged you to find alternatives to wrapping paper for the holiday season. We’re pleased to announce Bella L as the winner! Her Sprite bottle gift box was the most unconventional of all the submissions and gave a piece of “trash” a new life of reuse! 

 

 

 

We applaud all of the contestants for choosing reuse this holiday season and are continuously inspired by the creativity of our reuse community! Here’s a look at some of the other submissions:

 

January Reuse and Rethink: Organizing Hacks

January is National Organization Month!

Every January, folks tend to start off the new year fresh by clearing out the physical clutter in their lives, and organizing what they want they want to keep.

This month, we challenge you rethink traditional organizing methods and show us your best reuse hacks!

Guidelines for Entry:

  1. Objects must be reused
  2. Submissions will be judged on creativity and use of reused objects
  3. Submissions must be made on or before the deadline.

Submit at least 2 photos, a description of materials used, and any social media handles you’d like us to tag if selected as the winner to rethink@austincreativereuse.org by midnight on Sunday, January 31st.

The winner will receive a $10 ACR e-gift card! E-gift cards can be used in our online store, or saved to use in the center once we reopen.

Let’s get organizing!

Put those bread tabs to use!

 

Use an egg carton to get every last drop out of your condiments!

 

Upcycle a mason jar into a toothbrush holder

2020: A Year of Firsts

The Year in Review: 2020

At Austin Creative Reuse, the past 12 months have been a year of learning, adaptation, and firsts. We started the year by making our first move since opening up Austin’s first creative reuse center, we hired our first Retail Manager, and we experienced the first pandemic in our lifetime. While initially it was challenging, the ongoing pandemic provided an opportunity for us to adapt and get creative with how to get reuse materials into the hands of our community. In response, we opened our first online store, held outdoor sidewalk sales for the first time, hosted our first reuse gallery and market, hosted our first virtual workshop, and offered virtual shopping for the first time. We have truly had an unforgettable year and we thank everyone who has and continues to support us along the way.

Despite the impact 2020 had on ACR, we were still able to accomplish much throughout this one-of-a-kind year. Here’s a look back at the year in numbers:

  • 1 Virtual workshop series hosted
  • 2 Days spent moving into our new location
  • 9 Virtual field trips hosted
  • 24 Outdoor sidewalk sales held
  • 33 Vendors for our first outdoor market
  • 45 New core volunteers onboarded
  • 120 Pieces selected for our first online reuse gallery
  • 160 Days closed to the public due to the pandemic
  • 658 Dollars worth of materials donated to mask-making initiatives
  • 2,374 Online orders
  • 8,063 Hours contributed by volunteers
  • 17,048 Items sold during the sidewalk sales
  • 232,793 Pounds of material diverted from the landfill
  • 315,599 Dollars in sales

We can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for us. Happy New Year!

End of Year Update: A Letter From Our Executive Director

Executive Director Update – End of Year 2020

 

Greetings, ACR Community!

 

As we prepare to say goodbye to another year, we would like to take a moment to celebrate the dedicated community that lifted us up every day in 2020.  At ACR, we aim to build a community that inspires, encourages and supports each other, and during this challenging year, you have inspired, encouraged and supported us. Because of you, ACR has continued to stay strong and to grow, even in the midst of a global pandemic.  Thank you for helping us make reuse dreams come true!

 

In 2020, ACR celebrated the fifth anniversary of our opening Austin’s first and only creative reuse center.  In honor of that milestone, here are five things we’re looking forward to in 2021:

 

  1. Creating a vibrant community destination in East Austin.  We chose our new location in the Windsor Park neighborhood of East Austin for its potential to be more than a retail store.  We look forward to continuing to grow into our new space in 2021 and to creating a place where folks can come to learn, explore and create with us through workshops, artist collaborations, reuse galleries and markets, and more.  
  2. Pursuing joyful collaborations.  The pandemic has impacted Austin’s communities and community organizations in so many different ways.  As we all continue to adapt, we look forward to continuing to support existing partners through these changes and to building new partnerships with groups working throughout Austin.  We aim to be a good neighbor by building strong relationships with Windsor Park’s neighborhood schools, libraries, small businesses and other community groups.
  3. Welcoming new volunteers.  Volunteers have always been an integral part of our team. Their generous gifts of time and talent – 47% of our total labor hours in our last fiscal year! – keep our wheels turning and connect the community to our work.  We look forward to the launch of our new volunteer portal in 2021 which will expand volunteer opportunities and make it easier than ever to volunteer with ACR.  
  4. Bringing reuse out into the community.  At ACR, we believe that conservation is a job that needs all of us.  We look forward to expanding our outreach and education initiatives in 2021 and sharing the joy and impact of creative reuse throughout our community.
  5. Seeing your smiling faces again.  We have missed you this year.  We look forward to the day when we can safely reopen our new center at full capacity and bring our community back together again.


Like all good things, we know that 2021 will not always be easy.  As I write this, Covid-19 cases in Austin continue to rise and our center is once again closed to the public for the safety and wellbeing of our staff, volunteers and community.  There are still challenges to come.  You can help ACR meet those challenges by shopping in our online store, buying a gift card for yourself or a friend, donating gently used creative materials, making a financial contribution or simply sharing your love for ACR with your friends and family.

 

From all of us at ACR, we wish you health and happiness in 2021!

 

~ Jennifer Evans

Executive Director

December 28, 2020

Make: New Year’s Eve Confetti Cannon

Celebrate NYE in style with this simple, DIY confetti cannon

Supplies: toilet paper tubes, balloons, confetti, tape, scissors, paper, glue

Step 1 – Tie the bottom of the balloon, cut the top, and place on one end of the tube.

Step 2 – Secure the balloon to the tube with tape.

Step 3 – Decorate the tube with colorful paper, stickers, ribbon, or markers.

Step 4 – Fill with a few tablespoons of confetti, pull the balloon, and POP!

Make a Luminary

Happy Winter Solstice!  ❄️
 
December 21st marks the beginning of winter for the northern hemisphere, as well as the longest night of the year. In 2020, this date also marks the “Great Conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn, in which the two giant planets will align in the sky!  Celebrate this stellar day with this simple DIY Luminary tutorial created by ACR volunteer, Sarah K.  Sarah comes to us through our great partnership with The Junior League of Austin.
 
 

Staff Spotlight: Deanna Carrillo

 

Each month, we highlight one of our dedicated ACR staff members so you can get to know the folks behind your favorite reuse center! This month, it’s Shift Lead and merchandiser extraordinaire, Deanna Carrillo. See her favorite picks at the center’s Creation Station, along with materials and a tutorial for making a laminate art journal!

 

How did you find Austin Creative Reuse?

I was on the mailing list for Zero Landfill, and they mentioned that ACR was opening a retail store. I checked it out and was hooked right away. I love trying to find new uses for things instead of throwing them away, but using them to make art is even cooler. You always end up with something unique.

 

What’s your favorite part about working at ACR?

I love seeing the variety of donations that come in. You never know what you’re going to find. Sometimes it even requires some detective work just to figure out what something is! That’s one of my favorite things.

 

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

Yes. I make jewelry using traditional metalsmithing techniques, but I also dabble in everything else. I’ve tried papermaking, candlemaking, collage, painting, drawing, sewing, stamp carving, mixed media, mosaics, stained glass, you name it.

 

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

Lately I’ve been messing around with found object art. Mostly finding the objects. Hopefully the art part will happen eventually. The rest of the time I like to hang out with my husband and our three cats.

 

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

Well, I found a salesman’s sample of an outdated model of artificial hip hardware, ball and socket and all.

 

Make a Laminate Art Journal

Turn laminate samples into a portable art journal! Experiment with different mediums and textures to kickstart your creativity or use as a reference for projects! See how reuse specialist Deanna uses laminate samples to try different materials in the center and see what she can create. Creativity doesn’t have to be intimidating – try new things and have fun!

 

 

About Deanna

I am fascinated with upcycled, reused, and vintage things. My favorite kind of art is anything that involves items that have been reimagined for something other than their original purpose, and I use them in the jewelry I make as well. I love hearing about the things our customers are making with the stuff they get at ACR.

 

Outdoor Holiday Market

Austin Creative Reuse is excited to announce that we will host our first Outdoor Holiday Market on Saturday, December 12th and Sunday, December 13th from 12 noon to 5 pm.  The market will be held entirely outdoors in the side lot at our creative reuse center.  The market will feature unique handmade items from more than twenty-five local artists, makers and creatives each day with a focus on creative reuse materials and techniques.  There is no cost for the public to attend.  Masks and social distancing will be required.

“We are delighted to offer this Outdoor Holiday Market to allow our community to shop locally for fun and funky holiday gifts that support Austin’s artists and makers,” said ACR Executive Director, Jennifer Evans.  “The market will feature one-of-a kind pieces and a chance to get to know local artists including ACR’s talented staff and volunteers.”   

We hope to see you at the market!  

 

Questions can be directed to ACR’s Center Manager, Jen Mack, at jen.mack@austincreativereuse.org.

Sustainability Spotlight: The Austin Dish Lending Library

This month, we feature The Austin Dish Lending Library, a local sustainability organization working to keep Austin quirky. Their eclectic library of dishes provide an alternative to disposable, single-use dishes and cutlery that are all too familiar at events.

 

What is the mission of your company or organization? 

The Austin Dish Lending Library’s mission is to help Austin reach its zero waste goals by providing reusable alternatives to single-use dishes and utensils for Austin area events. 

 

What environmental issues does your company address?

Our organization works to keep disposable dishes out of the landfill and meet Austin’s need for reusable dishes. Many small events don’t have a budget for expensive dish rentals, so they resort to cheap disposable plastic plates and utensils. By offering free dish rentals we are able to give people, organizations, and businesses the opportunity to make their event greener and reduce their waste! All items are picked up, washed, and returned back to us, keeping dishware from a small 8 person gathering to a larger 100 person event out of the landfill. 

 

What eco friendly initiatives does your company or organization uphold?

The Austin Dish Lending Library focuses on reduction and reuse. People can use our reusable dishware and reduce the amount of new items they need to buy for their event, which would most likely have ended up in the trash. Our dish collection includes a variety of items needed for an event like plates, bowls, cups, wine glasses, serving platters, cloth napkins, silverware, and more. All of the dishware we have was donated, saving even more items from the landfill to be used again. We even keep dishes that break along the way, and send them a local artist Laura to upcycle into unique art! 

 

How do you hope to make an impact on the Austin community or world at large?

I hope we can help the Austin community realize there are more ways to be eco friendly and reduce waste than just recycling and composting. To reach Austin’s zero waste goals we need to focus on reduction and reuse, and I hope the Austin Dish Lending Library can help grow a lending community in Austin. The founder, Joanna, first heard about a Dish Lending Library when she was looking for a cheap dish rental option for her small nonprofit event. Unfortunately the closest one was in Canada, so she decided to create one in Austin! It would be great to see more Dish Lending Libraries created in other cities or countries as more people learn about them. 

 

Where can we find out more about your company or organization?

More information about our free service and dishware collection can be found on our website, www.austindishlendinglibrary.org. People can also stay up to date with us on our facebook page, www.facebook.com/AustinDishLendingLibrary

 

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