Blog

Material of the Week: Slides

You can find slides at Austin Creative Reuse for just 5 cents each.  Let’s find some fun ways to use them!

This website, Dishfunctional Designs, has some really great ideas to reuse old photo slides.  There wasn’t a lot of instruction, but many of them seemed easy to figure out.  This small light looks really neat!

These would be the perfect christmas lights for the film buff in your family, or great in any media room. 

We love little notebooks!!  And we love all the amazing materials you can use to make them!  Check out this little notebook using slides as the cover. 

Check out our pinterest board for slides for even more crafty ideas. 

Have fun folks!  Remember to share your creations on facebook and instagram!

Material of the Week: Crayons

We’ve got a plethora of crayons!  They’re just 25cents a scoop.  Offering them bulk like this, gives folks the chance to be picky about they’re colors.  So if it’s a mono-chromatic hair-dryer painting you’re wanting, no worries, get right to picking out all those pinks! 

So just what can you do with old crayons.  

Draw with them of course!  The less than perfect, stubby seconds are just fine for little hands!  Check this out from our Educator Committee member, Bernadette Noll about creating a “share economy” in the classroom. 

Maybe you’re kids have outgrown the crayons, or you’re just looking for some new inspiration.  

Here are 5 ideas from dailymom.com including the ever popular, “new crayons”, crayon candles, stained glass suncatcher, hair dryer painting and a DIY crayon monogram.   Almost all the supplies from every one of these projects can be found at the center. 

 

I also love this idea for a DIY iron-on transfer, using crayons and sandpaper.  Get those onesies ready! 

 

 

 

Have fun folks!  Remember to share your creations on facebook and instagram!

 

Build A Sign and Austin Creative Reuse reframe waste as a resource – helping their business, the environment, and the community

Build A Sign, an Austin printing company, joined the Austin Materials Marketplace to help close the loop on some of their most common byproducts – flag fabric, canvas, vinyl, sticker, gator board, and mesh scrap. The Marketplace team stepped in to learn more about these materials, research reuse applications, and promote their availability to businesses who could potentially use these materials.

 

After researching these materials and their reuse applications, the Austin Materials Marketplace team cast a wide net to promote them to local businesses and organizations, and hauled in Austin Creative Reuse as an interested taker. Austin Creative Reuse is a nonprofit reuse center that advocates for creativity, education, and community building. Since September, Austin Creative Reuse has been making weekly pick-ups for Build A Sign materials. This ongoing transaction has diverted 443 pounds of materials from the landfill which in turn avoided 1.74 cubic tons of carbon emissions from being created. These are some impressive numbers that will continue to grow in the coming year.

 

Build A Sign and Austin Creative reuse are also seeing monetary value created from this relationship. Build A Sign is saving on disposal costs and Austin Creative Reuse is realizing value from selling these materials at a fraction of their value to cost-conscious consumers such as teachers and artists. We estimate that around $2,000 worth of materials have made their way through the reuse center and back into consumers’ hands to be reused as raw material.

 

Even if a business recycles and composts, in many cases there are still odd materials that end up in the dumpster. Responsible businesses are exploring opportunities through the Austin Materials Marketplace to minimize costs and environmental impact by recovering these waste streams for higher & better uses – join the program to get involved!

Letter From The ED: New Year, New Center

Happy New Year! I hope that your holidays were filled with peace, abundance and the joy of community. This can be a challenging season for waste and consumption, but it’s also a time for knitting scarves as gifts, cooking for our loved ones and doing other activities that nourish our creative spirits and show our love through the act of hand-making. If you are like us, your new year’s resolutions include more creativity, more community and a redoubled commitment to a gentle footprint on the planet. 

As we look towards the coming year at Austin Creative Reuse, we are focused on and excited for the move to a bigger center this summer. Thank you to the 76 people who completed our New Space Survey – your responses were invaluable in informing our needs and priorities. Of the respondents, 84% of you are shoppers at the center, 25% of you self-identified as fans (we love you too!) and 22% as donors. Thank you to our one respondent who identified as a fur ball – you never know who valuable insights might come from.

Resoundingly, when asked about space priorities for the new center, more retail space was #1, and we could not agree with you more. Workshop space was #2, and a tool lending library was #3. For fill-in responses, the top priorities were: accessibility of the space/location, a request for an area to sit and sort through purchases before checking out, a dedicated donation area, and a library of craft ideas.

In regards to activities and services that the new center should offer, here’s how respondents ranked their priorities:

  1. How-to classes
  2. Adult craft nights and events
  3. Low-cost event space for rental to other likeminded organizations
  4. Summer/day camps for kids
  5. Birthday parties
  6. Special interest meetups and fix-it clinics

Fill-in responses about activities seemed to share a common desire for more adult-focused events at the center, since there seem to be a fair amount of existing options in Austin for kids but few for grown-up crafters, according to those who took the survey.

In our final open-ended question, respondents provided a few great suggestions that we will look at implementing in the short term (email notifications about flash sales! Posting donations wish lists on Facebook!) and we’ll take others to heart in our longer-term planning. We will of course take into consideration all of your accessibility suggestions like parking, proximity to public transportation and other important concerns. There were many passionate comments about where in town the new center should be, with equal arguments made for north, south and central. While we wish we could have centers in all three parts of town, our current search is within a close radius of our existing center.

Finally, we are so grateful for all of the wonderful comments and notes of support from those who took the survey – we are so proud to offer a service of value to you, our beloved community of creatives, educators and lovers of planet earth. We are so excited for the possibilities that await us in our new center, and we’re grateful for your input and support as we grow to new heights.

Thank you and happy new year to you all.  

Sincerely,

 

Isadora McKeon

Executive Director

 

How to green up your classroom party

Tis the season for classroom parties and the volunteer positions are filling up. It’s easy to hit the dollar store or the party aisle at your local grocery store but with just a little planning, and a bit of effort we can save a classroom’s worth of party detritus from going to the landfill. It’s not always simple to choose reusable items over disposable, but it’s simpler than an entire society trying to figure out what to do with all its garbage. I encourage you this year to take a few minutes to think green when you are planning your holiday party and choose reusable where and when you can.

  • Cover the tables with table cloths, fabric pieces or drop cloths. Simply wash the cloths after the party. Skip the disposable plastic table cloths as that is a lot of garbage for just one party. Austin Creative Reuse has vinyl banners, bolts of different fabrics and other things that can be made into table coverings.
  • Use real cutlery. Pretty much everyone has a dishwasher. It’s just as easy to gather up all the silverware and throw it in a bag to be brought home for washing as it is to throw it away. Don’t have enough? Hit the thrift store for a party pack of used silverware.
  • Use real plates! Seriously, it’s not that much harder than using disposable. Find some reusable melamine or small plastic dishes at the thrift store that can be used as regular party plates or have everyone BYOP. Choose a color theme or have the theme of randomness! Want to make it schoolwide? Create a party pack which can be checked out by teachers for classroom parties.
  • Having a big school wide party? Ask attendees to bring their own plates and cutlery. Bring it in a plastic bag so that it can be brought home dirty. To make this even more palatable, offer guests a rinsing station so they can rinse their plates before packing them up to take home.
  • Make the decorations things you can reuse. Skip the paper streamers and hang some ribbon and ornaments instead. Make the décor part of the activities and watch it grow as the party continues. Simply hang string or ribbon around the perimeter of the room and using tiny binder clips or clothespins, clip on origami, paper snowflakes made from the recycling bin, photos, ornaments or whatever other item you create. Pop into Austin Creative Reuse party section for lots of décor ideas and even some used decorations  from classroom parties past!
  • Serving food? Again, the thrift stores are loaded with the serving vessels you need. Real cake stands, trays, baskets and platters can be found for the same price or less than disposable ones. Don’t want to keep them? Simply wash and return to the thrift store when finished. Austin Creative Reuse has plenty of baskets and other large serving platters as well.
  • Serving drinks? Use a large water cooler and fill it with the beverage of your choice. Skip the juice boxes or water bottles and opt for reusable/washable cups instead. Find cups at the thrift store or even buy a sleeve of new reusable cups for the classroom at the beginning of the year. Let each kid decorate their own cup with permanent markers or paint. For schoolwide events, offer a commemorative cup to be purchased and used at each event.

Austin Creative Reuse Center is a great place to look for supplies and tools for your next classroom party. Come for traditional items such as streamers and plates or expand your decor with the many non-traditional items available. Need some ideas? Just ask the employees, volunteers or even your fellow shoppers!

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Fall Board Planning Session – 2017 October

The board spent all day with our Executive Director on 10/14/2017 planning for new programs and services to offer in 2018. New programs and services could include: expanded hours and open days, expanded size of the retail portion of the Center along with workshop space, additional workshops and collaboration with artists for more workshops, expansion of the number and skillsets of board members and committees to leverage the plans, and creating new relationships with community partners and businesses to assist with success in these expansion plans. Our Executive Director, Isadora McKeon, will be creating a survey to collect ideas from stakeholders.

The Center’s metrics are strong to support some of the proposed changes, and a fundraising campaign will be created to pay for expanded space. Key an eye on this blog for details of changes as they evolve.

Volunteer Spotlight: Shiree Schade

 

The next time you are in the Center, look at the baseboard. Shiree was the volunteer who created the tilework when the Center opened just over two years ago.

One of the reasons Shiree volunteers for Austin Creative Reuse is because of the inspiration she receives. “The certainty that every time I show up for a shift at the store or a workshop or for that matter any of ACR’s activities, I’ll get to watch other people’s creativity percolating and it will in turn amplify my own, oftentimes with things I’ve never thought of before.”

Another reason is the vibrant energy that fills the Austin Creative Reuse Center emanating from the creativity flowing from the shoppers. Many discussions take place between shoppers, staff and volunteers looking to share ideas and suggestions. And sometimes unique knowledge. Shiree recalls; “I was working in the bucket area one day and ran across something in a barrel that caught my eye by virtue of my having no earthly idea what it was that I was looking at. Since I’m from Texas, I didn’t hesitate to turn to the customers shopping in the area and start quizzing them on what it might be. It was a shoebox sized piece of brown fake fur in the shape of an X with webbing sewn into each arm of the cross, each ending in a shiny buckle. I was completely perplexed even though I like to think I’m pretty good at the ‘What on earth is this?’ game. Finally, one customer I asked said without hesitation, ‘Why that’s a ferret hammock. That’s what you put in their cage for them to sleep in!’ And she wasn’t joking! I was absolutely thrilled”.

In addition to being a volunteer and shopper, she is also a donor to the Center. “I think my greatest joy comes from bringing an item in to donate and then seeing it shortly thereafter in a shopper’s hand while they’re chatting excitedly about it to others. For example, I recently brought in an old decrepit mirror ball so someone might could use it for parts and not five minutes later I overheard a woman on a cell phone excitedly telling her husband about it and how they might incorporate it in a project they were working on – just what she needed, she said! That really tickles me – seeing something get a new life.”

Fall Letter From The Executive Director

Hello, ACR community! I hope that you are enjoying these early days of fall – it’s one of my favorite seasons for creative reuse. From Halloween costumes to holiday gifts, it’s a time when creative projects abound, and it’s also a time that I’m most aware of the sheer volume of stuff we consume as a culture. Watching the dizzying array of items on the seasonal aisle at the local drugstore as it transitions from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas makes me redouble my commitment to conscious consumption and conservation. It reminds me to make more than I buy, to purchase wisely when I shop, and to repurpose what I don’t use. My favorite reuse activity for this time of year: wrapping gifts in interesting materials I have found at the center instead of buying wrapping paper. Not only does creative reuse make me feel good as a conservationist, it’s just really fun to build creativity into all of life.

Here I am running the spin art machine at the Crestview neighborhood fair. Fun!

Over the past couple of months, I have been spending my time getting very familiar with the history and current operations of ACR, and I’m so proud and excited to see the great work that’s been done and the exciting things ahead. Thanks to our center staff, volunteers and board of directors, the organization is vibrant and successful. Our donations pipeline is strong and we’ve been getting some incredible materials at the center – some of you may have come for one of the two recent fabric sales we hosted, which were a huge success. We’re getting more and more requests to engage the community in our reuse mission from schools, community organizations and others, and we just received a grant award from the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division to extend our Art of Reuse workshops in 2018. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of you for making it all possible. 

All of this success means that now is the time to build a solid plan for the future of the organization. Over the next few months, one of the biggest things I’ll be working on with the staff and board of directors is a plan for expanding the center when our lease ends in July 2018. We’ve only just begun this process, but it’s exciting to think about having more space to support and grow the work we do. And, thanks once again to the Cultural Arts Division, we received a grant award from the Art Space Assistance Program to help offset some of our future space costs. 

On every level, it’s an exciting time to be a part of Austin Creative Reuse and I look forward to building our future together. Thank you again for all that you do to support ACR’s mission. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

Isadora McKeon

Executive Director

 

P.S. I did my first TV appearance for ACR on CBS Austin! Check it out here

ACR is Hiring A Donations Processing Clerk

Title:  Clerk-Part time (10-15 hrs per week)

Possible schedule: Wednesday and Saturday 10am-4pm, other hours available to fill in for other staff or at events.

Reports to: Shift Lead

 

Who We Are

Austin Creative Reuse is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our mission is to foster conservation and reuse through creativity, education, and community building.

  • We collect, distribute, and sell reusable materials donated from industry and individuals.
  • We educate the community about how to reduce, reuse, and create in responsible and fun ways. We make instructional kits, have a library of design and art ideas, and share these online and in-store.
  • We unite the community by hosting a range of events, activities, and classes that bring people together to build awareness around conscious consumption, sustainability, and art
  • We promote awareness of like-minded organizations to reduce overlap and increase awareness of city resources.

 

What We Offer

  • Fun, creative and collaborative environment that will give you great experience working in the non-profit industry and with a diverse volunteer population.
  • Ability to expand role based on interest and skill set.  This could include assisting with our social media efforts or at our workshops. There is also potential for advancement to an opening and closing center lead role.

 

What You’ll Bring

We are looking for amazing people with diverse backgrounds and a genuine passion for creativity and reuse. Our ideal candidates will be comfortable talking about crafting materials and dealing with pricing questions.  We expect our clerks to:

  • Be outstanding at customer service.
  • Have excellent organizational skills and attention to detail, especially dealing with register.
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Be able to juggle multiple tasks and work in an active non profit environment

 

Qualifications

  • Previous customer service and cashier experience
  • Basic knowledge of Point of Sales Systems and cash drawer reconciliation
  • Basic computer skills including knowledge of email, Microsoft Office, and google drive
  • Minimum: High School Diploma or Equivalent.

What You’ll Do

The Austin Creative Reuse Clerk is friendly, personable, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Austin Creative Reuse and our mission. This is a vital role, as you will be involved in weighing, sorting and pricing material donations coming into the center. Responsibilities include:

  • Process incoming donations from our weigh cart to sorting boxes
  • Package and price materials for sale
  • Research (online, in center, on Square) materials pricing
  • Screen items brought in as drop-off donations; greet donors; provide donation receipts; ensure that donations are recorded accurately.
  • While the majority of the clerk’s role will be spent in the back room, all clerks will provide customer service as needed: greet shoppers, explain the center, provide information, etc.
  • Work with Shift Leads to creatively merchandise donations
  • Fill in on cash register when needed
  • Participate in ACR events as needed
  • Physical requirements: Push/pull merchandise with appropriate equipment to and from backroom and sales floor. Lift, place, and arrange items on shelves and racks. Bend down and reach above head. Climb and descend ladder. Stand during an entire shift (other than normal break time)

The above is intended to describe the general content of the requirements for the performance of this job. It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities or requirements.

 

To Apply

Please submit your resume and tailored cover letter online to info@austincreativereuse.org.

We review applications on a rolling basis, so it is to your advantage to apply as soon as possible.  We will not consider applications without a cover letter tailored to this position.

At Austin Creative Reuse, we believe that diversity makes us stronger and challenges us to think differently every day. Austin Creative Reuse  provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status or disability.

Board Meeting Highlights – September 2017

Austin Creative Reuse is gearing up for numerous events over the next few months. Please check the website for details.

 

ACR is putting some new actions into play, all in the name of  improving center operations and better serving our customers. We are exploring funding for additional staff time and asking center leads to share center updates with the board monthly. Donations and sales have remained very strong over the last few weeks, and staff will begin exploring weekly flash sales to move some merchandise.

 

Our Executive Director has made new contacts, is working on some business donations, and spearheaded a successful application for an Art Space Assistance Program grant from the City of Austin to assist as we begin looking for a new location when our current lease expires July 2018. Members of the property review committee began a market search process to understand the current real estate market and to help identify key features that are available in the current market at what price points.