Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Almost (Not Quite) $1 Backpack

"Back to School" season is on the horizon! I thought this would be the perfect time to share the backpack I made recently, trying to use entirely thrifted materials or things that I had on hand.

I found this fabric in a thrift store several months ago, and I kind of fell in love with the colours and kitschy print. Plus, it was a dollar. How could I go wrong with that?

Okay, so it's a little busy. It's going to be good though, I promise!
The whole big piece was pretty overwhelming, so I'd been sitting on it for a while, trying to figure out what to do with it. When I started taking transit to work and realized a backpack would come in handy, I knew this would be perfect. It's a nice, medium-weight canvas so I knew it would be sturdy enough to cart my things back and forth every day. 

I was even more excited when I realized I had the perfect accent fabrics in my stash. I have a pretty big swath of heavy, cream coloured canvas from helping my sister-in-law make a costume a while back. She'd also given me some green cotton that I knew would make the perfect lining. I even had the perfect zippers on hand, and a big, ornate, gold button for the flap closure that I found at the Reuse Centre.

How perfect is this?
I was well on track to making my $1 backpack!

Then I got ideas.

I thought the canvas was too light. I wanted a darker accent. I remembered that I had a box of brown fabric dye, also found at a thrift store. The dyed canvas came out perfectly. Still on track...

Nope, it's not dinner.
...except for the part where the fabric refused to stop leaching dye. I tried every trick I knew (salt bath, vinegar soak, endless rinsing). Nothing in my arsenal seemed to set the dye properly, so I reluctantly had to set this fabric aside. I didn't want to take the chance of it staining my clothes. I ended up purchasing some new brown canvas to use.

This was the first setback in my plan to only use thrifted materials or things I had on hand. My original intent was to make the backpack found in this tutorial from Aggelicat. If I'd continued with that plan, I could have finished with the supplies on hand.

Ideas struck again.

I really wanted my bag to have adjustable straps. I also loved the look of the grommets in this tutorial from sew4home.com. Both of those things required hardware: a set of grommets, two D-rings, and two sliders. If I'd had the time or the determination I could have thrifted those things, or repurposed hardware from worn-out bags. I caved, and bought them new (for shame!) I also bought some interfacing to give the bag a little more stiffness and structure. 

The finished project!
In the end, I pulled elements from both tutorials, and added some of my own. My bag turned out to be about 50-60% used or on-hand materials, and it's been a great help on my commute!

- Sarah (Volunteer)

All images provided by Sarah

Thursday, 21 July 2016

New Programs at the Reuse Centre!

Have you heard the exciting news?

The Reuse Centre is now offering group programs and birthday party programs. These offer a wonderful opportunity to learn more about how to reduce everyday waste through reusing, upcycling, DIY ideas, scavenger hunts, and eco-challenges. Each program includes a complimentary Reuse Centre Shopping Experience where your group can pick up items for future crafting.

Photo Credit: City of Edmonton

What Group Programs are Available?

Group Programs are an excellent option for community groups such as daycares, Girl Guides or Scouts, sports associations, seniors’ groups, youth groups, schools, or any other interested social group. Programs must be booked at least 3 weeks in advance and are available year round.

We offer 1.5 hour or 2 hour program options, and each program can accommodate up to 30 individuals. You can choose from the following themes:

DIY Kids | 6 - 11 yrs
DIY Youth & Adult | 12 yrs and up
Green City Challenge | 6 yrs and up

Why not brush up your upcycling skills and book a program today? Also, stay tuned for more information as we will be offering a few pre-registered workshops in the Fall.

Photo credit: City of Edmonton


What Birthday Party Programs are Available?

Want to celebrate your child's birthday at the Reuse Centre? Birthday Party Programs are available for ages 6 - 14 years. Go on a reuse crafting adventure or put on your detective hat to solve a waste mystery.

Birthday Party Programs are 2.5 hours in length which includes a 1.5 hour program and a 1 hour room rental for cake and presents. You can choose from the following themes:

Crafty Kids | 6-14 yrs
Reuse Detectives | 6-14 yrs

Book now to celebrate your child's birthday with us!


Photo credit: City of Edmonton


Did You Know We Also Offer Boardroom Rentals?

Need a place to host your next meeting, workshop, or small social gathering? The Reuse Centre’s boardroom offers an affordable, flexible space, and amenities to meet your needs, with space for up to 30 people. Discounts are available for non-profit organizations.


Booking Information

For more information, or to book a program or rental, visit our website
CALL  780-944-7424
EMAIL  reusecentrebookings@edmonton.ca

Friday, 15 July 2016

A Glimpse of Reuse at The Works Art & Design Festival

Photo Credit: Siao

It was another expressive and musing year at North America's largest, free outdoor art and design festival. This year, from June 23 - July 5th, there were 55 exhibits across 29 venues within downtown Edmonton and throughout the city for the The Works Art & Design Festival. Although there were many brilliant and vast performances, design and art pieces at the festival, I wanted to give a nod to the reusers.

Right in Churchill square, Canopy by José Luis Torres brought reprieve from the beaming sunshine. This temporary installation was made of recycled and biodegradable materials. It is reminiscent of a stroll in a forest and was a wonderfully interactive piece where many Edmontonians walked through and took a break on the benches underneath. You can see large pieces of the recycled material he used in this installation. This is his second year exhibiting in Edmonton. Last year, he featured Mutations at Latitude 53 Contemporary Visual Culture.

 
 
Photo Credit: Siao

My favorite part of these festivals are always the crafting sessions and there were several stations located in City Hall and Churchill Square.  Drawing from all the different art forms found at the festival, kids of all ages were able to use those inspirations to make their own pieces. I am always awed by their creations and curious to find the next José Luis Torres.

Photo Credit:Siao

In the midst of the festival, there were a lot of vendors on the food street and art market. One stall had a great collection of prints on dictionary pages. This could be a fun idea for your own project. Instead of dictionary pages, you could use old music sheets, encyclopedia pages, or telephone books.

Photo Credit: Siao

If you missed The Works Art & Design Festival, there are still many great art and craft events around Edmonton to check out:
Siao (Volunteer)


Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Reuse Centre's Emerald Award Success

Last month, the Reuse Centre received an Emerald Award from the Alberta Emerald Foundation, in the category of Government Institution. Emerald Awards recognize and celebrate outstanding environmental achievements and excellence across all sectors in Alberta. 

Since opening in 2007, the Reuse Centre has diverted thousands of tonnes of reusable items from landfill and provided affordable items for reuse for individuals and organizations. We continue to see significant growth in the amount of items donated for reuse. In 2015, City of Edmonton residents and organizations donated 243 tonnes of items. That's an average of 20 tonnes per month, or more than 1 ETS bus. Processing and sorting all of these donations is no small feat! Our dedicated team of staff and volunteers sort through and organize all of these donations. 

 




Reuse Centre staff and volunteers are thrilled and honoured to be recognized by the Alberta Emerald Foundation for our positive environmental impact. We look forward to continuing to divert more and more waste from landfill through reusing.


Thank you to all of our customers who purchase and donate items, and to our volunteer partner groups. We wouldn’t be where we are now without your support!

 



Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Canada Day DIY Ideas

Happy Canada Day! Why not celebrate Canada's 149th birthday this year by exercising your DIY skills? Create some holiday decor to celebrate the national holiday in style. Check out these simple reuse craft ideas to try out with your family!


Canada Day Wind Sock




A great backyard decoration that shows your pride for Canada! Upcycle a tin can and decorate with red and white paint, ribbon, and a maple leaf stencil. Add some old keys or cutlery to turn it into a patriotic wind chime. Learn how on Creative Mama on a Dime


Canada Day Jar Centerpiece


Make a statement on your table. Create a charming patriotic centerpiece by upcycling a mason jar! Don’t forget your red and white paint with a signature maple leaf on the front. Read more at Love Create Celebrate


Canada Day Bunting

Image Credit: SimpleAsThatBlog.com

You cannot decorate a party without some bunting! Try this Canada Day themed bunting using upcycled books. Add some flair by decorating with red and white buttons. Find out more at Simple As That Blog


Happy Canada Day Crafting!



Jenny (Staff)


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Father's Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day is right around the corner but don’t fret if you haven’t been able to find anything in the stores yet. Here are some great gifts that you can make by repurposing items laying around the house.

For the Dad that loves to garden: Floppy disk plant holders

 
 Image Source: BRIT + CO

These are very cute and are sure to brighten up any space! Floppy disks are a thing of the past now but it’s likely that many of you still have some lying around the house. These aren’t hard to make. Simply gather up as many floppy disks as you require (min. 5 for every planter) and a glue gun, then go plant shopping!

Full details on: BRIT + CO

For the Dad that loves winter: Handwarmers

hand-warmer-valentines-10
Image Source: Rae Ann Kelly

While not in season at the moment, these will be very useful come winter. You can be creative making these! Use some fun patterned fabric, perhaps you have an old t-shirt that you love but it no longer fits, or an ultra-soft blanket that has a stain on it. You’ll need to cut out two, ¾ inch squares from your fabric of choice to make each handwarmer. Sew the two pieces of fabric together, fill with rice, and sew the handwarmer closed.

See detailed instructions here: Rae Ann Kelly

All you need to do is pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds before you’d like to use them! That’s it! A very practical and comforting gift.

Here’s a fun gift for kids to make: A Father’s Day trophy

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Image Source: Smart Class

The idea is to cut out a trophy shape from cardboard and decorate it with all sorts of fun things found around the house, such as dried pasta, sparkles, buttons, beads, plastic jewels, etc. Once the items are glued on and the glue is dry, the trophy can be spray painted gold for a nice finishing touch. Photos can be added afterwards too. 

Check out this blog for more details: Smart Class


Happy Crafting!

-Tamara (Volunteer)

Friday, 6 May 2016

May Reuse-It Item - VHS Tapes

May's Reuse-It Item is VHS tapes! We get a lot of them here at the Reuse Centre, and so many of our customers tell us that they'll be bringing their old VCRs out of retirement, after finding some of their favourite classics in the store.


Image source: Reuse Centre staff

With the advent of DVDs, Blu-Ray DVDs, and streaming services, many of us have old or unusable VHS tape collections. If you don't plan on watching them, what do you do with all of those old tapes? Our blogger team has taken up the challenge! We've pulled together a few of our favourite VHS upcycling ideas from around the web.

Siao

I am constantly running out of storage containers and space. Plastic VHS cases are great for organizing smaller items, and it's super easy to stack them onto a shelf. Make a small label for the spine of the case and you are set!  If the black cover bores you, you can have a small craft session with the kids to decorate the exterior.


Image source: Materials for the Arts

Tamara

In this age of technology where new gadgets and systems are produced almost constantly, there's a high likelihood that you have some old VHS tapes that have become dust collectors. There's a number of things you can do with them so they don't just end up in the garbage. Take, for instance, this easy to make pen holder:
You only need 4 tapes, glue, and some sturdy cardboard. In fact, I wouldn't think you have to limit yourself to making just a pen holder with this idea! This container could also be used to store kitchen utensils (spatulas, wooden spoons, and the like), fake flowers, and probably a lot more. Put your creative hat on! 


Image source: Hipcycle
Get the full instructions at Hipcycle.

Vanessa

A VHS coffee table would make a great addition to a family or rec room! It’s super easy to make, and is sure to be a conversation piece. Add a touch of nostalgia by using your favorite movies!


Image source: Instructables

Get the tutorial at Instructables.


Sarah

I love this VHS tape pencil case idea! You could also use these for sorting and storing craft supplies, like buttons or bobbins of thread. Get the tutorial at Taylor Rae Luster Flights of Fancy.

Image Source: Taylor Rae Luster

I also found this umbrella holder, made of VHS tapes It's really similar to Tamara's pencil holder above, just with the tapes facing the other way for a different look. You could easily change the dimensions and layout of your tapes to make storage bins in a variety of sizes and shapes! 


Image source: Ri Eco Lab

Do you have a collection of old VHS tapes? Blow the dust off, and get creative! Share your ideas in the comments below!

Please note that the Reuse Centre only accepts commercially recorded VHS tapes, and blank tapes still in the packaging. Home recorded VHS tapes should be disposed in the garbage.