Thursday, December 4, 2014

Making Spirits Bright

Worried about finishing off that holiday shopping list?
Want to help someone in need this holiday season? 
Spend some time with the family and make a wreath?

The good news is you can do all of this in one day!

There are 3 events that you absolutely must mark on your calendar. The best news is that they're all in the same location and at the same time! 

Next Saturday, December 13th, 2014

First, you'll want to bring your holiday shopping list to the 5th Annual Check 'Em Off, Green Holiday Gift Event. With over 60 vendors, you will be able to check everyone off your list in a "green" way here. 

Secondly, if you want to have a part in helping Northwest Battle Buddies get a service dog for a veteran in our local community, you can bring bags of unwanted clothing/textiles to Check 'Em off, Green. (Each bag is worth about $2 to the organization and will get you a raffle ticket!)

For even more holiday cheer, stop by the Christmas at the Fort Festivities. 

What a great way to spend the day! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Four-minute, no-sew modesty skirt

Spandex may be a privilege but everyone has the right to be comfortable.

So, some of you know that I quit my "day job" back in November and have started my own business promoting sustainable consumption. Some of you also know that I've been working a part time job to help make ends meet in the mean time. That position consists of organizing and running clothing collection events. What's appropriate attire for this position? I should probably wear jeans, but then I have to unload the clothing (sometimes 10,000+ lbs!) later that day. My compromise has been to wear spandex/yoga pants but then also wear one of my 2 Sweet Spot Skirts over the top. It makes me more comfortable (and probably everyone else at the event) while still giving me enough flexibility for the unloading workout that is entailed at the end of the event.

Fast forward to last Friday when I hadn't done my laundry in awhile. What to do? I had a somewhat brilliant (if I do say so myself...) idea. I cut the bottom of a too-big t-shirt off, flipped it upside down and added some elastic. Voila!

While it's true this wasn't nearly as cute or well made as a Sweet Spot Skirt, it served the purpose well and was super quick/easy. I might even make a few more.

It's easy to reuse the original hem by
slicing a small hole and threading
the elastic through there. The new "bottom"
 of the skirt will roll and doesn't need hemming.
After I wore it for the event, I went ahead and replaced the safety pin that was holding the elastic with actual sewing (this could be done by hand, but of course my sewing machine was much faster.)

Here's the original T.
I simply cut it off under the armpits,
flipped it over, and threaded some elastic
 through the original hem.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Reusable bag tips

I was chatting with some of my favorite people from Glass Dharma this morning and realized that I've never really done a post about how I taught myself the habit of taking reusable bags into the store with me. Maybe these will be helpful to you, too!

Monday, January 20, 2014

An epidemic of disposables on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Why does it have to be a plastic water bottle?  

I'm a geek. I've talked about it many times on this blog before. I love me some scifi. I've watched just about every major science fiction show you could name. Moreover, I really love me some Joss Whedon. I'm a Joss fangirl, I guess you could say. Heck, 3 of my dogs have been named after Firefly characters. He's done no wrong, for me. Until now. 

Now, I know it's probably not fair to pick on Joss for the epidemic of plastic water bottle portrayal on ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Man, that's a bitch to type....) However, it really is an epidemic. Check it out: 

Thirsty after a long workout with your ridiculously handsome "SO"? (that's supervising officer, not significant other) I get that you need a little drink of water, but perhaps next time you can take a cue from another super hero show and use a reusable water bottle? 

Perhaps the most interesting thing, though? When the show wants to show a serious "moment" and get out the good stuff, do they serve it in disposable cups? Of course not. 18 year old booze deserves (and gets) something a little more classy: 

Hey, SHIELD writers, props people, director (I'm talking to you, Joss!) I can get you some reusable water bottles for your show and they're even made here in the United States. Really. Just please stop portraying plastic water bottles as perfectly acceptable and normal, because they really do some damage. Sincerely, -The Reuser

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Artist/Vendor Profile: Reca Brodie


Reca Brodie

Company name:

Portland, OR



Other social media: - RecaCreations

I have some pieces for sale at:
The Dancing Elephant Gallery in Baker City, OR
Belle Fleur Flower and Garden Boutique in Oak Grove, OR

Your products/projects:

There have been so many pieces I've made over the years that I have fallen in love with and swore that I would just keep for myself. I'd look at it for quite some time and finally come to the conclusion that, Oh, it's just too cute not to sell it. I just had that dilemma a few weeks ago with a piece that I just loved. I felt I could not part with it...then decided, Oh, someone is just going to fall in love with this one as much as I do...I just have to sell it. It's called Exquisite'll have to check it out on under RecaCreations.

My recycled yard art is made from used plates, platters, saucers, cups, mugs, bowls, vases, pitchers, figurines, knickknacks, etc. These items can have chips, cracks, blemishes, inconsistencies, flaws, etc. These items are made from glass, ceramic, porcelain, china, pottery, etc. Each piece is named, unique and one of a kind. These pieces cannot be reproduced. These pieces are made to be put outside and used as birdbaths, birdfeeders, plant stands or just art for your yard. Some clients have purchased them to put in their kitchen and place goodies upon them.

Me....I'm running and laughing in broken heels!

Green "Cred"
Creative reuse, Recycled content product, Refashioned, Reused materials
Why is "green" important to you?

For a very long time, I have believed in taking care of this great Earth of ours. When I was younger, I used to go to the dump with my best friend and her father. He was a handyman/gardener and would take tree limbs/yard debris to the dump. I was so sickened by what I saw there, and I have viewed the Earth differently after those trips to the dump.

I have tried to minimize my footprint at the waste facilities, as they're called now, and I still feel that I never do enough. We have become a throw-away society! We don't fix things anymore, we just get new ones. We have to have the newest, latest, greatest item out there before the other one has lived out its life expectancy.

I am happy that more and more people are recycling, and that more items can be recycled.

I would like to see this World of ours stay green and healthy for the rest of my life and for future generations to come....but, we have a long way to go to make sure that each and every one of us are responsible in accomplishing this goal.
Your origin story?
I have been crafting all my life, and mainly just for fun as a hobby. Over the years many friends and family have enjoyed my creations. Ten years ago I decided to see how well the general public would accept my creations as well, and to date they still seem to enjoy and embrace which I am greatly appreciative. I have always been a huge recycler and I'm glad to say that my art reflects that view.
Your inspiration?
Nature inspires never ceases to amaze me. Just when you think you've seen it all, around the next bend is something even more spectacular! When people look at my art they always comment on how the items I have chosen to put together really don't match, but they do go together. I take examples from doesn't matter if things match, but they do go together very well!
Your heroes? 

I don't have a particular hero but, my heroes are the ones who overcome adversity when all odds are against them.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Artist/Vendor Profile: Vance Family Soy Candles

Amy Vance

Company name:
Vance Family Soy Candles

Vancouver, WA



Other social media:

Your products/projects:

I make sustainable soy candles utilizing as many local materials as possible. NO SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCE. NO PETROLEUM PRODUCTS. Just pure, NON-GMO plant oils go into my candles that are hand poured into American made (and some handblown local) containers and labeled with handcrafted labels made of recycled, unbleached paper.

My favorite item is my American Scent Trip line of candles. I am creating a candle for every state (based upon my personal journeys) that takes the buyer on a journey through the state with their nose.I am very proud of my Keep Portland Weird candle made in collaboration with Music Millennium of Portland, OR. The candles were created to support buying local and small business and proceeds from the sales go to Oregon Music Hall of Fame which promotes music education in Oregon schools.I learn everyday and am continually humbled and thankful for all of the support and encouragement received by my family, buyers, friends, and fans.  

Green "Cred"

Creative reuse, Handmade, Durable, Made in the USA, Non-gmo ingredients, Recycled content product, Recycled content packaging, Reusable, Reusable packaging, Reused materials, Locally sourced materials, No Synthetic Fragrance or Petroleum 

Why is "green" important to you?

It is a given. Obviously, using synthetic fragrance would never even be an option. And when it comes to the rest of my manufacturing and business practices, it just comes natural to want to be as sustainable and thoughtful as possible. I run an almost zero waste business. This is not only earth friendly, but saves money! We re-use what other businesses might classify as trash (clean trash!) to pack our orders and create one-of-a-kind shredding for our gift boxes. We recycle and compost.

Your origin story?

I'm highly allergic to synthetic fragrance (found in virtually all candles as well as cleaning products, lotions, perfumes, the list goes on!) and couldn't burn candles without having an asthma attack. Being an avid cook and gardener, I knew real scents didn't bother me, so why the allergic reaction to candles? After researching, I learned of all of the detrimental and harmful ingredients put into most candles. I knew I could create an all natural, 100% plant based, candle and set out to make it a reality. My main goal was to create a natural cinnamon apple candle. Cinnamon essential oil was easy to find, but the apple... It was harder than I thought! It took a couple years to find an organic, oil soluble extract of apple that would translate into an amazing candle. But I found it! While I was at it, I knew I wanted all of my ingredients (including the soy) to be GMO-free, made in America, and recycled when possible. Thus, my line of Vance Family Soy Candles was born. The journey and response has been amazing and it is a wonderful feeling being able to provide for my family, create jobs, support local artists, give back to the community and create a product that is making the world a healthier place to live!

Your inspiration?

Scent memories and travel inspire me! Most of my candles are created due to personal journeys I have experienced.My brain is continually pumping out new ideas for styles and scents. I have to remind myself to turn it off & be patient most of the time because in order to make a profit I can't be running in a hundred different directions!


Your heroes?

I am inspired by, and appreciate, anyone who is willing to do what is right despite their situation. I am forever grateful to all those who have fought for freedom and human rights.

Favorite celebrities?

Oprah Winfrey because she is one of those brave people as described above.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Young Reusers

This morning, I got a text from my sister in law saying my nephew had creatively reused a gum package and then said, "{Aunt Reuser} would be so proud of me. I reused it!" 

I really am. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Artist/Vendor Profile: Michael Barley

Name: Michael Barley
Location: St. John's neighborhood of Portland, Oregon
Your products/projects:
All of my products are made from recycled windows that I collect from construction sites. Since this type of glass is not normally recycled and most of it ends up in the landfill, I feel good rescuing this glass and giving it another life as a beautiful piece of art to be enjoyed for years. I create my work by first cutting the glass into the size and shape I need then decorating it with glass paints and glass powders. It is then fired in a kiln to 1500 degrees, permanently fusing the colors and designs into the glass. I make an assortment of items including Night Lights, Coasters, Dishes, Ornaments and Jewelry.

Green "Cred"
Creative reuse, Handmade, Durable, Made in the USA, Recycled content product, Reused materials

Your origin story?
I grew up in air force bases in Japan and the U.S. and my favorite thing to do was making things in the Hobby shops. I spent time in the photo darkroom, lapidary shop, metal shop and ceramics studio. My professional career started as a potter when I was twenty. In 1988 I saw some glass beads that friends in Bellingham, Washington were making and in 1990, I tried it for the first time and fell in love with the process. A few years later, I was making beads full time and not working in clay. About ten years ago I built a house and wanted to make the tiles for the kitchen as well as glass panels for the fence I built. I first used Bullseye glass, the standard glass used in glass fusing, but found the cost prohibitive for the fence project so I started researching. I discovered sources for glass supplies using window glass and started working with it and exploring various techniques and built my fence and have been working with it since. At first I bought the glass from glass companies but quickly switched to recycled windows and now work exclusively with recycled glass for my fused work.
Recycled Glass coasters

Recycled glass light switch cover


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Join The Reuser

Where will The Reuser be this weekend? 

I have a big Saturday planned and this is your official invite to come along!

First, I'll be visiting the Capitol Tree when it makes a brief stop in Vancouver. Did you know this year's tree comes from Washington State? Also, some of my clients and Check 'Em Off, Green vendors will be at this event with their wonderful products.

That's a big tree! 88ft big.
photo credit: Young Kwak,

Next, I'll be heading over to the Empower Up Warehouse blow-out sale. There's a ton of great stuff and some really unbelievable low prices at this sale. There's just some really fun stuff there, too. 

These aren't money boxes,
but you could certainly reuse them as that!

Nuthin' like a little vinyl polka...

Finally, I'll be heading south to check out the premier of my friend's beer. It's beer-with a twist! It's meant for horses! Well, people can drink it too (It's perfectly safe for human consumption.) But her horse (the beer is named after him) will also be there. Should be a great Saturday! 

So...will I see you this weekend? What are your big plans?

By the way, this is a nifty little article about some research being done on the tree. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nature is winning

A couple days ago, I posted this about the new Toys R Us ad campaign. You could probably tell I was just a teensy bit upset about the pitting of plastic toys against nature play. Well, luckily, I wasn't the only one upset about it and with the help of a friend and my friend's kids, we did something about it. There are two versions of the video. See what you think:

Nature Is Winning

Nature Never Gets Old

Here's a bonus pic for you from the day's "shoot."

See the heron?

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