Saturday, January 20, 2007


Before I moved to Oregon, I'd visit my brother and admire his trash and recycling bins. My brother and his wife are tidy individuals and their recycling bins were full of clean containers and the paper bags were folded and stacked neatly in a brown bag. California was not into recycling and I thought if I ever moved here, I'd recycle.

We practice recycling in our house and for a family of 5, we only have a small trash can which I contribute to recycling. I like cleaning out the containers and neatly folding down the boxes and washing out the milk cartons then smashing them. I heart recycling. But I still had lessons to learn.

My friend Elaine.... now she recycles. She has been going to as-is since she was in high school and hardly ever buys much new. As-is is kind of like the outlet store of Goodwill and even though there's some 'why would anyone buy this' stuff, there is still lots of stuff that is new or in like-new condition. It is sold by the pound and glass is .25 a pound. You can get glass stuff there really, really cheap.

I've known her for a couple of years and I'm still learning from her. This month she sent me two fun things in the mail. First was a template for making an envelope (inside an envelope she had made from a Raggedy Ann 2006 calendar), To: and From: labels (guarantee they were a find from as-is) and instructions on how I can make my own envelopes and pass on the idea to others. A great way to recycle last years calendars. Didn't I say she recycled?

The second fun thing was a great 'Happy New Year' tag with a fun dangly made from Shrinky Dinks. If you are not familiar with Shrinky Dinks, it is plastic that comes with a design that you can color or clear so you can make your own designs. You bake it for a minute or two and they shrink up really small. Again, I guarantee these supplies came from as-is. I love to get mail from Elaine. It's always original and satisfies my crafting spirit.

She enclosed a letter on 'paying it forward' so I made a cute little dangly thing to attach to a Happy Birthday tag I made and sent the remaining plastic with the birthday present knowing my friend will also appreciate the opportunity to create and pass it on. Elaine has also taught me the art of shopping at as-is. The first time my husband took me there, I couldn't stay long because I was so overwhelmed but one time with Elaine and a lesson on what to look for... I was hooked.

I've asked her to start taking pictures of her as-is purchases because the woman is 'gifted' in her shopping experiences there and comes away with the most amazing items and at little cost. She recently bought a nice digital camera, a laptop and a new printer with her as-is purchases that she sold on e-bay. Her house has a cottage charm to it and is furnished with lots of as-is items that she put together to create a decor worthy of newspaper coverage.

I've so much more to learn but this is one area that I look forward to the lessons. :)


MamaZuzi said...

So where is this AS IS place?

The Alt Martha said...

Wow Norma, thank you! Since I'm too lazy to actually blog anything myself I think I'll just refer people here. You are one of my dear crafty soul sisters!

For the un-aware, as-is has two locations locally and one in Seattle. In Portland it is just off of Milwauikie, five or so blocks South of Tacoma in the Sellwood area. There is another one in Hillsboro. The place is loud and dirty and frankly quite overwhelming for most but for the true gleaners in the world it is Heaven!

The Alt Martha said...

Oh, and while I'd love to take the credit for the Raggedy Ann envelope, it was really a gift from my reusing soul sister Teagen!