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reuse

The Proof is in the Repair

The Proof is in the Repair

Rain Delisle from Indigo Proof gets her hands dirty with denim repair.

Rain sees herself as a repair crafts-person. She wants to help people wear their loved things longer. Her specialty: denim. If you thought your favorite jeans that got holes in the seat are goners, she’s here to prove you wrong and get them back on your legs.

After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Boston, she moved to San Francisco and worked as a contractor for three years in the fashion industry repairing denim. With much trial and error, she developed her unique style and technique of repairing jeans - and it quickly became in high demand.

She began posting her work on a blog called Indigo Proof, a name she used to describe the blue hands she gets working with indigo and denim - the “proof” on her hands at the end of the day.

In December 2015, Rain moved to Portland to launch her own denim repair company, Indigo Proof Denim Repair. Portland was a natural fit for her business, knowing Portland residents are into a lot of unique things, especially repair as a philosophy.

I love to sew and get my hands dirty. I was interested in creating a niche for repair work I hadn’t seen in the market - a quality repair that lasts and gets better over time. Each pair of ripped jeans is a different problem to be solved and it can be difficult at times to find the answer, but that’s the fun of it!

Not just about Levi’s

Indigo Proof is in East Creative, an artist and creative space in Portland’s Central Eastside. There she has a steady stream of clients who have discovered her mostly through social media, who arrive with their torn jeans and a glimmer of hope that their long gone favorite pair can be able to be worn again. Her Instagram features a hashtag where clients can post and tag her in their wear photos - “jeans that have been repaired are a part of someone’s life, not just another pair of pants.” Depending on the severity of the damage, repairs can take anywhere from one hour to multiple full days of work.

“Raw denim starts as a blank canvas; each wearer creates their own unique fades depending on what they do in their jeans- like a fingerprint. No two pairs of the exact same jean will look the same on two different people- someone could keep a knife or phone in their front pocket creating faded outlines of their daily carry, the other could be a photographer and kneel on their right knee a little more causing accelerated fading in the knees. These little things determine how your jeans look over time.”

People “work on” their denim, meaning they wear in their jeans. Some of those people ship her their jeans from all over the world; New Zealand, Bahrain, Norway and the UK. These denim fanatics are lovingly referred to as “denim heads” and they even compete in global contests for fading a pair of jeans!

“Once they get to this worn-in and broken-in state, all that use can create thinning areas and rips- this is not the time to toss them after you’ve put in all that wear, they’re just starting to get good! I want to help people wear their jeans longer, so they can enjoy their old jeans as if they were new again.”

Get your jeans fixed

Contact Rain for repair rates, which are based on a full evaluation of what the jeans need to be restored. This year, she expanded her business to include denim alterations like tapering and tailoring, so Indigo Proof can be your destination for all denim services. She plans on growing even more this next year!

Back-to-school shopping: Think local, buy used

Back-to-school shopping: Think local, buy used

Get kids ready to go back-to-school with local resources. There are many places to buy smart to help save time and money.

The back-to-school shopping season accounts for about 50 percent of annual school-related spending and impacts approximately one-quarter of U.S. households. The average spending per household is $510!

While clothing and school supplies dominate back to school lists, the highest average spending is for computers and hardware. Here’s a breakdown of the average spending per family in each category:

  • Computers & hardware $299
  • Clothing & accessories $286
  • Electronic gadgets $271
  • School supplies $112

Look for local options first

Free Geek makes buying repurposed electronics of all kinds an option for any student with their focus on digital inclusion. Computer systems are the focal point of their thrift store space and you can also donate old computers and electronic equipment.

PDX Parent offers a list of the many consignment, resale and used clothing shops in the Portland region.

SCRAP PDX has supplies to create DIY one-of-a-kind items for school, like pencil bags from fabric, zippers and found objects, or to customize last year’s backpacks by adding sew-on patches or letters. They have paper of all colors and sizes, markers, pens, colored pencils, plus so much more.

If you are you interested in diving into more about back to school spending, there’s a survey about insights on spending and shopping trends. In the current survey, 98 percent of people said they plan to buy clothing and accessories and school supplies.

Check out past posts about kids in school - and use the Resourceful PDX map to locate resources near you.

10 things to do today to reduce your waste

10 things to do today to reduce your waste

Jenica Barrett from Zero Waste Wisdom shares her insights for creating less waste.

Jenica Barrett started a new, personal journey that began with a six-month challenge. That was three years ago and it is now part of her everyday life. The challenge she set out to complete was a waste audit - where you gather your trash to tally, weigh and itemize for a week or a month.

She was a college student back then and now as a graduate student, she leads workshops and presentations about her zero-waste lifestyle.

I see myself as someone fortunate enough to educate others on the environmental impacts of our actions collectively and to provide resources for them to adjust their lifestyles for the better. I do this by dedicating a vast amount of time to keeping my blog up-to-date and offering local workshops. I provide information that anyone can apply to their own life, or they can adapt my suggestions to meet their current needs. Face-to-face interaction is also highly impactful which is why I focus a lot of time promoting the idea of waste reduction and environmental stewardship in my local community.

Rethinking how to create less waste is the goal. This can be purchasing a durable coffee mug from a resale or thrift store to buying dried cranberries from the bulk section at your local grocery store.

Ask yourself questions before a purchase, such as:

  • Do I already have something that can do the job?
  • Can I buy this second hand?
  • Is there a more durable option?
  • Can I borrow it from someone?

We all have habits – some good, some not so good – that we choose to do. What we do with our waste – recycle, compost or landfill it - is part of our habits too.

The average person produces 2.89 pounds of garbage a day per year.  That’s 1,054 pounds a year. Jenica chronicles her continued journey by showing the waste she produces each year. In 2017, she created 1.67 pounds, and it fits in a jar!

Jenica gets many questions about her lifestyle from workshop participants and online. This gives her opportunities to offer tips to reduce, reuse – and refuse. She said some people get stuck on bringing things themselves (bags, mugs, cutlery). She offers another direction if this is an obstacle – like purchasing an item in a different package. This type of shift is what opens the door to reducing and creating less waste. Keep in mind - the best choice is to avoid any product that is designed to be disposed of after one use.

The biggest thing people can do to avoid contributing to the plastic program our oceans are facing is to stop using it. Plain and simple. This can take the form of buying things in bulk, bringing your own container, and giving feedback to companies who still use excessive packaging. It is important that we start demanding change by being conscious of where our dollars are spent and make sure we are putting our money towards products that are good for the environment. We can’t kick our plastic habit overnight and I still use plastic products now and then. But unless we dramatically cut back on our reliance on disposables, these items will keep ending up in the ocean. It doesn’t matter how well we sort our recycling or whether we develop incinerators for our trash. If we are using so many disposable products, litter and pollution will continue to occur.

Here is Jenica’s list of 10 things to do today to reduce your waste:

  1. Invest in a reusable water bottle
  2. Bring your own grocery bags
  3. Bring containers for leftovers at restaurants
  4. Buy in bulk
  5. Make your own cosmetics
  6. Compost your food scraps
  7. Refuse plastic straws
  8. Purchase second hand items
  9. Switch out paper towels for cotton towels
  10. Conduct a waste audit

Jenica offers tips, advice, recipes and more on her website and through social media. Learn more at Zero Waste Wisdom.

Three tips to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year

Three tips to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year

There are many benefits to becoming a more thoughtful consumer: buying less, cutting clutter and reducing waste, to name a few. As we begin a new year, consider making a small change that can help you live more resourcefully. Make it easier to adopt the change by choosing one new habit per month, or make a change to an established habit. Who knows, maybe something small will turn into even bigger changes (and benefits!) for you.

Watch Alicia on KATU Afternoon Live, where she shares these tips with host Tra’Renee.

Alicia_AfternoonLive_Jan18.png

1.       Borrow rather than buy to cut clutter

Take advantage of the resources that Portland offers! The online map connects residents to free or low-cost options for living more resourcefully.

The map categories are repair/resale/swap shops, donation centers and lending libraries.

Portland has:

·         4 tool libraries

·         3 kitchen shares

·         3 swap and play spaces

·         1 toy library

Borrow these types of items and more  

·         Home and yard tools, power tools, table saws

·         Juicers, mixers, bread makers, canning equipment

·         Toys, games, clothes, books

These community organizations also need support! You can become a member based on the area of the city where you live and volunteer your time or donate your unused items.

The Library of Things (which lends baking equipment, board games and even karaoke machines to members) is available in Hillsboro and is coming soon to Beaverton too, through the county library system.

2.       Remember to reuse (and reduce disposables)

Make a reusables kit for your car or day bag, bike bag or purse. Include reusable bags, a coffee or travel mug, produce bags, cutlery or small containers for quick stops or on-the-go items.

After you use something from your kit, replace it as soon as you get home so your kit is always with you, ready for anything. Having an on-the-go kit is especially good if you eat out a lot, make frequent stops at the store, or tend to forget your reusables (we all do!).

3.       Resolve to redeem in 2018

As of  January 1, 2018, many more kinds of containers now carry a 10-cent deposit. These include bottles and cans for tea, coffee, fruit juice, coconut water, hard cider and kombucha. Beer, soft drinks and water containers continue to require a deposit.

By recycling these containers at a bottle redemption center, the materials are separated and turned into a clean, reliable supply of high-grade recyclable material. The materials are all processed in in the U.S., and for plastic containers, 100 percent of them are recycled in Oregon.

Of course, you can still recycle at the curb – aluminum and plastic go in the recycling cart, and glass goes separately in your other bin. But by redeeming your own containers, you get more money back in your pocket.

Find a BottleDrop Oregon Redemption Center near you!

Find local alternatives to back to school shopping and spending

Find local alternatives to back to school shopping and spending

The back to school shopping season accounts for about 50 percent of annual school-related spending and impacts approximately one-quarter of U.S. households.

While clothing and school supplies dominate back to school lists, the highest average spending is for computers and hardware. Here’s a breakdown of spending per family in each category:

·         Computers & hardware $307

·         Clothing & accessories $284

·         Electronic gadgets $254

·         School supplies $104

Getting kids ready to go back to school may include more stuff, more hassle and more stress. But there are plenty of things you can do to save time and money. Local resources abound for getting what you need to go back to school.

SCRAP offers supplies to create DIY one-of-a-kind items for school, like pencil bags from fabric, zippers and found objects, or to customize last year’s backpacks by adding sew-on patches or letters. They have paper of all colors and sizes, binders, markers, pens, colored pencils, plus so much more.

Free Geek has repurposed electronics of all kinds at the new-and-improved Free Geek Store. It makes its computer systems the focal point of the space and you can also donate old computers and electronic equipment.

Title Wave Used Book Store includes a wide selection of books and other materials at deep discounts. Share your used books with friends, relatives, or younger schoolchildren. The Children’s Book Bank needs gently used books to pass onto children in Portland who might not otherwise have books of their own at home.

Interested in diving into more about back to school spending? There’s a survey about insights on spending and shopping trends.

Check out past posts about kids in school - and use the Resourceful PDX map to locate more resources near you.

 

Caring for what’s under your roof

Caring for what’s under your roof

Summer is the perfect time to give your home some additional TLC.

Safety First

Before you start a home remodeling, demolition or construction project, learn how to avoid toxic materials and handle potential dangers you might encounter, such as asbestos or lead paint.

Before a home project, test for asbestos. Metro transfer stations require documentation for all loads of construction, remodeling and demolition debris that might contain asbestos.

Seasonal Maintenance

Taking good care of your home can prevent big problems and save a lot of money in the long run. Tasks like cleaning out your gutters and repairing exposed wood quickly help your home last as long as possible.

When you need to replace materials, consider reclaimed or salvaged. They provide unique character, and often are stronger, more durable and higher quality — and may be less expensive than new materials.

Local Resources

Find these local resources and more on the Resourceful PDX map to help you improve and maintain your home:

  • Habitat for Humanity ReStore
  • MetroPaint
  • The ReBuilding Center
  • Green Lents Community Tool Library
  • North Portland Tool Library
  • Northeast Portland Tool Library
  • Southeast Portland Tool Library

Resourceful PDX is your go-to for community resources.

Warm the holidays with these community gift ideas

Warm the holidays with these community gift ideas

December is the season of creative giving and good times spent with friends and family. Remember, Portland is full of community resources —and resourceful ways — to give and make meaningful moments.

 

Make memories

Give a fun outing to ZooLights for kiddos who already have a full toy box.

Families with kids may like a membership to the zoo, OMSI, children’s museum, or tickets to a play, movie or a sports event. While gifts of experience can be a tough sell to little kids, you can help make it fun in the moment too.

 

Borrow

Help dad clean the gutters with an extension ladder borrowed from a tool library.

Tool libraries are available to residents of East PortlandNorth PortlandNortheast Portland, and Southeast Portland. Become a member of a tool library near you! Gift a family member or neighbor time — yours! — to help with a house project.

 

Fix it

Repair a favorite old lamp for mom at a repair café.

Repair PDX hosts monthly free repair events that bring volunteers who like to fix things together with people who have broken items that need fixing. Help spread repair culture through the repair movement!

 

Try resale

Find a gently used party dress!

Portland has a thriving reuse and thrift shop market for not only clothing, but also household goods, electronics, furniture, art supplies and building materials.

Check out the Resourceful PDX map for lending libraries, donation centers, resale, repair and swap shops.

Save money by packing waste-free lunches for school

Save money by packing waste-free lunches for school

It’s easy and fun to pack waste-free lunches with colorful reusable containers, utensils and cloth napkins!

Tips for waste-free lunches

1. Pack lunch in reusable containers or a lunch box. Wash and reuse containers for sandwiches and snacks. 

  • Many grocery stores offer food containers and lunch boxes – be sure to check that they are free of BPA, lead, PVC, phthalates, and vinyl. 
  • Lunch Sense and PlanetBox also offers safe, toxin-free products online. 
  • Reuseit lunch kits help with planning your kids’ lunches and offers alternatives to disposable items.
  • ReUsies Snack and Sandwich Bags has a coupon in the Chinook Book and offers an alternative to disposable bags.

2. Choose durable bottles for drinks.

  • Fill them with tap water, which is just as good as bottled water and at less than a penny per gallon, it's a great bargain.

3. Bring your own metal forks, spoons and cloth napkins.

Reuseit presents a number of tips and ideas about reusable items and waste-free lunch options in their video.

By planning ahead and creating weekly meal plans, you can reduce waste while shopping, too. Stock the fridge in one trip, and you’ll save time and resources too.

Check out other back to school resources in our previous kids in school posts.

Swap and share your way to savings for the school year ahead

Swap and share your way to savings for the school year ahead

School days are coming! Channel your creativity and resourcefulness to get kids off to a great start. Swap and share items you already have, but no longer need, to keep kids outfitted for activities inside and outside the classroom.

Host a clothing swap

Hosting a clothing swap with friends and neighbors is a fun and easy way to share kids’ clothes, toys, books and sports equipment, and donate anything that’s left. 

A clothing swap involves getting a bunch of people together to exchange clothes and other items you no longer wear, and offering them free of charge to others by swapping them instead. Swap events are a great excuse to get together with friends or meet new people, all while giving your stuff another life and helping everyone save money and avoid buying new.

Swap Positive is a local resource that provides all you need to know about attending, hosting and getting involved with swaps in Portland. There are options for family swaps and those specific to household stuff or clothes of every size.

Center for a New American Dream put together this video about hosting or participating in a clothing swap that can help you plan your own swap!

Find used sports equipment

Don’t forget about sports gear and equipment – items for school and recreation leagues can add to your budget. From cleats to uniforms, there are ways to find used items through swapping, borrowing and purchasing gently used goods through your friends, neighbors or Craigslist.

Join a swap and play space

Join one of the swap and play spaces around Portland to connect with other families with children. Swap and plays offer an opportunity to swap outgrown clothing, toys and gear, share community play space and also connect with other parents and kids in your neighborhood.

Portland swap and play spaces are membership organizations and vary in hours, activities, events and ways to get involved. They are Southside Swap & PlaySt Johns Swapnplay and Woodlawn Swap n Play

Check out other back to school resources in our previous kids in school posts.

PDX Toy Library offers your family the benefits of sharing

PDX Toy Library offers your family the benefits of sharing

Alicia Polacok, from Resourceful PDX partner Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, kicked off the New Year with a visit to the PDX Toy Library where she talked with founder Cat Davila about this labor of love.

PDX Toy Library is an all-volunteer community-based nonprofit organization that recognizes play as an integral part of a child’s development. High quality toys and equipment are available for borrowing to assist with the physical and educational development of children ages birth to 8.

Cat sees the library as a way to build community too, by hosting and participating in many family events that bring people together to learn, collaborate and socialize. Borrowing from the Toy Library is a great opportunity for children to explore ideas about ownership, responsibility to others, and the benefits of sharing.

She was aware of the tool and kitchen libraries in Portland, and this idea really synthesized a lot of her passions and just felt like is was exactly the thing to do, even without experience in the nonprofit or library sectors.

The idea struck me one afternoon as I was playing games with my 2 year old daughter, and wishing I could trade all of ours for some new ones somewhere. It suddenly seemed impossible that there wasn’t already something like this in Portland.

I spent a lot of time learning about Toy Libraries in other parts of the world and crafting our model of service, and learning how to form a nonprofit, and searching for a space for the library. And now it is real! I’m very pleased with what we’re able to offer now, and excited to see what the future brings.
— founder Cat Davila

How does it work?

Membership is open to the public and active members use the toys and space. While most members are currently families, Cat's own work background is in Early Childhood Education, so she would like to see more teachers and caregivers utilize the library. Volunteers are integral in the library, which is currently open three times a week for a few hours. Cat has hosted events in the space and plans to shift the focus for more game and play time when the library is open.

The collection continually grows with donations accepted and cataloged frequently. Members check out different toys and games each week, up to three different toys or games each time you visit.

Currently the fee structure offers three month memberships for $30 or six months for $50. Gift certificates are available if you’re looking for an alternative idea for a birthday or holiday celebration.

Why join a toy library?

It saves money: Toys cost a lot so joining the Toy Library is likely to be less per year than you may spend on new items.

It saves space: Toys take up a lot of space and storage so the Toy Library allows you and your kids to use things when you really want them and provides a way to get them out of your house the rest of the time.

It allows for toy test drives: Toys engage kids at different times and at different levels. Checking things out from the Toy Library gives you a good idea of what engages children the most. And since kids grow fast, it means having developmentally appropriate toys available to test.

Bonus: Keep things fresh (and give your kids something “new”) by checking out different items every couple of weeks! Browse the toy catalog online to see if borrowing toys may work for you and your family.

Where is it?

PDX Toy Library is located in the Sunnyside Community House (formerly Sunnyside Methodist Church) at 3520 SE Yamhill St.

All Portland residents are welcome to join!