Recycled Reads…

Last week my company—in a global endeavor to b:generous—offered a multitude of community activities for we BVers to participate in. Our belief is as a growing, successful company, and as individuals, we have a responsibility to give back to our local communities. I spent a portion of Monday making crafty non-sew cat beds, Tuesday in a 1-hour yoga session to benefit Room to Read, Thursday afternoon painting Armstrong Community Music School and Friday morning sorting books at Recycled Reads.

Found objects…

Mindy met our group at the door and invited us to make ourselves at home. The 5,000 sq. foot retail Recycled Reads is “run primarily by volunteers with materials withdrawn from the Library’s collection and the community’s donations.” And an impressive part of their mission, the store “is an active participant in the City’s Zero Waste Plan by ensuring obsolete materials are handled in an environmentally responsible way by keeping these materials out of landfills.” I got lost for a moment in this wall of found relics.

Geometric folded book…

The store is set-up more as a retail space rather than a library. While we waited for the rest of our group to arrive, I took a few minutes to familiarize myself with the space. What stood out, besides their robust collection of books, was their collection of books as art.

Paper wreath…

The collection of paper art was inspiring.

Triangular Folds…

Gadora flipped through the pages making mental notes on the folds needed for certain outcomes.

Hardback garden…

How clever this little garden was. A few books stacked together, with the center removed. A plastic liner makes sure water stays with the roots.

Maps as art…

Gadora has a thing for maps… and this Atlas manipulation was fun to stumble upon. It sat atop the Youth Fiction, and while most might instead get enthralled with J.K. Rowlings, Gadora wondered where her maps are stored… I sense another project coming on.

Walled off…

I love the way this book sat against the wall. Impromptu and random art. It’s simply smart.

Horizontal display…

Our team spent 4 hours sorting books into categories, breaking down the boxes they were delivered in, removing date stamp sheets from the books’ former library days, putting the books out on the floor and reorganizing each as the shelves as we worked through them. We all had a really great time, and discovered a great new resource for very, VERY inexpensive books, periodicals, albums and old movies.

Thank you Recycled Reads! We’ll be back!


A study in lines along the Cotton Belt Trail.

Straight lines go too quickly to appreciate the pleasures of the journey. They rush straight to their target and then die in the very moment of their triumph without having thought, loved, suffered or enjoyed themselves. ~ Rene Crevel

Not exactly what Gadora was pondering as I traversed Colleyville’s Cotton Belt Trail during a recent early morning jog, but the happy stalls in exercise allowed a deep observation of the lines along the trail. The rising sun made its mark along the way.

I’ve been working on the…

The sun rose slowly as I, and it, heated up the trail. There really wasn’t much in the way of nature, but I was determined to find the beauty.

Hot water.

Gadora was only a quarter way into the run, and already wished I had remembered to bring my own water. But the trail stretched flat out in front of me for as long as my eyes could focus, so I’d be keeping on.

Feel the power.

Power lines played against the emerging morning sky.

A fine sign.

I meandered along the desolate, meandering trail head… snapping pics along the way. Kept running, but was heated. I paused often. The sun was blaring and it felt like a month of Sunday’s since I’d actually taken a good, long run. An intersection approached. And I was quite pleased it was at the crossroads of Pleasant Run and Stop. It was my sign to turn it around, and take it home.

My friend.

The Cotton Belt Trail is smack dab in the middle of Middle America. And save for the one cow, and one ass (you’ll see her next), there was hardly another soul on the trail. I paused to chat Miss Patty up, and observed the lines along the grass between us. She was apprehensive, and a few hurled niceties wouldn’t convince her to bring it over.

Hello Sweet Ass.

This lone ass along the trail was shadowed. There were no lines around her, but I snapped her mug anyway. Upon further review, there appeared magic in the lines of her ears. She didn’t have time for me, or my small talk, but I enjoyed our interaction none-the-less.

The Little Red Caboose.

Speaking of backsides, I paused a(nother) moment to bask in the shiny red of Brandsford Park’s caboose. It took a wading through the misty morning grass, and an empty railroad crossing, to get to it. The sun glistened off her exterior, and for a moment her story consumed me.

Double Lines.

Making my way back towards my Sister’s place, I noticed this pair of transmission towers. An average jogger might not recognize the beauty in their latticed structures. Birds fluttered off their lines and chirped hello to both me and the morning.

Along the way…

Initially, I felt a little silly bringing my phone along the trail. I couldn’t seriously run with it in tow. But it was to be a good, long walk/run after all. And as the trail was quietly desolate, I ran as if no one was watching. I paused to snap pics as if studying Civil Engineering. And no one was there to stop me.

Swedish artist Paul Klee might have said it best, “A line is a dot that went for a walk.”


Wireless iPhone amplifiers…

Recently spent a lovely afternoon with a couple of ladies at a “secret” watering hole outside of Austin. Picnic supplies. Yep. Sunscreen. Check. Tunes? Absolutely. She brought a snappy rubber amplifier that she’d procured at a SxSW gifting suite. And it was sweet! We waxed nostalgic with classic Alabama, Lee Roy Parnell and Hank Williams Jr and sang all the way into the sunset. I was amazed at the power it held in it’s little plastic shell. Gadora set out to get one for myself. And it was super cheap!

India Arie on the megaphone…

Now that I have it, and love it, I’m kind of thinking I might like one that’s a little more showy. Woodn’t this one be nice? From Etsy seller ScribeSF, $62, this unplugged docking station is made with sustainably farmed American Walnut and Ash hardwoods, and finished with hand-rubbed Tung Oil. It’s beautiful!

the BOOST      unplugged     wood iPhone or iPod amplifier
The BOOST unplugged amplifier from Etsy

Want to see a video of how cool it is? I can’t attest to their taste is music.

For significantly more dollars ($462) you can bring this lovely gramophone horn home, from ReAcoustic. It requires no batteries or cords. Is completely acoustic! “Simply place your iPhone in the slot and enjoy tunes of yesterday or today with an amazing vintage sound.”

14 inch Atwater Kent  iPhone Speaker Dock Utilizing a Vintage Antique Gramophone Phonograph Horn -MADE to ORDER-
14 inch Atwater Kent iPhone speaker

And the Magnavox docking station… Love it!

If wood isn’t your thing… BeyondJordanStudio, $49 has a porcelain shell version that ***. This shell also has a slot that you can connect to your charging cords.

Shell Tunes Nautilus Shell Natural Acoustic Amplifier (for iPhone4 and 4s)
Porcelain shell amplifier from Jan and Jan

For a slightly more flashy amplifier, check out this handmade ceramic Megaphone from Madrid-based en&is, 399,00 €. Check out their pics of how it is crafted. It requires slightly more shelf-space, but you’ll love the way it sounds. I’m just sure of it (see video below!).

Handmade ceramic megaphone from es&is.

While what I have certainly works, Gadora is on the hunt for something a little more showy. I’m saving my pennies for it, too. 🙂

Note the tote: Austin’s gotta brand new bag

With Spring done and gone, Gadora reflects on a recent-ish project whereby I had the pleasure of creating a gift tote graphic for my Boss Lady’s intimate wedding. She and her Hubs tied the knot in April, and to help out-of-town guests feel at home she assembled a personalized goody bag for each. It would draw attention to the couple’s favorite city spaces and was filled with an Austin map, snacks and love. With my own favorite city blog, CultureMap Austin, featuring an Etsy Austin-themed roundup just this week, I thought it time I get mine on the internets… (keep scrolling for it).

Austin-based Etsy artist Victrola 35 created her own rendition of some of the city’s hot spots. On organic cotton canvas, buyers can choose from kelly green or bright red. $32.

Austin tote by Victrola Design

Can’t find much about this artist, but their Etsy site purports, “Goody Bags are every busy girl’s staple item.” You be the judge. The simple graphic appears on a nice woven jute bag with a cotton handle, and at $20 it’ll pay for itself in style points in no time at all.

Goody Bag <3s Austin.
Goody Bag

I’d been noodling additional ideas about this post since yesterday, then serendipitously a hankering for a HopDoddy veggie burger on a magical gluten-free bun would march me past By George to spy this handy tote. Sorry folks, they don’t do eCommerce, but you can read about the cross-continental collaboration between By George and Apolis here.

Jute and canvas tote at By George

And now for Gadora’s tote. It helps to have a friend with a screen press. He worked with me on making sure the text and images were large enough for his press to interpret. And, Melissa gave me a list of locales that were meaningful to she and her groom: where they ventured on their first date, their favorite watering hole, and where they’d share their nuptials.

Close-up of Melissa’s wedding tote…

I simply penciled a map on a piece of copy paper, making sure to include the city’s famous bats, and handed it over for the screen printing. Voila! It was a darling, and inexpensive, way to greet the couple’s guests. And a personal way to include them in the wedding. Happy Marriage, Lady!

The Happy Couple’s Tote

Spare tires: new uses for old rubber…

Gadora recently returned from a road trip to Marfa, Texas where the BFF secured us a few nights at Liz Lambert’s el Cosmico for the Railroad Revival Tour – the last vestige of a month-long BIG Four Oh! celebration. A West Texas party where we’d be happy campers a few footsteps away from Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford and Sons and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. I was especially excited to return to Marfa, with a different group of gals who exercised entirely different perspectives, and to be staying on a Liz Lambert property where I had hoped to finally meet her. I swear everything she touches is gold, and I couldn’t wait to see how she dolled up the desert.

el Cosmico lobby

From U.S. 67, the el Cosmico could look like any other desert dwelling. Not flashy. A blend of the dusty desert’s palette. But Liz’s simplistic treatment of its exterior and interior elements, coupled with an unparalleled editing of furnishings and wares, kept my eyes busy. The lobby of the cinder block structure did not disappoint—it would be a hub for the next few days. The weekend’s festivities attracted more than 1,800 people—practically the same amount of people who call it home—and a line formed outside the lobby’s ladies room. I was in it. And it was after the nervous excitement of my first-ever conversation with Liz Lambert had subsided that I could soak in the rest of my surroundings. Immediately taken by the blue tile floor, I soon found myself mesmerized by the repurposed tire ottoman.

Reflective tire ottoman.

To be honest, I was kind of taken with its reflective top. Hmm, I’m kinda messy in the desert. It was an ingenious idea. It’s no doubt sturdy (though I didn’t put any weight on it), and I suspect it enjoyed an assiduous former life.

RIP – coffee table and stools

Searching for Liz’s coffee table, Gadora instead found the above set, once listed on Viva Terra. With more than 240 million tires thrown out in the United States each year, its high-time we do something with them! While in 2003 the EPA (seriously? are these the latest stats?) reported, in 2003, markets for scrap tires consumed 80.4% of their reported 290 million annually generated scrap tires. Let’s see: 20% of 290,000,000 still leaves 58 million unwanted tires. That’s still staggering, no? Unlimited Resources Corporation tells a more staggering story (January 2011): The United States just completed its ten year population census report and our country has almost 310 million people living in it presently. On average, the number of scrap tires generated in this country annually is about equal to the population. Continue reading “Spare tires: new uses for old rubber…”