Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thrifty Acres - Creative reuse @ Learning From Scratch

Hello! Have you ever been to a creative reuse store? Before moving to West Michigan, I had previously been acquainted with The Scrapbox of Ann Arbor, MI - a treasure trove of items donated by businesses as well as  by individuals - wallpaper sample books, pieces of fabrics, weird bits of foam rubber, crafting supplies, etc. 

After moving here I discovered Learning From Scratch, which was located in Grand Rapids, MI. I liked it even better than The Scrapbox because it had cooler stuff. But after awhile the woman running it lost her lease and Learning From Scratch closed. 

Some time later I was told that it had reopened in a new location but I only investigated this online a few weeks ago. I learned that it's now inside a thrift store called Worldwide Thrift, so off I went earlier this week to check out its new digs. 

I happily roamed the back room of the thrift store where Learning From Scratch is housed. I took my time, in part because I elected to do the $3.00/fill-a-bag deal for the unpriced items, and of course I wanted to get my money's worth. I spent a grand total of $12.00 and here's what I got:

Wood samples with distressed paint finishes, large wooden beads, yarn cones and small, colorful imitation leather pieces. I will stamp and/or collage the wood samples to turn them into decorative wall hangings. The yarn cones have fun printed designs on the top and bottom ends - I've just seen plain ones before this. Will decorate them in a way that takes advantage of those designs. Have plans for the beads and the "leather" pieces as well.

The $3.00 bag was crammed with matboard pieces, cardstock pieces, foam rubber pieces, wood samples, fabric pieces and punched-out pieces to use in stenciling. I will use the foam rubber and punched-out pieces with craft paints to make designs on cards and collage work. I will decorate the two fabric pieces and hang them up - both already have grommets on top.

A huge paint chip sample book; it measures 2 inches thick. Not only is it fun to look through, but paint sample chips can be used in various craft projects. I'll have fun experimenting with the colorful choices therein!

Also selected a fabric sample book that had some truly lovely pieces. If I can't find anything to make with these fabrics, then there's something wrong with me! I'm thinking cloth napkins and pieced tote bags.

Really a lot of cool, inexpensive things, most of which appears to have been donated by interior design firms and manufacturers. Lots of fun stuff for kids as well - for one thing, there was a bin of "seconds" in the form of childrens' wooden blocks. One youngish mom was there with her toddler daughter when I was shopping and the little girl was having a great time playing with the blocks and some of the other odds and ends there.
In case you live in the area and want to make a visit yourself, here's the info: Learning From Scratch - inside Worlwide Thrift Shop,1454 28th St SE,Grand Rapids MI,(616) 243-5310. Current hours: M T W 10-6, Th F 10-8, Sat 10-5. 


  1. Ooooo. Is this the same store that used to be on Clyde Park near 131?
    Thanks for the address, I am soooooooo there.

  2. So much stuff, so little time . . .