Um … what phase were we on?

That was an awfully fast/slow/wrinkle in time sort of two months. Just to catch you up since the last post at the end of January, we got ‘er done!!

You may remember this pic from right after the movers left?

Well, that became this!

(Photo by Paul McRae)


And this!

(Photo by Nicole Bean)

(Photo by Nicole Bean)

And this!

(Photo by Nicole Bean)

(Photo by Nicole Bean)

Then we had a super great party/grand opening/art show! Thanks to Lorenzo Chuca for these great photos! A good time was had by all…

Boots & caricatures by Bonnie Blue


She's kind of a big deal





More art!


Xray shopping

Death & dismemberment section



The kitties relocated back to the store without incident, and they are loving the new place. When there’s no one around, there is spectacular multi-level cavorting. Thanks to our great friend Mike Esparza for these great portraits!

Shuug and JC


And remember this before pic? This is what the Teacher Store looked like at move-in. Now sharing a part of our fabulous new space, the Teacher Store is a project of our sister nonprofit, The Center for Recycled Art.

Teacher Store ante


And it looks like this!

teacher 1 teacher 2 teacher 3

 And, we’ve had two shopping days for public school teachers and other nonprofits!

The final big part of our move was just completed this past weekend, when we emptied out our last storage space. So, we are completely under one roof now, except for what’s in our houses. Which, relatively speaking, is not that much. We’re back to working semi-normal hours and are looking forward to getting back into a normal groove. Again, “normal” being relative …!

We have a long, long list of people to thank and a few stories to tell, but that will have to wait for another post.



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Phase II complete!

So, we did this last week — packed everything at the Houston Ave location.  We started early in January in a leisurely way, and threw it into high gear after we closed on Saturday, Jan 19th. We could have used more time to pack, but under the “available work fills the available time” theory, we were only closed for three full days before the movers came on Wednesday.

Climbing Mt. Fabric

Don’t know if you can tell, but Johnny Cash is behind Shuug in this picture. You can see the outline of his little ears. They got temporarily relocated to my house on Tuesday, prior to the move.

So, then, we had 4x this, beginning at 9A and ending at 7P.


Two trucks, two trips, four full loads, six guys moving constantly. Everything went swell, right up until the end when I tried to pay with a check. Telecheck declined my check, saying the account didn’t exist. I BEG your pardon. Oh, wait. Their problem. It does so exist. Except they flagged the transaction when they couldn’t approve the check originally. And, oh, wait. they can’t clear the flag without speaking to someone at my bank. And, it’s 7PM, and there’s no one at the bank number that they are authorized to use. No hilarity ensued. At all.  And it went on

Imagine just how happy those six men were, after moving every damn thing out of the store since 9A that morning, being further delayed in getting the hell out of there when they were finally finished at 7p. It was like one of those cartoon camping scenes, where you’re sitting in the fire light, but can see the glowing eyes of fierce creatures in the murky darkness, just waiting for their chance to rip you to shreds. It was like that. No likey Telechek, but the move and the movers were great!

So, this is all we have to do now:

1. Unpack this

2. Unpack this, too.

3. Oh, and unpack this.

But that’s it! The new space is SO AMAZING, and we are SO EXCITED! We can’t stop smiling, in between detailing our aches and comparing bruises.

We are opening the store on Saturday at 10AM in whatever state we’re in at that point. I figure, no matter how bad it is, it’s not as bad as conditions have been at the Houston Ave location for  probably … the past year? So, this is the “soft open” date, when everything is on its way to done, but not completely done.

Our Grand ReOpening will be Saturday the 16th. We’ll be completely done by then.

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Please and thank you.

Dear Lord,

Please help us get through the next 36 hours.

Please guide our hands that we may pack like the wind until the movers arrive at 9A tomorrow.

Please guide our feet that we might not crush them with the world’s heaviest boxes or slice them open anew with the shards of broken glass.

Please guide our tongues that we might not cut each other with our words.

Please let us not forget how to eat sitting down, using proper utensils instead of our hands, even though we have not done so in lo these many weeks.

And thank you.

Thank you for our cadre of merry packers, both wee and tall, quiet and loud, even though they may not always be so merry, for without them we would be toast.

Thank you, too, for strength in not striking back at the pit vipers we sometimes meet on our journey, knowing that verily, Karma is a bitch.

And thank you for what remains of our sense of humor, our will to live, and for really good moving weather.


(Photos courtesy of Robyn Arouty Photography)

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Losing our damn minds

And, apparently, we’re taking all involved with us!!



Or, possibly, they’re all on the run from the law? We really appreciate everyone’s help, regardless.

It’s our last day open at this location, and there are still folks here shopping — both new customers and used customers. We’re telling the new ones that it’s not usually like this, with boxes and piles everywhere, but we have to whisper, because the people who have been here before know better. And they laugh pretty hard.

Many thanks to Robyn Arouty Photography for the great photos!



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A quiet tear

I shed one this morning, when I emailed someone that we would only be open at the current location through this Saturday. Sniff. Our little building … this turned out to be so much more than we expected when we opened in May 2010.

Here's the current building before we moved in.

Bag of kid

We had to discontinue our line of kids in a bag. Supply problems.


We will definitely miss the great art our awesome friends painted on the building. Hopefully it will survive with the new tenants, whomever they may be.


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Freakout mode checklist

Eye twitch? Check.

Visible heart beat? Check.

Delivery delays causing calendar mayhem? Check.

Checks flying out at an alarming rate? Check.

Bottles emptying at an even more alarming rate? Oh, hells yeah. Check.

Unprovoked outbursts (increasingly venomous)? My husband says, “Check.”


View to front door

We are moving in ONE WEEK!!!!!!! ONE WEEK!!! ONE!!

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Move FAQ

Is the new space bigger?
Yes! Bigger and fuller!

Where is this? How far East?
It’s about two miles from the current location, on the other side of 59, about three blocks behind Kim Son, close to Sparkle Burger, Scott Street exit from 45, off Leeland if you’re not a highway driver. Here’s a map!

Are you taking the cats?
This is the most unbelievable question of all. Yes, of course. They are going home with me until we finish moving so we don’t have to worry about the doors being open all the time. Sheesh. Who would leave their kitties behind just because they move?

How are you going to move all this stuff?
We have movers! And this is not the hardest thing we have ever done.

Will you take my donation anyway?
No. We are sorry, but we have to stop taking donations until we are settled in the new space.

Photos courtesy of Robyn Arouty Photography

Why are you moving? Did they raise your rent?
Seriously? This place is bulging at the seams and has been bulging at the seams for more than a year.

How much is your rent in the new place?

Does your house look like this?
No. And F you.

When will you be open again?
We will open on February 2nd, in whatever state we are on that date. No way it will be worse than the current space. And our Teacher Store will open on February 9th. And our big Grand Opening will be February 16th. Wow. This might be the hardest thing we’ve ever done.

Is there a Grand Opening?
Um, yeah. On the 16th. There will be food, beverages, an art show, tarot readings, a caricature artist, music, fun and who knows what all.

Do you need help?
Yes. Everybody says so. Oh … You mean help moving? Yes! We could use help packing everything and setting up the Teacher Store. And we can still use boxes. And liquor. And Aderall.

How are you going to survive this?
We have agreed to be at least 40 percent drunk at all times, unless we are driving, in which case we will be 100 percent sober, Officer.

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Things that don’t help


1. Freaking out

2. Fretting about things we can’t control

3. Panicking

4. Weeping

5.  Rending our garments


Things that DO help:

1. All of our great friends

2. Packing all of the great stuff — SO.MUCH.STUFF! — the same way you eat an elephant

Photo courtesy of Robyn Arouty Photography


3. Our unofficial move sponsor

We're on a first name basis.


The new space looks GREAT!  Pending one thick coat of paint and some roof work, it’s almost ready for  the big move on the 23rd. Oh — and the donation door needs new wheels or tracks or something. And they need to finish the hookups in the classroom.  And, never mind. There’s still stuff to finish, but it looks GREAT!

We pulled some really hard folding chairs into a circle last night (along with our friend, Jose)  and planned, planned, planned for all the cool stuff we are going to have the room to save from the landfill and all the events we can have (art shows, parties, an art table so kids can make stuff whenever they come in).

One thing’s for sure — it was just the first of many, many times to come that laughter will bounce off the walls.


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Best laid plans

Sometimes, we make a plan and execute it without a hiccup. Sometimes, the Universe takes our plan, shreds it into confetti, and throws it back in our faces, screaming, “Here’s your sign!”

Yesterday was the latter. Big plans to knock out the mountain in the second storage space, but first I had to get my license renewed,  and we had to unload the van.

Instead, I went to get my license renewed and lost five hours of my life I can never get back. First the power was out, so I waited an hour, thinking it would come back on. No. So, I went back home, which is not around the corner, mind you, and worked on some of the numerous to-do items there, including fixing the toaster, which made the list after I had the audacity to attempt to make … toast. Turns out, the toaster was full of coffee beans. Don’t ask. I’ll introduce you to my husband some day and that will make more sense.

When I went back to try again for my license (which had to get done yesterday, or else, because it expired in October), my estimated wait time was 75 minutes. Cool. After 120 minutes, the wall board said I still had an hour left. F you, wall board. Turns out, wall board don’t lie.

So an awesome three hours there, and oh, what a cross section of the human condition. I sure hope  James got out of jail. I didn’t get to hear the end of that story in the waiting area, but I wish him well. Sounds like that new girlfriend of his is nothing but trouble, though.  Mmm hmm.

And, after all that was over,  instead of unloading the van as planned, we got this:


Please excuse the aside as I directly address the individual who broke into our van.

Dear Loser, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! While we can definitely think of better ways to spend the money we now must invest in fixing the window you broke in our 1995 van, it did make me laugh very, very hard to imagine your disappointment as you rifled through bag after bag in our over-filled cargo van and found … egg cartons and dead pens and empty salsa jars and fabric scraps and other materials destined for creative reuse by Houston’s school children.  Again, would rather have cash, but did get a good laugh at the thought. And, F you, too.

New day, new plan!

PS — Please send boxes, if you have any.

PPS — My eyes are crossed in my new license picture. Will enjoy that for the next ten years.

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Move phase I complete!

On Thursday and Friday, we relocated the Center for Recycled Art’s Teacher Warehouse to the new space it will share with us at Live Oak. And by “we relocated” I mean everybody besides me — Jennifer, Nicole, Elsa, my husband (soooo happy …), and a mixed bag of offspring and friends of offspring. The kids were not so much happy as … confused about what constitutes trash v. treasure in this operation.

Photo courtesy of Robyn Arouty Photography

“What about these empty cat food cans? Hey, give me some of those Pringles.”

“Aww, it’s just the empty cans, bro. No Pringles.”

“What are these?”

“I can’t tell. Just carry the box to the truck.”

We also relocated the contents of one full storage space and about a quarter of another one, all so the Teacher Store can host even more public school teachers and nonprofits, and we can get materials sorted and delivered to them in a more streamlined manner.

All of this in the face of several obstacles:
– dust up with truck rental place over reservation
– for a truck that broke down twice on Day 1
– while we were moving out of the Teacher Warehouse
– where there was a dust up with the landlord for not giving 30 days notice or paying Jan rent
– even though we had given notice and paid Jan rent
– and a lockout at the storage place on Day 2 for not paying Jan rent
– even though we had paid Jan rent.
– Sheesh.

In brighter news, a moving company has been found for the store, progress is being made on all flat surfaces at the new place, and boxes are being packed at the store. We are taking large gulps of air when we have the chance and very much looking forward to this next big step in our growth.

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Come see us!

Tuesday 10AM to 6PM
Wednesday 10AM to 6PM
Thursday 10AM to 6PM
Friday 10AM to 6PM
Saturday 10AM to 8PM
Sunday 1PM to 6PM

1719 Live Oak
Houston, Texas 77003

(713) 224-5220

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