Those of you who know Miss V well are probably already aware that she is a big fan of Halloween, and that she loves costumes. But she is also a real stickler for precision and getting details right. Which is why we have visited countless fabric stores and other stores-that-sell-fabric in the Seattle area, trying to find fabric of just the right color, sheen, weight, etc. for this year's Halloween costume. It has become the Task of Eternity.
Something good has come out of this, however. In our quest to find Just The Right Fabric, we stumbled across a place in the Greenwood neighborhood called Seattle ReCreative. I've been muttering for years now that a city the size of Seattle really ought to have some sort of creative reuse center like the ones in the Bay Area or Portland, and lo! they do! *insert happy Sooz dance here*
"Uh... what's a creative reuse center?" I hear you mutter. Hold on, I'mma tell you.
Creative reuse centers are like thrift stores for creators. They're mini-Meccas for artists, crafters, and anyone else who enjoys messing about with creative supplies. People or businesses donate various goodies they no longer need to the creative reuse center, which then sells those goodies for a pittance. In addition to offering usable items for a fantastic price, creative reuse centers help keep perfectly good materials from being tossed in a landfill somewhere. Since stock is based on donations, the supplies for sale will vary from visit to visit -- so if you find something you can't live without, better snap it up, as it probably won't be there the next time you come in.
On the day we visited, Seattle ReCreative had yarn, fabric, all kinds of thread and notions, paper and other ephemera, paints, jars, pens and pencils, wood, metal, tile, fine art supplies, and random donations from local businesses. Prices ranged from reasonable to crazy cheap. We picked up an invisible zipper for V's costume at a price that hasn't been seen since the late '60s, and a metal belt buckle for 10 cents.
Things for sale are displayed in buckets and on bookshelves, stacked in filing drawers, squirreled away in cubbyholes and chests, and overflowing from wire baskets. (It's like the whole store was designed and merchandised by a very organized hoarder.) If you're looking for a specific item, you may be frustrated; it's better to go with the flow and see what kind of serendipitous discoveries you can make.
Only one thing about our visit frustrated me: as with a lot of city businesses, Seattle ReCreative has no designated parking anywhere nearby. You'll need to take the bus, ride your bike, park out in BFE somewhere and hike in... or take a chance and park in some other local business's designated parking, hoping your car will not be noticed and towed. (Not that I have any firsthand experience with such rash and dangerous behavior. Ehem.)
[ETA: Since writing this blog post, I have discovered there's a Diamond pay parking lot just around the corner from Seattle ReCreative. In my defense, I did not see it AT. ALL. on the day we visited, but I intend to use it in future. Please don't come after me, other businesses!]
Note: Seattle ReCreative did not pay me to write this blog post (though I would happily accept a discount from them. Or a designated parking space. I'm easy like that). It was simply a source of happy squeeing for me, and perhaps it will be for you too. Even if you're engaged in a Task of Eternity.