1 Nov

Teaching Recycled Fashion —– at NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Research Center

What a busy year – it’s taken 6 months for me to write about this amazing event! Those in the know, as well as 70,000 others, joined me for a 24-hour, one-of-a-kind recycled fashion workshop, “Sustainable Style: Reduce, Reuse, Restyle,” with runway show finale, in honor of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences’ new wing opening, the Nature Research Center, in Raleigh, NC on Friday, April 20 through Saturday, April 21.

redo reuse gave hands-on demonstration on how to create sustainable fashion, teaching participants how to convert an old T-shirt into a new garment. The upcycled designs were presented on the runway and can be seen below! Betsey Johnson, NCSU College of Design’s Art 2 Wear, redo reuse, and N.C. Museum community members generously donated all materials for the project. All Nature Research Center opening events and the redo reuse fashion workshop were FREE to the public.

The Nature Research Center (NRC) is the 80,000-square-foot new wing of the Museum of Natural Sciences that focuses on the latest in current science research that affects our daily lives – from DNA to distant space. It provides unique opportunities for students, teachers, and the general public to see firsthand how scientific and environmental research is conducted and to become active participants in the research process. This engaging education and awareness model is called “Citizen Science.”

While raising the public’s scientific understanding and appreciation, the NRC also serves as a resource to scientists throughout North Carolina and beyond who wish to use the facility’s state-of-the art laboratories to further their multidisciplinary research while communicating their research findings to their colleagues and to public audiences, even if they are half-way around the world. The iconic SECU Daily Planet, an immersive, three-story multi-media space, allows scientists and the public to share presentations and have conversations in real time.

Located in close proximity to the State Capitol and Legislative buildings, the current Museum is the most visited museum in the state, drawing 700,000 visitors annually. The Nature Research Center is expected to draw another 200,000 visitors in its first year and will connect to the current Museum through an exhibit bridge. It will serve as an anchor in the Green Square project. Green Square (a public-private partnership) will revitalize the block just west of the Museum, providing office space for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, a State Employees’ Credit Union financial center, retail space, parking and the NRC.

“The idea of fashion at the grand opening, in particular highlighting sustainable fashion and the science of fashion through redo reuse, had a great deal of energy around it and seemed a natural fit. Historically, the Museum has had a sustainable fashion feature as part of the Planet Earth Celebration, held during Earth Day. The NRC opening on Earth Day weekend demonstrated its commitment to incorporating Planet Earth into the opening programming.”

To learn more, visit: www.naturesearch.org

19 Feb

Perry Harrison Elementary redo reuse craft fair fundraiser

recycled fabric pencil toppers

recycled fabric mustaches for redo reuse craft fair

With over 150 attendees and auditorium excitement, we unfortunately didn’t get photos in action at this great event, but I can show you what we made! This is the 2nd annual redo reuse craft fair at Perry Harrison Elementary, creating a successful fundraiser for the PTA and school. Last year, we prepped and taught students how to make recycled fabric checkerboards; this year, we used 100% PET bottle recycled polyester felt to make different styles in pencil toppers. The students learned how to sew, learned how PET plastic bottles are converted into fiber, and had a blast showing off their mustache results.

22 Jul

news & observer tutorial

photographed by Juli Leonard, jleonard@newsandobserver.com

photographed by Juli Leonard, jleonard@newsandobserver.com

So you say you want to learn how to make this stuff yourself?

News & Observer did, so I went to Raleigh HQ and with the help of staff photographer, Juli Leonard, shot a tutorial for two of our best projects. Find the full article here, that had print editions go statewide!

Check out the News & Observer direct tutorial links below:



Thanks Juli and Elizabeth Shestak for spreading the word.

Enjoy summer!

30 Jun

Checkers, anyone?

Oh, busy days. Part of what I love about redo reuse is that the community project generates funds for our schools & non-profit centers.

In April and May, we held craft fundraisers at Perry Harrison Elementary and for town of Carrboro’s Centennial (giving back to the lovely ArtsCenter). For both events, and for the NC Museum of History’s Family Day, we made recycled fabric checkerboards. Check it out!

First, did you know that bottle caps are not recycled? Orange Recycling Services, Inc. in Durham gave us access to huge shipping containers filled with bottle caps headed for the landfill. With the help of Adam Sidell, we collected 20,000 caps. Sadly, a mere dent in the pile – but it made us very aware of what is dumped every day.

dumpster diving for used bottle caps

Adam collects caps headed to the landfill

Familes at NC Museum of History, making checkersets

Perusing redo reuse results at NC Museum of History

Voila! Read how to make your own in the upcoming News & Observer article – see you around town x

Recycled Fabric Checkerboard

23 Feb

AIDS Fashion Fair

Happy New Year, folks – been too long.  Just one exciting event after another!  First of all, the Elves’ Workshop on December 12th was a tremendous success!  We had over 25 kids and the place was packed until closing, bringing a bit of holiday cheer to the well-deserved ArtsCenter.

The next morning, NC Museum of History called, asking us to direct a recycled craft event at Family Day in June.  Fabulous!  More about that later ~

So 2011 has started insanely busy.  Amid scheduling events throughout Spring and Summer, I received an email from a good friend, asking if I’d like to be involved in AIDS Fashion Fair / Dinner with Friends Gala.  The AIDS Fashion Fair created a Project Runway style competition, where designers were given 3 Hanes Beefy T-shirts and asked to create a wearable garment made from these recycled shirts, that would auctioned off that night.  Amazing, right?  Reading this – kismet – how could I possibly say no?  So, I signed up the day before my birthday to be in Winston-Salem.

Red Ribbon Fashion Fair

Here is that dress – 3 white T-shirts, hand-dyed with different colors, cut into quilt-size patches, sewn together, and finished with a hand-embroidery on the left hip, “Love Lives On.”  It references the AIDS Memorial Quilt, a beautiful sentiment that love lives outside our physical bodies and connects friends, family, and our spirits together.  The parts make up the whole.

redo reuse AIDS fashion fair dress

Jack Mackenroth was the celebrity judge and an absolute delight – we found we had several mutual friends and have kept up since.  I loved the dress so much, that I bought it back.

AIDS Fashion Fair - getting ready - hair & makeup

AIDS Fashion Fair - Cara getting ready for her modeling debut

AIDS Fashion Fair - redo reuse on the runway

AIDS Fashion Fair - Jack, Nico, & Cara

Woke up on my birthday to Cara’s delicious french toast, Krankie’s Coffee, and a lovely drive home to celebrate 39 years of laughter, love, and a quickie flight to Las Vegas for the shows.  What a life! x

9 Dec

radio, radio

get cozy, folks – it’s about 15 minutes long –
chatting away with Jeri Lynn Shulke (Theatre Director of the ArtsCenter) and Jackie Helvey , WCOM show host who also has her own “Wacqueline Stern Show” on public TV, about recycled materials, chocolate, and our insanely generous community.
just awesome!  xxx

Jeri Lynn Shulke and Nico Morrison – 12-3-10 from Jackie Helvey on Vimeo.

1 Dec

elves’ workshop – craft education & fundraiser

A fundraiser for the beloved ArtsCenter in Carrboro, NC, and an especially lovely, creative time prepping for it!

Check us out on NBC’s My Carolina Today:

30 Nov

love, art, and fortunate accidents

introducing, pocket mouse.

(well, it’s been over a year, but this is our cute friend’s official launch!)

available at Nested; lovingly enclosed in Holeco Eco Baby Gift Sets; and of course from me at the Elf Fair!

so cute, and such a story –

pocket mouse was born as a party favor
for a very special 3 year old’s birthday.
Miyo didn’t want pink princesses;
she loved mice and other small furry friends.
Instead of making another plastic party bag,
her crafty mama, Nico, pulled out some fabric remnants
from her organic clothing company and started sewing.
What resulted was a little friend,
lovingly handcrafted in recycled organic cottons,
with tiny felt ears and a sweetheart bottom,
who fits in your pocket and grants bravery and peace
whenever you needed a hand or squeeze.
Today pocket mouse can be your own travel buddy
as you explore the world in pair.

and hey, you’ll see them with me on NBC tomorrow!

happy journeys x

21 Nov

gearing up for elf fair

The excitement never ends around here. Since I’m a bit creative obsessed (and an upcoming show makes a fabulous excuse), our house has become somewhat of a craft workshop 24/7.

Take for instance, my first attempt at a quilt, the baby blanket made from organic cotton and wool fabric swatches I had from Japan:

With all this crafting, it made perfect sense that we hold an Elves’ Workshop, teaching elves big & small how to repurpose materials into new gifts, during The ArtsCenter’s Elf Fair on Saturday, December 11. Elf Fair is an arts & crafts event in Carrboro that supports locally produced, handcrafted items – you must come! Check it out at

I will of course have Pocket Mouse there, looking for rides home:

pocket mouse

Even my seven year old, Eva, was up at 6 am creating her new product line from recycled materials – please meet Eva’s Divas:

So, we keep crafting forward.

Last but not least – what do you give the girl who has everything for her big 4-0? Handmade pasties out of leather scraps:

Ha! Live with lightness and laughter – see you out & about next month x

21 Oct

hello, fashionSPARK

Whew has it been a month already?  Sorry folks for taking so long to get these photos up – fashionSPARK is part of the 5 year running, SPARKcon event in Raleigh, NC – celebrating the incredibly diverse creativity and talent in the area.  (Visit http://www.sparkcon.com/sparks/fashionspark/ to learn more)

First, the fashionSPARK crew interviewed;


Then off to NBC for a My Carolina Today segment (see below);

And finally, the show – Friday, Sept 17 – we were first on the runway – here’s a fun montage of the days leading up to and night of the event.

Note that everything you see here was fashioned from old T-shirts!

And the fantastic jewelry?  Dehydrated orange peel creations from Pamor Designs.  (http://pamordesigns.com/)

Muchos abrazos, Pilar, you lovely visionary.

Big kisses & thanks to Katie and the fashionSPARK team, Ethan Hyman of the News & Observer (http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/09/19/691102/first-look-fashionspark-091710.html), and all the wonderful photographers who provided these lovely pics.

[redo reuse]