Filling my bags with Zero Landfill fabric finds

paint samplesThe only thing more fun than finding treasures at a thrift store is finding treasures and taking them home for free. 

That's what I got to do this weekend at ZeroLandfill Seattle, where thousands of pounds of samples from designers and architectural showrooms were free for the taking. All you needed was your own bags and the muscle to carry them.

The rain was pouring down in record-breaking buckets, but it didn't stop us from heading toward Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. We arrived at the event only a few minutes after it opened at 11. Lots of people beat us there. (That's what we get for living in the suburbs, I guess.)
The gym was divided into zones. There was the "Laminate" zone, the "Stone" zone, the "Hardware" zone, the "Paper" zone, and my favorite, in the center of the room -- the "Textile" zone. Hundreds of cardboard boxes, stacked on bleacher seats, exploded with fabric and upholstery samples.
It could have been mayhem. But everyone was calm and respectful -- both to one another and to the fabric remnants themselves. When I began pawing through someone else's bag, thinking it was a box of unclaimed samples, the bag's owner carefully moved it aside, without glaring or swearing. 

After filling 2 bags, I moved on to the other zones. Since we'd parked several blocks away, I bypassed the stone or tile samples. I did check out the boxes of small resin samples. I took a handfull. I wanted more, but with no idea of what I'd use them for, I resisted temptation.
As I walked by the boxes, I heard a mother advising her 6-year-old to "be intentional" about his choices. Good advice, mom.

When I got home, I unpacked my my samples for inspection. I tried to grab anything that looked mid-century. Here's what I got. 

Most of the samples were 8 inches square--too small for bag or purse, but large enough for lining in my upcycled Kindle book cases.

I also picked up a paint sample book, just because it was cool, and a sample of wallpaper made from recycled maps.
I had lots of fun this year. But next year, I have a plan--I will design and outfit an entire mid-century Barbie house using only samples from ZeroLandfill. How cool would that be?


  1. Very cool! We have a local store called ReCreate that takes in such samples. I was also given huge rolls of old maps and atlas pages that libraries give away. Huge. I'm trying to give some away, as there are hundreds of sheets. Check your libraries for such paper art goodies.

    1. We used to have a store north of Seattle called Creation Station that sounds like your ReCreate. Unfortunately ours went out of business. I'd love to get hold of some old maps! I wonder if you could give yours away on FreeCycle or Craigslist.

    2. I'm starting a new Meetup for mixed media artists, and will give them as much as possible. What's left can go to Freecycle. If you want some, Claudia, I'd be happy to send a bunch. Just pay for postage. It's all rolled, but I could fold for shipping if you want. Respond and I'll contact you privately if interested.

    3. Thanks for the generous offer! I better say no because I need to focus on all these great fabric finds.


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