Monthly Archives: May 2019

Year End Teacher Gifts

With the school year coming to an end, we wanted to give you a couple of our favorite upcycle gift ideas for your teachers this year!

  1. We love this adorable apple jar tutorial from 36th Avenue. You can always find jars to paint at your local Goodwill. Add some leaves and your teachers preffered treat. They will have a great desk accessory that they can use again and agian.
    Apple Jar At The36thavenuecom 1Apple Jar At The36thavenuecom 2
  2. You can always find notepads or notebooks at Goodwill. Download this free printable from Simply This & That to let your teacher know they were just "write" for you!
    Write Teacher 1
  3. This gift idea is great for the teacher that has helped you grow the most this year! Amy from The Idea Room  recommends using an old dictionary to cover a pot or container (find both at Goodwill). But you could also look for a book your teacher read to the class this year to make it more personal.
    Teacher Gift 6
  4. Head over to Just Add Confetti for this adorable free printable. Then visit your Goodwill to find some baking themed gifts to pair with your favorite cookie mix or recipe. Volia, it's a sweet treat and items that she will be able to reuse in the future.
    Bake Set
  5. Don't have time to put together a gift? You're in luck, we created a free printable gift card holder just for you! Stop in and pick up a gift card and let your teacher know what an impact they're making!
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Seeds of Literacy Partnership

Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland & East Central Ohio Inc. began more than 100-years ago with a mission centered around changing lives for good and impacting our community. Vice President of Mission Services Mark Trew explains, “Goodwill is dedicated to addressing barriers to employment by partnering with other organizations that serve people in need and increase our impact on the community. As Seeds of Literacy works to serve more than 110,000 adults in Cuyahoga County to achieve their educational goals, Goodwill is working to empower these individuals through connections to good jobs that enrich their lives and benefit the community.”

Infographic (1)Graphic provided by Seeds of Literacy.

Seeds is an organization with a strong mission of providing a personalized education that empowers adults to succeed. They provide free education for adults helping them prepare for GED® / TASC / HiSET. Their one-on-one tutoring grants the attention and support to meet the needs of each individual student. They recently celebrated their 20th anniversary and are serving more than 900 active students in the Cuyahoga County community.

This partnership is the perfect marriage of education, Seeds, and the employment skills services that your Goodwill offers. Together our two organizations will help meet a multitude of needs for a person to receive gainful employment.

We reached out to Seeds to talk about our partnership and they had this to say.

"Students have been really excited to see a presence from Goodwill at Seeds," said Billy Hallal, Digital Literacy Coordinator for Seeds of Literacy. "They've taken an active interest in the job board with postings that Leslie [Bendter] has set up. She has sat down with a lot of our students, and they've come out of those meetings with resumes and job leads. For some of our students, it's the first resume they've ever had. One of our students obtained a full-time position--union, benefits, the works--as a result of his time with Leslie. He couldn't be more excited about it, and neither could we."

The Seeds and Goodwill partnership began this past February. Director of Mission Services for the Cleveland area Joe Tabol stated, "this partnership is just the beginning and is excited to see how much we can strengthen each other’s missions." Seeds is able to start at the base level and from there Goodwill can help with the next step. Goodwill Employment Specialists, Leslie Bendter and Karen Gusik, provide on-site office hours every other week to both locations Seeds West and Seeds East respectively. Their office hours may include updating resumes, submitting applications, teaching computer skills, searching for job postings or acting as a networking representative on participants behalf.

Leslie noted that the Seeds staff is extremely dedicated to helping people and it is reflected in the relationships built between volunteers and students. Both organizations have a common goal, explained Karen, of helping people live a successful life where they not only have a job but employment with competitive wages and opportunities for growth. We believe that when community members are reaching their fullest potential, whatever that may be, our local communities are elevated and enriched.

If you are interested in learning more about Seeds of Literacy we encourage you to visit their website,  enroll as a student or sign up to volunteer.

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Upcycled Dress from Goodwill

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Hello, again friends! So for this months blog post I wanted to share a somewhat tutorial/sewing inspiration I did to modernize a dress I had thifted a few months back at my local Goodwill. The dress was originally five dollars but because it had a purple tag, I was able to take it home for only 1$. There are many times that I go to Goodwill and simply hunt for a tag color because the fabric from outdated clothing can either be upcycled or used for other projects.

If you want to create a similar look, you won’t need much in the way of supplies. Just basic sewing knowledge, a sewing machine, iron, sewing pins or clips, matching thread color, eye and hook closures, a small piece of interfacing (optional), a sewing needle, and elastic (I used 1.25 inch).

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A few tips in choosing a dress that will be the easiest to work with:

  • The silkier the fabric the harder it is to sew
  • Choose a dress that already fits you
  • Make sure there isn’t a bustle in the back

The first thing I knew I wanted to do was hem the dress to a point above the knee. To do this, I put the dress on inside out, went and looked in a full-length mirror and with a marker made a slash on the fabric letting me know where to cut. I then took it off, laid it on a flat surface and used a ruler and marker to give myself a straight across guideline to cut from.

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Remember to mark the dress a little longer than you want because you’ll lose about a half an inch when hemming the dress. Once you cut off the bottom of the dress, try it on again just to be sure everything looks even and that you have your desired length. Remember that you can always cut more off but you can’t put the fabric back on if it’s cut too short. Set the excess fabric to the side.

Once you are happy with your cut, it’s time to hem. There are tons of tutorials online to create the perfect hem, I’m sure my method is frowned upon by seamstresses but my technique is easy, looks clean, and doesn’t require a million measurements.

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All I do is preheat my iron, fold a small portion of the dress bottom up at a time and press the iron to it. The ironing part is important because this will stop your hem from being curled up and super wavy. I then use my wonder clips to hold the fold in place while I sew. (Wonder Clips are just a different way of pinning fabric that I personally find a lot easier to use. You can find them on Amazon very inexpensively and they hold fabric like a dream.)


Once your hem is ironed and pinned in place, take it over to your sewing machine. I used a zig zag stitch on this hem and I try to get as close to the crease of the fabric as possible. When you’ve made it all the way around your dress, take it over to your ironing board and iron the hem with steam. This will flatten out the hem and even hide any imperfections that could occur if you’re new to sewing.

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At this point, you officially have a new short dress for your wardrobe, but of course, I wanted to take this project a step forward to create a unique matching belt with all of the extra fabric. 

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You need to take two measurements at this point. The first being a loose measurement of your waist (mine was 29in), write this number down because this will be the length of your fabric. Then also take a tight measurement of your waist (mine was 26.5in), this will be the length you will cut the elastic at. If you are using 1.25 inch elastic for your belt, you will need to cut a piece of fabric that is your loose waist measurement x 3 inches. You can either draw this onto your fabric or make a pattern piece of paper.

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Fold your (in my case) 29in x 3in piece of fabric in half (BE SURE RIGHT SIDES ARE TOGETHER AND WRONG SIDES ARE SHOWING) and sew the long edge closed, leaving two open ends. Then turn your fabric tube inside out so that the raw edge is hidden. Next, I fed the elastic through the fabric and wonder clipped it so that the elastic inside the fabric was flush with the raw edge of the belt. To give the belt a cleaner look, I also slightly tucked the frayed edges of the fabric inward, as pictured. Lastly sew the end closed, being sure to sew the elastic AND fabric together. I used a large zig zag stitch.

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Next up is the bow portion of the dress! You can make this as big or as small as you want, and the interfacing is completely optional, but I just knew I wanted a huge girly bow that wouldn’t slouch.


I first cut my interfacing and actually used it as a pattern piece as well. It measured out to be 8 x 10 inches. I only needed to use one piece of interfacing to achieve the bow that I made but if you want it to be super rigid, use two pieces. From there I placed the interfacing on top of the extra fabric and cut two 8 x 10 pieces from it.

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Then create a fabric sandwich that will look as followed: 1st piece of fabric with wrong side facing up, 2nd piece of fabric with wrong side facing up, 3rd piece is the interfacing. pin/clip the pieces together, sew along the edges making sure to leave about a 1.5-2inch hole to flip the fabric right sides out. Then sew closed the hole by tucking the raw edges inward, as pictured.

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To finish the bow you need to make a center ring of fabric to keep the bow puckered together. I did this by cutting a 3x2 piece of fabric, and just like the initial belt portion of the project, fold that in half with right sides together, pin, sew, and flip the fabric inside out so that the right sides are facing out. Gather the large square you just made (the bow part) in the center and wrap the little piece of fabric around it. Clip it in place and sew it closed to create a loop that finishes off the bow.

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To attach the bow to the elastic belt, I lined up where I wanted the bow to sit and took it to the sewing machine. I added a little bit of stitching between the folds of the bow to hold it in place. You can also do this by hand sewing if your fabric doesn’t fit under the presser foot.

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Now the last step is to attach the eye hooks! I added two sets of eye hooks because of the thickness of my belt. To do this I just placed the metal hooks on/in the fabric and with a hand sewing needle I put a few stitches in and around the hooks until they felt secure when I tugged on them. You do not need to use eye and hooks, you could also use snaps or any other type of clasp.

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AND THERE YOU HAVE A FINISHED BELT! This was my first time making a fabric covered belt out of recycled fabric, and while I am sure there are many different ways to make them, I got creative and used items I had in my sewing box to not only keep cost down but also got to experiment with materials I don’t get to use very often.

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All in all, I am extremely happy with how this project turned out. I am not a master at sewing, and yet I created a dress that I am excited to wear all summer long. It's light enough to wear on hot summer days, but still has my quirky flair with the large matching belt. What’s great about this project is that even if you don’t have enough left over fabric from your dress alterations, you can always use scrap fabric from other projects to contrast colors and make the belt OR the bow stand out!

Mothers Day Gift Guide

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As Mother’s Day approaches, the search is on for a great gift! Here is a guide to help you get the most out of all Goodwill has to offer!

Mug

 

1. Mugs

This gift is great for the coffee and/or tea loving mom! You don’t have to stop there though, use this idea as a start and stop at her favorite coffee shop for a gift card or her favorite coffee grounds to make it at home.

  

Clothes

2. Clothes

What mom doesn’t love getting clothes? Especially if it’s handpicked by YOU! Goodwill gives you so many options to choose from too. You could find a top and pants, a nice jean jacket, or a fun summer dress. We loved this top for those casual weekends full of snuggles!

 

Books

 

3. Books

Does she love to read? Goodwill has a vast selection of books all for just $1 each. Find her favorite author or select a couple in her favorite genre. We’re highlighting a couple books here for the Momma’s to be.

 

Purse

 4. Purses & Accessories

Check out the purse section of your local Goodwill for a shiny new bag. Then add a wallet or scarf to match. Fill the bag with accessories she might need. Wrap them all separately so she can feel special opening extra presents!

 

Beach

5. Summer Essentials

With summer approaching some new sandals would be an excellent gift. Add a colorful beach hat for her take on that family vacation this summer.

 

Florals

 

6. Home Décor

We found this wreath that would be a great addition to any home and we’re sure mom would love it!

Wares

7. Kitchen Accessories 

Does mom love to cook? Get her something to assist in the kitchen. We found these amazing cannisters to keep everything organized!

We hope this guide helps you with your Goodwill hunting for mom. Take these ideas as a place to start looking when visiting your local Goodwill. Don’t forget, you can also pick up a gift card for mom to have a fun shopping trip of her own!

 *All the items in this blog were found at our North Canton and Jackson Township locations.