Monday, December 13, 2010

Ring in the New Year at Peats Ridge

You've been a loyal Bower fan, you've followed us on facebook - now here's a chance to reap the rewards!

To thank us for providing pre loved bar furniture, The Peats Ridge Festival Folk have given us a pair of season passes to the Peats Ridge Sustainable Festival (New Years 2010)

And to thank YOU, we're putting them up for grabs.

You can go in the draw to win.

like us on facebook
Spend $40 in store and tell us you saw it on facebook.
Leave your name and contact details with staff

ENTRIES CLOSE 4PM Sunday the 19th of December. 
Don't forget you must like us on facebook.

The winner will be notified on Monday December 20.

Don't forget there are two season passes up for grabs - so tell all your friends and get them to enter as well - Once they've agreed to take you as their buddy, of course!


You should consider Bower Membership. It's just $5.50 for students and pensioners, and an earth shattering $11 for everyone else. There are loads of perks, including 10% off Bower goods once you're approved.

The remaining $30-35 will buy you a heap of sustainable festival gear at the Bower  - from cricket balls to crazy hats, picnic sets and outdoor umbrellas - not to mention picture frames for the memories later on!

See you in store very soon!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Santa Claus Has Come Early!

Around these parts, Santa drives a ute, dresses in King G and delivers restored, refurbished and resurrected goods in bulk.

Of course we just call him Steve...

Steve Swan has been contributing to The Bowerhaus since before there was a name or policy to do so - you can read a little more about what drives him here

You can spot stuff by Steve - it's stencilled, branded (sometimes literally with a firebrand!), often brightly coloured and always interesting. Lately he's been playing with Arnott's biscuits logos - giving quality dining suites and dressers a new identity you won't want to part with.

Today he has very cleverly brought a ute load of smaller items just in time for christmas.

Someone's already bought the entire suitcase collection, but there's still some gorgeous vintage items and branded boxes - including the smoothest lego chest chock full of divider drawers to keep your collection in style.

You'll also find an array of occasional tables, stencilled, branded, painted, themed or made from wake boards - you'll find just the table you never knew you needed.

We even got our own very special Bower Coffee table - It's in the Eco-library with the rest of the Reuse Gallery.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Bower Christmas Newsletter

Good Tidings and Joy, Bower folk,
for the internet is back in the house!

After 4 days of frustration, isolation and more frustration, we can finally;

  • Respond to your emails
  • Play with the Website
  • Keep up to date with sustainability in the rest of the world
So thank you for your patience!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Community Partnership

On Wednesday the 25th of November, Target Sustainability @ Marrickville held their annual environmental awards on the banks of the Cooks River.

Target Sustainability is a fantastic program from Marrickville council that involves 108 local businesses. The program supports, encourages, educates these businesses in sustainable business practice, services, and systems, and then supports us all some more.

Participating businesses elect to focus on areas of waste, energy, community or carbon reduction. 
This is obviously something that should be applauded - particularly amongst commercial businesses, where doing the right thing is perceivably harder on the business initially.

What we loved about the awards night was hearing how any tough times initially are now bringing in great rewards financially, environmentally and emotionally. And of course we loved the food!

The event was largely catered by Long Black Cafe from Dulwich Hill, a favourite amongst all participants, and some of our members - Check out Long Black + Green, a great blog by a fan of both The Bower and Long Black, on all things sustainable, kitchen gardeny etc.

Serendipity Icecream made us all weak at the knees with their coconut macaroon 'cold cookies'. They won the Leadership in Sustainability Award for all their efforts. They run on 100% green power, and managed to increase their production dramatically while retaining the same (if not lower) energy and resource consumption. Truly inspiring and well deserved. We should all eat their icecream in celebration!

Other winners and notable mentions included Scrambled Cafe in Enmore, vegan and yoga restaurants, St Vincent DePaul and their 50 year sustainability plan, a uniform and dry cleaning business that reuse their chemicals to reduce harmful waste and so many more! Did you know that there's a SUPRE with a community garden for their employees among (one of several great initiatives they have).

(Richard, Maaike, Fiona Byrne (The Mayor), Oliver (Board Director), Greg)

The Bower were finalists in 3 categories, but mentioned in nearly all as many other businesses came to us to furnish their offices, shop displays etc.

Ultimately we won The Community Partnership Award, and we're absolutely thrilled. As a co-operative and a not for profit we work with a huge variety of people on a regular basis. A big thanks to the membership and volunteers, without you not only would we not win an award, but we couldn't achieve what we do. 

More recently we've been lucky to seek out other partnerships in the community, and we look forward to sharing more of our plans as they come to life.

Our thanks go to Marrickville Council, for the Target program, the awards night, and connecting so many local and inspiring businesses.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Instructable Christmas

Christmas Celebrations?
Do it yourself with reused goodies -You've heard the mantra from everyone on Better Homes and Gardens to Grassroots and school teachers, not to mention our lovely selves!

Here are a few awesome Christmas projects for the kids at home, the kids at heart, and the too cool for school to get you started these holidays.

A super simple idea to bring a designer touch to your christmas wrapping - without spending ridiculous amounts of money.
Brought to you by How About Orange

5 options to cutting down a live tree - from investing in a potted tree to cardboard and drift wood trees. Our favourite is the random objects tree. We've got plenty of random objects at The Bower!
These ideas from Crafting a Green World

Make your own great Christmas ornaments this year! Dig into these Christmas ornament Instructables for some helpful methods involving origami and other methods. None of it is too difficult and before long you'll have something new to add to the tradition.
From instructables

DIY CD Snowflake Ornaments

This could either be the best way to break a paper shredder or the most awesome extreme craft... You tell us!

Now you've got the ideas, bring that shopping list down to the Bower!

We've got magazines for gift wrapping and origami, cds for $1 ea, gift boxes for 20c each, christmas baubles for 10c each, DIY plaster ornaments ($2ea) and the fantastic Bower Reuse Christmas Tree to inspire your own creation this year!

Friday, November 5, 2010

November News

The November Newsletter is out there in the ether.
Normally we'd post images of it here, but we're experiencing technical difficulties so
Click here to download the PDF.

Go on - click there. It'll change your life!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Creative Enterprise Hubs

Yesterday we were privileged to hear Marcus Westbury speak about creative enterprise hubs, and how he has created precisely that in Newcastle with the Renew Newcastle Project. Such is his success that The Lonely Planet named Newcastle number NINE of the top ten cities IN THE WORLD to visit in 2010.

If you see this man, anywhere in your travels, you must buy him a beer.

Why? First he had an idea about regenerating the town centre of Newcastle.
Then he got out of bed, got fired up, and got others fired up. Then he set about brokering deals in which owners of disused and empty buildings in the CBD granted access rights to 'initiativists' - budding artists, craftsmen and people with projects but no place to put those plans in to practice.

Each initiativist that was linked with a space went in, overhauled it in the cheapest, simplest manner possible - Claiming items from hard rubbish, mixing paint remnants in to crazy custom shades, and generally championing REUSE. And then they used that space to work, dream, sell, network and ultimately build their careers.

(Image from Renew project Make-Space - click for more info)

At The Bower we see a lot of you picking up odds and sods for ingenious and inventive artworks, DIY projects and shoestring makeovers, and we know all too well that lack of space is what prevents a lot of people from making their projects bigger and more challenging.

Many of our consignees work out of their loungeroom or in the open air (challenged by this wet wet spring!), so it was more than inspiring to hear Marcus talk about just what is possible when you give a red hot go. Renew projects are popping up around australia, and the model built by Marcus has been adapted by Arts NSW - you can read more here.

So, as I said - Buy this  man a beer.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Upscale Your Upholstery Weekend

One of the coolest things about my job with The Bower is getting people excited about the possibilities that come with reusing, renovating, and repairing things. Waverley Council have set up a fantastic series of events to inspire their residents on precisely this topic in the areas of furniture, clothing, bike maintenance and even Nanna and Grandpa Skills - more about those last two next time.

This past weekend a very generous member donated her time both days to help me help a mob of excited soon-to be upholsterers on their projects.

We saw a huge variety of furniture from dining chairs to arm chairs, telephone tables and piano stools - not to mention a wide array of fabrics from The Salvos, Reverse Garbage, old designer fabric swatches and much much more.

We'd love to be running more of these closer to home (The Inner West) but we need teaching space with solid tables and preferably a roof - although we hate to be so fussy about these things! Check out some of these projects and get inspired!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Waverley Workshops

This weekend The Bower will be running a pair of workshops on behalf of Waverley Council.

Upscale your Upholstery will help 20 residents from the Waverley region get started on their own furniture resurrection projects. Folks have been sending through their curbside finds in the lead up to the big day and I have to say I am both excited and amazed at the variety of finds, not to mention the guts people have when picking a starter project.

It's promising to be an exciting weekend, I can't wait to post the results.

If you'd like to squeeze in a DIY upholstery workshop before christmas, email me with your availability and what you'd like to get out of the workshop - If we can get a group of 6 together then I'll find the time to run one more before the end of the year.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


It's been awhile in the making - here at The Bower we're so committed to Reuse and Repair that we even reuse our staff in various positions - And so Phoenix mans the referral service but also does the coffee run, Greg drives the truck but also keeps an eye on tool maintenance, and Maaike is the General Manager but also the homegrown IT girl.
The old website gave you lots of info, but it didn't really tell you about just how cool our little strawbale co-op really is, so we're very pleased to have this version up and running.

You'll notice it's still a work in progress, with some content still marked 'coming soon' - please be patient with us! if you're a consignee with stock for sale in The Bowerhaus, please email us pic and a short paragraph about your work for inclusion on our contributors page.
Please feel free to pass on any comments, feedback, notify us of broken links etc!

In other news, it's been a busy 6 months for The Bower, with 3 new team members, an unprecedented number of members joining up and a number of new projects in the pipeline.

We're working on advertising on a shoestring - which means in-house construction with whatever we can get our hands on - donated fabrics, canvas and paint, old silk screens and salvaged building supplies.
The plan is to use this blog space to keep you up to date on working bees, member events, special projects and the like, but also as a bit of DIY inspiration for you all to get stuck into your own reuse projects.

Looking forward to seeing you in store soon,