Ruined? Maybe… Upcycle? Yes!


Jo in here ruined navy blue sweaterOh my goodness… This sweater is ruined!

Has this ever happened to you? One day, you wear your favorite, go-to sweater to work. You look polished and professional. Unfortunately, someone cleaned the conference room table with a bleach cleaner right before you sit down for meeting and a line of bleach ruins your fabulous navy blue sweater… oh dear!

closeup of bleach stain

What do you do when your favorite sweater is inadvertently bleached in an odd way? Well, bleach it some more of course!

It’s ruined already so, why not!?

The only caveat? Do not set expectations!

Take this navy blue sweater with the bleach stain for example. You might expect it to bleach into a nice pale blue, maybe a purple or pink tone… but NOOOO…

More on that later…

rubber band stripes bleach tie dye upcycle sweater Impact Thrift StoreLet’s get started… you’ll need to gather 1 item of clothing (with or without bleach stains), 4 cups of household laundry bleach & 1 cup of water (mix bleach to water in a 4 to 1 ratio… ), a large container or stock pot, rubber bands, rubber gloves, an apron, and a wooden spoon or tongs.

First, lay your garment out on a table top and tightly wrap it with rubber bands. Create rows by wrapping around the entire garment or create circles by selecting one area and wrapping with that handful of fabric. We chose rows.

place upcycle tie dye garment in bleach mixtureNext, put on an apron or old clothing to protect yourself from splashing.  Mix bleach and water in your large container or stock pot. Dip your rubberband wrapped clothing in the bleach mixture for only a few seconds. Mix and turn your garment in the bleach mixture to be sure both sides are wet.

When you see the color begin to change, remove your project from the bleach. The color will change quickly – in under a minute or two so be prepared.  Immediately, rinse well with cool water. Carefully remove each rubberband and continue rinsing with cool water.begin to rinse bleach from upcycle garment as soon as color begins to change

Launder your item of clothing separately, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Once it has been washed, it is safe to launder with other items of clothing.

Impact Thrift Store free bleach tie dye tutorial

Voila! Bleach turned our wonderful navy blue into rust and orange!  AND on top of that, the areas covered by rubber bands, which you’d expect to hold onto at least some of the dark color, are the lightest areas! Very strange but wonderful!

Tie dye is just one option when it comes to bleach upcycle dying techniques. Consider creating an ombre effect by dipping the bottom (or top) edge of your garment in the bleach mixture and letting the bleach remove color as it soaks up your garment.  Or dribble bleach onto your garment using a spoon or splash method. The possibilities are endless!

Click here for a printable version of this tie dye tutorial.


Shining a Spotlight


~by Tamika Miller

The Memorial to John Paul Endicott at Temple University Ambler Food Crops Garden photoImpact Thrift is shining a spotlight on local citizens and grass-root organizations in our communities with tremendous passion, commitment, and dedication to help others in need.

For these organizations helping others in need is innate. It’s not what they do…it’s who they are.  It’s about being truly engaged…whole-heartedly getting involved, in a hands-on way, to address the challenges we all face as human beings. They know that every good thing that we do for one another –no matter how big or how small—is an act of charity and kindness. Impact Thrift admires their generosity, thoughtfulness, and tireless pursuits to make a positive impact on their own communities

In September we have invited three such organizations to share their visions with you. These organizations are diverse in their missions, but all are connected by a heart to uplift…

The Memorial to John Paul Endicott at Temple University Ambler Food Crops Garden logoThe Memorial to John Paul Endicott at Temple University Ambler Food Crops Garden is a community garden nestled in the Temple University Ambler’s Horticultural Campus. John Paul Endicott was a Temple University Horticulture student, who passed away in a motor vehicle accident in 2010. Before his passing John Paul developed and carried out the idea of a community garden plot, whose harvest of tomatoes, beans, potatoes, and greens, goes entirely to families in need.The Memorial to John Paul Endicott at Temple University Ambler Food Crops Garden photo

In his memory and honor, family and friends have come together to support his vision and continue the work that he started. The JPE Donation Garden is an education and volunteer based community vegetable garden. The organic crops which are grown and harvested are donated to local food pantries.

Located within the research gardens of Temple University Ambler, the JPE Donation Garden is bolstered and supported by Temple University Ambler’s faculty, staff, interns, and students and linked to coursework. JPE partners with: Chelten Baptist Church Seeds of Hope Food Pantry, Ambler Manor, Mattie N. Dixon Community Cupboard, Manna on Main, and Philabundance.

We invite you to learn more about the JPE Garden and meet Judith Endicott at our Montgomeryville Store on Saturday September 14th, from 12-3pm or visit their website:


Wet Nose Rescue Feasterville logo Helping homeless and abandoned dogs and puppies find good, loving homes is the core mission of Wet Nose Rescue in Feasterville. Without the support of Wet Nose Rescue these dogs would otherwise, most certainly be euthanized or subject to a life in extremely poor conditions, unloved and neglected.

WNR works with overcrowded shelters that receive little in the way of funding to house, feed and provide the necessary medical care for their dogs and puppies.  WNR tries hard to find permanent, caring families who will appreciate the love a rescue dog can provide.  Wet Nose Rescue is totally foster based and while they don’t have a physical shelter where they kennel dogs, they do have an adoption center.

WNR strives to keep the adoption process simple and try and match the right people with the right dogs.

We invite you to learn more about Wet Nose Rescue and meet Steve Leslie at our Feasterville Store on Saturday September 21st from 12-4pm or visit their website:


Concern 4 kids photoThere are so many children hoping to find their forever families. CONCERN is a (501)(c)(3) non-profit community-based child welfare organization dedicated to meeting the needs of abused, neglected, and delinquent children and youth.

Founded in 1978, CONCERN began as pioneer of treatment foster care, believing that children placed into care should live in a traditional family setting in the community, rather than in a residential or institutional setting.

Since this time, CONCERN has been at the forefront of innovative programs and treatment methods to meet the individual needs of the child.

We invite you to learn more about Concern and meet Mary Kay Rafferty at our Hatboro Store on Saturday September 28th from 12-4pm or visit their website:

It is our hope that this spotlight series inspires you to pursue your dreams, support others and make an impact!

A Quick and Easy Upcycle Piano Bench Makeover


Piano bench purchased from Impact Thrift Stores Montgomeryville before makeover upcycleTake a look at this piano bench.

Sturdy… yes!

Pretty… no … not so much…

Do you have a spot in your home that is crying for a bench? a table? a small space or wall that could use a little update or pizzazz?

Sometimes you have to think outside the box to fill that space! Our Volunteer Coordinator, Joan Marie Brown had just that type of space to fill… an area in her hallway for a small bench that wouldn’t be in the walkway but would add a splash to her  foyer. She discovered this sturdy old piano bench at the Montgomeryville Impact Thrift Store… just calling her name!

After cleaning and lightly sanding the bench, Joan Marie brushed on one coat of satin finish white primer paint (which she already had at home leftover from a room painting project.)

Next, she used white semi-gloss spray paint for a smooth finish. When using spray paint, spray each coat VERY LIGHTLY and allow to dry thoroughly in order to avoid drips. Apply 2 (or more) coats  in order to fully cover the primer and old color.

Piano bench purchase from Impact Thrift Stores Montgomeryville after makeover upcycleTo make it comfy, the top of Joan Marie’s bench is first covered with 2″ foam rubber. This can be purchased in any fabric store. Be sure to measure the bench top and bring those measurements with you. The store is usually willing to cut the foam for you to size. The foam is then glued to the top with a tacky glue.

Joan Marie chose a strawberry motif fabric to cover her bench (she actually lives on Strawberry Lane!) You will need a piece of fabric that is at least 8 to 10 inches longer and wider than your bench top, allowing 2 inches for each side of foam plus another 2 inches for fastening inside the lid of the bench. Joan Marie’s bench measures 15″ deep by 42″ wide. Her fabric measured 25″ deep by 52″ wide.

The next step is to attach the fabric to the bench itself. If your fabric is a linear pattern – stripes or squares – be extra careful to line it up so that it looks even. If your fabric is more of an overall abstract design, you need not be as careful.

After laying out the fabric on the top of the bench, Joan Marie used a staple gun to secure the covering to the bottom side of the lid. She started by taping the fabric in place on three sides and carefully pushing the fabric between the bench lid and the hinge with a butter knife. She then secured the hinge edge of the fabric first by stapling through the fabric into the underside of the wooden bench using a staple gun – at least 1 inch from the edge. Once this one edge is secure, she suggests that you stretch your fabric gently but evenly around as you staple so as to maintain the geometry of your fabric pattern. Once the fabric has been stapled in place, you can either turn the raw fabric edge under and staple this in place OR trim the excess fabric to neaten it up leaving at least an inch of fabric beyond the staples. If you do trim, cover over this raw fabric edge with duct tape to protect the edge from fraying.

Joan Marie took the extra step of sewing her fabric to a second layer “pillow case style” before stapling the fabric to the bench. This step allowed her to hide the raw fabric edges inside the bench. To accomplish this, she sewed a second layer of a sturdy cotton  to the decorative strawberry fabric with right sides facing each other, leaving a few inches un-sewn. Then she carefully turned the fabric “pouch” right side out as you would a pillow case.  She then proceeded with the staple step above. This process allowed her to skip the duct tape as her edges were hidden inside the seams.

Viola!   Joan Marie now has a comfortably cushioned bench to brighten her hallway!

Total cost?

  • Piano bench – $5 at Impact Thrift Store
  • Paint – $4 for one can of spray paint.
  • Any primer, flat or satin paint will work for the first coat so you may have some leftover from a previous project – or a small sample can from your home decor store for $3 or so.
  • A piece of fabric about $12 (Fabric prices will vary greatly)
  • Joan Marie recycled foam rubber from a shipping crate – at a fabric retailer, foam will run $15 to $35 depending upon size.


Manna on Main Street… Mission Possible!


Manna on Main Street Soup Kitchen in Lansdale, PA supported by Impact Thrift StoresMission (impossible?) …to end hunger in the North Penn region by providing food, fulfilling social service needs and conducting community education through a food pantry and soup kitchen…

WOW! That’s quite a big undertaking!

Manna on Main Street has been around for 31 years doing just that… providing emergency food services for the people of Lansdale and the Greater North Penn area.
Manna started as a soup kitchen in the basement of a church serving just a few times per week. Then we moved to a small house right next to the church which allowed us to open a small food pantry. A year and a half ago we moved into our new facility where we are really able to expand our services.”  according to Suzan Gould, Executive Director of Manna on Main Street. “Manna always had dreams to do more and this new facility really allowed us to expand.

Manna on Main street volunteers serve meals at their soup kitchen in Lansdale PA supported by Impact Thrift Stores

We serve 7 days a week, 2 meals per day Monday through Saturday and one meal on Sunday. At every meal we serve anywhere from 60-80 people. They can come through our doors we don’t ask any questions. If you need a warm meal and you come through our doors you are welcome at our table.” adds Suzan. “Manna on Main has seen the participation in the soup kitchen increase by 60% since moving into the new building. While the news often states that the economy is improving, these numbers tell us that it is not improving for the most vulnerable among us.

Manna on Main’s Food Pantry is a Choice model meaning clients are allowed select the foods that their family will enjoy including fresh produce, frozen meats, dairy products and non-perishable foods. They are given a list of what types of food and how much they are allowed according to the size of their family.

Manna on Main Street logoThis summer they have also added a program for families with school age children. During the school year, these children are entitled to free or reduced cost meals at their school but during the months of July and August, they are home, eating with their family. Families that qualify for this program are allowed to shop the food pantry 3 times per summer month rather than the usual two.

With their recent move to a new, modern facility on Main St. in Lansdale, Manna on Main has been able to expand the scope of services offered to emergency financial aid, counseling and referrals, and community outreach. They offer a summer cooking program for teenagers, provide healthy snacks to the North Penn Boys and Girls Club Homework Program, and backpacks full of school supplies to those who use their services. The also run an Adopt a Child program during the holiday season.

Impact Thrift Community Food Drive FlyerIn support of this program, which creates an acute need for more donations of non-perishable foods during the summer months, Impact Thrift Stores has organized a Food Drive at our Montgomeryville and Norristown stores.

During the month of August, 2013, drop off your non-perishable food donation to either of these two Impact Thrift Stores and receive a 25% off coupon for use in the store!

How can you help keep Manna on Main Street’s shelves filled? 

Donate non-perishable food… click here for the complete list of needs.

Donate time… Volunteers are welcome on an individual or group basis.

Shop Impact Thrift… Net proceeds help to support Manna on Main and others

Donate to Impact Thrift… your gently-used donations are vital to the process!

Manna on Main Street’s goal of ending hunger may be lofty… but with our help it can be achieved!

Shape Up… and Ship Out the Clutter at The Ambler Area YMCA!


Tsmall version of ymca eco logohe Ambler Area YMCA and Impact Thrift Stores are teaming up to help you get your world in shape.

The entire month of August 2013, YMCA members are encouraged to de-clutter their homes and drop off donations of gently-used clothing, shoes, books and small electronics in the lobby of the 1325 McKean Road Y location.

donation drive bin at the Ambler YMCAThis collaborative community event was inspired by the fact that both organizations share like-minded missions to improve local communities. The YMCA’s mission  is to strengthen communities by working side by side with neighboring organizations, so that everyone has the opportunity to grow and thrive…not just through physical fitness, but also by fostering a sense of social responsibility.

We are actually really looking forward to this partnership,” says Jaime Boris, the Y’s Marketing Director. “Anytime we put a call out to our members that there is a need in the community they respond well beyond what we ever expected.”

If you’re in the area, stop by and drop off a bag of gently-used clothing, shoes, books and electronics. Impact Thrift will turn your donated merchandise into cash for local charities… donors benefit, shoppers benefit, and the charities they support certainly benefit.

Click here to learn how your organization can host a collection drive, or contact Tamika Miller, Community Outreach Coordinator at 267.387.0030 ext 5111

The “Lyrical” Lorax Lands at Impact Thrift Stores


The Lorax standing on his tree stump at Impact Thrift Stores(in the Spirit of Dr. Seuss)

Mothers and daughters, and fathers and sons,
it’s Dr. Seuss time! Come join the fun!

Who is The Lorax, and why is he here?
He has a story to tell, to all those who care.

He speaks for the trees; which he loves and adores
and supports what we do here at Impact Thrift Stores.

We re-use and re-purpose and recycle used goods
…and find wonderful ways to put them to good use.

The Lorax is here to help get you involved
and inspire you to join in and get this thing solved.

So donate the things you no longer need
Then join us in August for a wonderful read…

Impact Thrift invites families to join us for a fun-filled afternoon reading of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, accompanied by eco-friendly inspired, sing-a-long, musical interludes.

The Lorax, an eco-icon, is a children’s book that addresses global concerns and dangers to our eco-system. This book will inspire a generation of young environmentalists! In addition to hearing The Lorax and children’s musician, Wally Grummun, we will be joined by Tara Metz, a caricature artist who will be sketching free caricatures during the Feasterville and Montgomeryville events.

Participants in this free event will also have the opportunity to win a bundle of children’s books including a copy of The Lorax.

· Saturday August 3rd in our Feasterville store
· Saturday August 10th in our Montgomeryville store
· Saturday August 17th in our Hatboro store

TIME: Noon to 1 pm

PLUS… Wednesday, August 21st at the North Wales Area Library from 2pm to 3 pm!

Please RSVP to this free event so that we can plan appropriate space. or call Tamika at 267-387-0030, x5111


Teachers Rule!


Student in classroom stock photo Impact Thrift StoreWe all remember that one unforgettable teacher……the teacher who taught not only from a book, but also from their heart.

Some of our fondest memories growing up are of teachers, and coaches, and school counselors, who believed in us unconditionally… who championed us tirelessly… and inspired us immeasurably.

Impact Thrift appreciates Teachers and School Support Staff who play a significant role in the lives of our children, and we are taking the time to celebrate and personally thank them for their sacrifices and invaluable contributions throughout the year. This summer during our Teacher Appreciation Campaign, July 15th through September 16, 2013, Impact Thrift will give a 25% discount (max. discount $25) on all purchases; with the presentation of school ID at the time of purchase *not to be combined with any other offer.

And, here’s how you can help Impact Thrift honor teachers

Customers are encouraged to nominate a special teacher or school staff member for making a positive impact on the lives of our children. Here’s your chance to recognize that special teacher who stayed after school to tutor and mentor…or volunteered their time coaching basketball or track…or perhaps shared their apple when your child’s lunchbox was left at home. Now is your time to say, “Thanks!”

We invite you to participate by Nominating your Favorite Teacher:

The nominee should be a current Teacher or School Support Staff who made a positive impact on the lives of their students or local community. The nominee should empower their students to be his/her very best. Winners will be selected on the merit of your written nominating statement; therefore please provide enough information to distinguish your nominee from others.

One winner will be chosen from each store. Winner will receive Gift Certificates donated by various local restaurants and merchants. Also, the person who nominates the winner will receive a $25 Gift Certificate. to Impact Thrift Stores.  Winners will receive recognition in our newsletter, Facebook page, Twitter and Blog.

Click here to download a Nomination form… or you can pick one up at any of our store locations.
Forms should be mailed to: Tamika Miller, Community Outreach Coordinator, 201 Progress Drive, Montgomeryville, PA 18936

Deadline for submission: Sept 16, 2013.
Winners to be announced Monday September 23, 2013.

Any questions? Contact Tamika Miller.


Teachers Rule… the Reveal!

Click here to read who won our essay contest and excepts from the winning essays!

Make an IMPACT… Volunteer!


Now is the time for all good friends and neighbors to come to the aid of Impact Thrift!

A group of Volunteers from Liberty Mutual Blue Bell, PAAs our business grows, and your generous merchandise donations increase, Impact Thrift Stores has a need for MORE VOLUNTEERS!

Do you have a flair for fashion?  An interest in shoes and purses? Want to learn about designer lines and valuations? Our DPC is right where you need to be.  No special requirements are needed to help sort and store seasonal items for later sale, inspect and categorize donated clothing, accessories, linens, bric-a-brac, household items, furniture and other donations for quality and pricing.

Liberty Mutual Volunteers sort books along side Impact Thrift Stores book department employeesAre you an electronics geek?  We are also seeking volunteers to test donated items such as lamps, small kitchen appliances, exercise equipment and even computers.  Our jewelry department needs knowledgeable volunteers to inspect watches and replace batteries.  Interested in furniture  preparation?  Come visit our furniture repair station to see how valuable your skills can be!

Do you have a passion for recycling? Our recycling efforts have expanded substantially since the opening of our DPC. Your time would be very well spent as a volunteer sorting metals, shoes, books and other recyclable items.

Joan Marie Brown, Volunteer Coordinator at Impact Thrift StoresYour gift of volunteer time can help you gain valuable job skills and personal satisfaction, while furthering our mission to help 16 area charities. We have such a large variety of volunteer tasks, you will always learn something new, feel productive and involved in our community, enjoy flexible hours and our special “Volunteer Shoppers Discount.”

If you would like a tour of our DPC to learn more about our mission and needs, please contact our new Volunteer Coordinator, Joan Marie Brown at 267-387-0022, ext. 6105.

The time you invest in Impact Thrift touches literally thousands of our neighbors in need.  Thank you!

Just for Dad!

Eagles tie and hat

Is dad an Eagles fan? An Eagles cap or tie for $2.99 each…Add a football themed book for under $4 and you’re all set!

Father’s Day is right around the corner… have you started shopping for dad yet?

What? You have no idea what dad might like… or need?  Well, welcome to the club!

Ask yourself a question… What does dad like to… do? … watch? … read? Does dad enjoy baseball? golf?  fishing? tinkering with electronics? building things? cooking? eating?… sleeping?

How about all of the above?

watchesMix and match a little bit of the things dad loves, in one awesome gift… without breaking the bank!

men's tiesWith dad in mind, wander the aisles of Impact Thrift. Look… there’s a book with a football theme… an Eagles tie… and an Eagles cap! Now find a little basket or box or maybe a bowl for chips … put them all together and… Voila! You have a gift that dad, the Eagles fan will love!

more booksMaybe dad enjoys reading action adventure or who-done-it novels… perhaps he loves golf… perhaps he wears ties every day. All of these ideas are enough to get started gather items for a gift basket that Dad will enjoy.

Some ties and a wallet… some electronic “toys”, maybe a wrist watch or a camera? Fill the bottom of a box or a basket (or maybe a brief case or gym bag) with tissue paper or a small pillow. Prop up the items you have found  and all of a sudden, you have created a gift of substance!

Dad will be impressed!

Large gift basket for dad