This week on Illuminate, we are featuring a fun upcycle of recycled Starbucks gift cards by our Product Director and Co-Founder Ahna Holder.

I began collecting hotel room keys from all my travels, with the hope of making something from them. Soon, my collection included used gift cards. One morning at my local Starbucks, I asked the barista what happened to their used cards? He said that their particular location saved them (usually the cards are thrown away) and they had a few boxes in the back if I was interested.

Before I knew it, I was hauling two heavy boxes of gift cards to my car. My daughter loved playing the "sort the gift card game". We organized them into piles,and enjoyed looking at the various types, noting that some were very popular (such as the Starbucks facades with two styles of green umbrellas), plenty of various Thank You cards, some very specially designed cards (the Fall leaves with Braille), the Rodarte card, The Chinese New Year cards etc. One Starbucks Gold Card member donated his gold card to the project.

I decided to keep the stickers on the cards if they had them, and I didn't throw out any cards, even if they had writing on them. In fact that made them better and we found cards with handwritten notes wishing people "happy birthday" or the more common "$25" or whatever the cash value was hand written on the card.

Inspired by quilt patterns, I decided to make a used gift card quilt. The result was a 19 card x 19 card "quilt" linked together with metal jump rings. There are 361 cards in the quilt.

The Used Gift Card Quilt is installed at the UVillage QFC Starbucks here in Seattle.