bag bananza!

Last week was Stephanie's birthday. I broke my tradition of making her unusual socks. We dyed sock yarn together with Kool-Aid when I took the kids to see her and Eric in March, and I've been unloading stash yarn on her for a while. I guess I figured it was time for something a little different.

Our coop sells reusable produce bags. They are very simple drawstring bags made of very loosely woven cotton material, very light and breathable. You put your mushrooms and greens in these bags, the theory goes, and not only are you sparing your local landfill those flimsy plastic produce bags that can never be reused, there is the added advantage of your lovely veggies not turning to slime two days after you bring them home. I like the idea but the ones I've seen at our coop are kind of stupidly expensive. They are probably organic and all, but still. When I saw them, I thought, "I could make these in a flash! I'm not spending 7 bucks on a bag for bulk mushrooms."

That was, like, 3 years ago, and I never got around to it. But then I saw the same idea in the book Sewing Green when I was browsing in Borders a couple weeks ago, and it hit me that these bags would be really great gifts. At least, they would be really great gifts for eco-conscious people like Steph (and my parents and my in-laws and other relatives...y'all watch out - you might be next!)

Hopefully I can get a tutorial posted soon, so I'll save the details for that, but here's a quick run-down of materials I used:

1) flour sack towels (I got a pack of 6 from Target for $5.99. Each towel makes two fairly generously sized bags.)
2) thread, sewing machine
3) fabric paint, brushes, jumbo sponge stamps
4) something for a drawstring (I had grosgrain ribbon on hand, but any sort of thin ribbon or nylon cord would work.)
5) one helpful 3yo

Decoration is optional, of course, but as far as Daniel was concerned, the painting was the best part! I think he spent a solid hour in deep concentration painting the bags we sent to his "Aunt Teffnie." I wouldn't let him squirt the paint out of the bottles, but he dictated the colors (we ended up with a lot of brownish mixes) and I showed him how to brush the paint onto the sponge stamps and then press them on the bags. Sure, there are some smudges, but I think Steph likes them anyway.

Daniel was so gung-ho about painting bags, in fact, that he has asked to do it a couple times since we finished the first batch. Who am I to say no to a creative endeavor? The third time around, Anya wanted to participate. She's too little to handle fabric paint (her fingers still go in her mouth a lot), but I set her loose with some non-toxic watercolors. She only painted a few blotches on her legs and clothes!

Making these bags has turned into such a hit here that we'll be doing a bunch. Daniel has already designated the last several for his Grandma, his Oma, his Opa, and even one for Aunt Bonnie (Steph's mom). I hope he lets me keep a few!


Steph said…
I love them! I filled one with farmer's market lettuce today. And seeing the pictures of the painting in progress is just a bonus. :)
katie said…
those are great, suze. i recognize the stamps from a certain quilt hanging in mali's bedroom. : )
Anonymous said…
I just can't wait for mine!
Caffeine Girl said…
What an adorable idea. Store some away for December!
Mrs. Allroro said…
How would that work in a grocery store, especially self checkout? I always feel rotten throwing away the little plastic veggie bags--I can't imagine any way to reuse them--and the vegetables do get slimy. I could certainly use them at the indian grocery, though. Especially great for large bulky pointy gourds that poke right through the plastic ones. Can't wait for the tutorial. I did get a sewing machine for Christmas, after all, and have white thread and a target nearby!
Suze said…
Ann, you'd probably have to get help at the self-checkout, but I would think it would still fly. You might have to explain what the bag is for...but more and more grocery stores offer reusable bags for groceries (if not produce), so I think you'd be ok.

Popular Posts