Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas bags

One of the blogs I read throughout November was "Sew Mama Sew". Every day in November they featured tutorials for great Christmas presents to sew, and a few to bake or make. That's where I found the caramel recipe, marshmellows and the hot chocolate cubes. I've read all of the November posts from the past years as well.

They offered up a challenge to make grocery bags as gift wrap instead of buying paper. These are the facts they quoted as motivation: US consumers generate 4 million tons of wrapping paper and shopping bag waste during the holiday season alone and the US goes through 100 billion single-use plastic grocery bags every year.

What they didn't mention is that fabric takes a lot of resources to make, sometimes child or cheap labour and energy. I decided not to buy any fabric but to use stash fabrics that were at risk of being thrown away. Or that other people "threw" in my direction because they were never going to use it.

We needed a few grocery bags to replace ones that have gotten wrecked by washing too often or slashed with skate blades or simply fell apart over the years, but we didn't really need many. Bags are scattered all over the house with various things though and we always seem to need more.

Here are some of my bags/wrapping paper.

This was from an old suit jacket from the thrift store. I kept the pocket intact and it became a purse for Laura, with a matching hat. I stuck the hat in it and rolled the bag so you couldn't tell what it was. This is an odd picture of the simple rectangle that it is.

She loves hats. And she also loves her new cowboy boots (hand-me-downs from a friend at church - thanks!!).

Although Beth had a bag made specifically for her piano books in the past, she tends to use that one for other things and had her music in a plastic bag. Now she has a new one.

These are just grocery bags. They are wrinkled up from use already and they work well and took only minutes to make.

Yvon laughed when he saw his old jeans used this way, but later that same night we saw kids' purses just like it being raffled off at the school Christmas concert. This may become a book bag or something because it's too small for groceries. Or it may be used for indoor shoes for church, or indoor shoes for Guides, or games when camping, or book in the car, or... Well, like I said, bags are everywhere in this house. It'll get used.

Beth also got a hat out of those jeans. These were kind of fun to make. The girls love them, but don't quite know where to wear them. They aren't allowed hats on in school. They'll figure it out.

And this is my favourite.

A friend gave me the top fabric sample as a potential for upholstering my living room chairs. I'd have loved that, but was way too cheap to pay the $30/meter it costs (or something in that line). This was a good use for the sample though and it's truly all I had of it.

I didn't take pictures, but I also had some simple rectangles of gauzy stuff for caramels and other small gifts, and some specific Christmassy fabric bags that went back into our gift wrap storage for re-use next year.

We didn't succeed in not buying any paper. We did pick up one roll from IKEA and I felt bad about it, but didn't have time to deal with the one present we needed it for.

Sometimes I take up these challenges for environmental reasons, but usually it's because it's pretty easy to do, cheap and practical. Who doesn't need bags?

1 comment:

Coralee said...

theses are great! thanks for letting me know about the mention on sew mama sew - I had missed it.