Thursday, June 14, 2007

Plastic Bag Crochet Project

OK, you know the pile of plastic grocery and shopping bags that we all accumulate? (Ever wonder if they actually start breeding after a while? I do.) Well, about a year ago, I was searching the web for what to do with all of these darn things, and I came across plastic bag crochet. You can crochet with grocery bags? The hell you say! Yes, indeed, you can. So, I started saving my bags and sorting them by color (I'm nuts, I know, and I accept that). A few months ago I finally decided to tackle the project and pulled out my trusty rotary cutter and mat and set to work cutting the bags into strips....until I also cut the heck out of my finger. I then took a break in the project until I could acquire a Klutz cut-resistant glove (made by Fons and Porter, highly recommend it if you are a klutz like me ;) ). Then with my hand protected I could finish the cutting portion and set to the real work. If you want instructions on how to make the "yarn", see this site: I made my totes using her plastic bag tote patterns ( and ), but I have also used a lot of her other patterns as well. Thanks Marlo! So, here are the finished bags I have so far, and I'm so proud of them! (I've included a close up of the mostly red bag - my husband loves that one because it reminds him of imitation crab meat.) The plastic of regular grocery bags is really easy to work with - the heavier department store bags are another story. I'm working on a bag now with the heavier plastic, and my nice shiny plastic hook is all scratched up. :( A helpful hint: don't mix different weights of plastic, or your bag (particularly the round ones) will get all wonky. Once I run out of regular bags, I'm going to try the plastic that disposable training pants come in, toilet paper packs (the large ones you get from Costco), and other miscellaneous packaging. I'll let you all know how it goes, since I know you will all be sitting on the edge of your seats until then. (insert cricket noise here) I have been using the finished bags when I go grocery shopping, and the checkout people and baggers are always amazed by them. Next I need to figure out how to make produce bags. I'm thinking Lion Brand organic cotton or maybe muslin. Anybody have any patterns to share?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Being easily entertained is sustainable.

I posted this elsewhere and thought it would be appropriate to post it here. A big part of being sustainable is being a mindful consumer. One of the most unsustainable habit we have as a society is overconsuming. Be it food or items. I've been compacting since the end of last year and I think my inner consumer is dead.

I notice it in the little things: last night I came home and we had received the MEC Spring/Summer catalogue in the mail. In the past, I would have looked it over carefully, dreaming of my next adventure and seeing all sorts of things I could upgrade to. I didn’t even glance at it. I know what they sell and chances are, if something breaks down and absolutely needs to be replaced, I’ll go there to get a replacement, but only after checking their online classifieds for a used one. And for you compacters out there, I'm mostly thinking safety items here.

Something that has been keeping me tremendously entertained, as stupid as it may sound, is my public library. I never used to use it, I patronized the bookstore and the video store instead. Everytime I read about a book or movie, I quickly log on to the library’s website and request it, without thinking too much since it’s low commitment. So at any one time, I have at least 10 library books checked out (mostly non-fiction: knitting, fibre arts, environmental, peak oil-related, sometimes a good novel too) and they keep me entertained. It’s mostly stuff you wouldn’t read from cover to cover so I go from one to another if I get bored.

I don’t feel the need to reward myself with things anymore, I no longer get the: “I met this impossible deadline, let’s buy a new shirt” urge. It’s more: “let’s celebrate by including something really good complete with dessert in our next menu plan”.

I guess I’m easily entertained.

Friday, March 2, 2007

My First Bulk Buy

I'm trying to buy more in bulk. We don't have a co-op here so it's really important that I try to buy in bulk when I can. My food budget is pretty tight but there is a little bit of room if I plan ahead. This month's bulk buy was 25lbs of organic sugar. We don't use sugar a lot but I do bake with it and my dh likes to have sugar in his coffee. We were normally buying it in small plastic pouches. This 25lb bag was all paper. I'm storing it in 3 glass gallon jars in my cool/dark pantry. The lids do seal closed so they should be well preserved until I need them. The one thing I'm not happy with is that it's from South America. However, I'm not ready to give up sugar.
Next month, peanut butter.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

February Goals Report

Citrus peels--I've made another batch of candied peels and I have been faithfully slicing and freezing the peels that come off of our oranges, lemons, and grapefruit for cooking at a later date.

My fabric stash--I was able to make a considerable dent in the hoarded fabric. In February, I made three tea towels, one grocery bag which was given to a bagless shopper at the food store,
and four hankies. Those hankies are turning out to be a very good idea. I'm sick at the moment, and my runny nose welcomes them!

Books--I released forty books through bookcrossing. I also got caught up on labeling books...
until I was given 200 more! I've registered two boxes + three bags full. It's a start!

Other things I tried this month--counted the number of miles we put on the car in one week--68, walked as much as I could (while combining bookcrossing releases with combined errands),
only sent one trash bag to the landfill, made and used spray starch for ironing, unplugged the power strip to the stereo and etc, unplugged the dustbuster, made a valentine for my sweetie,
took jars that I want to keep for other projects and filled them with water and froze them to in-crease the freezer's efficiency, darned a sock, recycled a vacuum cleaner bag per Tightwad
Gazette's instructions, and started making a ball of plastic yarn from the bags that the newspapers come in.

I'm going to work on formulating some goals for that it's here!

Carolyn in CO

Monday, February 19, 2007


Here she is!

And the lucky winner is...

this lovely lady that I met at the store just about half an hour ago!

I had so much fun with this pledge that I've amended it. I will give away another bag made from a sustainable resource for every 10 people who sign the pledge between now and June 3rd. The pledge count is now at 11, so if 9 more people sign up I will be giving away a second bag.

How are you all doing with your monthly goal(s)?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Spreading the Word on Reusable Bags

I'm putting my money, time, and energy where my mouth is by making a pledge at
Please take a minute to check it out and see if you'd like to participate!
Carolyn in CO