I think I am turning into a hippy...

Not that I wasn't a bit of a hippy to begin with (mom was a hippy and raised me as such, though I never did like brown rice, lol), but lately I have been getting very serious about greening this house and everything in it. Which is great, because not only does it save the environment, but most of the time it saves me serious money too. I have been getting more and more ambitious with my efforts this year as opposed to the last couple... It started off pretty slowly when we moved into our current apartment; all the light bulbs were immediately replaced with energy-efficient ones, then we stated making paper out of our junk mail, and then we started a little garden and a compost bin, and got a reduced water shower head (which is the best thing ever because the shower stays hot forever).

That was about it for the first couple of years. But this year I kicked it into overdrive: I swore off grocery bags and have been bringing my own everywhere, I bought eco-friendly organic cotton/hemp/recycled rubber sneakers and organic cotton socks when my old ones wore out, I found a very affordable dresser for Dennis that is made with sustainable wood, e-zero glue, and is certified eco-friendly. And Dennis and I got beautiful organic cotton sheet sets in blue and green for our bed, since his old ones were pretty ragged, and I sewed the flat sheets into a new duvet cover for the comforter. The garden is even bigger this year, and I used all organic seeds and seedlings, plus organic plant food. Since no one has sprayed pesticides on the back yard for at least 10 years I'd say that my garden is now good enough to be certified, lol! And now I m going to start making laundry soap for our house from natural ingredients. I haven't tried it yet but when I do I will post the results.

And I'm not stopping there. One thing that I have been trying to work on recently has been to reduce the amount of trash I generate. I find that even when I carry my own shopping bags to the store, I still end up coming home with plastic stuff that gets thrown out. When I buy loose fruits I end up putting them in those little plastic produce bags, and then when I get them home I just toss them. So I have started to crochet some little mesh bags with long-ish handles that can be tied shut to replace them, and they are made out of lovely organic cotton. I always like making functional things out of somewhat luxurious materials, and this little bag is so yummy to hold and use. I have only made one, but I want to make 2 more and that should be enough for my usual groceries.

Next on my list is to eliminate the packaging I bring home when I buy sugar, flour, and grains. I buy them in bulk as often as I can but I still have to put them in plastic bags to get them up to the counter, only to decant them into a sealed container when I get home. So I am going to make little drawstring bags similar to the organic cotton jelly bags I made last year, but they will be slightly larger and have lighter drawstrings, and I am toying with the idea of embroidering little labels to sew to the front as well. I may make quite a few of these since I want to use them for things that are too small for the mesh bags, like carrots and mushrooms.
And, lastly, I bought some yardages of organic cotton in bright colors right before I decided to stop buying craft supplies for the rest of the year, and I have decided to do a series of shopping totes modeled after my very favorite one that I use all the time because the design is just perfect for groceries. They will have cute little reinforced bottoms made from quilting fabrics too. There will only be a limited run of these bags since I cannot go buy more fabric, and each one will be different. I am super excited to get these done, and when I do I will make time to list everything I have been stockpiling on etsy.

Well, that was a lot of blah, blah, blah, so maybe I should get to it!


  1. I love the idea of taking your own bags for the veges. I usually just biff apples and so-on straight into the trolley loose and let the checkout person corral them onto the scale, but some things it doesn't work for. On the practical side, how do you deal with the weighing? Just be prepared to pay a little extra with the weight of the bag included?

  2. I was thinking about the weight, and I weighed the bag and it is less than an ounce. Literally pennies on the dollar, so I really don't mind. Does that make me a martyr for the environment? Lol. I was thinking about making the bags larger with a more substantial handle, but it was exactly that reason that stopped me from doing so. Do you think it is worth it or am I just a loon?

  3. No, I think it's worth it! If I could crochet I'd definitely be making up something like that. I remember when I was a kid in the 70s we used to have these little bags that were very similar, made from very lightweight stretchy synthetics, with just small lengths of plastic tubing for handles. They'd be ideal for this kind of thing - expanded up huge from really tiny. Of course the synthetic's not very environmentally friendly...

  4. Uh that produce bag is BEAUTIFUL! I really love it...it looks sooo much better then mine...I think people think I just carry trash around the store. Hehe. I am actually starting to get a big kick out of being looked at wierdly. I am rather "special" in my small midwestern town ;) Congrats on all the cool stuff you are doing!

  5. Jacqui - I took the first bag for a test run with zucchini and I think it cost me about 3-5 cents and it was great! I know the bags you are talking about - I think I have seen some cotton ones in bright colors at places like Walgreen's for a couple dollars.

    Leslie - Thank you! Lol, your bags work just as well and are easier to do, plus they reuse that plastic. But I keep that plastic for other things so this was a good option for me. I am making 2 more and doing a little pattern/tutorial that I will post soon, if you want to make some too.
    And good job for not being afraid to stand out, especially if you are doing something good for the environment. You would fit in just fine out here in San Fran. The clerk at whole foods did not even bat an eye when I brought the bag full of veggies up to the check out!

  6. The few plastic bags you do wind up with, can be turned into plastic yarn to make more net bags. Look up "plarn" on the web. I just came here from such a site.

  7. Thank you so much! I love this produce bag! The only thing I changed is I made mine with drawstring handles. It did make the top of the bag a bit heavier. I gave it as a gift to my eco-friendly daughter. She loved it too! I'm going to make several more! I'm also going to try cotton crochet thread to see if I can make it strong enough but more light weight. Either way it's worth it. Thank you for sharing your pattern and your pictures were very helpful!