Sweet, pretty and simple — perfect for a night out. I love Lisa’s work, and you should too. u handbag is mainly a site to buy specialty purse-making supplies but if you move fast you can be lucky enough to get one of her lovely sample bags like this one. Sweet.
I’m so excited to introduce the latest Try Handmade columnist: Liz Grotyohann.
Please welcome her to Try Handmade, and let her know what concerns you have about leading a greener life. Are there issues you hope she addresses? Speak up in the comments.[hLiz]
We’ve all heard how bad plastic bags are for the environment. As many as 500 billion to one trillion bags are used worldwide each year. Some cities have outlawed them. Many people have switched to carrying their own bags to the store—an easy way to do something good for the environment. Every major chain now has stands of “eco-friendly” totes available—cheap!—so that you can do your part.
But, while carrying your own bag is definitely better than using new plastic, those bags at the store aren’t as “eco-friendly” as they claim to be. Many of those bags are made from virgin materials. Studies have been done that say that those reusable bags need to be used 100-300 times before they make up for the impact of their own production. So, why carry a bag emblazoned with a store logo—do you really want to advertise for them?—when you can buy a responsibly-produced, stylish, low-impact handmade bag from an independent artist? There are so many options out there made from organic cotton, sustainable fibers like bamboo or hemp, or vintage or recycled fabric.
And remember the plastic bags that you use at the store aren’t just the ones at the checkout counter. There are more and more options available now for lightweight, durable handmade bags to carry your produce and dry bulk goods.
Kootsac offers inexpensive, lightweight produce bags in a number of sizes and fun colors. Little Green Pea has cotton bulk food bags, and adorable reusable sandwich bags. And wonderthunder sells these adorable screenprinted vegetable bags that are so much more fun (and green!) than plastic.
Look what I found on twitter. They’re like cozy sleeping bags for your favorite gadget!
Seaside Sew: Above all, quality is the most important factor. You have to begin with quality materials that are not only seen on the outside, but from the foundation up as well to create a lasting product.
I designed the water resistant sleeve and case due to my love of water related activities. I use my cases and sleeves all the time when sailing, poolside, beach lounging, and everything in between.
It should go without saying that as an environmentally-minded individual (and avid shopper), I am always on the hunt for cool, eco-fabulous handmade goods. The things that always catch my eye and win my heart are the ones that start off as ordinary household items, but become objects of beauty once they pass through the imaginations of clever, talented people. One such piece is this upcycled necklace by Danish maker PalePink, which I stumbled upon during a recent browse through the many “green” shops on Etsy. At first glance, you would never guess that something so lovely could’ve started its life as a common rubber inner tube! Each one-of-a-kind necklace is carefully cut by hand from a single tube in PalePink’s Copenhagen studio. Each piece is as unique as its wearer.
Plarn is the new yarn (or wool, as us Brits call it.) It’s name comes from combining the words ‘plastic’ and ‘yarn.’ Plarn is made up from folded and shredded plastic bags which are then rolled into a ball and is used as a replacement yarn. It is then crocheted into various items. I’ve seen bags, (like the above) necklaces, ear rings, koozies, cuffs, scourers, coasters and even headbands made from plarn. (Top image: Arny’s Etsy)
Yep, I said necklaces made from plarn. This was one of my favourites from the Arny shop, but if you wanted something a little more low key and less chunky you could opt for something like this:
The Arny shop strapline is; “Giving Earth a second chance.” And after a recent de-clutter and purge of my un-used “stuff” I came across Plastic Bag Mountain in our kitchen.
We have a huge collection of plastic bags and here’s why; we don’t drive otherwise we’d invest in some strong milk cartons which would carry our groceries home, so every time we hit the store, we (read: my husband) forget to pack our ‘Bags For Life’ (a cotton bag that the stores have taken to sell near the cash registers in order to encourage customers to opt out of using plastic bags.) So more plastic bags are used, collected, stored in the tiny kitchen we have and generally they get forgotten about.
I have heard it takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to break down in a landfill site. Bearing this in mind, I wanted to check this out for myself. There are conflicting studies; some studies suggest that it takes between 10-20 years to break down (The New York Times, Nemve E. Metropolitan Diary, October 1, 2001) and Ohio State University telling us that by adding moisture to a landfill site that it will speed up the decomposition process.
Either way, plastic bags are becoming a growing problem; clogging up drains, being a general eyesore and have even more serious fatal consequences when wildlife mistake plastic bags for food.
In the UK our supermarkets have started to charge it’s customers per bag when they opt for plastic as a way to bring down the usage of plastic bags.
So while I still have Plastic Bag Mountain I will opt to learn to crochet, make plarn and try my hand at plarning myself some necklaces for next Christmas. And thanks to eHow and their step by step “how to” on making plarn I can make my own ball of plarn.