Another fantastic find in the Gallery. Gorgeous leather bags and wallets from te. by temono.
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.
April 22nd is Earth Day. For 40-years, activists and non-activists have been using it as a platform to raise environmental awareness. It has evolved over the years into a month-long event, where on any given weekend in April, you can volunteer to help clean up the parks, beaches, forests, any green stretch of earth; or plant new earth.
Here at Try Handmade we have our own resident Going Green guru, but in the spirit of Earth Day, I decided to find out for myself what fabulous things other people do in the spirit of recycling and renewing.
The most popular act (aside from separating recyclables) that anyone can do is to bring your own market bag shopping with you, passing on plastic bags whenever possible. There are so many options to choose from, like this cool, upcycled coffee bag tote from Its Our Earth. Similar to Sea Bags (one of my favorite shops, located in Maine; they create bags from discarded sails), Its Our Earth uses discarded burlap coffee bags to create everyday bags.
If you want something less earthy, but still 100% repurposed, there’s a bag for you, too, like this tote, that uses a vintage army laundry bag, repurposed leather straps, and vintage blue and white cloth.
Some people happily recycle their trash, but aren’t as quick to buy recycled and refurbished products because they think they look used. Some of the most fabulous finds are these exact products. These white baskets from Tuuni are one example.
Some items aren’t what they seem at all, but still exquisite. This stunning chandelier from Metamorphosi is made of recycled plastic.
Crafters are some of the best resources you can find for people who creatively repurpose, recycle, and recreate. I’m repeatedly amazed at the outcome.
There’s no denying it – America has a sweet tooth. According to the National Confectioners Association, retail sales of chocolate, candy and gum amount to approximately $28 billion dollars annually. All of that sweetness, however, comes wrapped up in a problem. Because candy-wrappers are usually made up of mixed materials, they are generally not recyclable.
The hybrid of paper, plastic and metal that is responsible for keeping your treats fresh and tasty also prevents them from being conventionally recycled. As a result, millions of candy-wrappers end up in our landfills and eco-systems each and every year. Without avenues to recycle the wrappers, we can either choose to reduce waste by buying bulk candy (or candy with more recycling-friendly packaging such as paper or foil) or we can upcycle the empty wrappers into new, usable goods. Here are some Etsy sellers who are doing just that!
Tracy’s passion for upcycling candy and snack packaging came after a recent vacation to the Croatian Islands. She was so taken by the beautiful and colourful designs on some chip bags, that she packed the empty bags in her luggage and brought them back to her Seattle home. It didn’t take long before Tracy found a creative way to use her “souvenirs”. Clever quilt blocks made from the hoarded chip bags were followed by a mini-wallet, which ultimately became the inspiration for her line of accessories. “After making the Croatian chip wallet, I thought about all the chip bags, soda wrappers, candy bar wrappers & coffee bags that get tossed into the garbage,” says Tracy. And so, Squiggle Chick Designs was born.
Fantastically creative and gorgeous.
Inventive and happy.
Felt bags to suit both your pedestrian needs and your creative desires.
$28 – $120 for a bag made for no one but you. Lusitania makes wonderful felt creations to bring color and joy to your life.