Wednesday, March 7, 2012

save a tree, sew a bag

Before you think I've become some hippie environmentalist, let me set the record straight.

I have hips and some would say I'm even a little mental, but I'm no tie-me-to-the-train-tracks or chain-me-to-a-tree kind of gal.

That's a little too messy for me.

What I am is observant. Some might say it's a gift. My family would say it's a curse. (My Pinterest list is growing daily, although I see nothing wrong with having goals.☺) A couple of weeks ago, while waiting in line at the local grocery store, I noticed the cart in front of me. The twenty-something driver of that cart had piled high every kind of organic produce the store had to offer. No packaged, bagged, or processed food of any kind.

Not even a single plastic produce bag to keep her wet lettuce (12 heads of lettuce~I may have peeked at her list.) from dripping all over the newly waxed linoleum floors. Nada. Zip. Zilch. What she did have was about a dozen reusable grocery bags, some store-bought, others recycled from burlap brown rice bags.

I was in awe.

I also couldn't quit staring. This girl had arrived.

The mesh produce bags work for me, but only if I'm buying a small amount of produce. I only have 6 and any more than that, I would lose track. (Which really means that my children would've found some other use for them, probably involving small creepy-crawlies or dirt. Probably both.) What I hadn't thought about was not using any type of bag for my produce. It might seem gross when you look at some of the people in the grocery store (I'm a professional hygiene profiler..unpaid of course.), but unless you are planning on eating a salad, or making some kabobs in the checkout line, your food will be washed at home anyway. (If you don't wash your produce~ew.) My only concern with not using bags for my produce is the dripping wet foods. Which mine always seem to be. So I decided to make my own produce bags. Bulk style.

Now I too can go grocery cart free-stylin'.

Here's what you'll need:

2 fat quarters of the same material
2 fat quarters of a coordinating material
matching thread
thick cord for drawstring/handles

Fat quarters measure 18"x 22".

Pair 2 different fabrics together. Place right sides together and trim to even up.

Pin material together. Repeat with the other 2 pieces.

Sew around 3 edges, 1/4" from edge. Trim corners.

Turn right-side-out; press edges.

Fold down raw edges making sure to allow room for thickness of cord. Press. Be sure that both sides are even. Fold over again to create a clean edge.

Sew along fold edge. Thread cord through the top and tie ends in knots to keep them from pulling through.

The total cost of this project was less than $8. This 4-ply bag is large enough and strong enough to hold 8 heads of lettuce, 4 limes, 1 turnip, 4 onions, 2 tomatoes, 1 bunch each of cilantro and parsley, 2 small acorn squash, and a butternut squash. (Observant and specific.) They can be used for still-warm bakery breads, or several pounds of bulk dried beans. When done with the shopping trip, just throw them in the wash!

And leave the plastic for the produce man.

This post is linked to Our Simple Country Life's Hearts 4 Home 
                                   The Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop


Candy C. said...

Great idea and I must say, I LOVE your fabric!!

Valerie said...

Great idea! Love this! I'm constantly trying to find ways to avoid "packaging" if for no other reason than I HATE having to throw it away and add to my garbage pick up each week. I'd like to avoid that all together! :) Thanks for the tip, I'm going to have to get to sewing on some of these. :)

Kim said...

Candy~Me too! I went back for more and they were all gone, so I guess we're not the only ones!

Valerie~It seems like an oxymoron to bring reusable grocery bags then stuff them full of non-reusable plastic bags. That had been bothering me for awhile, but seeing the other gal's cart was a real "aha" moment! Wish I would've thought to hug her! That probably would have been weird though. :)

SweetLand Farm said...

My sister has made bags like these before. Cute!

M. Stump said...

I make my produce bags out of netting or tulle -- that way the cashier can see what is in the bag without removing the produce.