Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

Green bags are a totally brilliant idea. But I’m an inherently forgetful sort, well intentioned as can be, but vague. So, I need something small. Something that lives in my bag. When I swing by the supermarket without planning, it’s there; when I make an unplanned trip to the library, I’ve got somewhere to put them. So something small, portable, foldable, is the way to go, in my opinion.

In order to make up for my years of consumerism and plastic bag using, I present you a tutorial for a reusable bag that folds up into its own convenient pocket. To make it even more eco and bad-behaviour-absolving, it is made from old pillowcases. Make, be happy, be good to yon ole environment!

Apologies to all and to all a good night for not having these earlier. Life’s a crazy place, y’all know I’m sure. So, this is a wee bit late for making Christmas presents, but you could give them to everyone, anyway. Have a present for New Years! The end of Hannukah! Because I like you! Because it’s Tuesday! Who needs an excuse??

* One pillowcase, preferably second hand. Recycling is great!
* One sewing machine
* One overlocker, preferably (or serger, if you’re so inclined). If you don’t have one, either bind the edges with bias binding, or add a seam allowance and hem it a bit. Cut-up pillowcases often fray.
* Sewing scissors
* Pins
* Enthusiasm!

I like to use cool retro pillow cases from op shops, or rejects from Ikea (where the green flowers came from…). You could just cut some fabric to size, I’ve done that too… but I like the patterns on pillow cases. And they’re so conveniently sized. BUT! I get all wiggly (in a bad way) about other people’s corner washing machine lint. Fortunately, all you need to combat that is to turn all the inside corners out, and to stick it in the washing machine. Easy peasy.

* First, you bear with me because I’ve never written a tutorial before.
* Turn your pillow case inside out and cut off the seams, as close as you can. Chuck em out, stuff em in a softie, throw them in a corner, do what you like with them. We don’t need em anymore.

* Cut your pillowcase down, so you have a long rectangle that is a pillowcase wide and 60 cm long.
* Fold it in half lengthways. At the open, non-fold end, cut a scoop out of both sides, so it looks like a singlet. The singlet shoulders should be roughly 8 cm wide, and the scoop should be about 20 cm deep.

* For yours and my sake, I hope it looks like this:

bag somewhere

* Use the fabric you cut out of the scoops to cut two small rectangles, one measuring 16 x 15 and the other 12 x 15 cm. This will become the pocket your bag will fold into. They should look like this:

bag 4

* Overlock one 15 cm edge of each rectangle, like so:

bag 5

* Then, put these two small rectangles together, right sides out, lined up like the picture here, and overlock the other three sides together.

bag 6

* OK. Now, open up the body of the bag. Overlock around each of the singlet scoops, and the outer edges from the top of the handles, down as far as the scoops go (that’s about 20cm down). So – just to clarify, you’ve just overlocked six different places. Right? Right. Great. It’s a bit hard to see here, but maybe a picture will help.

bag 3

* Then fold the bag in half again, wrong sides out. Overlock the sides together, from the bottom up about 40 cm. This should take you to the point you overlocked in the last step. While you’re there, overlock the top of the singlet straps together.

GOOD WORK FRIENDS, you’ve done all your overlocking. Now grab yer sewing machine.

* While your bag is still inside out and outside in, grab your pocket. Position it in the centre of one of the scoops, with the smaller-sided pocket facing you. Sew it onto the bag. Try not to feel nauseous from the blurry photo.

bag 7

* Check out the bottom of your bag. You need to make a fold on each side measuring about 5 cm long. Fold one forward, and the other back, like this, except hoping your bag is in focus:

bag 8

* Sew along the folds.

* Turn it the right way out. Isn’t it close to looking like a bag? How exciting!

* Ok. Now, your handles are too wide. You want to fold them in half, pin them so the overlocked edges are together, and sew them shut along that edge. Make the seam run about 10 cm from the top down on each side.

bag 9

* Then, my friends, you’re done. Except you still need to know how to fold it up.

* Lie it down with the pocket untucked, smaller pocket side facing you.
* Fold the handles down.
* Fold one third of the bag inward, then the other.
* Fold in half lengthways,
* then in half again.
* Then tuck it into the pocket.

bag fold mosaic

The end!

AND guess what? Because it’s my 100th post and because I like you, I’m going to give away another bag. I mean, I know I just gave you instructions to make your own…. but maybe you want a pre-made one too. Comment on this post, if you want it. You can leave comments until the VERY END OF 2008. Midnight, New Years Eve.

This one, she be for you:

a finished bag for you!

Hey, youse all. I’m super grateful that you want to look at my words and share in your thoughts. I appreciate you all every time I read your comments, or your blogs, or any old thing. I don’t show appreciation well, but I feel it. Thanks to you! YOU. And I hope you have a totally terrific Christmas, if you believe in that sort of thing.

Holidaze, originally uploaded by MoriEndi.

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I’ve been in a creative rut, for a while. But I finally managed to finish something. It’s all the more remarkable because this is the second attempt to make this project, and usually once it doesn’t work the first time – it’s over. Cranky. Failed. Didn’t work, never going to work. Does anyone else do this? Or is it just me? I’m half a perfectionist. It didn’t go perfectly, so I’m not going to try. Anyway, I beat it this time, hooray.

Pip tentatively enquired yesterday if anyone ever feels like going to action movies, and if they did, could she come? You see, she went to film school, and all her friends went to film school, and they take film very seriously, and can be a bit judgemental of people who see trash. So she’s pretty selective about who she tells if she wants to see something crap. I, however, will see any old thing, as long as it offers me escapeism. Like today I saw Hancock, wasn’t half bad. But I digress.

I am faced with a similar problem. I have a thesis in Literature, but you know, sometimes I like to read trash. Real, solid trash. And then, I don’t want everyone to know about it. When I’m reading Orwell, or Fowles, or Flaubert, which I do, it’s fine, everyone can know. But when I’m reading a chintzy romance with some distressed damsel, or teenage fiction, or toilet-paper worthy detective novel, it’s a lot of work to read and focus and enjoy the escapism and HIDE THE COVER FROM EVERYONE all at the same time. So I made a book cover.



Mmm, apples. I sized it for the book pictured because it’s average sized and what I was reading at the time (not because I was ashamed!), but it conveniently fits smaller books and thicker books. I will vehemently claim that I meant it like that.

The book, Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, was just a wee bit life changing… it challenged the way I think of food related ethics, which is a bit of a big deal for me, because I’ve been an ethical vegetarian since I was three. So there’s a bit of being set in my ways there, and my boundaries were challenged. It also made me think very seriously about choosing food locally. What a basic thing, that people just don’t question enough.

Incidentally, that was what brought on the cherry outburst. All this thinking about local, in-season food, then I turn up to my dad’s place and there are cherries in the middle of winter. So i did what any right thinking ethicist would in the situation – i gorged myself on them.

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Someone once asked me why I became a teacher, because it was clear that I liked plants more than children. And I have to say, in hindsight, what a persuasive point they made. I *love* plants. I love gardening. I read garden books and I go to nurseries and I run my fingers across the seed packets and dream. We don’t have a garden per se at my house – we have a big patch of grass with an olive tree, we have a small bed that gets no light, ever, and we have a bunch of pots that bake whenever the sun hits the concrete. But I lust for gardens

I also love subversiveness, and things that are different. Had I mentioned that?

If I didn’t live in a rental, I’d have a green roof.

Growing Green Roof, originally uploaded by Crikit.

The green roof system reduces heating and cooling loads on buildings, decreases the ‘urban heat island effect’ (i read somewhere that on a 25 degree day, the average roof can get to 60 or 70 degrees), reduce stormwater runoff and filter rainwater, clean pollutants and CO2 out of the air and increase wildlife habitat areas. Not to mention basics like increasing garden space and the lifespan of your roof, and looking DURN ATTRACTIVE while it does it. And wacky!

Apparently people in my council grow watermelons and pumpkins on their rooves.

You can do it in the city… (that’s Manhattan, right there)

Green City, originally uploaded by alykat.

Or in the country.

July 17 – 30, 2003, originally uploaded by dylanindustries.

If I lived in that house, people would mistake me for a hobbit. Because really, I’m not that far from it. Short, stocky, uncontrollable brown curls, impressive toe hair… all I’d need was a wizard.

There was a conference on Green Roofs (rooves?) in Brisbane last month. If only I could time travel. Meanwhile, I will read the Melbourne based green roof blog and dream. Meanwhile, armed with seed bombs (some instructions here), I can just indulge in a little guerilla gardening. Or maybe just create some moss graffiti (instructions included, or on Craft:)

(from G Living)

Oh, green.

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