Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Reusable shopping bags and a giveaway!

I decided awhile back to make my own shopping bags. I know you can get them for 99 cents at any store, but those have the store's name emblazoned across them. Apart from feeling goofy for using a Wal-Mart back at your local grocery store - or worse, at a local farmer's market - I have a personal policy about not paying a company to advertise for them. This makes not wearing name brand clothes a really easy choice.

Like I said, I'd decided 'awhile back' to make some bags, but hadn't done anything about it. Then I signed up for a shopping bag swap in a forum I'm on and I was on the hook to make at least one bag. In for a penny, in for a pound. I made nearly forty bags.

The pattern I used was Simplicity's 2806 (the green bag in the upper left hand corner). I wanted to use Green Pepper's Market Tote pattern (F882), but my pattern was missing the instructions - very strange.

I altered the pattern quite a bit. I didn't put pockets or keychain holders on any of the bags. Also, it called for a lining, so I cut out as many bags as I could out of the muslin I was going to use for the lining. While I was cutting it out, the constant handling of the fabric made me realize that the muslin could handle the wear and tear just fine as it was, and the fabric that I was going to make the outsides out of was even stronger - so why line it? It's just a shopping bag, after all. So then I cut twice as many bags out of the duck cloth type (lighter than duck fabric, but the same look) as I'd planned.

See, I have this problem with this type of fabric. I adore it, I buy it and collect it and hoard it when it goes on clearance, but I'm not always so picky about the pattern on the cloth. I've ended up with a few real doozies. Hot pink doozies that even my pink princess girl doesn't want. This was a perfect opportunity to put all of this fabric to work.

In the end, I gave some bags to my sister-in-law (She didn't pick any of the pink leopard print.) ...

and kept the rest for shopping and as just-plain-useful bags.

I finished these clear back in May, so they came in very handy during our move,

and we use them constantly when we go to the library, travel, or camp.

Still, I have a lot. I have a lot that have never even been used. So I want to give five away to one of my readers. Canadian readers - don't be shy, if you win I'll send 'em your way. If you want a chance to win, comment with your favorite travel or camping food - I need the ideas. Have your entry in by this Thursday evening at 7 pm MST. I will have my pink-head assistant draw a name out of a hat that my red-head assistant is holding while my tow-head assistant giggles and chews on the dog's ear. Fair enough?

If you win, I'll contact you and you can tell me your top five pattern choices. You can even pick the muslin ones (just remember, that stuff's the devil to iron if you ever have to wash the bag). They aren't professionally made and have no fancy embroidery or applique (though I'd looove to learn to do that - have you seen Sugar Creek's stuff? oh my.) but they're well made and purty (depending, of course, on whether or not your definition of purty includes fluorescent orange geometric shapes on a hot pink background). What more could you ask?

Good luck!


Monica said...

Nuts! You can never have enough nuts - or is it you can never be nuts enough? Whatever. Perfect for the car and snacking on during card games by campfire.

Joy said...

I love fluorescent orange geometric shapes on a hot pink background! Count me in! :)

Heart Rockin Mama said...

You mean besides the marshmallows?

Since we just got back from camping, let me tell you what we ate:
eggs: fried, scrambled, and hard boiled (made before we left.)
hot dogs on a stick over the fire,
pasta salad,
marinaded chicken,
portabella mushrooms as burgers.
Nothing very new and exciting... but good eats just the same!

Buttongirl said...

Oh my absolute favorite travel snack is "squeaky cheese", so named by my son. "Cheese curds", I believe the rest of the world calls them. Everyone loves them, and they're nutritious, and often available even at little corner stores or "depanneurs" as we call them in Quebec.

I'm loving the bags!

Emily said...

Smores! I know so common lol.

Lindsay said...

I love those bags! I don't like paying for advertising either, but I only have one reusable non-logo bag right now. I would love more!

I have to agree with the suggestion of nuts. Perfect travel food, high protein, filling. Fruit is good to have out while camping, because it doesn't need to be prepared, can be eaten on the go, and the "waste" is all biodegradable, so no packaging to throw out. We always have lots of fruit and veggies around while traveling.

Jody M said...

What beautiful bags!

In scouts we used to do something assembly-line style. I can't remember the name of it. Take a doubled piece of aluminum foil and grease it. Put down a hamburger patty (you could skip this), and then a spoonful each of your favorite canned veggies. We usually did corn, beans, carrots, peas, maybe potatoes. Wrap it up tight and put it in the coals until done.

We also did bacon & eggs in a bag. Line the bottom of a lunch-sized brown paper bag with bacon (make sure they go up the side almost an inch), crack a couple eggs on top, fold down the top and hold it over the *coals* with a stick. You can hear everything sizzle, kids love it.

Garrison Family said...

mmm sounds like a great give away... so Im entering...

My latest fun thing to do while camping issssssssss doughboy's, not sure if you've done them but they were a huge hit with all the girls at camp. Take biscuts, that come in the roll, and insert your stick, or skewer, and you rotate that over the fire, like a marshmellow, then you put pie filling over them.
Also with pie filling wrapping them up in tortilla shells, putting that in foil and letting them stay on the coils.

Robin said...

I LOVE the bags! They're beautiful!

It's been years since I've been camping but growing up in Hawaii we always took Spam musubi (rice balls w/spam and seaweed wrappers (sushi seaweed) with us when camping. I know that for most people spam = ick but I still crave it now and then ;)

Katey said...

I love the bags!

Travel food- trail mix (nuts, raisins, dried fruit, chocolate), pretzels, apples and oranges, if you're going pre-packaged the box of snack bags of goldfish are nice. Cookies, granola bars, muffins, string cheese are also popular in my van.

Camping food- hot dogs and marshmallows!

Where are you headed??

Sarah said...

Camping food:
um...the popcorn in the pan, kwim?
hot dogs
potato salad
deli sandwiches
PB&J sandwiches
easy to eat fruit
steaks are easy on a BBQ grill

I love those bags! Feel free to draw my name and send me one (OR MORE!!)

Sherry said...

nuts, string cheese, granola bars, fruit...sorry I've got no exciting new ideas for ya--but I want some bags so I can freecycle my Publix-emblazoned ones! :)

Kyre said...

Love the bags!

we just went camping the weekend before last - we ate:

- fruits, especially cherries, berries, oranges and bananas
- nuts like almonds and cashews
- chips and crackers with avocado
- dried mango and apricots
- pulled pork in sandwiches
- BBQ pancakes
- walnut burgers made in advance
- salad

Kim said...

Those bags are beautiful!
Just back from camping... we brought muffins, yogurt, fruit for breakfast
salad and I pre-cooked some burgers and we just heated them up
bread and stuff to make sandwiches
trail mix
more fruit
and tortilla chips

Christy said...

We always bring peanut butter crackers and Nutter Butters. Bacon, egg and cheese wraps are a favorite too.

Michelle said...

Tinfoil dinners with everything from hamburgers, steak, pork chops, green beans, corn, garbonzo beans, canned stew, shredded carrots, peas, etc. I've even tried breakfast burritos and french toast--just turn them fast and get them out before they burn! :O) Yum!

James & Jessi McCalvy said...

I have been wanting to make myself some grocery bags for a long time, but maybe you can save me some effort!

Our favorite easy travel food was made up by my mom for hungry kids with ingredients we had in the car on a road trip and james & I still think it is a favorite -

summer sausage, sliced.
spreadable cheese or slices of cheese.
apple slices.
crackers, any kind.

Make a layer of each on a cracker or make a sandwich between crackers (if you don't mind too many crumbs). If prepped ahead of time (lemon juice on the apple slices), it is something I can put together in the car & hand out.

Another favorite, graham crackers with whipped cream cheese and strawberry jam - tastes like a strawberry cheesecake!

Tuan's Princess said...

Ok, first I want to say sorry about the pattern instructions. I have no idea how they fell out of the package.

Since we can't eat reg smores because of allergies I like to make brownies on a cookie sheet (thinner) and use them for the cracker/chocolate part.

Jen said...

One of my personal favorite camping meals is usually referred to as a hobo dinner. Slicing a baked potato open, adding ground beef, onions, salt and pepper and then wrapping it in tin foil and burying it in the coals of your camp fire. Double wrapping it is a good idea and slicing the potato up smaller helps cut down on the cook time. Works well for breakfast to since you could shred the potatoes and add something like sausage and eggs.

I'm envious; I want to go camping! I'd love to do a trip with you and Maria since all of our husbands don't like it.

sugarcreekstuff said...

Thanks so much for the shout out. I personally think your bags are beautiful, but I have a ton myself so don't include me in the drawing.

My camping tip: I bake what I can before I leave, baking is hard work, easily burnt and more clean up over a fire. Things like pork and beans can be heated directly in the can over a fire (open it first). Men like to cook over fires so delegate the cooking and relax a bit.

thanks again :-)

my word verification is preti, just like your bags!

Adina B said...

I should be in the middle of finishing up packing food for 6 people for a 5 day canoe trip, but instead I'm reading your blog. One of my favourite things to bring along camping is rusks. Think biscotti except more healthy like.

My recipe is from Sundays at Moosewood (which is an awesome recipe book). This is actually an exact copy of the recipe: I usually use just whole wheat flour and do the peanut versions. We made a ginger chocolate chip version for this trip too by adding about 4 tsp of ginger and 1c of chocolate chips. They're pretty awesome.

I started making them because I needed something to bring to school that wouldn't go bad or get destroyed if I left it in there for a long time. It also had to be healthy, since cookies or things with lots of simple starches would just put me to sleep. This recipe is awesome for that.

Anyway, maybe this will be useful for your next camping trip ;)