Tag Archives: plastic bags

recycling in Red & White

29 Nov

My small home town of 250 people does have a high school. The school ‘s mascot is the cardinal and school colors are red and white, so I guess I am a bit partial to those colors. I have made a number of purses and totes from white bags with red lettering as white plastic bags with red print are easily found (usually I can count on Target or JCPenny). Each time I make one, I think of my Cromwell hometown and high school and consider them my Cardinal bags.

As I was nearing completion of a Cardinal bag, I had used up my all my red and white plarn.

Sometimes when I need a certain plastic bag color that I know comes from a specific store I make a special trip to ask if they have any used bags that I can take off their hands.

It seems they typically toss them since used store bags get so wrinkled and they can’t reuse them in the store, though hopefully they recycle the plastic bags. Most stores have no problem with allowing me to take bags from their discards, though I have been told no on occasion.

Since there is a mall only 1 mile from my home, I went over to JCPenny and asked for bags that had been used for returns at the check-out counter.

They gladly gave me some of the bags and were pleased to hear that I recycle them into trendy purses, handbags, and totes

I heart JCPenny and their white with red bags!

Don’t you think these make great  bags to use at Christmas!


FAQ :: How do you color the plastic?

15 Nov

Yes, I really have been asked that question—more than one time!

The first time was at my father-in-law’s apartment when I was showing his friend’s some colorful handbags and totes I had crocheted. One of the older gentlemen asked “How do you color the plastic?”

The other times I’ve had someone ask me how to color the plastic, the question came upon learning that the Bags2Bags purse they’re complimenting is crocheted from plastic shopping bags.

Hopefully most people know you don’t color the plastic bags. Shopping bags come in quite a variety of colors! It is a continuous treasure hunt to find great colored bags. I love it when friends hand me a stash of colorful bags they saved up for B2B. Thanks to all of you who have blessed me with color for my plarn projects.

One of the most reliable sources of color (at least, color more exciting than brown) comes from newspaper bags—I have used yellow, orange, red, blue, and lavender. Many grocery and department store bags are white with lettering in various colors that add speckles of color to an overall white finished product. Then there are the plastic bags that make me feel like I have won a prize—bags which are big and colorful—pink, purple, gray, yellow, red, blue, green. Some colors are rare making them a real treasure when I come across them.

If you come home with any colorful bags from your next trip to the mall (or any shopping trip) and you want to donate them to be recycled/repurposed into a Bags2Bags purse, leave a comment or send me an email. I welcome donations.

Plastic Bag Paradise

12 May

In April 2010, we were visiting our son and his wife who were working with YWAM (Youth With a Mission) Destination Paradise (DP) ministries in Belize. Belize is a wonderful Central American country (bonus for us: English is the main language). We saw Mayan ruins at Xunantunich, walked through a jungle at Guanacaste national park, marveled at the interesting Belizean animals at the zoo, and played in the Belize river. Most of our time was spent at the DP base on Ambergris Caye (Caye is an island—like the Florida Keys). I opted out on the scuba diving lessons, but did get out in the gorgeous sea for some kayaking and snorkeling near the coral reef.

Travel around Ambergris Caye is by water taxis as the only road out of San Pedro is pretty much a dirt path. Some of the streets in town were paved a few years ago. Most people in San Pedro (the only city on the island) walk, bike, or drive golf carts. There are very few cars on the island.

Since the road/vehicle situation is a little lacking, grocery shopping is a bit of an undertaking. The DP base is 5 miles up the coast from San Pedro. So grocery shopping started with a boat ride into San Pedro, then the walk into town to the different outdoor markets and stores.

We went to a variety of markets in order to find everything on the list (shopping for a week of meals for everybody on the base is quite a task) and had most of the purchases delivered to the waiting boat!

As we were shopping I was checking out all the different colors of plastic bags, imagining the purses I could make. The markets had shopping bags in red, blue, green, purple, lavender and gray. What a plastic bag paradise for me!

Back in the boat for the water ride back to DP base.

* all but the first photo…by my daughter *

The Making of a Snowman

25 Jan

We all know that snowmen come from snow and melt away when the weather warms up. This winter we have had lots of snowstorms in Utah. Plenty of snow for everyone to have a family of snowmen hanging out in their yards!!

I chose to pass on making the cold and wet kind of snowmen, and have been working again on recycled plastic snowmen. You can read more about my crocheted snowmen here and here. Crocheting themini snowmen is my favorite because the start-to-finish time is pretty short.

My 5″ mini snowmen take 6 shopping bags to complete the body. I use a g or h hook, and cut my bags about an inch in width and then roll them up into balls of plarn for easier handling while crocheting. You can cut the plastic wider and use a larger hook to get a bit bigger snowman. These little ones are fun to set around the house, put in a Christmas stocking, or let the kids have for a toy.

After cutting the 6 bags I crochet the body based on a modified (free) pattern I found at Michael’s last winter—it is for tree ornament snowman made from regular yarn.  When the body is finished I have fun finding colorful bags to make a hat and scarf set for each little man.  The scarfs are simple to make since they’re just a long single crochet chain.  Heavier plastic bags work well for scarves, giving them some rigidness.  Because heavier plastic works wonderfully for hats and scarfs for snowmen I am able to use those bags which I pass on for crocheted purses. The hats are my own creation and they vary with each little snowman—some have traditional top hats while some have wintery pointed “stocking” caps.

top 10 ways to recycle/reuse plastic bags

15 Jan

As the new year begins (can you believe it is already 2011?) I want to give you a list of ways you can recycle/repurpose/reuse all those plastic bags that pile up around the house. These are really simple ideas, but very effective in greening up your life and making your eco-friendly impact on the world. Believe me, you will feel so much better if you can find a way to use a plastic bag again rather than simply tossing it in the trash can.

  1. Trash can liner—rather than purchasing plastic bags
  2. Laundry bag—when traveling or camping
  3. Shoe bag—to protect your clothing from your shoes in your suitcase
  4. Doggy doo bag—clean up after your dog on a walk
  5. Dirty Diaper bag—when away from home use for a soiled diaper (disposable or cloth)
  6. Mailing packages—use plastic bags as filler or cushioning in packages
  7. Gift Wrap—wrap gifts in colored plastic bags
  8. Trash bag—in your car when traveling
  9. Recycle—bring them to a local store that offers recycling
  10. Donate—to Bags2Bags or other businesses that repurpose them into useful items
NOTE: contact me if you’re interested in donating plastic bags. Thanks!