I'm not as ecologically sensitive as I once was, which is amusing as the entire world seems to have finally caught up with the furor that was afflicting me back in 1991-1996 or so (with aftershocks felt to this day, but I'm not as cutting edge as I was then...).
Flashback to a young junior in high school, moving bags of used paper to our new house, because my Dad offhandedly remarked that someday we'd be able to recycle paper. I saved it under my bed until I found a place to recycle it (college...once they started recycling paper at U of M in the computer labs.) This same girl saved paper from her apartment in Chicago years later, and forced her poor boyfriend to bring them back to Michigan to recycle them for her! Poor boyfriend/husband. He's getting me back, though...whenever he is mad at me, he throws paper into the trash can (when he is certain I'll see it.)
Yes, I compost. Yes, I garden organically. I even compost my stupid guinea pig's waste...and did the same with my rabbits for years (now that I have a giant yard, this isn't so difficult as it once was). I even once bought a worm composter to compost my dog and cat waste, but that was too yucky, even for me...and so that experiment was very short-lived. I try to pack my children's lunches in all-reusable items, I bring bags with me to all stores almost maniacally, etc.
But I'm not as ecologically sensitive as I once was...I take too many showers. I wash too much laundry. I use too much electricity. I drive my children everywhere when they could just as easily take the bus, just to save them 15 minutes here or there. I feel a little guilty, esp. when I consider how crazy I used to be. I'm chalking my slippage up to motherhood, the accumulation of stuff, and maybe even the fact that it's all so mainstream and in-my-face now that I have to give myself a break or the sheer guilt would be too much.
However, I do have a crazy adoration of my fabric gift bags. They are easily one of my favorite parts of the holidays (thus, crazy). I just love pulling them out every year, shoving the gifts for my family inside, not needing to buy gift wrap, not needing to worry about wasting tons of paper, seeing the cuteness under the tree...and every year I wish I had more of them so that I could use them for every gift I give.
Life with 3 children during the holiday season doesn't always permit such luxuries as pulling out my sewing machine and crafting. Even after the holiday season, I never seemed to find the time...but with my youngest now 4 years old, I have a bit more autonomy in what I do when we are all hanging around the house at home.
And thus, finally, after wanting to do this again since the winter of 2002 (when Katie was so little, she could sit in a chair while I sewed...the last time I really made bags...) - yay! I made some more.
I use remnants, or fabric I have collected over the years, and ribbons I save from wherever I find them...and my sisters have been saving me things, too (navy/white bags are remnants of my sister's curtains):
**I make them big, I make them small, I make them medium-sized, I make them giant-sized. I only have pictures of the smaller ones so far as I am not a skilled photographer of bags!
And by the way, I'm still teaching myself how to sew...but this is an easy way to figure it all out!