Monday, 15 December 2008

Handmade and Recycled

Beauty That Moves
While many of us are still in the season of holiday preparations, I thought I'd share one more simple, frugal and yes, green, gift idea. You might need to take a leap of faith on this one, but I think there is a powerful message with a gift like the one I am about to describe.
Start by making a simple tote/book bag. If you are someone who sews and already has a stash of fabric on hand, this sort of project is a great stash buster. Heavier, home dec. weight fabrics are great for the outside. Part of this gifts beauty is trying to make it with recyled, or already on hand fabric. I made six of these in an afternoon one year, and all of the women on my list got a new book bag! Here is a link with instructions to make a similar one of your own:

Super Eggplant Tote Bag

Now, for the part of this gift that might be a little out of the box for some. But haven't we discovered by now that living inside the box is so dreadfully boring? Living simply and taking chances go hand in hand.

Our local library has the most incredible used book sale a couple of times a year. It is a wonderful place to pick up a great pile of reads for very little money. Of course tag sales and flea markets are as well. I picked up this pile of magazines at a tag sale this summer, paying .25 cents a piece. And they are actually three of my favorite cooking magazines. Their condition was perfect!

Would it be so outrageous to slip a nice little stack of previously enjoyed books or magazines into a lovingly made tote bag? Not at all. Here is the most important detail... don't try to pretend the books are brand new! The most powerful, impressionable part of this gift idea is the hand written note that you will enclose.

"May you find much enjoyment in this meaningful gift.
The bag was handmade by me with love, using recycled materials.
The books were previously loved by others.
This gift was put together with intention,
to show one simple way we can walk a little more gently on the earth."
Of course this is just an example, make it your own. Even those on your gift list that you imagine might turn their nose at such an idea (used books? gasp!), try it. You just might give them something to think about.

From my home to yours, wishing you all peace and joy through the holidays.