Tuesday, July 27, 2010

To the market we go and I don't need no stinken plastic bags.

So I'm super excited about my new line Ambatalia "to the market", so that you don't have to use plastic bags. This plastic bag plague that we have been in since the 50's is on its way out. Find out more about plastics and recycling at the Ecology Center in Berkeley where they are leading the way.
 I designed these bags (giving them the name Bento bag) for buying bulk and produce. Inspired by a vintage Japanese bag I had and the Japanese bento box that is reusable. They are so useful and super cute and they support our local economy. I use unused reclaimed fabric that is right here in the bay area, no shipping across the globe. You will see my textiles at the new Marin Country Mart, every Saturday mornings 9am to 2 starting October 30th, the underground markets.

I would love to give away a free set of Bento Bags. Three big and 6 small. Leave a comment on your best trick to NEVER forget your bags for the market, produce, bulk shopping and all those little last minute purchases?????? I will pick who has the most practical tricks. I know its kind of a silly question, but so many people complain about it.. including myself
I will announce the winner Friday August 6th

Mama figuring it out.

My friend Christine styling away... check out this sweet interview and photos of her work.

My girl friend Lorain( my sewing angel), carrying fabric home in a fabulous Furoshiki


lorena said...

i've been using canvas bags for about 9 years now. i keep them al in my car practically all the time. the only time i take them out is for vacation trips - but otherwise - they are there. i also keep 2 non-bulky ones in a zippered compartment of my purse in case i find myself unexpectedly purchasing something! it took a while to make it a habit but now i rarely leave my car without one in my hand!

Anonymous said...

I love the little produce bags Molly! Some things just can't be put loose into a shopping trolley.

I have cloth bags in the car, by the front door and always one in my handbag, as well as my gorgeous big market basket!

maura kelly doyle said...

My two roommates and I are all sculptors who only own bikes, so we've always got big bags strapped on to carry supplies around with us, which come in handy when we go grocery shopping! I also keep a cotton bag tied to my bike frame just under the seat in instances when I've loaded up a big too much and can't quite squeeze everything into my big messenger bag. After doing this for so long my bike looked naked without it, so I always notice if I've forgotten something! We keep a hook just inside the front door full of cloth bags all the time so they're easy to grab on the way out - works like a charm!

-Maura Kelly Doyle (Minneapolis)

Molly de Vries said...

Lady's ,
thank you already for your wonderful comments and helpful ideas. I realized I was too vague with just how to not forget your "bags". So I added produce and bulk. Please add more to the comments, if you like. If you do use plastic bags for produce and bulk. Do you think it would be easy to manage textile bags in the same way as your market bags? Im tired, does that even make sense? good night for now, Molly

lorena said...

oh - i use non plastic for produce and bulk as well. i have a mesh type for produce and a very light weave one for bulk. i keep them in with my bags so they are always with me too!

i love how your bags tie!

india flint said...

plastic bags have been frowned upon in South Australia for years
and were formally banned here last year i think - didn't take a great deal of notice because there's a rotating collection of about twenty shopping bags that are variously either
*in use
*in the boot of the car
*in the washing machine
*drying on the washing line

but they're not as cute as your furoshiki treasures!

PeaceMama said...

these are great! beautiful and functional. love how they look like birds when untied!

PeaceMama said...

oh, and as for the tricks, i am waiting to hear them as well! i keep them in my trunk too, but just thinking about it, perhaps a bag/pocket hung over the back of the driver's seat (like a magazine pocket) would work well.

Molly de Vries said...

keep em coming friends. I just love to have the give away to create room for the discusion. Love all of your ideas.

Cathy said...

I haven't forgotten cloth bags since I bought some of the ones that fold up into tiny, tiny pouches that are smaller tn my cellphone. I keep one in my purse at all times, it doesn't take up any space, and I never forget it.

buckminster said...

i simply leave my bags in my bike panniers, then i never forget them because i don't need to remember them. bags in bags.

Dawn said...

We mostly do our grocery shopping via our extra-cycle bike known as Dorothy. We keep specific bags in Dorothy's side bags. We also have specific bags that stay in the car and specific bags that are near the door that stay in the house. Since the car bags look different from the bike bags, which look different from the house bags, whenever we see a stray bag we know exactly where it needs to be returned to and we do that right away. This greatly reduces the, "uh oh, I've arrived at the store, but forgotten my bags" syndrome. I don't use bags at all for produce, I just put them in my cart and then it all goes into the cloth grocery bag.

Trudy said...

I am a very forgetful lady - so I hide little caches of shopping bags most places I frequent. School, work, the studio, etc. This way I have them wherever and whenever I need them, PLUS a little surprise when I run across a hiding spot that I had forgotten. It's like an Easter egg hunt, but heavy on the bags and (typically) light on the eggs.

For produce, I shop with a sweet detachable bike basket with a shoulder strap and forgo the plastic entirely. I just fill 'er right up. Pretty basket + colorful produce = romantic as all get out.

Emily @ Relishments said...

We have our bags hanging on a hook on the back of our front door. You can't get out of the house without seeing them...and, if you do, you don't have to go all the way back inside the get them.

Kristen said...

We've been using cloth bags for so long now for everything that I think it's actually become a habit. And now that we have a toddler I'm always traveling with a diaper bag and a stroller (with a cargo compartment) for those times I forget bags. Used to be if I forgot a bag, I'd stuff things in my pockets :)

Those are really beautiful bags that you are making!

Anonymous said...

I use both cotton and mesh bags for produce. I had never thought about using them for bulk foods before. My solution was to minimize those purchases by buying frequently used grains in 15 or 20 pound bags. Now I will start using my cloth bags for my bulk purchases as well. I always tell friends that it takes about 6 months to get into a new habit, such as bringing your own bags. You need to have an ample supply of them so that there can be some in the laundry and still have a supply in the car or wherever is handy when you are on your way to shop. At the beginning of my transition to cloth bags, I would try to either hand carry the items or delay the purchase if I forgot my bags. It helps you remember the next time.

Kristen Holder said...

My produce and bulk bags are a bit smaller than my market bags; in fact, they are toddler sized.

I have trained my two year old, Ellie, to remember what her old mama forgets! It's become a game--She loves pointing out when we've left the bag behind the front door, and we never make a trip without them.

None, though, as charming as your cute little bags. Both Ellie and I would love to brighten up our shopping chore with them.

Shorey said...

I love these bags! Saw the link on The Kitchn, and am dying to have a set. I'm always forgetting my canvas bags, so I keep super soft ones stuffed into every purse and nearly every jacket pocket I have.

Anonymous said...

I keep a cloth bag folded in my purse. It takes up almost no room and I always have it wen I shop.

Carol said...

Your bags are such a great idea, and so beautiful too! I keep bags in my car, but often forgot to grab them until I repurposed a zippered cosmetic kit for bag storage. I can stuff about 4 soft bags into the zippered pouch and always have them handy in my purse.
I'd love to get a set of your bags--if I can't fit them in my pouch, I would use one of the bags to store the rest.
Carol (Novato, CA)

Liz said...

Whenever I make out my grocery list, I always put 'bags' at the top, and that way I don't forget to bring them or accidentally leave them in the car.

Unknown said...

I love your bags! I had actually never thought of using cloth bags for bulk items before -- sometimes I remember glass jars or plastic containers, but not often enough. But for grocery shopping and going to the farmer's market I keep a stash of cloth bags in the car. When I get home and unload them I put the empty bags right next to the front door so that the next time I go out I can remember to put them back into the car.

Anne said...

I love these bags!

I keep bags for produce inside the big canvas bag I always take to the farmers market. I also have a bag folded up in my work bag just in case I need to carry anything extra home.

We keep reusable bags on the wall right by the door at home to give us one more reminder to take them along!

Anonymous said...

Heck yeah, we don't need no plastic bags! (I certainly could use some of your adorable ones, though!)

I normally use a big canvas bag with nice sturdy straps, and I keep my smaller produce and bulk bags inside it. In case I forget, I have a bag (one those that stuff into their own little pouch) stashed in lots of places: in the car, in the bike panniers, in the backpack, in my camera case.

If that still doesn't work and I'm somehow without a bag, I either carry my purchase with my hands, or I don't buy it. It's the same with my coffee mug - I won't use disposable cups, so if I forgot my mug, I'm not allowed to get coffee. The fear of being coffeeless (or the thought of going to the farmer's market and not being able to bring home any delicious produce) usually helps me remember!

Nathan Strange said...

What incredibly wonderful, beautiful bags! They are *exactly* what I've been needing!

I have a great big insulated bag from Trader Joe's, and Target had a sale a few years ago on some bags that were supposed to be purses...they are very strong and very simple with a loooong handle. That long handle makes heavy loads a breeze simply by wearing it across the chest - I can carry many at once this way.

I bought the store out, then went to other Targets to find more. They are all stuffed inside each other, and then stuffed in the insulated bag which is then stuffed in the car. ;)

I should mention that they're cute, too...not like the ugly reusable bags most places sell.

When I'm done unloading my bags, I hang them right on the doorknob, that way they're right there, annoying me for when I go outside again.

As for bulk, I have some plastic containers that the store has written the tare on for me. It's incredibly inconvenient to carry them though...that's what makes your bags so amazing! They can be stuffed with the rest of them!

I only place delicate veggies (i.e. lettuce) in their own plastic bags, and those get re-used many, many times. Not the best solution, but all I have figured to do so far.

Anyway...that's how I do it! Hoping to add some of your bags to the bunch!!! :D


isabel said...

Similar to some others here... my main tip is to have PLENTY of reusable bags and stash them everywhere -- a few in the car, a few in the purse, a few by the door, a few by the car keys, etc., so you have plenty of opportunities to be reminded to use them. I do have one central location for bags in my home, too (in the pantry area), so if they appear in odd places, they have a place to go.

I find it pretty easy to use large fabric shopping bags but really struggle with smaller bags for produce. I just haven't found any that I really like using yet. I hope yours are the ones! I would love to win a set! :)

Fay Smith said...

I keep two or three of those chicco bags in my purse, and a couple of the larger TJ's bags in the car. I use them everywhere, but I still feel frustrated at the plastic bags that pile up in the laundry room waiting to be recycled - I would love some of your produce bags!

Katie said...

All of my canvas bags sit next to my front door where I drop my purse, except for one nylon one I keep in the glove compartment, though for non-grocery trips I rarely purchase enough things to warrant a bag. I reuse the plastic bags you get at the grocery store for produce and bulk, but I have been looking for something to replace them with when my current stash gives up the ghost. These are great!

Will you be coming down to the Mountain View or Sunnyvale markets any time soon? I'd love to get a stash of these before my next trip to Rainbow, but I never get to the markets up north. Otherwise, I'll definitely have to check out your etsy store!

Anonymous said...

On the side of the fridge [which is right next to the door to the garage], I've got a multi-hook gizmo attached with double stick tape upon which I hang all my fabric grocery bags so you brush past bags when you go out to the car. Works every time for me.

Julia said...

Like the others here, I have a monster stash of canvas totes, and I store at least one inside of every single purse, pannier, and shoulder bag that I own.

Now I would really love a solution for getting bulk liquids (like shampoo and olive oil) home in something other than bulky jars or tupperware!

kmoshima said...

I keep a bunch of bags in the car all stuffed inside my insulated bag. It seems to do the trick. We ran out paper grocery bags that my husband used to use in his office for recycling. So he stole one of my shopping bags. That part really isn't working for me.

Amanda said...

We keep a few in the backseat of the car, and a stash in the coat closet. Between grocery shops and quick trips to pick books and movies up at the library, we're always using the bags!

Kristen said...

I hang my bag(s) on the coat rack by the door and hook my keys to the bag strap. I always know where my house keys are, and I never run out to shop without a bag. I do keep one in the car for those unplanned stops.

I love these little bulk bags. What a great idea to stuff a few of these into my canvas bag for bulk items and produce.

roberta said...

Molly......I love your new bags as much as I love you!
The fabric feels good, the style works well and the colors make me want to cook up a yummy meal.
Thanks for giving us another opportunity to enjoy your creativity as well as the gifts from the sun, the rain and the soil.

roberta said...

Molly......I love your new bags as much as I love you!
The fabric feels good, the style works well and the colors make me want to cook up a yummy meal.
Thanks for giving us another opportunity to enjoy your creativity as well as the gifts from the sun, the rain and the soil.

jenni said...

I keep my bags, coupons and grocery list all together and I shop on the same day each week, so it's easier to remember all my shopping accessories. Plus, the grocery store offers a credit for each reused bag so it pays off and I am all about saving whenever I can!

Dawn said...

Those are beautiful! I've been keeping my bags in the cupholder of my car, so they're front and center whenever I hop out of the car to run into the store. My husband was always forgetting to use the ones I got him when they were in the back seat, so I moved them up to his cupholder, and now he uses them without fail, too!

Heather said...

Here in Portland some politicians are trying to pass laws to ban plastic bags in grocery stores. I've been getting ready for a while! Like many others, I just make sure to take my bags back to the car once I've emptied them. Canvas for carrying everything and mesh for produce. But I've never found a solution for bulk! I need some of your bags!

bridgmanpottery said...

I love these! I'll have to figure out how to sew some myself.

Kristin said...

My tip is simple- I keep the bags in the car. And I keep one that folds into a small little ball in my purse for all those unexpected purchases.

Beklina said...

I love the bags!! So cool. Want to try.

slb said...

I keep small ones in literally every purse/backpack I own so I'm never without at least one. The larger size get stashed in the car, and in a visible place in my house for when I walk.

The other thing I do is keep one clipped on a hook on the refrigerator, clipped right by our dry erase shopping list. That way when I'm reading it before heading out, I'm reminded again.

And of course the most important part--putting the stash BACK in their places after the market.

ashley said...

molly! they are beautiful!!! i have goose bumps

Anonymous said...

HI Molly,
Wish you had patterns how to's and kits for sale ( or trade). They look so nifty, at first thought I could just use bandana, but saw your are shaped beautiful 2 layers. How do you pronounce the word - Furoshiki ?
We keep ours by the door , some are bags found in thrift stores , or made out of old fabric or clothes.
Found your site from ecoartist that lead to rebeccca's to fibershed

Where do you sell fabric?

Molly de Vries said...

Hi friend,
Thank you so much. I am very much like you where I use what I have or tear something up, but because this is my passion and business I do have a lot of choices. Thank you for suggesting a pattern or tutorial. I really should do that. There are a few different things I do. I make Furoshiki which is a large square cloth, used in many different ways, The best measurement that is most useful is 27" x27". I make mine a bit larger. Another is the origami bags. You start off with a long rectangle and you have to cut and fold in different measurements to create a bag. Thats the one you see in this post, with the pointy ears. Its so hard to figure out. I had to take a part an old vintage Japanese bag.I get my fabric in so many ways. I buy some new linen and hemp from producers and I use a lot of reclaimed fabric from other venders I have. I also do a lot of thrifting to get the color I need. I am always up for trade as well. My phone # is on my blog. Thanks for connecting. Happy Thanksgiving, Molly

Anonymous said...

Always keep them on hand, and forgetting them isn't even a possibility! I keep five or six in the trunk of the car, two in my bike basket, and one small foldable one in the bottom of my purse at all times. :)

Unknown said...

You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site. find bulk bags

Unknown said...

Hi.. I live in Australia but would love to buy a couple of your origami bags... can I purchase online?


Unknown said...

Normally the packaging bags are ideal protection and beauty for the products,especially the printed ones,just like the ground cover fabric for the plants.

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Unknown said...

I'm living without a car or bicycle, so always carry a backpack with the same 2 foldup bags. I've found keeping track of 2 bags easier than having multiple ones all over the place. My two bags get loaded, unpacked, refolded and put back in my pack (and the bags are on the laundry list, don't wash and grocery shop at the same time).
Since I have to carry groceries home on my own, I shop more often and bring home smaller loads than when I lived in the states and had a car.
Our little market recently went plastic free, and I designed a bag made from men's shirts from the recycle bin. Since I already have my 2 bags, I bring the shirt ones to the market for those who have forgotten.