Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Ladies who shop

Hi. An early post this morning as there is a lot I want to get on with today. I had a lot of fun last night at Tesco, giving away bags. I took four with me, and came home with one. The reaction on people's faces was a source of great amusement. I kept a look out within the store, for likely candidates. Someone with not too much shopping. If they were carrying a basket then they could fit all their items in my one bag, so they were the best people to approach. I tried to be discreet thinking the cameras might spot me, didn't want to get thrown out, ha ha. 
The ladies I chose were lovely, all smiley, and not quite believing that I wanted to give them something and not expect anything in return. Two of them apologised for not having any money, they were paying for their shopping with plastic. One young lady with dreadlocks said she didn't like to take one because of the work that I had put into making them. I explained that they take less than an hour to make, and I got the fabric free, and it's my hobby. She took one and said it would also come in useful for carrying books around. 
The three people I asked all took one. I explained my reason for giving a bag to a complete stranger was to reduce the amount of plastic carrier bag pollution, and talked about random acts of kindness, and that they might pass on the kindness in their own way in the future. 
Someone asked in a comment yesterday if it is worth a few people bothering to try and save the planet with these small gestures. I would say it is, if that is what you believe in. Lots of small droplets of water make a great ocean. The fact that you do something for a person you have never met before, and will probably never meet again, has a greater impact than if you do something for a friend. I like the idea of surprise, to make people smile, and without expecting anything back. The fact that giving a bag has a serious message behind it, is a bonus. I don't give Christmas presents willy nilly, and rarely give birthday presents, not because I don't value the person, because I don't want anything back in return. That might make me sound ungrateful, but the feeling that you ought to give a present takes the meaning out of it. I like to give when the recipient is not expecting it, it makes me, and them, happy.   
Patricia and Melinda asked if I make long handled bags. Yes I do. These are lined and not really shopping bags, more a general purpose work/going out bag. They take longer to make. The idea of running up some shopping bags is to do them quickly, and to use up the fabric. They are simple to make, without lining, and are used mainly for shop to car shopping.  

Here are a few of the bags I have made in the past. The top two started as plain canvas bags which I redesigned for an exhibition at the arts centre. They are lined. Below them are shopping bags made from fused plastic. The white one is made from the inner bags from cereal boxes.

Not many yellow stickers last night, they had been snapped up before I arrived. I got a few items, sprouts, bread, bean salad, tea cakes, casserole veg, and broccoli. I picked out my usual Value items, Tesco's own cheap range. Some of them are very good. Tinned rice pudding, Bran Flakes (see they have gone back down to 88p) tomato ketchup (I use this in soups and stews), soft garlic cheese, potatoes and carrots, long life soya milk 59p, and plain yogurt 45p. I had a treat of four cans of cider, £2.25. The total shop came to £40.26, I had a £4 off voucher. £14.72 was spent on cats, two bags of Whiskas dry for £6, cooked and uncooked Value chicken pieces, some posh tinned food for Bugsy's delicate tummy, and Value tuna fish as a treat for all of them. My food should last a couple of weeks, just need to get some eggs.

Right, I'm off for a walk in the park, before the rain comes. I'll say catch you tomorrow, but I will be popping in throughout the day to see what you are up to. Toodle pip.

27 comments:

  1. Huff Puff this is why I get so cross with our Tesco who don't even do Value range Bran Flakes!
    Love your random acts of bag giving - brilliant - every little helps

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  2. This is a really lovely thing to do Ilona. What a shame you had to be worried about giving something away free in Tesco but if I were you I would have felt the same. They sell bags they would not have liked someone giving them away out of the kindness of their heart and to help the environment. You don't need me to go on. Have a good walk.

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  3. What a lovely collection of hand made bags,
    Carolx

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  4. That is a nice thing to do. Your collection of hand made bags - I like them all but my favourite is the one with trees.

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  5. Love your bags, especially the retro flowery pattern! An excellent idea to give them away and I'm glad you got well-deserved feedback from the recipients. I feel inspired to have a look for some suitable fabric in my stash but would I dare approach people in Tesco?? Might have to give them away when I do a car boot sale, instead of putting purchases in plastic bags! Thanks for a lovely, chatty, friendly, useful blog! Vicki

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  6. Such a great idea Ilona. I bet those recipients will pass on a friendly gesture.
    You have made my morning!

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  7. Give Ilona a medal, that's what I say. Giving can be so much pleasure can't it, I love you for it.
    Briony
    x

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  8. I wish you could give away some of your confidence ; ). A friend of mine used to make bags like yours, the ones with lining, from recycled fabrics. She started selling them at craft fairs, then festivals. She then opened up a shop and paid other ladies to make them for her and other crafty bits and bobs. She outgrew the shop and moved into the city centre where she sells ethical, and locally made/recycled fashion. She is doing very well and earning a good living. What started out as a hobby is now paying the bills. I think your bags are lovely - lucky tescos people!

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  9. I have one of Ilona's fused plastic bags- it's fab and I use it all the time to store my recycling indoors before I take it out to the recycling bin every morning!
    Arilx

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  10. What a lovely idea. I loathe plastic bags and always carry one of my cloth ones 'cos you never know when you'll need one. x

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  11. I have used the store-bought eco bags for years, but never thought of making my own. Super project, Ilona :)

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  12. Hi! I agree, I love your tree bag the best of all of them, I remember when you posted the picture when you originally made it. It's beautiful!

    Here in Los Angeles there's good news on the plastic bag front: stores are all now charging for them. This will mean a great reduction.

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  13. the rosy red bag speaks to me

    Metta

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  14. I love bags, I make them whenever I have the material and want a quick project, most of mine go to the Cat Rescue Charity Shop, it all helps to keep the operation going.

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  15. I love that you did this, Ilona! What a wonderful idea...I'm always happy to give a little something to anyone I see: share something at work, or with a friend. Even if it's simply a hug (as weird as that may sound! lol I think hugs have great value.) I want to thank you again, too, for your beautiful blog. When I feel bogged down living in a big, fast paced city in Canada, I look to your blog and your wanderings and take great comfort in it all.
    Take care,
    Christina

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    1. I can't do fast pace any more. Thank you for your kind words.

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  16. I bet the ladies were thrilled. They'll be telling everyone about you and your bags, I'm sure.
    Jane x

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  17. This is such a generous and beautiful thing to do. I love your bags and if you offered on to me in a store I would be thrilled. I know that if you want to bring more good things into your life you accept everything that is offered. Have a wonderful day. Your bags are lovely.

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  18. Ilona, I really do love you. You are such a funny lady and very kind. I really enjoy reading your blog every day. Caroline x

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  19. Every little random act of kindness makes a big difference to our planet, and to someone somewhere.
    Those ladies who received one of your lovely bags will talk about you and your generosity in conversations with others - there may be one person who will listen and thereby be inspired to do their own little random act of kindness, and so the kindness and caring will continue...
    A little while back I read the book written by Jessica Watson, the young Aust girl who sailed around the world singlehanded at age 16, she wrote about being out in the deep ocean, no land in sight, and in the water she saw floating plastic bags, that little snippet of info from her book has stayed with me...
    Those lovely bags you lovingly make and give away may stop just even one more plastic shopping bag finding its way into an ocean somewhere.
    Well done Ilona, I admire you and your thoughtfulness and caring attitude. X

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  20. I love that you did this, and I love the bags! I do believe it is worth a few people making the change. My ten year old sponsors and orang-utan and gets upset when those around her at school deliberately shove their palm oil products in her face, she queried if it is worth her trying. This is a great opportunity for us to discuss how we can change the world slowly but surely and remain true to ourselves.From little things big things grow....

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  21. My Mum , who, is 88, and after a lifetime of sewing knitting and crafts can now only crochet , as a result I have some lovely bags that are suitable for pegs, onions etc.
    Your blog has given me so much pleasure and helped me so much , I would like to send you one if you would like one

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    1. Hi Patricia. What a lovely gesture, I would love a crochet bag. I have onions and pegs. If you email me, then I will email you back with my address. Look on my side bar under the heading 'contact me here', put in 'dots' and 'at' in the appropriate places. Long may your mum enjoy her crocheting. Thank you.

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  22. Congratulations Ilona on your random acts of kindess. From time to time I leave a handmade toy somewhere to be picked up by whoever finds it. I came across this idea at The Secret Toy Society website sometime ago and that started me off. The recipients of your brilliant bags will have been delighted.

    Sue Mc

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  23. I love it that you made someone's day with your acts of kindness. No doubt they will spread the word and hopefully sow this seed of an idea in someone else's mind and it will snowball.

    You really are a lovely lady :-)

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  24. Such a shame that you had to virtually hide your free give away bags from Tesco`s cameras. I think that they should start charging for plastic carriers just like they now do in Wales. A lot more people would be more mindful to their consumption and needless discarding of such bags after use, I believe.
    Nice little bags you`ve made there!

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