This year for teacher gifts I decided I was NOT going to make something by hand--E and Z have three teachers now, in addition to M's one main teacher (and six specials teachers and bus driver--last year I made banana bread for all the auxilliary teachers; I was going to make cookies this year but am running out of time and energy!). I was going to get them (the four classroom teachers) something useful and eco-friendly (though probably not nearly as nice as the spa gift certificates my friend BM gives, but then again I'm not a doctor).
My plan was some reusable coffee mugs (those teachers go through a lot of Dunkin' Donuts cups) and Chico Bag reusable shopping bags.
I found these porcelain mugs with Silicone lids.
I read somewhere that Silicone was made with sand rather than petroleum (or maybe someone was confusing Silicone with silicon? Are they really related? I should research this.) If it is made from sand, I'm sure that uses a ton of energy, but still it's gotta be better than a new plastic cup every day, right?
Then, as I was thinking about going to the health food store to get the bags my conscience started in on me...the Chico bags are great (I have two that I bought so we'd have grocery bags with us when we flew to Colorado last summer) and I love them--I have one hooked to my purse and I hooked the other to C's man bag--but they are made of nylon, and nylon is a kind of plastic. And I have all these old sheets, leftover from another project (which I have not yet finished), and I could easily make something just as good...
So I turned my Chico bag inside out, traced the pattern and tried making my own. I ended up putting the wrong edge on the fold when I cut, so the long part is in the middle, and the short is under the handles, I had so much trouble with tension and my machine eating thread and leaving black greasy clumps of thread on the back side of the fabric, that I was forced to take the dang thing apart and clean it and fiddle with the bobbin tension (I did not, however, go to the extreme of oiling it!), and it took me a while to figure out how to make the handles work with a lining (I'm not good at going back and forth between the one-dimensional and three-dimensional worlds...I'm banking on my mental gymnastics in this realm to stave off early dementia).
Finally, though, I made a bag. It looks a bit more like an undershirt than a bag, though (which makes me think a tank top wouldn't be too hard to make)...maybe it's the low-cut sides where they should have been straight across, or maybe it's the dainty flowers of the bag. It doesn't stuff as small as a nylon bag, but it does stuff. If I get the pattern right and use less dainty flowers, hopefully the bags I make for the teachers won't look quite so underwearish. Or maybe the teachers will just think I'm weird.