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Reusable shopping bags – get your DIY on!!

Australia has been moving towards banning free single use plastic bags for some time.  From 1 July 2018, free single use plastic bags will be phased out from major retails stores, making them banned virtually nationwide.

Bans of single use plastic bags in various states started back in 2009, with Queensland and Western Australia being the latest states to ban single use bags on 1 July.

Each year, major supermarket chain customers would use an estimated 6 billion plastic bags.  That’s a lot of plastic bags!

So now what? There are plenty of options for reusable bags, but have you considered making your own?

They are not as difficult as you may think!  Alana from Rosie Petal Patterns has a fabulous reusable bag pattern for the DIYers! Based in Australind in the South West of WA, Alana developed a pattern to suit the major supermarket bag packing racks – making them easy to pack, no fuss!

This is what Alana has to say about developing her pattern:

“Around August last year I began experimenting with fabric shopping bags. I was surprised to find there was a bit of a science to it! After consulting with my audience at Rosie Petal and experimenting with my prototypes, my check list of “must haves” were: They must fit in the bag holders at all the major shops, they must be compact enough to be stored inside my handbag, and they must be strong and comfortable to handle and carry. And of course, be beautiful! Many months have passed since then, and I am so happy to wake up to new stories of people having fun sewing their BYO bags. I love stories of stashes being sewn up instead of lingering on the shelves, and how they are being gifted to dear ones, school fetes and fundraisers. A practical gift is the best kind in my book!”

For once in my life, I am actually prepared for a change!  I’ve been planning this for ages, as I ALWAYS forget to bring grocery bags with me!

I purchased Alana’s pattern some months ago to test them out in preparation for this change in Queensland.  The pattern is really easy to follow, with both pattern pieces or measurements provided, depending on which works better for you.  They don’t take long to make, but I do suggest if you are making several at a time, cut them all on one go and make them in a ‘production style’ (ie make all straps at once, sew all bag components first etc).  Alana also has her own pattern group, so if you are stuck, you can always ask for tips and advice.

I love how you can completely personalise the bags – use bright fabrics, use your favourite licensed character fabric, upcycle with vintage sheets, spots and stripes – the options are endless!

They also make a fabulous handmade gift for friends and family, or end of year gift for teachers.

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I Love This Shiz! – Lil Bit Better

Who is a fan of house cleaning? Anyone? Anyone??! Not many hands going up (mine certainly isn’t) are there?

I’ll tell you one of the reasons why I don’t like cleaning (other than the obvious fact that I’d rather be on the couch watching Girls or something). It’s the harsh chemicals. Chemicals and ingredients in traditional cleaning products can impact on the environment in numerous ways, such as the rate in which they break down (assuming they are biodegradable), how they impact our waterways and wildlife, and if they have any potential effects on the people that use them. And it’s not only the effects that chemicals may on the environment, but the chemicals in commercial cleaning products often gave me really bad headaches and made my dermatitis flare up.

Then we stumbled across Lil Bit Better, a handmade business based in Melbourne, Victoria. The owner Liz, is passionate about changing the way we use cleaning products. Keenly aware of the environmental impact harsh chemicals have on the environment, she has created an amazing range of handmade natural and low impact cleaning products.

I’ve bought quite a few of Liz’s handmade cleaning products, and I’m going to share a few of my favourites with you!

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