"She seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if she had surprised a butterfly in the Winter woods"
(edith wharton)

Sunday, 5 April 2009

the cost of organic vegies... & who wants to make a cloth bag? sharing my talents.... a step to helping the environment...recycle, reuse

I just took it for granted that everyone had access to the organic produce like I do.. I guess all over the world, the cost of organic produce varies.. after reading comments on my previous post, it seems I am very lucky & blessed to have our Food Co-op here in the Blue Mountains. Blue Mts. Food co-op

for me: to eat organically is a decision that I made awhile ago when I had cancer and I would rather go without than eat chemically treated vegies. .. the most important thing is that we each do the best we can with what we have and follow as much as possible what we believe. And of course any kind of fresh vegie or fruit is so much better than processed food.
every little thing that each of us do adds up and is alot more than if we each did nothing. and I definately don't want to sound like i am preaching..

this week, when I went to the Co-op I kept the receipt and then took it to the locally owned supermarket to do a price see how much more organic produce costs.
this week:
bananas had the biggest price difference with supermarket costing $1.99 a kilo in comparison to organic which were $4.25 kilo - that is a huge difference but I only buy about 6 bananas a week.
broccoli, carrots, sweet potato and onions were all more expensive at the Organic co-op
whereas pumpkin, dates, pears & beans were considerably cheaper than at the supermarket.
it all balances out in the end. of course, if I would like blueberries and they are $9 a punnet, then I put them back onto the shelf and go without.

onto the bag that I would like to share...

I collect old shopping carry bags - much like the bags my Nana use to take shopping to West Ryde on the bus. Nan mostly had string bags, with plastic handles that rolled up into a very small ball and were kept in her handbag.

a few years ago, I started making my own cloth bags, or totes as they are called now, out of vintage fabrics, old tablecloths and gorgeous trims and tassels. Mine look different to the ones my Nan had but used for the same purpose.....

and I would love to share how to make one.. I can share the process here on my blog, hopefully. I just have to sit down and start the process, taking photos as I go, I guess.

so start gathering.. you will need about half a metre of two different fabrics: one for the outside and one for the lining. You can use an old tablecloth, some old tea-towels or old curtains. Hunt the op-shops for some quirky fabric, don't spend lots on new fabric.. that will defeat the whole purpose... some braid or pompom trim to put around the edge and a big button for the clasp. also 4 large wooden beads if you can find them, these will be used to put on the handles, they are optional, the bag will still 'work' if you don't use them. oh and some very thin wadding to put in between the layers. Once I get myself sorted with making it, I will post the method. Next, I hope to work out a bag using knitting and fabric together..but that is down the track a bit yet.

It has been raining here at Inglewood for a week, drenching rain and I haven't been in the garden all week.

This morning when the sun was shining, I raced out and constructed a primitive looking net contraption around my cabbages & broccoli.. to keep those damn white cabbage moths out.. they look so innocent flitting around the garden, but if they get a chance to lay an egg on my plants they would be destroyed overnight by the green caterpillars.. the plants are growing quite well although they could do with some sunshine. These plants are the beginning of my plan to grow as much as I can. I picked two large pumpkins which are on my verandah in a warm sheltered spot and I know there are two more apples on my tree. They taste absolutely exquisite. Just like apples should.

oh, and Paul is home for the weekend.. he starts his radiation & chemo tomorrow, which I believe is for about 4 weeks. He will be in a Sydney hospital while he undergoes his treatment.


linda may said...

G'Day Robyn,
i love your blog and stories. They are so lovely and normal. I have not seen a co-op around here but there are markets each weekend catering to the organic vege buyers.I am not as good as you in trying to keep up with looking after the earth but I do do some things that I hope can help. Your area is more bohemian than Canberra.Lucky you.

Strawberry Girl said...

Your my kind of lady... first of all I like to go around looking at (wishing that I could buy) vintage clothing. Secondly you have one of my favorite quotes from Anne of Green Gables on your other blog (this one too?), then you love quality food, like to make cloth bags and to top it all off you feel the same way that I do about fresh apples. ;p (I like the scabby ones the best...)

*Hugs* for the tough time, I hope things work out for your husband, and you had cancer as well... sigh... *Hugs again*

~Strawberry Girl

*PS- Thanks for your thoughtful comment on my blog.

Billie Jane said...

I love your bags... I have a 'thing' about bags, so I am looking forward to the instructions of how to make one like yours... I have lots of fabric in my workshop that is just waiting for me to make it into something else!

Annie said...

Hi Robyn - just loved this post from start (organic) to finish (update on Paul).

I'm totally impressed by your shopping bags and I will definitely look at old tablecloths in a very new way.

I could not believe the shelter you constructed around your veggies not to mention that fabulous pink color you surrounded it in. Bravo.

gemma said...

Hi...I was just going through some old fabric this AM. I'd love to see how you made your bag and try to make one. Yay!! This is a great idea.

Pam said...

Ditto to the above comments Robyn. Just popping in to wish you a great week ahead leading up to Easter, and continuing good wishes for good health for you and your family. Our seasonal foods are wonderful in Australia aren't they. Following your link, the food co-op seems a vibrant, active and welcoming place.xx

Janet said...

I'd love to see how you make your bags. I'm not too good at sewing but as long as it's simple I think I can manage. Your bags are beautiful! I like those old string bags, too. They always hold a lot more than you'd think.

That's good news about Paul being home.

Sheila said...

We try to buy organic as much as possible, but with our winters, imported organic food is very pricey. It will become more available as the weather warms up and farmers markets start again.
Blueberries are usually very expensive here anyway, but now and then I will get a deal on organic ones. WE eat mostly chicken and fish, and I am able to buy organic chicken. Fish is another problem, as I don't like farmed fish, and so many others are not recommended for one reason or another.
Love the shopping bags. The ones I use at the mo. are made from recycled tetra paks.
Really great to hear about Paul. Still keeping him in our prayers..

peppylady said...

Your Bananas are expensive here we pay around fifty five cent to sixty five cent a pound. I know kilo is 2.2 to our pound. Then organic bananas are about ten to twenty cent higher.
I found organic apples here all most four dollars and down to ninety eight cents.
But I don't know the value of your money to the American money.

I don't try to use plastic bags out of the store.
I use paper bags in our garbage bags in the kitchen.
Some place now will knock off a nickle if you bring in your own bag.

Coffee is on.

A bird in the hand said...

The price comparison is interesting. I buy organic bananas because the difference in price is only a few cents. I do a balancing act otherwise. My local market now charges for plastic bags so as to encourage people to bring their own. I've noticed that many people are now using their own bags.

It's been raining a lot here too, and I'm trying not to let it pull me down!


Serena said...

Great news that Paul is home and, hopefully, the chemo treatment will go smoothly. I hear they have better drugs now that aren't as harsh on the body.

Great post! I would love to see how you make your bags. I have a couple myself that a friend in the States made for me. I also have some of those expandable string type bags....and man, do they ever EXPAND! It's amazing the quantity of things you can fit into them.

Love your pink net protector.....very shabby chic/bohemian...LOVE it!

Jamie said...

Wow, what you call a primitive net contraption I thought looked like a fairy tent! Love it!

And I had to look up what a punnet is. I've never heard that word though I've seen those baskets all my life. Very cool!

Sending constant healing energy to Paul.

Sorrow said...

You are very very lucky to have organics so close to you.
It is a wonderful thing!
and i love your bags!
I think it's a wonderful form of self expression. Makes it fun to shop I bet!
glad to hear about your brother in law.
keeping him in my prayers!

Kathryn Knoll said...

The thing that is so awesome about your way is that you do it consciously. And, this is exactly what is needed now a whole lot of consciousness. With consciousness we have choices and are more free to do what is right for the good of the whole instead of walking around in a daze....Love you! Sr.K

Angela said...


The bags are totally cool - maybe I'll try my hand at one. Will be thinking of Paul in the coming weeks.

kim said...

I'd love to learn!