April 22, 2009

Celebrating Earth Day the vintage way

“Make do or go without”, chances are that at some point in your life you’ve heard some iteration of that old axiom, behind which lies a great deal of wisdom. In this age (or what was until very recently a prevalent and rampant age) of seemingly endless consumerism, it appears that the mantra to get by with, or reuse, what you already have is all too often forgotten.

Today, the 22nd of April, is Earth Day, one brief day amongst 364 other siblings, in which people from around the world are encouraged to think about, and raise awareness of, issues that are affecting the health and wellbeing of our planet. Certainly one of which is the incredibly alarming rate at which garbage (trash) is building on our little rock of a planet.

Thankfully, as lovers of antiques and vintage pieces, many of us are already taking a wonderful step in helping to reduce the amount of waste that makes its way into the landfill, simply by doing what we love! Every time you buy thrift, second hand or otherwise previously loved items you’re giving new life to an old(er) piece and potentially saving it from ending up in the bin. While at the very same time cutting down on (what I call) “first hand” consumerism, which can often generate a lot of its own trash due to packing, wrapping, bags, tags and any number of other steps and products it took to get that item to the store that you bought it from in the first place.

I’m not here to preach or go into the ideologies of environmentalism at great length though, instead I think that there is scarcely a better day than Earth Day to celebrate the wondrous fact that by buying and/or salvaging (a pilfering of Great Aunt Ida’s attic, anyone?) vintage and second hand pieces we are by default living greener lives and doing our part to help Mother Earth.

Like many folks I’ve been totting home my shopping (everything from bakery goods to Value Village finds) in reusable bags for the past few years. I love this practise and don’t plan to ever give it up. But I’ve been thinking lately that some of my reusable totes and bags are a little on the dull (and threadbare) side, and that sooner or later I might want to spruce up my shopping bag wardrobe with some awesome sacks that pay homage to my love of vintage. While that might mean buying new, I feel that a onetime purchase that saves countless plastic bags from ending up at a city dump somewhere is a worthwhile buy.

Four such bags that have really caught my eye lately are the following gems:

{An absolutely, utterly perfect message – priced at $15.99US – for anyone who adores vintage – and if you’re reading this blog, chances are that includes you! From a fabulous Toronto based online vintage shop by the name of Some Like Vintage, who also offers up items such as tees, hoodies, hats, pet food bowls, wall clocks, aprons, beer steins, thongs and bumper stickers with the same slogan in their Cafe Press shop.}

{Available in several delightful vintage and pin-up themed prints, this 16x18 inch tote crafted by Fussy Gussy on Etsy retails for $28US and is sure to strike a chord with lovers of vintage art.}

{Decked out in immensely lovely vintage tattoo inspired art – including a darling pair of swallows – this pretty and functional cotton tote bag from Dot Com Gift Shop, priced at £5.95 (UK pounds), is sure to appeal to the fancy of many a vintage shopper. However, do note though that at this time, Dot Com Gift Shop does not appear to be shipping outside of Europe.}

{Looking wonderfully and inconspicuously like a darling clutch, this bag – by Etsy crafter, Betty Bubble – actually unbuttons into a reusable tote bag that’s covered in country-sweet red and white gingham on the outside and adorable cherries on the inside. At a $12.99US each, this is an excellent vintage inspired buy from those of us (myself included!) on a budget.}

I’d be a very happy camper if I was hauling my flea market finds home any one of these stylish fabric bags any day!

Do you partake of reusable shopping bags? If so, what are some of the ones you’ve found that put a smile on your face? I’d love to hear what other vintage fans are using (and/or doing) to look both old school and green at the same time.


  1. Great post Jessica! All so true. I carry a mis- matched jumble of old totes to the store for my groceries. It's not pretty...but I'm fine with it. Some day when I find the time I may make myself a collection of new one from vintage fabric. Talk about using stuff up. Good lord there is so much old fabric at the thrift stores, just waiting to be made into something useful.
    When going to the flea market I use one of my carts http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=23413143
    or if I'm determined to find less...I carry one of my bags http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=15099833
    Both liner and bag are made from all vintage cutter fabric (drapes, bedspread, tablecloths). I like them. Work great. Only recent carbon expenditure is to power my sewing machine.
    Sorry for going on...I really liked your post:)

  2. Hi Lisa, thank you very much for your comment. I didn't think you were "going on" in the least.

    Awesome point about the plethora of fabric out there in thrift stores just waiting to be whipped into something wonderful.

    I really dig your shopping bags/cart. I used to a cute little brown cart for hauling stuff home in, but I kid you not, my movers lost it during my last move. I've just been using bags since ;)

    Lovely etsy store, BTW, I've added you to my faves there.

    Thanks again for commenting and have a wonderful night :)

    ♥ Jessica

  3. i'm in love with those stylist, reusable bags you showed!

  4. Thank you very much, MissRedLips!

    Wishing you a marvelous weekend,
    ♥ Jessica

  5. Yes, Jessica, it makes sense to have something lovely if you are going to tote around a reusable bag. Although I don't shop this way, we always reuse all of our grocery bags as trash bags around the house; they never simply go to waste by being tossed out.

    However, I did purchase some lovely totes last year from Stephanie @ The Enchanting Rose from her Etsy shop.


    1. Hi sweet Hope, what a blast it is to revisit some of my older posts via your lovely comments here today. Honestly, after more than seven years since they were penned, I don't always remember every entry off the top of my head, but each comes flooding back the moment I see it and have really been enjoying rereading some of my own words from 2009.

      It's amazing how much has transpired between and now, yet much remains the same. From my love of vintage to the fact that I still tote reusable bags with us for most shopping trips. Thank you for mentioning that Etsy shop which sells such, I'll be sure to check Stephanie's offerings out.

      Many hugs & happy mid-June wishes,
      ♥ Jessica