This Saturday will be my first opportunity to attend the Newport Strawberry Festival as a vendor. The weather forecast looks gorgeous! I'm very excited to debut all the beautiful berry bags I've been making the past 2 months. In addition to all my reusable bags (produce bags, shopper totes, snack baggies, wet bags, etc.) I will have quite a few small waterproof zippered pouches in a wide variety of strawberry motifs. Think of them as small cosmetic pouches, perfect for traveling this summer, or organizing your handbag and beach tote. At $15 they are the perfect souvenir from the festival, as well as an adorable gift for just about anyone. Let me introduce you to this new set of cuties.
Come pick some berry bags at the Strawberry Festival this Saturday. I hope to see you there!
Trinity Church, Newport
Saturday June 20
11-6, rain or shine
St. Ann's Square on the grass in front of the white steeple downtown
Here's the event page on Facebook
Reusable bags from various companies come with different washing instructions. Some say to use the dishwasher, some to spot clean, some even say not to wash at all. Everything from Dancing Threads RI can be easily cleaned in your washing machine! Let me show you some handy tips for getting the longest life possible from your new reusable bags (or crayon roll, or baby shoes, or cosmetic bag, or shopping tote, or knitting bag, or crochet hook organizer...you get the idea).
Toss your bag in with a regular load of laundry on a COLD cycle. When it's finished, hang it on a drying rack or the laundry line to dry. Pretty easy, right? What if it's not all that dirty?
For cracker crumbs, I turn the bag inside out and shake out the crumbs. Done.
Sometimes I will give the inside a quick rinse under the kitchen faucet, then let the bag dry overnight in the dish drain.
If it's really messy, say, after peanut butter that oozed while bumping around a lunch bag, I will turn it inside out and put it in the regular cold wash cycle. Works like a charm.
What if, during a regular wash cycle, the snack baggie gets disguised inside another item being washed? What if that snack baggie is completely invisible to you and it goes into the dryer with the rest of the wash? Basically, nothing. None of my linings will melt in the dryer (in fact the Eco-PUL is rated to withstand the high heat of an autoclave, though I do not advise cleaning your snack baggies in an autoclave!!!).
I do not recommend drying your Dancing Threads bags in the hot dryer because it will cause the fabrics and linings to wear out more quickly. Heat is a stressor to fabric, and we all know what stress can do to a person, right? Line drying is the absolute best way to maintain your bags and ensure a very long life. That's the point of all this, right? Not throwing bags away? In order to re-use them to maximum capacity, try to keep them out of the dryer. But if they end up there every once in a while, that's ok too. We have a snack baggie on year four of elementary school, and I know it's been in the dryer on several occasions. And it's still kicking.
What about other Dancing Threads RI products? Wash them. Wash them all. And do it conveniently in the washing machine! The only 2 products that shouldn't go in the washer are the large knitting project bag, the Boxy Tote, and the clutch handbags. They both have some interfacing to provide extra sturdy structure that will need serious ironing if washed. So, again, they won't melt or anything, but they might look extremely wrinkly after a machine wash.
If you ever have questions about a product purchased from my shop, please don't hesitate to email me. I want to make sure that all of my customers are completely thrilled with their products. Even if that means you can't buy new products from me because your original purchases are still doing their jobs perfectly. That makes me love doing what I do! Though, please give some as gifts and tell all your friends and family where you got your awesome reusable bags...
When my oldest started kindergarten, I excitedly attended parent orientation night. We heard about the coming year and all the learning and growing the children would do. Reading in just a few months!
As part of practicing their budding reading abilities, books would be sent home every week for the child to read to a parent. With everyone progressing at different rates, appropriate levels of early reader books would be assigned individually.
This was so exciting!
Then I saw that the books and reading logs were sent home in plastic ziplock baggies. Here was the perfect opportunity for me to make a difference.
My business was just an idea at this point, but this project is probably the final push I needed to get going.
I volunteered to make a set of reusable bags for the books to go back and forth from school to home. And I wanted them to be used for more than one school year.
Fast forward three years and my youngest now has the same kindergarten teacher. And she is still using the same bags, which warms my heart to no end!
Doing quick math shows over 100 plastic baggies NOT used because of the book bags I made. Factor in more to account for replacing grungy/torn/lost baggies throughout a single year. No one has lost any of the handmade bags.
With more flexibility in my schedule this year for volunteering at school, I knew I wanted the job of filling the book bags each week. For many months, I've seen increasingly challenging books being sent home. I have had nothing to do with teaching these children how to read, but I can't help but feel proud of them each time a child was assigned a more challenging book.
Here are some photos detailing my design. If anyone is interested, please let me know and I am happy to put together a tutorial.
Crayon fabric seemed just about perfect.
Easy to open zipper top.
Large enough to hold 2-3 reading practice books and supporting materials.
A clear name slot on the front so that new name cards can be inserted each year.
Ripstop nylon lining for durability, though a cotton fabric would serve the same purpose.
Book bags filled with a new week of reading materials.
This week is my last volunteering in the classroom. What a lovely feeling knowing that the book bags, still in like-new condition, will continue to be used for years to come.
Each small victory over disposable plastic is a good one!
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.