Snack Bags and Lunch Totes

January 24, 2011

As I am sure that many of you can relate to, I am now fully immersed in the nesting instincts of my pregnancy. I find myself scrubbing floors at all hours of the day, walking behind my children with a vacuum, and becoming rather irritable at any discovery of clothing out of place.

I will say that my family, especially my husband, seem to be taking all of this in great stride, especially since the other two pregnancies yielded disastrous nesting projects that he is still cursing me over (think an entire English garden in our backyard that I planted at 7 months pregnant, and he now maintains).

I feel a great need to be organized and “ready” for this new life coming into our world, perhaps more so than with the other two, because as much as I may want it to be so, life will not be able to stop fully once the wee one arrives. There will still be home school lessons, chess club, art class, and life in general to tend to. Everything will of course slow down, and especially in those first few weeks we will all be together taking in this new life, but 7 and 5 year old brothers will only goo goo over an infant for so long before they want their rhythm to return.

While organization has become a focus, reusing what we already have and buying as little as possible is also becoming a strong trend in our lives. With this child, and with my family in general, I am moving as far away from disposable products as is possible, and am trying to look at all aspects of our day to see where we can reduce waste. More than that, I am attempting to save as many dimes as possible by using up what we already have available to us. A few weeks back I came across this amazing video tutorial by Amy Karol, and it set in motion a fury of sewing projects that have left me feeling a bit more secure that we can live with little waste and still be organized.

Amy’s snack bag tutorial is so fast and easy, and it has yielded not only a stash of snack bags for our family, but a set for many of our family and friends (I figure the more gifts I can get made and put away, the easier the holidays will be with a babe on the hip). While I do own a serger, I have to admit that I despise the darn thing, and so I have modified Amy’s pattern to meet my needs with a sewing machine. I have been using fat quarters from my stash, and each one produces three snack bags, while leaving me enough fabric to whip up some quick lunch/grain bags as well.

A few yards of muslin found on my sewing shelves and one strip of fabric left over from each of the snack bags, and I have a quick set of bags for those take away lunches to the museums, park, etc. Or reusable bags to head to the grocery store or co-op for bulk rice and grains.

The more I put it into practice, the better I feel about our ability to use what we have, and reduce the waste that we create. Sometimes that feels overwhelming to me, but other moments, like these, make it feel a little bit more possible to make a small change that has a big impact.

While so far these little bags have only held food, I can see them being the perfect way to carry around wipes, cloths, and general supplies for the little one. I will say that for my family, I sewed up 20 of these small bags to make sure that we had an ample stash, as well as 10 grain/lunch bags. It seems to be a good amount for an active family of four, but I imagine we will be adding to it as we get closer to picnic and outdoor time in the coming warm months ahead. I simply turn them inside out and put them in my delicate wash cycle with other clothing. They have held up well, and can take a good amount of abuse.

There is nothing earth shattering that we are taking on, but making these small changes feels like a positive step, both in family budgeting, as well as our impact on the earth. To learn more about other small changes that families are making around the globe, head on over to the One Small Change project.

Wishing you all a very Happy Monday.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

KimmieKusz January 24, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I have been playing around with the idea of lunch/snackbags for a while now. I still have some rolls of the plastic bags (in which only 2 sandwiches fit, so 2 bags a day p.p. what a waste!). I am going to use them up first, which gives me plenty of time to sew some of these! I love them, it's such an easy and stylish way to get through your lunch at work (but I do think it will cause some raised eyebrows in my workenvironment, but hey! I am doing my thing for the world!).
On a whole different note: You are getting really close to your duedate, aren't you? I am now 12 weeks pregnant with my first, I am so very excited about it!
-xo-

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Megan January 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Those are a really great idea! We found some nice insulated bags at Whole Foods that our boys use but I think these would be a nice addition to the travel snack pack. As always, you are an inspiration!!!

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Kristina January 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I love these! I am taking a break from school today, so this is perfect timing. I'll be knocking out a bunch this afternoon. Thanks!

Also, I'm so excited about the baby. I'm happy that everything is going well. Be peaceful.

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onepinkifsh January 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Those bags look so much simplier to make than some of the others I have seen. I also love the vintage feel and the fact you used what you had on hand. Fantastic.

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Angela January 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm

These are terrific and how smart are you to get some gifts stashed away! Brilliant!

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MaryYDP January 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm

These are beautiful. And I've been looking for something that I can make and stash for Holidays next year as this year was just shocking how much we bought because I was unable to make gifts.

Thank you for your nesting, it gives me new projects!

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anushka January 24, 2011 at 7:40 pm

i love these. i must learn to sew!!!! (on a machine)… the dr. seuss fabric is cool.

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Anna January 24, 2011 at 8:01 pm

I have been wanting to find a tutorial to make these! Thank you so much for linking to Amy's. Now if you'll just find the time to whip up a tutorial on those lunch sacks we'll be all set. 😉 Now if I could just find the missing stash of fat quarters I was sure I had, I'd be all set.

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Kelly January 24, 2011 at 8:20 pm

I love these Heather. Yours are so cute.

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Denise January 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I will be checking out that video later. Thanks for linking to it. Your bags are fabulous!!

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dani January 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I agree. We all take a lunch everyday. These are really needed…right now I reuse the disposable variety.

This would be a perfect mid-week project.

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emmalina73 January 24, 2011 at 10:53 pm

These are fab! I've just been thinking along similar lines, trying to get rid of disposable packaging and ziplocs. Thanks for the link : )

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Julia B January 24, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I will have to give these a try! This post also reminded me of an article I read during the holidays, which I meant to pass along to you. Instead, here is the link to the blog.. http://nothingnewnothingwasted.blogspot.com/ This family went one year without buying new…very inspiring!

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twigandtoadstool January 25, 2011 at 12:33 am

I saw that inspiring tutorial…I LOVE these bags, as they're super easy to sew up, and a great way to use those smaller bits of funky fabric you have kickin' around! Thank you for linking to our "Taking time for Mama" Monday…much appreciated!!
xo maureen

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Nina - Tabiboo January 24, 2011 at 6:28 pm

You sound so like me in those late nesting periods of pregancy though my husband knew when to avoid me – all the shame as I would love an English garden.

Snack bags are another thing I keep meaning to make – with the little ones growing so fast and time being more demanding – one day maybe…..one day.

take care Heather and thanks for the project encouragement though I think I may wait for the grey dull days to pass – I might have some more success with a bit of sunlight.

Nina xxx

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Jenna C. January 25, 2011 at 2:33 am

they are so beautiful *and* so useful. i have to get over my fear of my sewing machine and get to it.

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Lisa Q January 25, 2011 at 3:05 am

what fun and smart bags you whipped up! Thanks for sharing how you launder them also….that's a great idea to get them really fresh and clean.

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Julia January 25, 2011 at 3:55 am

Aside from the excellent motivation behind these bags they are just so pleasing to look at, I too wish to fill my house with them.

My nesting instinct was so strong with each of my three pregnancies that my husband used to expect to come home from work and find me literally sitting on a large self built nest. I think I nearly drove him crazy each time.

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perches January 25, 2011 at 4:20 am

Oh, I am still giggling at the image of you digging out & creating a garden at 7 months. That brings back funny memories of pregnancy antics of my own that I'd forgotten, so thanks :)

And what a great tutorial! I will have to check it out – although my fabric stash does not include such gems as yours. Cat in the hat?? LOVE!

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GinnySheller January 25, 2011 at 4:49 am

i love your snack bags-and hearing about other moms' nesting urges. jonny typically has to paint the whole interior of our house during every one of my pregnancies so i am sure he could sympathize with joel. thank goodness for zero voc paint.

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Cheap Flyer Printing January 25, 2011 at 9:05 am

Oh my gosh, those are cute! I'm imagining placing my peanut butter sandwich on that. Hehehe, its really cute that I would love to bring them everday at work. And I know it'll be good for other things too.

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agambroult January 25, 2011 at 2:37 pm

those fabrics are adorable! I've had Amy's tutorial bookmarked for a while now but don't see myself getting around to them until the late summer, when back-to-school bug hits me again. I have made a bunch each year before school starts, and now I can't imagine that I ever used plastic bags so much. It feel good, doesn't it?

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Citysister January 25, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I need to make some of these for going to the homeschool coop…previously our lunches where just at home, so no need, but now we have that need, I will have to find a way!

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Linda January 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm

These snack bags are just divine! I love them, such wonderful colours:)
Hope you are well my sweet friend…
xo xo linda

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sandee January 25, 2011 at 11:04 pm

I love these. they are cute. I have the stash… a couple of questions….does the bread in a sandwich stay soft, fresh? And once you wash them and they are all crinkley, do you use them wrinkled or iron? I cannot imagine me finding the time to iron little snack bags. with four kids….

Same thing with our cloth napkins…they looked to lovely the first time through, but now they are wrinkley…good for non-guest nights, which is 99% of all nights for us.

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sandee January 26, 2011 at 5:02 am

I made two of the lunch totes tonight…I am going to try the snack bags later this week or weekend.

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jademond January 26, 2011 at 11:56 am

oh, those are so beautyful!!

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Jodi January 26, 2011 at 11:59 am

I whipped up a bunch of these snack bags too! I take them to work each day. Perfect. Yours look very pretty. And that yoyo wreath posting….Well, I want to stay home and make one of those! It's lovely.

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Shivayamama January 26, 2011 at 5:22 pm

That is awesome Sandee! You will love the snack bags as well, so quick :).
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Shivayamama January 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm

I don't iron my napkins, but I do iron the snack bags. They are so small, they it is about 10 seconds a bag, and I just do it when I am down there ironing for another project, so I haven't minded it. It does keep our bread fresh, but I do make sure that if I am carrying bake goods of any time, that the snack bags are in another bag, like the lunch totes, just for added protection. Having said that, I am not sure you would pack something at 8 am, and it not be stale in the evening. So far, no problems.
I felt the same way about my napkins when I made them too. I still serve them to my guests, but not in a very formal setting. I love them, but they do wrinkle :).
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Shivayamama January 26, 2011 at 5:29 pm

It really does feel great, and more than that I feel willing to let the kids take more snacks out now that we have something with no waste. It is one of the best projects I have come across in a while, because facing facts, I love anything that is both functional and pretty :).
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Shivayamama January 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm

This made me smile Ginny. Oh the things that we do in our nesting periods. How are you feeling these days?
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Shivayamama January 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Thank you Linda :)
We are doing great, just getting ready for the wee one's arrival. The bags are so much fun to make and use, which is always a bonus. Hope you are enjoying what looks like a gorgeous Spring.
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Shivayamama January 26, 2011 at 5:37 pm

They are so fast to make up, you can usually get about 6-9 in an hour. I love easy projects that have a true purpose, it makes creating so much fun.
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Shivayamama January 26, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Thanks Lisa. It is nice to have a project where both pretty and functional can play a role :)
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Shivayamama January 26, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Oh I did some really crazy things pregnant. It was just me out there, shovel and plants, it must have looked so odd. I painted entire rooms, started projects that I never finished, and my husband would find me at all hours of the night obsessing over the smallest of things. I have been able to channel it a bit better this time around. At least the nesting is functional :)
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Luisa January 26, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Love these. I really should make some snack bags to keep away from the plastic ones but I'm currently in a fight with the sewing machine. Once we reconcile I'll add it to the project list in my sewing studio.

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Kerry January 27, 2011 at 2:34 am

I've been wanting to make some of these for the longest time. Thanks for the kick in the pants. I think I'll bump these to the top of the list.

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Charlene January 26, 2011 at 7:56 pm

love love love these bags! My friend Stephanie Mosher referred me to your blog. I own a crafting retreat company here in New Mexico. I'm your latest subscriber :0) Would love you to stop by the Inspired blog at ” target=”_blank”>http://www.theinspiredretreat.blogspot.com

Have a great day.
Charlene {Inspired Gal}

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Nicola @ Which Name? January 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Snack bags are very popular in our home and as gift requests from our friends, as well. I make mine differently, but they are simple and extremely versatile (yes, we use them for things other than snacks). Your scraps you used are gorgeous!
Nicola

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