Thursday, July 1, 2010

Groce Me're and Project Genesis

My maternal grandmother worked at Moskins Drug Store in Englewood, New Jersey for many, many years.  The cosmetic reps loved her and would hand her bags of samples of every color and new product available; so each weekend she would come visit us with shopping bags loaded down with cosmetics, nail polishes, razor blades, brushes, stockings, toothpaste, name it.

Ida Chivinsky Malone, Fullman, MacFarland (yup, married three times)  The original Groce Me're.

My dad had a knack for creating new words and usually in several languages and he christened our grandmother with the name "Groce Me're" (grossa mear).  It was a combination of the abbreviated english word for grocery (Groce) and the french word for mother (Me're).  This was his way of teasing her about the grocery bags laden with treasure she would carry and bring each weekend.  A child of the Depression, she threw nothing away and repurposed everything.  She would recycle her brown paper bags from the local market to use and she was never without her net bag for fruits and vegies.  She was the original bag lady. 

You see men and women at local markets all over Europe with net bags like these.

About a week before the Deepwater oil leak, I had decided to begin carrying my own bags like my grandmother.  I would bring my own like she did when grocery and variety store shopping rather that utilize the petroleum based plastic bags found everywhere.  Yes, I know many are biodegradable, but you are still looking at years before that type of garbage truly breaks down.  I just wanted to contribute less to our existing landfills.  Would this bring an end to excess waste in the world...NO.  But it would bring an end to MY excess waste and that is a start and perhaps another would do the same and so on and so on.  (side note:  this is not about "going green" a commerical phrase that I cringe when I hear...already overused by corporations and activists as a populist label.  So, I'm not going "green", I'm going a "little common sense". ) With so many wonderful little bags out there, you can't help but want to do this. So I keep several in my car for grocery use and when I'm junkin. They come in handy for so many things.  Do I forget to use them, sometimes, but this is part of my retraining my way of living gently with the earth regarding throwaway items and garbage.  The Deepwater leak brought this to the forefront for me and I had no idea that I was setting the stage for my commitment to Project Genesis.  So I challenge you to do the same.  Utilize and reuse the nifty little bags that are out there rather then the plastic bags each time you shop.

Love these bright lime green Publix bags.  They fold flat and take up no room at all and hold lots of items with ease.  I have several in my car.

A personal favorite of mine.  A HUGE grocery bag (large enough to carry a small child in) from the local supermarket in Vincenza, ItalyI purchased and carried back two dozen bottles of olive oil for work colleagues in this bag. 

Every girl needs a kicky black bag and this one gets a lot of use too.

About half the size of a man's wallet, I keep this little fold up bag in my purse. You would be amazed how often I use it.

The same bag opened up.  It is a huge, nylon bag that holds a lot of items.

My favorite bag of all.. Mood Fabrics from Project Runway.  This bad boy is big, black and screams let's create something.  Even bought one for my sista...she is crazy about Project Runway as much as I am.  As Mood Fabrics touts on their website, "Be the envy of everyone - get your reusable Mood Fabrics canvas bag now!  Whenever I go to Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics or any other fabric/yarn/fiber shop, I bring this bag with me to haul home my fiber treasure.   

For those of you who want to create your own netted bags, here are links to both a knitted bag site and a crocheted bag site.  I've already obtained two skeins of soft cotton yarn in sea witch reef colors to knit a netted bag for my use.

Free pattern for a Crocheted Net Bag can be found at Suzie's Stuff.

This is an easy pattern and crochets up quickly.

Free knitted bag found at "I Live on a Farm."

Knitted out of soft cotton, this bag has a solid bottom.

So, I've become a bag lady, a Groce Me're if you will.  I like this reuse of bags rather then throwaway plastic ones and I encourage you to do the same.  Whether you become part of Project Genesis or not, our mother earth and perhaps your mother will be proud.  Blessings to you and all you love. Sea Witch


Kathleen said...

What a great post, Witch. You have inspired me. I have some bags, but forget them most of the time. So, I have decided to purchase more bags, to keep in the car. And to try harder to remember to bring them with me. Hugs, Kathleen

just call me jo said...

Love your grandmother! Those net bags are super. Remember to wash out the other bags if you haul meat or produce. They can get bacteria especially if left in your car in the heat. I love the idea, however, and need to do this myself.

Marguerite (Tina) Smith Hart said...

What a super idea SeaWitch! My grandmother did the same thing and I wonder why we stopped? Some modern things are NOT an improvement! I have tons of year (I throw nothing away)and this will be a great way to spend an evening.
I do have one problem that maybe someone has a suggestion about. I use the plastic bags for my cat litter each day, what other safe ways are there to dispose of it? My garbage man won't take it unless it is in a plastic bag or container. Thanks for any helpful ideas.
Tina xo

Nice and Easy Antiques said...

Wonderful post! It's the little things we change every day that make a huge change in the world!

oldgreymare said...

From one bag lady to another....

I made all my cloth bags out of used fabric so that they were washable and could be bleached. (important note above about meat products).

When leaving one store many years ago, and going past the door checker he stopped me and was not happy he could not see everything in my cloth bag. He said " I'm not sure these are allowed to be used."

Smiling, I turned and said " do you really want to go there and have a discussion about the issues of the impact of plastic on our environment? " Smiling, he waved me through.

Change - Awareness - Thoughfulness

Thank you for joining us today.


Shellbelle said...

Love your grandmother and you for following in her footsteps by using your own bags instead of the plastic ones. I have two of those net bags that I've had for over twenty years. They hold up very well indeed!

I've used my own bags forever, I think it's the old hippie in me, lol.

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

There are more bag ladies out there than we know, could be the age group.
I forgot to even show the little fold up nylon bag that I carry in my purse all the time - it fits right in the pouch with my cell phone.

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Sea Witch
Glad you could join in on Suzan's fabulous project.. You know I love these crochet bags too.. and have a few.. we can be the new generation of bag ladies.. hahaha

Glad you enjoyed the video... it's a really powerful message and on tv here everynight... makes you sit up and think.. Have a great weekend.. xx Julie

Michelle May-The Raspberry Rabbits said...

Wonderful!! I too use my own bags and I love it! People always comment on them. I tell the bag packing person to fill em up!
Your grandma was just too cute for words!
And yes, I also agree "going green" is wreaking on my last nerve. Common sense is perfect!

Beach House Living said...

I use bags I end up with from trade shows or even old duffle bags.
The bags many stores are selling as green, re-useable etc. really aren't if you think of the carbon footprint they take to import them from china. For two years I've tried to convince others to look around there houses for bags. Lots of things can be re-purposed into bags. I make some out of old sails.

Jane said...

Love hearing about your grandmother. Mine was that way, is my mom. I love using reusable bags...and I try to keep them in the car. I have to admit, though, that I often forget to reload my bag box in the car...and remember when I get to the store. Oh well, the few plastic bags I get are perfect for sending the kids' wet bathing suits and towels home after our many pool parties.

I did use the Publix wine bag for small plants this week...perfect carrier!
Jane (artfully graced)

Anonymous said...

Bag ladies unite! :) Loved reading about your Groce Me're.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

WONDERFUL post, Sea Witch! I loved hearing about your grandmother, and you have inspired me to START USING the bags I keep with me in the car. I usually forget about them, too. I will do better. I love all the photos. Your site ROCKS! Thank you so much for stopping by my site. It means a lot to me. I love following yours, always something wonderful to read and look at. A feast!

Anonymous said...

I could really relate to his post. Growing up in Ireland in the fifties, I would go with my gran to the greengrocer's and the butchers..clutching a string bag that filled up with potatoes and mince for dinner, and dulce as my sometime treat. It was an errand repeated daily in a time before fridges and supermarkets were the norm.

Thanks for stirring up a good memory, and for the reminder that
reusing more and consuming less is even more important today...


susan said so said...

YOU are awesome! Groce Me're would be proud. :)


Carole said...

Bag ladies unite!!! like you said it's just common sense! and so much more attractive. I don't really like the " green" label corporations use to make us buy things. Do they really care about us or just their profits?
Have a great 4th!

Ms Bingles Vintage Christmas said...

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Have a good afternoon!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I SO LOVE the story and photo of your grandmother. Awesome. And I covet the green crochet bag big-time. I have always joked to my kids that I'd wind up a bag lady..........I have several in my car too but have been a bit lazy about "remembering" to use them. Now you have inspired me to do so. Thanks for this interesting and fun post.