PRACTICING PATIENCE, CREATIVITY, & COMPASSION FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
AT the start of the pandemic, many grocery stores switched to paper shopping bags instead of plastic bags, and you absolutely could not use your reusable bags.
I started saving my paper bags, hoping that I would figure out some way to recycle them. My favourite:
PAPER BAG PETS
During my art studies, we practiced many techniques and exercises. Continuous line drawing was one such exercise. It probably sticks with me the most as it frustrated the heck out of me. I could not get out of my head enough just to let loose and create. The drawing is made using – you guessed it, one continuous line. The line should never break. It is meant to enhance your observational skills.
Pick an image you would like to draw
Place your pen or marker (no erasing) on your piece of brown bag paper and begin to draw what you see. You can go over an area where you’ve already drawn, however,
DO NOT LIFT THE MARKER FROM THE PAPER
I am getting better at not needing these creations to look exactly like the subject I’m drawing. I appreciate the beauty in imperfection. The imperfections are what make these pieces so interesting to look at.
Embrace imperfection; it adds character
I cut the paper bags into 5 x 7 and 8 x 10 pieces
Covering with cotton, I ironed the pieces so they weren’t so crumpled. They still contain plenty of character – some even have a few grease spots!
Playing relaxing music in the background, I picked up a medium-tipped pen, chose a point in the middle of my photo to work from, and slowly worked around the paper to create my continuous line drawing of Ricky.
It’s stressful times. I hope you can find a few minutes to try this exercise. If you do, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
OTHER WAYS TO USE PAPER BAGS:
CRAFT PROJECTS FOR KIDS
Cut out pieces as I did above and use them as drawing and colouring paper, or kids can make fun masks out of the bags and simply cut out mouth and eyes.
For some reason, I feel the need to remove the cover of a hardback book before I start reading it, especially if the book is on loan. I’m not hard on books – I don’t dog-ear the pages, and I always wash my hands before flipping through it. I just like to preserve the cover. A temporary paper bag sleeve works perfectly! Plus, if you’re ready the Fifty Shades series in public….
Our apple tree is ripe with fruit. I filled two bags before meeting up with friends. They were delighted with the produce, and I think the brown paper was the perfect, rustic, farm-style gift bag choice.
GIFT BAGS & TAGS
Similar idea as above; however, you can cut the bags into sheets of gift wrap or tags and decorate with burlap, twine, lace, or get creative: paint, stencil, or modge podge cutout pieces onto your plain brown paper.
USE FOR COMPOSTING
I have a garbage bin and compost bin built into one of my kitchen cabinets. We used to use biodegradable bags in the compost bin; since the paper is also compostable, I am adding my kitchen scraps and other compost items in a paper bag. When it’s complete, I place it directly into the green bin. Do you use compost in your garden? Even better! Dump the food scraps onto your compost heap and add the pieces of the torn-up bag to the pile.
A friend of ours is in the horticultural group in town. They look after the beautiful grounds of our local park. Recently, she put a call out to friends, asking us to save our newspapers and flyers to help them fight the weed growth. These paper bags work just as well, if not better, as they do not contain ink/dye. Use in your gardens by placing paper bags on the soil around your plants before mulching. This layer helps prevent weeds from taking over your beautiful plants!
I love walking the dogs in the park, admiring the fantastic work of the group, and knowing I was able to contribute a tiny, weeny bit.
I hope you have found ways to take mental breaks during these trying times.