I loved this easy-sew tote bag made from a durable plasticized chicken feed bag, and had to share the link with you.
You'll find step-by-step directions, with helpful photos, here: http://communitychickens.blogspot.com/2012/06/diy-chicken-feed-sack-tote.html on the Community Chickens pages from Mother Earth News and Grit magazine.
Poster Rebecca Nickols has made these totes from other kinds of feed bags, too, including a very handsome one from a bag of wild-bird seed.
As she says, "One less feed sack to throw in the trash and several less plastic grocery bags you'll be tempted to use. If you're anything like me, the hardest part about using reusable shopping bags is remembering to pack them in the car. This bag is big, bright and a visible reminder to grab this tote before going to the market! It might also help you remember to feed the chickens!"
I think these would make great small gifts as well — who can't use a big, roomy, sturdy bag to carry stuff in? And be prepared for plenty of conversation wherever you take it.
Robin Mather is a senior associate editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS and the author of The Feast Nearby, a collection of essays and recipes from her year of eating locally on $40 a week. In her spare time, she is a hand-spinner, knitter, weaver, homebrewer, cheese maker and avid cook who cures her own bacon. Find her on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.