Some tea bags are just too pretty to discard.
Tyvek Fed Ex Envelopes are indestructible. So they're difficult for me to trash.
About eight years ago I was inspired to combine the two items considered trash by many into something useful.
I'd seen a windbreaker made of Tyvek race bibs, crafted by Elevengear Cycling. Initially, I thought I could gather all my Ride the Rockies, Elephant Rock and MS-150 event numbers to have them made into a windbreaker. After seeing the price for the conversion, I decided I didn't really like the windbreaker after all. I'd rather have my numbers on a bulletin board, or maybe even as patchwork curtains in the basement.
The windbreaker, however, did ignite my urge to try sewing with the Fed Ex envelopes being discarded in offices every single day. I can't even begin to count how many cloth shopping bags I've been through; all of which sprung leaks and burst open when filled and most inconvenient.
I decided to make a stronger shopping bag with Tyvek, and I thought tea bag wrappers would be the perfect design element, somewhat like fabric charm squares but much smaller.
I got the front and the back of my first bag done in just a couple of nights. I didn't have enough foil tea bags to finish the bag bottom and sides, though. I'd incorporated a couple of paper tea bags because I liked and/or needed the color. I didn't want the finished bag to be even worse than the cloth bags, so I decided to wait until I could get more foil tea packets. My project got stashed for eight long years.
The other night I pulled it out to review what needed to be done to complete the WIP (work in progress) list item. I didn't remember saving the foil tea bags from an entire box of Good Earth herbal tea. I had enough foil tea bags to finish the project, as long as I didn't mind deviating from my original plan, which I didn't even remember.
About half an hour later, I'd finished a strap for a handle. Nearly two hours and a sewing machine needle later, the sides and bottom were done.
In retrospect, I wish I'd made the bottom and sides wider, but I have enough tea bags and used Fed Ex envelopes left to try again another day. For now, I've got one awesome shopping bag, and no one else has one just like it anywhere! Bet it lasts longer than cloth, too!
Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.