The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Pay it forward from Italy

shopping bag present“Conchita, you’ve got an exciting parcel from Italy.”
Danny elongated the last word Ee ta leee.

I was examining the padded envelope within seconds. I knew that it was na’s “pay it forward” surprise present. na writes the sparkling Shadows and Clouds blog. I first heard about Pay it Forward in the superb Little Foodies blog. The idea is great: surprise handmade presents are sent around the world to 3 people who have to send handmade presents to 3 more people. If this took off millions of people could be unwrapping surprise presents every day.

This morning my fingers trembled as I approached the parcel. The anticipation was enormous. Not felt since ‘Pass the Parcel’, aged five. The music stops and if you are holding the parcel you might unwrap a present before the music starts again when you have to pass the parcel to the next child.

Danny read about this game in his Enid Blyton books. It wasn’t played in rural Co. Cork.

She had mentioned felt, glue and paper in her post. Was the parcel supposed to be flat?

I opened it carefully. I spotted yellow straps. Was it an apron with armbands? No. It unfurled into a shopping bag, beautiful and unique. I’m thrilled with my bag. The handles are long enough to carry over my shoulder. A thoughtful move as I seem to transport quantities of wine from trolley to car.

I’ve been meaning to buy a reusable fabric bag for months. I’ve examined them at Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Daily Bread. What has put me off is that they are so clumpy and stamped with the name of the shop. I wanted a plain lightweight bag without advertising.

Each time I reach for the plastic carriers at the checkout I have been feeling more and more guilty. So last week I bought a beautiful basket. This is great if I have decided to go shopping but I needed a small bag that would fold into a pocket and help with an off the cuff shop or the overflow from the big basket. This seemed an impossible dream.

This perky bag is the answer. Danny says it’s classic retro and reminds him of his Mum’s bags back in the sixties and I agree.

Thank you so much na . Your bag matches your blog. Both are delightful and salve the yearning for something bright and fun and light.

Now I must attend to my Pay it Forward presents. Where did I put the glue and the felt?

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi nà

    It has already had its first outing. Thank you so much.

    Hi Amanda

    I do hope that you are feelig better!

    I must make my pay it forward things too!

  2. What a super bag. Now don’t go expecting such great things from the Little Foodies household… Which reminds me – pay it forward, garam masala, I might have missed something else too… aarrgghhh!

  3. hi there, so glad that you liked it and that it can come in useful! and thanks sooo much for all those supernice things you’ve said! have a good week 🙂

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