Giving Greg a gift anytime of year is next to impossible. He is a man of no wants! His socks have large holes in the soles even though I bought him new socks, he wears his shoes until the soles crack and leak, most of his clothes and suits are 1-2 decades old, and he doesn’t like any material possessions other than comfy clothes when not dressed for work (they too are older than our girls), his iPhone 4, his TiVo, and money in his pocket to play poker as a means to decompress from corporate America.
Most of the time, I am forced to get creative, and even though I wouldn’t use balloons if I surprised Greg with his favorite gift of all time today after learning that there are less than 40 years of helium left and its scientific uses are much needed and after developing my new desire to boycott balloons after picking them up all the time during my beach cleanups, I have come to learn after our 15+ years together that Greg prefers gifts that are personal (don’t we all!), but once in 10 years or so, he will make a consumer request.
I have to admit that I was completely surprised when Greg asked for a new brown messenger bag for the holidays this year. His current Kenneth Cole black leather messenger bag straps broke over nine months ago after almost six years of use and after carrying his bag to and from work with no usable strap or handle for many months, he decided that it was time for a new bag, and I had tons of fun with his request as I am replacing his old leather bag with a handmade eco-friendly vegan bag from Etsy.
My Vegan Journey
Even though I became a vegan over six years ago because of Ainsley’s casein allergy, I hadn’t become a complete ethical vegan until these past two years after I read and watched countless mind-blowing accounts exposing the horrific cruelty throughout the animal industry (food, dairy, apparel, home furnishings, etc.). Needless to say, knowing what I know now, I am determined to honor and support compassionate products while avoiding products that support cruelty, and even though Greg is not an ethical vegan, he respects my views and he happily chose one of the vegan bags that I emailed to him earlier this week to choose from.
I did, however, purchase my friend Lexie’s old leather couch for my girls’ playroom when Lexie downsized and moved to DC earlier this year — this purchase was ethically difficult for me because even though I knew that the couch is non-toxic and does contain flame retardants and is great for our home health, I also couldn’t get the horrific images out of my head while knowing that it is made from animal hides.
Ultimately, I came to terms with this decision and came to terms with it because 1) I was helping my friend 2) the couch was used for many years 3) I was not buying new while supporting more animal slaughters by supporting the store’s need to restock their inventory 4) the couch was super cheap 5) knowing that Lexie became a vegan days after we became friends years ago, I also knew that she would never replace her old leather couch will a new leather couch, especially since she is also currently a graduate student with the Institute for Humane Education and makes compassionate choices that support the Most Good and Least Harm. Nevertheless, accepting Lexie’s couch was also easier because I knew where the couch would be located in my home and I knew how it would be used. I also knew I wouldn’t be reading and relaxing on it often since when I’m in the playroom, I am down and dirty on the floor surrounded by puzzles and toys. I relax and read in other areas of the house since I am overstimulated in the playroom by all the toys and by the occasional (okay! frequent!) mess.
Greg’s Eco-Friendly Vegan Messenger Bag
The vegan bag that Greg loved and asked for was from Cinnamon Cooper’s Poise Etsy shop. I was thrilled to hear Greg say that the bag was exactly what he had imagined, and it being vegan, eco-friendly, and made from all sustainable USA made materials was definitely the biggest plus of all!
Tincloth is cotton canvas soaked in a 100-year-old wax that makes the fabric waterproof, breathable, and eco-friendly. It will keep water out, but because it is breathable it will keep you from getting sweaty while wearing the bag. The fabric, and all other materials, are made in the United States by sustainable companies.
The large interior pocket is wide enough to carry a MacBook Pro in a protective sleeve. The interior zip pocket will keep small items secure and easy to find. The front flap pocket will keep small items easy to grab without having to open the bag. The welt cover will keep water from getting through the zipper and into the bag. There is one pen slot under the flap of the bag and two pockets that will carry notebooks, power cords, or a variety of other items that you want to grab easily. The flaps are constructed slightly differently than those shown here.
The strap is adjustable from 37″ to 57″. This should fit most users of average American build between 5’2″ and 5’11”. If you would like a longer or shorter strap, note it in your order.
The bag is kept closed with a magnetic snap. If the bag is barely full, then the bottom closure attached to the inside front of the bag can be used. However, if the bag is stuffed full then the top closure can be used. This makes the bag less floppy and more secure while carrying.
The bag is not machine-washable because of the wax coating. However, a damp sponge or a dry toothbrush should remove most stains or dirt.
This bag measures 16″ wide, 12″ high, and 4.5″ deep.
You also get to choose from three hardware options (e.g. shiny brass, antique brass or silver) and pocket flap options (e.g. none, square or pointy).
I loved picking out the different options so that Cinnamon can make Greg’s bag! It truly gives his gift that personal touch while I chose the most good when making this compassionate purse. I also know that Cinnamon will make Greg’s bag with love making this the best consumer gift of all!
More about Cinnamon Cooper as she wears many hats…
- Co-organizer of the DIY Trunk Show in Chicago, IL
- Author of Everything Cast-Iron Cookbook
- Owner of Poise.cc: Individually designed to suit your purse-onality
- Founding member of Chicago Craft Mafia, which is affiliated with the greater craft mafia familia
Much Love! Priscilla