Burlap Placemats

While on our visit to Growing Power in Milwaukee, Wisconsin back in December, we were told that burlap bags worked great as covers for compost bins.  Our tour guide told us that they obtained all of their burlap bags from local coffee roasters for little to no cost at all.

It just so happens that there is a local coffee roaster housed just two store fronts down from my husband’s fitness business, so we decided to investigate and I’ll be darned that they literally had closets full of burlap!  The owner said that there is one local farmer that comes regularly to pick up some of her extra bags, but other than that she was just waiting for someone to take them off her hands because she hated to just throw them out.

Well, my husband walked out of there with a tower of burlap sacks, towering far above his over six foot frame.  While we did use a few of the coffee bags to cover our compost bins, we were left with a lot extra stock.  So, I started to look through my crafting books for different things to do with burlap and I came upon one of my Amanda Blake Soule favorites, The Creative Family.  In this book, Amanda discusses the use of burlap to introduce children to sewing.  The wide spaces in the burlap make for easy needlework for young children.

After feeling inspired, as I so often do after reading Amanda’s books, the girls and I got to work.  The girls each took turns sewing using roughly 1 X 2 foot pieces of burlap (I simply cut up one coffee bag), embroidery floss, an embroidery hoop and a large needle.

After the girls reached a point where they were satisfied with their work, I removed the hoop and used my sewing machine to sew on a bit of fabric to the back of the burlap.

This quick project (It only took about 45 minutes from start to finish…including clean up.) ended up turning out quite well and the girls now have their very own hand crafted snack-time placemats.

Now I just need to come up with some more projects to use up the other twenty burlap bags I have 🙂  If anyone has any crafty ideas, please feel free to leave a comment.  I would love to come up with some more ideas.

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2 Responses to Burlap Placemats

  1. Jacki says:

    Great work!! What purpose do the bags have on top of the compost pile? I have never heard of that. Maybe I need to get some for my compost pile? We have our compost behind our shed and it is just divided into sections that we move around.

    • I was told that the burlap will help to hold a bit of the heat of the compost in (especially in the cooler months), and also acts as a barrier to cut down on flying bugs and/or smell if you don’t get a chance to run out and stir your compost as often as we all should. The burlap is breathable as well, providing the air that food scrapes, yard waste, etc needs to break down into that awesome compost we all love 🙂
      ~Jaime

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