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Sunny Days Plarn Totebag, $15 (left) and Bright Pink Plarn Totebag, $15 (right), both available at Photos:

Are you in on the plarn bag phenomenon?

First, how fun is it to say "plarn"? For anyone uninitiated out there, it's yarn made of out plastic bags, and the newest ecool material.

Seriously, how ecool is it that crafty, DIY folk are taking yucky plastic bags and transforming them into something so groovy? It's the very pinnacle of upcycling-chic.

Sure, reusing is good, but a plastic bag gets torn easily, plus it's rare to find one that's pretty. And those handles might as well have tiny razors built into them, they're such hand cutters! But thanks to a bunch of smart, creative people out there, it's relatively easy to take those plastic bags and turn them fashionable, functional and fun tote bags -- all of the directions are online, and anyone can do it!

Seriously, it's easy, even if a trip to Michael's Crafts doesn't make you tingle all over.

First, you need raw materials: the plastic bags. In San Francisco, and like-minded cities, that's actually getting a bit difficult because grocery stores aren't allowed to use them anymore. Fortunately, there's still the protective blue plastic bag from the New York Times, and any number of pink bags from the "variety" stores and bakeries in Chinatown. Color is key, as is weight and texture. Remember, what you put in is what you get out -- if all of your bags are dingy grey, the final product will be dingy grey!

Once you've amassed and sorted your bags, it's time to turn them into plarn. Rather than try to explain this simple but amazing process, I encourage you to check out this excellent "how to make plarn" video tutorial from Lemonade Mama. She also has a very cute finished bag on her site.

We were also blown away by this bag by Holli Friedland from the Baltimore Knitting Examiner. She has amazingly detailed directions, perfect for you smarty knitting types.

For crocheters, here's another bag and pattern, from My Recycled Bags.

If none of these bags are quite your style, or you want one but seriously just don't do crafts, go to etsy and search "plarn." You will find dozens of fun bags, all of them creative, affordable and gentle on the planet.

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