Myra James with her bags made from old coffee bags from Botero.
Myra James with her bags made from old coffee bags from Botero. Adam Hourigan

Grab snazzy, reusable bags

AS A PATCHWORK quilter, Myra James finished off quilts for her 16 great-grandchildren, and then she wondered what would be next.

Well, the activity to keep her hands and her mind busy came when she asked Boteros if she could buy their coffee bags to make reusable shopping bags.

"A lot of neighbours my age are working in op shops; this is a nice way for me to do something voluntary," Myra said.

For her, it all began with two TV shows - Joanna Lumley's Journey to India and the War On Waste - then she knew exactly what she could do.

"I enjoy making them, it's wonderful. I love making the bags with nice lining.

"When I run out of material, I buy old doona covers from the op shop," she said.

"They are a bit boring but you can make 20 with the same lining."

While the bags are usually lined with "tissy" fabrics, Myra has also been working on versions with black and grey lining and handles.

Mason Hell-Cat, administration manager for Botero, said when Myra came to the business with the idea, they decided to donate the money from bags sold to charities, including one at Myra's request - the Lower Clarence Cricket Association - that her son Brandon is a part of.

According to Mason, people often give Myra the material to use for the lining of the bags.

"It must take her quite a bit of time, it's not a 10-minute job," he said.

"She's just the nicest lady to deal with, she's never expected anything. We offer her free coffee or morning tea and she's usually taken aback."

Myra regularly drops the bags off at Boteros and picks up more coffee bags to keep the project going.