National Public Health Week: Advocacy

April 9th

star spangled bag

I don’t find being wasteful patriotic. So instead of burning this retired flag, I turned it into two tote bags for April birthday gifts. I think Betsy Ross would approve.

What in the world is public health? This says it better than I can!

united states of polka dots

A dozen of the things I’ll do today, thanks to public health advocacy, policy, marketing campaigns and oh, that expensive masters degree I’m still paying for:

1. Wear my seatbelt when I drive.
2. Wear sunscreen. Reapply when I go for a run or swim in the afternoon.
3. Eat five fruits and vegetables.
4. Drink healthy water from the tap.
5. Go meatless
6. Do my errands on foot.
7. Wash my hands after using the restroom. (This one didn’t take an MPH, just a mama. But imagine life pre-soap?)
8. Recycle my junk mail.
9. Get 30 minutes of exercise.
10. Wash my fruits and vegetables before I eat them.
11. Sew birthday gifts with recycled fabrics, reducing consumerism and ensuring my purchases are not supporting sweatshops.
12. Read my newspaper to keep up with what my Congresspeople are doing and aren’t doing to improve my community’s health. Pay attention.

greenie tote bag, 3

Three cheers for the US Public Health Service and all the public health workers who’ve made such incredible advancements in our daily health behaviors!


P.S. This is what I call unfortunate job security.

Posted in
Domestic Art, Good to Great, Journal, Public Health
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30 Responses

  1. Lovely bags — especially the middle one!

  2. Oh you are so inspirational! You go girl (old phrase I know but hey I’m old). Keep on doing the great job you are by informing people of things they can do, the things they have control over:)

  3. That’s why I want a sewing machine–bags and more bags!! I can’t wait! I like all three! (I have a patriotic bathroom, because I just find such joy in red, white and blue!)

  4. Kelli,
    your posts this week are really superb, please never stop writing.
    Also, the last bag is to die for…

  5. Cool bags!

  6. I love that middle bag! What great presents Kelli!

  7. WOOOOHOOOO! Kelli’s going meatless! I love those bags!

  8. Betsy Ross would approve indeed! And she just might steal your idea…like I plan to. Your friends are so stinkin lucky!

  9. The last bag is absolutely fabulous! You have great ideas Kelli. About your health tips, sometimes it takes only some old good thinking to improve our lives, no need for great acts, it’s the everyday behaviour that counts.

  10. LOVE those bags. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

  11. This is such a great week of posts Kelli. If everyone would adopt a few of these practices into their everyday life, the cumulative result would be huge. One thing that I am trying to do is reduce the amount of garbage my family produces. It’s always amazing to see huge curbside garbage cans overflowing with household garbage in neighborhoods where we have twice a week service. Where does it all come from?

  12. While I applaud your creativity, I don’t think making a bag out of an old flag complies with flag etiquette:

    But good post on public health!

  13. Wonderful tips, Kelli. There are some on your list that I need to pay closer attention to myself.

  14. Not trying to start anything… but I really hope that Stephanie’s comment (and link) was tongue in cheek!

    Great post as usual.

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    Regards and a lot of kisses.

  16. Sure, technically you’re supposed to dispose of a used flag in another manner. But you know what, I think that you’re awfully patriotic and are thinking of the best way to use our resources. I say that it looks amazing and is an excellent nod to both patriotism and the environment in one fell swoop. Not to mention that it’s a cool bag in general. 🙂

    Okay, I need to be better about quite a few of those items that you listed. Let’s just say that I’m a work-in-process. Hope you’re having a great day! 🙂

  17. Please take note.

    It is highly inappropriate and disgraceful to make anything out of the American Flag. Not clothing, not handbags, not hats, anything. American Flags are special, sacred items and are not to be treated like regular pieces of fabric. There are only two appropriate ways to dispose of a worn flag, burning or burying.

    I assure you that the link to flag etiquette that Stephanie gave was not a joke, and flaunting such etiquette is not funny, just disrespectful.

    For more information, ask one of our current or former members of the Military how they would wish you to treat the symbol of the country they risked their lives for.


  18. Kelli,

    Yes, the flag is indeed a piece of cloth, and even though I know little about sewing and fabric design, your creation is unique, functional and even environmentally friendly and you obviously have talents in this area, (here comes the however)…

    However, its what the flag represents to many of us. I think it was MightyMom above who stated that the flag was “sacred”, and I guess thats what that piece of cloth means to me as well. It represents all the great things our nation stands for. To me it, it represents my deceased grand father who died in WWII, my brother who fought in the Korean War and flew fighters in Vietnam, and my own disability from Nam. To me…it is indeed a sacred piece of cloth, as it is to other parents who have lost choldren to war.

    I realize that you meant no harm by your creation, but, as a disabled Vet I ask you to try to look past the fact that it is just a piece of cloth, and what it represents to myself and many others. I guess about the only analogy I can think of at this moment, would be like taking your great grandmother’s wedding dress that has been handed down from generation to generation, and making a purse out it…can you see what I mean by this, its just a piece of cloth, but it’s so special for non materialistic reasons.

    Oddly enough, I do not take issue with you for making this beautiful creation, I truly believe you meant no disrespect or harm, (here’s that but again), BUT, I do take issue with Mr. Cash above who thought that “stephanie’s” comment was a joke. He’s is the disrespectfull skunk in this woodpile….

  19. There is no doubt that a critical underpinning of a healthy diet is significant consumption of vegetables and fruit. Unfortunately, many adults do not like these fine foods Рso we must make sure kids don’t develop these attitudes. Parents and teachers interested in getting kids to develop friendly feelings towards fruits and vegetables should take a look at a new book called “The ABC’s of Fruits and Vegetables and Beyond.” Out only a few months and already being bought in quantity for class use. Suited for kids of all ages as it is two books in one – children first learn their alphabet through produce poems and then go on to more mature activities. It is coauthored by best-selling food writer David Goldbeck (me) and Jim Henson writer Steve Charney.

    In 1970 my wife and I made a New
    Year’s resolution to try vegetariansim for a week too. We have kept the resolution to this day. Whats more it started a new career for us Рwriting vegetarian cookbooks Рas Nikki is both a nutritionist and trained in recipe development. Anyone interested in easy, reliable, time and taste tested, nutritionist approved (and developed), 1300 vegetarian recipes should take a look at “American Wholefoods Cuisine.” In print for more than thirty years it is considered the “vegetarian Joy of Cooking” by both gourmet and health writers.
    We area at Thanks

  20. Making a statement that supports your political beliefs and then placing a cloak of faux patriotism over it is ridiculous. The flag IS a piece of cloth, yep. But it is also a symbol and as such should not be treated with the disrespect you’ve evidenced. There are limits to everything and that includes evironmentalism, would you recycle the dead bodies of loved ones in the name of your earth-friendly beliefs?

  21. I was directed to your blog by a friend who says you make very nice crafts. I was somewhat disturbed when I saw the tote bags made of the American Flag, however nice they are. I recycle also as it is the right thing to do however, there are rules that govern recycling and rules that govern the respectful and proper use of the American Flag. In you effort to “earth friendly” I fear you have insulted the thousands of Americans who have fought and died for this county. I certainly hope it was just ignorance of proper flag etiquette that caused this to happen.

    The proper thing to do would be to take the flag totes to your nearest VFW or American Legion, apologize and request proper disposal of the flag totes.

    If you don’t think this is a good option please feel free to go to my blog at and email me, I will pay you the $7.00 and shipping for the totes. I will take will see to it they are disposed of properly so the brave soldiers who have given you this freedom can rest in peace knowing their flag will no longer be dishonored.


    ABNPOPPA, (Airborne Poppa) Veteran, Son of a Veteran and Damn Proud Father of an 82 Airborne Iraq Veteran Soldier

    I would add one post script. Regarding American and Philanthropy Please name me one county that has given more to the world up to and including the Christmas Day Tsunami a couple years ago.

  22. Yes! Cheers indeed! I have *adored* watching “Madmen” and relished in the realization that seat belts, no-smoking areas, and women doctors are all part of my experience of life. It hasn’t been that long.

  23. I have to agree with Mighty Mom and Stephanie. An American Flag should not be used to make clothing, bags or anything else. It is very sacred thing to us American and should be treated as such.

    Mommy of 5

  24. Glenn B April 12, 2008

    Allow me to say it plainly and curtly – If you are a U.S. Citizen, then your disrespect for the flag, and that for which it stands, is an absolute disgrace. You are not alone though as I can see from the comments above there are quite a few who would denegrate the American Flag, what a pity.

    Now you may not think it a disgrace; but what if someone seriously asked you this: “When you die, can I use your skin to make condoms, because I think waste is a shame?”

    Think about it, then ralize that the American Flag means a lot more to most loyal American citizens than does your hide.

    Glenn B

  25. Wow, I can’t believe that this has caused such a debate… and all from what I thought was a joke. Honestly, I feel as though using old flags in making bags is far from showing “disrespect.” There is nothing “inappropriate and disgraceful” about doing that. It is simply a piece of fabric. I am quite positive that making a bag out of old flags has absolutely nothing to do with the not supporting the armed forces. The two things couldn’t be further from each other.

    ‚ÄúWhen you die, can I use your skin to make condoms, because I think waste is a shame?‚Äù Yes, sure. Once I am dead, I could care less what you do with my body. As matter of fact, there a lot of things I’d like to be done with my body to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Here is my list of what I’d like done with my remains (in order):
    1. Donate the organs.
    2. Use the rest for scientific research.
    3. Use the remains after that to feed a remote cannibalistic tribe.
    4. Use the remaining skin for condoms.

  26. Mr. Cash, my wife pointed something out that, being a man, I would not necessarily have thought of, but there are times, when a woman goes to the ladies room that it is necessary for her to place her bag or purse on the floor, as there may be no place to hang it. To me, that means placing our American flag on the floor of a restroom, near a toilet. I can’t think of anything much more disrespectful than that…..BUT…I could be wrong. I perused your site and saw that you are in the education field. I can only hope that you are, or will, teach your students about our country’s great history, both good points as well as bad, and point out that although we’ve made mistakes, and had times of oppression, that we, as a people, have tried to resolve and change these ill’s.

    I noticed also that you travel the world. I have as well, in several capacities, and one thing I’ve learned from being exposed to and experiencing other populations, customs and cultures, and overall, we are still the greatest and most free nation in the world. Our fine Military, past and present, dead or alive have seen to that.

    If you read my first comment you know that I honestly believe that the person who manufactured the bag probably did not mean to disrespect the flag. Of course I could be wrong as I’ve seen no responce from her at this writing, but I did take issue with your comment, and I can only hope that you also meant no disrespect and were just attempting to be “flip”.

    From a disabled vet….Cookie

  27. Glenn–once I’m dead, feel free to use my skin as a condom…use it to make a tent for a camping trip for all I care. Furthermore, I have long curly hair, so feel free to cut it all off (shave me bald if you want)–you’d have plenty to use to stuff some pillows. Use my teeth to make a nice necklace. Have fun! I wouldn’t find it to be disrepectful–my body is just a place to house my soul while on Earth. Once I’m dead, my soul will have vacated. Finding another use for my superficial exterior doesn’t change who I am/was. Just like those flags—what they symbolize hasn’t been destroyed. And anyway, it’s not like she burned them in a pit out behind her house and spit on them for good measure. She didn’t recycle them into toilet paper or tampons. There was no malice or anti-patriotic undertone/meaning in what she did. If you “foaming at the mouth” commenters read her blog regularly and knew anything about her, you’d know she would never/could never do anything out of malice or disrespect to our country. That is not her nature. That is not who she is. Instead, you pop in, make assumptions and spew ugliness. Don’t read her blog. No one held a gun to your head. God Bless America.

  28. Dear Kelli,

    Allow me to apologize on behalf of our fellow man. Wow. One great thing about America is the freedom to say what we think. Unfortunately, often people feel they can be cruel because they hide behind a keyboard. I am so sorry that people would care more about a piece of cloth than the beauty of your soul. I am sorry that someone would spew venom at you proclaiming honoring a country they love as the reason yet not even living up to the honor that our constitution demands in our response to fellow citizens. May you rest in the knowledge that your soul and all it’s love and power cannot be permeated or destroyed by the evil that mandates caring about cloth over hearts.

  29. Neil said: “by the evil that mandates caring about cloth over hearts.” **sigh**…can you see my head shaking and my eyes rolling…Oh brother.

    Ya know…sometimes I’m slow, and it has just occurred to me that Kelli herself has not responded to any of the comments, to either debate her position, apologize, agree, disagree, tell us where to go…and now we must suffer the patronizing diatribe of Neil.

    What say you Kelli? Tell us what you think, one way or the other, and put an end to this thread. You know our positions…what is yours?

    OH…and BTW Neil, I don’t hide behind any anonymity of a keyboard, my blog has my photograph and where I live in these United States, as does “MightyMom”, “SubVet” and others who have left comments….HOWEVER…I can’t help but notice your info is missing…..

  30. I can only think Mr. Cash and Neil are part of the far left that continues to blame President Bush for everything that goes wrong from the GWOT to the sink stopping up in their homes. Quite frankly I don’t care what they think. I doubt either of them has ever been in the military or has known anyone in the military. If you haven’t walked a mile in my please don’t tell me how I feel.

    Neil, you can apologize for yourself but not for me. Choose your words more wisely!

    George Orwell said, and I quote.

    “We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand
    ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. ”

    Keep that in mind the next time you desecrate an American Flag.

    Kellie it’s to bad you are so naive that you fail to understand the true meaning of the Great Symbol of the best county in the world, the one in which you live in.

    My offer to buy these bags still stands. I wonder… why haven’t you taken me up on my offer. After all you said they were just cloth. Hmmmm

    Veteran, son of a Veteran, and Dad of a Veteran.