Wow - lots of great ideas! I was almost too impressed with with everyone else's to post my own. But, since I did make the effort, and I am pretty proud of the result, here goes:
Paper is my thing, and since I had several paper grocery bags, I decided to make a paper shopping bag. First I deconstructed a bag and distressed it by crumpling it and rubbing it with coffee grounds (fresh from the coffee maker - note to self, next time wait until they cool!)
I made handles by rolling damp strips of paper bag into tubes and then twisting them. I folded down the top of a paper bag and insrted the handles, then I cut strips from the backing on a pad of paper, wrapped the handles around them, and anchored them with both glue and thread. Then I glued the bag flaps down over the cardboard strips. I wanted them to be able to take a lot of weight. When I tested them, I was able to fill the bag almost full of hardcover books before they started to seem strained.
I used a coffee can lid as a template to cut a circle from the distressed bag, then to draw a circle on the bag with the handles. I used strips torn from junk mail to collage the circle on the bag. I cut pieces from the distressed circle to look like continents on a globe, then colored them with a watercolor pencil and painted them with acrylic medium..
I coated the handled bag and the distressed bag with acrylic medium, then wrapped the distressed bag around the handled bag and folded the bottom back in place. After folding the top in past the handles and using more medium to collage the continents, the bag was done! And here it is again in all it's glory: