July 30, 2011

Japanese Parcel Post

It took a bit of time for me to get out of writing about my Japan journey. Thanks for your lovely comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I keep remembering things I didn't include in the journal, but there is always a next time.

I haven't done much in terms of stitching. I did make a couple bags for gifts. For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while would know that I'm a rag-to-riches, re-purpose, recycling person, and most of all a hoarder!  The bags I'm showing you today are close to my heart. I made them from a recycled Japanese parcel post bag.

For years I have saved this Japanese parcel post bag to make something! That 'something' opportunity arrived a few weeks ago when I was looking to make a few gifts. One for DS's birthday, and the other one is for a dear friend who appreciates something boro and handmade.  

Japanese books come in cardboard boxes and the box goes in this parcel post sack when they are shipped to us. It's  a very strong sack with double layers on the bottom part of the sack. It's in military green colour. It has very strong leather belt to go around the neck. Loving anything old, boro and vintage these bags are ready to turn into something! 

And here they are, the two postman bags made from the sack. I didn't wash the sack before I cut it up. I like the boro (old and used) look about them. The sack had been carrying around parcels who knows for how long before it got to me! 

One bag by itself showing the little bit of lining. 

Both bags hanging from the long handles. The handles are long enough to go across the shoulders. The way a postman carries it.  They are very strong bags made for men. The logo on the left bag is the Japanese Post Office official logo. The C on the right bag could mean copyright ha!

The lining made from woolen suit fabric found in a thrift store. It's brown with white pin stripes. I made the inside pocket with the same fabric. There is also printing under the flap.

This is the back view of the bag with the word Japanese on it. There are some tears that need fixing. I did the darning before I gave them away. I still have a few more sacks left to make bags for myself or more gifts. 

One sack is big enough for two bags with flaps and one tote-bag. I tried to keep the printing on both bags. I'm so thrilled to be able to re-purpose something that otherwise would be discarded.

There are lots of advantages working in a library. I learned book binding there because I didn't like seeing dust jackets get thrown away. I dyed twines that had been wrapped around some books that were sent from India.

There are a whole lot of books coming through everyday on every subject especially Japanese craft and art books. If I did not work there I would have missed out a whole lot of good books.

What I'm saying here is, it doesn't matter what you do, do it with passion. My latest passion has to be photography with my iPhone4. I take a daily walk at the campus where I work. Apart from listening to great walking music. I challenge myself to capture the artistic images through my lens. I have post them up on my FB page and the responses from friends are very encouraging, thank you!  


deanna7trees said...

wow. great job converting those bags to something useful and great looking. i love how you used the letters and words as an enhancement.

nandas said...

those are quite smart looking! gives me an idea for my french postal bags! thanks

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Oh Nat what cool bags...they are great!!! Iphone 4...I still don't have no 1...Enjoy Saturday night...we are babysitting...Love Dzintra

QuiltSue said...

I think your versions of the post bags are much more attractive than the original!

ria vogelzang said...

What a great way to reuse those postbags!!! Love them!!
Enjoy your work in the library! It is so great all the things you've learned threw your job!
Enjoy the weekend. Love, Ria.

Marie said...

My first response is "wow"! I l-o-v-e these bags you created and I can only say who ever is the recipient is lucky : )
Books are such a treasure. I so enjoy holding them and rustling through the pages.

Lis said...

I'm sure books will never be replaced, however clever all the technology is nothing beats handling a book. Your bags are wonderful, you are so clever to see how to use those bags to good effect, so many people would have thrown them away. Clever girl! Have a good weekend.

Kim said...

You are so creative.......what a great bag and men are so hard to make things for...these are just perfect. so tell us the reactions when the gifts are given.....or better yet a picture!

Happy Sewing,

Needled Mom said...

Those bags are absolutely gorgeous. I really love your creative ideas in reusing the mail bags and I can see why they are so special to you. I know they will be loved by the recipients. If not.....send it my way. ;)

Els said...

Wow Nat you did a great job making those two bags out of the old parcel bag. I love the way you used the words!!! They sure will grow old(er) with dignity with their new owners!!
(Lucky people!)

Terry said...

The re-purposed post bags into new bags is a nice continuation of the original use.
Knowing DS He will deffinately appreciate the gift. Let us know how the riecipients respond with lots of hugs I bet.
Have a good Sunday.

Kitiya Palaskas said...

Hi Mum, these are great! I bet Mark would love one of them. ;) You're so clever xx

Anonymous said...

Oh nat those are fabulous. You know creativity for me is about my heart singing. I love everything I try because all mediums are a way of seeing a little more clearly my own truth.

You are luckly with your library job but that's also because you are gifted with a creative sight to realize you have gifts placed I front of you.


Anonymous said...

Opps that was meant to read in not I......the iPad has it's own mind

Anonymous said...

these bags are stunning and the lining is perfect.Love the kanji for post, the lined,stitched strap and little patch in the last picture.Lucky you, working in a library. I have books in every room and every cupboard. will soon have to move into the garden shed myself.

MulticoloredPieces said...

Greetings from Tunisia. Just dropped by to enjoy your blog while trying to beat the heat. Your bags are great and your fabrics are so lovely. Your commentary on Japan is also very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
best, nadia

Astrid said...

Nat, what a great idea! The bags are wonderful! I agree, too much are thrown away because people don't care or don't even know how to re-use.

Jane said...

Great idea, Nat. I have one of those Japanese book mail bags, too. I have a friend in Japan who just happens to be a mailman! I couldn't bare to throw it out but didn't know what to do with it either...now I know!

Heather said...

You did a lovely job, both in designing and stitching. Stylish and authentic!

Grand Purl Baa said...

Nat. They are brilliant. I love them. Clever clever. They were waiting waiting all that time to appear as they are. Love the whole story behind them too.

Kathie said...

oh my I just love these bags and making them from something special is even better.
Lately I am really drawn to words on fabrics so these bags inspire me even more! Love that you used recycled materials to make them and that the long strap allows them to carry them as messenger bag.
had to smile about the iphone I love the pictures mine takes, they are so clear, never thought to take pictures on my walks
I will have to do that when I start walking again in a few weeks.

woman with wings said...

I LOVE the bags -- especially the way you've designed them to honor their origin plus lined them with thrifted cloth. They are amazing, Nat, and so are you!

Lay Hoon said...

Beautiful !!
Wonder how to own one of it ? Purchase from the post office ?

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