Thursday, February 08, 2007

Nice Twice with a Side of Rice

This is my Asian/Indian Fusion handbag.
Specially created for the recycled challenge for Whiplash for February.
( Category #1: Recycled standard household goods... and click on the photos.. they look better full sized.)

Burlap Basmati rice bag and bamboo chopsticks team up for a fashion accessory tribute to the food staple of billions.
"The perfect thing to carry when you scurry, for some curry."

I saved the burlap sack from a 10 lb bag of rice that it took us over 3 years to finish.
We bought the rice partially because we thought the bag was cool. I have long been a sucker for packaging , both lowbrow and high.
I have held onto the bag for 2 additional years after we polished of the grain. Apparently printed burlap holds a strong appeal for me... and clearly I won't be finishing off another bag of rice anytime soon.
I used a bit of it for a vest for a doll and I had the idea that it would also make a great handbag.

The handles are the chopsticks from my younger sister's Chinese themed bridal shower. Her home-made bridal dress was red, as are the bridal dresses of traditional Chinese brides .. hence our shower theme.

I have lots of scrap fabrics that I stripped off of backdrops while I worked on the display team of a department store.
The red velveteen used here was from a cosmetics display, stapled to cover a table top that held fragrance gift sets..
In fact, about 60% of my fabric stash has been previously stapled to something. Seasonal store displays can be a source of great riches that otherwise end up in the dumpster. Make friends with a display person. If you can work around small holes and some smudges, you can reap great recycled rewards.

The hinged keyrings, previously used as shower curtain rings, make this bag easily convertible to a sassy clutch bag. Just unhook the rings slide off the handles and you are good to go.

What was Recycled?

basmati rice burlap sack
post consumer department store holiday display velveteen
Chopsticks from a Chinese take-out Bridal Shower
hinged key rings previously used as used a shower curtain rings
express mail envelopes were used as a stiffener

What was New?

The thread and the grommets.

This was the first time I had ever made a handbag from my own pattern.
I really couldn't have been more excited, then flabbergasted,
then concerned, then excited, then proud.

Recycling rules.


PS: I wish this lovely item could be consider for the Reform School... but there is NO WAY I could eat enough rice to produce 10 of these bad boys.


PamKittyMorning said...

Yeah, that's a lot of rice. But a darling purse. Is there someone you could share the rice with?

kristin said...

my vote is for your bag! what a gem...and great use of the recycled. but then i have a thing for the rice bags too...have you seen my pincushion?

we must be higher rice consumers in my household as i have quite a stack of these sacks, let me know if you'd like one (without the rice, of course)

TinkerBlue said...

Great idea. Congratulations on creating your first bag from your own pattern.

OldRound said...

I'm all curious about the mat-o-rice underneath the bag. And how you got the handles to stay up!
Great recycling!

Knittymama said...

That's a killer bag!

You need to make friends with someone who works at a restaurant:-)

Bitterbetty said...


a ha! the mat is just uncooked rice in a well seasoned cookie sheet. It will be recycled as actual food after a good rinsing. And The handles are propped up on bamboo skewers that are tucked inside the body of the bag with some crumpled paper. They were trimmed to fit perfectly behind the handles and tuck underneath the chop sticks slightly. A trick I learned doing display styling.

Amanda Button said...

i love it! I love that you used a rice bag...and the chopstick handles, what a great idea!!!! My vote is DEFINITELY for you, oh great Bitter One! :)

Hilde C. said...

Great idea!

madhatter said...

i love the rice sack bag!!!

Sonya said...

I can't decide which I love more - the bag or your FREAKING ingenious photo styling - the tray of rice with the White Rabbit candy, very nice. Three years of rice consumption, yikes! Well worth it, such a styling bag. I crown you, Bethany, Queen of Repurpose!

Wende said...

What if you went to a restaurant or two that used this kind of rice?? They might have bags. Because I think your bag could actually win this!! :D

Love it!

Soren said...

that is monumentally awesome.

mrspilkington said...

fantastic bag! i love the rice bags too, they have a great look and texture.

Angelina said...

This is so inspiring! This is something I would really like to get better at: seeing how some of my household things can be made into other useful cool things. I don't have an eye for it. I would never have thought of this bag.

I LOVE IT! I would buy it if I had the chance.

Stacie said...

that is so cute! I had a bag a friend of mine made with a rice bag. It was a mini back pack, I wore the darn thing out!

Laurie said...

You were really in the zone on this project! Did it just feel like everything was going right? Because from where I'm sitting, looks like some magic was going on.
My 12 year old son is part of a Youth Ambassador group. They are raising all of their own money to go to Japan for 5 weeks. They have a silent auction coming up, and I WISH you could whip up about 5 more of these babies. What could be more appropos?

futuregirl said...

This purse is amazing. Not only did you reuse everything except the kitchen sink, you created your own pattern, too?! I'm in awe. I love the triangle shape. It's a little origami-ish bundle of yum.

"... about 60% of my fabric stash has been previously stapled to something ..." That made me laugh out loud. :)

My vote is with you.

louise said...

tres tres cool! i love the shape of the bag!

Heather said...

Very witty and great use of materials. I must eat more rice than you do because I have two empty rice bags waiting for me to do something with them. Maybe I should send them to you?

Emily said...

Lovely bag! Red really pops out and the chopsticks are a nice touch.

miss information said...

You totally nailed that challenge! I love making things out of something unexpected so I absolutely love the bag!

I'd like to feature you on my site along with some hair chopsticks I am making with my daughter and some friends this week.

Bitterbetty said...

Miss Info:

I would be honored to be featured on your site..
I can't seem to find it because of all the privacy doodads on "newBlogger"..

Please do share the URL??? I want to come visit!

woof nanny said...

This is lovely. I would like to link to this in a future theme on my bag blog. Right now I've just started a challenge, and our first project is to make a bag with a tea towel. Interested?

woof nanny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

i needed some inspiration for making a dress out of a rice bag for my fashion show at my school and thanks to you i have tons of i deas thanks a ton

Anonymous said...

that's such a lovely bag, and inspiring too since it's recycled. do you have a tutorial or a how to?

littlecumulus said...

So cool! I am the new possessor of such a burlap bag, and am trying to figure out how best to use it... :)

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