>> I've had numerous conversations with women who readily admit to stashing away boxes of ribbons, buttons, old bits of stationery, fabric scraps and any other bits and pieces that might come useful on a "rainy day" when we might suddenly take to a spot of customising, decoupage or collage scrapbooking. The truth is those days rarely come and the boxes sort of pile up and fester into a heap that mocks you with its pointless messiness (apparently I'm an authority on the subject according to the Guardian). I have a bag of letters and notes which I've kept because I thought the envelopes and papers were interesting. There's another bag stuffed full of ribbon bought in various markets and haberdashery stores. They should be gracing a dress or a shirt as a trim but I haven't got round to it yet. There's also a box of embroidered samples that are all too small to do anything with but just look nice when you lay them all out on the floor. Totally legitimate reason for hoarding all of this stuff.
A simpler solution would be to have a flick through these books which I picked up in Tokyo. Published by the same company Seibundo Shinkosha, when translated through Chrome, the titles are quite literally "Pretty Paper Things Over the World" and "Asian Cute Embroidery". No confusion as to what the subject matter is, right? These weren't nearly as specific as some of the other books I saw – books purely on airline meals, on tools used by a shoe maker, on how to give a dog a hair cut – I'm not entirely sure how any of this gets published and makes money but who cares when I can now flick through books purely dedicated to the things that I'm squirelling away in boxes. In Pretty Paper Things Over the World, stationery, packaging and all sort of printed paraphernalia from the world are showcased with pictures. I can't of course read the text so to me, it serves no purpose other than a good half an hour can be spent getting giddy on pretty paper things.
The book about embroidery from Asia is perhaps a bit more substantial and relevant. Japan, China and India are well represented with many embroidery examples that are beautifully photographed as well as offerings from smaller countries. It's a book of deets to marvel at and for one for the textile nerds to get stuck into.