For two years, from 1999 to 2001, I lived in Ohasama, Japan, a small town of maybe 7,000 people, and I taught English to junior high and elementary school kids. Technically, I was an Assistant English Teacher. Anyway, while there, I collected all sorts of pamphlets, bags, tickets, stampled postcards, stickers, etc... When I got back to the U.S. I had this giant pile of ephemera and I did not want to just toss it. I think my mom suggested that I take an old suitcase and decoupage it with all those bits of paper. And that is just what I did.
I don't have a before photo, but ten years later this is what that suitcase looks like.
It's held up pretty well all these years, from living in Brooklyn, moving to California and three different places there, and now at its current home in Minnesota. There are some scuff marks, but nothing has peeled away.
I even had some photos printed out on paper, so I stuck those to the box. Here I am, at the O-bon festival with two of my students.
See that photo in the middle with the flag? That's me on the top of Mt. Fuji. It's funny, but even after all these years, I can remember where I got certain pieces of paper. I even stuck business cards on there.
As for the interior, well, that leaves something to be desired. I tried using some spray adhesive and some sort of paper, but it didn't work, so I just tore it out. But it works for my pattern storage.
I keep aprons, costumes, bags, and home decor patterns in this suitcase. I have a cardboard box for everything else. It'd be cool to have another suitcase for the other patterns, but I haven't seen any that I like at the thrift stores.