Old age has definitely settled in when I start to reminisce my childhood. Those days were great as I was able to go outside to play and interact with my friends, unsupervised. Smart phones didn’t exist and computers were so slow it was faster to read the newspaper for information. During those days, we fished in the river using self made contraptions, ran after the ice cream seller and played until the cows came home.
However, special days were always reserved for Sundays when my late father would bring us on adventures in our trusty 4×4. We would go to the beach early in the morning and jungle hiking to find the perfect waterfall when it was hot in the afternoon. Life was simple and it only took my imagination to elevate day excursions like these to epic adventures. One thing that followed us around was my dad’s binoculars. I remember them tucked under the car seat and we used them to look at the abundant wildlife whether it was a mouse deer or a flying fox.
As I grew up, I went on my own adventures but had always wanted a pair of binoculars to bring around on my trips. My wish came true when I saw vintage Japanese binoculars being sold in the charity shop. They reminded me of the ones my dad had but as it was smaller in size, it was great for carrying around. The binoculars were not particularly expensive but the price reflected the dirt accumulated on the frame and lenses, so when I arrived back home I took it apart and gave it a good clean. Unfortunately, I was too heavy handed and ended up breaking an important part of the frame. I was devastated and decided to abandon fixing it in case I broke the whole thing.
Recently, with an abundant amount of time, I decided to see if I could fix these binoculars. I was hopeful as I recently discovered epoxy resin (thanks to The Repair Shop) and realised that it can give adequate strength to keep the broken parts together. I was ecstatic when I was able to get the binoculars working again.
Spring was a really eerie time this year due to the lockdown but there was a boom in birds nesting around where I lived. With the binoculars, I was able to look at the Goldfinches nesting in the tree and also at Woodpeckers high up in the trees. I also used the binoculars to look inside the grocery shop and butcher to see if they had any new deliveries. After all, making impromptu trips to the shop was unnecessary during the pandemic especially if they didn’t have the things I needed.
Now with lockdown easing, I am going to continue my adventures and these binoculars will follow me. All I needed now was a bag to ensure that it doesn’t get damaged or dirty. I used the same leather as the strap for the binoculars that I replaced earlier. The pattern was really straight forward and after cutting the leather with a scalpel, I proceeded to sew the bag.
Although this piece of remnant leather was thick and hardwearing, I had problems in the past sewing it on a domestic sewing machine so this time, I decided to sew it by hand. However, in order to make hand stitching easier, I used the domestic sewing machine to pierce the stitch holes in advance. This was done without any thread on the sewing machine. As long as the hole were lined up properly on both sides of the seams, hand stitching should not take a lot of effort.
Making an unique bag for a unique piece required a lot of innovation especially if the two items had to work together properly. In order allow both to be carried properly, I pierced two holes in the bag to thread the strap from the binoculars through. This ensured that the binoculars and bag were together all the time.
I also used a magnetic clasp to ensure that the lid of the bag can be closed to prevent the binoculars from slipping out.
However, in order to hide the fixing of the magnetic clasp, I cast a bronze face (the same I used as buttons from my double breasted suit, here) and stuck it to the front of the clasp.
I am known for making life difficult for myself but the effort was well worth it. After all, this is not a mass produced item but rather a one off item so it pays to put in more attention and care to the materials and construction.
I really like the outcome of this binoculars bag. In a way, it’s a tribute to my dad and all the adventures that we had as a family. I wish that I can go back to those carefree days where I had so much to look forward to but I guess in a way, I’ve moved forward to forge new memories.