Thursday, April 21, 2016

Childhood Photo Recreation

For our mom's 70th birthday, she had a modest request: she wanted to visit her sister in Maine and eat lobster. Wish granted!

For a gift, my sister and I made her a photo album of childhood photos we recreated as adults.

My sister wrote a very thoughtful poem for the card:
One has their father's eyes,
the other their mother's grin.
Two little girls, hand in hand,
laughter in the wind.

You fostered independence,
and taught us to be brave.
You let us run, you let us fly.
You held us when we fell and cried.

Our roads diverged, some years ago.
You loved us deeply, and let us know.
Around the world and back again,
we've come here, where it all began.

Recreated memories
have become something new.
We’ve touched again our roots
in a salute to you.

What's old is new, what's new is old
And oh what fun this story holds.
We hope you laugh, and hug us tight.
We love you Mom, with all our might!

So enjoy your lobster, your family, and some fun
We'll be here with you, looking forward to seventy-one!

She read the poem aloud and I think we all teared up a little by the end, but it turned into gales of laughter very quickly when they saw the photos.

We weren't sure which one of us this was, so we both did it.

Original from 1981

Original 1982
We didn't realize the one in the red overalls wasn't her until after we'd done this one and it's too funny not to include.

Original 1984


The two of us with our cousin, date unknown.
Also unknown: why we are so serious

Original 1984

Original 1985

Original 1985
We think I'm holding a mouse or a baby bunny in the original,
and my sister found a ceramic bunny in the house for the re-enactment.

Original 1985
Yes, it's the same garden cart. I don't know how the brand got easier to read over time, but that's what my parents told us.

Original 1985

Original 1986

Original 1986
Yes, it's the same bear.
I still can't believe I found that checkered dress.
Shout out to The Garment District, my favorite local thrift store. It was on their 1970s dress rack.

Original 1986
Gradient on right added in Photoshop
Original 1987
Yes, they are the same stuffed animals.
Original 1988
I'm certain that the shirt on the left is supposed to be a giraffe with a sun and a flower,
so that's what I did for the one on the right. And I thought puffy-painting the shirt would be the hard part,
but balancing grapes on one's eyes is much harder than it looks.
Yes, it's the same wallpaper.
I didn't properly appreciate how awesome it is that my parents turned
an entire wall of my childhood bedroom into a rainbow. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
The flower-patterned dress on the right lightened in Photoshop, but it's just as unflattering in real life.

Original 1989
Original 1990

Original 1990
The panda on the right is sheets of felt cut into shapes and hand-sewn onto a pink sweater.


Since this is a crafting/design blog, here's some behind-the-scenes stuff!

The idea first came up in February 2015. I was still living in Tokyo, but I started thrift store shopping when I moved back to the US a couple months later. (Three cheers for thrift stores!)

We managed to get clothes, props, and each other together for Thanksgiving for a couple photos, but most of them happened on one day in March 2016.


I tried to keep photo editing to a minimum, but we didn't have an orange blanket.
Original / Edited

And I couldn't find red overalls in an adult size.
Adjusted levels and clothing color
Adjusted levels, clothing color, and edited out the light switch and outlets
Adjusted clothing color
Hi-C doesn't come in cans anymore, so I made the labels and taped them over pineapple juice cans.
I learned that if you do an image search for "80s Hi-C labels" you get a surprising number of results.
I downloaded one to use as a template.

The flower headbands are white and brown with ribbon hot glued on, and flower hair clips on the side.
The necklace was made of sheets of craft foam and put on a spare necklace chain.


The mermaid shirt is just a paper mermaid glued to a black shirt, but the neon shirt was properly craftsy. I printed out just the part of the shirt that was visible so that it filled a piece of paper and traced the design into my sketch book. Then we put a blank tee shirt over a cardboard box and slid the page underneath and I traced the design again with fabric markers and puffy paint.
Sketch in marker and highlighter, trace with black fabric marker, add puffy paint.
I know the real shirt doesn't say "BodyWoo" but it's sure as heck what it looks like. Close enough.


With some luck, maybe we can recreate a few more before Christmas...

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