Friday, August 26, 2011

Will You Take a Trip Down Memory Lane With Us?

The other day, Just Something I Made was asking her facebook readers what crafts they liked to do when they were kids.  It got me thinking and remembering some of our favorites.

(My sisters are going to be totally impressed with me because I'm sort of known as the sister who blocked out our entire childhood.  Not because anything traumatic happened, but just because I have a horrible memory!)

Will you take a trip down memory lane with me?

We were totally obsessed with our Fashion Plates.  You could mix and match tops and bottoms, then create a rubbing off of the raised plates.  The reverse side had different textures so that you could make your fabrics have different patterns to them!  This picture shows the exact set we had.  MAN, do I wish we'd hung on to these!  Why don't they make anything like this anymore?  When googling for these images, I discovered that there was a New Kids On the Block version of fashion plates!  Why did I never know this?!

We had a set of Childcraft Encyclopedias exactly like these.  Can you guess which book was our favorite?

Yep, it was the one entitled "Make and Do."  We did tie dye projects with food coloring and paper towels from this book.  I think we also attempted some sock puppets.  Anybody remember what else was in the Make and Do book?

Another big hit in our house were latch hook rugs.  Mamma Winger made a big wall hanging in rusts and browns that she designed herself and so we thought we'd like to do it too.  I don't remember what we ended up making but when I googled it a lot of Care Bears, rainbows and unicorns showed up, so I wouldn't be surprised if it was something like that!

  Then of course there there was the potholder phase.  Everybody had one of those stages, right?!

Man, it was frustrating to get those stretchy loops pulled long enough to hook on the loom, especially near the end, but the results were oh so worth it!  I mean isn't that what every relative wanted from us? 

Mamma Winger has been crafting for a loooong time.  She's gone through some phases of her own.  When country crafts were really popular, there was a tin punching phase.  I SO wanted to do it too!  She'd buy big rolls of tin flashing (super sharp!) and use her tin snips to cut out shapes for ornaments.  Then she'd use an awl and hammer to punch out a design.  One year she came to my elementary school and taught a group of us how to do this craft with tinfoil pie plates. 

We also spent lots of time making paper snowflakes and fortune tellers, playing paper dolls, and coloring in our barbie coloring books.  We would also ask to help our mom with her artwork so she'd give us backgrounds or other areas that didn't require a lot of detail to paint.

One thing we wish we'd learned how to do when we were growing up was sew.  Mamma Winger is a GREAT sewer - she even went to school for fashion design!  There's some difference of opinion on why exactly we never learned to sew.  Something about trying to teach us, and us not being interested, or it not going very well due to the frustration factor....  I can't imagine ME being difficult! :-)  All I know, is now I really wish I knew more than I do! 

Mom made us lots of barbie doll clothes including a tuxedo for Ken!

 ....or I mean Michael Jackson!  Pay no attention to the fact that he's pantless.  A few years back we got out the ol' box of barbie stuff (THAT stuff we did hang on to!) thinking it was time to pass the torch to the only girl child of the family - Laura's daughter.  Here's a funny post I wrote about it at the time.  

Green Girl and I often wore matching outfits in different colors that Mom had made us, which prompted people to ask if we were twins although there is 15 months between us.  She also made all of our prom dresses and my bridesmaid's dresses!  Now I'm going to show you something that will really take your breath away, or mine at least.  Are you ready for this?  I can't believe I'm doing this...

Let me start by prefacing this picture with these facts: One, it was 1997.  Two, we all thought we looked good in short hair.  Some of us were right, some of us were wrong.  Three, our dad passed away completely unexpectedly 2 1/2 months before this, leaving us devastated, pale and walking around like zombies.       
L to R: Sis-in-law Shelly, Youngest sis Emily, Me the Blushing, ok extremely pale Bride(Jill), and sister (aka Green Girl) Laura

We celebrated our 14 year wedding anniversary earlier this week and my husband's aunt wrote me that our wedding had been beautiful and it was the first time she'd ever heard of the color "eggplant!"  So see, even back then we were 'somethin' else!'  (You can interpret that phrase however you want!)  That purple fabric was shinier on one side than the other, so we used both sides to make the "vests" and skirts. 

Anyway, this post sure has gone in a different direction than I thought it was going to!

Looking back, I'd have to say we had pretty crafty childhoods.  It definitely has led us to where we are today. 

I would love if the other Thing With Wingers would add their own input, memories, or corrections to my faulty memories at the bottom of this post.  If each of my family members writes in a different color and signs their name, then it'll be easier for you readers to come back to this post later and see what's been added!

How about you, readers?  What was your favorite thing to make, create, or craft as you were growing up?  Share your memories in the comments!

*And come back later on this weekend or next week to see what my other family members have added to the discussion below!


  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE FASHION PLATES!!! I was shopping with my mom and sister less than 2 weeks ago and we talked about them. My lucky sister has them now because she has 2 DAUGHTERS. Darn her. That's almost incentive for me to try for a 3rd and hope it's a girl. But I doubt "wanting to steal the fashion plates from my nieces" is the appropriate motivation to add to our family. . .

    I remember making those little craft/jewelry boxes with that plastic grid sheet stuff, that you would cut and then use yarn to stitch together. I also remember a stenciling phase. And I also made braided headbands (that went across your forehead like a sweatband, it was the 80's) that I sold for a quarter to my classmates. I even dangled helicopter beads from some of them.


  2. OK, I just clicked over and read your old Barbie post. The unidentified Barbie relaxing on the pillow is "Pretty in Pink" Barbie. I distinctly remember that this was the first toy I obsessed about wanting.

    Wow again.

  3. NICE, Rachel! I'm getting a mental image of the headbands that's quite entertaining and LOVE your young entrepreneurial spirit!

    Yes, Pretty in Pink barbie -that's what she was called! did you ever get one of your own?

  4. We also loved the fashion plates at our house. We did the loop potholders too. And friendship bracelets out of that colorful thread. What else? I remember alot of plays- we would design the costumes out of stuff we had in our dress up box. Brynn was definitely the sewer of the family- we made slippers once out of scrap material. And we'd experiment in the kitchen a lot-- I am sure my mom was so annoyed. We did it mostly over summer vacation when she was at work and we were home alone. We made Barbie and doll clothes too. We had so much fun! I remember drawing still lifes and painting from magazines too when I turned about 10ish.

  5. AUUUUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVED fashion plates! I had that exact set. And my parents have kept every little thing-- except for that!!! Oh my word- I would still play with that if I had it. Thanks for the walk down memory lane!

  6. Out of the blue today I remembered the title "Make and Do", Googled it, and stumbled upon this blog. I LOVED that book when I was little. I had forgotten about the tie-dye paper towels until you mentioned it, and all the fond memories came flooding back! I must've made dozens of those things, it was so much fun. The only other project I remember from the book was a sort of stuffed animal that looked like a penguin, which was made out of a sock. He had cardboard feet and felt arms, eyes and nose, and a ribbon around his neck. I wish I could remember other projects because I know I am forgetting many.