Handmade book -- mementos from a 70s childhood

I've been on a book-making spree. This one began as an exercise to practice a new book-binding stitch. I started with an old pack of construction paper, which evolved into a chronicle of my childhood. Each page features a different object, grouped by color.

In case you can't read my handwriting, here are the objects and their backstories:

  • Lava lamp -- Every year, my family spent spring break on the Oregon coast. We always stayed at the same motel and ate at the same Italian restaurant. While I waited (impatiently) for our food to arrive, my dad told me to watch the lava lamp so I'd quit whining about being hungry. I still love lava lamps.
  • Fringy vest -- In my favorite school photo, I'm wearing a big puffy yellow blouse (see below) and a fake red leather vest complete with long fringe (and made by my mom). It's as close I got to being "Mod."
  • Bean bag chair -- I loved sinking into my big red chair, even though the vinyl stuck to my skin and a cloud of little white styrofoam pellets appeared whenever I sat down.
  • Red delicious apple -- My dad still kids me about liking this kind of apple. He calls it "tasteless." I call it "crunchy."
  • Goldfish -- I acquired "Napoleon" by tossing a ping-pong ball into his tiny bowl at a county fair. He had a good life, growing carp-size, until he jumped out of his tank while we were on vacation. 
  • Malibu Barbie -- One of my favorites, this Barbie had the orange-brown tan we all aspired to in the 1970s.
  • Traffic cone -- Doesn't every kid steal a few of these in their youth? And keep them in the rafters of their parents' garage for 40 years?
  • Creamsicle -- In the summer, the neighborhood kids ran outside to meet the ice cream truck for their after-dinner treat. Me included!
  • Puffy blouse -- (See "fringy vest" above.) The cuffs were at least 4 inches long and the collar oversized.
  • Lemon drop -- Sweet and sour and suckable. Need I say more?
  • Sports car -- More specifically, an MG, owned by our next-door neighbor and parked outside my bedroom window for what seemed like years. Every year, I'd ask for one for my birthday. Every year, I didn't get one.
  • Kraft Mac & Cheese -- Whenever my dad went on a business trip, Mom would make this for me and we'd eat and read our books at the kitchen table (not allowed when Dad was home).
  • Ping-pong table -- My dad and I played for hours on the table in our garage. He wouldn't let me win, and I wouldn't give up.
  • Monopoly house -- My game strategy focused on the big-ticket properties, not building houses in low-rent districts. I remember stepping on them.
  • Turtles -- Two red-ear slider turtles lived in my bathroom, each in its own large tank. Myrtle and Yurtle ate lunchmeat and stared while I brushed my teeth.
  • Split pea soup -- Who can forget that scene in The Exorcist?
  • Bell-bottom blue jeans -- Worn with platform sandals with cork soles.
  • Gerbil cage -- When my 5th grade class finished its maze experiment, I brought home one of its subjects, a slightly lame gerbil named Cynthia. She lived in a huge baby blue cage, complete with loft and red running wheel.
  •  Blue jeans cap -- I was proud of the distressed denim cap I made for myself. I don't recall wearing it much.
  • Swimming pool -- My friend who lived a the top of the hill had an outdoor swimming pool. When it got warm, I'd bug her almost every day to see if I could come over after school to swim. 
  • Orchestra gown -- I played the bassoon in high school. If being a "band nerd" wasn't bad enough, I had to wear a hot and scratchy polyester blue gown for concerts. 
  • Mood ring -- Mine stayed dark blue/purple most of the time. I think that means I was hungry?
  • Sorry game piece -- I played this game a lot and was never a good loser. Or winner.
  • Carbon paper -- If you wanted 2 copies of something, you used carbon paper...on a typewriter...with no Autocorrect or Undo.
  • Mushroom lamp -- my bedroom was awash in 1970s decor, including a purple lamp and macrame plant hangers.
  • Bicycle -- I have been fortunate to have had not one but TWO purple bicycles. The first was a 10-speed, and the second was an 18-speed that my father-in-law MADE for me.
  • Grape Kool Aid -- Of course it's the best flavor and must be served in a big plastic pitcher with the Kool Aid mascot's silly lop-sided face.
The rainbow sock at the end was actually knit by my mom. I wore them with my platform sandals and my Osh Kosh overalls.


  1. Very fun! I was a 70's kid too, so I can relate to many of the items you mentioned. I can still recall how cool I thought I was with the pair of bell-bottom hip huggers I had as a freshman in high school!

  2. How fun - loved reading about each page.


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