Sunday, June 22, 2014

paper dolls for an anniversary

alma and mort
My parents just celebrated their 70th anniversary!  That's quite an accomplishment.  In trying to come up with a gift idea that would be fun, meaningful, and not add to their mission to downsize, I was stumped.  Then shortly before the actual date I hit on an idea.  My aunt Verlee is a paper doll collector.  I used to love paper dolls when I was young, made them all the time.  They don't take a lot of room, but can show a lot of history.  I decided to make a set of paper dolls for mom and dad that included clothes from the 8 decades that their relationship has existed.

I spent hours going through photo albums and boxes of images trying to find pictures that could piece together a story.  I sent my parents a card (a little lame)  to congratulate them with the promise of a gift to come.  And then I have spent the last three weeks figuring out how to do this and painting.  The dolls were the hardest part and I'm not totally happy with them, but they'll have to do.  I'm not great with the computer and took the faces from old photos, resizing them as best I could. I decided to use a younger set for the first 30 years and an older set after that.  If I were to do this again for anyone, I'd figure out a good standard body and make a few more ages so I could capture more of the hairstyles.

drum majorette and army air corps uniforms
I painted the clothes on watercolor paper, and then printed them out on thinner paper so they could actually be used if someone wanted to do that.  I'll get a folder to put it all in - and send it off this week.  It's been a great project.  I've had a lot of time to contemplate their lives and our relationship.  I hope this gift will stimulate conversation between them, help them to reflect on what this marriage has meant to them.  And I think it will give them some laughs as they share it with their friends and get to hear their stories that were being created at the same time.  As we get older, we come to treasure the stories most of all.

1970's casual cocktail clothes

1990's ski clothes

2014 anniversary celebration