I had the idea to start a 90s-themed craft series on my YouTube channel several years ago, but like most of the topics I’m more passionate about, I get nervous that they’ll be too much work for too little reward. But between the start of the my 30s being very childhood-nostalgia centric and giving myself more grace (and time) with my video schedule for the rest of 2021, I thought it was the perfect time to try it.
A conversation with a fellow 1990-born friend about one of my favorite elementary school crafts sparked the idea for the opening video to the series. Glue bookmarks made with Spacemaker pencil cases, the magical mystery craft that some 90s kids remember vividly (like me!) while others have never heard of before!
I don’t remember who taught this craft to me, but I do remember it being something of a secret. Something you’d do under the cover of your desk on a Friday afternoon when your teacher was looking elsewhere because they were sure to reprimand you for the *potential* for a mess. As a by-the-book/cry-if-there-was-even-the-suggestion-of-timeout kind of child, it had to be worth it for me to do something questionably “legal.”
But the magic of combining glue and a rainbow array of markers was definitely worth it for me, apparently! 😅
No one I polled on my Facebook or Instagram remembered where this came from (though they did remember either doing this or watching a friend do so). Maybe it’s just one of those mysteries of childhood. The secret knowledge passed from grade schooler to grade schooler in whispered conversations when the teacher isn’t looking. Kids doing science in the name of art. Children being naturally curious.
Somehow that makes it even better, in my opinion.
For the video, I really wanted to recreate the craft, not just talk about it. Fortunately I still had my Spacemaker pencil case (which was lucky considering they don’t sell them anymore and also because it’s somehow 20+ years old?!) And with my new top-down iPhone camera set up (Note: buy yourself a microphone arm and this microphone to camera stud adapter for a cheap but highly effective top-down setup) it was super easy to do.
But there was that creeping anxiety that said, “What if I didn’t remember it correctly? What if it doesn’t work!” (Adulthood is a buzzkill, man). And when it came time to peel the congealed bookmark off the case and it seemed impossibly glued on, I definitely had a moment of panic! A small part of my brain said, “Oh no! The video!” But the bigger anxiety was this: Does this ruin the magic of my childhood if this doesn’t work?
There is a level of daring associated with revisiting your childhood activities and passions. Your childhood is nostalgic because it is in the past. So bringing it to the present runs the risk of cheapening the magic of your memory.
So starting a series like this makes me nervous. It makes me vulnerable in a way I’ve not yet allowed myself to be for my content. I tell a lot of the bad stories, the funnies, the things that can make an easy lesson in a 5 minute video. But the nostalgia of my childhood is more nuanced so these videos might not always be able to follow the same formula. They also might not always be a success. (With a push on the center underside of the pencil box inset, that glue bookmark peeled right off!) But it’s a challenge I’m very much excited about trying my hand at.
So here’s to learning more about my present through the lens of the past!