Saving memories while moving on.
March 13, 2006 9:23 AM   Subscribe

My parents have lived in the same house close to 30 years (my entire life). They just sold it, and are moving into a large condo in a month and a half. I want to put something together for my family to remember the old place and make this transition easier.

I get attached to things and places, and it's hard for me to think I'll not be able to go to my childhood home anymore. They're in Milwaukee, I'm in Chicago, so I've spent many weekends there, and I love feeling like I'm back home for a bit rather than just visiting my parents.

This is a huge change for my parents, too. Their first condo, and going from a colonial style to a contemporary place. I would love to put something together that has the memories of the old place. My mom did a lot of work on the house, so it's changed a lot in the 20-odd years they've been there. I should have access to old photos, no video. Any ideas?
posted by bibbit to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You could always create a photo book or two. Qoop can do this, amongst others. If you have a Flickr account, you can create one of these directly from your photo store, making the whole process a bit easier.

It'll be a nice thing to have on the shelf for you and your parents to look back at.
posted by StuMiller at 9:27 AM on March 13, 2006

How about a website? That could support photos, video, scrapbookey stuff, etc. to document the changes the place has gone through over the years, with annotations and hyperlinks that a physical item can't necessarily support.
posted by By The Grace of God at 9:43 AM on March 13, 2006

My mom recently sold our house of 25 years and it was an extremely emotional event. My brother-in-law hired an artist to do a drawing of the house and framed it as a gift to our family. It is a really wonderful reminder of the years we spent in that house.
posted by elvissa at 9:59 AM on March 13, 2006

DVD Slideshow? It's easy to do, all you need are some photos, a scanner and a DVD burner.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:34 AM on March 13, 2006

This requires some work, but I did this for friends of mine and it turned out great. They have a very uniquely decorated house. I spent 2 weeks there last summer and we came up with this idea.

I created a foam model of the house. Used an $9 sheet of thin insulating foam from Home Depot.

Then I took photos of every wall inside and outside of the house. Used vinyl tile and carpet scraps for the floors.

Had to resize the photos a bit with Photoshop Elements.

Then I printed them all up on 8x10 photo paper and glued them to the model. Now they have an exact model of the home. It turned out great.
posted by SwingingJohnson1968 at 10:56 AM on March 13, 2006

I can give you an example of something my parents did for the prior owneers when they moved into their current house.

During the course of renovations, they uncovered a section of wall where the progress of children's height had been marked. (You know what I mean-- every household with children has this...).

Anyway, they had that section of wall (about 1 foot wide by three feet tall) removed, sealed, and framed, and presented it to the former owners. (And then had the hole filled in by the guys who were doing the renovations...)

They loved it.

Don't know, but something like that might be really meaningful for your parents to have, although difficult to do without their knowing about it...
posted by dersins at 11:00 AM on March 13, 2006

That was a really nice thing to do, dersins. We live in an apartment, so we're marking our son's height on a varnished board that I mounted in a door frame. I did this specifically so that we can bring this record with us wherever we may move.

bibbit, do your parents have favorite trees or other plants outside the house? I'm wondering whether it would be possible to pot a cutting (or whole plant) that they could take with them to their condo and use as a house plant. It would have to be something with a good chance of survival, though.
posted by Songdog at 11:43 AM on March 13, 2006

both my mother and grandmother paint pictures of peoples houses (and sometimes churches) on a very part-time basis. they're done in water-color and look dreamy-ish. i'd ask around for a local starving artist and commission them to do that.
posted by trinarian at 1:08 PM on March 13, 2006

Response by poster: I'd thought about getting a painting done, but my older brother did a watercolor of the place over 10 years ago, and my parents have that framed and hung. There's enough sentimental value to it that I don't want to replace it.

Songdog, a plant might be a nice idea, but my mom did such a great job with the gardening that there's too much to choose from...and probably nothing that would last indoors.

I'll probably look into the book idea, but I wanted to see what other people have done to get some more ideas.
posted by bibbit at 1:54 PM on March 13, 2006

My wife paints house portraits (from photos). I don't know what your budget is, but I know she'd love to do it (and like most artists could use the money) ;-) See samples here.
posted by wordwhiz at 3:28 PM on March 13, 2006

Best answer: Dig up every old picture of the house you can find, preferrably black and whites from when you first moved into the house (or back further if you can get 'em; I myself obtained pictures from the first year my current house was built from the original owner, from back in 1952.)

Next, go through the house and grounds duplicating all of the pictures you can (angle, framing, time of day as best as you can determine) with the kids, etc. who are in the originals now standing there all grown up.

It's a great way to focus on the house as backdrop for raising your family.
posted by davejay at 3:59 PM on March 13, 2006

Response by poster: davejay - that's a fantastic idea. I'll be able to start scouting pictures this weekend and will get my sibs involved to help with current picture taking.

And then I can use StuMiller's idea to put everything together in a book for my parents...

Thanks, guys! This'll definitely help.
posted by bibbit at 6:23 AM on March 14, 2006

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