as a tween / teen in south africa, growing up without the internet / blogs / tumblr meant gaining inspiration from sources you physically had to get your hands on. we used to peruse the paperweight shop and buy outdated issues of foreign magazines by the bag full. and then what would we do with all those mags? we’d cut them up and make collages in our school diaries. hell yes! i never wrote down a single task in my diary at school, it was all full of CK one ads (thanks kate moss). once my parents friends came to visit from america and some allure magazines got passed onto me – with actual perfume samples. my diary smelled great that year.

it’s not like we were living in east berlin, it’s just that south africa wasn’t super cool in the mid-nineties. things only started picking up closer to 1999 – by then i was actually printing stuff from the internet to stick into my diary (a futile exercise if there ever was one…) the point of this ramble is that sometimes i miss sitting on my bed, cutting out pics from magazines and trying not to get glue all over the duvet cover. simple times. so i made a good old inspiration collage.

this contains all the elements that would have gone into a school diary. something hilarious but also awesome (man & dog painting), inspiration for my room, a handsome man (hello don), something i’d like to own but probably won’t buy (shoes), an impossibly cool girl i’d wish to emulate, something old and therefore cool (vintage stamp), something quirky (bearded fellow), something cute (origami fox) and something to do with nature (nice trees ; backpacker looking at nice trees and possibly don draper)

did you have any strange habits as a teenager?

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  1. Don’t worry while we had Internet it still hadn’t quite caught on in the mid ninetys so we use to do exactly the same thing

  2. We made “friendship books” and wrote our own profiles, which were liberally decorated in sticker photos, Hanson references and musings about our ‘Favourite TV show’, ‘Favourite song’, ‘Favourite Colour’, ‘Favourite Backstreet boy member’. If only I were a techno whizz kid – I think we created Facebook.


  3. @Fi – i totally laughed at friendship books. we were also obsessed with Hanson at one stage!

  4. Man – good to reminisce! Was so chuffed with my collaged & scribbled in school diaries! Cool to hear it was something of a cultural SA teen trend, even if I didn’t know it at the time :P

  5. i was exactly the same with sticking things in my diary, printing things from the internet… ah it was inkjet! how horrible! and i’m sure i didn’t understand things like resolution and ratio back then either.

    the start of the school year was the BEST, because I could cut things out of the previous years’ magazines to carefully arrange over the covers of my new books. ah. things seemed so simple back then.

    • @steph – the beginning of the year was always awesome because that meant new stationery! i loved covering all my class books, too.

  6. We used have journals for passing notes with your best friends. Very exclusive and what not! We also used to decorate our pencil boxes with paint markers and rhinestones.

  7. I grew up in America and I did the same thing…collages were my life growing up! When my family moved to another state, my best friend and I mailed a book back and forth to be able to keep sharing our collages and things we loved with each other…I still have the book today – its a little bit embarrassing to look through, yet cool at the same time.

  8. so i also made these! i grew up in a town no highways would reach, so to speak and spent much time cutting things out of magazines, i was also way too into cleaning and reorganizing my room and closet, over and over again. i’d spend an entire saturday night alone in my room figuring out how to get my jewelry box JUST SO perfectly organized.

  9. I love this post. And I love me some good ol’ fashioned teeny-bopper collages. I used to make several collages, each with its own theme, on printer paper then tape them all over my bedroom door. I wish I still had them! The only one whose theme I can recall was one I made with the phrase, “I live in a fantasy world,” prominently placed in the middle of the page. It had rainbows and flowers and crazy junk covering the rest of the page…Thanks for the fun trip down Nostalgia Lane this morning. I needed that. :)

  10. hahaha…great memories of magazine’d diaries and long letters with fashion images stuck into them. I was called into the principal’s ( a nun) office for the ‘inappropriate’ image of a Calvin Klein Eternity ad on one of my schoolbooks. That was the year i wrapped everything in white paper and coordinated with black and white magazine advertising imagery – i luuurved those books.

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