Thursday, September 13, 2012

How Do You Measure a Memory?

The kids are growing so fast.  No more little socks or shirts in the hamper.  Instead, everything is sized 10, 12 or 14 and the socks can all be worn by me in a pinch.  Where did the time go?

One of my favorite favorites!

I think I love this one because of my daughter's face.  She's a bit of a ball buster, and here, it shows.

Christmas Day 2005.

Failed attempt to capture the ever elusive Christmas Card photo of 2006.

I just remember it being a very, very hot morning when I took this.

3 kids, 2 chairs.  That counts as typical around here.

Thanksgiving 2008.  Freezing.  Maine is AWESOME sometimes.

A beautiful fall day.


I've made a valiant effort to take, edit and save a bunch of pictures of the kids.  Both my husband and I have very few pictures of ourselves and our brothers while we were growing up.  There are many times I wish we had more and feel like this is a gift of sorts that I can give to my kids.  

I have also been very good about keeping my kids growth charts up to date.  We measure every birthday and every half birthday.  And every once in a while, we randomly stand against the wall and take a measurement.

But, my kids are outgrowing their charts.  Not literally, but figuratively.  The growth charts were gifts when they were first born and are very juvenile.  Primary colors and spots to slide 3 x 5 photos into, the  charts are no longer appropriate for my kids.

I saw online, through a Groupon deal, a growth chart designed to look like a large wooden ruler.  But even with the online deal, it would cost me almost $60 once I factored in shipping.   I may love keeping memories, but this gal is CHEAP!  And I thought the price was way too steep.  So I did what any smart 40 year old gal would do.  I called my Daddy.

My father is a jack of all trades.  He builds anything and everything.  I need to dedicate an entire post to all the things he has made for me.  So I knew he would know right away what a 6 foot board would cost me at Lowe's or Home Depot.  He told me it would be around $15.  And sure enough, he was correct - only off by 45 cents!

I bought a 6 foot board.  At this moment, I am trying to remember what kind of wood it is - and am just completely blank.  My dad would remember, but he and my mom are onboard a cruise ship right now and in international waters.  So cell phones are off to avoid huge charges (I mentioned I was cheap, right?  See where I get it?)  However, I know it wasn't pine, and it wasn't oak or maple.  I picked the wood to avoid too many knots.  If you decided to do this project, any type of wood would work.  It only matters what you want to spend.  Pine = super inexpensive i.e. around $11.  Maple/oak = expensive i.e. around $25.

This was the unstained board.  I sealed it with Minwax's clear wood sealer.

I stained the board on both sides and edges with a walnut stain.  I started with a lighter stain, but wanted a darker, more antiqued look.

After allowing the board to dry over night, I used a measuring tape to mark off all of the inches along the side of the board.  If you do this project, keep in mind that when you hang it, it will be a certain distance off the ground.  That means the bottom of your board won't be zero, it will need to be the measurement OFF THE GROUND.  In other words, because I only very low ceilings, and the board is 6 feet tall, the bottom of the board will be only 6 inches off the ground.  So the very bottom of my board is 6 inches.  One inch in, the first mark I make on the board will be 7 inches.  My 1 foot mark will only be 6 inches up from the bottom.  Does that make sense to everyone?  I would hate for you to go through all the work and then find you didn't make your marks correctly.

I used my father's t-square to draw a 2 inch line to represent each inch on the ruler.

A closer look.

I made the line longer for each foot.  Sharpie markers work great, but I did the first lines in pencil and then traced over them - using the straight edge to do so.  If I had messed up, I would have had to either start over on the other side, or sanded out the sharpie.  

I found a font I like on the computer and printed out 1-6.  I taped it on the board to help keep track of which lines were to be drawn as 2 inches and which I wanted to be 2 1/2 inches and then the foot marks which were even longer.

After drawing all the lines, I cut out the numbers (this was the most tedious part of the project).  Then I traced the numbers and went back and used a sharpie to color them in.

Here is the finished project.  

My father, being a genius, hung a hook on the back for me and made sure it was right at the 5'10" point.  Because it wouldn't matter how well I did the board if I don't hand it up accurately.  So, when I finish transferring all of my kids previous measurements onto this, and hang it in our home office, I know I have to place the nail at exactly 5'10" from the ground.  

I'm very pleased how well it came out.  Now, not only do I have a great tool to help keep track of my kids growth, I also created another great memory with my father.  I had so much fun making this simple project with him and the chance to learn from him once again.  

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