Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Measured Memories

I love it when my time spent "with" others' blogs gives ideas I would never have otherwise considered. A recent example was this Pottery Barn knock-off from 517 Creations.

With my nephew's birthday coming up, last month I followed this expert advice and started my own.

I already had a tall board on hand, since the former owner of my home left it behind. I've never used wood stain before, so I waited until I felt brave (partly because of the challenge ahead but mostly because it was still 110 degrees outside!) and then began.

Home Depot had a very useful display of wood stain options, so I picked the one that I thought looked most like a ruler from the wide array of colors.

I remembered plastic gloves because I had heard numerous horror stories about stained hands, but neglected to get a container for the stain. In a stroke of creative genius, I found this single-serving Pringles can in the recycle bin: proof that junk food is helpful to art.

As soon as I saw the difference of just one coat of the stain, I knew I had a new addiction - this is FUN.

The part that was not addicting, however, was the ridiculous amount of drying time. To the girl who pays extra for Instadry nail polish, four hours between coats of woodstain felt like an eternity. I avoided the temptation of rushing the stain process by painting a hallway and making a semi-perfect batch of eggplant parmesan.

I failed to completely follow the advice and steps of 517 Creations' perfect ruler, and ended up marking every half inch on my ruler rather than more infrequent marks. (Yes, I do realize this photo shows marks every quarter inch...I erased them when I realized I'd never be able to paint a line every quarter inch without it becoming a mess!)

At first I was bothered because my ruler looks more cluttered than the original, but it quickly grew on me. Since I cannot fully deny accusations of OCD, I liked the idea of being able to be more exact in height measurements...especially since I also cannot deny accusations of doting on my nephew, and knew he'd probably get measured frequently because (duh) it's fun!

A trip to Michael's introduced me to another new addiction: paint pens!

I intended to use just black, but instead was delighted to find green and blue pens that perfectly matched the colors of my nephew's room. These blue lines only took a few minutes to paint with the pen.

I added a small hook to the side of the ruler to make easy storage for a pen (the Sharpie was later replaced with a green paint pen, since I feared the marker would bleed when it was used on the wood).

I was extremely skeptical about the method the 517 Creations creator used for transferring numbers to the ruler, but after contemplating vinyl numbers and many other options, I decided to give it a try - it worked perfectly!

The hardest part of this entire project was waiting to deliver it as a birthday gift. It is now in use and, though my nephew of course doesn't care about this new addition to the room, I'm excited to have a memory-maker that can go to new rooms and homes if necessary.

Of course it's rude to reveal the cost of gifts, but since my sister and I compete about who can pay less for treasures from Goodwill's half-off day I think she'll forgive me for this wonderful summary:

Board - Free

Wood stain - $5

Paint pens - $4

Foam brush - $.96

Metal hook - $.47

And since the project used another one of the supplies from my Home Depot stash, it's about time to do more shopping.


  1. I like yours way better than the original~ and I always smile when your blog includes a colored arrow pointing to items in the pile :-)
    Yay for Skype, so we could see the finished product enter its new home!

  2. Very cute! I love the idea. By the way, would you mind sending me your recipe for eggplant parmesan? I have a few eggplants in my refridgerator, and I need to do something with them.

  3. That is so wonderful!!! I need to see a picture of it in X's room! You are a wonderful and talented Aunt!

  4. Surely you didn't eat that whole pan yourself...I'm a little disappointed I didn't get leftovers....

    This blog makes me choked up!!! I lovelovelovelove the height chart, and while he may not fully appreciate it right now, the stories we'll have for years to come as we look over the dates will be wonderful.

    Aunt Sally, I'll take a picture & send it to Beth!