Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lessons from a measuring tape!

     I have wanted a measurement chart for my kids forever! I love the marks on walls and door jams in homes and cottages all over the world, celebrating the growth and milestones of budding beings. I wanted one that I could take—just in case we ever move. I had seen some adorable charts at friend’s homes or online but when I saw one on pinterest that looked like a ruler, I knew I had to make that! I eagerly clicked on the link only to realize that it was a link to a website where you can buy it. Not only that, but it was $75! I love my kids, and a desperately want to record their growth but, $75 is WAY out of this cheap frugal momma’s budget. So trekked to my nearest Home Depot and picked me up a 4x6, brought it home and stored it nicely in the carport. It sat and sat and sat for months.
     Recently I wanted to make myself a new message center type of thing for the kitchen but, I get kinda crazy about starting a new project when I have another one waiting to be done. I don’t get anal about much, but projects that I have stuff for will never get finished if I let other things jump ahead! Besides I needed to make myself do this project or else I just knew that I would wake up one day and my kids would be grown, and I would feel sick about not celebrating their growth! I needed a way to record those little rites of passage all through childhood.
      Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah—Tuesday. So I made myself pull out my 4x6, a can of stain and a sheet of sandpaper. It went very well. I had seen another tutorial on pinterest about how to paint letters without using a stencil. I decided to use that method for my lines and numbers. I haphazardly started making marks for my lines when I realized that I was off on my long and short lines. My husband then suggested that I make a stencil for the lines. He is brilliant I tell ya! So I made the stencil, painted the lines, used the other method for the numbers and I had a beautiful work of art! . . . until I measured myself and realized that I had shrunk a couple of inches.
     See my stencil was only off by a little over an 1/8 of an inch. But an extra 1/8+ inch per 6 inches made it almost two whole inches off by the time you get to six feet. It looked so cute that I almost left it. I knew though, that it would bother me every day. It would bother me when my kids wanted to see how tall they were and had to get out a measuring tape. It would bother me just because it wasn’t right.
     It is the same in life. Sometimes we think that what we are doing isn’t that big of a deal—it is only a little lie, something little I stole, just a little gossip, just a little rude to someone who is different. The thing about life is that when we start out a little off, we end up a lot off by the end. I went on my mission to Montana. One Sunday we were listening to a newly converted man bare his testimony. I have no idea when he was baptized, but his real conversion had just taken place. He was a hunter (like most Montanans) and he was explaining that if you are heading down the mountain and you are just a few feet off on your course, you can end up miles away from where you were going by the time you get to the bottom of the mountain. He had stated that his life had been a lot like that. Now he offered a solution. He stated that if you have a compass, and check often to make sure that you are still on the right path, then you end up right at your intended location.
     I followed this man’s advice the next day after I sanded all of my numbers and lines off of my beautiful measuring chart. I was a lot more careful in making my stencil. I measured it a few times and just laid my ruler right on my cardstock as I cut. I then taped my measuring tape on the side of the board as I stenciled the lines on. As I painted I checked and rechecked that I was right on course. I repainted my numbers, and measured myself. I was right on! I was so excited and so grateful that I had taken the time to do it again.
But then I made one more mistake. I looked back at my old pin. I had been so pleased with my work, that I didn’t think that I had anything to fear by comparing myself to the professional one. The professional one is cuter. There is just no denying that. I let myself feel bad about it for a few seconds when I realized that I was letting it take away from feeling happy in the creative process. See I have a firm belief, that it isn’t the product, but the process. Human beings have a need to create, and if we are always comparing ourselves to the pros, then we won’t feel the joy of creating. That is another post for another day. But again, my measuring tape taught me to not use it against other people, but to only measure myself against myself—to make sure I am heading where I want to head in life.


  1. I don't know how the other one can be any cuter? Yours is adorable. I want one now too, what a cute idea.

  2. I love it too! I actually like the rustic, real ruler look to it. You can always add stuff along the way to dress it up if you'd like. For example, when they start school, put a picture or sticker or something about that stage of life. I honestly think it's perfect the way it is.

  3. It looks professional! And i love that you take us on your journey recounting the process. love your guts!

  4. Love the ruler, so cute. Wish I had had something like that with my kids. See I still find a minute to read your blog. Love you.

  5. I love it and you have inspired me. I have to get something of the same sort up in my house. Cause my oldest is taller than me already!


Join in the conversation!