My dear friend Cathy just gave me a challenge: she’s moving out of the house her family has lived in for many years and wants to preserve her children’s heights recorded on a door jamb. Here is her treasured growth record. You can see why she doesn’t want to leave it behind. I used to babysit her youngest when he was five, which is the lowest mark in this picture, and I can hardly believe that he has grown so much! Where did the time go?!
I’d love to hear your creative solutions to this dilemma. I’m also wondering how many people have all their kids heights combined in one place like this and how many have individual charts for each child. I can see the benefits and downsides to either approach. Here are some of my ideas, including the growth charts I sewed for my kids.
1) Transfer the entire jamb: You could remove the piece of wood with the markings and replace it. In the new house, it could be installed in a doorway or hung on a wall. This would allow you to retain all the quirky charm of the original – with the different colors and handwriting over the years. I personally think this would look so sweet as a piece of “art” in a family room or kitchen. (However, I think Cathy is going to be reluctant to pursue this idea, as she’s sort of worn out on DIY projects after prepping their house for sale.)
2) Take photos and transfer: Like everyone else who has a smart phone, I find myself taking pictures of everything – usually five pictures of everything…. at least five times a day. All this picture-taking can get a bit ridiculous, but it also has its uses. I love the idea of taking photographs of the door jamb – it would probably take five or so photos to capture it all. I was trying to think of ways to keep track of the scale, so you can reproduce it accurately. One way would be to mark off 10 inch sections and take a picture of each section on its own, so you know it’s to scale if you print an 8″X10″ picture. Another way would be to take some notes on reference points (eg. Junior was 4 feet tall in May 2007), to help you work out the right size later. Once you have printed out your pictures to scale, you could
- frame them, either in several simple frames stacked one on top of each other or in a long frame, designed for posters
- decoupage them onto a wooden board or a new door jamb. This option requires no construction work (which I am sure Cathy will appreciate!) and would still capture the personality of the original. For this project, print onto plain paper, rather than photo paper.
- make iron-on transfers and display on a piece of fabric.
3) Transfer the information to a new growth chart: Cathy did this the last time she moved, transferring the heights to a piece of masking tape, which is a great idea! Once you have the information, your imagination is the limit for ways to display it. There are so many beautiful ideas for growth charts out there, but here are some of my favorites, including what I did myself. A tutorial for making my growth chart will be in an upcoming post.
- plain plank of wood – this would be easy, inexpensive, and give the new record a similar feel to the original door jamb. You could paint the wood first or leave the wood grain.
- purchase a ready-made growth chart to hang. These come in endless variety made from wood, fabric, or paper.
- wall decals – decals are such an easy way to make a beautiful statement in a room. I customized a tree branch decal in our nursery. There are dozens of gorgeous examples of wall decal growth charts out there. I particularly love this one!
And last but not least… Jewels’ hanging fabric growth chart!
I’m sure there are similar growth charts out there, but I designed this one myself, keeping in mind that I wanted it to be
- portable – so that we could take it with us when we moved (a feature this post proves is valuable!)
- easy to store – fabric can be rolled up for compact storage and ironed later – wood, obviously, cannot, and paper could get folds and wrinkles – though you could wrap around a paper towel roll to minimize this.
- complete – I wanted to be able to record my kids’ growth from birth to adulthood. Many ready-made growth charts stop around five feet. Granted, most tweens and teens may not have any interest in growth charts anymore, but their parents might, so I made mine go up about 6’2″, which is more than generous, if you could see how tall I am!
UPDATE 5/3/2012: Here’s the link to the tutorial for making your own growth chart!
Please let Cathy and me know if you have more great ideas about how to preserve her treasured memories!