Sunday, June 23, 2013

Our DIY wooden growth chart!

I always knew I wanted some sort of a growth chart on my daughters wall, but couldn't decide what kind would be best. As I mentioned previously, even though I briefly considered wall decal charts, I ultimately decided to go with the wood growth chart instead for several reasons. Firstly I adored the look of the oversized wood ruler and it was actually the most practical option for us because if we ever decided to move we could just take it along with us.

These oversized rulers are available for purchase at places like Pottery Barn Kids, or even on Etsy, but as usual I wanted to add a personal touch by making it myself. It seemed relatively straightforward; all I needed was a piece of wood, some wood stain and paint. However because I didn't want the smell of paint or wood stain to overwhelm our home and I didn't want to leave it out to dry either because, well it was raining all time. I decided to get a little more creative. I went on etsy and found a seller that makes chart decals that can be applied to wood. This is basically a set of pre-measured ruler markings in 12 inch strips that I can apply to the wood which will look like it has been painted or embossed once complete.

 I thought this was such an awesome shortcut for me. I wouldn't have to worry about painting or drawing on the lines and numbers accurately; I could just apply the pre-measured decals instead. Best of all I wouldn't need to wait for it to dry or worry about paint bleeding or making a mess.  The etsy store also provides the option of personalizing the decal by adding a family name or phrase to the chart.

At first I was undecided about whether I liked the look of it with the family name, because it seemed a bit crowded to me, but in the end  I decided I would get it with the name and just use a wider cut of wood.

So we all headed out to the lumber section of our local Home Depot to pick out a 6ft piece of wood for her ruler. Originally I was planning to buy a raw cut of pine wood and then I would have to sand and stain it myself however I found a pre-finished cut of oak wood which was already the perfect size and color which would save me even more time and work!  The exact dimensions of the wood was 1 x 6 x12 (one inch thick, 12 inches wide and 6 ft long)
Once I brought the wood home it still needed a bit of sandpapering over the edges. Thankfully it stopped raining long enough for me to get that done outside

Once that was done I grabbed my tape measure (because I  couldn't find a ruler),  and starting marking off 12 inch intervals on the plank of wood. Then I started applying the decal.  It was a little bit trickier than I anticipated because the decal markings weren't really in the right order. I assumed that each 12 inch strip of markings would be a full set of ruler markings, i.e. from 1 inch to 2 inch but instead the decals were  more like from half an inch to 1.5 inch so it was bit confusing applying it.  I understand that the seller set it up this way because most people choose to hang their decal about 6 inches off the floor to make up for the baseboard that runs along the wall. Our current place has very flat baseboards so I wanted to make the growth chart like a real ruler and start from zero, hence the reason why it was harder for me.

Unlike previous decals I have worked with, these markings didn't seem as sticky, maybe because I was applying it to finished wood? I'm not sure but it was tough getting the markings to stay on the wood rather than on the backing paper. This was pretty frustrating because every time one of markings didn't stick or shifted I had to remeasure everything, I actually had to paint on one of of the lines with my Stila waterproof eyeliner because that decal just wouldn't stick on, but eventually as with all DIY projects perseverance paid off!!

Once I had all the markings applied to the chart, I started applying the numbers. There are many different ways to set up the numbers but I decided to keep it looking like a traditional ruler by placing the number horizontally right before the large inch markers.

Then I added the final touch by applying our family name and year  to the ruler! Once I was done with the ruler I had to figure out a safe and sturdy way to attach it to her wall. I headed back to home depot and purchased this heavy duty picture hanger.

We had a few mishaps trying to hang it on the wall, for one thing we procrastinated for several weeks and then when my husband finally got around to it, he hung it upside down! And when I say he hung it upside down,  I really mean both of us, because I was right there with him but I didn't realize either, I kept saying "something's not quite right" but couldn't figure out what. It seriously took me 10 minutes of squinting at it with my head tilted to the side to realize that the darn thing was upside down! We had a good laugh about that. Now her wall chart is complete and her room is complete too!

Friday, June 7, 2013

The truth about Sophie...

During my pregnancy I heard nothing but wonderful things about Sophie The Giraffe; she was supposedly a God-send teething toy, loved by babies the world over. It struck me as a little odd that such a simple toy cost over $20.00 but so many other baby items appeared over priced to a new mom like me so I made a mental note to do more research on it before adding it to my list of things to buy.

Firstly I found out that this toy originated in France in the 1960's which is why the packaging has the words Sophie La Giraffe. According to this promotional site it gained popularity because prior to that time “toys were mostly fashioned off traditional farm animals such as pigs, cows and sheep or domesticated animals such as cats and dogs. Because Sophie was the first ‘exotic’ animal toy available, her popularity rapidly spread.”  Another appealing aspect of this toy is that it is made out of 100% natural rubber which feels better on the gums of a teething baby as compared to all the hard plastic teethers out there.

This teeny rubber giraffe is currently so popular it is a top choice for all the celebrity babies. In fact it is safe to say Sophie is quite the celebrity too!  

Sophie was even featured in the 1980's classic Three men and a baby


From all the reviews and comments I read, Sophie La Giraffe was hailed as queen of all teething toys because it combines 100% rubber with many ridges, bumps and uneven edges such as the face and legs of the giraffe that are soothing to sore teething gums. Best of all it makes a squeaking sound which is always a plus for babies.

As usual whenever I research a baby product I search for any recalls or negative reviews as well just to make sure I get a balanced view of the product and I was really disturbed by what I found.  Many parents had reported that this posed a serious choking hazard that could lead to serious injury or even death. Let me explain how.
The legs of the Sophie La Giraffe are long and rubbery and according to their commercials, these legs are perfect for reaching molars all the way in the back of the mouth. This sounds like a good thing since most teethers are designed for the front teeth only, but here is the catch; Those legs are also the  perfect length and shape to choke a baby by getting stuck in their throat.  This is especially risky when a baby is lying down on their belly playing with Sophie and one of the legs gets stuck in the back of their mouth; they can't evencry out for help because their airway is blocked.  Considering that this overpriced Giraffe costs more than four times the price of other teethers I felt they should have released an official response to the concerns out there. They did not. Instead they took a more subtle approach; the newer models of Sophie seem to have slightly shorter legs but they are still long enough to choke a baby!!

They did however release a newer safer Sophie La Giraffe teething ring. This still features the 100% rubber giraffe design but has the legs all fused together to prevent the possibility of a baby choking on an individual leg. Initially I didn't want to buy this product, especially after all the bad press and it cost about $15 which is still more than double the price of other teething rings but my daughter was inconsolable when she was teething so I decided to give it a try. They did have a vanilla flavored version which seemed a bit bizarre to me so I stuck with the plain one.

I didn't want to like this product but ended up loving it. It is without a doubt the best teether we have tried. It is easy for small hands to hold on to it, it has lots of bump ridges, soft rubbery texture and its fun to look at too. Basically it does exactly what it's supposed to!  My baby especially liked chewing on the face and head of the Sophie teething ring.

Sophie teething ring drying on our grass rack by Boon

Overall I am glad we gave the teething ring a chance and stayed clear of the original Sophie.