Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Year Will Grow

Recently, I was staring blankly at some pieces of wooden metre rule I had lying around from an old project.  

I was thinking about these rulers, about how lovely they are, and how they have managed to avoid extinction in the cut and thrust of the 21st century. 

I was also thinking about how little legs are getting longer, and how even smaller legs like to stand more and more these days. About how these children grow.

These thoughts converged in the blankness and a new project was born: a growth chart made with the bits of metre rule. And it must be a giraffe. 

So here is the lanky lass (a girl called Nelly apparently) who has been keeping me so busy:

First I had to find the right giraffe shape. Some of my very non-zoological models:

When I was happy with the shape I drew it out on some 6mm plywood. Then I stuck the metre rule pieces on top with a lot of PVA. I marked on the rules where they would be cut, or where they hung over the edges. I trimmed some of them with the saw.

Once that had dried I cut it all out with a jigsaw. This bit hurt (I have a rubbish jigsaw and no work bench) and I had some very kind help from Mr Year.

Next, I painted. I painted a white strip next to the metre rule that would be doing the actual measuring. I did in satinwood paint for ease of wiping and because that is what we had. I added eyes, ears and also an imperial line - feet and inches - next to the metric. Gotta be bilingual these days.

Finally, a lot of sanding. Each stage took a little while and there were a few splinters and muttered obscenities along the way but I am pleased with the result.

This song was my playlist - if a playlist can be one song only - throughout the making of this giraffe. Move along to 4 mins 27 secs for nearly three minutes of exquisite nostalgia and the sweetest song in the whole wide world. 

For the year will turn and the spring come round and the seed will grow.


  1. This is fabulous, what a beautifully thought out and executed project. I love old rulers, it's the wood that does it.

  2. you know that is my and now isi's favourite bagpuss episode ever! so i know that song very well. so lovely that while he's really into his superhero cartoons he still enjoys a bit of bagpuss. and the giraffe is so gorgeous. worth all the hard work and a few splinters. x

  3. I just stuck a tape measure on the kitchen wall! This is fantastic, old wooden rulers are lovely. x

  4. I just love this; completely brilliant. Is Nelly going to live outside, or is she a domestic giraffe? (And that Bagpuss tune is one of the loveliest in the whole series).

  5. This is so sweet, Miriam! I've been pining for a measuring device, and wish I could order one of these online :)

  6. Oh it's wonderful, I love those old rulers and you have made perfect use if them.


a year above the shop

a year above the shop