Tag Archives: crafts

A Map Project

13 Jun

A couple of weeks after our 5-year anniversary, I finally gave Travis his anniversary gift. The first part was a map project I had seen on chicrunner’s blog, which was a version of this one on Kayla Danelle, which was a version of this one on minimoz.

I took all of their ideas and put my own spin on it. The map lives on…

First, where to get the maps. There had been a map store near our house but it closed. I thought about buying an atlas from Walmart but ended up using Rand McNally’s website to make jpgs of each map I wanted to include. I put those jpgs on a flash drive and went to Walmart.

They have a fancy new machine that lets you print your pictures instantly. Instead of having to wait an hour, I got them in 5 minutes. Sweet!

I also bought a frame, scrapbook paper and small rubber stamp letters (for $0.99!) while I was there.

When I got home, I started by making a heart cutout that I could use to turn each map into the shape of a heart.

Then I set to work stamping out the words for each map caption. I had planned on using sticker letters but couldn’t find any at Walmart that were the size/style/color I wanted so this worked out great. I also got to use one of stamp pads I’ve had since, like, 5th grade.

The maps and captions are:

  • fell in love (University of Minnesota campus)
  • got engaged (Chicago waterfront)
  • said I do (Mounds View, MN)
  • made a home (Wheat Ridge, CO)

Finally, I was ready to put the maps into the frame. I’m pretty sure I bought a 13 x 15 frame, with no mat or anything.

At first, I had planned to just use the blank side of the picture the frame came with as the background but the maps were just a little cream-colored so it didn’t look right. I decided to put a border around each map and toyed with laying it out like this:

But I ran out of time and had to pick Travis up from the airport so I hid everything away to finish the next day.

When I got it back out, I decided that I wasn’t a huge fan of the diamond layout and that it might work better to lay the maps out vertically instead of horizontally. I put the scrapbook paper down first in a block pattern and taped the back with looped Scotch tape.

Then I laid out the pictures and captions.

Once I was satisfied, I carefully lifted up a corner at a time to tape them down exactly as they were.

It still needed something. I took the map/paper insert back out and added silver hearts leftover from our wedding invitations to “mark the spot” of each relevant location.

I also added a note for Travis on the back.

Done! I really like how this project turned out and it didn’t take very long – maybe 2-3 hours?

But since this wasn’t really a “guy” thing, I also bought Travis a tarp.

It’s a practical thing but also a running joke between Travis and me. Several years ago, when we were trying to decide what to buy some friends for their wedding, Travis wanted to get them a tarp. I retorted, “You don’t buy someone a tarp for their wedding!” But he insisted – “It’s on their registry!” So we bought them a tarp, along with something else more traditional like bath towels. Now whenever we’re shopping for a wedding or shower gift, he suggests a tarp. Sorry Trav, once is enough. Unless the gift is for you, I guess.

DIY Valance

23 Nov

Ever since starting to work at home back in March, I have been on the hunt for the perfect valance for my office. I love damask patterns, so I was really looking for one like that but couldn’t find one that would fit since the window itself is only 2′ tall.

So I made my own!

I had attempted to sew things before making this valance with the sewing machine I got from Travis’ grandma but the thread kept bunching up on the underside of the fabric and I couldn’t figure out why. Beth (my MIL) suggested adjusting the thread tension, which I did. And while I think that was part of the problem, I soon discovered the real reason I was having problems: I was forgetting to lower the foot where the thread comes out (excuse me if there’s a technical name for that). D’oh! So now, I just have to learn how to feed the fabric through in a straight line!

Regardless, here is the how the valance turned out:


Colors for the office are now pink, orange and teal

I had at first planned for it to be just a piece of fabric hanging across the window (like a flat valance) but even though I only made it 12″ long, it covered up 1/2 the window. And since my sewing job wasn’t the greatest, bunching it up and tying bows helped to make it shorter AND hid my poor seams. 😉


Closeup of the fabric and bows

Since I am proof that even a non-sewer can sew something and make it look decent, here is how I made this: I bought 2 yards of fabric (the window is about 4′ wide). I folded the fabric in 1/2 the long way and sewed shut all the open ends (top and 2 sides). I then folded the top down about 3 or 4 inches (depending on the size of your curtain rod) and sewed that, creating a pocket for the curtain rod. If you are creating a flat valance, you would probably also want to sew a seam along the bottom (about 3″ from the bottom), just for the visual.

Anyway, it’s not complicated or hard at all. It’s pretty much just using common sense. But not only was this cheaper than buying an actual valance (I think the fabric was less than $10), I got to choose the fabric I wanted AND make it the right length for our window (since it’s more of a midget window than a normal one).

Here is my office right now:


Where I have been spending my workin' days - see the cute pink lampshade?

I am planning on adding wooden letters painted pink and orange spelled HOPE right above my desk, to the left of my lamp. It’s on my To-Do List!

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!