My life revolves around maps… Canvas Travel Map DIY

I think at this point it’s pretty clear I have a thing for maps and lists, right? But since pretty much all of this obsession has yielded multiple DIY projects I’ve accomplished with massive discounts, I’m going to give myself a pat on the back and call it a day. Cool? Cool.

Do you remember WAYYYYY back in the day when Facebook had a map functionality (which I’m sure it still does, it’s just not “trending” right now) where you could input all the places in the world where you had been and also see what percentage of the world you friends had traveled? Well, this definitely sparked my interest in having a more tangible version of this that I could look at to inspire my wanderlust bucket list, and also would make me feel happy bringing back memories while looking at the places I had been before.

Making this happen took quite a while because as usual, when you have such a strong vision of something you want it’s either super expensive, or it doesn’t exist. In my case, I really wasn’t keen on paying more than a certain amount for something I knew I could make happen for a much lower cost, so I started the hunt!

THE MAP

The first item I was looking for was an actual canvas map of decent size. It’s funny because this was actually MY VERY FIRST GROUPON PURCHASE!! Throwback! #TBT… Now I don’t know about you, but Groupon is definitely one of my top go-to sites/apps when I’m doing research on an item because it usually has some pretty good offers, and this was a great deal to this day from what I’ve seen. Anyways, at the time, Groupon was offering this great deal on canvas maps that were originally close to $80 for just $19.99 + free shipping. I chose the earth-toned unframed map (no longer available) because I wanted the map to be on a cork board so I could stick pins on the places I’d visited. The Groupon was as easy as buy, choose, order! I was very excited when my map came in, and it absolutely fit the vintage-y vibe I was going for.

THE FRAME

After finding the map, it spent a couple of years rolled up waiting for a cork board that fit the size, had the right framing, and of course, was pocket-friendly. One day while I was at Jo-Ann looking for god knows what, I stumbled upon this cork board that looked like it would be a good fit for the map, and it was on clearance! I wasn’t sure about the measurements, but I took the plunge and bought it. To my great delight, it fit it ALMOST perfectly. Isn’t it the best when you stumble upon what you need when you’re not looking for it? YES! Yes it is! Now for the “almost” perfect fit part – the map actually has a cute border design, but it went a little over the frame on the cork board. Not to worry though – pair of scissors enter stage right and bam! I cut off the bottom border and glued it on top of the canvas so it’s still there and now the map fit perfectly! You can’t even tell it’s cut & glued unless I told you.

THE REST

I glued the edges of the map (not the middle so it wouldn’t make the canvas too hard for the pins) to the cork board with some Beacon 527 Multi-Purpose Glue , which is literally my life and soul. I love that freaking glue! And then I wanted the map to kind of look like “dropping a pin” in real life, so I bought some red Loops & Threads Long Pearlized Pins at Michael’s, and started pinning away my prior travels. My map looks like it got chicken pox all over North & South America (and a tiny bit in Europe) and I love it! I’m doing my best to keep spreading the red all over 😉

WCB DIY Travel Map 1

Chicken pox hitting hard in the western hemisphere!

THE MATH 

Map = $19.99

Frame = $11.99

Pins = $4.99

Glue = $2.50 (coupons!)

TOTAL: $39.47

The WHOLE project is up and running for under $40! And it will of course be a beautiful addition to my beloved Craft Room 🙂

WCB DIY Travel Map 2

Dropping a pin on my most recent and unforgettably amazing trip to the beautiful city of San Francisco ❤

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#TravelTuesdays – Weekend in N’awlins

Traveling is the greatest thing there is. Seeing the architecture, meeting the people, eating the food, etc. of a new place is the best kind of education and personal growth out there. This past weekend in New Orleans was one of the most fun and fulfilling experiences of my life. NOLA has it ALL: BEAUTIFUL sights, interesting people, and some of the best food I’ve ever had. Honestly, this trip was ALL about the food, so… Let’s just jump in!

  1. Mother’s – holy po’boys. Mother’s is a local right of passage type of place. It’s been around since the dawn of time, and its history is as rich as the bread pudding. BEST BREAD PUDDING IN ALL OF THE ENTIRE FACE OF THE EARTH. The end. Don’t debate me. The fried shrimp po’boys were off the charts too. Great introduction to the trip!
  2. Bourbon Street – if you didn’t come here, you didn’t go to New Orleans. We hit up a lot of bars, strip clubs (some by accident) and restaurants all around the area. There was fun in every corner! Some key nighttime stops in the area:
    1. Touchdown Jesus: someone told one of my friends about it, and we didn’t know what it was… until we saw it. Go towards the back of St. Louis Cathedral at night, and you’ll be greeted by the one and only!
    2. Pat O’Brien’s (Pat O’s if you’re cool): such a chill, cool, open bar, with some of the best hurricanes in town.
    3. Preservation Hall: oh man. What an experience! This was one of the unexpected stops we made. We were walking all around Bourbon and we saw a big line for this place, and we had no idea what it was for. We asked one of the people in line and they mentioned it was a Jazz show. That’s all we knew. We were too late to make it to the 7 o’clock show, so we lined up for 8. If you’ve ever wanted to travel in time, this is the place to do it. You walk in to this old, barely lit building, onto a very small area, standing room for the most part, with a small stage and some old chairs and instruments. The band starts playing. I don’t care how much jazz you’ve listened to in your life, you haven’t truly heard it until you’re here. The band was absolutely flawless and incredible. They took requests (donations required; go towards the back of your wallet if you want to listen to the classics, aka “The Saints”). Worth every minute, every penny. No food or drinks inside, it’s only a one-hour show.
  3. Atchafalaya: I can’t remember if we need to thank Yelp or Trip Advisor for this one, but holy brunch. We were trying to schedule a meal at The Court of Two Sisters, but their staff told us they were packed so we had to look elsewhere, and we found this GEM in the Garden District. It’s not one of the globally acclaimed stops, but rather a local hidden treasure, which we are so glad to have found and which I will recommend from here to the end of time. It’s about a 15 minute car ride from downtown. PS – we had multiple restaurant experiences all throughout the city where they told us long wait periods that turned out to be 10 minutes, or said they were full, but really weren’t. It seems like a common (stupid/douchey) practice in Nola. Go anyways.
  4. Pralines: typical New Orleans dessert. Best place to get them for the best price is right on Jackson Square at the New Orleans School of Cooking. Must try and must buy a few boxes to bring back as gifts (to yourself… so you can grieve the distance between you and your Nola trip).
  5. Criollo Restaurant & Carousel Lounge at Hotel Monteleone: delicious food (obviously need to try the bread pudding for dessert), great ambiance and awesome “digestive” setting a few feet over at the Carousel Bar! Never had a chance to actually sit on the carousel bar, but nonetheless it was an awesome sight.
  6. Court of Two Sisters: gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, king’s cake, bread pudding… This place has ALL of New Orleans’ gastronomic heritage under one roof. It’s not the best version of each food, but it’s definitely a fun experience and good value. Recognized throughout as a must for tourists.
  7. Garden District: beautiful walk. Also, if you’re a fan of the American Horror Story “Coven” season, you can pass by the house where they filmed, and picture yourself as the Supreme while you’re at it.

There are plenty more things to do (we also visited Frenchmen Street, the Mardi Gras warehouse, a number of cemeteries, and more!), but I’m going to stop the list here because I’m getting depressed I came back home 😦 Here’s a little highlight gallery for your reference and my continued weeping…

#ToTravelWellIsACraft

I’d like to get away with posting my travel adventures on this blog under the pretense that #ToTravelWellIsACraft – and I truly believe that it is. There are a number of ingredients that need to be present to have a good trip, namely:

  1. Good company! We all have friends we adore, but not all our friends make the best travel buddies, and that’s ok. Maybe your beach-loving friends are not so fond of hiking or sight-seeing, and vice versa. So before planning a trip, make sure that the group is well informed about the location, activities and expectations of each to avoid annoyance, group division, or even confrontation.
  2. Good mix of prior plans with flexibility for spontaneity: the best way to guarantee you get the most out of a trip is to plan at least some of the stops ahead of time, but also leave space to choose on the spot. Every city has its must-see stops that are widely known, so those could be at the top of your list, but you can leave some time open to explore and ask around for the best local places to visit.
  3. Good vibes! You need to have a rain or shine mentality when you go on a trip, because you don’t know how the destination’s weather/events will go 100%, so you need to be open to everything to guarantee you’ll have a good time regardless of out-of-your-control conditions.
  4. Be very aware of your budget: this is the boring and sucky part, but it’s necessary. You need to know how financially flexible your wallet is for a trip before booking, and make sure you leave room for unexpected expenses and to bring back souvenirs if you so choose.
  5. If you’re going international, make sure you do your cultural research! This is important from the very beginning, because it may influence the clothing you’ll pack, places you go, and maybe even the way you eat.

In short, just make sure you do your proper research about the destination, be realistic with your money, and make the conscious decision to have fun every step of the way 🙂