Family Travels Map

In June, I shared with you the map that was hanging in my family room at Cheerios and Latte. It’s still hanging, and I didn’t know if everyone had gotten a chance to see it.  In case you didn’t, you can find it still over there.

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My husband, the wonderful and sensitive Mellow Man lived a life of a carefree bachelor until a few years ago.  He traveled to wonderful, foreign places like Cairo, Hong Kong and Oslo.  And he loves to take photos of all of the places that he’s been.  Photography is his hobby.  Photography is how we met, so his photos of his exotic trips have a special place in my heart.  He traveled to China while we were dating, and each night he would write me sweet emails about his strange and wonderful adventures there.

MM Great Wall

Of course, I had been to places that he had never seen, like the Yellowstone National Park, Alaska and New York City. At least I think I have.  Plus, we’ve been on wonderful trips together.  For example, we spent 2 glorious weeks in Italy on our Honeymoon.  I would love to go back– it’s a wonderfully romantic country!  I loved Rome, but I think that Firenze (Florence) is possible the most beautiful city ever!

My Mom Made That: Family Travels Map (Piazza Del Duomo)

We also like to dream and plan the vacations that we’d go on some day,  or fantasy vacations.  I thought we it would be great to have a map that showed where we had been, and where we wanted to go someday.  There is a travel map that our friends have that they purchased from SignalsI liked the map, but I didn’t like the price!  I figured why not make one ourselves, so I could save well over $100.  We made it complete with a DIY frame made out of decorative moulding.  You’ll need:

  • A World Map
  • 3/16″ Foam Core Board (I got two 20″x30″ pieces.)
  • Duct Tape
  • Decorative Moulding cut to size of map
  • Miter Saw
  • Staple Gun
  • Brackets
  • Wood Glue
  • Picture hanger for frame
  • Spray Paint
  • Acrylic rulers and yard stick
  • Craft Knife
  • Spray adhesive
  • Super Sticky double side tape
  • Balsa Wood
  • Cardstock and a Color Printer.
  • Mod Podge
  • Brayer
  • Acrylic Craft Paint
  • Dressmaker’s Pins
  • Wire snips

I thought the project would be fairly simple to make.  I talked MM into making it with me because I knew it would be a simple project, but boy, was it ever filled with a lot of mishaps.  Hopefully,  you can follow the final project, so you don’t have to repeat my mistake!

I found a map of the world for $0.89 at Amazon! (Affiliate link) It was 2′x3′, so I knew it would be large enough to go over our family room mantel.  Once I got the map, I headed over to our local craft store to get some 3/16″ foam core board.  (Actually, I bought the 1/2″ stuff the first time, but my husband told me it was too thick.  Back it went for the thinner stuff!) The two pieces of foam core board were $3.00 with my coupon from Michael’s.

I then took Mellow Man over to Home Depot where we found some decorative moulding that had a slight lip (it ended up having a 1/4″ lip, which is important for building the frame.)  We needed at least 10.5 feet of moulding, so we got 2 extra feet.  The moulding cost us $0.98 a foot, or approximately $12.00 for the whole frame.

Now, I had MM build the frame for me, and it took him an hour or so.  We learned a couple of things.  !) You can cheaply build a large frame with decorative moulding, but 2) It’s harder to make a frame with this material than it would be with traditional framing pieces.  This means that you may want to use traditional framing supplies.  However, you are going to measure out your pieces so the interior of the frame will fit around the map perfectly after cutting each piece with the miter saw.  Cut each piece with a 45 degree angle.  You will then glue the edges together and staple the back sides of the frame together with a staple gun. Then you will want to attach corner brackets to stabilize the frame with screws.  Then spray paint the frame a color that you’d like.  We chose red since it’s the accent color of our family room.  When the paint is dry attach a picture hanger to the top side of the frame.

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While you are waiting for the spray paint to dry, mount your map!  I had two piece of foam core board that were slightly smaller than my map.  I positioned them together, and then taped them together white duct tape. Then I rolled out the map, and positioned it so it was one inch from the edge on two sides, and trimmed the remaining board away with my craft knife.  Try to get get smooth even cuts.  I then took a long strip of particle board, and two binder clips, and I clipped the map in place in the middle.  This allowed me to spray mount the map in the exact position that I wanted.  I lifted each side and sprayed it in place.  You can use your brayer to smooth it out!

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After the map is adhered to the foam core, and your frame is dry, you’ll need to mount your map.  First, and very importantly, make sure the foam core fits into the frame!  Now we did this a quick and easy way since the foam core is very light, and this isn’t a “real” frame.  I put the super sticky double-sided tacky glue (the kind with the translucent red wrapper around both sides), on the edge of the foam core.  The edge of the foam core is the part that needs to attach to the frame.  My handy husband helped me get the foam core into the frame perfectly on the first try, and since we checked beforehand, we knew that the foam core would fit perfectly inside the frame.

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To make the legend that indicated the meaning behind the different pins, I used a piece of balsa wood painted red with craft paint.  The balsa wood cost me $4.  I trimmed it to size, printed a nice sign in color on cardstock using a laser printer and mod podged the cardstock to the balsa wood.  I used balsa wood because it is very light, and would adhere easily to the map using my super sticky tape.  Before attaching it to the map, I put a sample pin next to each part of the legend.  We had 4: 1)Where Emily has been; 2) Where Alan has been; 3) Where our family has been; 4) Where we want to go next.  The pins needed to be trimmed with wire snips so that they were not sticking too far above the legend.  I used a package of dressmaker pins, and that cost me $3.49.

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Then the really fun part began.  We started pinning where we had been, and where we wanted to go.  Once we were done, we hung the picture above our mantel.  I’m delighted with how it turned out.

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The best part is that it cost under $30 to make!

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Improving my Blogging Photography

I’d like to think that I’m not a horrible photographer.  I’ve enjoyed the wonderful capabilities of my Nikon D70 since Frog was just over a year old.  That’s nearly a decade, and the camera has served me well.  I don’t think that MM and I would be together now if we didn’t both have D70s.  They are what caused us to click.

I’ve been trying to improve my photography of food and crafts.  It’s not quite the same type of photography as capturing a smiling kiddo or flowers blooming outside.  Scenic vista and cherubic children have been the primary subjects until I started this little blog.  It’s a new style of photography, and we live in a home with not a lot of natural light.  The family room is covered with knotty pine paneling, which darkens the room.  We have a yard surrounded by old oak, magnolia and hickory trees that provide lush shade, which can hinder good close-up shots.
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