DIY – Places We’ve Been Heart Maps

When I first saw the “Places We’ve Been” pin, I instantly knew I wanted to replicate it as an anniversary gift for my boyfriend Daniel.  I originally thought it was a DIY tutorial, only to find out later it was actually from an Etsy shop.  While I LOVE the way it looks, I certainly did not have over $500 to spend.  I also wanted to make it myself because I always feel that adds more meaning to a gift.  So here we are – below is my DIY of the “Places We’ve Been” pinspiration!

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 pieces of Matboard, both at least 12×12
  • Mod Podge (or any glue you prefer)
  • Sharp scissors
  • A heart stencil
  • 12 printed maps
  • 12×12 picture frame
  • Cardstock, or any thick paper (optional)

Obviously this project is all about the maps, so the first thing I did was figure out how I wanted them to look.  I did this DIY right before moving to Portland, so I was working on limited time and a small budget.  Because of that, I personally chose to use Google Maps and print them out at home.  I also chose to use Google Maps because I wanted to control the zoom of each map and what would be seen.  But you could also use an Atlas, Thomas Guide, or look for old maps at a thrift store!

Because we were about to move from Los Angeles to a new home in Portland, I chose to include a map of the neighborhood we dearly loved but had to leave behind.  You can use any heart stencil you’d like – as for me, I didn’t have one (remember that whole uncrafty crafter thing?).  So I just searched for an image of a heart I liked and printed it out on cardstock, and made my own stencil!

I stenciled and cut out each heart, and before I knew it, I had perfect little sentimental maps laid out before me.  This is the moment when I got really excited because I knew the project was going to turn out just as I had imagined it!  At the widest part of the heart it measured 2 1/2″, and from the top point to the bottom point it measured 2 3/4″.  This size worked perfectly for me based on 12 hearts and a 12×12 frame.

Next, I pasted each heart on a piece of matboard with Mod Podge and then cut out each heart again.  The reason I did this is because I wanted the hearts to have a 3D effect.  I used a pair of scissors to do this, and even though they were REALLY dull, it was still fairly easy to cut through the matboard.  With sharp scissors it should be a breeze, but use whatever cutting tool works best for you!

I tried to get fancy and penciled in a mathematical grid onto the matboard, to try and ensure all the hearts would line up perfectly.  It…mostly worked.  The grid was totally wrong, but it still helped me eyeball them into the right placement!

I pasted each heart onto a 12×12 piece of matboard using Mod Podge (you will most likely have to cut your matboard down to size), and weighed it down with heavy books for about 48 hours to make sure the edges wouldn’t curl up.  As for placement, I arranged the maps mainly by how they looked, not by chronological order.  I didn’t want two mostly blue hearts next to each other, same with the green, I also wanted to make sure our neighborhood heart was kind of in the middle, and because a lot of the places we visited were in California and on the East Coast, I tried to vary those from each other as well.

After that, all that was left was putting the finished project in a frame!  I really liked the idea of a white picture frame, since almost all the frames in our house are black, but apparently they aren’t very popular.  I searched for a LONG time to find the perfect white 12×12 frame, and still didn’t have that many options.  In the end, I decided to go with this frame, and I am more than pleased with it.  It’s not the highest quality frame I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t look cheap and feels very sturdy.

So, here it is, my completed DIY Places We’ve Been Heart Maps!

Here’s a side-by-side comparison.  What do you think?  This is the project I am most proud of to date.  And in total it only cost about $20!  Love it!

Bonus:  The Gift Wrap!

I love to make gift wrapping just as meaningful as the gift itself, and I thought I’d share what I did in case anyone is looking for some wrapping inspiration.  This had so much meaning behind it, but was super quick and inexpensive!

All I did was take brown packing paper (which came from an Amazon shipment), and with a black Sharpie wrote the lyrics from our song in cursive (in case you’re wondering, our song is “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis Presley).  Simple as that!  I completed it with a red ribbon, because I felt it needed a little color – the color of love, to be exact.

Thanks to all for reading!  I hope this tutorial gave you all Pinspiration to make your own Places We’ve Been DIY!

Lil Bit More Self Esteem

This is the Part 2 of my post Lil Bit More Skills.  This was a little hard to write, as it’s very personal and delves into to some not-so-great feelings.  But I felt it was important to share, since I know many of us feel similar things at some point in life.  Often simply being able to relate to someone going through the same thing can instantly make you feel a little bit better, and I hope this post has the power to do so.

3.  Get Back to Me

It sounds a bit cliche, but after living in Los Angeles for 4 1/2 years, I feel like I’ve lost myself and a huge chunk of my self esteem.  I’ve known what I’ve wanted to do since I was 13 years old (be an actor), not only did I know, but I passionately pursued this career with an unwavering determination.  Which, lucky for me, proved to be fruitful and continued to be so throughout college.  Without thinking I was the best and had no room for improvement, I still had confidence and believed in my abilities.  Without thinking I was gorgeous, I knew I was attractive.  I did not feel inadequate.

I’m not sure when it happened exactly, but LA changed all of that.  It was not only the lack of performing, but the complete lack of auditions that made me question my abilities and my choices.  It was not fitting into a particular beauty mold that suddenly had me criticizing everything about myself.  I had never felt bad about myself when I saw celebrities in movies or magazines, but when you are completely immersed into so much of that superficial nonsense, it’s hard not to feel bad about yourself.  It’s hard not to lose yourself.

Well, there’s only so much of that you can take, and I needed a break from it.  I happily moved to Portland for that break, and I plan to use this transitional time for new beginnings.  While I’m working on the self improvement and skills mentioned in Part 1 of this post, I will also be working on health, beauty, and fitness.  For extra confidence boosts, I will be trying out various makeup and hair tutorials, diy treatments, fitness plans, and basically anything I find on the oh-so-addictive Pinterest.  They may be wrought with trial and error in the beginning, but hopefully you’ll stick around to see me master new techniques!

Lil Bit More Skills

An “about me” blurb is hard to describe everything this blog will be about, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to explain in more detail.  This post will be divided into two sections, so there won’t be a bunch of text to read all at once!

1.  Be More Than a Lil Bit

The title of this blog, while may be a little vague, very much describes it the best.  I’ve been doing a lot of reflection on myself lately, and I’ve realized that ever since I decided what career path to take (more on that in the next post), I became entirely consumed and let go of almost all other skills and hobbies.  Ending up being a little bit good at a little bit of everything, and I desperately want to change that!  A lot of posts you will find here will be about learning and improving skills, such as DIY projects, art, sewing, photography and, of course, blogging!

2. Let’s Be Real Here

You are going to find a real person on this blog.  I am not a DIY guru.  When trying out a hair tutorial instead of looking fresh I usually look freaky.  I am impatient and get frustrated easily – the two qualities you don’t want when doing crafts, hence why I call myself an “uncrafty crafter,” but I want to share it all!  Because I am not only learning how to improve certain skills, I am also working on personal self improvement, and I know I can learn so much from both the successes and the failures.  I am certain there are other people out there that are trying to do the same, so my hope is that my trial and errors will in some way help others succeed.

There you have it!  I hope that was straightforward enough, and explained more of the why and the what of this blog.  Part 2 will be coming soon and will be a lil bit more personal!  Thanks for reading!

A Weekend in Bend


 This past weekend my boyfriend Daniel and I had the pleasure of visiting Sunriver, Oregon – thanks to our friend, whose aunt and uncle own a beautiful vacation home and were kind enough to let us have a short couples retreat with our friends!

Sunriver is about a 3 hour drive outside of Portland, and about 15-20 minutes outside of Bend.  On our way we stopped in Welches, OR for dinner at The Rendezvous Grill.  Beautiful patio, and great food with an emphasis on seasonal items and local products – which I love!  However, I will say that if you are in a rush this may not be the best choice for you.  We waited about a half an hour for our order to be taken, and a bit more than that for our food.

Since we didn’t make it to the house until almost midnight, most of our exploring happened the next day.

First stop:  brunch at Chow in Bend, OR.

Another amazing meal in Oregon – I’ve lived here for a few months, and have yet to be disappointed in the quality and deliciousness of the food at, literally, every restaurant.  Chow also has an emphasis on local products, and many of their produce come from their garden right outside the restaurant.  Besides their tasty food, they also have grapefruit, mango, guava, and (of course) orange mimosas – any of which you can mix and match!  I did half orange and half grapefruit!

Being the beer-loving folks that we are, we chose to mainly stay in Bend during our mini-vacation, as Bend is home to many craft breweries.  There’s even an Ale Trail Map so you can be sure to check out all of them!  We first stopped at Boneyard Beer where your first tasting is free and every tasting after is $1.  There are no seats inside and no food, so this is definitely a good stop if you just want a few tastings or to pick up a growler.

Our 2nd and one of my favorite stops was Worthy Brewing Co.

As you can see, they grow their own hops right outside the brewery!

When we visited they had a special going on where we combined fresh hops into certain beers.  Very cool to see how it changes the flavor!

We decided to share two flights so we could try all of their beers.  Bonus:  they have a bean bag toss outside!  Which, I’m proud to say, I was victorious at!

3rd stop was Crux – sadly, I had to forego this one as I was the lightweight in the group.  Lastly, we stopped at Brew Werks for dinner.  This was my favorite for atmosphere – they had a large patio with a beautiful view.  Again, I will say if you have somewhere to be this may not be the best choice, as this was one of the longest waits for food during the trip.

The next day, before heading home to Portland, our very last stop was the Sunriver Golf Resort.  While we didn’t stay to play a round, I wanted to include this photo just to show how gorgeous it was here!

All in all we had a great time and can’t wait to return!