Thursday, July 28, 2011

City Map Souvenir Jewelry How-to

I'm sure I'm not the first to think of this. And if you searched the streets of Manhattan, visiting every cutesy boutique you saw (ooh--wouldn't that be fun?), I'm sure you could find something similar to this. But the question is: would it be $3 or less? And would you have that sense of bliss that only comes from creating something yourself? The answer, of course, is no, friends.

So, if you're the sentimental type who likes to gather memoirs from the different places you've been, you might just like this City Map Souvenir Jewelry I made the other day.

I used my simple & reliable Mod Podge method, just like I did on my Silhouette Jewelry. For the necklace, I went to Hobby Lobby & bought a rectangle pendant, a ball chain necklace, & an apple charm. {Watch for the jewelry findings to be on 50% off & get these items for less than $3!}

I had saved my city map from my recent trip to New York & cut a little section to fit my pendant.

I also made a little I N.Y. sign & punched out a little star from decorative paper for a little extra something.

Then, I just "painted" on a few thin coats of the Mod Podge, letting it dry in between. Adding on the apple charm gave it even more dimension.

The bracelet was a little more messy, but still pretty simple. I bought these large 1-inch wooden beads (also from HL) and a package of thin sewing elastic for this piece.

Using the same map, I cut more pieces (approximately 2"x3"), big enough to cover each bead.

Cutting diagonal lines from the outer edges toward the center makes it easier to cover a round object, such as the bead.

After I made the cuts, I painted a coat of the Mod Podge onto the back of the paper, then wrapped it around the bead.

I found it helps to roll the bead around on the table with the palm of your hand to make the paper adhere well.

Once the bead is fully covered, apply another coat of Mod Podge over the outside. Yeah, this is the messy part. When that's done, allow it to dry on a sheet of wax paper.

Since I used the 1-inch beads, it took 9 beads to make an average size bracelet. {Fashion FYI: This does make a large piece of jewelry, so if you prefer a little less "Wilma Flintstone" look, you may want to use smaller beads.} Also, I covered 3 of my beads in a polka-dot scrapbook paper to add a little contrast.

When the beads are dry, use something sharp to poke the holes back thru the paper & then string them onto your elastic.

To finish it off, tie a secure knot, cut the ends short, & poke the knot into the hole of one of the beads.

Who says you have to buy your souvenirs while you're on your trip? If you don't find it while you're there, just make it when you get home. And think of all the other things you can make with city maps, ticket stubs, or even playbills! Your wheels are turnin' now, aren't they?

And if you forgot to bring your map home with you, just google & print one. Ahhh-don't we love the internet? Speaking of which, I'll be sharing this project with a few of these sites across the web. Check them out!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sweet Potato Fries: They're Good, Y'all!

Here in the South, most of us are more than half-way thru the summer, which means there have been a lot of cook-outs & a lot of eating out on the run. So, the other day while I was eating what seemed like french fry number #285 for the summer, I started a search for a little bit healthier alternative.

And, lo and behold, I found one from one of the most unlikely people: Queen of Southern cooking, Paula Deen.

I, for one, love her with her fabulous Southern accent & delectably Southern dishes. But, let's face it, y'all...she didn't get famous for helping us all get healthy.

{Isn't she adorable? And that kitchen is swoon-worthy.}

But, she does have a great recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Fries which you can find by clicking here. Like every other recipe of hers I've tried, they're delish. And easy to make as well.

And the best part is, they're actually healthy. Which is more than I can say about her Savannah Chocolate Cake with Hot Fudge. Yum.

We loved the Sweet Potato Fries. Let me know if you like them, too!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cupcakes & Cannoli

I guess I should just start a series of posts called "Points of Interest for Your Tastebuds", because every time I tell you about my travels, I somehow always bring it around to the food. What does this says about me? I have no idea. But since we're friends, & friends help each other out, I have to tell you about 2 fun food stops you really must see if you visit Boston or NYC.

First up is Modern Pastry in Boston's North End. This has become one of our favorites over the years when we go back to Boston to see the family.

This is a family-owned Italian Bakery that has been in business for over 70 years. They're famous for their homemade authentic cannoli & let me tell you--they're delicious & worth the wait in that long line that sometimes goes out onto the street. They make your cannoli to order with your choice of fillings & then tie them up in an adorable box with the little red baker's twine. I, for one, just can't resist that.

Chocolate dipped with chocolate cream? Yes, please.

And then, in New York, there's the Magnolia Bakery-- a.k.a., a little slice of Cupcake Heaven in the heart of Manhattan. We came across the Rockefeller Center location as we were walking around town, and it's just as adorable as it is delicious, so yes, I highly recommend.

See what I mean?

Just a little FYI for you should you be visiting one of these great cities soon. So, check these places out. Your tastebuds will thank you. Your thighs, well, that's another story.

Want to know more? Click on their names to visit their sites:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kid Clips for Road Trips

No, it's not a tongue twister. It's just an idea I had for our recent trip that I thought some of you might like. Just file this under "Projects to do with those scrapbook supplies since I'm so far behind on scrapbooking I'll never catch up".

I call these Kid Clips. And they worked like little charms for us.

First of all, I should explain that we operate on the "Sweets for the Sweet" Philosophy in our house. That simply means that desserts & special treats are reserved for those who are kind & sweet. My kids know that if they say something ugly or mean to their brother or sister (or to their parents), they won't be getting dessert that day, including sodas or slushies, should we pass a Sonic at Happy Hour. And trust me, they do not like unhappy Happy Hours. Yes, even my older kids have to follow this plan & it definitely works.

So, with a few stickers & scraps of paper, I made these little clips for my visor as a constant reminder of who was doing a good job in the kindness department.

The rule was simple: as long as they were doing well, the clip stayed up. But, if anyone made a bad choice & decided to be ugly or whiny, their clip came down. And if the clip came down, they would miss out on the next fun thing, whether it be a pack of gum at the next gas stop, an ice cream cone, getting to choose the next movie or having extra time on the iPad.

The amazing thing was, every clip stayed up the entire 16 hours of our trip up there. Trust me--I was impressed. The way back was just a little less blissful, but only one time did I have to remove a clip. I won't mention who that was, but she's short & her name ends in "a". She did not like seeing her clip come down, so she worked hard & got it back up there pretty quickly.

These clips worked so well for us, I think I may just keep them up there. Do you have any more road trips planned for the summer? What kinds of tips do you have for keeping the peace?

I'm sharing this post with some of these peeps. Stop by & say HI!