Map Paper Strip Heart Tutorial

Easy DIY paper strip hearts made out of maps.  So great for a travel themed bridal shower or baby shower

 

I used a LOT of upcycled maps in the DIY decor for my sister’s Vintage Travel Themed Bridal Shower.  Not only are they cheap, they’re a great way to tie in the travel theme in lots of different ways.  One of my favorite “map elements” to make were these map paper strip hearts – they were so easy!

 

The first step is to get your hands on a map – preferably one that has a map (or map-looking things) on both sides, since both sides of your strips will be visible.  For example, I had a map that had mostly advertisements on the back, which wouldn’t have worked well.  Instead, I used an old road map of New Jersey that my parents had lying around.

 

Easy DIY paper strip hearts made out of maps.  So great for a travel themed bridal shower or baby shower

 

I decided to size my strips to fit inside one of the folded rectangles of the map.  You have to use strips of paper with no folds in them, so it worked well to just cut up each rectangle into strips.

 

Easy DIY paper strip hearts made out of maps.  So great for a travel themed bridal shower or baby shower

 

My strips ended up being 1″ wide and 8″ long, but you can experiment with the maps (or other paper) you’re using and find a size that works for you.  I used a paper trimmer to measure and cut them quickly and easily.

 

Easy DIY paper strip hearts made out of maps.  So great for a travel themed bridal shower or baby shower

 

Once you’ve got a bunch of strips, you’ll need to cut them to your different lengths.  For each heart, I used two 8″ strips, two 6″ strips, and two 4″ strips – plus one extra 8″ strip folded in half with a hole punched near the crease (this will become your “hanger”).  You’ll need to stack your strips in this order – shortest, middle, longest, hanger, longest, middle, shortest.

 

Easy DIY paper strip hearts made out of maps.  So great for a travel themed bridal shower or baby shower

 

Then, pull your “hanger” strip (the folded one) out so that the non-creased side sticks out an inch or so below the rest of the strips.

 

Easy DIY paper strip hearts made out of maps.  So great for a travel themed bridal shower or baby shower

 

Staple your stack of strips together in the middle so that the staple runs parallel to the edge of your strips.

 

Easy DIY paper strip hearts made out of maps.  So great for a travel themed bridal shower or baby shower

 

Then, almost like peeling a banana, pull your strips back one at a time and line them up at the bottom.  I ended up wanting a little bit of a rounder heart, so I left an inch or so of the hanger strip sticking out and trimmed it at the end.

 

Easy DIY paper strip hearts made out of maps.  So great for a travel themed bridal shower or baby shower

 

Staple again, horizontally this time.  Trim any uneven strips at the bottom to make it nice and neat.

 

Easy DIY paper strip hearts made out of maps.  So great for a travel themed bridal shower or baby shower

 

Admire your cute little map strip heart!  You can use the hanger strip to tie a little loop, and then string them all onto a garland – I strung it up on our banister for some welcoming decor as soon as folks walked in for the shower.

 

Easy DIY paper strip hearts made out of maps.  So great for a travel themed bridal shower or baby shower

 

Or you can hang them individually, like I did on the chandelier above our dining room table.

 

Easy DIY paper strip hearts made out of maps.  So great for a travel themed bridal shower or baby shower

 

The only thing to remember is that once they’re stapled together, you need to make sure they don’t get crumpled or folded at all.  I made mine in advance and stored them in a little shoebox until I was ready to hang them up for the shower.  If you need to store them more compactly (or even travel with them to another location for the party) you could do everything but the last stapling step ahead of time, and store them flat in an envelope – then all you have to do at the last minute is peel back your strips into the heart shape and staple.

 

Easy DIY paper strip hearts made out of maps.  So great for a travel themed bridal shower or baby shower

 

I love how versatile this little paper strip heart technique is – you could make them out of just about anything!  Book pages, newspapers (using the comic pages would be so cute!), printed scrapbook paper, and more.

 

Stay tuned for more details from Margaret’s Vintage Travel Themed Bridal Shower!

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Living Room Makeover, Step 1 – Paint!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of FrogTape®. All opinions are 100% mine.

Living room makeover with neutral gray paint

It’s hard to believe we’ve been in this house for a year and a half already – wow!  We really love it here and it has been perfect for our growing family…but there is a bit of a recurring problem throughout our home.  You see, the previous owners loved accent walls.  I mean, they REALLY loved accent walls. Fire engine red, mustard yellow, chocolate brown, dark blue…nice, bright, bold accent walls.  And all high gloss, too – definitely not our preference.

 

Accent walls begone!  Living Room gray paint makeover

 

From this vantage point in our dining area, you can see the lovely mustard yellow on the fireplace wall, light blue on the exterior wall to the right, and (hard to see in the photo above, but check out the next one) dark blue behind the couch on the right.  What you can’t see in the photo below are the two different shades of beige in the foyer that leads into the living room.  While sitting in the living room, you could see literally 5 different colors of paint.  For my tastes, that’s 3 or 4 too many!

 

Accent walls begone!  Living Room gray paint makeover (notice the tan colored wall in the foyer entry – the wall opposite that one, not visible in this photo, is yet ANOTHER shade of beige!)

 

So after a year and a half of living with a multi-colored living room, we finally got around to painting!  It’s the first step of our living room makeover, which (knowing our speed) will probably be revealed to you in about 6 or 8 months.  But getting paint on the walls is a MAJOR accomplishment in my book (especially with a 2.5 year old and a 3 month old), so I’ll consider that a win!

 

Knowing that we were going to have lots of trim to work around – french doors, windows, closet doors, and the fireplace mantle – I wanted to make sure to use a good, quality painter’s tape that would keep our lines nice and clean and stand up to a coat of primer and two coats of paint.  We tried FrogTape® brand painter’s tape (Multi-Surface) for the first time with this project – and loved our results!

 

Living room gray paint makeover with Frog Tape

The trickiest trim spot of this paint job was around the fireplace mantel.

 

Living room gray paint makeover with Frog Tape

Primer’s done, now time for the real color…

 

Living room gray paint makeover with Frog Tape

And the removal – such clean lines!

 

Living room gray paint makeover with Frog Tape

 

The tape came off cleanly and didn’t allow paint bleed in a single spot in the whole room, thanks to it’s patented PaintBlock® Technology, which it prevents paint from bleeding no matter what surface you’re using it on.   We ended up with such clean, professional results!  FrogTape also makes a low adhesion Delicate Surface tape for use on freshly painted surfaces, faux finishes, primed wallboard, wallpaper, etc.

 

Living room gray paint makeover with Frog Tape

I hesitate to call this an “after” photo – it is more of an “in progress” photo.  The paint makes a HUGE difference in the space, though, and I am so happy with it!

 

Living room gray paint makeover with Frog Tape

 

The color is Big Bend Beige by Benjamin Moore.  (It’s really more of a shade of gray than brown, despite the name!)

 

Here’s a peek at the plan (or maybe I should call it a wish list, before my husband rolls his eyes at me) for the rest of the room.  Though the wood for the TV stand is bought and partially cut, plus we have a piece of furniture for toy storage on order – so we’ll soon be able to cross two more things off of our list!  I know it will never be a “magazine worthy” space, and I am no interior designer, but I’m going for something that is a combination of practical, comfortable, personal, functional, and pretty…so we’ll have to just wait and see what we end up with when it all comes together!

 

Living room plans

 

Do you have a room re-do in your future?  You need to check out the Earn Your Stripes Room Makeover Contest!  Use FrogTape in your room makeover and submit your photos to the FrogTape contest site for your chance to win $5,000!  Visit the site for official details and rules.

 

Find more FrogTape® painting inspiration by visiting and following them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!   And one more time…because who doesn’t love a good “before” and “after” photo comparison?  (HGTV addicts all nod their heads in agreement!)

 

Living room gray paint makeover - before and "after"  

Do you have any major painting projects or room makeovers coming up?  Tell me about them…or better yet, send me those before and after shots!

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DIY Boarding Pass Bridal Shower Invitations

DIY Boarding Pass Invitations for a travel themed bridal shower - includes a free cut file for the invitation and the envelope!

— DIY Boarding Pass Invitations for my little sister’s bridal shower, created with my Silhouette.  Perfect for a world traveler.  Includes a free cut file for the boarding pass and envelope! —

 

My little sister is getting married!  She and her fiancé are tying the knot this August…and since I got married before the days of Pinterest, I’m living vicariously through her a bit by helping her DIY some elements for her wedding.  Needless to say, this is the first of many wedding-related posts you’ll see on unOriginal Mom in the coming months!

 

DIY Boarding Pass Invitations for a travel themed bridal shower - includes a free cut file for the invitation and the envelope!

 

I am hosting a bridal shower for Margaret in a few weeks, and deciding on a theme was really a no brainer.  I know that travel theme anything is really “in” right now…but my sister is quite an accomplished traveler, so if anyone is deserving of this theme, it’s her!  No, seriously – she’s been to 6 continents.  Her travelogue includes a concert tour of Italy, France, and Switzerland, an internship in India, a study abroad in Australia, boarding with a family in Spain, a mission trip to Ecuador, a trip to Morocco, a conference in Italy, a visit to Chile…and I’m sure I’m missing a few trips.  And that doesn’t even include domestic travel.  Whew.

 

Margaret on her trip to Morocco

Margaret on her trip to Morocco

 

So I knew from the get-go I wanted to create a lovely “vintage travel” theme for her shower, beginning with the invitations.  I scoured Pinterest for invitation ideas and settled on a boarding pass style, modeled almost exclusively after this version.  I used Photoshop to create the image for the invitation. (Names and addresses have been changed.)

 

DIY Boarding Pass Invitations for a travel themed bridal shower - includes a free cut file for the invitation and the envelope!

 

After creating the image in Photoshop, I used the “print and cut” method on my Silhouette to cut them in the shape of a boarding pass – it was pretty simple!  I opened my image (I’d saved it as a PNG) in Silhouette Studio.  Then I created the boarding pass shape by welding together 3 rounded rectangles.

 

DIY Boarding Pass Invitations for a travel themed bridal shower - includes a free cut file for the invitation and the envelope!

 

I added colored dotted lines to look like perforations on either end of the boarding pass – but I set them to “no cut” since I didn’t want actual perforations on the invite.

 

DIY Boarding Pass Invitations for a travel themed bridal shower - includes a free cut file for the invitation and the envelope!

 

Then I added registration marks and was able to fit two invitations on each page.

 

DIY Boarding Pass Invitations for a travel themed bridal shower - includes a free cut file for the invitation and the envelope!

 

Because I wanted high quality prints, I paused at this point and saved the file as a PDF to have printed at a print shop on white card stock. (See how to do that in this post.)  Then I brought the copies back home and cut them out, one sheet at a time!

 

DIY Boarding Pass Invitations for a travel themed bridal shower - includes a free cut file for the invitation and the envelope!

 

I wanted to complete the look by making a boarding pass envelope, which I squeezed onto an 8.5×11″ piece of card stock so I could cut it with my Silhouette Portrait.

 

DIY Boarding Pass Invitations for a travel themed bridal shower - includes a free cut file for the invitation and the envelope!

 

Since I created the cut files myself, I am happy to share them with you!  Please note that these are cut files for a Silhouette Cameo or Portrait, and you can only use these files with Silhouette Studio.  Download the boarding pass invitation HERE, and the envelope cut file HERE.

Fine print:  This design is for personal use only.  I’d love for you to follow me via FacebookPinterest, or Instagram in exchange for the download…of course, it’s not mandatory, but very much appreciated!

 

DIY Boarding Pass Invitations for a travel themed bridal shower - includes a free cut file for the invitation and the envelope!

 

As I mentioned, I created the image in Photoshop, so I can’t really share an editable version with you here…but if you’d like to make your own, you can find the free map background here.  The fonts I used were Traveling Typewriter, Ginette, (both free) and Vladmir Script (paid).

 

DIY Boarding Pass Invitations for a travel themed bridal shower - includes a free cut file for the invitation and the envelope!

 

I’ve got a few more fun things up my sleeve for this shower, but I don’t want to give anything away until after it’s over…so stay tuned next month for more details from Margaret’s travel themed bridal shower!

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Enough Room in My Heart – Thoughts from a Second Time Mom

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pampers. All opinions are 100% mine.

Honest thoughts about that scary question - will I love this baby as much as I love my first?

 

Becoming a mom for the first time is scary.  It’s this huge, epic thing that you just – do.  The most important job in the world, and there’s no resume, application, screening, or interview.  You are just sent home from the hospital with a tiny little new life.  In those first weeks and months, that baby is your entire WORLD – you spend hours upon hours feeding, changing, burping, rocking, bathing, and soothing your precious baby.  As baby gets older, you get a bit of your life back…maybe even a date with the hubby or a night out with the girls here and there…but your identity is forever changed.  You are somebody’s mother.

 

The second time around, I’d argue that it’s almost scarier.  You know what to expect – labor and delivery isn’t this big scary unknown thing, you can change a diaper with the best of them, and your baby soothing techniques may be a bit rusty but you’ve still got game.  But you already have a baby.  Your firstborn.  And she’s perfect.  How could this second baby even come close to stealing as much of your heart?  You’ve got a good thing going on with your trio – Mommy, Daddy, and a beautiful child.  You were just feeling like you had a handle on this parenthood thing, and now here comes this new baby, an outsider, who is going to turn life upside down again.  And then there’s the guilt-inducing, gut-wrenching, horrible question that you almost don’t even dare to ask yourself – how can I possibly love this baby as much as I love my first child?

 

Whether baby #2 was planned or not, I think almost every mom of more than one kid experiences this unspoken fear.  To be honest, I was always a little bit “judgey” of only-child families until we started talking about when to start trying for our second baby, and then I understood the feeling of wanting to keep our perfect little family just the way it was.  I was afraid that there just wasn’t enough room in my heart to love another baby as much as I loved my daughter, or that this baby would take away part of my heart from my daughter, and inklings of that fear remained in the back of my mind throughout my pregnancy.

 

Honest thoughts about that scary question - will I love this baby as much as I love my first?

And then – our precious little boy was born.  We didn’t know we were having a boy (and I have only sisters and a sister-in-law, so boys are very foreign to me!), so for a while I was just astonished at the fact that I had a SON.  To be honest, I don’t think I had the same obsession and infatuation with him that I had with my daughter – I had done the newborn thing before and I’m not a huge fan of newborns anyway – but gosh did I love him.  And as we settled into our daily lives, not only did I come to love him more and more, I grew to adore our perfect family of four.

 

Honest thoughts about that scary question - will I love this baby as much as I love my first?

I won’t say that it’s as instant as the flipping of a switch inside as soon as you hold your baby the first time.  It may not be fireworks the first moment he gazes into your eyes.  I think that idea of “love at first sight” is a wrong characterization of loving your baby, because I know people that have felt like it took a few weeks or even months to feel a real deep love and connection with their baby (even with a first baby).  For some people it is instantaneous, and for some it isn’t – and that’s okay.  But you will love that baby just as much as you love your other child.  And your heart doesn’t have to make room for the love you’ll feel for that second child – it grows to love them both.  And of course, it makes my heart almost explode to see how much my daughter loves her baby brother!  There’s nothing that makes me happier.

 

Honest thoughts about that scary question - will I love this baby as much as I love my first?

 

Are you a mom-to-be?  Becoming a mom – whether it’s the first or 6th time – can be both exciting and nerve-racking.   Every expectant mom experiences those uncertain and anxious emotions related to one thing or another.  Walmart is hosing a web series, brought to you by Pampers Swaddlers, called #MomsFirst.  It’s an easy place to find helpful hints, great products, and personal stories from moms just like you and me.  As a mom of a toddler and a baby, I could really relate to Erin’s stories – but I love how honest and real ALL of the moms are in their videos!   You’re sure to find some great mom stories that you can (or will be able to!) relate to as well.  And a quick shout-out to Pampers – I have put both of my babies exclusively in Pampers Swaddlers as newborns, and I’d highly recommend them.  So whether you are an expectant mom or maybe just want to bless a new mom with a box or two of diapers, visit Walmart to see their great Pampers deals.

 

Honest thoughts about that scary question - will I love this baby as much as I love my first?  

Nothing beats tried and true advice from real-live moms, so if you have a minute, check out the stories on the Pampers #MomsFirst page at Walmart.com.

 

If you’re a mom of more than one child, did you experience the same fears that I did before your second baby was born?  Or if you are expecting a baby, does it help to find other moms that can you relate to your fears and anxieties?  

 

Honest thoughts about that scary question - will I love this baby as much as I love my first?

Thanks to the incredible Amber Roy Photography for the beautiful images of our family!

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