DIY: Make A Banner Using Old Maps

I recently posted about my Best Party Purchase, a set of letters and images that can be strung and re-strung on a cord to make beautiful banners for any occasion. But what if you have a super specific theme and that look just doesn’t jive? Why not save a couple of bucks (and a boat load of your valuable time!) and try to make something instead? It shows that you are a committed host who genuinely cares about every detail going into the occasion. Take, for example, a retirement party hosted at my friend’s parents’ place this past weekend: the theme surrounded the couple’s desire to travel together in retirement. So, naturally, we made a banner out of old sailing maps I had lying around the apartment!

What You’ll Need:

– Maps – any kind from any place – the more specific the theme, the more specific the maps
– Elmer’s Repositionable Letters (or cut out/print off your own letters to use)
– 1 piece of card stock (for your flag stencil)
– Scissors
– Glue stick
– Ruler
– Twine
– Pencil

map tools

First, you will need to make your flag stencil. Decide how big you would like each flag to be and, using your trusty ruler, outline your flag shape. Cut it out. Mark two dots, equidistant from each side of your flag – this is where you will poke the holes for your twine.

with holes

Next, you’re going to want to saddle the top of your flag right up to the edge of your map. This way you guarantee a straight top to each flag and ensure that you are using your map supply efficiently. Using a pencil, trace your flag stencil onto the map, cut it out, and do it again!

maps

Using your glue stick (or repositionable adhesive letters) affix each letter to each section of your map.

After you have poked holes in each of your flags, feed the twine through the front portion of the flag, around the back, and out the other hole. To ensure your flags hang evenly in line, you can try alternating the way the twine is fed through each flag- See below for example.

close up

And that’s it!  Make sure you have enough slack on each side of your banner, before you cut it (!), for hanging purposes. Affix your banner to walls and other areas using adhesive clips or hooks. You can also try tying the ends of extra twine into lovely little bows for an added touch.

final copy

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Best Summer Salad

Summer is a super busy time, making it hard to prepare fast and healthy meals. Not to mention the sweltering heat of using the oven in an apartment with no A/C! One of our favourite things to have for dinner in the Summer (and all year, really) is a cold plate. Various fruits, veggies, meats, and cheeses laid out for us to pick at while we watch TV, or sit and read, or – as I have found the case to be this summer – craft. There is minimal clean up and it is a much healthier alternative to barbecuing whatever is in the freezer and tossing a side of chips on your plate. My personal favourite component of any cold plate we’ve made this summer is the caprese salad: a fast and easy (and filling!) way to get your daily veggies and a bit of protein.

last caprese

 

What you’ll need:

– Fresh, ripe tomatoes
– Buffalo mozzarella cheese
– Fresh basil
– Olive oil
– Sea salt
– Cracked pepper
– Baguette or crackers (or not)

first caprese

 

Cut your tomatoes into slices, then halve your slices.

tomato

 

Cut your buffalo mozzarella into slices, again, halve those. Place the cheese on top of your tomatoes – you can make this more of a mixed up salad or you can try placing a piece of cheese on each tomato.

cheese

 

Tear your fresh basil and sprinkle over your cheese – you can also put small sections on top of each piece of cheese if you went that route. Use as much or as little as you’d like.

with basil

 

Crack your pepper and sea salt over top of your creation – season to taste. Finally, drizzle some olive oil over top, adding balsamic vinegar if you want to shake it up a bit, and enjoy!

What is your go to Simple Summer Meal?

 

Perfectly Simple Potato Salad

Summertime is a great time for gatherings with lots of food and lots of friends. One of my go-to recipes for any BBQ contribution is my Dilled New Potato Salad (actually, it’s my sister’s recipe but she doesn’t know I blog, so HA!) The best part about this recipe, aside from how ridiculously easy it is, is that it can be used as a potato salad dressing, dip for chips or pita, and a great chicken marinade. Even better is that it is pretty healthy as well!

last potato

What you’ll need:

– 1 bag of new potatoes (red ones look and taste best)
– 1/2 red onion, chopped
– 3/4 bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped
– 1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt
– 1/2 cup low fat mayo
– 1-2 tbsp dijon mustard
– Cracked pepper to taste

first potato

Cut your potatoes into manageable sections – halves or quarters – and place into pot. I find it is easiest (and safest) to do this BEFORE there is water in your pot. Fill your pot with water to just cover the potatoes. Boil.

When potatoes are tender – check by poking them with a fork – drain them. If you are going the warm salad route, put your potatoes in a bowl off to the side. If you are going the cold salad route, put them in the fridge to cool. If you are in a bit of a hurry, stick them in the freezer – works like a charm!

Meanwhile…

In a separate bowl, combine the mayo, yogurt, and mustard. I like to go back at the end and add a little bit more dijon for a some kick.

combine

 

Add the onion and your dill. Don’t add all of your onion at once – sometimes they can be overpowering, so taste before you add! Use some cracked pepper to season – combine and taste – you will probably need more than you think you will.

sauce

 

Keep the contents of your bowls separate, combining right before you serve. This salad will last up to 3 days after you have combined the ingredients. Enjoy!

last potato

 

DIY: Photo Booth Fun

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Everyone I speak to tells me that I won’t remember my wedding day (awesome – why am I working this hard, again?!) So how do you make sure you have the most complete record of the best day you will ever forget? Hire a kick-ass photographer, obviously. (Which we totally did. Obviously) But beyond that, how do you capture those candid, and sometimes most beautiful, moments? A great, and at times hilarious, way to do this is by bringing in a photo booth. Your guests get to keep a copy of their photos and you get digital copies of every picture snapped that night. In my experience, looking around at weddings, despite the amazing addition of a photo booth, guests are still taking pictures with their cell phones. And everyone leaves their printed photos behind. Always.

For a spin on this idea, Bobby and I have decided that we will bring the photo booth to our tables! Each table of 8 will have about 12-15 home made props, situated in vases between the candles and the flowers.  Since we would hate to miss out on the outrageous pictures our friends will inevitably take, we will not only make our own Instagram #hashtag for the wedding, but we will also make an email address where full sized pictures can be sent; making our photo album a piece of cake!

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What You’ll Need:

– Multi-coloured foam sheets (purchase here)
– Wooden dowels (purchase here)
– Stencils printed on card stock – stick with a theme or find random ones
– Scissors
– Marker or pen

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Cut out your stencil and place it on your foam sheet – you can usually get two shapes on one sheet to maximize your supplies.

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Cut out your shape – try to cut inside the lines to avoid marks on the back of your finished props

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At the widest point and as close to one side as possible, fold your shape and cut two small slits equidistant from the edge.

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Weave your dowel through the holes, starting at the front of your shape, moving to the back, and out again.  If you have cut the holes too large, use a glue gun (or cheat with double sided tape!) to secure your shape to the dowel.

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Repeat these steps with as many different shapes as you’d like. If you create 12 standard shapes you can vary them easily throughout different arrangements. If you are making a lot of these, I found that stacking the foam sheets allowed for me to create 2-3 shapes at the same time.

Flavour Saver: Coffee Ice Cubes

How many times have you made yourself an iced coffee on a beautiful summer day, only to have the ice melt in less time than it took you to brew the dang coffee? How many times have you then shaken your fist (whether physically shaken or just in your head) when that now melted ice waters down your drink, turning it into a soupy mess? I am betting the answer will vary between “never, what are you talking about?!” to “heck yeah, what am I trying to do – HYDRATE?!” While griping about this very issue with a girlfriend last weekend she finally looked at me and asked why I hadn’t been freezing my coffee. What the what? Apparently, this friend of mine has been freezing her coffee into cubes and using those to ice her coffee – when they melt you just get more delicious Joe instead of a watered down substitute. Works for me!

What you’ll need:

– Ice cube tray
– Coffee
– Freezer

first coffee

 

Pour coffee into ice cube tray.

coffee

 

Freeze.

ice

 

Place cubes in a glass. Pour coffee, milk, chocolate milk, Bailey’s, Kahlua, or whatever else your little heart desires, over top. Enjoy!

glass

…Literally the easiest thing ever. What simple tips do you have for staying cool?