Where This Life Has Taken Me

Lately I have had some extra time on my hands. I have used it to start and even finish some projects that have been looming in the shadows.

I have been blessed with the ability to travel through many of the organizations and projects I have been a part of. I started traveling first with my family on camping trips. Even though we did not go cross country, I visited the states that surround Oklahoma to go spelunking with my dad, mom, and brother. I then started traveling with my Girl Scout troop that I was a part of for seven years. My favorite trip was when we went to Georgia to visit the home of our founder in Savanna. I have traveled with many different programs that are affiliated with the Cherokee Nation (of Oklahoma). I have become very familiar with North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia to further learn about the Trail of Tears and my people’s homeland. Other trips with CN have taken me from Washington state to Washington D.C. One of my favorite organizations that helped me travel was TSA. I competed in Technology Student Association for five years.There I met some amazing people and made memories that I will never forget.

I am getting to the project… I promise.

Even though I have not been able to travel outside of the US… YET!, I have been to many of the 50 states. I saw a cork board cut out of the United States (on Pinterest, of course!). The cork board had a ribbon attached to the back to allow the map to be hung as a reminder of places visited as well as a decoration. I had to make me one! When I was in college I tried to make my jail cell… I mean dorm room, reflect all the things I loved to remind me of home. This lead to me buying tons of cork boards in all shapes and sizes to pin things up all around me. When I graduated I had a surplus of cork boards that were not being used but I hated to throw them out. Now I am glad that I did not.

This is the picture that inspired me to do this project:


When I started this project I tried to look up how other people had done the project before… and that is when it all started to go down hill, quickly. I had no idea that this was going to be such a difficult project. I definitely think it is worth it I just was not expecting it to be as hard and time intensive as it was.

Most people I read about used a projector. Some were lucky enough to have an actual projector and others made their own. Since I do not own a projector and none of the teachers I knew were in their classrooms around 11:00 p.m. (when I started this project) I decided to make my own. I still do not know what went wrong but the projector was a major fail. I even had to enlisted my brother to try and help me.



What we came up with was rigged together with love, frustration, hope, tears, failure, and of course duct tape. BUT WE NEVER GOT IT TO WORK…it was a sad night. I have no advice if you ever try to make an at home projector because that is apparently one of my weaknesses. If, however, you ever manage to make it work I want to share with you the process I would have used to trace the outline of the US.
First you need to google an image of the outline of the United States, make sure that the lines are thick and bold, it will help when you blow it up on your (imaginary) projector. Print it out and put it in a page protector. Take a sharpie and trace around the edges of the US and all the states. Take out your original copy and viola! a traced map to project… or try to project in my case.



Then you attach the outline to your projector and draw it on your cork board… but I never got to that step. I first decided to print out eight sections to make a huge USA… I was successful in this endeavor. Then I realized that did not help me get it onto the cork board at all. I could go over the lines until the sharpie bled through but that would have taken a great deal of time and sharpie. LET’S FREE HAND THE OUTLINE INSTEAD! I know not all of us are artists out there but that does not mean we can not try. I have a problem with scale when I draw and this made it hard to draw Maine when I came to the left side (BUT you probably would not have even noticed if I did not point it out).




To cut out the outline I used an exacto knife… This was the second longest part of the process (drawing took the most time… no WAIT, trying to make a projector and failing took the most time!). I think all the intense cutting gave me arthritis, my hands hurt for days. Poor me! I would like to remind you of the time when I started this project… 11, so by that point it was well into the wee hours of the morning.

Why did I not wait until later to finish you ask…?

Honestly, I do not know… I kept trying to tell myself to just leave it and finish it tomorrow. I just could not stop though. I had already failed to make a projector (as you can now tell that really hurt my ego) and I WAS NOT GOING TO QUIT NOW!!!

I was so proud when I could finally hold up my cork board outline of the United States of America and bask in all it GLORY
-cue heavenly noises-


I went to bed a happy camper. I did not have any of the other supplies need to hang it but that was besides the point, I WAS VICTORIOUS! Later that week my trusty best friend and I headed out to lob the hob. Going into Hobby Lobby is dangerous for the both of us nowadays. Luckily the day I went everything I needed (and thought I needed) was HALF OFF!!! Instead of ribbon I bought “fashion ribbon” to hang the cork board with. It is rhinestones linked together! The hook I bought is a crown, please do not judge me, and it is white. It mathces my new room wonderfully. The ribbon was $9.99 and the hook was $4.99 but I only paid half of that, or I would not have purchased that particular ribbon.

I decided to hang the piece above my bed… this is the spot pre-decoration:


And this is that same space now!


I have not decided what kind of pins I will use to mark the places I have been. I am open to suggestions! Some people just put a little flag, others put a little picture of when you visited. I love the way this came out even though it was a bugger to create.

On a completely different note, and to wrap stuff up, one of my dearest friends included me not only in her family’s Christmas this past week but also her most recent post. She is a highlight to me as well! Her whole family is =) I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! The Rudolphs and I sure did!



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