Oh, the places we have been...

Submitted by Lisa on Wed, 08/24/2016 - 12:55

www.CreativeUnravelings.comIn the 14 years we have been together, we have been on some pretty amazing adventures. By far one of the best adventures was our trip to Ireland. We traveled throughout Ireland at our own pace and were able to see so many different cities and experience so many amazing things.

With that, we also have a tendency to save a lot of unnecessary stuff when it comes to our adventures. While I was nesting, I got rid of a lot of stuff that was just pointless to keep hanging onto. The brochures, menus, tickets, wristbands, hotel cards, maps were just taking up too much space. I really did not want to get rid of them, but lets face it, its pretty much junk. I thought about scrap-booking these items, but who really has time for that? I now make all of my scrapbooks online through Shutterfly. I made our Wedding album, Honeymoon album, Vacations, and now I have started a series of photo books for my daughter's first year. You can see my blog post on my albums here.

So back to our adventures, the photo books are more for our own memories. In the past I have spent so much time documenting everything down to the places we ate it and the trails we took. I wanted something to show our adventures and the places we have been. Since this project was on the back burner for a long time, I did not put too much thought into it. Then while we were at our friends children's birthday party, I noticed they had two art pieces of some of the cities that they had been too. Such a simple, yet perfect conversational piece of art.

In the few years we have been in our home, we still had nothing for the staircase. So when I thought of creating this piece I thought how perfect this would be for our staircase.

I went to local craft store and purchased the items that I needed. Of course I always go in with a coupon, this time I was in luck, the canvases were 50% off. I also purchased the higher end "gallery style" canvases. They were originally $25 a piece, so with the 50% off coupon, I basically paid $25 for two, which is really reasonable for two pieces of personalized art work.


  • Canvas (or Canvases)
  • Your choice of paint ( I used acrylic- paint colors were brown and maroon, you will also need a base color (I used a tan paint)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Palette
  • Easel

Background- I wanted to customize the background on these pieces. I used a tan paint and painted both of my canvases, side by side. Then I took white paint and brushed random perpendicular strokes throughout both canvases. I did some blending here and there so that the white paint was not too vibrant. NOTE: when you are creating a custom background keep in mind it will be harder to fix any mistakes that you make in the lettering.

IMG_2877 This can give you an idea on how I customized the background. The next step was compiling a list of cities that we had been on our adventures together. Thankfully, this list was done while we were on our road trip during our vacation. We first listed all the cities and places that we had been two, then narrowed them down to places where we stayed and the places that were most memorable to us. We stayed in a majority of these places with an exception of a few that hold many memories to us:

  • Labadee- Dragon's Breath zip line
  • Hollywood- Jimmy Kimmel Live!
  • Cozumel- Best authentic Mexican meal we ever had
  • Blarney, Ireland- we kissed the Blarney Stone
  • Captiva Island- We swam with the dolphins on our honeymoon
  • New Smyrna Beach- Our daughter's first trip to the beach!

The next step was to figure out how I was going to compile 37 cities on two canvas. I thought by drawing lines for each city would be the best way to visually see how it was all going to be laid out.

You can vaguely see my lines, but they really helped as guidelines and then after I was done with the piece I just used a rubber eraser to erase them.

IMG_2878Next step was painting the cities, yes, I did this by free hand. I am actually quite impressed as to how it actually came out. I tried to make each cities font a little different so that it gave it that handwritten personal touch. I alternated each city in brown and maroon paint to give it some uniform, but give it some color. It matches an art piece that I created in our family room, which back then I based it off the colors in our accent pillows.

IMG_2874Here is a brighter version of the background, you can also see that I painted all sides of the canvas in the umber brown. I wanted to give it a little dimension and make it look sharp.

Here is one of the canvases completed (sorry it is a little blurry)


Here are both of the completed canvases. I love the way both of them turned out. I took multiple pictures of them hung over the staircase wall, but it honestly did not do them justice. I had to use the wide angle lens to capture the staircase and back wall. It made both art pieces look small on the wall. They do not look small in person, they fit perfectly on the stairway wall. I might have to play around with the camera a little more to try and get the image I am envisioning.IMG_3237IMG_3234I enjoyed this project so much. It took me about a month to complete. I would work on it on weekends and then paint about 2-3 cities a night after my daughter was down. It was really relaxing and surprisingly enjoyable. Back in college, I spent hours in the studio to work on projects and in class. I began to hate art, because I literally worked on for hours every day. It took me a few years (after graduation) to pick up a drawing pencil and begin to sketch again. Painting and drawing is always something I loved to do, so its nice to have that "desire to design" feeling back!



Jo (not verified)

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 13:49

What a great way to preserve memories of places you have been. You have done s great job! Proud of all the things you do.