Category Archives: makes

Vacation Planning with Google Maps

I have a confession: I have a type A personality when it comes to vacation planning.  Luckily, once I’m at my destination, I relax, have fun, and am open to spontaneity.  But from the time I book a vacation until I’m on the plane, I take great pleasure in obsessively researching my destination and collecting places to go.

My favorite tool for vacation planning is the “My Maps” feature in Google Maps.  Here’s how I use it:

  • I create a map for each vacation.
  • Every time I read about a place I’d like to visit, I add it to the map.
  • I choose appropriate icons for each location (like a bed for the hotel, cutlery for restaurants) so they’re easy to spot on the map.
  • If I have additional information about a location, like hours, I add it to the description.
  • I share it with J in case he wants to add to it or view it on the road.

If you’ve never created a map in My Maps, these instructions will get you started.  But you may not need instructions – it’s pretty easy: if you ever find somewhere you’d like to go on Google Maps, you can simply click the place marker and choose Save To Map.  To find your maps, click the My Maps link under the Google Maps logo.

Here’s the map I created for last weekend’s DC trip:

View Washington DC in a larger map

Before I joined the smartphone world, I’d simply print the maps. I even survived a few days of driving around Memphis, mostly alone, based on a 1-page printout.

Now that I have an Android phone it’s even easier, because I can view my map on my phone’s Maps app, which means it integrates with the GPS features.  This is done in the Layers section of Google Mobile Maps (the default Maps app for Android, but also available on other phones).

How do you keep track of must-visit vacation spots?


For the last five years, I’ve admired the Washington Post Peeps diorama contest and its colorful entries.  This year, I wanted to give it a try.

I decided to tackle the convenient pun “WikiPeeps”.   A few sketches came to mind, but ultimately, it was the image of Julian Assange interviewed while on house arrest at Ellingham Hall that seemed the most iconic and timely.

WikiPeeps' Julian Assange

I started with a small shoebox which I lined with paper, felt, and a cutout of the mansion.  The mug and camera are made of polymer clay, and I wove the scarf out of embroidery floss on a tiny makeshift cardboard loom.   I recreated the December 2010 Time magazine cover and sewed a miniature version.

The Peeparazzi

Is this a bit silly? Maybe.  Was it fun to make? Definitely.  But I wasn’t just trying to be absurd; for me, WikiLeaks has been one of the most thought provoking things to happen in years.  And what better way to immortalize a moment than with marshmallow?

Valentine’s Day Giveaway

As a thank you for reading my blog, I’d like to give away this necklace I made.

Valentine’s Necklace Giveaway
Valentine’s Day choker, about 17 1/2 inches long

You can enter by making a comment on this entry (it can be about anything…for example, what has been making you happy lately?)

I’ll draw a name at random on Monday February 18th and contact the winner by email for an address. Of course, this contest is for both the ladies and the gentlemen out there.

By the way, if you read blogs in an aggregator like Google Reader, I’d be so happy if you would subscribe to my blog!

Baby Scarves

You’ve probably noticed that about 90% of this blog deals with food, but I’ll occasionally talk about something else I’m up to. Today, that’s knitting.

Baby Scarf
Mr. Tiger models the baby scarf

A few winters ago I bought some really soft yarn around the corner from my grandfather’s apartment (it was Swing from the company ONLine). Recently, I came across this pattern and realized baby scarves would be the perfect use for this cuddly yarn. It’s an easy and fast project, and since one end of the scarf slips through the other, it won’t get lost on a blustery day.