Category Archives: See The World…

DIY Crossroad Destination Sign

DIY Crossroad Destination Sign | www.gigglingcaravan.com

It’s always fun to have a little travel inspiration around the house, but what about for the outside of your home? Well, here’s a really easy way to create some travel inspiration with the kiddos!

DIY Crossroad Destination Sign | www.gigglingcaravan.com

-Wood shims

-Craft paint

-Letter stickers

-Wood stick

-Utility knife

-Hot glue gun

-Craft varnish

DIY Crossroad Destination Sign | www.gigglingcaravan.com

Take a wood shim (you can get these at Home Depot for pretty cheap) and draw out a point on one end. Take a utility knife and score and snap off the unwanted wood. Paint the wood shim white. Let paint dry completely. Place letter stickers onto it, spelling out any destination. Paint over the white paint and letters with a second color. Let it dry completely. Once dry, peel off the letter stickers. Carefully use a hot glue gun to glue the destination wood shims onto a wooden stick.  Make sure to keep in mind where you are located and the direction your destination should point. Lastly, if you’re worried about weather ruining your sign, just add a layer of craft varnish!

DIY Crossroad Destination Sign | www.gigglingcaravan.com

DIY Crossroad Destination Sign | www.gigglingcaravan.com

We loved how easy this was to make and yet it added so much spunk to our garden. Have fun making your crossroad destination sign! What destinations are you going to include?

Metallic Gold State Mug

DIY Gold State Mug | www.gigglingcaravan.com

We all know THE golden state is California …but it’s fun to give every other state (or country) a try at being golden every once in awhile. Well, any chance to make anything golden is a great idea in my book. Here’s a really easy way to create a mug that is perfect to proudly display your state or give as a gift.

DIY Gold State Mug | www.gigglingcaravan.comHere’s what I used to make this: a blank mug, metallic paint pen, and metallic gold paint. You can purchase a blank mug for pretty cheap at a 99c/dollar store. First, make a paper stencil of the state you wish to have on your mug. Then tape the stencil onto the mug. With your metallic paint pen, follow the outline of the state stencil.

DIY Gold State Mug | www.gigglingcaravan.com

With metallic gold paint, paint in the state. This may require a few paint coats. We prefer using the paint because we wasn’t a fan of seeing all the pen lines. When the paint is dry to the touch, put the mug in the oven (NOT microwave oven) for 30 minutes at 300 degrees (Place the mug into the oven while it is preheating) . Let it stay in there for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn off the oven, leave the mug inside, and let them cool down together. Once the mug and oven are cool, cautiously take the mug out of the oven. Also, make sure to only hand wash these.

DIY Gold State Mug | www.gigglingcaravan.comDIY Gold State Mug | www.gigglingcaravan.com

We may like my coffee black, but our states as golden as they can get. Enjoy!

Nanaimo Bars

  Nanaimo Bars | www.gigglingcaravan.com

Nanaimo Bars | www.gigglingcaravan.com

In prep for our next gift book, See the World…, we take you to Canada. This delicious Canadian treat is named after Nanaimo, British Columbia. It comprises of three delicious layers, all of which require no baking. There’s a bit of a wait between making layers, but it’s well worth it!Nanaimo Bars | www.gigglingcaravan.com

Here are the ingredients for the first, bottom layer (photographed above):

-1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

-1/4 cup granulated white sugar

-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

-1 large egg, lightly beaten

-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

-2 cups graham cracker, crushed

-1 cup sweetened or unsweetened coconut (shredded or flaked)

-1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

To make the bottom layer you will need to first melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Once the butter has melted completely, remove from heat and add the sugar and cocoa powder. Stir. Now whisk the beaten egg in. Bring the saucepan back to low heat for another 1-2 minutes. Once the mixture has become thick, remove from heat and add the vanilla extra, crushed graham cracker, coconut, and walnuts. Stir until all the ingredients have mixed together. In a 9x9in prepared pan, spread the mixture evenly onto the bottom. Refrigerate for about an hour or until the mixture has become firm.

Nanaimo Bars | www.gigglingcaravan.com

Ingredients to make the second, middle layer (photographed above):

-1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

-2 – 3 tablespoons milk or cream

-2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder or vanilla pudding powder

-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

-2 cups powdered sugar

To make the second layer you will need to first beat the butter in an electric mixer (or hand mixer). Once the butter has become smooth and creamy you can go ahead and add the rest of the ingredients. Beat all of the ingredients until the mixture is smooth. Evenly add this mixture on top of the first layer. (Tip: If the mixture is too thick, add some milk). Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until the second layer has become firm.

Nanaimo Bars | www.gigglingcaravan.com

Ingredients to make the third, top layer (photographed above):

-1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

-1 tablespoon unsalted butter

To make the final layer you will need to put the chocolate chips and butter into a heat-safe bowl. Place this heat-safe bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Once it has completely melted, spread the final layer evenly on top.

Nanaimo Bars | www.gigglingcaravan.com

Nanaimo Bars | www.gigglingcaravan.com

I’ve heard there are a bunch of different variations of the Nanaimo bar and after trying this one and falling in love with it I’m eager to try the others. I hope you enjoy this Canadian treat!

DIY ADVENTUROUS GIFT TAGS

DIY ADVENTUROUS GIFT TAGS | See the World... | www.gigglingcaravan.comWe have this book on California that has pages torn and falling out. But since it is filled with all these great images of California, we decided that instead of tossing it out we should keep it for some “reuse DIY” projects. Here is one of those “reuse DIY” projects: a super easy way to create your own gift tags!

DIY ADVENTUROUS GIFT TAGS | See the World... | www.gigglingcaravan.com

DIY ADVENTUROUS GIFT TAGS | See the World... | www.gigglingcaravan.com

DIY ADVENTUROUS GIFT TAGS | See the World... | www.gigglingcaravan.com

You can either cut out your own tag using thick construction paper like we did here or you can buy pre-made tags from a craft store. Cut out an image and glue to it one side of your tag. Let the glue dry completely. Trim down the image to fit the tag. Using a hole puncher, punch a hole on the top side of the tag. Use some decorative string to attach the tag to the gift. Leave a sweet note or an inspirational travel quote on the opposite, plain side of the gift tag.

DIY ADVENTUROUS GIFT TAGS | See the World... | www.gigglingcaravan.com

DIY ADVENTUROUS GIFT TAGS | See the World... | www.gigglingcaravan.com

If you’re looking for more gift wrapping ideas, make sure to check out our DIY Map Decorative Tape post!

Mini Memory Keepsakes

Mini Memory Keepsakes | www.gigglingcaravan.com

Since our next inspirational children’s book, See the World…, is out in only two months, we thought we’d make some  fun travel diys.

Sometimes the souvenirs you bring back with you are a lot more personal than the ones you could buy from the tourist shops- Like a ticket to a museum, a seashell you picked up on a walk along a beach, or some euros for when you go back (Because you’re determined to go back). All of these may be small in size but are not small when it comes to their personal importance. Here’s a fun way to display where you’ve been as well as organize those little memories you brought back with you so you can easily find them and reminisce.

Here’s what you need: A tin-box, paint, and removable sticker letters.

Mini Memory Keepsakes | www.gigglingcaravan.com
Mini Memory Keepsakes | www.gigglingcaravan.com

Take your letter stickers and spell out the state, city or country you want to make a keepsake for. Paint over tin-box, including the letters you have placed down. Once you have added a few layers of paint, let it dry completely. Carefully remove the letters. I found it helpful to have a an exacto knife by my side. That way if the paint wanted to stay attached to the letters I made  small cuts to free the two from each other.

Mini Memory Keepsakes | www.gigglingcaravan.com

What little souvenirs have you brought back from your travels?

Cranberry Pistachio Energy Bites

Cranberry Pistachio Energy Bites | www.gigglingcaravan.comHere at the studio, we are always looking for ways to get a healthy energy boost so that we can keep making books and prints for you all. These cranberry energy bites sure did the trick! Plus, a little travel themed for our next kiddie book: See the World… out November 2014!Cranberry Pistachio Energy Bites | www.gigglingcaravan.com

Ingredients:

- 8oz chopped dates

-1/2 cup honey

-1 tbsp. ground flax seed

-pinch of salt

-1 1/2 cup of (dry) old fashioned oats

-1 cup shelled pistachio nuts

-1 cup dried cranberries

-1/3 cup white chocolate chips

Cranberry Pistachio Energy Bites | www.gigglingcaravan.com

Steps:

1. In a food processor, combine the dates, honey, flax seed, and salt.

2. In a large bowl, evenly combine the mixture, oats, pistachios, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips.

3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, shape the cooled mixture into your perfect sized energy bite (these are about an inch in diameter).

Cranberry Pistachio Energy Bites| www.gigglingcaravan.com Cranberry Pistachio Energy Bites | www.gigglingcaravan.comEnjoy!

Simple Whoopie Pie

Simple Whoopie Pie | Bake the World a Better Place www.gigglingcaravan.com

We’re baking treats and making dishes from around the world in excitement of our next book, See the World… (out November 2014).

There’s a lot of “we made it first” when it comes to the Whoopie Pie; Pennsylvania, Maine, and New Hampshire all say they are this treat’s birthplace. However, Maine decided to one up all the other states by making it their official state treat in 2011. Apparently, people take the whoopie pie very seriously. After you have a bite, you’ll understand why. Here’s is a really quick way to make whoopie pies using cake mix. Cake ingredients: 2 boxes of devil food’s cake mix, 4 eggs, and 1 ¼ cup shortening.

Simple Whoopie Pie | Bake the World a Better Place www.gigglingcaravan.com

Prepare by lining a baking tray with parchment paper and preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Combine all of the cake ingredients and mix. The batter will be thick. Using a 1in ice-cream scooper, scoop the batter and place each about 2 inches apart. (A round tablespoon works perfect too. Just give it a few taps and the batter comes out in the perfect shape.) With a little water on your fingertips, smooth the surface out.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.Simple Whoopie Pie | Bake the World a Better Place www.gigglingcaravan.com

Simple Whoopie Pie | Bake the World a Better Place www.gigglingcaravan.com

Frosting ingredients: 4 cups of powdered sugar, 8 ounces of cream cheese, ½  cup butter, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix all the ingredients and place frosting into a piping bag. Frost the bottom side of one cookie and place a second cookie on top like a sandwich.Simple Whoopie Pie | Bake the World a Better Place www.gigglingcaravan.com

This recipe makes about 24 whoopie pies. Too many whoopies? Just cut the recipe in half. If you’d like to get real professional you can make it from scratch and even purchase a whoopie pie tray! I hope you enjoy Maine’s official state treat!

Bake the World a Better Place www.gigglingcaravan.comLove baking? Check out our print Bake the World a Better Place! Just like our books, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of our prints benefit children charities. 

Map Decorative Tape

DIY Map DecorativeTape I www.gigglingcaravan.com

We are getting ready for our next gift book “See the World…” (out November 2014!) so we will be posting a lot of travel themed DIYs and recipes from around the world!

Here’s a fun and easy way we spruced up some gift wrapping by making map decorating tape.

DIY Map DecorativeTape I www.gigglingcaravan.com

Cut a map into pieces that proportionally fits your gifts best. We thought a good width of ¾ of an inch wide was a great size because this way you can still see a good amount of the map.

DIY Map DecorativeTape I www.gigglingcaravan.com

Once you’ve cut out the pieces of map, all you need to do is put double-sided tape on the back-side of the map pieces. Use these just as you would regular tape when wrapping a gift.DIY Map DecorativeTape I www.gigglingcaravan.com DIY Map DecorativeTape I www.gigglingcaravan.com

Even though this was map themed- you can use whatever paper design you like to make your own decorating tape. So much better than using regular tape, right?