Posts Tagged ‘maps’

Actually these are from last week, but let’s not be picky eh?  I’m still slowly trying to slimline my studio and struggling because I can’t bear to just throw things out, so it leads to quite a bit of head-scratching to come up with creative ways to use things.  I thought that these saddle-stitched exercise books were a good way to use up three things: some coloured paper that’s been languishing on a shelf for years, some book cloth that I’ve always struggled to team with anything (the blue, the orange is actually offcuts from some previous books), and old ordnance survey maps (of which I have, er, quite a few).  They turned out beautifully: deceptively simple on the outside, but interestingly colourful within.

I won’t be adding these to my Etsy shop until next month, but if you’d like to reserve any of them then let me know.  The A5 blue ones will be available in two sets of three, and the A7 orange ones in a single set of four.

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Way back in February a friend alerted me to the Map Return Scheme being run by the Ordnance Survey people.  Of course I immediately emailed them to ask for a box of old maps but heard nothing so assumed I’d been unsuccessful, as they were offering them on a first come, first served basis.

Then in April an enormous box was delivered to my house.



Over a hundred maps, it was a very exciting day for me.  Of course I had to tweet them and say thank you 🙂


I didn’t tell them that my dog lost the will to live while I was busy sorting through all the maps…


I’ve now made a start on recycling the maps and turning them into books.  The first few are in my Etsy shop now.




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It’s National Stationery Week, and to celebrate I’m offering a 15% discount on all orders over £10 until 4th May.  Use code NSW2015 when checking out from my Etsy shop to claim your discount.

To tempt you, here’s a selection of the stationery available…

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minion madness




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No, not an actual disaster, but a commission inspired by the Paper Plane range by Disaster Designs.  Back in January I was contacted by a friend who wanted a guestbook made for her wedding.

I’d like something A4 and landscape with coptic binding, as suggested, and we’re expecting 120 guests.  We’ve not really got a theme for our wedding, it’s a bit of a mishmash!  Our invites are vintagey luggage tags and I love the Disaster Designs paper plane range with the old airmail border, old maps, that sort of thing.  My bridesmaid will be wearing teal/turquoise but we’re not going nuts with a specific colour theme.  I don’t imagine that’s very helpful really!

She also included links to some of the Disaster Designs items she particularly liked.  Despite her fears, this was all incredibly helpful!  I had a think, and played around with a few ideas.  My first thought was to have sturdy fabric pages covered with pockets so that guests could write their message on a luggage tag and then slot it into the book – this idea didn’t really get past the rough stage, but it’s certainly something I might attempt at a later date!

In the end we settled on the design you can see pictured above.  I used a map print by Cavallini & Co for the covers: it would have been nice to use a map which was more personal to the bride and groom, but they were born at opposite ends of the country so it wasn’t that practical!  I chose a lovely tan leather to create the look of a quarter-bound binding, and attached a luggage tag to the front bearing the names of the couple and the date.  The idea of using some airmail bias tape as a tie closure was abandoned as, in the end, I thought it made the design look too cluttered.






I did use some airmail style bakers twine on the luggage tag though, which I thought was a more subtle nod to the Paper Plane range.

I loved working on this commission as, like the bride, I am a huge fan of the Disaster Designs stuff.  I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get round to blogging about it (the wedding was in August!), but it’s here at last and I hope you all enjoy seeing it.

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Matt called me on Friday and I couldn’t answer because I was covered in glue and ink.  When I eventually rang him back he asked what I’d been up to, and I said “making mud pies” … he was, naturally, a bit baffled.  I imagine you are too.

Making mud pies is something I think of as fun and pointless.  You do it when you’re a kid, but when you’re grown up you don’t any more.  So, for me, making a mud pie is something that I do in my studio which is both fun and pointless.

So, what exactly was I doing in my studio on Friday?  Well, I wanted to do something but didn’t really have the energy or focus to work on anything important (I have a couple of commissions which need starting, but Friday just wasn’t a day for that sort of thing).

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that I stash things, which are often very random, away until I can find a use for them.  Amongst the random things I’ve accumulated were some old Moleskine covers that someone else had discarded.  Two were resurrected into new notebooks and went to new homes quite some time ago, but there was one left.

I didn’t feel in the mood for making a notebook but I did want to do something so I just got on with it and started work.  I had no real aim in mind, other than perhaps experimenting with some inking techniques.  First I covered it with pages from a vintage road atlas…

… then I added a strip of leather to the spine and had a play with some Distress Inks (by Tim Holtz) to give both the edges of the cover and the leather itself a slightly aged/vintaged look…

That random square of leather is just there to show you what the original colour of the leather was before I got all distressy with the ink.  By this stage I’d decided what this was going to be: a sort of folder/folio type thing for holding letters and stationery.  I write a lot of letters, and I figured this would be a good way to tote letters, stationery and stamps around when I’m away from home for a few days.  On that theme I decided to use some brown parcel paper (also slightly distressed with ink) to line the inside.

Looking good, huh?

I’m chuffed to bits with my little mud pie.  It looks great, it’s useful (which is not in the mud pie spirit at all), and I spent a very happy morning in my studio creating it.  I also got to grips with the Distress Inks (which are still quite new to me) and have the satisfaction of having used up yet another bit of tat that was taking up precious studio space.  I’m away for a short break by the seaside at the moment and the mud pie is full of letters, cards, and stamps so that I can catch up with my letters while sitting on the beach (if the weather holds).

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I’m back from my little holiday, and my fascination with maps and pockets continues.

The pages are a mixture of fine white 100gsm and coloured sugar paper, and they are punctuated with portfolio pockets that have been made using pages from a vintage atlas.  The covers, too, have been made using pages from the same atlas.  It’s a fun, and very colourful, book and I think it’d make a nice travel journal for someone.

This is the first in the series, and I have another two which are almost finished (they just need to be stitched together).  Once those are done I’ll pop them all on Etsy.

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