Gettin’ Crafty

First things first, I have to say thank you. My blog hit 10,000 all-time views this week, which feels like a major accomplishment. Thank you for stopping by and adding to that number. If I could hug each of you individually, I would.  -Sarah

Last weekend I took a road trip with my friend CH to our other friend CTA’s wedding reception/open house/party on the farm. I got so much material from the trip that I’ll probably parcel it out in–wait for it–small doses*, but I wanted to show you the gift I made for the newlyweds. I love seeing other people’s DIY projects, so when I come up with something myself I want to share it. Finding and/or making the perfect gift or card for someone is something I really enjoy, but it isn’t easy.

CTA (the bride) was my roommate for a year, during which time we got to know each other pretty well. One thing I noticed about CTA was that she loves maps. We had a map of Minneapolis in our kitchen and other maps, atlases, and globes in other parts of the apartment. I was thinking about the states CTA and her husband have lived in, collectively and individually, and I noticed that they’ve covered pretty much every state from Minnesota to New York.** I initially tried to find maps that included that swath of the country, but most maps separate the US into geographical regions, and from Ohio westward to the Dakotas is considered the Midwest, while New York and Pennsylvania*** are Mid-Atlantic states in the larger region called The Northeast.

This is the region. If only it were bigger. And didn't cut off the western edge of Minnesota.

This is the region. If only it were bigger. And didn’t cut off the western edge of Minnesota.

I thought about special-ordering a map, but that would have taken too long**** and if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t have been able to change it. I then tried finding maps of each state, thinking I could attach them somehow, but they were either too large***** or too mismatched. My friend MMV suggested finding an atlas and sewing the states together, so that’s what I did.******

Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio******* were grouped together, which was awesome, except they were on the spine of the book. I realized after the fact that I could have just taped or glued the pages together so they don’t look so Frankensteinian, but that’s part of DIY, right? Also, Wisconsin/Illinois were on the back of Minnesota/Iowa, so I had to give Wisconsin a nose job******** to stay true to the outline of MN. Added to that, the states didn’t quite match up, which left a weird chunk of white along the WI/MN and IL/IA borders.

If it were any other state...

If it were any other state…

Nothing a little colored pencil action couldn’t fix, though. I did the same when confronted with a Youngstown conundrum––the map of Ohio had the bride’s hometown listed, but the name was on the Pennsylvania side (and not on the Pennsylvania map). So I cut that section out and colored it to match.

Shhhhh, it's colored pencil.

Shhhhh, it’s colored pencil.






Only visible from close up/behind:

♣ The coloring, which was a layering of green then blue then grey then brown.

♥ A heart-shaped stitch over the various places they’ve lived.

♦ The Chicago skyline, which was on the back of MN, and a miniature version of this exact section of the United States, which was on the back of New York/Pennsylvania.

♠Seattle, which was on the back of the Great Lakes.

Finished product! It doesn’t look like how I envisioned it, but it’s pretty close.*********

"Our Geography" Carlee & Adam 8/9/2013

“Our Geography” Carlee & Adam 8/9/2013

Scroll through the photos below to see various parts of the process. And if you have a DIY project you’ve made, please let me know about it. I love getting new ideas.

Fun with an X-acto knife.

Fun with an X-acto knife.

Sew very Seattle.

Sew very Seattle.

Colored pencils!

Colored pencils!



Bride's hometown.

The bride’s hometown.

The map is taking shape, and my fingers are getting in shape. Win-win.

The map is taking shape, and my fingers are getting in shape. Win-win.

I love Chicago.

I love Chicago.

This is the back.

This is the back.


Did I mention I love Chicago? Heart!

Did I mention I love Chicago? Heart!


* C’mon, you saw that coming.

** Except Wisconsin, Michigan, and New Jersey.

*** Some people might try to convince you Pennsylvania (or Pittsburgh) is in the Midwest, but they’re wrong.

**** Why couldn’t I have come up with this idea back in March when they got engaged?

***** Because who doesn’t love getting a wall-sized picture that wasn’t on their registry?–“Don’t worry, guys, I’ve got the perfect only thing to hang in your living room…”

****** Thanks, MMV! And DK World Atlas.

******* Good times, Great Lakes.

******** Sorry, Wisconsin. I think your nose is perfect.

********* I think it looks like a heart with an extra lobe. Which seems fitting for a marriage, don’t you think?


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  1. The Big 1-0-0 | Sarah in Small Doses - December 27, 2013

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