The older you get, the harder birthday's can become. Both your own, and buying for others!
Age has also changed the sort of gifts I find myself buying my friends. Today I'm moving away from nail polishes, jewellery and make up to more mature gifts of home wares, books and... well, more home wares! Now so many of my pals are buying houses those decorative accessories, kitchenware, baking gifts, recipe books and the like are becoming my point-of-call for any birthday gift.
That said, like any gift-buying, it can become tedious. Recently I've found myself trying to be a little more inventive with the things I buy for my friends. I'm also desperately trying to save money for a big adventure next year so gone are the days of extravagant or indulgent purchases. Sigh!
This idea came to me as I was browsing a local antiques centre. I love all the old, vintage maps but at £100+ for a framed offering, it was firmly crossed off my 'must buy' list. I also love the idea of a personalised gift (places like Not On The Highstreet are a gold-mine for these) and thought about making one myself. When I was in Oxfam Books last week I found a box of old maps and after searching through I found a some great local maps - some more large scale and some street maps - and grabbed a few for a meagre £1 each.
One of my bestest gal-pals has recently moved into a new home in Winchester, so when I found a street map from the 1800s I knew it would be perfect! I then went and bought a frame, and the rest really was as easy as pie.
Start by figuring out which part of the map you want to show off in the frame. If the frame has a mount, then spend some time moving it around and finding the perfect picture. I knew with my one that I wanted my friend's road in there and the 'Winchester' lettering. Things like that make it super personal and special!
Then simply turn the frame over, pop the mount over the glass and having either cut the map to shape or folded like I did (it wasn't too much bigger so seemed a shame to cut it) position the map, face down, to where you'd like it. Secure in place by taping the map to the mount. Replace the backing of the frame, and you're done! It really is so simple.
Can you spot Tilly?
I like that this map was a crisp white, it sort of made what is a very old map look quite modern. I also like that you can see the creases of the map folds - it keeps the old feel of the map, but you could easily iron these out.
This map is obviously black and white, but many newer ones are coloured. Have a look before you buy to see what the colours are and shop around; in Oxfam I found three maps of the same place, all slightly different. eBay is also a good source for buying old maps, often very cheaply.
I'd like to take this time to thank my two glamorous assistants; Mumma K and Tilly the Pooch. I couldn't have done it without them...