Apr 11, 2014

Mother's Day Print, More Than Hallmark Holiday

Did you know Mother's Day was founded by a West Virginian woman in 1908? That's right, Hallmark did not start this holiday. Her name was Anna Jarvis, a proud daughter who campaigned to make a holiday for mothers in memory of her own. By 1912, Anna trademarked "Mother's Day" but quickly disliked the commercialization of the holiday.



Founder of Mother's Day Hated Cards
Remarkably, Anna spent her family inheritance in campaigns against what the holiday had become, ending her life in poverty. She hated the idea of printed greeting cards, boxes of candy (which the kids eat anyway), and people who did not write letters to their mothers.

Give Something Handmade
Well, poor Anna Jarvis could not stop the gigantic wave of printed greeting cards, but we'd like to think she'd appreciate the growth of handmade gifts for Mother's Day. Check out our DIY inspired mom's day print, which we created with a homey, handmade feeling. Of course, we believe every day is Mother's Day so we designed a gift that lasts through the years, not just one day.

Home is Where Mum Is
Sometimes you just need a few words to relate a powerful message. No matter how far we are from our own mothers (sometimes that's very far), we want our moms to know they are always our home in heart. Not material places with pretty things around, but the homes our mothers have created and the sentimental reminders of our loving families.

Our Mother's Day design features a proud mother bird and nest, an illustrated metaphor for all families to enjoy. After all, a mother bird creates a home nest to raise her birdies who one day fly in many different directions, just as we have. We could never have made it without that strong home nest.

Mother's Day Print Details
This design is individually hand printed on heavyweight matter paper and has a vibrant, screen-printed appearance. It looks best in a soft colored wood frame.  

So no matter how far away you are from your mom, celebrate her with a creative gift, and make sure you add a loving letter too. Visit our Etsy shop for details: Consider Graphics Etsy Shop. Mother's Day is May 11, so stop by today!

Here are Mother's Day photos we sent from Tuscany last year:







Apr 7, 2014

Lord of the Rings Map Inspiration Story




Lord of the Rings. You read those words with fantastical imagery in mind, but can you imagine how Lord of the Rings connects to a hail storm high atop a Colombian mountain? It's an adventure story of the geeky kind, one you have to read to fully understand the inspiration behind our latest creation: a detailed, originally hand drawn map of Middle Earth.

Lord of the Rings: A Travel Companion
It all began with a mission in the mountains of Colombia. There I was, an outdoorsy, happy-go-lucky, old map lovin' designer dodging buses, random rain showers, relentless fruit vendors and cat callers on the streets of Bogota. Okay, so not nearly as dangerous as Mordor, but LOTR fans, bear with me.

I was determined to find a copy of Lord of the Rings in English, procrastinating Spanish lessons to reread one of my favorite stories of all time. Quite to my surprise I easily found Fellowship of the Rings in a bookstore where I guiltily lost track of time in the English section.

Fellowship of the Rings became my travel companion, in addition to an array of maps and Andres who forgave my recent purchase (LOTR reads best in its original language, right?). Reading LOTR seemed oddly appropriate during our explorations in Colombia, which took us to stunning scenes of rolling green slopes, along narrow paths in rocky cliffs, to museums with old historical maps, and through storms of the epic kind.


Scenes from countryside outside of Bogota




For the Love of Old Maps  
A trip to Museo Nacional (National Museum) in Bogota planted the first seed of our Middle Earth map. There we studied a number of old historical maps and admired the typographically rich illustrations of maps drawn in the time of Alexander von Humboldt. Amazing what people could accomplish with limited tools and a lot of imagination. Back to reading Fellowship on the bus (yes, it's possible), I studied a simple map included in the book and thought how cool it would be to draw an even grander historical Middle Earth map for all fans to admire.

As a cartographer who loves stories, the thought to draw historical adventure maps using modern techniques often crossed my mind. The aesthetic of old maps inspires nostalgia and fits perfectly with stories of fantasy, bringing to life beloved narratives from literature to video games.

So there I was on the Colombian bus, lost in the world of hobbits when I decided to take on Middle Earth with Andres. He loved the idea but our daily lives soon took over and the old map of Middle Earth was put on hold.



How We Drew a Historical Map of Middle Earth 
It only seemed fitting for our LOTR map idea to resurface when we were stranded on top of a Colombian mountain in the midst of a raging hailstorm. Andres and I were now in Medellin (well, somewhere above the city) caught between bolts of lightning and wailing babies. A great hike in Parque Arvi climaxed to the mountain's Metrocable station where our ride back was shut down by violent yet fascinating storms. What to do in the next few hours of unexpected hail? Read Fellowship of the Rings, of course.

Imagination + Travel + Reading = First Map Sketch
We pulled out Fellowship and a sketchbook from our soggy backpack, determined to make the best out of every moment. Inspired by the terrain around, a classic book, and recent trips to museums, we sketched out the first rough draft of a Middle Earth map. Thunder cracked above. Our stomachs growled. We shivered from the sudden drop in temperature. Maybe it wasn't Mount Doom, but the moment was right to draw an epic map with limited tools.




From Hand Drawn to Your Wall
Every detail of this map was carefully drawn out, first on top of a mountain and later revised with the guidance of historical maps. It was important to capture the feeling of LOTR, choosing typographic layouts to celebrate all the places of an imagined world. Every stroke, tree and mountain is designed to evoke the style of ink on paper, as if just drawn beneath the glow of candlelight. The map is loaded with fine detail, from crafted waves on the sea to even a mysterious monster appearing from the waters.

With a vintage paper appearance to complete the style, this map is in every way a historical rendition of Middle Earth. You have to see it large to fully appreciate a world many of us have been inspired by. The map is printed on a heavyweight matte paper with inks so rich, you may think it was hand painted.

Be Inspired by Middle Earth: Go on an Adventure 
When we hang this map on our wall, we will not only be reminded of a favorite story, but also our wonderful wanderings in Colombia. So next time you're out traveling, consider taking a copy of Lord of the Rings with you. Go out, enjoy an adventure, and come back to a map that showcases a realm where the ultimate quest of a lifetime took place. Check it out in our Etsy shop today.

Have a fantastic adventure!

Apr 4, 2014

DIY Wedding: Guestbook Event Poster

Spring, at last! It's been a long winter and now the birds are chirping early as April showers are on their way to creating May flowers. For many love birds, bells will soon ring through the air with spring and summer weddings. We enjoyed our intimate DIY wedding over this winter and now we're throwing a wedding party to celebrate with extended family, using a guestbook poster from our own shop.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/179437495/wedding-guestbook-poster-for-spring?ref=shop_home_feat_2

Wedding Guestbook Poster Comes in 18x24 in & 24x36 in

Why a Guestbook Poster?
For those of you with an awesome DIY attitude, we can totally relate. We designed this poster concept for our own DIY wedding, so we know where you're coming from. Why have your guests sign a book that will be tucked away when you can celebrate them everyday with a charming illustration? Better yet, you can choose from four seasons to match the time of year.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/179437495/wedding-guestbook-poster-for-spring?ref=shop_home_feat_2

https://www.etsy.com/listing/179437495/wedding-guestbook-poster-for-spring?ref=shop_home_feat_2

A Unique Print Just for You
When it comes to these prints, the word "poster" is a bit of an understatement. All four season designs are originally hand drawn and printed on a heavyweight matte paper that feels really nice to touch (there's no better way to say it). Each one is individually hand printed with ultra chrome high color ink technology, which is a fancy way of saying your print is super vibrant. We've even had people think these are screen printed; a great compliment!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/179437495/wedding-guestbook-poster-for-spring?ref=shop_home_feat_2

Poster + Invitation + More
There are a lot of perks to this print, beginning with the easy customization process to have your name and event date featured. But the best part? You can have a matching invitation, save the date, and any other print designed with the same style as part of your wedding package.

Easy Customization Process
Check out our Etsy shop to learn more about this friendly, handmade feeling print. It has plenty of space for your guests to write memorable notes, so in fifty years you'll look at this and remember those little details of a day that blows by as swiftly as a spring breeze.

Oh, and those cool jars in the first picture? We made those to hold flowers for our party. All you need are: mason jars, hemp, fabric ribbon, a hot glue gun, and glass stones. Just tie the hemp around, add on a ribbon, stick on some stones, and voila! You have unique vases in 15 minutes. 

Happy wedding planning from Karla & Andres

Mar 28, 2014

New York Map Illustrated



Did you know the Niagara Reservation became the first state park in the United States? Niagara Falls is actually the collective name for three waterfalls, which form the most powerful falls in the world. This stunning natural feature is just one of many symbols celebrating the state of New York in our most recent illustrated map. So read on for the story behind the map and don't forget to check out our Etsy shop, where you can be first to request the next state map.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/184305128/new-york-map-personalized-family-name?ref=shop_home_active_1


INTRODUCING NEW YORK 

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago in about 10,000 BC, the first humans were known to venture into New York, followed by Iroquois ancestors that would later develop into advanced societies. Have you ever climbed into the beautiful Adirondack Mountains? The name derives from a derogatory Mohawk term meaning "they eat trees" which they applied to neighboring Algonquian tribes. You'll admire forests of breathtaking trees if you go skiing in the mountains, and maybe the eastern Bluebird will dart through your view.

CELEBRATE NEW YORK

New York is an old state saturated with a wealth of history and melting pot of cultures. Step into the heart of New York City for even a minute to first-hand experience the definition of diversity. From mountains to built towers, historical architectural wonders and rich waters, this region is a lifeline of the U.S.

Celebrate the state with your family name depicted in a banner below this illustrated map, originally hand drawn and printed with the finest techniques. The friendly, handmade style is perfect for a children's room to inspire young minds or to keep the creativity flowing in a studio.

New Yorkers, we love your state and can't wait to share it with you! 

Like the style but not New York? No worries, we're happy to create your state for the same price! Simply visit our Etsy shop and find the Choose Your State listing.

Mar 24, 2014

10 Tips for an Awesome U.S. Road Trip


What's the best road trip you've ever been on? Many of us have dreamed of going from one side of the country to the other via car, bike, or even foot. For those traveling on four wheels, consider 10 tips to make the trip even more amazing.


1.Find a Direction, But Don't Over Plan
The best road trips are usually those with some direction, but don't over do it. Spontaneous decisions about which way to go often create the best stories.

2. Carry a Spare Car Key
Even if you have a AAA account, there's nothing more frustrating than the delay of locking your keys in the car. Especially far from home. Think ahead by carrying a spare in your wallet or purse.

3. Pack Cash for Tolls
We learned from personal experience how important this is! Not knowing about the multiple tolls in West Virginia made us pay twice as much as we should have. Yes, it's a modern world, but having cash on hand is helpful for surprises.

4. Keep A Designated Trash Bag / Bin
When your life is packed up in a small car for more than a few days, things can get chaotic quickly. Designate a trash bag early on to stay organized. Preferably in a bin to keep out that banana peel smell.

 5. Pack the Right Gadgets (Hotspot & Multiple Device Car Charger)
Living in a connected world often means having multiple "gadgets," so make the investment to keep them charged with a multiple device car charger. Consider investing in a mobile Hotspot to offer WIFI on the go for all your travelers.

6. Bring an Old Fashioned Paper Map
Gadgets are useful, but they can fail or lose internet connectivity, so make sure to bring an old fashioned road map. Anyway, tracking your route on paper feels more personal and fun.

7. Make Frequent Stops to Take Pictures
Sometimes you get in the driving zone, especially if you have a specific destination in mind, and you may not stop frequently. Looking back on road trips, how many of us remember the actual driving part? The best moments are usually the stops, so the best story will come from many stops. Take pictures, often!

8. Create Your Own Games & Trivia
We all know those states that are just a bit boring to drive through, so make it fun with trivia. Buy a regional travel guide and quiz the travelers or look up trivia on your smartphone. You will learn something new and help pass the cornfields too.

9. Have a Conversation with a "Stranger"
In our car society, it's easy to go from Point A to B without talking to new people, even if A is New York City and B is Austin. Make it a point to meet new people by striking up conversations in gas stations, restaurants, parks, campsites, and hotels. See your road trip as a unique networking opportunity.

10. Remember Your Trip with a Custom State Map
So now you've finished your trip; what's next? Back to work and daydream about it? Why not see your favorite state illustrated as a unique way to honor your trip? Check out two examples of these maps below, and be the first to suggest the next state map. Will it be of Tennessee, where you crossed paths with a black bear, or Florida where you met a cool Colombian?

An Easy Process: Your State Map to Remember An Awesome Trip
The process is simple, and we invite you to visit our Etsy shop for the simple process: Get Your State Custom Map Illustration in 3 Steps. You can even make special requests for the customization. Enjoy!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/183815815/us-state-map-personalized-family-name?ref=shop_home_active_1



https://www.etsy.com/listing/183815815/us-state-map-personalized-family-name?ref=shop_home_active_1


Mar 21, 2014

Map to Remember Your Vacation

https://www.etsy.com/listing/165789664/custom-story-map-custom-vacation-map?

Have you ever considered going on a cruise? If you have, imagine sailing through the open waters on a 16-story tall ship. Cruise ships are like mini-cities and yes, despite recent news, they're an adventurous, fun way to see the world. So why not record your cruise journey with a personalized map? Feel like an explorer and remember all your destinations while sailing on the high seas.

Your photographs are lovely, but eventually they end up forgotten in a box, computer folder, or on that "to-do list" for a theoretical scrapbook. Maybe you have one cool photo framed in your living room, but wouldn't it be awesome to remember your grand voyage in a visually grand way?





With a vintage yet modern appeal, your vacation map can capture the trip and bring to life some of the cultural features you saw along the way. This is an example of a cruise vacation map, highlighting the Mediterranean region. You can add your name, year, or special message in a map that is sure to start memorable conversations.

Vacation Map: More than a Pretty  Gift

This map is more than a pretty gift, it's your inspiration to lead a creative life. As someone famous once said, all you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination. Don't let your vacation be an isolated event; instead, make it a reminder to keep on exploring the unknown, from new places to unique perspectives. Now that's a perfect gift.

Find out more about our creative map gifts: Consider Graphics Etsy Shop.

Mar 14, 2014

Customized Ohio Map, a Memorable Family Gift




Did you know Ohio is an Iroquois name meaning "great water" and Cleveland became the world's first city to become electrically lit? We recently introduced our illustrated Ohio state maps, so take a look at this edition of the series, an Ohio map to customize with your family name.


Story Behind Your Map

This map has something for everyone in your family, from your sports fan dad to your bird enthusiast grandmother and even your hipster son who loves that vintage yet modern look. The best part is you get to make this map just yours by having us design your name into the banner and the year your family settled the state (for some, it may have been a long, long time ago). 

Illustrated maps are a great way to tell stories about the places that matter to you, with a lot of creative freedom to fill apparently empty spaces with cultural symbols. A map of the Buckeye State just wouldn't be complete without buckeyes, right? Anyone from Cincinnati is proud of the Union Terminal, even if it wasn't just a train station for very long, and there's something magical about seeing a bright red cardinal against the backdrop of a snowy forest. 




We know, no one wants to hear about snow right now, so that's why we chose a fresh green to speak for a state that's largely rural. Farms are everywhere, but the state has seen a return in forests too. Did you know that Ohio was almost completely covered in trees at one time in history? It's difficult to imagine that now when you drive across the state. 

Your Ohio map simply would not be complete without mentioning baseball, or beautiful Lake Erie hugging the northern border. In the middle of it all is the state capital, Columbus, featuring a Statehouse inspired by the Greek Revival style. People may just think of farms when considering Ohio, yet this state has a lot of urban space too with three major cities and a number of prestigious universities. 

Visit Etsy for Your Ohio Map

So there you have it, a map that tells stories about a state with many unexpected charms. We invite you to check out this latest listing in our Etsy shop, where the customization process is easy. This map makes a unique gift, perfect even for travelers. If you have an idea for further customization, just let us know! We love hearing your creative ideas. 

Have a great weekend!