Maps and The Explorer

I am fascinated by maps. I’m not quite sure why.

World Map Print


I used to study the atlas as a child and look for random places. I wouldn’t say I’m extremely well travelled, but I do like to visit new countries and study the maps of surrounding areas. On flights, I put the map system on the screen and watch as the journey progresses. G doesn’t seem as excited when I repeatedly point out where we are in the world and all the funny place names.

When I first moved to Cambridge, I bought a pocket A-Z and went out at the weekends on my bicycle, looking for streets and paths to explore.

I’m not sure what it is that I find so interesting about maps. Perhaps it is discovering new names of places I didn’t know existed, or the magnitude that we are part of this huge planet and can travel so easily around it.

This interest has influenced my craft passion for sure. I’m drawn to map print items and just searching for ‘map crafts’ on Pinterest gives me a whole heap of ideas to work with. It’s just a pity vintage maps are so expensive or difficult to acquire.

For now, I’ve created an Etsy Treasury called ‘The Explorer’, which I hope you will agree is full of beautiful items on the theme of travel.

I’d love to hear which item you would favourite.

Washi Tape, WIDE Japane…


Chevron Passport Holder…


life travel photograph …


Vintage Gladiator Suitc…


Leather Travel Wallet /…


Pastel stripe canvas Ba…


Cyber Monday Etsy BOGO …


Postcard blanks – set o…


Vintage Mint Green Impe…


Map Envelopes A2 with L…


His n Hers – Personaliz…


Vintage Map Pendant, Cu…


Antique Travel Book – C…


Vacation Journal, Trave…


vintage globe / mid mod…


Vintage oversized shade…


Treasury tool supported by the dog house

You can find photos of my travels on Flickr, although I’ve yet to add the ones from my Vancouver trip!


Switching off: Our Staycation

When G and I realised our work/leave schedules would never align for summer holidays this year, we decided on a staycation over a long weekend. Not our usual beachy holiday somewhere hot in Europe, but a mini-break to Center Parcs.

Having been before with family, we knew what to expect and which activities would cost, so planned carefully. We haven’t owned a car for 6 years in a bid to be green and save money, so we hired from our local company (not the big giants) and set off on Friday morning in what can only be described as a toy car. All part of the fun!

Road Trip on claireabellemakes

Naturally we needed sweets for the journey. Road trips are a total novelty for us now and we are guaranteed to have a few shouty moments when I send G the wrong way multiple times! He is very good at being nice to me when this happens, even though I do it on most journeys.

We only went 40 minutes up the road and even though it wasn’t far, we were determined to make it feel like a holiday. We were so lucky with the weather, 30 degrees every day!!

I decided that this break from work would also be a break from the online world. I put the Etsy shop on holiday and switched off my phone from calls, texts, email and twitter. My lovely guest bloggers made sure there was still some activity here. I only listened to one voicemail as I knew it was from a family member about some hospital test results (all ok).

I was glad to be offline. I think G was beginning to believe I had become surgically attached to my smart phone.  I thought I’d hate missing out on tweets and blogs, but I’m really glad I took the time to switch off. Especially as he has limited time due to a busy work schedule.

Here are some snaps from our mini-break. I did take my SLR, but as we were out and about quite a bit, I relied on my phone camera instead.

staycation by claireabellemakesA lakeside picnic on arrival and forest bike rides (I missed my sit-up-and-beg bicycle!)

staycation by claireabellemakesGolf (I am getting better!) and a day at the beach – super hot weather.

staycation by claireabellemakesPeaceful forest scenes and woodland lodges.

I didn’t capture one part on film as we were in the spa. Being brought lemon sherbets whilst relaxing on a water bed on a balcony overlooking a Zen garden was bliss. As was being brought fresh strawberries whilst in a jacuzzi. Spoiled! We also participated in an ‘Austrian Spa Experience’ which involved different essences and having ice thrown on you. Bit odd!

staycation by claireabellemakes

Lovely breakfast in a revolving restaurant. Excuse the early morning pic. I don’t wear make up on holiday.

staycation by claireabellemakes

The most delicious breakfast ever.

staycation by claireabellemakes

The lakeside views from the revolving restaurant & from the outside.

staycation by claireabellemakes

Outside the hotel was this amazing peacock. Inside the hotel we powered our way through a couple of seasons of 30 Rock.

staycation by claireabellemakes

I took some crochet with me & returned home to this lovely book from a giveaway by Lola Loves Craft!

We will definitely take a ‘staycation’ again. We feel totally refreshed after 4 days!

Have you taken a great holiday in the UK?

claireabelle x