My parents taught me lots of great lessons as a child, but one of my favorites is the art of the road trip.
From little jaunts around the state of Michigan to longer family adventures to New England in the summer of 1977 and to Los Angeles in the summer of 1985, we logged lots of hours on the road in the USA. And one of my favorite things about those trips was learning to read a map.
Does anyone remember the AAA Trip Tiks?
My family and me in the early 70’s at the Mackinac Bridge – that’s me clutching Baby Tender Love in the front. I think my brother Kurt has a map in his hand!
Enter my fascination with maps. It probably didn’t hurt that my dad majored in geography in college. And I vividly remember poring over maps (like this one I found on Etsy) in my 8th grade classroom (my dad was my teacher, consequently).
All of those glorious state lines to cross!
And it looks like a flag. Makes my patriotic heart go pitter-patter!
And THEN, I saw this on the Crate Paper blog. Colorful, educational, geographical, and interactive creative goodness gone wild! I imagined making this and marking the 45 states I’ve been to or practicing my state capitals or generally just enjoying the looks of it.
This would be a fun thing to make with your kids or to give to newlyweds to track their travels together.
But this post on the See Kate Sew blog really got me excited. Kate created the wall hanging map below using fabric scraps, and with my recent obsession with scraps, I thought I’d transfer her idea into one that would work for me.
Kate cut each state and then sewed around the edges for her scrap map.
To get started, I printed up the map that Kate shared on her blog. Here’s a direct link. Kate blew hers up to poster size, but I printed mine as is. It will give you about a 5” x7” map. I’d suggest printing two copies of the map. It can get a little tricky in those New England states. Trust me.
Gather a piece of aqua cardstock, two copies of the map, repositionable adhesive, scissors, and your scraps!
My best advice is to be patient and have fun with it! I felt inclined to begin with Washington state in order to move from west to east, but there’s probably no perfect place to start. Truth be told, I took my time with this project (it took me parts of three days). You can’t hurry it, or your results will be less than attractive.
Your map will come together one state at a time!
Step 1: Use re-positionable adhesive and adhere the scrap beneath the map. Carefully cut the state out with micro-tip scissors using the map borders as a guideline.
Step 2: Remove the scrap state from the computer paper map, rub off excess adhesive and place on cardstock.
Step 3: Repeat steps one and two 49 times!
Please note the gentle curve of the Canadian border. The puzzle pieces won’t fit if you try to make them go in a straight line!
The finished product!
As I cut out each state, I thought of friends and family and loved ones living there. I thought of what things are important to each state, experiences I’d had there, and what it might be like to live there. What a wonderful time I had creating this project!
My home state is giving you a high five for even considering trying this project!
What’s your favorite thing about where you live?
PS: I just love this – it’s puffy, it has a heart, and it’s my home state all rolled into one!