If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to make some quirky map jewellery then scroll down until you see Blue’s paw print below.
This episode is subtitled: ‘My walk of shame…’
‘This is gorgeous,’ said Julia, looking at the almost white sand and clear pale sea lapping onto it. ‘Why is no-one else enjoying this beach?’
‘I suppose going on a summer beach holiday with your coat and scarf is a bit off-putting for most,’ I replied, turning my collar up against the blustery Shetland wind.
We made it across to the rocks for our short ascent to the grassy cliff-top to find that the rocks were wet from the previous night’s rain and really quite slippery.
‘Watch out, Julia,’ I said, ‘your shoes haven’t got much grip.’
‘Oh I’m fine,’ she said, ‘I’ve always been sure-footed.’ And she strode out to prove her point, got half way up and screamed as she slipped back onto the beach, landing flat on her back.
‘That’ll teach you to be cocky!’ I said and went over to help her up.
‘I can’t move,’ she said.
‘Oh, no! Is it your old back problem?’
‘Yes,’ she replied. ‘It really hurts. Maybe you could try to help me up and I’ll see whether it’s any better when I’m on my feet.’
Getting Julia to her feet took ten minutes and she cried out in pain throughout.
‘Now, how does that feel?’ I asked once she was upright.
‘It’s terrible,’ she winced, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to make it back to the car.’
The car was half a mile away but we had no option but to set off on our epic journey. I was supporting her as much as I could but progress was incredibly slow and the weather started to close in. The sky turned from white to grey and fine rain started to fall. Julia yelped and grimaced with every step.
Within half an hour the sky had turned from grey to dark grey and the rain began to pelt down with much more ferocity. We’d only made it half way back and it took another 40 minutes before we were in the car.
‘No wet gear in the lounge,’ barked Mad-Eye Moody, our landlord, when we hobbled through the door of the pub. The last thing we felt like doing was to sitting in the lounge in our soaking wet clothes and having a drink.
The trip upstairs was also slow and painful but I eventually got Julia into our room, out of her wet clothes and lying flat on her bed where she felt slightly more comfortable.
‘I’m sorry about today, Jen,’ she said, ‘why don’t you go down to the bar and get something to eat. I’m not hungry. I just want to lie here and sleep.’
My options were limited so I changed into some dry clothes, donned my new quirky jewellery to try to lift my spirits, and headed downstairs. I could have been wearing a smart dress and smart jewellery at a charity party with Shaun McArthur this evening, I thought. But instead I’m sitting at the bar of a mediocre pub on my own.
‘I said, good evening, my dear.’ It was Giles, the ‘dapper’ gentleman Julia and I had met the previous evening, but it didn’t register at first that he was talking to me. I was feeling sorry for myself, wondering how Kim was getting on in my place at the charity do. She’d be making more of the business opportunities than I would but I had to admit I was jealous that it was Kim and not me who was there with Shaun.
‘You look down in the dumps,’ he said, taking a seat beside me. ‘Missing home?’
I thought it a strange question until I noticed he was watching me twiddle with a small portion of Lancashire on the chain round my neck.
‘No!’ I said, slightly embarrassed that this well-dressed man had spotted my bit of homemade jewellery.
‘Is your friend not joining you this evening?’ he asked, and I proceeded to tell him about our disastrous day.
‘Ah, well, let’s see if we can brighten things up for you then,’ he said. ‘Fancy joining me for a whisky? They have a great selection here.’
I’m not a whisky drinker but when in Rome, I thought. Giles was knowledgeable and he chose one for me that he thought I’d find palatable. I did. He chose another, then another and before I knew it, it was 11pm, I’d whiled away the evening in pleasant (and generous) company, and consumed far too much whisky.
‘I must go to bed,’ I said, trying to stand up.
‘Nonsense!’ said Giles, ‘there are three more really special ones I’d like you to try.’
I was very tipsy but I was enjoying the evening and three more whisky experiences, with all of Giles’s knowledge about them, was appealing.
By the time we’d finished I’m ashamed to say I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. I giggled all the way upstairs and was thankful for Giles’s guiding arm to steer me along the landing and into his room.
But the next morning I wanted the landing to swallow me up when Mad-Eye Moody caught me doing the walk of shame back to the room I was sharing with Julia.
‘Where’ve you been?’ she shouted. I held up one hand to shield myself from the noise and held my head with the other to try to contain the pounding.
‘Julia,’ I said sheepishly, ‘you did say that what happens in Shetland stays in Shetland, didn’t you?’ ◊
I’m going to blot it out of my mind and move swiftly on to this week’s creative project.
How to Make Some Quirky Map Jewellery
You see lots of things upcycled with Ordnance Survey maps but they aren’t as accessible as out of date road maps so I thought I’d see what I could do with the latter.
I chose a page with a lot of variety – A roads, B roads, motorways etc. You could choose something relevant like where you live, where you proposed to your partner, where you’ve had the most fun…. Endless possibilities.
For the backing I chose nothing more glamorous than the lid of a container of soft cheese.
I cut a piece of map that would fit inside the rim of the lid and pasted it into place with Mod Podge.
I pasted five thin layers of gloss Mod Podge over the top, making sure it had dried between layers. Meanwhile, I cut two square templates from cardboard, one was 2cm x 2cm and one was 1.5cm x 1.5cm.
When dry, I cut the rim off and decided where to place my templates to get the design I wanted. Because I was going to be hanging my squares from one corner I decided to place my templates on the map in the same way. This meant the map would be right way up in the finished pieces.
You’ll need jump rings for each piece. To avoid the earrings hanging sideways you’ll either need two jump rings for each one or do what I did and make a very small coil of wire to go on the jump ring. If you use this second ring (or coil) to hang your earrings onto the earring wires they will hang with the map facing forwards, like the pendant.
Mark each back wth a dot where you’d like the hole. Use a large needle (one thick enough to make a hole big enough for the jump ring). Be careful while you’re doing this. Once I’d got it started, I used the old map book to rest the blunt end of the needle on and pulled the square down.
Then add the jump rings and thread the larger piece onto a chain and the smaller ones onto earring wires. I got my wires from some old earrings but you can get new wires from lots of places.
Now your jewellery is ready and you can create a talking point whenever you wear it.
- Make sure there is a complete coverage of glue between the plastic lid and the piece of map. This will ensure it remains stuck down when you cut out your pieces.
- Stick your map to the top of the lid so the back of your jewellery is white. Otherwise it might say ‘soft cheese’!
- Take care when making the hole with the needle.
- Pages from an old road map
- Plastic lid from a container of soft cheese
- Earring wires from an old pair of earrings
This jewellery is lightweight and fun – and it could be the start of an interesting conversation!
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