MAPS, HEARTS & ARROWS: A Charming GIFT-AWAY from Big City Bumpkin

MAPS, HEARTS & ARROWS:  A Charming GIFT-AWAY from Big City Bumpkin

Over the years blog friends have started businesses, written books, launched lines.  To celebrate this spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship, and as a thanks to you, we're kicking off a series of Gift-Aways from readers, for readers. What's a Gift-Away?  It's my version of a Giveaway, one that rewards subscribers for their loyalty and enthusiasm.  

Here's the first, from Vanessa at Big City Bumpkin.  I've long enjoyed Vanessa's blog posts on food, baseball and life in Chicago.  Last year she began creating photo and map jewelry pieces that are unique, well priced,beautifully packaged and utterly charming.  I love them so much I've bought three!  Below, Vanessa shares how this project came about and what it means to her.  (Details on the Gift-Away follow.)

I started on the maps when I was going through a bit of homesickness, and a lot of boredom, and felt this overwhelming need to make something.  I found a cool map of Chicago in our apartment building's laundry room, and thought it would be fun to make maps for the different Chicago neighborhoods, and it might also start to give me a sense of really belonging to this city, and being connected to it in the way I needed to be.  Gradually I started making them for other major cities, as well as custom pieces for smaller towns. The Heart & Arrow collection came about because I wanted something bold and fun to feature for Valentine's Day without being too lovey-dovey.
My favorite thing ever is to get a request from someone for a very small town that not many people have heard of (because I grew up in exactly that kind of small town), and to know that somewhere someone is wearing that necklace with a lot of pride for the place they were raised in, a place that has a lot of meaning for them and a special spot in their heart.  I like the idea of the map being something you look to when you are lost.  If I'm wearing a necklace that has Nelson Co. Virginia on it, I feel like I'm never really too far away, and looking at it reminds me of who I am, even as I'm wandering and discovering the city streets of Chicago.  -- Vanessa / Big City Bumpkin


All readers can enjoy a 20% discount through the end of February on anything in Big City Bumpkin's Etsy shop, including custom orders. Use discount code: STYLEMANIAC20.  

One lucky reader will receive the gift of the piece of her choice, up to $25.


  • Visit Big City Bumpkin on Etsy
  • Choose your favorite piece from Hearts & Arrows, State Charms and Map Pendants, up to $25, including a custom Map Pendant of your hometown.
  • Share your selection in the comments section below 
  • Plus tell us what any of the following mean to you: LOVE ...HOMETOWNS ... VALENTINE'S DAY. (Sweet, sappy, cynical, funny -- any thoughts welcome.)

REALLY want to win?  Show your enthusiasm by adding

EXTRA comments for each of the following:

ENTER through midnight EST on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. 

WINNER will be chosen based on response to question and enthusiasm for Style Maniac and Big City Bumpkin and will be announced the end of February. Have fun!

All images courtesy Vanessa / Big City Bumpkin.

"Use the good china for breakfast."