I don’t know about you but I’m always searching for gift ideas that are a little bit different – beautiful handcrafted objects, made in the UK, that are guaranteed to be greeted with a genuine: “That’s gorgeous; thank you so much!”
I was lucky enough to receive such a gift for my birthday earlier this year (after dropping a trail of not-so-subtle hints) and I absolutely love it. With Christmas just a month away, I thought I’d let you into this secret, in case you’re looking for a unique gift for someone who deserves something rather special.
My present was a beautifully covered sketchbook from Home Front Vintage, who specialise in rescuing genuine silk ‘escape and evasion’ maps and giving them a new lease of life. Remaking the maps into “covetable gifts for people who value British heritage and provenance,” was the idea of HFV’s founder, ‘The Map Lady’, Sara Jane Murray whose range of gorgeous gifts can be found at www.homefrontvintage.co.uk.
Escape and evasion maps were the brainchild of eccentric WWII Army Officer, Clayton Hutton – as close to a real-life equivalent of James Bond’s Q as history can provide. Hutton was fascinated by magicians and escapologists and this led to his interest in ways of keeping stranded servicemen out of enemy hands. Escape and evasion maps were printed on silk to make them weather-proof, to allow them to be sewn into the lining of coats, or folded up in the heel of a shoe. Being silk, they could even keep their own secret – not rustling like their paper counterparts. The maps were used very successfully during WWII and the Cold War of the 1950s, before being confined to the forgotten store cupboards of regiments across the country.
Luckily for us, Sara Jane has scoured the UK, collecting the maps that now form the basis of her Home Front Vintage range.
The books are beautifully made and finished with a button and ribbon tie. They come gift boxed or gift wrapped as standard, using recycled cardboard gift boxes and Jane Means ribbon. With each one, you also receive a brief history of the maps themselves, making the opening of the package a real event. A great feature of this product is that the silk map cover is removable, allowing the notebook or sketchpad to be replaced when necessary, so there’s no need to be afraid to use it!
I don’t often rave about products but I just absolutely love these. A beautifully made gift with a fantastic story – what more could you ask for?
I also love the fact that an object originally designed to get people out of a tight spot, might just do the same for you when it comes to finding the perfect gift. Take a look at www.homefrontvintage.co.uk.