And the winner is...

When I decided to host a handmade book giveaway, I was flooded with comments on Instagram and Facebook, each sharing an idea for how this book could be put to use. I enjoyed reading everyone's creative and meaningful ideas, and it was difficult to choose a winner.

Handmade book by linenlaid&felt

After carefully reviewing all of the entries, I've chosen a winner. This book will be headed to Instagram user @msshawnflowers. Here's her inspiring and thoughtful idea for how she plans to use this book:

"I'm newly engaged at 37 years old. My fiancé and I have been together for almost two years and plan to marry this October. We would fill these pages together as our bedside communication journal. Anytime either of us has something to share with the other that can be more easily expressed in writing we would write an honest note and leave it on his/her nightstand. Perhaps some pages would be filled with prayers for one another... or confessions of difficulty in one area or another... or invitations to make love... or words of affirmation... or concerns... or love poems... or honey-do-lists!! 💛"

Congratulations, Shawn! I hope you and your fiancé will enjoy filling this book with messages. And I wish you both all the best in your lives together. 

Handmade book by Katie Gonzalez

For more creative ideas about how you could fill a book of your own, check out the #myusedbook campaign and this gallery of books in action

Enter to win a handmade book!

As you probably know, I’m passionate about the way books can be used to enrich our lives, which is why I created the #myusedbook campaign to showcase books in action. And now I've decided to give away one of my handmade books to someone who has a creative idea for how they'd use it. 

handmade book giveaway

So to win this little Coptic bound book, please post a comment on either Facebook or Instagram that explains your idea for how you would fill this book in a meaningful or creative way.

I’ll choose a winner on May 31 based on the idea that’s most inspiring. And I’ll hope that the recipient will share photos of how they put this book to use.

I can't wait to hear all of your clever ideas for how you would fill this book. And best of luck to you!

Win a little leather book

My journals made from a pair of red suede pants have been incredibly popular online and at art shows, and now you have a chance to win one.

Elena, one of my good friends from high school, is hosting the giveaway on her fashion blog called caffeinerd. (PS- Elena got engaged last week to an ultra-talented photographer. Congratulations to them both!) You can enter the contest right here, now through Tuesday, December 7. To enter, just leave a comment on her blog mentioning your favorite item from my etsy shop. And for three extra chances to win, you can sign up for my newsletter, follow my blog, or become a fan on facebook. Good luck!

Submit a map, win a book

I've teamed up with the Hand Drawn Map Association this month to give away five of my handmade books. Through the end of October you can win one, but there's a catch.

You've got to draw a map.

Whether it's driving directions scribbled on a sticky note, a fanciful imaginary place, or an artful illustration, the HDMA wants to collect your maps. Everyone who sends a map this month (by post, e-mail, or digital upload) will be entered into a drawing for my books. For submission details, visit the HDMA website.

A little about each book:

I've had an oversized 1966 Britannica World Atlas taking up space in my studio since winter, when my husband picked it up for free (with me in mind) at Book Thing of Baltimore. The atlas is packed with (outdated) data colorfully displayed on dozens of maps. A large portion of the book goes beyond political and topographical maps to show socio-economic trends.

For the covers of this small, Coptic-bound journal I chose a birth rate map. I was especially inspired by the colors, which I carried through to the binding and the varied progression of paper colors inside.

Off the bat, I knew I'd also have to put to good use the map key. As you can see above, it's clipped and tucked into the inside front cover.

The giveaway features two other binding styles, including these concertinas. I made the first from a Virginia map, my current state, and the other from a vintage Minneapolis/St. Paul map, where we lived before Virginia.

Other books made from the Minneapolis map have caught attention from art show shoppers because of their gray and pink color scheme. They don't make maps like this anymore!

There are several lakes featured on the Minneapolis book, including a fun discovery: Snail Lake.

The pages of these lotus books were made from the same World Atlas. When you "open" these books, they unfold into a malleable array of pages. When closed, the folds return to an orderly stack. One of the two lotus folds features various maps of Africa, both political and topographical. The other is made from an assortment.

My collaboration is one of the first the HDMA has done in recent months, but that's not to say that founder Kris Harzinski hasn't been busy. The HDMA recently published its first book, "From Here to There," showcasing dozens of maps collected in the past three years. You can find the book on Amazon.

As always, the HDMA has been collecting and posting numerous maps. They're easy to browse and share. To get started, check out these maps submitted by my husband.

Remember, the linenlaid&felt giveaway runs to the end of October, so look around for that map you drew the other day -- or sketch a fresh one -- and send them in for your chance to win.