GIVEAWAY: Enter to win!

Enter To Win: #adventuresinmkg Swag Kit #giveaway #win #swag
Today we are hosting our very first giveaway! Hurray! To start off, I want to tell you about the PRIZE that not one, but three lucky winners will receive! The official Adventures In Making Swag Kit contains a mini notebook (designed and made by us), a set of pretty scallop stickers (designed by Rachel), and an official A-I-M pencil. We had a lot of fun designing these and hope that you’ll love them as much as we do.


Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty on how to get your hands on one of our Swag Kits…

How To Enter

• Leave a comment below telling us your favorite summer activity (required)

Optional additional entries:

• Follow our blog on Bloglovin
• Like our Facebook Page
• Share this tweet: I just entered to #win an awesome #swagkit at @adventuresinmkg! You should too! #giveaway (click to tweet)
• Add an A-I-M button to your blog or website (click here to get buttons) and leave us a link to your site in the comments below.

Enter all 5 ways to increase your chances of winning!

The giveaway ends on Sunday, June 29 at 11:59PM. We will announce the three winners (chosen at random) on Monday, June 30. Good luck everyone!


This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated!

DIY: Hand-Painted Mason Jar Mugs

DIY: Hand-Painted Mason Jar Mugs #marthastewart #glassware #paint

With summer in full swing, I’m looking forward to hosting backyard get-togethers. I’ve been on the lookout for some fun, affordable glassware to serve my homemade cocktails in and was excited to discover this fun DIY over on Soul Makes blog. I found mason jar mugs at my local Dollar Tree, which made for a fun, budget friendly craft project.

DIY: Hand-Painted Mason Jar Mugs #marthastewart #glassware #paint


• Mason Jar Mug (or other glassware)
Martha Stewart Glass Paint

I really loved using Martha’s glass paint. It’s permanent, dishwasher safe, and super easy to use, plus it comes in tons of different colors. You can draw your design on each glass quite easily. The directions say to let it air cure for 21 days OR bake in the oven.

To oven bake, place your painted mugs in a cold oven. Preheat to 350 degrees and set your timer for 30 minutes. You want to heat up the glasses slowly. After 30 minutes, simply turn off the oven and let cool completely. Set your glasses aside for another 72 hours and they are ready to go.

DIY: Hand-Painted Mason Jar Mugs #marthastewart #glassware #paint

SHOW + TELL: My Favorite Craft Books

My Favorite Art & Craft Books #inspiration #craft #books
The past week has been grey and rainy here in the Pacific Northwest; our last week of ‘normal’ weather before we dive head first into summer (I can’t wait!). This last week of spring has me curled up on the couch, sipping tea and looking through my favorite books. To be honest, I’m not much of a reader, but I have a great collection of books I find inspiring in my library. Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite craft books with you! These have been on my shelves for years and are something I love getting out when I’m in need of some crafty eye candy.

1. Bead Simple by Susan Beal

My friend Alissa recommended this book when I was interested in making jewelry for Camp Smartypants. Bead Simple shows tons of different techniques and jewelry patterns you can easily customize for your own projects. Great for beginners and jewelry makers interested in learning new techniques.

2. I Just Like To Make Things by Lilla Rogers

Lilla Rogers is a world-renowned art agent and creative genius. I picked up her book after I signed up for her online course, Make Art That Sells. The book is a perfect companion to her e-courses and a great resource to anyone interested in turning their creative hobby into a business some day. One of Lilla’s mantras is, “People buy your joy.” Having fun and being passionate about your work is such an important part of the creative process. In I Just Like To Make Things, Lilla discusses this and much, much more!

3. Simple Times: Crafts For Poor People by Amy Sedaris

I am a HUGE fan of Amy Sedaris. Her first book, I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence, is what first sparked my passion for planning and hosting parties. Her second book, Simple Times: Crafts For Poor People is equally great. Amy lets her humor and creativity run wild as she shares tons of hilarious and fun craft projects.

4. Find & Keep by Beci Orpin

I’m a huge fan of Beci Orpin, an Australian artist and graphic designer. Her style is so fresh and playful. Her book, Find & Keep is bursting with colorful and unique craft projects and inspiration for you to feast your eyes on.

My Favorite Art & Craft Books #inspiration #craft #books

5. How To Make Books by Esther K. Smith

Bookbinding has been a much-loved craft activity for me. I love making my own journals and notebooks. This book by Esther K. Smith provides great instruction for a variety of bookbinding techniques including accordions, stab stitch, chapbooks, long stitch and more. I love that she uses unlikely materials like fabric, envelopes, recycled papers, and vintage postcards to create unique journals, albums and notebooks.

6. Vintage Craft Workshop by Cathy Callahan

I absolutely love vintage crafts and this book definitely gives me my retro crafty fix! Not only are the projects fresh takes on crafting techniques from the 60’s and 70’s, I also love her “Crafty Lady” features where she shares a little history about crafty pioneers like Aleene Jackson (inventor of Aleene’s Tacky Glue) and Hazel Pearson (Queen of Kaboodle craft kits).

7. Happy Voodoo Gris Gris by Mademoiselle de la Brindille and Anne-Claire Leveque

I remember this being an impulse buy at Powell’s, but I’m so glad I have it on my bookshelf. Happy Voodoo Gris Gris is a wonderful book with over 45 fun projects for the free spirited. Learn to make good luck charms, talismans, amulets, and more.

8. Mend It Better by Kristin Roach

This book is written by my friend, Kristen Roach of Craft Leftovers. It features sewing projects that use recycled or reused materials. Kristin discusses the basics of mending and altering as well as featuring sewing projects by her and other crafters. Check out page 204, where I share a fun tutorial on how to transform an old pair of jeans into a bleach-dyed skirt!

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TOOLBOX: Rachel’s Favorite Drawing Supplies

TOOLBOX: My Favorite Drawing Supplies #art #materials #drawing
After a recent trip to my local art supply store to stock up on supplies, I realized how much I love getting new pens, tubes of watercolor paint, and finding the perfect paper. Even as a kid growing up, I always looked forward to a new school year and fresh new pencils and notebooks. Since I’ve taken up illustration and making art for Camp Smartypants, I’ve found some favorite tools I use again and again. I’m always on the look out for new materials to try out, but I rely on these essentials for most of my drawing.

For Sketching + Drawing

TOOLBOX: My Favorite Drawing Supplies #art #materials #drawing

1. Spiral Bound Sketchbook

I prefer the spiral binding for my sketchbooks because my pages are able to lay flat at as draw and it’s easy to curl up on the couch with. You just have to be careful not to crush or bend a metal spiral, or you’ll be annoyed while working in it.

2. Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad

The perfect tracing pad you carry in your bag along with your sketchbook. Read more about how great this thing is in this post.

3. Mechanical Pencil

Mechanical pencils are my go-to sketching tool. I prefer these over a normal pencil because I don’t have to worry about sharpening, and I can get a consistent line weight as I use it. I don’t worry about using anything fancy, any mechanical pencil will do the trick.

4. Blackwing Pencils

I picked up a sampler set of Blackwing Pencils after taking a lettering class from Mary Kate McDevitt on Skillshare. I learned a lot about the drawing process from taking her course and now use a blackwing to draw over my sketches, making for a nice clean drawing.

5. Metal Pencil Sharpener

A good pencil sharpener is an essential tool. I use a Mobius & Ruppert Brass Pencil Sharpener. It’s something I picked up in college and have used ever since.

6. Staedtler Eraser

The Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser works great.

For Inking

TOOLBOX: My Favorite Drawing Supplies #art #materials #drawing

1. Translucent Marker Paper

Another material I picked up in art school, this marker paper is great for ink drawings. You can achieve the smoothest lines with little bleed from your pen.

2. Ink Pens

I use Copic Multiliner pens. It’s one of many good brands (Fiber-Castell is another good one) and comes in variety of sizes. 0.3 and 0.5 are the two sizes I use most often.

For Watercolor

TOOLBOX: My Favorite Drawing Supplies #art #materials #drawing

1. Arches Watercolor Paper

A high quality watercolor paper. I use hot-press for watercolor and ink, and cold-press for watercoloring only. The difference is cold-press paper has a nice texture while hot-press paper is smooth.

2. Shmincke Watercolors

I first learned of Shmincke watercolors from Geninne Zlatkis. They were a big investment, but totally worth it. The pigment is bright, saturated and beautiful.

3. Paint Brushes

I use fairly cheap paint brushes. The brand shown are Princeton Snap and Loew-Cornell.

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RECIPE: Old-Fashioned Candy Popcorn

RECIPE: Old-Fashioned Candy Popcorn #homemade #party #treat #snack
Candy popcorn is a tasty treat you might remember your grandma or great-grandma making. My mom remembers her grandma making this every christmas. What I love about this recipe is the color! You can make your popcorn any color you like. I chose pink and green and it turned out so pretty and delicious. The taste is similar to kettle corn, but sweeter. This would be a great snack to serve at parties, baby showers, or birthdays.

RECIPE: Old-Fashioned Candy Popcorn #homemade #party #treat #snack

Old-Fashioned Candy Popcorn
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 6
  • ⅔ cup popcorn kernels, popped
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ⅔ cup half and half
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Food coloring
  • Special Tools:
  • Candy thermometer
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Pour popped popcorn into a large mixing bowl, set aside. In a saucepan whisk together sugar, half and half, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Heat mixture to 232 degrees, stirring occasionally. Once it reached 232 degrees, remove from heat and mix in the vanilla and food coloring. I recommend adding a few drops of coloring at a time until you get the color you want.
  3. Drizzle mixture over popcorn. Gently stir until mixture is evenly coated. Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Stir popcorn mixture well, and then bake for another 6-8 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake. You don’t want your popcorn to lose its pretty color and turn brown.

RECIPE: Old-Fashioned Candy Popcorn #homemade #party #treat #snack

DIY: Mini Summer Notebooks

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial
Summer is here! And with the sunshine come vacations, camping trips, weekend getaways, and other outdoor adventures. Any time I plan a trip, I always make sure to bring a little notebook with me to record all the special memories that happen along the way. This mini notebook is the perfect companion to any adventure, plus it uses recycled materials and is easy to make!

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial


• Colored Card Stock or other pretty paper (for your notebook cover)
• Stamps and ink pad (to decorate your cover)
• Recycled papers (for your inside pages)
• Bakers twine (for the binding)


• X-acto knife
• Ruler
• Cutting board
• Paper cutter (optional)
• Bookbinding Awl
• Bone Folder
• Bookbinding needle

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

1. Cut your papers to size

For the cover, I chose a thick colored cardstock. The thicker the notebook cover, the better. You can also try using handmade paper. For the inside pages, I used a variety of recycled papers I had on hand like lined notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, construction paper and even some pages cut out of old books and magazines.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

I wanted my notebook to fit easily into my backpack or purse so I chose to make the finished size 4.25”x5.5”. Using my paper cutter (or a ruler and x-acto knife works too), I cut all my papers (cover and inside pages) 8.5”x5.5” inches, which when folded in half, will become the finished size.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

2. Decorate your cover

To decorate my cover, I decided to carve my own stamp. And since I plan to take this notebook with me on a camping trip, I chose to carve a campfire. I also stamped the word “summer” below using my set of alphabet stamps.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

Feel free to decorate your cover however you want! You could also collage your cover, draw or paint something, or cover the entire thing in wash tape. It’s up to you!

3. Prep your inside pages

I chose 15 sheets of paper for the inside of my journal, which when folded in half will become 30 pages. This is the perfect amount for me to fill up while on vacation.

To prep the inside pages for binding, gather the cover and inside pages together (in the order that you want them to be) and fold the entire thing in half making a crease in all the pages. You can use the bone folder to get a nice clean fold/crease.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial
DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

4. Bind Your Notebook

Starting at the middle of your book (cover page is on the bottom), take 5 pages from your stack. Using a ruler to measure, draw two dots 1 ½” apart at the center of the fold. Take the bookbinding awl and punch a hole through all 5 sheets where you marked with the pencil. Set aside. Repeat this process two more times, or until you have holes punched through all your pages.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial
DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

Reassemble your notebook back to its original order. Using a piece of baker’s twine and a bookbinding needle (or other needle with a large enough eye to thread the baker’s twine through), stitch the notebook together. Then tie a knot and trim.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial
DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

One final touch you can do (which is totally optional) is to trim your finished notebook. You’ll notice that with the pages folded in half, the inside papers peek out of the cover. You can use a ruler and x-acto knife to carefully trim the excess making for a clean, finished notebook.

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial
DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

That’s it! Now you have a fun little notebook to take with you on all your summer adventures. Do you have any other summer travel traditions? Like making a photo album of your trip, collecting ticket stubs, or pressing leaves and flowers you collect along your way?

DIY Mini Summer Notebook #journal #paper #tutorial

TOOLBOX: Photography Basics For Bloggers

Photography Basics For Bloggers #eqiuipment #supplies #adventuresinmkg
Photography is an essential skill for any blogger and one of the most intimidating tools to learn (at least for me). I’ve had my Canon Rebel for over 6 years and am only now really learning how to use it. I took an online class from A Beautiful Mess called Mastering Your DSLR last April and it has helped me improve my photography skills immensely.

At my last job, I worked as blog editor for an online company and spent a lot of time working with their in-house photographer to create blog content. I learned so much from watching the photographer work and assisting her in styling each shot.

Since launching Adventures In Making, I’ve had to dive in and take all the photos you see here myself. I can tell you it’s definitely something that takes both patience and practice. I have a few essential tools and techniques I use to achieve the quality and look that I want for each photo, plus aside from my digital camera, all the equipment I use is low-budget or found second hand.

1. Basic Equipment

Digital camera. Although a professional DSLR camera is ideal, you can still get great photos from a simple point-and-shoot, or even your iPhone. It’s worth your time to look for tutorials and advice for using the camera you choose. There may be simple techniques you overlook when you’re using it. Definitely take the time to ask friends what they use, and if they have any tips.

Tripod. Even the slightest movement while taking a photo will cause a motion blur. The closer you get to your object, the more obvious the motion blur becomes. Even an inexpensive tripod will make a big difference in the sharpness of your images. Tripods are available at all sorts of stores. If you’d like a more portable setup, think about using a small table-top tripod, or a flexible tripod like a Gorilla Pod.

Remote switch is also helpful to prevent moving the camera while taking a photo. Even the action of pressing the shutter will often cause you to move and blur your photo. A remote switch can relieve this frustration. If you don’t have a remote, try playing with the timer setting on your camera.

Reflector. A reflector can help direct light to your subject and soften dark shadows. You can purchase one like this one, or for a cheaper option you can use a large white poster board. I recommend reading this post from Making Nice in the Midwest blog. Mandi goes into great detail about the equipment she uses and how reflectors can make all the difference in your photos.

Image editing software to crop, brighten, sharpen, etc. your photos as needed. It may seem easier to use the image exactly as it was shot. But in reality, it is difficult to shoot an image precisely how you want it to appear in its final form. We recommend using Photoshop or similar software program. PicMonkey is a free online source for photo editing.

2. Styling

Styling is essential to create a strong image because it gives your idea context for the viewer and can help tell your story. Simple backdrops and props are great for enhancing photos. For example, I like to use different fabrics, papers and textures for backdrops and I have a variety of different props I like to use (like baskets, dishes, ribbon, flowers, etc.)

Photography Basics For Bloggers #eqiuipment #supplies #adventuresinmkg

You want your photos to showcase your idea, so it’s best to try not to use too many props that distract the viewer. With that said, you can still get creative with different prop ideas to enhance your photo. For example, in my Watercolor Gift Wrap post, I used a small vase of flowers, and a dish with dried chamomile (one of the ingredients for my eye pillows) as props. For my Fire Cider recipe, the ingredients themselves became my props. And in my Pretzel Treat Favors post, I used paper straws, ribbon, tags, and balloons to create the look and feel of a party.

Photography Basics For Bloggers #eqiuipment #supplies #adventuresinmkg

When thinking of prop ideas for your photos think simple and try to use what you already have in your home or kitchen. I also recommend dollar stores and thrift stores as great places to find baskets, flowers, old fabrics, etc.

3. Lighting

Window/natural lighting makes the best photos. Never use a flash or overhead light. Set up your backdrop and props near a window and take your photographs during the day when there is good light. If photographing outdoors, an overcast day or shady spot is best. Direct sunlight creates hard shadows in your photos (which is not good!). Think soft light not hard light.

If sunlight is never where you need it, consider trying some supplemental lighting. The trick is to find a light fixture and bulb that will help you replicate sunlight. I recommend stopping by a store that sells cameras and photography supplies, and asking what sort of setup they recommend. Avoid using a normal household bulb as it will produce yellow light (which is bad for photography), especially when you are aiming to replicate the look of ‘natural’ sunlight.

Additional Resources

Food & Light: Photography Tips from Diane Cu by Averie Cooks
Food Styling By Celebrate Creativity
Lighting Tips and Tricks for Bloggers & Photographers by Making Nice in the Midwest.
Basic Photo Tips for Bloggers by B.You


COLOR INSPIRATION: Peace of Mind #teal #purple #chartreuse #watercolor
I’ve been obsessing over this color palette for the past month or so. The cool blues and purples with hints of chartreuse and green offer a refreshing calmness. The combination stirs up memories of salt water and warm ocean breezes. The one place I can find peace of mind.

Image sources (clockwise): 1. Katy’s Photo Journal 2. Eliana Luck 3. Flowers On Bornay 4. Hello Pretty Things

DIY: Strawberry Pin Cushions

Handmade Strawberry Pin Cushions #sewing #gift
I’ve been having a lot of fun working on little sewing projects lately. I had been eyeing this tutorial by Down Grapevine Lane for so long; I’m excited to finally be able to try it out. I enjoyed the time consuming hand-stitching involved as I have not practiced that in a while and it made for the perfect lap project while watching TV with my boyfriend, James.

Handmade Strawberry Pin Cushions #sewing #gift

All the materials used I found in my grandmother’s sewing room (she has more fabric than most fabric stores!). I chose four different purple toned fabrics and was lucky enough to find a piece of real wool felt perfect for the leaves of the strawberries.

Read full tutorial >>

Handmade Strawberry Pin Cushions #sewing #gift

As I made them, I decided to omit the white felt flower and instead sew a cute oval “thank you” tag into the top of each strawberry. These will make for the perfect thank you gifts and I can’t wait to give them to our first Adventures In Making contributors! You heard me right, we are currently looking for new creative writers. Each month, we plan to send out little thank you gifts to everyone who contributes. Read more about becoming a contributor >>

Handmade Strawberry Pin Cushions #sewing #gift

RECIPE: Homemade Bitters + Champagne Cocktail

RECIPE: Homemade Bitters #diy #cocktail #infusion

Bitters is one of my favorite cocktail ingredients. A classic cure-all and drink flavoring, if you go to any cocktail bar here in Portland, you’ll find it used in many different drinks. I usually stick to using Angostura or Peychaud’s at home, but after reading this book, I decided to try making my own. I chose two different kinds, orange spice and cherry licorice. Both turned out good! My favorite way to use it is in a champagne cocktail (recipe below). You could also use it to make a Manhattan or Old-Fashioned if you are a fan of bourbon.

To make bitters at home you need to infuse a combination of botanicals and high proof alcohol.

Bittering Agents: Angelica root, birch leaf, burdock root, dandelion bark, gentian root, licorice root, wormwood, calamas root, wild cherry bark, and orris root are all great places to start.

Flavor Agents: Try any combination of allspice berries, anise seed, caraway seed, cinnamon, citrus peel, clove, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, hops, juniper berries, lavender, lemongrass, nutmeg, rose hips, sarsaparilla, or star anise.

You can also use dried fruits, nuts and beans (like cocoa or coffee)

To learn more about making bitters, I highly recommend getting a copy of, A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All: Bitters by Brad Thomas Parsons.

RECIPE: Homemade Bitters #diy #cocktail #infusion

5.0 from 1 reviews
Homemade Bitters
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Digestive
Cuisine: Beverage
  • Orange Spice Bitters

  • 1 cup Everclear
  • 1 medium orange
  • 4 tablespoons burdock root
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, cut in half (approx. 1 ½ inches)
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon honey dissolved in 2 teaspoons of hot water
  • Cherry Licorice Bitters

  • 1 cup Everclear
  • 1 medium orange
  • 4 tablespoons burdock root
  • 1 tablespoon cardamom seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • ¼ cup dried cherries
  • 1 tablespoon honey dissolved in 2 teaspoons of hot water
  1. Remove the orange zest in strips with a vegetable peeler and discard the white pith. Combine the zest with the aromatics and herbs in a wide-mouth canning jar. Pour the Everclear over the top and add in the liquid honey and about ⅓ cup of juice from the orange. Cover with a tight fitting lid and store at room temperature. Allow to steep for at least two weeks. Give the jar a good shake every other day or so.
  2. After the steeping process is finished, strain into a clean jar using a coffee filter. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

I ordered some 4 oz glass bottles with droppers from Specialty Bottle to package my homemade bitters. Gatsby style labels are courtesy of Evermine. I love the classic, vintage look.

RECIPE: Homemade Bitters #diy #cocktail #infusion

5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe: Champagne Cocktail
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Cocktail
Cuisine: Beverage
  • 1 glass of champagne
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1-2 dashes of bitters
  1. Place sugar cube in bottom of champagne flute. Add a few dashes of bitters. Top with champagne. Cheers!

RECIPE: Homemade Bitters + Champagne Cocktail #diy #infusion #aromaticHas anyone else tried making their own bitters? Do you have any favorite flavor combinations? I think I want to try making a lavender bitters next…