Our Favorite Posts From 2014!

Hope you all had a wonderful New Year! When we started Adventures-In-Making last June, we had no idea where this blog would take us. We’ve had so much fun flexing our creative muscles, sharing projects and ideas, and connecting with like-minded creative people like YOU! We can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for us and hope that you’ll join us in our creative adventure!

Today we are taking one last look at 2014 to share some of our favorite posts and projects. We hope you enjoy looking through. Cheers to a great 2015!

DIY: ‘Cat Nap’ Eye Pillow

DIY: 'Cat Nap' Eye Pillows + Free Sewing Pattern #craft #herbal

One of my all-time favorite sewing projects. These were so fun to make and sparked my interest in learning more about natural healing and aromatherapy. – Rachel

DIY: Hand-Dyed Paper Flowers

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It was so fun to share this process. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend a day, and I end up surrounded by colorful flowers. – Alison

RECIPE: Lavender & Lemonade

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This year I fell in love with lavender. These lavender creme cookies were to die for! Can’t wait to make them again -Rachel

TODAY: Heal A Creative Soul

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It felt so therapuetic to sit down and think about ways to help sooth the sensitive artistic soul. I try to do a few of these things every day. – Alison

TOOLBOX: Art Journal Supply Kit

TOOLBOX: Art Journal Supply Kit #artjournal #collage #supplies

Art journaling is my favorite mode of expression. It’s the one thing I always turn back to whenever I need to reconnect with my true self. Sharing my favorite supplies and journal pages felt very cathartic and even sparked new friendships! -Rachel

DIY: Lucky Buddha Tiki Torches

DIY: Lucky Buddha Tiki Torches #decor #outdoor #summer

This was such a fun project! I spent months thinking about what I could do with the Lucky Buddha bottles. Tiki torches were so simple to make and fun to use! -Rachel

DIY: Number Etched Drinking Glasses

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I’ve been making these jars like crazy since the original post, and have a cabinet full! It was such a great way to practice using a new tool, the Dremel Micro. -Alison

TODAY: Inspired by Frida Kahlo

TODAY: Inspired by Frida Kahlo

My biggest struggle of 2014 has been living with chronic pain. Thinking of Frida Kahlo’s life and art is such a comfort and inspiration to keep growing, creating and loving. -Rachel

RECIPE: Pickled Blackberries

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My big experiment in the kitchen- pickled blackberries seemed like such a strange concept, but they turned out surprisingly delicious. I served them to my friends and family with cheese and crackers and everyone LOVED it! I’ll definitely be making these again next year. -Rachel

DIY: Pressed Herb Candles

DIY: Pressed Herb Candles #gift #handmade

This was one of my first candle-making experiences and I just love how they turned out! I can’t wait to make them again. -Rachel

DIY: Ampersand Shadow Box

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This shadow box was so much fun to make, and now sits proudly in my studio. I can’t wait to try this process on more pieces. -Alison

DIY: Shiny Robot Ornaments from Wine Corks

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Another reclaimed material project, I sure like using trash. I’ve made even more robot friends since this post. They’re a blast. -Alison

TODAY: Resolutions for a Creative 2015

I’m not usually one for New Years Resolutions, because I feel like the best resolutions are the ones you come up with throughout the year- the little pep-talks you have to encourage yourself to look at challenges as possibilities.

But if there’s a good time to put all those thoughts together into one big life plan, New Years may be it. So here’s a list of my goals.

Keep Moving Forward

Sometimes it is so much easier to stand still and let the world settle around me. It’s easier to watch TV than try out  new tools. It easier to be disappointed with the things you’ve already done than be excited about the things you’re going to do next. But if you stagnate and let life become a series of routines then you will stop seeing the possibilities to grow and explore.

So I’m going to let go of 2014. I’ll remember the good, and sweep away the bad. It’s a new year after all.

Do It Quick and Cheap First

Sometimes the ideas come at me in droves, and it’s tempting to go out and buy every tool or supply I could possibly need. But then I’ve invested money and time in a project that might or might not work out. So I’m going to try to do things on a small scale first. Low pressure and low investment to judge how much enjoyment I’ll get out of a project before I take a bigger leap.

Look for Challenges

To keep the ideas from drying up, I’m going to seek out challenges and chances to let my brain run. I’ll keep looking at my trash as a source of art supplies, and seek outside inspiration. (If you’re looking for some help on the inspiration front- join our DIY Craft Challenge.) Rather than buying something, I’ll try to make it first.

Cork Robots. Definitely weird.

Cork Robots. Definitely weird.

Try something weird

I’m going to try to do more projects outside of my normal wheelhouse. I’ll use materials I’m less comfortable with, make things that are more whimsical than practical, and just generally try new things.

Cut Back the Pressure

The pressure to make something (especially to make something “good”) can get so overwhelming that I get the maker’s version of writer’s block. So this year I’m going to practice what I preach and give myself a break whenever I feel like I need it.

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Have More Craft Couseling Sessions

Also known as a PARTY. I’m going to try to have more craft parties with my friends, and do all sorts of things I might not do otherwise. I love being surrounded by other people with the drive to make stuff. (Our craft parties take all different forms, but my favorite have always been the ones where everyone brings something to work on, and shares with the group. Like nail polishin’.)

Don’t be a Craft Hoarder

I love to collect tools and supplies– and that can be a problem when my collections get overwhelming. So this year, I’m going to use minimalism as an inspiration to make more (and make faster.) If I don’t use something in a reasonable amount of time, I’m going to get rid of it. That way I’ve either done something, or I have space to put the next thing I DO make. (Sound familiar?)

Look at Everything

I get overwhelmed by what’s going on in my life. (If I say “I’m just so busy” one more time…) Sometimes that means I start living a more internal life, and stop noticing the beautiful things around me. It’s easier, but it’s not sustainable. This year I want to do more looking. Looking at the weird plants in my yard, looking at the work of artists and crafters– just generally seeing more.

Pay it Forward

Finally, I want to keep building a creative community that embraces our need to make, build, problem solve, prettify… you get the drift. I want to help everyone see the creativity in their lives, and chase away the little voice that says “you can’t do it”. (Because you can. I know it.)

 

I’m sure I’ll have a million other little rules for myself this year, but I think this is a good start.
What are your plans for 2015?

 

TODAY: Have yourself a merry little

IMG_5240We’ve been hard at work recharging our creative batteries, but wanted to wish you and yours a very happy holiday! Remember to take a minute to appreciate the creativity in everything you do– from the dinner you cook, to the tree you decorate, to your reaction to those gifts (think Jazz Hands.)

When you’re done with that, gather the people you love and enter our DIY Craft Challenge! Share the craft, and keep on adventuring.

 

TODAY: Begins A Winter Slowdown

Winter Slowdown #24daysofpresence

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling the strain and stress of ‘the holiday hustle’. A recent move from my home of four years added to chronic pain management and family troubles has ensured nothing goes as smoothly as it should. With all the packing, unpacking, doctors, and the effects of the winter blues, it’s been hard to feel the magic and joy this holiday season. (All I want is to stay in bed and hide from the world!)

Well this week I realized that I need to make a conscious change and allow myself time for the things I need most: rest, healing, spending time with friends, and working on self-nourishing projects that I haven’t made time for (like working in my art journal, drawing, and crafting with friends). No more pushing through stress and pain to keep up with the busy-ness of the season. It’s time to join the Winter Slowdown hosted by Oh My! Handmade Goodness.

So we’re going to slow. things. down. for a couple of weeks…

Instead of our regular posts and social media-ing, we’ll be posting just once or twice a week now through December 31st. But don’t worry we’ll still be posting the results of our December DIY Challenge on the 29th and we’ll be back in January to show you all the things we’ve been up to.

We’d love for you to join us in spending time on the things that are really important. More time with family and friends, appreciating the things we have, and having fun.

TODAY: Get your space in order.

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Yesterday I picked up an unlabeled box, fought to pull the lid off, and was greeted by an explosion of confetti.

You might think that’s a funny prank- except that it was me who had the bright idea of putting the confetti in that box in the first place. Dumb. My own prank would have been thwarted by a simple “Confetti” label on the box. Next time- maybe.

If you’re like me, this dreary weather makes staying under the covers all day pretty appealing. I’ve been in kind of a creative rut, and even a self imposed vacation didn’t fix everything. Well, time to try something new…

Order to fight the blues.

It’s time to clean, organize, dump, and declutter. Here are a few ways I’ve been getting things in order:

• Organizing, filing, and labeling my tools and materials. I am much happier when everything has a home. I am ecstatic if that home makes sense and is easy to access. I try to keep my most-used tools handy, and put less-used tools and materials in labeled boxes that will be easy to find when it’s time to use them.
• Trying out those “I bet I could…” projects and tools. I have a tendency to accumulate ideas and materials, but it’s hard to get to everything. If I have little projects that have been sitting in my head for a while, I try to take an afternoon to try them out for real- even if it doesn’t feel like the best use of my time. If the project is a dud (which happens) I’ll know it and be able to move on to other ideas.
• Dumping materials and tools I’m never going to get to, or don’t really want. I’m trying to be really honest with myself about what I really want to spend my limited time doing. If I have a hole punch I will never use, or paper that I abhor, I’m better off passing it onto someone who would like it. If it’s something I saved from the recycling bin (no judgement) then maybe it’s time for it to go back in there… and maybe that “confetti” was really just the holes punched from a binding project.
• Similar to the “I bet I could” projects, I’ve been working on the small quick projects I put off in favor or more in-depth creative pursuits. Framing and hanging posters at my house, designing signage and displays for the shop, etc.

Do you have any tricks you use to simplify your work and your workspace? We’d love to see!

BEHIND THE SCENES: Creative Blog Hop

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We were invited to participate in the Creative Blog Hop by Lindsay at A Wooden Nest, and I thought I (Alison) would take a swing at the hop.

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Late on the holiday designs, as usual. Somehow I can’t seem to come up with anything when it’s 70 degrees and sunny.

What am I working on?

I split my time between running the So There shop in Issaquah and working on my own line of paper goods. I have to be very careful to give myself time to work on creative things, and sometimes I can get spread a little thin.

I’ve been a little more focused this week, because I sprained my ankle and have to do seated tasks. That means more drawing and painting and inking. I’ve finally been working on my holiday cards (if they’re too late, I’ll use them next year!) and trying to add a few more card designs to my line.

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I was trying to be clever with this left-handed journal.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I always have the same goals on repeat in my head while I work. I like to think that if you look at my work as a whole it represents those goals… I hope it does, anyways.
• Make it useful & clever. Let it solve a problem.
• Make it funny, even if its audience is limited.
• Make it pretty, but not cute.
• Make it unique.
• Let it be imperfect, because no matter what you do, it will never be perfect. Ever.

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I love to come up with ways of reusing materials in my work. These card catalog pieces took a long time to find a function on lampshades.

Why do I write/create what I do?

I’m coming to grips with the fact that I have a couple of creative motivations– that are sometimes at odds with each other.

One  is all about problem solving. I like to make products that serve some purpose bigger than aesthetics. Some of my favorite products have come about this way, the FlipOver Planners and Delicious Recipe books for example. Other times the problem I’m trying to solve is more about using or reusing materials instead of throwing them away. That’s where the Library Card Lamps, Doodle Jars, and handmade paper cards come in.

The other thing that drives me is a need to draw, and write, and express myself however I can. There’s a weird kind of connection that comes with a stranger appreciating my work. It’s not so much a “look at me and how awesome I am” but more of a quiet need to be understood, and to know other brains work like mine does. I guess that’s my artist side.

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This is one of my more obvious sketches, but only I know what I am really up to.

How does my writing/illustration/creative process work?

Because my work is all over the place, the development takes a lot of different forms. The beginning step is the same for almost everything. I usually start with a really basic sketch on with whatever is conveniently close. The sketch is often peppered with descriptive words, and would mean nothing to a casual bystander.

If I’m doing a drawing I’ll typically move to a piece of card stock with a pencil to capture the energy of the idea as fast as I can, and that’s that.

If I’m working on something that’s more of a product, sometimes I let the idea rest there for a bit, until I’ve flushed it out a bit more in my head. I’m likely to start experimenting with materials next– building “dummies” out of paper, or string, or other things that are close to what I’m planning to use in the end. I like to work with scale and shape before settling on a style for the graphics or art. (Form and function and all that.) After that it’s a process of perfecting my method for production, making the product and the art harmonious, and making sure that it’s going to work.

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These “dummies” are helping me figure out the form of the new FlipOver planning system. I’m making them the same shape, and with the same types of paper so I can see how everything will work.

Well, I think that’s about it. I want to thank Lindsay for inviting us to the hop!

 

*You can find some of my work in my etsy shop but everything shows up first at the So, There store in Issaquah– especially one of a kind pieces.

FEATURED MAKER: Emma Reid of Emuse

FEATURED MAKER: Emma Reid of Emusing #crafter #interview
Please welcome Emma Reid, our newest Featured Maker! I came across Emma’s blog recently and fell in love with her sense of style, the variety of projects she makes, and her passion for creativity. After reading through pages of posts, I sent Emma an email inviting her to be featured on Adventures In Making. Before I knew it she emailed back and said YES! I hope you all enjoy getting to know more about Emusing Emma and the amazing things she creates!

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What is your background?

I live in Scotland, not far north of Edinburgh. I studied Chemistry and Computing at university, and my job is very science and technology based, so I spend my free time doing something very different, working on my crafts and blog. My mum is very crafty too, as was my grandad, so I think that’s where I’ve inherited it from!

FEATURED MAKER: Emma Reid of Emusing #crafter #interview

Dala horse greeting cards and gift tags made by Emma.

What do you make?

I pretty much turn my hand to anything! Some of my favourites are making greetings cards and collages from paper, and making jewellery and miniatures from polymer clay. I’ve recently been making some felt brooches, and some Scandinavian-inspired crafts.

FEATURED MAKER: Emma Reid of Emusing #crafter #interview

Scandinavian style Christmas ornaments. Check out Emma’s tutorial on her blog.

How long have you been crafting? Where did you first learn about it?

I’ve been crafting for as long as I can remember, starting out by making handmade Christmas cards when I was in primary school, then when I was in high school I made earrings and brooches from Fimo and sold them to my classmates from a little tin.

Tell us about your process. How do you go about creating a greeting card from start to finish?

For making cards, I’ll usually start with a quick sketch, then from that I come up with a finished drawing that I cut into pieces to use as a template for cutting out various colours of card. Finally I stick these onto the card and add a few finishing touches with pens or embellishments.

FEATURED MAKER: Emma Reid of Emusing #crafter #interview

Winter greeting cards made by Emma using a cut-paper/collage technique.

What does your workspace look like?

I redecorated my craft room not long ago, so it’s a lovely neutral space with lots of natural light. I’ve got lots of storage for all sorts of different craft supplies, and big desks that give me plenty of space to spread things out when I’m working on them. I’ve also set aside an area to photograph my crafts, and there are some shelves where I can display my finished crafts.

FEATURED MAKER: Emma Reid of Emusing #crafter #interview

Emma’s craft room – where the magic happens!

Where do you find inspiration?

I draw inspiration from all sorts of things – books, museums, art galleries, and the natural world. I particularly love to make items inspired by my travels, so I’ve made lots of things based around ideas from Japan, China, and Peru.

Do you have any tips or advice for other people interested in making crafting or making greeting cards?

I’m a great believer in just giving things a try! I learn most things by looking at books or online tutorials, or just by experimenting. There are so many inexpensive craft materials you can use, so it doesn’t really matter if it all goes wrong – as long as you have fun trying!

FEATURED MAKER: Emma Reid of Emusing #crafter #interview

Emma collects and creates projects inspired by her travels.

Do you have any favorite books or resources you’d be willing to share with someone interested in learning more about paper crafts?

I’ve got a great collection of craft books. Some of my favourites are Papercraft: Design and Art with Paper by Robert Klanten and The Encyclopedia of Origami and Papercraft Techniques by Paul Jackson. I also love picking up second-hand craft books in charity shops – I love the illustrations in them. And I browse Pinterest and CraftGawker for ideas.

Visit Emma’s blog and follow her on Facebook and Instagram!

Thank you so much Emma for sharing your story with us! Do you want to be our next Featured Maker? Visit our Contribute Page for more info!

CRAFTY COMIC #2: Halloween Cats + GIVEAWAY WINNER!

Every year for Halloween I daydream about dressing my cats up in costumes. I know they’d HATE it, so instead I decided to draw up my favorites for this issue of Crafty Comic (#2)! Which one is your favorite?

Halloween Cats #comic #illustration #catlover

Also, check Crafty Comic #1

The Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who participated in the October giveaway. We loved hearing about your favorite fall traditions.

Now without further ado, the winner is…. RACHEL KNIGHT!! Congrats Rachel!

FEATURED MAKER: Lindsay McCoy of A Wooden Nest

FEATURED MAKER: Lindsay McCoy of @awoodennest #crafter #interview
I’m so excited to be talking with one of my closest friends, Lindsay McCoy about her passion for needlework crafts and living sustainably. Lindsay is a talented writer, photographer and crafter. You can read more about what’s she’s up to on her blog, A Wooden Nest.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What is your background?

I live in a cozy old home in a town just outside Portland, Oregon with my husband, two cats, four chickens and a little one on the way. After graduating high school, I spent a few indecisive years in and out of college, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I eventually went back to school to finish my BA in English Lit., but I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, so I decided to go back and teach myself the basics: crafting, cooking, gardening and simple living. I started blogging about it on my personal blog, and eventually picked up a job working as the blog editor for a local wedding and paper goods company.

FEATURED MAKER: Lindsay McCoy of @awoodennest #crafter #interview

What do you make?

I dabble in lots of different projects, but needlework crafts seem to stick with me the most. I’m a big fan of knit and crochet, and I’m currently in the middle of making two hand stitched patchwork quilts using the English paper piecing method. Other than that, I write. A lot. Everything else I do (sharing recipes, gardening, house projects…) revolves around my joy of sharing information, inspiration and ideas through written words. Blogging itself has become my most well-loved creative hobby.

FEATURED MAKER: Lindsay McCoy of @awoodennest #crafter #interview

What initially sparked your interest in needlework crafts?

I never used to think of myself as a crafty person, but then I realized that I LOVE crafts so long as they’re functional and applicable to my life in some way. The crafts I lean toward are practical, and help me reach my goal of leading a simpler, more sustainable life. For example, handmade clothes, if done right, can fit better and last ages longer than cheap store bought alternatives made from synthetic materials, so I knit my own socks and sweaters, and hope to eventually own a wardrobe full of my own handmade, quality garments that will be worth mending and repairing to last my whole life.

How long did it take you to master it?

I still consider myself a beginner, and probably will until I start designing my own patterns.

FEATURED MAKER: Lindsay McCoy of @awoodennest #crafter #interview

Tell us about your process. How do you go about creating for example, a pair of knitted socks, from start to finish?

The process begins with a need. Is it getting cold outside? Am I low on socks? Time to stock up on sock yarn!

Other than that, I really try to focus all my energy on one project at a time, otherwise I get stressed out and overwhelmed, and I start to set things aside for later. When I’m in the midst of a project, I will work on it for hours, often way past my bedtime, to get it finished. It’s a little intense, but it’s also extremely satisfying.

FEATURED MAKER: Lindsay McCoy of @awoodennest #crafter #interview

What does your workspace look like?

I work wherever I’m comfortable. I do a large portion of my writing and project research on my laptop in my bedroom, and all of my other writing and knitting in the living room, usually while binge-watching a show on Netflix.

FEATURED MAKER: Lindsay McCoy of @awoodennest #crafter #interview

Where do you find inspiration?

Blogs, mostly. Magazines, conversations with creative people, movies… Ravelry project pages and forums are always a huge source of inspiration for me too.

FEATURED MAKER: Lindsay McCoy of @awoodennest #crafter #interview

Do you have any tips or advice for other people interested in needlework crafts?

Trust that if the craft or project you’re working on doesn’t come easily to you right away, you’ll eventually get the hang of it with practice. If you really want to make it part of your life, keep chugging through. Your brain will eventually catch on.

Visit Lindsay’s blog and follow her on Facebook and Flickr

Thank you so much Lindsay for sharing your story with us! Do you want to be our next Featured Maker? Visit our Contribute Page for more info!

TODAY: Inspired by Frida Kahlo

TODAY: Inspired by Frida Kahlo
(Sources left to right: 1. Frida Kahlo, 1939 2. Mexican Embroidery (Source Unknown) 3. Day of the Dead Butterfly Shrine (calaverasYcorazones) 4. Hands holding mug (Flora Bowley)

Frida Kahlo has been one of my favorite artists in history since high school. The story of her life, her passion, and her art is so incredibly inspiring. Her paintings are both haunting and beautiful; and most are self-portraits.

If you’re unfamiliar with Frida Kahlo, I recommend watching the movie, Frida. Salma Hayak does an incredible job of portraying the Frida, the Mexican artist, wife of Diego Rivera and political revolutionist. As a teenager, Frida was in a terrible traffic accident which triggered a lifetime of physical pain and health problems. Despite her pain and illness, she was still a passionate, energetic person who was able to transform her pain into colorful, emotional works of art that are now celebrated in Mexico and around the world.

TODAY: Inspired by Frida Kahlo

I don’t paint dreams or nightmares, I paint my own reality. ― Frida Kahlo

She’s been on my mind a lot recently, as I too suffer from chronic pain (almost 2 years now). When you’re in pain 24/7 every day, it’s incredibly easy to give up your passions, forget about the things that make you happy and just generally ‘give up’ on trying to have a fulfilling life.

Frida reminds me that excitement, passion, and creativity are still there, waiting for me to remember that the ups and downs of life are just part of the process of living and growing. Pain and heartbreak can be transformed into a meaningful, creative expression. Now whenever I’m suffering a painful flair up, I call upon Frida to bring me comfort and inspiration to keep growing, creating and loving.

Do you or anyone you know suffer from chronic pain or illness? We’d love to hear your story and how you’ve found ways to stay inspired, keep creating and growing. Email us at hello@adventures-in-making.com