SHOW + TELL: Codex Seraphinianus

SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book
If you haven’t heard of the Codex Seraphinianus, it is a beautifully strange book created by Luigi Serafini. First published in 1981, this amazing book is an illustrated encyclopedia of an unknown world written in an unknown language. My boyfriend, James gifted me a copy last year and I could not put it down. I will warn you that the hardbound book is both big and heavy, but you’ll spend hours pouring over each mysterious page.

SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book
SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book
One of the strangest (and most debated) things about this book is that it is written in an invented script. The artist claims it to be nothing more than a pretend language. But one can’t help but wonder if there is a secret code to be unlocked.

What I want my alphabet to convey to the reader is the sensation that children feel in front of books they cannot yet understand.
— Luigi Serafini

SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book
SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book

Want to know more? Check out this interview with artist and WIRED magazine.

SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book
SHOW+TELL: Codex Seraphinianus #weird #book

DIY: 17 Easter Egg Ideas

Happy first day of Spring! Easter is just around the corner and that means it’s time to start experimenting with egg dying and decorating techniques! There are a million ways to decorate an Easter egg and today we are sharing a round up of ideas and techniques we are dying to try. So take inventory of supplies you might already have on hand, pick up a few special new tools to try, and spend a day decorating eggs that will make any bunny jealous!

DIY: 17 Easter Egg Ideas
1. Watercolor Easter Eggs by A Pumpkin & A Princess
2. Journal Easter Eggs by Alisa Burke
3. Humpty Dumpty Eggs by Confetti Sunshine
4. Pretty No-Dye Eggs by Better Homes & Gardens
5. Calligraphy Eggs by Bon Appetit
6. Naturally Dyed Eggs by The Kitchn
7. Spring Painted Eggs by A Creative Mint
8. Whipped Cream Dyed Eggs by My Baking Addiction
9. Nail Polish Marbled Eggs by Hello Natural
10. Message Stamped Eggs by Brit+Co
11. Galaxy Eggs by Jacks & Kate
12. Hand-Drawn Eggs by The Girl Creative
13. Paint Pen Eggs by Kaley Ann
14. Tie-Dye Eggs by HelloBee
15. Sprinkle Eggs by Studio DIY
16. Temporary Tatto Eggs by Krafts & Kiddos
17. Golden Marbled Eggs by She Knows

SHOW + TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

Lettering is one of our many passions here at Adventures-In-Making. We are both trained in graphic design, so type, letters, fonts, etc. are all constantly floating around in our brains. Over the years, hand-lettering has become our obsession and a daily practice. Just like any skill, the only way to get good is to practice, practice, practice. Since we are compulsive doodlers, we tend to be practicing all the time.

Once of our favorite ways to practice is to page through a favorite book of lettering for inspiration and ideas. Since this month’s DIY Challenge theme is ‘Letters’ we thought we’d share some of our favorite sources for lettering inspiration.

Rachel’s Favorites

SHOW + TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

1. Logo, Font and Lettering Bible by Leslie Cabarga

This is a great book of reference for any graphic designer. And even better for anyone interested in letters. This book is bursting with inspiration, techniques and tips for the aspiring designer.

SHOW + TELL: Our Favorites Lettering Books

2. Hand Job: A Catalog of Type by Mike Perry

This book is a must-have for anyone interested in hand-lettering. Michael Perry showcases the work of tons of talented artists and designers. Some of my favorites are Kate Bingaman-BurtDeanne Cheuk, and Human Empire.

SHOW + TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

3. Handwritten: Expressive Lettering In The Digital Age by Steven Heller and Mirko Ilic

This is one of my favorite books for inspiration. A fun collection of posters, books, ads, etc., that all showcase beautifully crafted, hand-lettering.

SHOW+TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

4. Custom Lettering of the 60’s and 70’s edited by Rian Hughes

I have a huge soft spot for the colors and psychedelic, groovy style of the 1960’s and 1970’s. This book is a fantastic collection of lettering from the era.

SHOW+TELL: Our Favorite Lettering Books

Alison’s Favorites


5. American Wood Type by Rob Roy Kelly

I was lucky enough to use Rob Roy’s collection of wood type at in college, and to have inherited this amazing collection of type samples. Reprints come up from time to time making this book more affordable- but even in used condition it is an amazing resource for type and lettering.


6. The Art of the Letter by Doyald Young

…or any other book by Doyald Young, who was single handedly responsible for some of the most iconic logos that we grew up with (and typeface of course.) This book has break downs of his letter forms and stories about why he made the decisions he did.


7. An A-Z of Type Designers by Neil Macmillan

This book is mainly focused on the biographies and essays of type designers over the years- but also includes samples of type from almost every era. Since I reference a lot of traditional typefaces in my work, it’s a great resource to have on hand.


8. Little Book of Lettering by Emily Gregory

This one is all about eye-candy. It has sample lettering work from over 100 artists (including friends of the site, Jacqui and Scott Scoggin). Whenever I get in a lettering bind, all I have to do is flip through a couple of pages to get inspired to try a new style, new color, or new composition.

(Not Shown – Sign Painters by Faythe Levine & Sam Macon which I raved about before.)

What books inspire you?

SHOW + TELL : Lotta Prints Book

As lucky as we all are to have Pinterest, Instagram, and the rest of the internet; every once in a while all I want to do is flip through a book. There’s something about having an idea in print in front of me…

It’s been a few years since I picked up Lotta Prints (on sale, because it was missing the templates from the back) and although it has a limited number of projects, I seem to find a new thing to explore every time I open it.

Like this simple screen printing technique. Hmmm… does that mean I should try screen printing next?

I would say that most of the projects are rudimentary, but it’s a wonderful resource if you’re interested in experimenting with printing techniques. (Yes. She prints with a potato.)

I love the way she uses simple, repeating shapes to form gorgeous patterns, and that each page is a new process to explore.

February DIY Challenge: Hearts!

Sources left to right: Origami Hearts Bouquet by My Bohemian Summer, Hearts Garland by Head vs. Heart, Big Woven Paper Heart by House That Lars Built, Heart Bird Feeder by Wine & Glue, Hearts Cherry Pie by The Diary of Dave’s Wife, Heart Dream Catcher by Molly Moo Crafts, Crochet Hearts by Craftaholics Anonymous, Heart Suncatcher by Growing A Jeweled Rose, Geometric Hearts by Minieco, Tiny Hearts Garland by Design Mom.

February DIY Challenge: Hearts

Since February is the month of all things lovey-dovey, we chose hearts for the DIY Challenge theme. Hearts are sweet and simple, so we know you’ll have fun coming up with a creative way to make your own heart-shape project. Use this as an excuse to make a valentine for your sweetie or bake a heart-shape pie for your BFF! What better way to show your love than with something special created by you!?

How To Enter

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, February 2, 2015 and ends on February 26, 2015. We will post our favorite projects + announce the award winners on February 27th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more heart project ideas.

January DIY Challenge Results!

We are so excited to share the great submissions we received this month for our DIY Challenge! The theme for this month was ‘Yarn’ and we had so much fun seeing everyone’s projects. As promised we are awarding our three favorite projects and showcasing everyone’s submissions. Great job everyone!

DIY Challenge Award: The Most Snuggly

We just love this knitted blanket made by Sheila Zachariae of Creative Design. Sheila first learned to knit from her mother as a teenager growing up in the 1970’s. Fast forward to 2004 and she began selling her knitted scarves at a local art gallery. Now she sells her handmade wares and knitting patterns on Etsy, Ravelry and Patternfish.

January DIY Challenge Award Winner #diycraftchallenge

I can most often be found in “my chair” surrounded by a pile of yarn, fabric, more yarn, needles, another pile of yarn, patterns, more fabric…etc. I love designing, picking out yarn colors and seeing it all come together in fabric. Baby blankets and women’s accessories are my favorite projects. – Sheila

DIY Challenge Award: The Most Battable

We are suckers for handmade pompoms! There are so many fun ways to make and use them, though our favorite way is to gift them to our favorite felines. These two-color pink pompoms made by Sarah White would make our kitties go nuts! Sarah is an avid crafter, author and blogger behind Our Daily Craft. Be sure to check out Sarah’s blog for more crafty ideas and tutorials.

January DIY Challenge Award Winner #diycraftchallenge

DIY Challenge Award: The Coziest

These hand-knit baby clothes look so warm and cozy! Made by Lindsay McCoy of A Wooden Nest who has been knitting up a storm in preparation for having her first baby this April. Be sure to check out Lindsay’s blog for a peek into her life and latest knitting projects. You can also follow her on Instagram.

January DIY Challenge Award Winner #diycraftchallenge

Yarn Gallery

January DIY Challenge Gallery

Credits left to right

1. Slouchy Crochet Hat by Katie Smith from Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas
2. Creative Wall Art by Catherine McAtier from Scotland
3. Crochet Little Death Dolls by Kat Duke from Seattle, Washington
4. Pompom Love Bugs by Rachel Beyer from Portland, Oregon

We wish you all a wonderful weekend! We’ll be back soon to announce the theme for next month’s DIY Challenge!

SHOW + TELL : Paper to Petals Book

Since we’re still a little ways off from real flowers, I’ve been finding myself thinking more and more about the paper version. I thought I would share this beautiful book with you.

Paper to Petals is an amazing collection of vibrant paper flowers that’s sure to impress even the most weather weary. It’s quite hefty, and packed full of tons of beautiful inspiration.

But, it’s not just a coffee table book. The back has tutorials for all of the flowers, and details about tools, materials, and methods– all so beautifully laid out that they are almost as compelling as the flowers themselves.

I’m not much for following tutorials, but the details are extremely useful for learning new methods of working with paper. 

I also sometimes use this book as inspiration for my illustrations. I love the graphic nature of the flower shapes they build.

All in all, this is a wonderful book- full of inspiration, instruction, and eye candy. You can pick it up at your local bookstore, or on Amazon (Paper to Petal: 75 Whimsical Paper Flowers to Craft by Hand)

DIY: 8 Rainy Day Craft Ideas

We are in the midst of the looong rainy season in the Pacific Northwest. Being cooped up inside, watching the grey clouds can be a bit of a downer. But nothing beats the winter blues like an afternoon of just-for-fun crafting. Embrace your inner child or better yet, get your kiddos involved for a day of creativity and fun!

DIY: 8 Rainy Day Craft Ideas

1. 5 Minute Bookbinding by The House That Lars Built
2. Finger Weave Necklace by Repeat Crafter Me
3. Faux Tie-Dye Socks by Tiny Rotten Peanuts
4. Homemade Glitter Glue Paint by Mama Papa Bubba
5. Pasta Necklaces by Pink Stripey Socks
6. Grow Your Own Crystals by A Beautiful Mess
7. Letters Cut Out of Magazines by Under the Sycamore
8. Yarn Pompoms by The Pearl Bee


Featured Maker: Tamara Hess of Card Making Artists
Please welcome our first Featured Maker of 2015- Tamara Hess of Card Making Artists! Tamara is an artist and card maker from Portland, Oregon. A true ‘maker’ at heart, Tamara enjoys creativity of any kind. The cute characters she draws for her digital stamps and greeting cards are bursting with joy and humor. I hope you all enjoy learning more about Tamara’s work, life, and creative philosophies. Also be sure to check out her website and Etsy shop!

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

All my life I’ve felt the need to draw. In my early years I was able to use my creativity as a way to work through some tough situations. Drawing was an escape, helping me deal with my troubles and learn how to persevere. Drawing became my “happy place” which is still true today!

My journey is typical of a creative person; always searching for purpose and meaning in my creativity. The difference I try to achieve is fearlessness in my work. I’ve never met an art project I haven’t tackled. I’m always ready to try new things. I’ve been involved in teaching art lessons, Art Literacy programs, art culture events, theater set design, mural painting, arts and crafts bazaars, web site design, graphic design, photography, illustration, graffiti events, pottery, calligraphy, watercolor, soap making and more. On my journey I have been a featured artist in various galleries including an art reception at the Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe. My fine art work is currently featured at the Coffee Station in Aloha Oregon.

I married my high school sweetheart Paul and we’ve been together for almost 30 years. We have two wonderful teenage boys. We are lucky to have a lot of love and support from each other and family. When I’m not doing something artistically I try to get my boys out of the house. We go hiking, fishing and camping. Living in Portland Oregon we are surrounded by diverse landscapes and culture. I especially love the beach, searching for sea shells and walking with my Corgi, Heidi.

Featured Maker: Tamara Hess of Card Making Artists

Greeting cards handmade by Tamara.

What do you make and sell?

Currently I’m working on digital stamps for card making, clip art for digital scrapbooking and web design. I sell some of my designs on Etsy. I also give away digital stamps on Card Making Artists and I’m looking forward to growing my website. I’m also excited to be working for various graphic companies.

Featured Maker: Tamara Hess of Card Making Artists

One of Tamara’s adorable digital stamps! Available for purchase in her Etsy shop.

What made you decide to take the leap and start your own creative business?

My brother Tim and I have always had the entrepreneur gene. We inherited it from our grandpa. After many years of dreaming Tim and I decided to start our online businesses. We have different objectives but similar goals and we use each other to encourage and inspire. We push each other toward the next step.

How did you get started and when did you launch your business?

I started my website, Card Making Artists in 2013 with the help of my brother Tim. Tim is a web designer and helped create the Card Making Artists website. I love card making; handmade cards are such a fun and diverse medium to showcase all different kinds of art techniques. I was interested in tutorials, tips, tricks, tools and featured card making artists. Plus handmade cards make people happy! Through the launch of Card Making Artists I discovered digitals stamps and graphic design.

Featured Maker: Tamara Hess of Card Making Artists

Do you have any philosophies or ideals you try to represent with your work?

I try to make the card making process fun. I want to help card making beginners feel less overwhelmed and seasoned card makers inspired. I want Card Making Artists to be a resource for all different skill levels and I try to always make it fun and humorous.

Where do you look for inspiration?

I find most of my inspiration comes from the Oregon Zoo. A lot of my designs are little animals. I love going to the zoo and finding specific characteristics that stand out in each animal. Then I will often take an ordinary object rooted in reality and “twist” it to my imagination. Most of my little characters are a result of my “skewed” point of view.

Featured Maker: Tamara Hess of Card Making Artists

Tamara’s home studio space.

What does your workspace/studio look like?

My studio is located in the dining room next to the kitchen. We have a big nook area off the kitchen which is a central location in the house. I read an article once that explained how you need to have your art space located in a central part of your house. Otherwise, you will have an “out of site out of mind” feeling about creating art. Well, I didn’t want to ever feel like my art was out of my mind so I slowly took over the dining area. I have two kitchen hutches that are now totally dedicated to art supplies. Lucky for me, none of the boys seem to miss the dining area. I always feel like I’m in the middle of the action when I’m in my art space. I even have a comfy chair in front of my table that all the boys and Paul will plop down and chat with me while I’m working.

What are some of your favorite tools or techniques?

I love Gimp and Inkscape, free editing software for my digital stamps. My favorite tool for card making is nail polish. I know it’s stinky and not an art supply. BUT for “glitterizing” my hand made cards there’s nothing better for me. Nail polish dries fast and there are so many gorgeous glitter colors!

Featured Maker: Tamara Hess of Card Making Artists

Tamara loves using nail polish to add glitter to her cards!

Tell us about a challenge you’ve overcome in your business? Or something you tried but didn’t work the way you planned?

Where to begin? When you read all those quotes about not giving up when things look bleak or those who fail the most are the ones who succeed. ALL TRUE! I’ve failed many more time than I’ve succeeded. I’m still pushing, with the help of Paul and Tim, to be a successful professional artist! It’s a real rollercoaster ride. One day I get a “yes” and I’m happy. The next day a “no” and I’m bumming. The point is to keep moving forward.

Is your business your full time job? Or do you have a day job?

Yes! I am lucky to be able to start this business as a full time job with the complete support from my husband Paul. One of the top reasons people aren’t able to follow through on a business venture is because of an unsupportive spouse. There is a lot of fear and uncertainty when starting a business venture. It’s hard to make guarantees or know exactly where the journey will take you. Nothing will take the wind out of your sails like a spouse that can’t wrap their head around the process and isn’t on board with the risk.

Featured Maker: Tamara Hess of Card Making Artists

What does a day in the life of Tamara look like?

For one thing, I do a lot better if I have my calendar up to date. Calendars of events and goals are amazing. If I sit down and check my calendar, I get all my goals met and my week feels fulfilled. The problem is I don’t get that dang calendar up to date so half the time I’m meandering from the computer to the work table.

On the computer I will edit my drawings in Gimp and Inkscape, then I will work on a post for Card Making Artists and last I will chat with people and work on social media and marketing. At my work desk I will make some cards using my digital stamps, then I will sketch some little illustrations and last I will paint images to use as clip art.

Learning to prioritize your business is tricky. When you are working on a business you need to make sure you have your eye on the big picture but you need to make sure you are always focused on the details too. It’s like wearing a bunch of different hats. One day I will put on my marketing hat, then my writing hat, then my artists hat (that hat is rainbow colored), then my accounting hat and so on. Where is that calendar of mine?

Be sure to visit Tamara’s website and Etsy Shop!

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

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.


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?