Stationery and Handmade Subscription Boxes

I have tried out lots of different subscription boxes over the last couple of years. They seemed to start out in the beauty industry, but now handmade, stationery and craft boxes are giving the beauty companies a run for their money. You can even get them for tea lovers these days and I love the idea of this Try The World food one.

I thought you guys would like to see the contents of my current stationery and handmade themed subscription boxes. Starting with the Kawaii Box for July.


When there are items which are not really for me, I will use them for gifts (although I keep ALL THE STICKERS). Love this macaron eraser to add to my collection.


The August Kawaii Box had a make your own candy kit, stationery and plushies.


I adore the macaron themed items of course. After conversion, this box actually works out about £10 including postage.


Next up is the Lucky Dip Club Subscription Box. This one is receiving a lot of press so I’m glad I signed up early from the very first box. The July theme was Pet Parade.


Tammy got a gift in this one! Each box contains a personalised item which Leona makes for almost 400 subscribers!


The August box was Ice Cream themed which I adored. You can buy individual items and past Lucky Dip Club boxes here.


The packaging is always so well thought out and I have to be so restrained to photograph items before I carefully unpack them.


I adore the personalised ice cream necklace and pins. The theme for the next box is Woodland I believe.


After much experimentation with sub boxes, I can honestly say that these two are my favourite so far. They just contain so much cute!

You can find more of my posts on subscription boxes here. I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below.



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Posted in Craft & Handmade, Stationery | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

August Favourites 2014

August has been all about the pretty things. I’ve been spending a lot of time working at my desk, catching up on deadlines, blog posts and Etsy store plans.

The pink clipboard was a couple of pounds from Staples but I can’t seem to find it online. The pen pot is IKEA, the bicycle decoration from Sainsburys, the candle is Kikki K and the jar is Ashley Thomas for Debenhams. (Not all new of course!). The fabric frame art is a DIY I shared here.


As most of you know, I’m a big Filofax geek, so I repurposed this wooden box I found for £1 in a charity shop for all my supplies. It holds my Project Life Journalling cards, twine, glue sticks, erasers, pens and sticky notes.

Craft Storage

I purchased this cat washi tape from a fellow Instagram stationery addict who found it in a store in Sweden.


Continuing the stationery theme, I’ve been enjoying using this handmade leather notebook which G got me a few years ago on a holiday in Portugal. If you have ever given me a business card, it is stapled into this notebook with a handwritten note added.


After discovering Benu at Renegade Craft Fair last autumn, I’ve had my eye on their leather pom pom necklaces. This month I snapped one up and I love it!!


Continuing the necklace theme, I picked up this donut pendant in the La La Land sale as well as some pencils from their Popcult pencil range which is just AWESOME.


Brownie points to those of you who can guess the TV show these quotes are from! Take a guess in the comments below…..

I’m still deciding what to use these cardboard floral suitcases for. They were fairly inexpensive at £6.99 for the set and I picked them up from The Works.


My beauty favourite for the month is the Body Shop Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask. This year I’ve had a proper skin care regime which includes this mask once a week.


Now these Carvela sneakers are a definite favourite for the way they look BUT they gave me the biggest blisters ever on a recent trip to Norfolk to watch G sky dive. I had to stuff tissues in my socks on the train ride, due to the lack of plasters. So sparkly though!


My last favourite is this super duper cute tin which looks like a cake slice. I might have to start taking it to parties for take away cake ha! It was only £2 from Hobbycraft and they have tons of other cake and biscuit tins in the range.


G and I have also been enjoying Netflix (late to the party!) and we are currently binge watching Orange Is The New Black and enjoying the odd episode of Adventure Time. What have your favourites been for August?



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Posted in Lifestyle, Stationery | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Autumn Florals and Stripes

Here in the UK, it’s been feeling quite autumnal and I’ve been wearing my wellies a bit more, cosing up under the blanket and crocheting like a granny. Personally I like this time of the year as it’s a bit cooler for getting out on my bike.


I’m not one for outfit posts (a fashion blogger I am not), but I love putting together wish lists. You can see my previous wish lists posts here and take a look below for some floral and striped picks from Joules.

Both prints are staples in my wardrobe and I often wear pretty summer dresses across the season changes, adding cardigans and woollen tights to stay warm.


All available from the Joules website

What prints will you be wearing this autumn? I am so so tempted to get those pink wellies and the floral welly bag, as stomping through puddles is fun no matter how old you are right? Just me?!

I’m thinking about sharing some more wish list style outfit and accessory posts, do let me know if there is anything you would like to see!

You can get 10% off all full priced items on the Joules site using the code AF10 (expires 31 August 2014).



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* Thanks to Joules for sponsoring this post and enabling Claireabellemakes to continue to publish content.
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Posted in Lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Guest Post – DIY Paper Clip Lace Earrings

I’m super excited to introduce my bloggy pal Amy today with a fab DIY for these pretty earrings. Her blog is a gorgeous space filled with lace and paper DIYs, so do check it out!


Hi there, I’m Amy from Amy Christa. I am so excited to be sharing a craft tutorial on how to make these gorgeous earrings from the humble paper clip. I have been reading Claire’s blog for ages, even taking inspiration from one of her brilliant tutorials to create a post on my blog. I’m really chuffed to be doing a post exchange (bit of a fan girl moment).


Right back to the tutorial, I must say now these are a little tricky and can take a bit of time, but they are so worth the extra effort. Here’s what you will need to make all three designs…


  • paper clips
  • superglue
  • side cutter pliers/flat nose pliers/round nose pliers
  • double sided sticky tape
  • coloured thread
  • white thread
  • lace
  • scissors
  • jump rings
  • long ballwire

1) firstly, take your paper clip and start unfolding. 2) it should start to take the shape of a triangle, you may need to fold and unfold a couple of times. 3) you may have a bit of an overlap, just cut off the excess, with your cutters, so the two ends meet perfectly. 4) use superglue to secure the ends together. Make sure when you leave it to dry, the glued side is away from anything. I have a triangle stuck to my coffee table, whoops!


5) cut a piece of double sided sticky tape the length of one side of the triangle. Start with the side where the join is and roll the tape around it to create a smooth surface to attach your thread to. Cut six strands of thread, all a metre long, and attach the ends to the double sided sticky tape. 6) start wrapping the thread around, covering up those ends underneath, continue this all the way around the triangle. When you come to the corners; use small pieces of double sided sticky tape to create a smooth corner. 7) once the whole triangle is covered, secure the ends using superglue, once dry, cut off any remaining thread. 8) the glue may darken the thread slightly so just make sure this is the back.


9) use your flat and round nose pliers to open both jump rings and use these to secure the ballwire, it should look something like the picture below.


Now onto the next design, things start to get a little more fiddly.

1) for this design, I always use white thread because you have to use a lot more glue and it doesn’t show as much on the white thread. For these earrings, follow all the steps of the first blue earrings but do not cut off the ends! Also you will need six strands of thread, all a metre and a half long. You need this extra length to create the intricate design. When you get to the stage where you have covered the whole triangle, separate one strand of thread from the rest. 2) wind this strand around the triangle in a random pattern, secure the end with glue and once dry, cut off the end. 3) continue doing this with the rest of the strands. Once finished, add the jump rings and ballwire the same as before.


Now for my favourite design, lace! Over on my blog, I use lace a lot, probably too much, can you ever have too much lace?! Anyway back to the earrings.

1) repeat the steps for the first earrings, although this time using white thread. This will create a base for your lace. Cut two pieces of lace just bigger than your triangle. Try and use one with a bigger block of design and another with less going on. The one with the big design will be the front of your earring. 2) lay the back panel on top off your triangle. 3) superglue all the sides down, making sure you pull tight, this will create depth when both panels are complete. Trim off the excess lace and repeat for the front panel. 4) again add the jump rings and ballwire.


There you are! They make the perfect handmade gift and are also an easy and inexpensive way to update any outfit.


Thank you so much for reading, you can find more from me at Amy Christa and a massive thank you to Claire, you’re awesome!

Thanks so much Amy, these earrings are so pretty! And I love that they are made from the humble paperclip, so fun. You can find my DIY for this marbled clay jewellery on Amy’s blog here.




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Tourist In Cambridge #2

Summer is the best time in Cambridge. Although I haven’t had time to enjoy the city as much as I should have lately, I have managed some photos for you for this Tourist in Cambridge post.

We try to go punting at least once a year, but this year G went with his office and I went with my sister as I had never taken her despite living in Cambridge for 8 years.

Punting -In-Cambridge

If you are not familiar with punting (I had to explain it to a US pal once), it’s kind of like the gondola boats in Venice. You can read about the alleged history here.


We literally joined the tourists and jumped in a boat along “The Backs” which is where the University college buildings back onto the river Cam. It makes for a picturesque route.


The Bridge of Sighs is a popular postcard picture.


We passed Clare College gardens which houses a banana tree. The greenery is stunning.


King’s College Chapel is the Cambridge place to see. It’s where Carols At King’s are held at Christmas and where Santa hats were supposedly placed on the top of. Student pranks are always debatable unless photos exist!


Punting is a relaxing activity if you pay for someone to punt for you. I can actually punt but it took me years to learn properly. Luckily I haven’t fallen in, yet!


There is a fine art to ducking for the bridges and you mustn’t forget your pole as the boat will go without it if you don’t hold on!


There was even a bar boat which I hadn’t seen on the river before. They were serving Pimms which seemed perfect for the warm weather.

Have you ever tried punting? I secretly want to go to Oxford and try it but I can’t bring myself to in case it is better than Cambridge. Rivals?! Nah, we’ve got more Boat Race wins!

I recently found a great post about Cambridge on Oxford blog Candy Pop. Natasha includes some lovely photos of my favourite spots.



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A Proper Cup Of Tea

I’ve previously written about my vintage tea cups on the blog, which I see as a growing collection. I believe vintage china should be enjoyed and not just displayed, they were made to be used after all.


Most days when I arrive home from the day job, I enjoy a cup or two of loose tea, usually brewed in an infuser teapot. The one on the left has sprinkles in it…more on this later!


I discovered this Bakewell Tart tea at Drink Shop Do and then purchased some from Jenier Teas. It. Is. DIVINE.


I had never tried Lavender tea before but I drank this recently before a train journey and had the best nap ever.


Birthday Cake tea is a favourite of mine from Canadian company David’s Tea. I have to stock up when we visit family as they don’t deliver to the UK. It’s my favourite to have at craft parties as the sprinkles make it feel like you are drinking a vanilla cupcake.


This Thunder Bay tea is another favourite in my tea cupboard and is delicious iced as well as hot. My penpal Michelle sent me this fruity tea from her home city.


Teapigs Peppermint is a daily favourite of mine.


It’s about time I had a tea party don’t you think?


The lovely people at The Other Duckling kindly sent me some vintage miniature gold rimmed teacups to add to the collection, so I thought I’d share them with you as well as some of my favourite caffeine free teas.


The online store sells some wonderful vintage and retro items for your home, it’s a treasure trove of goodies, especially for those of you who can’t get to flea markets or antique stores easily.


So chuffed with these teacups, they are in such great condition and were wrapped so carefully in tissue and bubble wrap.


Are you a tea drinker? I’d love to hear your caffeine free tea recommendations in the comments below.



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*The Other Duckling sent the teacups in this post for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
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Posted in Tea & Baking | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Blog Hop

If you are a lover of blogs, you will have probably seen the Blog Hop circulating our community. Lisa and Leanne had asked me previously, but I was tied up with deadlines and couldn’t commit at the time.

Now, the ever witty Katie from Hook Line and Sink Her passed the baton to me this week to answer some questions, so here we go!

Why do you write?

I see my blog as a space for learning and sharing. As soon as I finished my Graduate studies in 2011, I needed a new project to fill the time! Before this blog I sat at my dining table with my friend Jess eating huge bowls of popcorn whilst we both wrote our theses. I still eat the popcorn, but I’m usually crocheting or thinking up new DIYs.


2 years later and the blog has evolved into a place to indulge in my craft, bicycle and stationery addictions, but most importantly it’s been a place to find people just like me. Now I think I’d feel lost without blogging as it’s my number one creative outlet.

What are you working on?

I’ve just finished 2 book projects, so I’m relieved to be free of deadlines for a while. My next big task is to rebrand my online spaces and to photograph my entire Etsy store collections with new equipment.


THEN, I am going to be launching video content. I’m going to night school to learn about video editing and will hopefully be able to nail some good DIYs and maybe a craft room or city tour every now and again.


How does your blog differ from others of its genre?

Well, I hope Claireabellemakes is not ‘just a craft blog’. When I meet people I do say I’m a craft blogger, but I now feel that this space has evolved into a craft and creative lifestyle blog. It really is a piece of me, so unless there is someone out there exactly like me, I guess that is what makes it different. It’s a blend of all my interests and I hope that is what makes it unique. Also, I don’t know many bloggers who are so obsessed with bicycles like I am!

How does your writing process work?

I rarely have free time and I balance the blog, Etsy store and full-time job alongside chronic migraines. It can be pretty challenging at times so I have to make sure I’m insanely organised. I schedule all blog posts in advance but I generally photograph, edit and write in batches – like a binge blogger ha!


I like to work on photos first and then build the writing around them, so it’s primarily visual. I do note down all ideas for blog posts even if I scrap them later on because someone beat me to it or they are just plain rubbish. I have previously written about how I stay organised here.

I loved sharing a little more about my current plans and blog future! I am also featured on the Nuffnang blog today about my business story and goals. It’s quite an honest post, so I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I am super excited to be passing this tag to Joanna from Adventures and Tea Parties who writes about craft, gardening and her lovely jewellery business and Emma of Mab is Mab who is a wonderful book blogger and my stationery enabler. Over to you girls!



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Posted in Personal | Tagged | 5 Comments

Reader Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who completed the Reader Survey and entered the giveaway! I’m very pleased to be sending some craft goodies to winners Vicky and Claire.

For those of you that didn’t win, as a little thank you I’d like to offer you 10% off any items in my Etsy store by using the coupon code THANKS.


Now, onto the results! I want respond to your helpful feedback and share some future plans for this blog.


35% of you have been here for 6-12 months and 8% of you since the start. There were even some new readers – hello to you!


44% of you visit the blog every time a post is published! That’s pretty awesome and gives me the warm fuzzies, so thank you.

Most of you subscribe to posts via a blog reader or via email. It is useful for me to know this as things like side bar ads and links don’t show in Blog Lovin’.

Claireabellemakes-reader-survey-results-384% of you felt the frequency of posts was just right and some of you want more. Pleased to hear nobody wanted me to publish less!

You may or may not have noticed that through July and August I have been posting 4 times a week instead of 3. I am hoping to keep this up and will schedule as much as I can to bring you the best content!

There will always be posts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but I am figuring out which day of the week is best for the 4th! Let me know if you have any preference.

Claireabellemakes-reader-survey-results-4 Craft and DIY was by far the most popular category with 94% wanting to see those posts most often. I am working on bringing you more DIY content over the next few months – I have a list of ideas!

Although bicycle themed was the least popular, many of you commented that you do enjoy seeing them and that you associate bicycles with me and my blog!


Some of you wanted to see posts on organisation and day to day life. If you missed them you can see How I Stay Organised and a Day In The Life post in my archives. Cambridge posts received mixed responses, but the majority of you enjoyed the pretty pictures even if you don’t live close. Some of you said they made you want to visit. Hit me up if you do, I love playing tour guide and meeting readers is ace!


There was one comment on promoting my Etsy store less and one person was not keen on sponsored posts. I try to keep ‘businessy’ posts to a minimum as I am aware craft and DIY content is preferred.

However……I am also a small business owner and I do see this blog as a platform to promote and share my products and journey. I try my hardest not to hard sell to you and I am happy for you to skip those posts if you aren’t interested. I am very fortunate and grateful that many of my readers have also become customers.


Besides the Etsy store and Craft Parties, this blog does bring in a small amount of money for my business. On occasion, I will work with a brand on sponsored content or product review, but this will only be when I fully support their values and products and feel it is a good fit for my content and readership.

Sometimes, I use affiliate links when discussing craft supplies or products I use. This means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a few pennies from that sale. Not every link will be an affiliate link. They are likely to be added for products I would have shared anyway and this approach will enable me to continue to publish content for you for free.


Video content is an area I will be exploring for the end of 2014 and into 2015. There was a mixed response to video, but be assured that it will not replace the content I already put out. I will continue to post photographic tutorials and will probably use that 4th day I mentioned for the occasional video. In September I’m off to night school to learn about editing!

Cam Blog MeetThank you to those of you that commented about organising a blogger/craft meet up locally. In 2013 I organised the Cam Blog Meet which was a free event. These events are a huge amount of work and I chose not to organise any in 2014, so as to focus on my health, Etsy store and writing for publishers.


Cambridge Craft Parties illustration by Jojo Rickart

However, in 2015 I am hoping to organise a craft party or two that will be open to readers. It would be great to know if you would be willing to pay a small fee to attend, so I can cover costs of materials and venue hire.

Tuition is provided

Finally, I want to thank those of you who left a thoughtful comment, I was blown away and a bit teary, I’m not gonna lie! It has been amazing to hear that I’ve inspired you over the last 2 years and to hear that some of you have now started your own blogs is incredible. This blog is a huge amount of work, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it or find joy in the community it attracts.

And to the person who asked about my 5 year plan? I’d love to write my own book one day full of cats and crafts and bicycles.



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5 Ways To Customise Envelopes


Today’s post is a little stationery DIY for you! I’m sharing 5 quick ways to customise envelopes because let’s face it, it’s a blank canvas waiting for decoration…

1. Make your own envelope liner

Start by drawing around your envelope onto some contrasting paper. Cut your liner shape out around 1cm inside the line.


Unfold your envelope and stick the liner paper inside, making sure to leave the gummed area free. I like to use a Crafter’s Companion Glue Runner as it is much easier and stickier than glue sticks.


Reassemble your envelope using glue or the runner and your envelope is ready to use.


2. Edge your envelope with metallics

I adore Metallic Sharpies, so used my bronze one and a ruler to give this blue envelope a custom look.


Add an address and cute stamp sticker and it is ready to mail!


3. Create a custom window envelope

Unfold your envelope and cut out a design (or use a craft punch).


Take some contrasting paper and glue it to the front part of your envelope. Reassemble your envelope with the glue too.


You can change the shape and contrast paper for each envelope you decorate.


4. Make a polka dot envelope with stamping ink

Find a pretty ink and a pencil with a rubber on the end. My favourites are these Metallic Inks (can you see a theme?!).


Dip the rubber into the ink and press onto your envelope. You will have to reapply the ink after every few dots.


Remember to leave a space for the address.


5. Make an accordion envelope pouch for storing papers and photos

Take a handful of envelopes. Fold the envelope flap backwards and use the gummed edge to stick it to the next envelope. You may need some glue too.


Repeat until you have an accordion of envelope pouches!


You can use this to store journalling cards, photos, receipts….whatever you like!


I hope you liked those envelope ideas! Please do share you own in the comments below or send me a tweet if you try any these quick DIYs.

A big thanks to the guys All Colour Envelopes who provided these envelopes free of charge for review and DIY purposes. You can find a huge range on their site and the quality is pretty awesome for crafting or letter writing.



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Posted in Craft & Handmade, DIY | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

How To Carry Stuff When Cycling

I am often out and about on my bike running errands and I love experimenting with how to carry stuff when cycling. Here’s a quick round up of some of my favourite bicycle accessories to make sure groceries, wine and coffee are all kept in place on your journey!How-To-Carry-Stuff-When-Cycling-Bicycle-Accessories

1. Red Pannier Bag, Bike Belle / 2. Bike Coffee Cup Holder, Public
3. Handmade Wicker Bike Basket, Bike Belle / 4. Bicycle Wine Rack, Oopsmark
5. Handmade Red Canvas Bike Backpack, Tchakon / 6. Bottle and Groceries Bike Basket, Public

I’d love some more ideas for how to carry things when cycling. Do you have any tips or links to great products? My trusty Cambridge Satchel is also a favourite!



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Posted in Bicycles | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments