If at first you don’t succeed….

…swear a lot, stamp your feet, have a cup of tea and then go back to it…

Hello all.  This week I have been working on a rather complicated order for a 40th birthday.  The customer simply ordered “whatever I thought” so of course I suggested an extra large swivel card (4 pieces of a4 card and a LOT of cutting/measuring) and then added to the complexity further by cutting ovals out of card through which individually stamped words (chosen by the customer to describe the recipient) would be seen.  Cue more careful measuring and cutting, along with a bit of precision stamping and gluing.  Sigh…

After several hours hard work (but happily not as much wasted card stock as I had feared) the difficult bits were done and all that was left was some final assembly and the all important “wonderful husband” sentiment.  Easy Peasy, right?  Well, so I thought.  Until…



First attempt went a bit wrong…  no matter, let’s try again…




Hmm, better but not great….third time lucky?


Seriously no idea what that was about….!  Time for a break methinks.

I went off and had a cuppa tea at this point (after shouting “oh, ffs” several times far too loudly, shocking the decorator and scaring the cat)


aah, that’s better….  so now let’s rethink this.  Clearly stamping straight onto an oval with limited space aint gonna work… How about we go for a “deliberately higgledy piggledy” type look……


Argh, so close..  does the dodgy D notice..?  I decided it did, and braced myself for one final attempt…

which I will show you, along with the rest of the card, in next week’s blog!!  Haha, I am such a tease…!!




Feeling Fabulous

Hello my lovelies, and how are we all this Sunday?  As you read this I am feeling very smug as I am having a lovely weekend away in Somerset on a girlie weekend.  It’s mainly involved eating, drinking, dancing and chillaxing (wait did I use a modern trendspeak word for chilling out and relaxing? Too right I did!) but I did also find time to write this little blog.

The reason we are in Somerset is to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday, and so of course  I had to make her a lovely fabulous card to celebrate being fabulous at 50.

Here it is…  img_1319

I had seen a card that had a double opening with a centre piece recently and so decided to use this basic structure as something a bit different from the normal.  I used Stampin Up! Rich Razzleberry, Smoky Slate and Very Vanilla card stocks, first scoring a piece of A4 at 9.5cm and 7cm to make each end flap.  I then measured in 0.5cm to cut the pieces for for each layer.

The main front panel, front centre piece and inner panels all used my fireworks background stamp and some Sweet Sugarplum and Silver inks.  I used the Let’s Party and Champagne Glass stamps from Clarity for the detail on the inside panels.








Next I stamped a Stamping Bella image onto the outside smaller panel and hand coloured her using Spectrum Noir pencils.  A glamorous blonde with a glass of fizz in her hand – very apt for the birthday girl in question…



I die cut the letters and numbers, gluing everything in place with use of trusty tweezers and cocktail stick!  The letters were placed at a jaunty angle partly to give a more fun look to the card and partly to fit everything in (sshhh don’t tell)!

I assembled all the various component parts, glued in all in place onto the base  and then added a die cut circle and a punched scallop circle for the centre, making sure to only glue this down on one side of the card so that it would open.  I used “dimensionals” foampads to raise the 50 up a bit so that it (literally) stands out.


Finally,  I used another piece of Very Vanilla for the inside piece (I usually use a creamy paper but as there was a lot of card already on the inside panels I wanted to make sure it all matched properly) and added a “Happy Birthday” with my all time fave sentiments set.

Job done.  Back to the cider and chocolate then.  It’s a hard life!

Have a fabulous week all!  See you next week.

When is a Blog not a Blog?

When its a major cop out due to no time for crafting projects this week, too much day job hassle, the stress of major ongoing decorating projects at home, and the fact that I must do dinner or risk divorce!

Sorry all – I’ll be back next week I promise xx




A Crafty Trio

Well good morning one and all.  This week you find me surrounding by chaos as we have the decorators in decorating the hallway.  So I am perched at my desk in the middle of mess and dust and noise writing this little blog for you all – how’s that for dedication?!

Happily, I have this week found myself with a number of cards to make this week and so I have been able to retreat from the turmoil to the safety of my craft room.  There’s nothing like getting creative with bits of card and ink to soothe the soul.

And the offerings this week have been quite a varied bunch as I had 3 very different occasions to make for.


First up was a long overdue thank you card for someone who did me a very kind favour ages ago that I had forgotten about until it randomly popped into my mind earlier this week!  For her a bit of my old favourite Gorgeous Grunge with some lovely vibrant Tempting Turquoise and a says it all sentiment.  I used ghost stamping techniques here to give a vaguely marbly type effect, and kept to a single colour palette to tone down the busyness of the actual card. The mat and sentiment are on Very Vanilla rather than Whisper White – I find the slight cream is softer against the brightness of the turquoise.






Next an engagement card for a dear friend who recently, guess what..got engaged!!  For this one I used Melon Mambo and a metallic sliver to stamp a large background Fireworks stamp over Very Vanilla, and then used one of my favourite sentiment sets to stamp a bold “congratulations” in silver over the background.  I then used the Claritystamps Love and Wee Folk stamps to create the main centre-piece (its “couple in love” – geddit??) , simply stamped in black over Very Vanilla.  Finally I used Tattered Lace letter dies to die cut the letters and glued them in place over the background before mounting onto a Smoky Slate base.  The centre panel was attached used dimensional to make it stand out from the background.






And finally to a card that no one ever like having to make.  This week I got the very sad news that yet another someone I knew had passed away after a long and brave fight with the dreaded cancer (what an awful hideous disease this is).  The lady in question is the sister of a very good friend of mine, and someone who is responsible for getting me into the world of Clarity and Card-io stamps.  She is also a card-maker extraordinaire and so the pressure was really on to do something fitting.

I started with a simple black/grey/cream palette and then used the Oriental Blossoms set from Card-io to create the background.  I used Smoky Slate to stamp the branches – using a combination of 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation stamping to create the effect.  Then I used Pumpkin Pie to stamp the little flowers randomly over the branches, again using first and second generation stamping.  I then added a strip of orange ribbon and a sentiment from Wetlands stamp set (with a touch of the Card-io background added to tie everything in) and then finally added a double layered butterfly to the corner.


So that’s it then – 3 cards for 3 occasions.  Right, the workmen are calling for a tea top up so I’d best get back to it!


See you all next week


C x



Movin On

Hello all,


Well last week I promised that I would blog a step by step on the house warming card I made for my parents.  So this week guess what…yep I am blogging a step by step on the hou….. you get the point…

Firstly, here is the finished card…….



And now, here is how I  did it…


I started by selecting my card colours.  I had a vaguely vintage theme in my mind so went with Crumb Cake base, and then added some papers from the Blooms and Bliss DSP series for layering.  I tend not to use these papers that often as I prefer making my own backgrounds, but for what I wanted her these were perfect







Next I cut the first layer to size (14.4cm by 20.5cm – 0.5 cm smaller all round than the base) and glued it over the base card.







I repeated with the next layer, coming in another 0.5cm all round.







And again!







The final, top layer was another piece of Crumb Cake (by now 12.4cm by 19cm) around which I wrapped a piece of off white burlap ribbon….







…..securing in place with a couple of glue dots at the back






And now for the fun!  I decided to use “bunting” for the sentiment so I die cut some scalloped eye triangles to size out of vellum and DSP.  Then I used Clarity Stamps’ Groovi system to emboss and white work each letter onto the bunting pieces.







A while later (takes time this embossing malarkey) I had all my little letters and it was time to secure the bunting in place, using more glue dots. Looking good so far, but how about those all too visible glue dots in the corners – yikes!







Finally, I stamped and hand coloured (using Spectrum Noir colouring pencils) the all important house (from Stampasaurus) onto a piece of Whisper White, which was cut to size and corner clipped, and then I added some sequins to cover the glue dots (plus a few more for added blingtastic-ness)  and a few teeny Blossom and Bliss butterflies to finish everything off.






So there y’go – a lovely vintage style New Home card for a lovely “vintage” pair of new home owners!



Just a quickie (Cos I is tired)

Apologies for both the lateness and tardiness of this week’s post.  We have been out all day visiting my parents’ new home in Lincolnshire and I have just got back, v tired and realising today is blog day!!

After a pig of a week I ran out of time to create a nice house warming card and so it was that this morning at 7am the alarm went off and I trundled up to the craft room to pull something together.  Luckily I’d done some of the ground work yesterday in between gym classes and nail appointments (what a glam life I do lead – not!) and so it was really just a case of positioning and sticking.  Which still took an hour (and I got a rogue glue dot on my newly done nails as well – it’s a dangerous game this card making lark).  So with a craft room that resembled a bomb rite and the card complete I dragged im indoors out of his pit, forced tea down both our necks and got us out the house and in the car for just after 9.  And before anyone thinks “so what” that this is UNHEARD OF – as a smug childless couple in our 40s we rarely surface before 11am on a Sunday, we were half way up the m1 by then today.  No wonder I am all yawny.

Anyway, we arrived at 12.30, had the full house tour (very posh other than a dubious pink wall that we all agreed looks like a teenage experiment and must be painted ASAP) and then we were set a few tasks around the house (note to house moving oldies everywhere that (1) the heating only works if the radiators are turned on (2) the new dishwasher is not really as complex as flying a space shuttle as long as you stack it properly (3) a wifi password is not the same thing as a gmail account and (4)  NO ONE thinks a 23inch TV screen in your main living room is big enough anymore so the man in Currys won’t think you decadent for buying a new one…) before sitting down to a nice lunch.

After feeding us we were taken for a walk around the new ‘hood (all very nice and very un ‘hood like – the convenience and size of the co-op was particularly admired) before getting back to the new pad for tea.  We left at 7pm and got home just after 10. And I wasn’t allowed to sleep in the car cos I had to keep im indoors awake.   And then I remembered the blog.

And to be honest I can’t really be faffed writing anything now so here’s the deal…  If I promise to post a step by step of the house warming effort I created for the parents next week will you all forgive me not doing a proper post this week? You will….? Too kind…….

Off to bed then.  Byeeee



‘avin’ a Giraffe

Morning all!  And today, a little conundrum for you.  What do you get if you mix:



Seven punches;









Three stamp sets, two ink pads and some stamping blocks;





A circle die set, some letter dies, an oval die  and a number die;








Nine card colours and a piece of embossed DSP;








Two pairs of scissors, some glue, tweezers, cocktail sticks, a small foam roller, a poky tool, several dimensional glue pads and a tube of the sticky stuff; and…..





A bit of creativity (and a decent google search page)

Only this little beauty here, thats all:




Pretty cool huh?  “But how did you do it?” I hear you all ask…..    So now, as with the best Nigella recipe, you’ve seen the ingredients and what the finished article should look like, time for a bit of method.  Here goes….

First, make your giraffe (a sentence I never thought I would utter)!  I totally copied this from Google (type in punch art giraffe and loads come up) so take no credit for the design, but did have to work out what elements were used to put it all together etc as there were no instructions..  So I used a 2 circle dies for the head and body, word window punch for the neck, small oval punch for the mouth and owl punch for the eyes, tail end and horn ends.  I made the spots from the smallest circle die and large owl punch circle.  This was a bit tricky as they needed to be cut to hug the edge of the circle so that they looked right.  After a couple of aborted cutting attempts, a plan B was needed and I ended up positioning them in place and then re-die cutting the whole lot so that they sat exactly right.  The legs are simply made from a narrow cut strip of card and the feet are the smallest circles again, cut in half.  The horns and tail are from an even narrower strip of card.  His mouth is made by layering 2 ovals – one in the body colour (Peekaboo Peach) and one in Blushing Bride pink.  His ears are made using the Petite Petals punch, and his little nostrils are the teeny tiny circle from the owl builder.  Once I had all my pieces cut I glued everything together using tweezers and a cocktail stick for the smallest bits.  This takes a lot of time and patience so don’t rush!

Once the giraffe was finished it was time for the card.  I rollered a combination of Sweet Sugarplum and Melon Mambo inks over this rather snazzy DSP.  Its got an embossed shiny pattern on it so when you add ink it colours the card in between the embossed bits and makes them stand out really nicely. As this was a card for a small girl I went with flowers but it also comes in polka dots, stars and other patterns.   I then randomly stamped a “Happy Birthday” sentiment in Melon Mambo all over a piece of Sweet Sugarplum card which I mounted our spotty chum onto, and then I mounted that onto the coloured DSP.  Then the whole thing was mounted onto a piece of Melon Mambo card.  I used my Little Letters die set to create the name in Melon Mambo, which was mounted onto a die cut Sweet Sugarplum oval.  Finally I cut a Sweet Sugarplum circle and a Melon Mambo 1 and then used dimensionals to position both in place.

I had originally wanted to use the giraffe from the Zoo Babies stamp set but it wasn’t really big enough and also didn’t look quite right (my client was very insistent that she wanted something that looked like a character called “Sophie Giraffe” that apparently her little niece loves and Zoo Baby wasn’t Sophie).  Happily, making cards to order means you don’t have to stop with the outside, so I ghost stamped my Zoo Baby giraffe in Melon Mambo onto a piece of white paper, along with a sentiment from a hostess set I got last year (“Party Pants”).  A near disaster was avoided when i noticed teeny smudge of Melon Mambo on the pristine white paper but a quick go with the Petite Petals punch soon sorted that.

And so with the inside sheet glued in place the card was all ready to go.  Happy First Birthday Little Alice xx



Top of the Class

Hello everyone – another Sunday, another blog post.

As some of you may know, I got into card making originally via my good friend (and Stamping Up demo extraordinaire) Queen Pip Todman.  As well as making all manner of lovely crafty delights and selling more stash than your average drug dealer (see this previous post for more details), Her Majesty also runs regular card making workshops, which I try to get to as often as I can.

These workshops are brilliant for idea plagerising, technique perfecting and gossiping with like minded crafty types. We tend to make several projects over a 2 hour period, and to be honest most of mine either end up a bit rushed or unfinished due to the pressure of trying to talk, craft, eat cake and follow instructions all at the same time.

Happily, from time to time I end up with something that is good enough to form the basis of a CardsbyClaire offering, and when I found myself strapped for time and with a requirement for several cards in a short timeframe recently I decided to dig some of them out and see what could be done with them….


First up then a project from a very recent class, this one showcases the new season colours from Stampin Up, along with the most excellent mini sponge rollers.  First step was to emboss a piece of 13.9cm by 9.5cm Whisper White cardstock, which was then rolled in Flirty Flamingo and Pear Pizzaz to create a vaguely air brushed blended effect.  A nice double layered base is used n this one to pull the colours together, so first up a piece Pear Pizzazzwas cut to 14.4cm*10cm and then the embossed front piece was mounted into this before  a piece of pale green ribbon was wrapped round the centre and secured with a few glue dots.  The in class example added a bow in the same ribbon but I wanted to simplify and streamline it a bit (plus my bow tying skills deserted me!) so I skipped that bit and simply mounted everything onto a  Flirty Flamingo card base.  A sentiment from the new Birthday Blooms stamp set, a couple of die cuts and a bit of bling were added to finish off this lovely card.




img_1642Next is a gorgeous little card using daubing and bookeh techniques to create a lovely background over which this little bird stamp and a sentiment were stamped.  The bookeh technique as taught by Pip is really easy.  Once you’ve created your background (we daubed Pear Pizzaz and Tempting Turquoise gently over a slightly sparkly card for this), you simply take a circles stencil (I used Jo’s Bubbles from Claritystamps but you can easily make your own) and daub white ink through some of the circles.  Then (and this is really important!!)  wait for it to completely dry (this may take 30-45mins so have some other crafting lined up ready to fill the time or you may have to do housework).  Once t was dry we stamped this lovely little bird image into place.  Then when I got home I added a sentiment from the Wetlands set and,  as I am a stickler for colour co-ordination I added a piece of green ribbon at a jaunty angle before mounting the whole thing over a Tempting Turquoise mat.




img_1636My final example is this wonderful feathers card, which uses the bleaching technique we learned in a class last year.  This can be a little messy so be careful!  We used Perfect Plum card stock and a feathers stamp set (sadly no longer available).  You dunk the mounted stamp into the bleach (making sure its not too wet and drippy) and then stamp it onto the cardstock.  The colour is bleached out where the stamp touches so you get a really nice subtle effect.  The feathers were then stamped using Perfect Plum and Soft Suede inks and then die cut.  To assemble the card a piece of chevron pattern ribbon was wrapped round the bottom section of the Perfect Plum cardstock and secured with glue dots, before mounting the feathers into place and adding a button and some fine hairy string for further interest.  I then decided to corner clip this and mount it over Whisper White and then Elegant Eggplant.  I then added a simple sentiment which I tied in with the rest of the card by lightly daubing Perfect Plum over the oval and then ghost stamping a small feather in the same ink colour.  This was then mounted onto an offset Elegant Eggplant oval and then onto the card.



Well I think you will agree that all these look great,  so its thanks Pip for the inspiration (and hoping the copius mentions of how wonderful she is will forgive the shameless plagiarism that forms this week’s post!)

Let them eat cake……

Well hello there!  It’s been a few weeks since my last post – sorry about that.  We have had some difficult family things to deal with and so card making and blog writing had to take a back seat for a bit.  But I am back now and with a vengeance!!

A week or so ago I received a plea from the cafe where I sell my cards saying that they were selling well (hoorah) and some more were needed.    For anyone who doesn’t know, Nosh Cafe Bar is based on Four Marks, near Alton in Hampshire and as well as selling the yummiest cakes and lunchtime treats, it also showcases various local artists’ creations.  I was asked a few months ago to sell my cards there and if I am honest, business has been fairly slow.  Apparently people don’t routinely go to cafes when they need to buy cards (funny that) and it’s taken time to  pitch the cards correctly and garner interest.  It’s still very early days but hopefully this turn of events is set to continue.

Only thing though is that if card demand is there I must supply the cards.  You will recall from a few posts ago that I have been feeling a wee bit overwhelmed and mojo-less lately, and as a result I hadn’t created anything “just because” for a while.  Which meant that I hadn’t got a stand by stash ready to go when the request for more stock came in.  And while Nosh do make wonderful cakes etc, it seemed rude to suggest that their clientele would have to go without a CardsbyClaire offering to go with their Bakewell Slice if that’s what they wanted.  So as soon as I could get myself organised out came the card stock and inks and dies and stamps and embossing files and other exciting crafty things.

All in all I spent several happy hours emmersing myself in creativity and successfully replenished the stocks.  Here’s just a few of the latest offerings:


This card uses Early Expresso and Very Vanilla cardstocks with stamps from the Lovely as a Tree and Wetlands stamp sets.  A touch of Wink of Stella (or Winky Stella as I prefer to call it) adds subtle sparkle and a piece of ribbon from my stash adds a final detail to finish it off.







This card uses a scoring technique I saw on a card making group to add interest to a plain card background.  I used the scoring element on my paper cutter to scheme this effect but you can but a scoring mat specifically for doing this kind of thing.  I love how the green and red clash and yet work together so well here.  The background leaves use  Crazy for You stamp sset, and then the butterflies from the Papillion Potpourri are stamped and then punched out with the Elegant Butterfly punch, before adding a sentiment (from Wetlands stamp set) and a couple of toning candy dots from my stash.






I love these little balloons!  These where colour dusted in Real Red using a farm dauber (excellent bit of kit) and then I used the random dots from Gorgeous Grunge (now sadly retired)  witha bit of gold ink to add some bling.  Then I used glue dots to mount the balloons in a little cluster over a reverse embossed star background, with a teeny bit of gold glitter card cut into weeny stars using the star border punch.  The sentiment is from a random stamp set I found at Hobby Craft – I thought it made a change from the usual “happy birthday”.  The red outline stars o the background are done using a Christmas stamp set from my stash.




Well, after that lot I think itself to say that’s me back then!  I will see you next week…