How to make a personalised paper gift bag


With this simple tutorial you will be able to create a fully personalised paper gift bag using a photograph and scraps from your paper, card and fabric stashes. It is quick and simple but so effective. 

You will need:

A plain kraft gift bag (I got 5 for £1 at PoundWorld)
Scraps of card, paper and fabric in your chosen colours
A photograph
An instant camera style frame (available from my shop – 
Clarty Hands Crafts)
Rhinestones, letter stickers and any other embellishments you like
Glue or a tape roller
A stapler

Step One

Cut your photograph to the size of the outer edge of the frame.
Stick the frame onto the photograph.

scissors and cut-out photograph
Cut your image to size


Step Two

Layer rectangles of your paper and fabric scraps behind your mounted photograph in an arrangement that looks pleasing to you. I find that layering different textures is really effective. Once you have your arrangement, put the photograph to one side and staple the stack of rectangles in the centre to keep them all together.

red and gold rectangles of card and fabric
Stack your scraps to make a background for your photograph

Step Three

Stick the photograph to the top of your scrap-stack and then stick the entire pile to the front surface of the gift bag.

Step Four

Add extra touches to your design with your embellishments. I used letter stickers to caption the photograph with “Happy Birthday” and used self-adhesive rhinestones to add some sparkle.

paper stack, photograph and embellishments
Add your photograph and embellishments

Step Five (Optional)

I finished the bag by using a VersaMark watermark pen (available at Crafter’s Companion) to write my friend’s name and sprinkled coordinating gold embossing powder over, before blasting with a heat gun.

Personalised Paper Gift Bag
And voila! One personalised paper gift bag

What is a bullet journal?

What is a bullet journal title

Every day I go online and every day I see the term “bullet journal”. A few months ago I clicked on a couple of Pinterest posts to find out more about it but at first glance it wasn’t bright and sparkly enough for me so I investigated no further. 3 months later and this fad just isn’t going away. I still see everyone sharing their layouts and trackers so once again curiosity got the better of me. I decided to give it a try. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it after all…

The first thing I did was visit – the official site that shows where bullet journaling began and the basic gist of how to go about starting your own.

As always I have a firm lock on my purse strings (oh, the joys of maternity pay!) so instead of committing to a beautiful Moleskine notebook I shelled out a whole £1.50 on this childish exercise style notebook. After all, this was just going to be an experiment.

bullet journal notebook

I chose this book because it was dotted instead of plain or lined and would be ideal for any tables and diagrams I needed to draw. If I hadn’t found this dotted one I would have settled for graph paper or squared.

spotted notebook paper

So anyway let’s get to business. What is a bullet journal? Well…it’s…um…anything you want it to be actually but I’ll go ahead and tell you about the ways most people use their bullet journals.


However you plan – yearly, monthly, in a diary, with to do lists – this is what the Bujo was intended for in the beginning. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you do do it. The whole idea of the bullet journal is to make life easier with minimal time spent on planning (i.e. without paint and glitter). This can be done with an actual bullet system as described by Ryder Carroll on the official website, or you can take it further like me by making tables and charts. Although this approach takes a little more time at the beginning of the year/month/week/day, I find it much easier for my brain to comprehend (and admire) at a glance. I do use the actual bullet system for my daily breakdown to-do list as I love the satisfaction of ticking tasks off when they are complete.


The Bujo is perfect for tracking progress/results. I choose to make mine more graphic but a tally chart would be just as effective. You can track anything – cleaning, exercise, savings, business goals – you’re only restricted by your own imagination. The Bujo holds you accountable for your own goals. This is perfect if you are like me and tend to “forget” about personal targets you really want to achieve. Once it is in your bullet it will sit there glaring at you until complete…kinda like a scary headmistress waiting for you to finish writing out the dictionary in detention.


Who doesn’t love a good list?!

Shopping lists

Wish lists


Places to go




Christmas gifts




These are just a few of the ideas I’ve seen put into practice (and no, I am not joking about the Pokemon one). There’s not much else I can say about lists but I hope you appreciate the fact that I presented this section in list form!


Even if you don’t intentionally use your Bujo to record memories it will automatically become a record when you’re done. All you have to do is keep it once you get to the end of your notebook. It will be great to look back from the future when you’re a high flier. Imagine all of the fuzzy warm feelings you will get when you look back at how you got there.

I totally recommend you give bullet journaling a try. It’s the most satisfying and non-intimidating planning system I have ever tried. It is very forgiving. If you forget to use it one day then there is no page left standing empty, you just put the next day in it’s place instead. Go on… all you need is a notebook and a pen!

I would love to know if you guys have any other uses for your bullet journal. Be sure to leave me a comment and let me know!

How I Approach a Scrapbook Layout

How to use layers (1)

Ok so here’s a little secret – I never have an idea in my mind of how I want my scrapbook page to look before I start. Sometimes I have one or two ideas about certain elements I want to include but that’s about it. I usually just jump in head-first and hope for the best. This gets me thinking that other people out there may do the same thing and may be interested in how one goes about jumping in head-first, so that it what I’m going to share with you today in a step-by-step tutorial.

Clear your workspace

For me this is an absolute must for getting my mind clear and organised. I work on a white table and I find it really helps me if it is completely clear before I begin. If I do that then the rest of the room bothers me less. I then lay out the page I am going to be working on along with the photographs and ephemera that I definitely want to use in my layout.

Gather your supplies

I examine the photographs and ephemera and pick out recurring colours to create my colour scheme. Once I have chosen the colours I want to use, I go through my stash and pick out any bits and pieces of tissue, card, stickers and embellishments that go with the colour scheme. Even if I don’t think I’ll use them I usually pull them out anyway just in case. I spread all of these out on the table.

Lay out the photographs

This is where I start building the page in my mind. I lay out the photographs and ephemera in an arrangement that pleases me. Sometimes this involves discarding one or two images or pieces of memorabilia. I then put them to one side in the same layout so that I can keep looking for reference.

Start with something bold

I often start with a bold colour as there will be lots of other things layered on top, and the bold colour with peek through the gaps without overpowering the page. In this case I used turquoise tissue. I did this by glueing the area under where I wanted to place the photographs with a glue stick. I laid a large piece of tissue over the glue and then ripped the edges into shape.


Add black

I find that a hint of black helps most pages to pop that little bit more. Here I did paint spatters by flicking a loaded paintbrush and concentrated in the area over the tissue. I wanted a few spatters to be present in the white space too. Instead of the spatters you could do some stamping or printing. Using the rim of a bottle lid to print circles is one of my favourite tricks.

Paint splat

Add another layer

Next I choose another colour from my scheme and add the next layer. In this case I created a cross-hatch with strips of paper in different widths. I graded the length of these strips to fit inside the shape of the tissue and then glued the cross-hatch down.


Add the photographs

I added the photographs on top of the cross-hatch in the arrangement that I had tried before. I also glued down the memorabilia in the opposite diagonal corner to balance the page.

Finishing touches

I finished the page by adding a few black stickers which helped bring out the paint-spatter detail. Sometimes it’s nice to overlap the photographs with one or two elements. I used the stickers for this. I find that overlaying in this way brings the page together as one piece rather than just photographs stuck onto a background.

6 photos

Of course this is just one approach. There are many, many different ways to approach a scrapbook project but I just wanted to show you how I went about this one. It is a very simple layout and would be great for a beginner.

No more fear

tea phone sharpie glasses

Wow…here it is…my first post! I feel like there should be a fan fair or something after all of the hype and anticipation (in my own mind).

A big welcome to you, my lovely readers. I’m Rachel and I am so pleased to meet you. Come on in, take a load off and grab a cuppa before we begin. There’s nothing to fear. This blog is all about your recreation time and your love of crafting. I’m going to give you some great ideas and tips to help you express yourself creatively, without the fear failure. Together we’re going to break down the walls of negativity and make you realise that it doesn’t matter if you make something that’s not worthwhile or not perfect; the important thing is that you do make something and enjoy the process along the way. So grab your empty notebooks, your glue and your scissors. We’re going to make a mess…