The JOY of making gifts to myself! - Colorway Arts

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The JOY of making gifts to myself!

There is something special going on today, at least in my life! It's my Birthday and and I have SO much to be thankful for! 

Before you ask, I'm turning 48 today and this post is part of the celebration! If you are with me for some time, you know how much I'm passionate for crafts, for box making, for fabric and....glue! And, more than this, you probably noticed that what I most like is sharing this passion with every one of you that wants to have fun gluing fabric and creating amazing Cartonnage projects (that are wonderful handmade gifts)!

Today I want to talk about the "JOY of making gifts to ourselves". Oh well, why? Because, I know, we love making our crafts and giving to our family and friends and that make us feel so good and happy right? I know, I'm there too! But, most of the times we forget the person who is the most important.... yes, you guessed right... WE!  If we don't take care of ourselves first, we certainly don't have energy and we can't help others as we want. So, it's not being selfish (or maybe it is, but it's for a great purpose). As flight attendants always say...."put the mask first in yourself, then help others"! 

The last years have been a great time for me, sharing all that I love with our Community, but I noticed I haven't have time to sometimes just enjoy my time making something that I need, or I would like to do, or, well, you know, something our heart is calling to do. And the two boxes I'm about to show to you, were in my plans for a long time... everytime I saw the "mess" in my bedroom I thought.... "one day I will make what I need here". 

Then, you may ask... why didn't you buy it ready to fix your mess?? Crafters will get it.... "why buy for X if I can have tons of fun making for XX?? Something like that right? But not only this, you will see that the boxes I made for myself are not sold in stores, not in the sizes and shapes I wanted and for sure not in my beautiful fabrics at all! 

So, the solution for us cartonnage lovers is clear... have fun and make yourself!

Now, I'm very proud of myself, not only because I loved the boxes and I think they turned out very pretty and well finished, BUT, most of all, because I took the time to make something FOR ME! And I not only had fun and got excited making them, I will smile and revisit the JOY every time I will choose my jewelry or pray in the morning! 

Then, let me tell you about these boxes! Recently we had one special event just for members of our Cartonnage Club - our annual Online Cartonnage Retreat, and during the retreat, we made the "Double tool box", what is a great construction of a box with a drawer! So that was the beginning of my solution.... yes, I can use the same construction for box with drawer and make the boxes I need to my bedroom! 

See below the "Double Tool Box" we made in our Retreat.

Well, that was one amazing box, hundreds of fabric lovers made this project and are so happy and proud of themselves with their creation. Now, look at that box for a minute, just the box, forget the lid! Ok, so, what I did for my jewelry box, I used the same project, actually is the same size, I just changed the sides and back and reduce the front a bit. Then, of course, I added lots of details to fit my needs for long necklaces (thanks to my husband for the tips and ideas to accommodate them better!), a few rings and bracelets. See in the picture below, I still have room for more....Yeah!!

And then, how about my other box? Well, that one is very special too! In my bedroom I have a place where I pray every morning, and I love St. Francis very much. His prayer is for me very powerful. I pray it, I sing it, it just calms me down, put me in alignment and make me ready for my day! And I decided to make a special place to add the handmade crochet  "St. Francis" I bought from a talent Brazilian lady sometime ago. 

So, for this box, I again used the same concept of the "Double tool box", I just shrink it! And see below that I didn't add the front, because I didn't need it. So, in the little drawer I have a small book for "self care" affirmations that I also love reading, and behind St. Francis, there is his Prayer. 

So, I'm more than happy with these special gifts I made for myself and I hope you liked too, or at least, I hope that you are thinking when was the last time you had fun making something special for yourself and get excited to go crafting!

Let me know  your thoughts, I would love to hear about your crafting journey making gifts!!

And if you are interested in making Cartonnage Fabric Boxes, check my website, learn about our Club, registration is now closed, but will open again in the beginning of next year, and by then, I would have also added tutorials of how to make this kind of box in any size you want! Isn't that wonderful? It's the JOY of making! 

Now, let me see what I will be doing today in my birthday! I may glue for a bit!! 

Have a wonderful day!

Happy gluing!


44 Responses


February 23, 2023

happy birthday, claudia!
very original your works, and also nice that whit S. franciscus, I am italian and i often go to the mass at st. franciscus church in my town.


February 23, 2023

Happy Birthday, Claudia! May you have the best birthday and a great year! Your creativity is boundless and endless! Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Stephanie Christenson

November 17, 2022

Happy (belated) birthday, Claudia!

Linda Burrows

November 17, 2022

Belated Happy Birthday wishes dear lady. How lovely are your boxes (gifts to yourself), so functional but pretty too. You are full of so many beautiful creative ideas, your brain must be whirring around all day. Hope this next year of your life is filled with great things. Big cwtch (say as butch but with a C.. Means hug in Wales) xxx

Debbie V

November 17, 2022

Happy Birthday to you Claudia!!! Your boxes are beautiful and its wonderful that they will be a special gift to you!


November 17, 2022

Happy happy birthday Claudia💕. Your gifts are beautiful and so personal. I’m ready to make one for myself🤗 enjoy your day allll month and may the holidays be blessed.


November 17, 2022

Happy Birthday, thank you for sharing your creativity.. you inspire us all.

Linda Lupton

November 17, 2022

I love when you share a personal story about yourself, in this case, the St. Francis morning prayer time one. And adapting the designs of your boxes to suit your needs is a good lesson for all of us, we can do this!


November 17, 2022

happy birthday 🎈🎉🎂 have a wonderful day 🎉🎉🎂


November 17, 2022

Happy Birthday, Claudia!

Jill Simanek

November 17, 2022

So very thankful for you Claudia! Happiest of birthdays to you. Your projects are beautiful. I am looking forward to learning how to recreate them!

Marsha Walker

November 17, 2022

Happy Birthday Claudia! So blest to have you as a friend.

Shelby Smarte

November 17, 2022

Happy Birthday and enjoy your special gifts to yourself! They are lovely and make your life more wonderful and full of joy.
May you have many more special things in your life.
Best Wishes!

Carol Person

November 17, 2022

What wonderful new ideas you conceive! I know you will enjoy these for many years! The altar application is wonderful! We can easily see why you are filled with joy and love as a way of life! And, thank you for showing us how to do so as well!
Many blessings!

Dale Shafer

November 17, 2022

Your gifts to yourself are great, and you certainly deserve them – and more!!! The little shrine could hold any item that has special meaning, and I, too, can see it hanging on a wall. Hope you’ve had a really lovely day, Claudia, you are such an inspiration to all!

Debbie Morgan.

November 16, 2022

Hope you enjoyed your special day. Love the Jewelry holder.

Donna Duff / nickname --Jean Carver

November 16, 2022

Dearest Claudia, The Happiest of birthdays to you!!! Your enthusiasm is contagious to everyone around you!! I LOVE your new boxes!! They would make perfect gifts !! I LOVE the idea to display jewelry, instead of shutting it away in a box! Jewelry is artistic itself!! You make everyone’s life better being around you and helping us create wonderful, beautiful, functional things! 🎂👍👏

Dana Monaco

November 16, 2022

Love all the boxes…….you inspire us all! Happy Birthday……It is my nieces birthday as well. Enjoy your day!


November 16, 2022

Happy Birthday

Elsa Riedel

November 16, 2022

Happy Birthday, Claudia. Your love for what you do shines through into your teaching. I love your excitment. It makes me excited. Have an absolutely great day.

Joy Cheek

November 16, 2022

Happy Birthday and may you have many many more!

Rosa Host

November 16, 2022

Happy Birthday!!!!
I bought a starter kit. I have not made it yet but it is in my sewing room for when I’m ready!!!! Can’t wait!!!

Patricia Wolff

November 16, 2022

And you give gifts every day to us. You share your talents, expertise and most of all, patience and affirmation. Thank you.

Gail in Florida

November 16, 2022

Happy Birthday! You give so much to all of us, I’m glad you remembered to take some time for yourself on your special day. I love the boxes, your creativity is endless!

Patricia Pfeifer

November 16, 2022

Happy Birthday Claudia!


November 16, 2022

Happy Birthday! Have a joyous day

Grace Bonta

November 16, 2022

I love both boxes (gifts to yourself). Thanks for sharing. Happy birthday to you!

Tracy Maples

November 16, 2022

Love the items you made for yourself.

Patty Heron

November 16, 2022

First of all Happy Birthday to you and your brother. Celebrate your special day today. I love this membership club. It has taken me outside my comfort zone and taught me so much. I don’t know where to post photos of my tool box but know that I love it.

Cathryn Slovensky

November 16, 2022

Happy, joyful, wonderful birthday, dear Claudia. You are such a gift to us all!! We thank God for bringing you into the world and into our lives. May He grant you many more years! Your creativity produces such beautiful (and useful) items. I love the jewelry box and the little shrine for St. Francis (he’s one of my favorites as well). I’m still in the midst of making the double tool box. With our move back to Montana (my home state) and raising a new puppy , we’re still unpacking, and my craft room isn’t quite finished yet. But I had a few hours to work on the tool box this week, and once again, the peace I feel when working on a cartonnage project seeped in. It really is therapeutic. I’m so grateful to have found you and the community of cartonnagers. P.S. My husband, a chemist, is so tickled I’m finally learning the metric system. I found a really good clear centimeter ruler at Amazon that goes up to 40cm. It has been an invaluable tool for the double tool box project, and you get two of them for only $6.99 (here’s the link if you’d like to see it:

Cindy Black

November 16, 2022

WOW! Claudia these are all Fabulous! Merry Christmas to You 🥰

Elizabeth Dickerson

November 16, 2022

Super designs :) I especially like your jewelry display. Thank you for sharing and Happy Thanksgiving to all :)

Sue Lawson

November 16, 2022

PS: my next box just for me is a tool box for my Cricut tools. Cricut make a fairly good box but a). It’s too small; and b) being in the UK I can’t get it. So, I’m making my own. Thanks for spurring me on. I’ll post a pic when it’s finished.

Sue Lawson

November 16, 2022

Firstly Claudia. Happy birthday. Secondly, I love that you looked after yourself today and made boxes just for the joy of using them for you. It’s true we often make for others and forget about oneself. So enjoy your day and your beautiful boxes. I’ll catch you later. X

Carol Wineman

November 16, 2022

HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! You are a gift to all of us who are in the Cartonnage Club. You add inspiration, hope and encouragement for everyone. And you’re much more than somebody on the internet who got me addicted to Cartonnage. You are a friend to all of us. God Bless! Enjoy and celebrate your birthday. You deserve the very best.
Love you!!

Nicola Hall

November 16, 2022

Your birthday gifts are both beautiful and multiple.
Self care is essential and as a leader in this Community I congratulate you for acknowledging this and sharing some of your self-care activities.
The two cartonnage creations are gorgeously practical and fun.

Carol Crossley

November 16, 2022

Claudia, you are amazing. I love your enthusiasm for all the craft projects. I love your creativity and your joy in making each and every box. I don’t always get to make as many things as I’d like, however, I stay with this because of your spontaneous and joyful way of encouragement for making each project. Enjoy your special day and many blessings.


November 16, 2022

Happy Birthday Claudia. I hope you have a wonderful day. I just lo e making all of the wonderful boxes.

Christi Carpenter

November 16, 2022

Claudia: Great job on the boxes. They look even better now that they are full of goodies. I’m so glad you took time for yourself as we all need that from time to time. Congrats on completing your “gifts” to yourself. You certainly deserve it after our online retreat!! Again, great job.

Debra Waters

November 16, 2022

Claudia, you are so inspiring in so many ways. I love these boxes and your thoughts regarding them. I have been very busy gluing (will put a photo on the website soon), so have not had time to do the special projects, but I always follow your posts, because they never fail to be uplifting. xoxoxo

Linda Barnhill

November 16, 2022

Happy Birthday, hope you and your family have a nice day. The new designs are lovely and inspiring.

Patty Horton

November 16, 2022

Beautiful and functional! Happy Birthday, Claudia.


November 16, 2022

Hope you have a great Birthday and love your Saint.

Margaret Senn

November 16, 2022

I love the two boxes you made for your self. I could see the second one hanging on the wall. thank you for all you do.

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