How to be Artistic

One of the things I see people saying a lot, especially in bullet journaling groups on Facebook, is some version of “I’m not an artist and I can’t doodle so my bujo is boring”; or “I really want to start a bullet journal but I can’t draw or do fancy lettering” or even “I’m sharing my new layout for xyz. Sorry it’s not very artistic”. And it drives me crazy!

For starters, bullet journaling has nothing to do with being artistic (but that’s a rant for another blog post). It’s meant to be a simple system to help you plan and manage your life.  However if you’re not naturally artistic, but would like to add drawings, doodles, lettering and more to your notebooks and journals, I’m here to teach you how you can do that!

Confession: I’ve said for years that I can’t draw and am not artistic. Then I finally told myself to get over it and do something about it. You see, the people we see doing all those artsy things may have an innate talent (maybe), but they wouldn’t get anywhere if they didn’t use it and keep on practising.

Over the last 18 months or so, I’ve decided to exercise my creative muscle and become that artistic creative doodling brush lettering person I want to be. And it did it using the different methods outlined below.

Learn on Your Own Online

The internet is full, no joke, with tutorials and videos to teach you just about anything you want to learn. If you’re self-motivated, you can begin by using these free resources to learn on your own. Here are some of my favourite places to find tutorials and videos.

One Artsy Mama 

This was the site that made brush lettering really click for me. She has a number of blog posts for beginners as well as free printable practice sheets. Her most recent post is all about underline flourishing!

The Postman’s Knock

I discovered this site when searching for articles to post over at Craft Gossip, and have been hooked ever since! She also has amazing free tutorials and practice sheets, for both brush lettering and pointed pen calligraphy

Inkstruck Studio

This site is my go to for watercolour tutorials. Start with her beginner series to get set up. She also has downloadable freebies and other great watercolour resources, and even some lettering tutorials too.

Random Things to Draw

Usually whenever I want to doodle something I do a quick online search “how to draw…..”, and then use which ever result seems best. But I recently found this Instagram account Random Things to Draw, that has step by step instructions for drawing tons of things! Oh and they also have a book! Which leads me to:

learn on your own using books

I’ve always said that I can learn anything from a book. Pretty much when I want to learn something new I research the best book I can find. This is changing a bit with the Internet, but there are still some things I prefer to have in paper format. Here are some of my favourites:

20 Ways to Draw a Tulip

I’m working my way through this one right now with my brush lettering project for The 100 Day Project. It’s all posted on Instagram.

How to Draw a Radish

This is a very funny one that my son and I like to do together.

365 things to draw and paint

Another one I like to use with my son, but it has lots of inspiration for grown up art too.

Botanical Line Drawing

I don’t own this one yet, but have seen rave reviews about it, and plan to get it very soon. I’m a bit obsessed with wanting to be able to draw plants and flowers!

Creative Lettering and More

This is billed as a best seller, and I’ll also be adding it to my bookshelf very soon.


do monthly challenges

Once you start learning techniques, you’re going to want to practice them and I find a very good way of doing this to to play along with monthly challenges on Instagram. Here are a few I recommend (I’m linking to their June prompts)

Surely Simple Challenge

Happy Lettering Challenge

365 Doodles With Johanna Fritz

Doodle Challenge

Take a Class

Whether online or in person, there’s nothing like having direct instruction from an expert. Classes are good for those who prefer not to learn on their own, or for those who want to take things to the next level. Here are some of the learning websites I love.


This is the site that got me into having a consistent practice. I started off with the drawing class by Lisa Congdon, then fell down the rabbit hole. And it is SO affordable.


Another affordable option with lots and lots of classes, and not just art related. This link will give you two free months to try it out!

You can also purchase individual lettering classes from sites like The Better Lettering Course or The Postman’s Knock

Keep Practising

The most important thing however is to keep practising! I fell off with my hand lettering, and when I finally picked it back up again, it was like starting all over. But after being consistent for the last two months, I can see a startling improvement. Take a look at the photos below.

April 2016

June 2017

So I don’t want to hear you saying anymore that you’re not artistic. These are skills that can be learned, and you can do it too!

Do you have any favourite classes, books, or websites to share for learning art and lettering?

Free Printable Book Plates for Book Giving Day

Today is not only Valentine’s Day, it’s also a day for another kind of lover: book lovers! It’s also World Book Giving Day, so if you’re not one that’s into the typical  hearts and roses, maybe you still have some time to grab a book to gift to a special someone.

In that vein, I am gifting you all some free printable book plates!

This is a printable PDF download on a letter sized sheet. You can print on white paper or even better sticker paper.

Once cut out, just add the name and stick to your books!

This is the book my son is getting for Book Giving Day. He’s been asking me for books about cats lately. He likes space too so hopefully he’ll find this fun!

These bookplates work for anyone though, so print out a bunch!

If you enjoyed this post share with your book loving friends using the buttons below.





P.S. if you love reading, and talking about books, join us over on Sister Reads!



Crafty Person’s Gift Guide | My Favourite Craft Books

Hey friends! I’m teaming up with Vernell today to share gift guides of our favourite craft books that are perfect for gifting to all the multi-passionate crafters in your life (or you know, for yourself). This will be a pretty varied gift guide since I dabble in various creative pursuits, and I know that you do too. Each title is a clickable link to the book at Amazon.

Gift Guide: best Craft Books to give as gifts.

Scrapbooking books gift guide

I haven’t bought any scrapbooking books in yeas, because my tried and true books written ages ago are all I need. With these in your arsenal you’ll have a great foundation for memory keeping information and inspiration.

The Big Picture by Stacy Julian

This book by Stacy Julian changed how I felt about scrapbooking, and helped me to let go of many of the perceived “rules” of this great hobby. At the end of it I felt more inspired and creative than ever. Stacy drew examples and inspiration from outside the traditional scrapbooking world, helping me to  really see the big picture.

Life Artist by Ali Edwards

When it comes to simple scrapbook design coupled with superb story telling, no one does it better than Ali Edwards. She breaks it down to the basics of photos and stories like no one else. Also check out her other books: A Designer’s Eye for Scrapbooking and its sequel focused on patterned paper.

The Inspired and Organized Scrapbooker by Aby Garvey and Wendy Smedley

As you know I’m a big believer in purging and organizing, and this book is one of my weapons! Aby Garvey is a professional organizer, and Wendy Smedley is one of the original editors from Simple Scrapbooks (sob). Together they will help you get your creative space in shape, and inspire you to get making!

Clean & Simple 2 by Cathy Zielske

I don’t own the original Clean & Simple, but I can highly recommend the sequel for scrapbookers looking for pure simplicity in their pages. Cathy knows what she’s talking about, and her scrapbook pages designs are timeless.

Design Secrets from BHG

This is another oldie but goodie. A special edition from the now defunct Scrapbooks etc. Magazine, this book breaks down design into various categories including composition, typography, and accents. It truly will help you build your design skills.

Yarn Crafts gift guide

This is a small section, since I mostly use patterns and tutorials I find online. But here are my top three.

Knitting in Plain English

This book will teach you how to pick a pattern that’s right for you, determining gauge, how to knit and purl plus instructions for fifteen additional pattern stitches,  working with more than one color of yarn, how to weave invisible seams, picking up dropped stitches (very important!), how to hand-wash and block your finished garment, plus much, much more.

Terrific Toe-Up Socks

A couple years ago my sister taught me how to knit toe-up socks. Spoiler alert: I have yet to make my entire family socks as I vowed at the time,, but at least now I have the skill! if you don;t have someone to teach you in person, this book is the next best thing.

Crochet Inspiration

This one breaks crochet down into important basics to know like granny squares, and flowers, as well as stitches like lace, shell and cluster. It also includes garments made from these basics.

Sewing gift guide

Sew La Tea Do

The perfect book for beginner sewers (which is what I am). You’ll find easy to follow patterns, as well as tutorials and techniques. Pattern variations for more advanced sewers are included too!

Seams to Me

I was gifted this book a few Christmases back, and I absolutely adore it. I literally drool over the pages while stroking them! You’ll get advice for choosing fabrics, and many other tricks of the trade.

Art & Drawing gift guide

This is my new love this year, and these are the books helping me to dig deeper into art and drawing.

How to Draw a Radish

This fun little book was written to help you while away the boring hours at work, but it’s a handy tool for working on your doodling. My son and I love using it together as drawing prompts. if nothing else the tongue-in-cheek humour  will crack you up!

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

A way more serious book, and one that uses a specific method to get you from scribbler to actual person who draws. I’ve been working my way through this one this year, and I can see definite improvement! I’ve certainly moved on from stick men only.

20 Ways to Draw a Tulip

After taking Lisa Congdon’s class at Creativebug in January, I had to get myself this books! it’s more than about drawing tulips, you’ll learn various ways to draw a variety of flowers. I love using this one when I’m in the mood to doodle all over my sketch book.

365 Things to Draw and Paint

This is a fantastic book to use along with your kids, or just by yourself if you’re looking for ideas for some art and making. My son likes to leaf through it, and pick a project for us to together. Sometimes he will choose a project to work on by himself as well.

Miscellaneous Crafts gift guide

The Creative Family

If you’ve heard of  Soule Mama, you’ll recognise this one. It’s full of simple and mindful ideas for being creative as a family, including ideas for celebrations, making simple toys, and lots of creative play for kids. It’s one I dip into over and over again.

52 Projects

This book is subtitled “Random Acts of Everyday Creativity”, and presents 52 projects that you can do over the course of a year. The projects are offbeat and artistic, and include baking, memory keeping, mail art, and tons of idea ideas that make great gifts from the heart.

The Guerilla Art Kit

I’m guessing the name Keri Smith is is known to you. if not I recommend you first get her bestselling Wreck This Journal, before the Guerilla one. The art kit is a collection of ideas for helping you get your art out into the wider world in the form of  posters, seed bombs, stickers, installations and so much more!

So that’s it! For now. I think I will update this gift guide every quarter, as there are definitely more great craft books I’d love to share with you.

Let’s go see which craft books Vernell has in her gift guide!


Crafty person's gift guide : favoruite craft books to give

Free Printable Handmade Gift Planner

I’ve made an update to my handmade gift planner for 2016! If you’re a crafty person who loves giving handmade gifts, this printable handmade gift planner will help you quickly plan your handmade gift list this year.

Free Printable Handmade Gift Planner

There’s space to quickly jot down the details you need, including what supplies you already have on hand, and those you might need to purchase.

The updated handmade gift planner is part of the Creative Simplicity Resource Library. Enter your info below to gain immediate access.

Share with your fellow planner nerds and bullet journal junkies on Pinterest!

Free Printable Handmade Gift Planner For Crafters

Check out my post from two years ago for ideas on how to print and use the free handmade gift planner.

Free Gift List Planner for DIY Gifts from Callaloo Soup-2

Have you started on your handmade gifts?


Friday Freebie | Printable Treat Yo Self Treat Box

Free printable Treat Yo Self treat boxes from Callaloo Soup-11

If you’re a fan of Parks and rec (and possibly even if you’re not!), you’re no doubt familiar with this phrase from the show. it’s one of the internet memes that I included in the September Somebody Said printable kit, and it’s kind of a no-brainer that I needed to make a treat box with that phrase!

Free printable Treat Yo Self treat boxes from Callaloo Soup-10

Now you can make your own and fill it with whatever your favourite treat is. Unless it’s wine. Please don’t fill it with with wine.


Make the Treat Yo Self Treat Box

Free printable Treat Yo Self treat boxes from Callaloo Soup-1

Once you print out the PDF (I recommend using smooth white card stock), cut around the outside lines

Free printable Treat Yo Self treat boxes from Callaloo Soup-2

Use a bone folder to score all the white lines, then make all the creases.

Add glue to the, you guess it, glue tab. Then fold to form the box sticking the tab to the inside back portion.

Free printable Treat Yo Self treat boxes from Callaloo Soup-3

Free printable Treat Yo Self treat boxes from Callaloo Soup-4

Free printable Treat Yo Self treat boxes from Callaloo Soup-5

Now fill that bad boy with treat! You can use these for a party, or take one along to your office, or keep in your purse for when you need a quick treat to just be able to can with life.

Free printable Treat Yo Self treat boxes from Callaloo Soup-8

Free printable Treat Yo Self treat boxes from Callaloo Soup-9

If you love simple, modern and fun printables like these, check out the monthly printable kit club!

What’s your favourite treat?


Free printable Treat Yo Self treat boxes from Callaloo Soup


How to Make a Quick Travel Journal

Heading out on a trip for a few days? Quickly pull together this quick travel journal, so that you can document the trip, and have all the details later on for whatever memory keeping you want to do. The key is to keep it simple!

Making A Quick Travel Journal

Gather together a small notebook, journaling cards, stickers and die cuts. To prepare your journal, stick a journaling card to the cover.

Tip: if you think your journal might get bulky feel free to tear some of the pages out first.

Now add a paper pocket to the back inside cover. Make sure it is pretty secure.

Next, fill the pocket with a variety of stickers and die cuts.

Select some 3×4 cards that will suit the trip you’re going on. Is it a beach trip, visiting, family or a sightseeing road trip?

Tuck the cards into the book, and use an elastic band to keep it shut if necessary

Now get some scissors, glue, and a pen, and stash everything in a pencil case or cute pouch


  • Take along your instant camera  or mobile photo printer, if you have one, so you can add photos to the journal.
  • Throw in some simple and light embellishments like washi tape and wood veneer.

And you’re good to go! This is small enough to pop in your purse or pocket, and you can use it to jot notes on the go, as well as for collecting any ephemera or memorabilia on your trip. Once back home you can then “mine” the journal for information to make a travel album or scrapbook pages.

Where are you traveling to next?


How to Make a Quick Travel Journal

How to Use Instagram for Memory Keeping

A couple months ago I posted about all the different ways we can approach memory keeping, and today I want to talk some more about one of my favourite methods: using Instagram!

I’ve been using the app (Google Play | App Store) since late 2012 when it finally became available for Android phones, and I haven’t looked back.

Why Instagram is Perfect For Memory Keeping

  • Everyone (okay, most people) have smart phones, and the latest smart phones now have excellent cameras that you can use to capture life as it happens. And they are extremely portable! I use mine to document entire vacations instead of lugging around my DSLR.
  • You can easily share your photos with others through the app – they just need to have an account too! If necessary you can share to other platforms like Facebook and Pinterest, so even those without Instagram will see your photos
  • You can make all of this private so only close family and friends have access
  • Apart from sharing just a photo, you can write captions up to 2200 characters (way better than Twitter’s 140), and refer back to your feed if you need details of a particular day or moment.
  • You can have conversations about a particular photo or event in the comment section.

Over the last three years the ways I use it for memory keeping have evolved, and I would say there are two main approaches.

Individual Photos

If you’re someone who always has their phone handy, and loves to take snapshots, Instagram is perfect for you. You can quickly capture an everyday event or special moment as they happen, while you go about your daily life.

How to use Instagram for memory keeping - daily life photo


However you may prefer to choose a more structured approach, and choose a particular project for your photos. There are so many photo challenges to choose from if this appeals more to you. Here are some of my favourites:

Photo-a-Day by Fat Mum Slim

Use the list of prompts that Chantelle provides to take one photo every day

Thursday 3 by rukristin

Each week Kristin Tweedale encourages you to post a photo and list three things happening in your life right now.

Day in the Life and Week in the Life from Ali Edwards

This is a huge one in the scrapbooking community. A couple times a year Ali Edwards encourages us to document a typical day, and a typical week in our lives. The intent is to use the photos in scrapbooks, but just posting the photos is already a great thing!

Ali chooses specific dates for these projects for her community, but you can choose to do this whenever you feel like it.

How to use Instagram for memory keeping = ten on the 10th project

Ten on the 10th

And there’s my very own #TenOnthe10th project (coming up on Sunday!) where I challenge you to take 10 photos on the 10th of the month.

Sounds daunting? Read my post on how it’s possible to take (and share)10 photos in one day!

What I love about projects like these is that they can give you a peek at a slice of your life at any particular moment.

You can of course mix up these two methods, and post individual daily life photos, as well as doing the occasional project. You can even make up your own photo project to suit your needs. Some fun examples might be:

  • Day in the Life on each family member’s birthday
  • Documenting a particular day of the week. For a couple years I did a Wednesday project with my son.  Those are now some of my most precious photos, as crappy as they are.
  • A recipe project where you take photos of special meals.

There are countless options!

So what do you think? Do you see how Instagram can be an integral part of your memory keeping? Are you already using Instagram? Drop your usernames in the comments! And see you on the 10th if you dare!

Next month I’ll share how to get your photos off your phone and into paper scrapbooks and albums. Sign up below to be notified when new posts go up on the blog.

How to Use Instagram for Memory Keeping - A GuideFrancine
Key and Color Code in Bullet Journal

How I Set Up My Bullet Journal July to Dec 2016

Leuchtturm1917 and pens

Another planner post? Yes! Going forward I’ll be posting about planning on the first Friday of the month, which happens to be today! Plus I am pretty excited about getting my new bullet journal or bujo set-up like I mentioned last week. So I’ll take you through how I have it set up to start this bullet journal journey.

By the way, If you’re not familiar with bullet journaling, check out the official site by Ryder Carroll the creator of this system. If you’re a pen and paper girl and love lists, it just might be the planning system for you.


Here’s a list of my basic supplies.

I’ll also be using fun add-ins like washi tape, stamps, stickers and of course printables.


I thought long and hard about what I wanted to include in my bujo. Since I have my Filofax binders for various projects, I don’t need to have everything in my notebook. I checked out lots of blog posts at Boho Berry, and lots of pins on Pinterest and came up with a list.

Bullet Journal Index

I love that the Leuchtturm has a built in index and numbered pages. It makes keeping track of where stuff is very easy.

Key and Color Code in Bullet Journal

Here’s my key and colour coding. I totally simplified my coding, before I had a different colour for each category of work, and it became a bit confusing. Now work is just blue.

Pen Log and headers in bullet journal

I decided to set up some reference sheets for pens and decorative elements.

How I Set Up My New Bullet Journal for July to December 2016-5


This handwriting sheet was copied over from this pin I found

Goals and Working On in bullet journal

Next my goals for the rest of the year, and a list of current projects I’m working on. I’m thinking this will help me keep on track, and not get distracted by shiny object syndrome.

brain Dump pages in bullet journal

Two pages for clearing out my head!

Commonplace Book in bullet journal


Have you heard about the Commonplace Book?  it’s usually a book that you keep to write down quotes, inspirations, and excerpts you come across in books and articles. I started one several months ago, but since I don’t always have it with me that didn’t work out so well. I thought the bujo would be the perfect place to have some pages dedicated for this purpose.

Business reference pages in bullet journal

A couple of pages with things I need to reference while I work. And that’s about it for general collections. My next section is where I get my planning done, and things like monthly tracking

Planning and Monthlies

Future Log in Bullet Journa

My future log. I loved the idea of having the mini calendars as a reference.

July Monthly View in bullet journal

July monthly view. I think I might add a mini-calendar here too since I do like seeing my month laid out in calendar form.

Habit Tracker and Spending log in bullet journal

I’ve never been that good at keeping track of stuff, we’ll see how this works!

Memories and book log in bullet journal

A page for noting monthly memories and books read during the month.

Creative challenge in bullet journal

This is a photo challenge I’m working on July 1 to 14th on Instagram. I plan to colour in each flag as I complete the prompt. I’m considering doing a lettering challenge too, so I’ll add those prompts to the right side.

Weekly view in bullet journal

My weekly view will be the grid on the left for events and appointments, and a task list for the week on the right.

And finally my daily pages!

Daily page in bullet journalI feel really good about this system, I think it will serve me well. I’ll probably do an update in a couple months so you can see how things are going.

Do you bullet journal? If not, do you think it could be a system that you could use?


Sisters, Paper Sisters | I Completely Changed My Entire Planning System

Sisters, Paper, Scissors

Welcome to the June Edition of Sisters, Paper, Scissors! This month we are talking planners, wooohooo! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while then you know my fairly simple approach to planning.

I started off with just one Filofax towards the end of 2013, then added a couple more as I felt the need to have things in separate places. The Filofax A5 has always been my go-to planner for monthly, weekly, and daily planning. I was addicted to DIYFish inserts and used those faithfully for a couple years.

Earlier this year I felt the need to simplify even more, and switched to using a more organic notebook for my daily pages. This started back in March

Sisters Paper Sisters - I Completely Changed My My Planner System-5

I really liked the freedom of using the notebook, and making it fit my needs for a particular day, and so now I’ve decided that I will completely switch over to Bullet Journaling. But more on that later.

In the mean time however, I acquired three more planners! A Happy Planner from MAMBI and, two more A5 Filofaxes that my sister gifted to me (after she decided to switch to Bullet Journaling – are you seeing a trend here?). Here’s my stack

Sisters, Paper, Scissors - Planner Stack

So I was faced with a bit of a dilemma (can you say First World Problem?). What was I going to do with all these planners? And then it hit me that I could assign a different use for each one and compartmentalise all my projects.

As a multipassionate creative person, I always have a ton of different projects going. I used to keep multiple projects in one planner, but each category of my creative life having it’s own planner would be perfect for the way my mind works. So from top to bottom, here are the assignments:

The red Domino is for art projects and all my creative challenges like #the100dayproject, doodling and lettering

Sisters Paper Sisters - I Completely Changed My Planning System-1

The black Metropole will be for household projects. I am always saving things from magazines or online for home improvement and decor

Sisters Paper Sisters - I Completely Changed My Planning System-3

The blue Clipbook will be for personal journaling, and things like keeping track of my reading challenges

Sisters Paper Sisters - I Completely Changed My Planning System-2

The patent pink Domino is my business binder for brainstorming and business planning, and everything related to running and growing Callaloo Soup and Printably.

Sisters Paper Sisters - I Completely Changed My Planning System-4

The grey Apex (my very first planner!!!) is now for craft projects: knitting, crochet and everything else.

Sisters Paper Sisters - I Completely Changed My Planning System-10

And finally the Mambi Happy planner will be for family life/memory journaling

Sisters Paper Sisters - I Completely Changed My Planning System-11

Phew! I honestly never thought I’d be someone who uses multiple planners, but this really clicks with me right now.

As for the Bullet Journaling, I’m pretty excited to get really started with it. For now I am using a Moleskine notebook, but I have ordered the infamous Leuchtturm 1917 to start off July.

Here are a few spreads from my notebook since April.

Sisters Paper Sisters - I Completely Changed My My Planning System-6

Sisters Paper Sisters - I Completely Changed My Planning System-7

Sisters Paper Sisters - I Completely Changed My Planning System-8

Sisters Paper Sisters - I Completely Changed My Planning System-9

The fact that I can make it be whatever I want it to be on any particular day is what I love about this system. Apart from my daily to-dos it can be used for general notes, journaling, random thoughts, memory keeping…. whatever I need at the moment. I have days where I just quickly jot a list, and other days where I write a lot, so the form and function of it flows with me, and I’m not boxed in to a specific layout.

So that’s it! Let’s see what Vernell has to share this month.

Have you ever entirely revamped your planning system?

How I Fixed my Planning System and Found Planner PeaceFrancine




Sisters, Paper, Scissors | Crochet Market Tote

Sisters, Paper, Scissors - Crochet Market Tote-8

It’s Farmer’s Market season! To be honest, here in France it is always market season, we have a twice weekly market in my town, but this tropical  island girl can’t handle going during winter. HA! But now that the weather is glorious, I am looking forward to our weekly trips on Saturday mornings.

Vernell and I thought it the perfect time to whip up some market totes so we both tried this pattern from The Stitchin’ Mommy.

The pattern was really easy to follow. Definitely one to do in front of the TV. Instead of using different colours of yarn, I used some self-striping yarn instead, which gave my tote an interesting effect!

Sisters, Paper, Scissors - Crochet Market Tote-1

Here’s the strap in progress

Sisters, Paper, Scissors - Crochet Market Tote-3

Sisters, Paper, Scissors - Crochet Market Tote-4

My bag came out super humongous though! I probably should pay more attention to things like gauge, but I’m just too lazy to be honest.

Sisters, Paper, Scissors - Crochet Market Tote-5

Because it is totally gaping at the top, I decided to make a string to tie it shut. I made a long chain, then did single crochet all along the length.

Sisters, Paper, Scissors - Crochet Market Tote-6

Which I then wove through the stitches

Sisters, Paper, Scissors - Crochet Market Tote-7

Definitely made a difference.

Sisters, Paper, Scissors - Crochet Market Tote-9

I’m worried the strap will be too stretchy though, especially for carrying fruit and veg, so I’ll reinforce it with some kind of fabric. Most likely felt.

Head over to see Vernell’s version. She does pay attention to gauge so I bet hers will be super cute!

Don’t forget to check out and try this pattern. It’s great for beginners and advanced hookers.