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

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


Four Simple Summer Scrapbook Layouts

Summer is winding down now, but we still have all those great memories! Before you forget, why not make a few simple summer scrapbook layouts to remember the good times?

Here are four that I’ve made recently. They are all part of my #onephotoonecard series on Instagram.

Sun, Sea, Sand

Sea Sun Sand - One Photo One Card-1

Letter stickers by BasicGrey
Journal card and sun bursts from June Kit
Stickers from February kit.

Fun in the Sun

Fun in the sun

Watercolor paint, wood veneer and chipboard sticker
Shell die cut from July 2015 kit
Title from June 2016 kit

Summer Festival

Summer Festival

Patterned paper, paper clip, wood veneer
Journal Card and ice-cream sticker: June 2016 kit
Banner sticker: February 2016 kit



Flower die-cut
Brush pen and cardstock to make hand lettered title
Journal card from July 2016 kit

Have you been scrapbooking summer? If you’d love to start scrapbooking, sign up to get notified about my beginner’s scrapbook class that will be coming soon! I’ll help you make a page to remember summer.




Make a Simple Summer Scrapbook Page

Make a Simple Summer Scrapbook PageSave






Stop Rushing Hand Lettered Quote | Free Printable!

Free Handlettered Quote Poster-10

Happy Friday folks! Today Vernell and I are sharing some hand lettering. We both did hand lettering practice as our project for The 100 Day project, and since that project wrapped up a couple days ago, it’s quite apt to share a hand lettered quote today.

While I didn’t post photos on Instagram every day, I faithfully did my hand lettering practice in a variety of ways. I’m quite pleased at the difference consistently practicing has made.

Here’s an early try at a quote:


and here’s one from last week:

As they say, practice makes progress. I feel like I still have a lot to learn, but I am happy with where I am already!

Free Handlettered Quote Poster-13


Here’s the process I used to make this quote: “Once she stopped rushing through life, she realized how much more life she has time for” – author unknown.

I started by writing the quote out in my sketchbook, then using pencil to come up with a few different layouts.

Then I switched to my calligraphy pen (I seriously love this thing) to get an idea of how the lettered quote would look.

Free Handlettered Quote Poster-5

Free Handlettered Quote Poster-6I really liked the version with the flourishes, though admittedly I need to up my flourish game! The next thing I did was to write out the quote on drawing paper. I started off using calligraphy ink and an no. 4 paintbrush (top left), but then switched to my Tombow dualbrush.

Free Handlettered Quote Poster-7

Then I practiced my flourishes

Free Handlettered Quote Poster-8

Now time to make the quote. I started with pencil guidelines to ensure the quote would be centered and the lines even.

Free Handlettered Quote Poster

I realised halfway through that I miscalculated the positioning. Oops! That meant the quote wasn;t centered vertically.

Free Handlettered Quote Poster-2

No problem!  Let’s add a butterfly at the top

Free Handlettered Quote Poster-3

and that’s it!

Free Handlettered Quote Poster-4

What do you think?

Stop Rushing Through Life Free hand lettered printable from Callaloo Soup

Supplies used

Moleskine sketchbook
Tombow Fudenosuke
Tombow dualbrush
Canson drawing paper
Staedtler  eraser
Tombow sand eraser

And, I scanned in the quote and made it a PDF so you can download your very own copy! Just click here to get it.

Now head on over to see Vernell’s version.

Speaking of not rushing through life, that’s exactly my plan for August, so this will be my last blog post until my son starts school back in September. I’m not disappearing entirely though, you can still follow me on Instragram. I post crafty stuff at @printables_and_crafts, and lifestyle stuff at @francinecallaloosoup . And I’ll probably revamp my art account @francinessketchbook too!

See you back here the first Friday in September!

Free Handlettered Quote Poster from Callaloo Soup


Friday Freebie | Printable Planner & Scrapbook Stickers

Free Printable Planner Stickers - Happy Planner with stickers

Happy Friday folks! I’ve whipped up some free printable stickers for you! These are great for planners, notebooks and journals alike.

Free Printable Planner Stickers - Bullet Journal

Use them in your Filofax planners, Kikki.K planners, Happy Planners, Erin Condren Life Planners and of course bullet journals.

Free Printable Planner Stickers - Happy Planner with stickers

Free Printable Planner Stickers - Bullet Journal with stickers

Print them on plain card stock, or use sticker paper for ease of use.

They work great on scrapbooking projects too.

One photo one card - Quinoa Love

Enjoy the weekend!


FrancineFree Printable Stickers for planners, notebooks and scrapbooks

Scrapbooking Series: One Photo, One Card

Happy Friday friends!

I want to invite you to check out a new series I’ve started on Instagram called One Photo, One Card. I’m doing it for a variety of reasons:

  • To ensure I do one scrapbook layout weekly as part of my Memory Keeping system
  • To tell stories
  • To showcase how I use printable journaling cards and embellishments
  • To encourage YOU to tell stories quickly and simply
  • Because I LOVE scrapbooking 🙂

One Photo, One Card Scrapbook Layout - Faffing

I post this every Thursday over on Instagram, so follow me there to see this series every week. I also post tips, tricks and fun things about scrapbooking, planning and paper crafts on this account.

Here are two more pages that I’ve posted so far

The Checklist Scrapbook Page

One Photo, One Card Scrapbook Layout - Love This

These are all 6×8 pages that I am storing in a Handbook from Studio Calico.

Check them out, and if you want to play along, just tag your photo on Instagram with #onephotoonecard.


Are your crafts passions, hobbies, or useful skills?

As multi-passionates we love being able to do various types of arts and crafts. And this is what might lead to us having way more stuff than we need, because we want to be fully equipped to do any of them whenever we want.

But we need to really examine what level we are at in each thing we love or practice. Is it a passion, a hobby or just a useful skill to call on when necessary? I’ve been examining my approach to various crafts and here’s what I discovered.


The Oxford English Dictionary defines a passion as

a. An intense desire or enthusiasm for (also †of) something; the zealous pursuit of an aim.

b. An aim or object pursued with zeal; a thing arousing intense enthusiasm.

What’s interesting to note is that this is the ninth definition of passion listed, and the word only started being used in this sense from 1638, whereas earlier definitions relating to physical suffering and pain (!!!)  were in use from 1188. The definition relating to love showed up around 1648. (I highly recommend reading the entire entry at And if you’re a real word nerd you need to buy The Meaning of Everything, and The Professor and the Madman).

As it relates to my creative life my passions are those activities that I can’t stop thinking about, that I wake up wanting to work on every day, and that have a permanent place and practice in my life.

For me that is without a doubt scrapbooking. I started scrapbooking back in 2000 and have never looked back. For a long time it was what I did all day, every day. It’s why I started writing my blog! And even though I no longer scrapbook as much as I used to I can’t imagine it not being a part of my life and creativity.

Scrapbooking is My Passion

I’ve streamlined my supplies, but I don’t see a day where I will say “meh, I don’t really scrapbook anymore, so let me get rid of all my stuff”. Nope, nope, never. Just thinking about it……I mean I just can’t even……. sorry, I need to go hyperventilate into a paper bag……..

Okay. All better.

Scrapbooking for me is a simmering passion, one that’s on a slow burn that will just always be there.

On the other hand, I have a current burning passion that is art, drawing and lettering. This is what makes me leap out of bed right now, and what I work on every single day.

House plants line drawing

I think it’s perfectly normal to have both a simmering passion and a burning heart’s desire. Not when it comes to romantic relations though, let’s be clear about that okay?

So what are your true passions?


an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation

When I was a child and people asked me what my hobbies were my answer was invariably “reading”. It seemed like a cop out though. so I bravely tried picking up stamp and coin collecting but never kept those up. And as far as hobbies go I think reading is a pretty good one to have don’t you?

While I read every day, and can’t imagine a life where I don’t read (although that first year after my son was born I think I read absolutely nothing….oh wait there were all those baby books), it’s not a driving passion. I’m not leaping out of bed every morning to grab my book (although, now that I think about it…….)

My Favourite Books of 2015 - Callaloo Soup Journal-2

It’s something I enjoy, I look forward to doing it, and it has a permanent space in my life.

Other things I’d classify as hobbies are:

  • gardening
  • home decor and DIY
  • general handicrafts
  • photography

I enjoy all of these, but don’t feel the need to have all the best tools, supplies, or equipment to practise them, and they certainly don’t consume me like my passions do.

What are your hobbies?

Useful Skill

the ability, coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc., to do something well

1. proficiency, facility. 2. deftness, cleverness.

Skills are those crafts we can call upon when we need them for something specific. And my sister will disown me for saying this but for me this is sewing, knitting and crochet. (Sorry Vernie).

Handmade Gifts - Fibonacci Crochet Scarf - Callaloo Soup

I enjoy them very much and I am fairly proficient, and while they consumed me for a while, I later realised that I only knit and crochet at specific times, especially for gift making, or for home decor. I sew even less, and that’s usually only for mending or making very specific items for our home. I can start and stop projects over time without feeling like something is missing from my life. That’s why I made the decision to significantly reduce my yarn and fabric stash, and only keep a few skeins of the very best quality of yarn, and my favourite fabrics for making the few projects I do per year.

What would you say are your useful skills?

One thing that’s interesting to note, is that many of my hobbies and skills were at one time passions. Which makes sense, when we start something new we tend to go all in for a while. But it is perfectly okay to move a passion down to a lower level in your arsenal. It’s something you will always be able to call upon when necessary. It’s also perfectly okay to decide that something just isn’t for you and to stop doing it.

How would you classify all your various crafts? Let’s talk about it in the comments!




P.S. Need some help figuring this out? Get a free worksheet!

Passion, Hobby or Skill - A Free Worksheet at Callaloo Soup-01


Practice Makes Progress

Back in January I posted about  two creative pursuits I was taking on:  sketching and hand lettering. Four months later I am still enjoying both these new art forms, in fact I might be mildly obsessed!

It hasn’t been a smooth process though. I fell off the lettering wagon early in January, but kept up with my line drawing all the way through April. Here are some examples.

Birds Line Drawing

April Sketch a Day

Field of flowers line drawing

Seeweed and butterflies line drawings

House plants line drawing

Doodling and drawing is now part of my daily life! Something I never would have imagined a few months ago. I’m not currently doing any drawing challenges, but I sketch in my daily notebook all the time now, and have numerous sketchbooks in use.

Daily doodles

Francine's sketchbook

And I have the amazing class by Lisa Congdon to thank for it all.

I fell off with the hand lettering because I got frustrated quickly at my lack of skills. But it kept nagging at me, and so in April I started the 100 Day Challenge hosted by Elle Luna (author of  The Crossroads of Should & Must), and along with my sister I am working on 100 Days of Hand Lettering. I got serious and printed off tons of practice sheets and so far have worked on it every single day since April 19th.

Hand lettering practice

Handwriting practice

I’m amazed at what a difference consistent practice makes.


So much so that I even tried my hand at a hand lettered title on a scrapbook page (yes, I still scrapbook ha!)

Survival Juice hand lettered scrapbook page title

I love that I am learning new crafty skills to use in my original passions.

What new projects have you been working on this year?




Take Stock of All Your Craft Supplies | A free Checklist from Callaloo Soup Crafts

Take Stock of All Your Craft Supplies | A Free Printable

You may have noticed that I’m on a serious purging and organizing kick of late. I’ve decided to kick creative clutter in my craft supplies to the curb, once and for all, and I want to help you do the same.

One thing I’ve noticed with a lot of organizational approaches, is that we end up trying to organize absolutely all our craft supplies, no matter how long we’ve had them, or whether or not we still use them. So we end up in an endless loop of buying more and more storage solutions, but eventually giving up, then starting the cycle all over again.

So What Should We Do?

I’m convinced that we need to start by culling as much as possible the things we have in our supplies, and then organizing what’s left. And what’s left should be things that motivate, excite and inspire us!

Sounds simple, but it seems that we have a hard time seeing how much we really have. As we start to organize our spaces, we may simply move from area to area, trying to get things into boxes, bins or shelves. The aha moment for me was realising that I really needed to get a more accurate feel for just how much stuff I had, before I could effectively decide what should go and what should stay.

Take Stock

My suggestion is to do a complete inventory of all the craft supplies you have, before you start organizing. Sounds overwhelming? I’ve come up with a printable guide that can help. This two-page list is by no means exhaustive, but, it will help you see the big picture. Use it as a jumping off point, and make sure to write in anything specific to your crafts that I might have missed.

Click on the image to download.

Take Stock Checklist-01

This printable is one of the free worksheets included in the 7-Day Purge & Organize challenge. If you want to dive in deeper and get your space sorted, sign up below!

Hand lettering your memories with Dorina Quine from Decade Thirty | Callaloo Soup

Modern Memory Keeping | Handlettered Memories

Give a warm welcome to  Dorina Quine from Decade Thirty! I met her through a handlettering group on Facebook, and loved what she had to say about handlettered  memories. I knew I needed her to share this approach to memory keeping on Callaloo Soup. It fits in perfectly with my schema from a few weeks ago. Enjoy!

Firstly, I’d like to thank Francine for giving me the opportunity to write about one of my favourite topics on her wonderful and inspiring blog – memory keeping. Memory keeping has been a constant in my life ever since being given my first journal at the age of 11, and over twenty years later, I’ve incorporating this practice in one form or another. Today, I’m sharing with you what I like to call Handlettered Memories, which is basically a combination of handlettering, sketching and memory keeping for the time poor.

Hand lettering your memories with Dorina Quine from Decade Thirty | Callaloo Soup


The picture above is my March Handlettered Memories in one of my traveler’s notebook-style grid inserts. The idea behind the Handlettered Memories was that I was finding it harder and harder to assign considerable time at the end of the day to engage in long-hand journalling, and I live a fast-paced lifestyle, so mornings are just out of the question as an alternative time. I also missed daily sketching, which somehow just disappeared out of my practice when my job got more demanding. And to top it off, during the Handlettered Memories inception, I was slowly being pulled into a past hobby of handlettering. So out of these thoughts, mixed with sleep deprivation and possibly too much sugar, I embarked on my first Handlettered Memories page back in July 2014.



That aside, today I’m here to share my process of creating these handlettered memories. At the start, I aimed to fill only one page of my notebook/journal – this takes the pressure and fear out of the blank page, and also means that the actual written content doesn’t need to be that long or detailed. I’ll usually assign 5-10 minutes of my time at the end of the day to reflect and get my creative juices flowing.

here’s how to make handlettered memories

First, I’ll think of a phrase or a few details about my day that I want to capture, and I write this down or just keep it in mind. Sometimes, I’ll do this in advance and send myself an email with the phrase to refer to later on in the evening.

Hand lettering your memories with Dorina Quine from Decade Thirty | Callaloo Soup


Second, I’ll pencil out the phrase in the next available space on the page. I try to use 2-3 lettering styles at any one time, and sometimes, if I’m feeling particularly adventurous, I make small variations to one lettering style. If I feel like sketching/doodling something from the day, I’ll usually draw this first, followed by handlettering, this way I can vary the lettering styles to encapsulate the sketch/doodle.

Hand lettering your memories with Dorina Quine from Decade Thirty | Callaloo Soup


Finally, I outline the design in fineliners and add embellishments to the lettering, such as shadowing, or faux calligraphy. I keep my Handlettered Memories super minimalist by keeping it black ink – my fineliner of choice is the  0.05 and 0.8 nib sized UniPin fineliners. ( In the past, I’ve carried around some coloured pencils in primary colours and used these in some of my sketches.

Hand lettering your memories with Dorina Quine from Decade Thirty | Callaloo Soup


Some quick tips to create your own Handlettered Memories

  • Collect lettering styles from different forms of inspiration and try copy them. They don’t have to be perfect when you write them out again in your Handlettered Memories page – remember this is a memory keeping practice for you and no-one needs to see it, unless you want to share it. Search for ‘llamaletters’ and ‘sketchnotes’ for  some super quick and easy ways to modify and beautify your lettering repertoire

Hand lettering your memories with Dorina Quine from Decade Thirty | Callaloo Soup


  • Handlettered Memories page layout: I tend to divide the page up in 2-3 columns and write to that, sometimes alternating from row to row working 3 columns across 3 days, then below that working across 2 columns the next 2 days. The aim is to generally fit as many of these memories on the page, and then add embellishments (e.g. sketches, doodles, etc.) as you see fit.

Hand lettering your memories with Dorina Quine from Decade Thirty | Callaloo Soup


  • As for the layout of each individual daily handlettered memory, there are so many options that it’s just all about experimenting with the lettering styles and working with the space that you have on the page. Once you’ve completed a few of these months, you find your own rhythm and layout that suits you.

Halfway through the month of March, I decided to shorten my Handlettered Memories even more and embark on what I penned the “Six-word Handlettered Memoirs”. In 2014, I was initially inspired by Smith Magazine’s ‘Six Word Memoir’, who appropriated the idea from Hemingway, who was apparently challenged to write a Six-Word Story. [Fun fact: This was Hemingway’s six-word story, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn”]. I started handlettering these six-word memoirs in my bullet journal, and below is just a couple of examples.

Hand lettering your memories with Dorina Quine from Decade Thirty | Callaloo Soup


So that concludes my Handlettered Memories. I hope that this inspires you to try something different to traditional memory keeping. If you’d like an alternative to Handlettered Memories, I also host my Daily Prompt Cycles on my blog every month. These are a series of 31 core prompts assigned to a particular day that change in order from month to month. For example, on January 1, the prompt may be Prompt 12, but then on February 14, you may also have Prompt 12. There are two versions – The Original and The Lists – so check out the link for more details.

Thanks for reading and happy memory keeping!

Thank you so much Dorina! Handlettering is one skill I am working on this year, so I will definitely be trying out this approach. What about you? What do you think about handlettering your memories? Is this something you’d want to add to your memory keeping repertoire?





Handlettered Memories by Dorina Quine-01