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?


Want, Need, Wear, Read | Free Christmas Wishlist


What are your kids wishing for this year? Over the last few years I have seen the concept of gifting in four different categories as a way to simplify gift giving, as well as ensure that kids aren’t inundated  with lots of random stuff.

I’m not sure where the idea originated, but a quick Google or Pinterest search will yield lots of results!

It totally fits in with my simple living philosophy, so I keep these four categories in mind when deciding on gifts for my son. As well, all our family members always ask what they should get him, and this grid helps me to simplify that process too.

I came up with this worksheet to add to my Christmas planner and I’d love to share it with you! You can use it to brainstorm and then narrow in on your gift for each recipient. Print as many times as you  like for personal use. Just enter your info below to get the free worksheet.

Once you sign up, you’ll get immediate access to the Creative Simplicity library of resources, which includes this free planner and much more!

You’ll also get some extra Christmas surprises, plus news and updates from the blog.

What’s on your kids’ lists this year?



My Simple Gift Wrapping Kit for 2014

I’m not sure what I like more: making gifts or wrapping them. If you’ve been reading Callaloo Soup for a while, then you know that I like to share my gift wrapping ideas each year. Some of my most popular posts are my gift wrap ideas. This year I am trying to be ahead of the game by doing two posts. Today I’ll show you the items I’ve collected together in a simple gift wrapping kit.

My Gift Wrap kit for Christmas 2014 - Callaloo Soup-21. Kraft paper is always an integral part of my wrapping arsenal. This year I have two different kinds! One is a plain matte kraft, and the other is slightly glossy.

2, My next favourite wrapping paper to use is white. so many possibilities exist!

3. To add a bit of glamour and shine, I am also using some silvery grey pin-stripe paper (a masculine touch), some red paper and some cream and gold.

4. Baker’s twine in black and red

5. Paper doilies

My Gift Wrap kit for Christmas 2014 - Callaloo Soup-3

6. Washi tape in kraft and red & white

My Gift Wrap kit for Christmas 2014 - Callaloo Soup-5

7. Greenery

8. Gold patterned tissue paper

9. Vintage trim

10. Burlap ribbon

My Gift Wrap kit for Christmas 2014 - Callaloo Soup-4Now that I have everything together, I can start all my wrapping this week, as gifts are starting to arrive and be finished. Check back soon to see how I pull all these items together to wrap my packages.

Simple Gift Wrap Kit at Callaloo Soup


Do you love or hate gift wrapping?






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DIY Handmade Gifts for Children & Babies

I can’t leave the little ones out of my gift ideas! I love making handmade gifts for both Kieran and other children. In fact I think I’ve developed a reputation as “that mum” who gives the handmade gifts. So I need to make sure I have lots of ideas at my finger tips to call on when birthdays and Christmas are approaching. Here are eight of my favourites!

8 DIY Handmade Gifts for Kids as recommended by Callaloo Soup

Granny Stripe Baby Blanket

Granny Stripe Baby Blanket

Gifting a baby blanket is always appreciated, and what style could be more loved or classic than a Granny Stripe blanket? Change up the colours to complement baby’s room. The three-part tutorial at Maybe Matilda includes the pattern, tips and tricks, and finishing off with the scalloped border.


DIY Rock Crayons

diy rock crayons


Kids and crayons are synonymous right? Give your little artist a new approach with these marbled rock crayons from Say Yes. You’ll need to find the rock mould tray, but the process of making these is quite simple and quick.

DIY Wooden Toys

Easy DIY kids toys - boat and blocks


If you’re a woodworker or have one in your family, try these simple wooden toys. The tutorial at The Caldwell Project includes instructions for making the animal blocks, as well as the little boat. I’m not a woodworker myself but the clear instructions made these seem very do-able.


Sock Bunny

Sock Bunny

I love this sweet intellectual sock bunny from Sweet Paul. In fact I think I might make him for me! He’s made from a pair of white socks, The leather ears are attached with buttons, so you can change their position from pointing up to hanging down.


Nesting Crochet Bowls


Crochet Rainbow Nesting Stacking Bowls and Sorting Balls


I made these bowls for a sweet one year old this summer and he absolutely loved them! This is the perfect age for stacking and nesting and these bowls work up quickly, plus they don’t use a lot of yarn. And later on (after the mouthing stage) you can make the coordinating balls, and the game becomes a sorting game too.


Girl and Boy Soft Dolls


DIY Girl and Boy Dolls

Get the pattern and full instructions to make these cloth dolls over at Make it & Love It. The detailed tutorial takes you through the doll construction from the topsof their heads all the way down to their sweet little feet. These will be loved for years!

Knitted Baby Booties

Knitted baby booties

Speaking of sweet little feet, how about these adorable baby booties? The tutorial at Craft Foxes teaches you how to knit the cuffs and finish them off with an I-cord. You’ll also need to source the suede soles that the cuffs will be stitched to. Your babies tootsies will be so nice and warm in these!


Granny Square Cat


This cat with a Granny Square tummy was a big hit when I made it for Kieran;s friend this year. it’s pretty quick to work up, the most complicated part are the granny squares that form the body, but you can use any granny square pattern you prefer. After that it’s pretty much all tubes of single crochet for the limbs. It’s a great pattern for using up yarn scraps too.


Are you making handmade gifts for children this year? What are you working on?





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Filofax Friday | The Anniversary Edition

One year ago Monika and I came up with the idea to share about our Filofax adventures online once a month. It’s been a busy year, and the habit of posting about my planning every month has really helped me to streamline and pinpoint the most important parts of using my planner. I know now that my binder is a tool, and not an accessory. When I started on this journey, I felt disorganised and overwhelmed with all my various responsibilities. One year later with Filofax Friday, I can definitely say I have made many improvements, and I have a better handle on my days and on my life in general.

Filofax Friday Anniversary Edition and Free Christmas Printable-1

For the second year, I have a section dedicated to Christmas planning, and it has made a huge difference in how I approach the Holidays. With all my ideas to-dos in one place, it’s easier for me to prioritise and decide what I want to focus on. An Now that my son is older, we want to introduce more Holiday activities. We tried to keep things pretty simple for him as a baby and toddler, but now that he is five his interests are broadening. However, because I still stand by my slow living ideals, we won’t be going overboard.

Filofax Friday Anniversary Edition and Free Christmas Printable-4


We’ll be choosing the Top 5 things we want to do this year, and focus on those so that we don’t get caught up with all the hustle and bustle. It’s so easy to want to do every single thing, and make a huge bucket list of activities, but I really believe that when it comes to experiences less is more. I designed a simple checklist to help us note down our top 5 for Christmas this year

Filofax Friday Anniversary Edition and Free Christmas Printable-4

[bctt tweet=”When it comes to experiences less is more. Get a free printable to plan you Christmas Top 5 this year”]

And I am happy to share it with you too! It’s available in both letter size and A4 formats. You can see that I used the A4 version to print mine out at A5 to fit my binder, and if you use a half-sized binder you can do the same using the letter sized sheet.


Christmas Top 5 Checklist from Callaloo Soup

 Letter size    |     A4

What’s on your Christmas Top 5 this year?

Don’t forget to stop by Monika’s blog too!




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How About Some Free Printable Snowman Tags?

Free Printable Chalkboard Snowman Tags from Callaloo Soup

One of my son’s favourite Christmas movies (and in fact he only watches a few!) is the 1970s British Classic The Snowman. I confess to quite enjoying it myself, it’s such a sweet tale, and I bet most kids dream of their snowman coming to life. it’s based on the book by Raymond Briggs, which I plan to get this year to add to our growing collection of winter and Christmas books. I had this movie in mind when I designed these tags, because I knew that Kieran would get a kick out of them. They are sized 3×4, so you can use them for pocket scrapbooking, as journaling cards or even as gift tags this Christmas.

Click here to get the freebie





Gift Idea for Him | Shaving Soaps

Make Shaving Soaps for Christmas Gifts - Francine Clouden for Make & Takes-6

I made Lucas a set of shaving soaps last year and he absolutely loves them. He way prefers them to anything he has bought commercially. This year I tweaked the recipe I used, and he told me that they are even better than the original. The best part is I made the recipe simpler! These are super easy to make, needing only melt & pour soap, mineral clay and essential oils.

Make Shaving Soaps for Christmas Gifts - Francine Clouden for Make & Takes-8


Package them up with a labeled tin, and a shaving brush and gift to the gentlemen in your life.

Make Shaving Soaps for Christmas Gifts - Francine Clouden for Make & Takes-9


Get all the details over at Make & Takes.

What kind of gifts do you make for your menfolk?


Christmas Crafting | 3 Ways to Use Burlap & Lace

I had this burlap “ribbon” sitting in my craft closet since my husband brought it home. He found it in the gardening section of one of our supermarkets, and thought it looked like something I would like. He was right! For my first project with it I paired it with some lace, and here’s how you can do that too.

Burlap and lace at Callaloo Soup-12

You will need burlap ribbon, some lace or vintage trim and a sewing machine.


Burlap and lace at Callaloo Soup - supplies


First measure and cut out an equal length of burlap and lace. Lay the lace on top the burlap, then use your sewing machine to stitch them together. Use a colour of thread that matches your lace, in my case white.

Burlap and lace at Callaloo Soup - stitching


Burlap and lace at Callaloo Soup - roll of ribbon

Now you can use your burlap & lace ribbon in a variety of ways for the holidays.


To dress up furniture:

Burlap and lace at Callaloo Soup - buffet

Burlap and lace at Callaloo Soup-7


As a wreath:

Burlap and lace at Callaloo Soup - wreath


I wrapped the ribbon around a foam wreath form and finished off with a bow. You can also add additional details.

Burlap and lace at Callaloo Soup - wreath with bottle brush tree

Or for gift wrapping! My favourite thing.

Burlap and lace at Callaloo Soup - gift wrap ideas


Idea 1: Simply twist and tie around a kraft wrapped gift

Burlap and lace at Callaloo Soup - gift wrap idea 1 -all natural

Idea 2: Go colourful with red and white wrapping paper and a blue ornament

Burlap and lace at Callaloo Soup- gift wrap idea 2 - red and blue

Idea 3: Add to patterned wrapping paper and clip on a colourful gift tag

Burlap and lace at Callaloo Soup - gift wrap idea 3 - clip on a tag


Simple sophistication!

Free 31 Days of December Labels

December Labels For You

31 Days Labels by Callaloo Soup Designs



December draws near, and I know lots of you are working on your plans for December Daily, Journal Your Christmas, Advent Calendars and more! So here’s a little freebie that can help, circle numbers 1 to 31!

Toddler Spoof Project Life Cards Set 1  at Callaloo Soup  (2 of 2)


These December labels fit a one inch circle punch, so they won’t take up too much space on your pages, especially if you’re using a small book or 3×4 journaling cards. They would work really well if you plan to do a Christmas Past Advent Calendar too

Christmas Past Advent Calendar on Callaloo Soup-9

Just use the December labels printable instead of making your numbers with stickers.

Christmas Past Advent Calendar on Callaloo Soup-3


Click here to download the labels

Thanks for stopping by





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