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?


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!

Sisters, Paper, Scissors | Upcycled Tote Bags

Sisters, Paper, Scissors February 2016 - Callaloo Soup Crafts-Upcycled T-Shirt Tote Bags

Sisters, Paper, Scissors
This month for Sisters, Paper, Scissors we tackled a sewing project. Vernell found this great idea on Pinterest for upcycling t-shirts into tote bags. Super simple and very useful.

Sistes, Paper, Scissors February 2016 - Callaloo Soup Crafts-8

I chose one of my t-shirts that I love but that has always been just a smidgen too tight for my muffin top. I’ve finally given up on it ever looking flattering on me. I figured this way I still get to keep it, as I love the design with the dots along the bottom.

I also chose one of Kieran’s t-shirts that he loves but is also way too small now. I think he has had it since he was 2 and wore it up to late last year.  (He’s almost seven!)

Sistes, Paper, Scissors February 2016 - Callaloo Soup Crafts- T-shirt tote bags

The tutorial is very straight forward.

Step 1 – Cut Off the Sleeves

Make sue to cut on the outside of the seam. I found it was easier for me to cut through one layer at a time

Sisters, Paper, Scissors February 2016 - Callaloo Soup Crafts- Cut off sleeves

Step 2 – Cut around the neckline.

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Sisters, Paper, Scissors February 2016 - Callaloo Soup Crafts - Sleeves and neckline cut off

Step 3 – Stitch up the bottom

The tutorial calls for cutting strips and tying them, but I decided to stitch mine instead. I turned the t-shirts inside out, and stitched the two sides together just above the hem

And here they are!


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Sisters, Paper, Scissors February 2016 - Callaloo Soup Crafts-5

These will come in handy for toting around odds and ends with K. I plan to make some more to use as project bags for my yarn crafts too. A great way to keep older t-shirts out of the landfill.


Head on over to see how Vernell got on.

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Sisters, Paper, Scissors | Using the January Printable Kit

Hello, and welcome to Sisters, Paper, Scissors!

Sisters, Paper, Scissors

As you know my sister and I have been doing monthly blog projects in tandem for a few years now. We started out focusing on only scrapbooking with the Sister Sketch project. Then last year we switched it up a bit with Sisters Take on Pinterest, where we each tackled a project we’d pinned.

This year we’re combining it all into one whole shebang called Sisters. Paper, Scissors. We’ll be mixing up paper crafts, scrapbooking and other crafts all year long, on the last Friday of every month. Make sure to bookmark our blogs, or add us to your blog reader so you don’t miss out any of the fun!

Using the January Printably Kit

This month we’re sharing how we both used the printables from the Printably January kit. The kit comes with a great selection of printables for scrapbooking, paper crafts and planners.

January Paper Craft Kit from Printably

Continue reading

Freebie Friday - Printable Popcorn or Candy Boxes

Freebie Friday | Printable Popcorn & Candy Boxes

Freebie Friday - Printable Popcorn or Candy Boxes-12

That title up there should say Popcorn Boxes, but lo and behold, when I headed downstairs to pop up some corn to take photos, the pantry was bare! So no fun popcorn for my photo shoot, plus I had a very unhealthy snack as I ended up using candy instead.

Freebie Friday - Printable Popcorn or Candy Boxes-9

These boxes are easy to make using my free printable which you can download here.

You’ll also need:

  • Craft Knife
  • Metal ruler
  • Cutting Mat
  • Precision scissors
  • Bone folder
  • Glue

Once you have your template printed, here’s how to make the box.

Use your metal ruler and craft knife to cut along all the straight sides. I cut just inside the black lines

Freebie Friday - Printable Popcorn or Candy Boxes-2

If you prefer you could also use paper scissors for this part.

Next, use your precision scissors to cut along the scalloped lines

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Now grab your ruler and a bone folder, and score along the crease lines, the clear lines between the pattern

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Now fold along all those creases. I like to fold both ways to get a nice precise crease.

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Finally, add glue to the four tabs marked “glue” and construct your box by folding and sticking the tabs to the inside

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And there it is!

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Now fill with popcorn or candy for a party, or just because!

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Don’t forget to download your free printable popcorn box.





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Sisters Take on Pinterest | Crochet Wrap Bracelets

Sisters Take on Pinterest - Crochet Wrap Bracelet-6

With the busy season upon us we wanted to do a quick and easy project this month. Bonus: these crochet wrap bracelets make perfect stocking stuffers!

I followed the instructions over at 1DogWoof  pretty much exactly.

I made a chain that was long enough to wrap around my wrist four times, then worked backwards doing slip stitches.

Sisters Take on Pinterest- Crochet Wrap Bracelet in progress

Once I got to the end, I made a loop

Sisters Take on Pinterest - Crochet Wrap Bracelet-2

Then stitched the button on the other end.

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Now, wrap and wear.

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These take all of 10 minutes to make, so go whip up a bunch for gifts!

Let’s go check out Vernell’s version.




Sisters Take on Pinterest - Crochet Wrap Bracelet -Whip some of these easy wrap bracelets up for stocking stuffers.

Sisters Take on Pinterest September | Felt Boxes

Sisters Take on Pinterest - September - Felt Storage Boxes

We loved loved loved these felt boxes from How About Orange. So stinking cute! Plus who can say no to extra storage right?

I mostly followed her instructions.

Measuring & Cutting

Sisters Take on Pinterest - September - Felt Storage Boxes-1 Sisters Take on Pinterest - September - Felt Storage Boxes-2 Sisters Take on Pinterest - September - Felt Storage Boxes-3 Sisters Take on Pinterest - September - Felt Storage Boxes-5


Sisters Take on Pinterest - September - Felt Storage Boxes-8

Here are the tweaks I made:

  1. My felt was in 12 x 12 sheets so, I decided to make larger boxes (hers were 9×9 sheets). In order to make sure I was using the right measurements, I did a test run using a 12×12 sheet of scrapbook paper.

Sisters Take on Pinterest - September - Felt Storage Boxes-10

It worked really well, and I figured out that the box portion is made by dividing the sheet up into thirds.

The cover portion needs to be twice the side of a finished box plus a quarter inch. My box has sides of 4″, so I cut my covers from a piece measuring 8.25″x8.25″

2. I didn’t want to use my heat gun (full disclosure, I’m not sure where it is!), and the first glue I used didn’t work at all, even though it claimed to be appropriate for using with fabric. I think it just wasn’t tacky enough. The proof:

Sisters Take on Pinterest - September - Felt Storage Boxes-7

Luckily I had another kind of glue that was much tackier, and worked a charm. It got all over my fingers too, and now I have the additional pleasure of peeling glue off my skin. Remember  doing that?

All Done

Sisters Take on Pinterest - September - Felt Storage Boxes-9

Perfect Craft Storage

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These boxes are pretty cute, and I think I will make more, but try stitching them together instead – I can see it being interesting with embroidery stitches down the side. The paper version is super easy to make and sturdy too, so I’ll also be making more of those.

Click over to see how Vernell made out.

Do you think you will try making some? Pin the image below to save to your idea file!

Sisters Take on Pinterest - September - Felt Storage Boxes


Sisters Take on Pinterest | Leather Key Chain Holder

Sisters Take on Pinterest - Leather Key Holder-6

I’ve had this idea from //Between the Lines// pinned for years, probably since I first signed up on Pinterest.  I’ve pinned quite a few of her tutorials, I love her elegant simplicity. The main reason we chose this project this month, was because we both needed some quick and easy.

Well, what looks quick and simple on a quick read through doesn;t always turn out to be that way! I don;t have a step-by-step for you this month, but I do have a bunch of tips and tricks to share.

First, after you print out the free template, double check the measurements. Even though I printed mine at the exact size, it was much bigger than the dimensions noted. On my second try I printed at 90%, which turned out to be still a bit too big, but I decided to press on.

Sisters Take on Pinterest - Leather Key Holder-1

I used my trusty Crop-a-Dile for punching holes in the leather and setting the eyelet. This is one tool I don’t regret buying back in my tool junkie days!

The trouble began when I started to stitch the two pieces together. I didn’t have any hemming tape, as suggested for keeping the pieces together, so I decided to just go very slowly as I stitched. I made sure to use a very loose tension in my thread. However, because of the thickness of the layers, the leather was sluggish moving through the machine, and I ended up with this wonky mess.

Sisters Take on Pinterest - Leather Key Holder-3

Back to the drawing board! I had the great idea to lower the feed dogs – those serrated things that slightly grip the fabric to help pull it through. Unfortunately. while my former no-name sewing machine had an option to do this, my newer Pfaff (admittedly a low entry model) doesn’t! I decided to just try again, and stitch very very carefully. The end result was better, just good enough to share with you!

Sisters Take on Pinterest - Leather Key Holder-4

It was a bit of a struggle getting the leather cord threaded too as well, but I finally sussed it. I’m glad I did too, because I do love this idea a lot!

Sisters Take on Pinterest - Leather Key Holder-5


Sisters Take on Pinterest - Leather Key Holder-6

I decided to take a stab to see if I could use hand stitching to make them. It’s still in progress…

Sisters Take on Pinterest - Leather Key Holder-7

I’ll update once I’m done! if this works out I think they will make great little stocking stuffers! (Yes, I just alluded to Christmas)

Let’s go see how Vernell got on!





Quick Craft | Easy Tablecloth Weights with Air Dry Clay

Quick Craft - Easy Tablecoth Weights from Air Dry Clay-6

Has this ever happened to you? You’re dining al fresco, and getting the table ready, but the wind keeps tossing your well chosen tablecloth around, and knocking things over? I’ve had this happen too many times of late, so with the DIY air dry clay left back from last week’s trinket bowls, I was finally able to do something about it! This is a really quick solution, even including drying time.

Quick Craft - Easy Tablecoth Weights from Air Dry Clay-1

You’ll need:

  • Air dry clay (bought, or see my DIY recipe here)
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie cutter
  • Non stick mat
  • Something for piercing a hole ( I used a paintbrush)
  • Clips with a hook – those shown are from the Ikea Deka art wire system

This is as easy as 1,2,3…….

1. Roll out the clay, and punch shapes out. Add a hole at the top

Quick Craft - Easy Tablecoth Weights from Air Dry Clay-2

2. Wait for them to dry.

3. Add the clips.

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I used my pliers to help ease the hook part of the clip open to fit through the holes.

Ta da!

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Now my tablecloth should stay put!

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Some further ideas:

  • Instead of cookie cutters, use silicone molds.
  • Colour your clay (with food colouring or pigments) before making the weights or
  • Paint and decorate the weights after they are dry.

Pin this idea to share with friends, and to book mark it so you can get it done soon!