23 March, 2013

About Francine and Callaloo Soup

Francine Clouden Photo

Welcome! My name is Francine {never Fran, or Franny :)} and my blog /business is called Callaloo Soup after a traditional soup from my homeland Grenada.


Francine Clouden Callaloo Soup 5

When I landed in France at the end of 2003, I came bearing two degrees: a BSc. Civil Engineering and an MBA, and 10 years work experience. I quickly discovered that the majority of that was worthless as far as finding traditional employment was concerned.  For one, I didn’t speak the language, and secondly my Bachelor’s Degree wasn’t accredited. While reeling from the shock of these discoveries, I worked on eliminating the language barrier. In the meantime I rediscovered my love for scrapbooking and all things craft, and I also discovered les puces, les brocantes et les vide greniers: the flea markets, second hand shops and garage sales.

Since then I have been steadily collecting vintage and modern pieces for our home. As I delved further into my love for scrapbooking and all things paper, I found that my technical and academic background lent itself to working with Photoshop and other design software. My Project Management and business courses in the past helped me to structure my business. So I channeled my love for all of that into my two shops on Etsy: Callaloo Soup Vintage and Callaloo Soup Designs.

Francine Clouden - Callaloo Soup 2

I love DIY home decor projects, making and sewing toys and clothing for my 5 year old son, scrapbooking,  everything to do with photography, and I have taken up knitting and crochet again.   I love making graphics too, for printables, blog design, and planning worksheets.

I am a nerd. I love words. I have been a collector of quotations since I was a teen. I make sure I have a book with me wherever I go, and these days I am just as likely to read on a Kindle as I am a real book. 

Francine Clouden - Callaloo Soup 1

My innate nerdiness means that I will research absoolutely everything about a potential project or item before putting it out there. Math and science rock my world too, so you can be sure my measurements and instructions are spot on. I love blending stories with facts when I list vintage items for sale, not one item goes up without me attempting to learn everything I can about it!


Francine Clouden - Callaloo Soup 3


I believe that even with minimal resources, we can create beautiful things for our home and life. We can decorate by choosing a few unique vintage items to blend with our modern interiors. We can have art to hang that reflects what we love. We can minimise our expenditures, reduce clutter and still love what we see in our homes, because we either chose them or made them with care. We can find the time to not only make memories, but to document them, because we simplify our approach, and rely less on having an abundance of product, and more on getting to the essentials of the matter. We reduce, reuse and recycle, even though we are paper crafters. 

This is the essence of Callaloo Soup.


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