Handmade Home: A Sort-of Review


I’m a big fan of things that are handmade, as you might imagine. But you don’t always see that when you come into my home. I mean, there are always knitting projects laying all over the place, but if they were cleaned up, there’s a quilt my aunt made me when I got married, and that’s really the only handmade thing that has permanent residence in the main living area in our house. handmade home amanda blake soule

There are homemade things I/we use regularly — knit blankets that become a play tent over dining room chairs, skirts I’ve sewed for the Bit or for me, and of course lots of knits that make an appearance in the colder months.

But if you didn’t know I was a maker, you wouldn’t know it if you came to visit my house. And that’s a shame.

I wish my house were a bit more like Amada Blake Soule’s house. Her book, Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Traditions, offers a beautiful glimpse of what it looks like to live with homemade — even better, upcycled — things. From a table runner embellished with a child’s artwork to a hot water bottle cozy made out of an old shirt, a treasure bag made of window screen (to collect the good stuff but not the sand) to cloth diapers, there’s something here for just about every space and occasion you can think of.

I love the idea of taking things you already have or that you get from the thrift store and giving them new life. I do a lot of that. Or at least a lot of hoarding stained T-shirts and claiming I’m going to make something out of them. I hope having read this book will inspire me to actually do it.

This book is great, too, if you have older kids than I do who might want to get in on the act of creating with you. Projects note if little hands can help and roughly how long the project will take — an afternoon, a week or a season depending on the size and skill level of the project. It does get a little crazy hippie in places (I will never be making my own “women’s cloth,” for instance) but on the whole its a lovely collection and something to aspire to in terms of lifestyle, for me, at least.

Making Scribbles More Meaningful

One project in the book, called Brandie’s Book, caught my eye in particular. It’s a literal scrap book in which you choose different papers and have them bound together at the copy shop.

I’ve been meaning to do something like this with some of my own scrap paper as well as a few pieces of the Bit’s art. She draws so much there’s no way we could keep it all. So I modified the project a bit to make a sort of “book” that I can use to take notes, doodle on or whatever.

What You’ll Need

  • an assortment of paper: construction paper, printer paper, other scraps of your choosing, some drawn on if desired, and some left blank
  • paper cutter or scissors
  • hole punch
  • large jump ring or binder ring

What You’ll Do paper book

  1. Select your paper. I just picked up some random stuff that had been in my office. paper cutting
  2. Cut to size. Mine are cut roughly in half, but some of the pages were bigger (or smaller) to start with.
  3. Punch a hole in the top left corner of each sheet. You can punch holes all down the side and tie them together with ribbon if you want it to look more like a book. scrap paper book
  4. Use the ring to hold all the pages together.

It’s not quite a lasting keepsake like the one in the book, but it’s still pretty, and will remind me of my girl whenever I reach for it to make a list or take notes.

What do you do with “extra” kids’ art? I’d love to hear your ideas.

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