Like most moms who read and fell in love with The Creative Family, I was drooling a little when I first heard that Amanda Blake Soule was releasing yet another scrumptious book.
The Creative Family is a book that centers around creating a home environment that is a haven for creativity and artistry. It was a compilation of wonderful projects that a family could do together. I fell in love with it immediately because it was a close look at a lovely family and it was helpful to me since I want my home to be filled with creative influences and activities.
Handmade Home, the new book, is a wonderfully romantic look into the Soule family home and a compilation of handmade craft projects. It is a testimony to how much more we value things we make with our own two hands. Many of the projects were inspired by handmade items of decades past that were passed down throughout the generations. Our homes are places of comfort, nourishment, and love and making decor or functional housewares with our hands is just one more way to reflect our pride in our home and our love for our family. Our ancestors had no choice but to fill their home and lives with handmade things and this book can help bring some of those traditional values and activities back to the forefront.
The projects range from very easy to moderate. I saw nothing that was so difficult that a beginner couldn’t muddle their way through it. Some of the projects are very practical such as the hot pads, rag rugs, towel rug, mouse pad, and cloth diapers. Others are more “just for fun” like the Papier Mache Bowls and Portrait Bookmarks. Others help you get organized, like the Wall Pocket Organizer, Art and Hooks Rack, and the Beach Blanket to Go.
Many of the projects re-purpose or reuse things we already have so it is very much a sustainable crafts books too. For my first project.. and I plan to do MANY from this book… I decided to adapt the Towel Rug. I do need a towel mat for my bathroom but more importantly I needed a dish rack towel to lay under my dish drying rack. We deliberately bought one that had no plastic mat with it so we needed to improvise and a simple dish drying towel under it has worked fairly well so far. I say fairly because it did get soaked through pretty quickly! We have no dishwasher if you were wondering…
This project basically takes fabric and towels and repurposes them into a bath or kitchen mat/rug. In the book Amanda uses vintage sheets and towels for her bath rug. I decided to do the same. I went to my local thrift store and bought some old sheets with vintage kitchen throwback colors… olive green, orange, and mustard. I wanted something that would match my orange/melon color scheme. Just this week I decided WHY I must be on this orange kitchen kick… my grandmother had an orange kitchen with brown accents… I must be subconsciously trying to re-create the magic. I have orange walls, olive curtains, and brown accents :)
Did you spot that vintage coffee machine there? My hubby found that at a thrift store. I was so proud of him! Even if I don’t drink coffee. ;) It looks EXACTLY like something my Grammy would have had in her kitchen, plus it’s brown and it works!
Anyway, I couldn’t find an olive green towel at the thrift store so I went with a cream color. I cut (3) three inch strips for the top of the mat and sewed them onto one half of a pillowcase. Then I sewed the pillowcase half to the rest of the towel (cut to size), turned it, and topstitched it. The project is listed as a half day project in the book but it only took 45 minutes maximum. I have enough material leftover to make another one… for when it needs washing AND I plan to make a matching rug for the floor, under the sink.
I love the finished product.. it is so ME. And since I made it with my own two hands I feel a sense of pride in something as simple and mundane as a dish mat. THAT in a nutshell is what Handmade Home is all about… having pride in your home and wanting to give it those special touches. Also having so much love for your family that you want every part of the nook you share with them to be meaningful, special, and with a story.
This book is a must have for mom crafters and anyone who wants to bring a touch of the “homemade love” into their lives and homes!