I wish Amanda Soule and I were neighbors. I’m pretty sure that I would love her and that we would get together canning our own applesauce, swap recipes, go yard saleing together, & drink sangria on the back deck. Of course, that would mean that I would have to move to Maine and not be brought up on stalking charges…
Anyway, I digress. Amanda Soule is a crafty mama author. You may be familiar with her blog Soule Mama or her 1st book The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections. If you haven’t heard of either, you must not get around the great big world of the Internet much and really must make it a point to read her blog. I’m a regular reader.
In fact, I’ve been waiting for the release of her latest book Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures, which just came out in August. And as luck would have it, one the perks of this job is that publishers send me books to review and I was sent a review copy just in time for my vacation last month. What a treat it was too—to read Amanda’s book on the back porch of our beach rental with my feet up & a warm summer breeze blowing through. The only downfall was that I was instantly inspired to create, but wasn’t home and able to do anything with the urge!
Unlike some project books, that just get started with the projects, Handmade Home has some wonderful sections on finding vintage and thrifted fabrics & other materials and how to go about repurposing them. Of course, since Amanda is a writer there are plenty of stories, which I just love, and she shares tips and experiences from her own life. Like little tidbits about how to thrift with children, and as a mother of four she should know.
The projects included in the book are a lovely collection things from times past mixed with a healthy dose of practical mama & a contemporary design aesthetic.Everything is broken up into themes and includes stuff for kids, stuff to do with kids, practical home needs, great gifties, lovely decor, mama time goodies and more. Some of the projects remind me of things that I can remember making with my grandmother. Like Millie’s Hot Pad, a useful fabric scrap tutorial which can used as a hotpad or potholder. While others are projects my grandmother must have done, but were before my time…like making cloth diapers.
My favorite projects tended to be the ones that weren’t as practical (still totally useful though), but had a little more whimsy. The Beach Blanket To Go is a perfect example. You don’t need a special roll up beach blanket with ties on it, but wouldn’t it be nice? It certainly would make going to the beach, the lake or on a picnic more the stuff of memories. I also like the Mama’s Bag, because what woman (mama or not) doesn’t want a haute one of a kind bag for those special night’s out?
The directions are easy to understand and include details like difficulty level and whether they are good for little ones or not. Handmade Home is that type of craft book that you love to curl up on the sofa reading with a cup of tea, but at the same time is one that will inspire you to get up off of the sofa and get creating.