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In Review: Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule


Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Blake Soule is probably one of my favorite craft books of 2009. Since I've been following her blog, Soulemama, for a few years, I have been inspired day after day of her wonderful photos, superb choice of aesthetic in her creations, and the drive she has to get it all done with four small unschooled kiddos.
This book is specifically how to repurpose or "recycle" materials you don't use anymore like old clothing, junk mail, and scrap wood into beautiful new treasures your family can enjoy and keep out of the landfill. She breaks the book into different sections, with specific projects for the home in each. For example, one of my favorite sections was "Retreat: Projects to Inspire Calm and Peace" with a memory tree quilt artwork piece, and a one word banner, which is the project I decided to work.
Her directions are very clear in each project, and she even puts in details like, "day project" or "suitable for little hands". This book is great for beginner sewers, intermediate, and advanced sewers since it gives easily read directions and also provides wonderful inspiration by just glancing at the photos or reading the sweet stories that surround the projects themselves.
From The Creative Family, Handmade Home has only honed Mrs. Soule's use of prose & photography and I read it cover to cover, lingering over the beautiful matte pages and double-page excerpts at the end of each section like, "The Art of Play" (see quote linked below).
This is a must for new sewers, and a must for those more advanced sewers needing a boost in the right direction--toward the scrap bin, where everyday beauty seems to take place in the Soule home. A fine read and a good price; you can find autographed copies in her shop because this is a book you'll want on your shelves!

One Word Banner
Following the directions out of the book, this was a simple and satisfying way to use up some of my favorite scrap fabric, a teal floral print I've had for years (and many many projects!) and some linen. Along with a $1 spent for the bias tape, this was a cheap and easy way to create a bit of 'retreat' for my little ones' room.
A box in the corner of this project's directions shows about 20 words like: nourish, breathe, hope, create, and dream (those were a few of my favorite!) I chose a Hebrew word, instead, that I love, that has many meanings to me. It is the word "Selah" and it is literally the hardest Hebrew word to translate into English.
The simplest way to describe this word is, " Stop. Reflect on what was written or said. Peace. "
I know I need to be reminded of those things on a daily basis!
This word is often written between psalms, so that the audience may pause and ponder about what was revealed about the character of God. I love this word! As an English major in college, words and language are very important to my heart, and I'm excited to tell my children what this word means to me as they get older. For now, they can just look at it in their beds (one sleeps right under, the other, across from it) and stare at it while they drift to sleep.
What are you making these days?
Want to know a bit more about repurposing? Visit Soulemama's blog or my friend Julie's blog, master repurposer!
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Anonymous said…
oh goodness. That book looks fab! I love that banner you made! :)


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