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Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  1,188 ratings  ·  150 reviews
For many of us, our home is the center of our life. It is the place where our families meet and mingle, where we share our meals and share our dreams. So much more than just a space to live, our homes offer us a place of comfort, nourishment, and love for us and for our children.

In Handmade Home, Amanda Blake Soule, author of The Creative Family and the blog
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Roost Books
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Jan 21, 2011 Ami rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
I don't sew a lot, and this book wasn't terribly inspiring. Maybe it's because I don't have kids, but most of these projects seemed...superfluous. Like, I guess it would be nice to have another tote bag. I was most interested in the instructions on making your own rag rug, which turned out to be confusing, no matter how many times I read the words: "...weave the needle and cord from one strand of the braid on one side to another strand of the braid on the opposite side of the coil to which it is ...more
Warning: This book is written by a hippy for hippies. It's got projects for cloth diapers and sanitary pads. So... if you're into that kind of a thing, this is the book for you and please disregard my low rating. Now, onto the review.

I like how the author wants to use and reuse items. I applaud her. I really do. I feel, though, that if I held onto everything in order to make a project that my home would turn into a hoarder's den. (For example, she suggests that tit will take up to three months t
Soule presents a romance of the simple life: thrifting, gardening, nature walks, crafts. She makes having four kids & working from home look like a cakewalk. All in an idyllic Winslow Homer illustration of coastal Maine. She's sort of like the Waldorf Martha Stewart (and I mean that in the nicest way).

Unlike Martha, and most professional crafters, Soule takes her own photographs, which lends much more authenticity to her book. There's also a pragmatism to her projects that others (I'm think
Loved this. The author's voice was much more present in this, her second book, than in "The Creative Family". I read her blog because I enjoy her voice, her interests, and her photography. This book was a nice melding of all three.

Yes, there are a lot of sewing projects in here but there are also others. If you're reading this solely in search of projects,I don't think you'll like the book as much as you could.

"Handmade Home" is much more than a book of project tutorials; Amanda talks a great
In all honestly, I went into this book with the wrong idea. I thought I'd try it out since I've been on such a Pinterest kick lately for making, creating and re-purposing so many things. Unfortunately, this wasn't exactly what I was looking for. It certainly has some cute ideas. I like that she includes her children and gives tips for doing so, as well as including her children's artwork in the items that she makes. However, none of the things that she made in the book really interested me. I gu ...more
Seriously, when does this woman mop? Clean her bathrooms? Just wondering. If you wade through some of the granola tree-hugging stuff, and I really do say that with a certain amount of grudging respect, she has some fantastic ideas for reusing stuff in some practical way. I wrote down several ideas, and I might actually attempt the market bag pattern out of a holey tablecloth I have had for several years.

This book made me a little jealous of the east coast life -- I just don't think you find as m
Ok, so I've come to find that there are MANY eco-friendly hoops I will not jump through right now, and making my own cloth menstrual pads can be added to that list. Maybe after the apocalypse.

Otherwise, there are some fun projects you can work on with kids (between ages 4 and 10, I'd say), incorporating doodles, paper mache, helping pick out patchwork patterns, fabric garland, etc.
Handmade Home is a handsomely written and peaceful. My number one favorite craft book of the year due to it's impressive readability and thoughtful, inspired crafts. I particularly enjoyed the small insights featured in each chapter. Yet another winner published by the buddhist "powerhouse" publisher Shambhala/Trumpeter.
I'm eager to start many of these projects and incorporate more re-use into our daily lives.
I WILL learn to sew in 2010.
Confession: the library is going to hate me.... i've used up all my renewals, I'm now actually consciously racking up a fine on this one... i keep thinking of excuses NOT to take it back (maybe I'll re-read that... maybe I'll scan that..."). Yes, I'm hogging, and I don't want to share (do I sound like my three year old?)

Beautiful, inspiring, blessed creative, family energy. I feel all snuggly happy and inspired to repurpose every underused fabric-based in the house every time I open her books -
I mostly skimmed the book, reading the section intros and looking at the projects. I found a handful of projects I might do, but the majority were not really new ideas for me. I read the rag rug instructions in detail, but couldn't figure out how the lacing was to be done - do you stitch the two closest edges together, the same (outer to outer), or opposites? A picture or diagram would have helped immensely - as it is, i'lI have to search for directions online, which seems silly if you've bought ...more
I love Amanda's creativity and gentleness. I like the way she works with her children on art projects. She offers some great craft ideas in this book. I especially liked the "Family Heart" idea, which was a stuffed heart with a pocket on the outside to hold notes.
When I checked this out from the library I was under the assumption that is was more of a craft book and less of a sewing book. My bad. I am not a seamstress. Even if I had those skills however, I do not think I would like this book very much. Here are my reasons:
1- Only 3 out of the 30 ideas caught my eye. That's not good
2- Instead of really focusing on repurposing things around the
house, much emphasis was put upon buying "vintage" fabrics.
Not exactly the image that the title provok
Jul 01, 2010 Cnjbillhimer marked it as to-read
I grew up on principles such as these partly because my parents both grew up in the Depression era and my dad has created an environment that could be entirely self-sustaining if necessary--in fact he rarely leaves home except to attend church and almost never goes to town himself. Poor deprived kids with no tv and computers, we were raised to find it satisfying to make something new and wonderful out of something old but still good. And on our large, don't-throw-much away ranch I never had to g ...more
I'm one of those crunchy, granola types that is all about cloth diapers and pads and babywearing. As such, I really like the crafts featured in the book. I do intend to make some banners in her style (I have previously made others in another way and hers is more simplistic, which I like) and I like the towel bathmat idea. I loved the memory tree quilt but have never been a 'saver' of old clothes so I have nothing to use for it. I'm considering using scraps from my curtains to make a wall decorat ...more
Decent patterns and projects, but really only two things that screamed make me!!! A Beach Blanket that i really didn't need instructions to make, but could have used more pictures to get inspired. The other was the main reason i rented this book...the Rag Rugs. I remember when i was super little my grandmother had one in a couple of different rooms in the house. All of them were special and unique and each of them looked perfectly natural in it's room. I've wanted to make one forever, but wanted ...more
Rachel Maxwell
Two stars doesn't mean I hated it or anything. It wsa just ok. Apparently, you need to already know how to sew or you can't make your home this kind of homemade. Where I WANT to sew and it's definetly on my to-do list, it's not on my to-do-right-now list. That being said, it does make me desire to create the braided rug I wish to have under my dining room table. So in 25 years, (since I know myself well) when I stumble upon the half done strips of yarn in my attic and my kids are all grown and m ...more
One of those books that relaxes you and makes you feel like everything's ok with the world simply by reading it :) (Perhaps it's because I don't sew lol)
I really enjoyed this book. The author leads a fairly simple life in rural Maine and I love how intentional she is about her family. This book gave me:

*Creative ideas on how to re-use items in my own home.

*Patterns for fun sewing projects (she does include some really "interesting" projects that I don't plan on trying :)).

*A glimpse into a simpler way of life which left me feeling very mellow and peaceful (and trying to figure out how to move to a place with seasons, mountains, farms and beaches
Miss Jessica
this book does not apply to my life at all. homemade women's pads?? some modern inventions you just embrace, okay?
Carolyn Johnson
Not only creative ideas for children, but for around the home. Especially like all the reuse ideas.
I plan to purchase this book. I've got at least 5 of the projects bookmarked and I know it's going to have to go back to the library before I get them all done.

The one thing I've made so far are the hot pads. The directions were clear, patterns worked as promised, and I'm very pleased with the final result. I especially enjoy her emphasis on using what you have at home already, or what can be purchased cheaply at a thrift store. For these hot pads, I used scraps of cloth I had already, old stai
I have followed Amanda's soulemama blog for years, love this sweet book!
I really enjoyed reading this book, it has some wonderful ideas, some I will use and some that are not for me but the idea behind the book is great especially if like me you have boxes full of old linens and fabrics. The reason why I did not rate this higher is most of the projects are too difficult to do with children, there are a couple of cute ones they could do but on the whole I see them as for me an adult and some I think will actually take longer than the time given in the book if you are ...more
Dec 30, 2009 Kara rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: sewing
Love her blog, and wanted to like this. I found it so-so. The projects are cute, but a *woman's cloth* is not the first thing that would pop to the top of my sewing list, had I free time -- nor are many of the other projects (fiber garland, handkerchief curtain, sweater hats). And some of her other projects (picnic blanket, bag, wall caddy) are just retakes of ideas I've seen before. I do like the tree that incorporates baby clothes, and love how she tries to integrate kids' artwork into so many ...more
Carolyn McBride
I picked up this book at the library, and in a way I'm glad I did. It's a good inspirational, read at night kind of book. My kids are grown way past the age of most of the projects in this book, but my two favorite projects were the rag rug and the quilt strip pillows. I think her message in the book is priceless and one more people need to hear.
I'm not sure I would buy the book, as I've said, my kids are just past the age to make the book THAT useful, but it would make a great gift for a young
Reminded me a lot of projects I did with my kids when they were younger (now in their twenties). While the tone is sweet and I think the world of the author and her intentions, it is a book for beginners to the thrifty crafty scene yet the directions are not all that clear. Step by step photos would have made this book a lot more user friendly. On the other hand, she seems like the sort of person that would respond to any email questions or on-her-blog questions you might have about a project - ...more
I think this is a sweet book, I really should give it 4 stars, but isn't quite me style. I do love so many of Amanda's ideas. Repurposing old materials into things you use in daily life. A lot of the projects, depending on your materials, have a lovely retro/shabby chic quality to them. Great for the whole family with lots of crafts that are kid friendly. I particularly like the portrait bookmarks, embroidering your children's drawings onto fabric and making them into bookmarks. Adorable. Gifts ...more
I just finished Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule (check her out at Holy cow! What an awesome book! It's not very often that I devour a book these days (at least not one that doesn't contain vampire love stories or adolescent wizards - don't judge), but I couldn't stop turning the page to see what super neat project waited for me on the next page. It made me completely rethink where I get material to work with, what I do with worn out clothes, and just how I view "old stuff ...more
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I'm Amanda, and I live in beautiful Portland, Maine with my husband, Steve, and our three young adventure-seekers — Calvin, Ezra, and Adelaide. Our days are spent making things, exploring our coastal Maine surroundings, and growing together as a family.

I've always had a love of textiles and crafting, but it wasn't until the birth of my first child that creating became an essential part of my daily
More about Amanda Blake Soule...
The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder through the Seasons

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“In nature, we find so may things. At the water's edge, atop a mountain, or in the middle of a park, I watch my children flourish in who they are. With all the distractions, toys, and walls out of the way, the essence of who they are just shines. When I remember to pay attention, I see it radiating so strongly that I can't help but be brought right into it myself. My children are experts on breathing, on living; they know how to do it. And the open air? Why, that's breath itself. When I find myself in the midst of unsettling chaos-full of more commitments and expectations that we can really handle-I need to look no further than my little ones for the answer to what I've forgotten: Stop. Breathe. Listen. Then we head straight to the beach, or right to the woods, and play until we find ourselves restored.” 3 likes
“Today, I'm drawn to repurposing for so many reasons: It allows me to live a more financially pared-down and simple life in which it's possible to work a little bit less and live a little bit more.” 2 likes
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