I'm very excited to have the opportunity to share Amanda Blake Soule's latest book, Handmade Home, with you. Chances are that if you're a blogger, a mama, a crafter, a homeschooler, a thrifter, or any combination of those five things, you've likely read Amanda's blog, Soulemama.
Although the very basic parts of our lives couldn't be much different – rural vs. urban, American vs. Canadian, married vs. single, four kids vs. none – I always find inspiration and solace when I visit Soulemama. Perhaps that's because although our daily lives are very different, the things we believe to be important – things like family, nature, making things by hand, eating good food, being creative in everyday life, appreciating what you've got and finding new uses for old objects – are very similar.
So it follows that I really loved the projects in Handmade Home. I am not at a stage where I need to know how to sew cloth diapers for my babies, but the instructions Amanda provides show me that I'll be ready to do it when the time comes. Little projects such as Millie's Hot Pad and the Towel Rug offer great ways to give new life to your favourite bits of fabric, and to old towels that are ready to move off the towel rack but not into the rag bag. I also love the projects that feature her children's art - things like the Art and Hooks Rack or the Family Art Table Runner. Imagine how excited your kids would be to see their art in a place of pride on the family dinner table or right by the front door.
Amanda provides lots of information about how to find great treasures when thrifting and how to use those treasures in your crafting. Profiles of other crafty mamas add another dimension to the book, which is illustrated with tons of photos of the crafts in use. It's one thing to make something, quite another to make something knowing it will stand up to the rigours of daily use by a bunch of kids. That's something else I like about this book – the projects are for everyday use. They're attractive but not precious, and there's every expectation that they'll get used until they're used up.
It's been super hot and super busy here lately, so I haven't had as much crafting time as I'd like; the only project I've tried from this book was The Family Heart, made as a gift. The recipient loved it (and that's the best endorsement, isn't it?). I've got a long list of things to try, though: the Family Sweater Hats look like they'd be fabulous Christmas presents; Adelaide's Pillowcase Dress has been earmarked for a very special little girl I know; and the Button Flower Blanket might give me just the excuse I've been looking for to buy that beautiful wool blanket I've been eyeing at my favourite antique store.
I'm sure that you will love this book. Thanks to the generosity of Shambhala Publications (and to one of our editors, who passed another copy along to me) I've got TWO copies to give away.
For your chance to win, leave one comment on this blog post telling me what inspires you – is it a blog you read? A person you know? Your kids? – as always, I'm eager to know. You have until Sunday, September 6 at 11:59 p.m. to enter. I'll post a winner here on Tuesday, September 8 (how is it Labour Day weekend already?)