Monday, September 28, 2009

{reviews::crafty books} Handmade Home

Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule.
Publisher by Trumpeter Books, 2009

The second book from Amanda, of Soulemama fame (if you don't currently read her blog, do do do go and visit - I think it may change your life, or at least brighten your day). This book follows on from the first book, The Creative Family, in sentiment, but is aimed more at the general crafter, as well as the family crafter. Divided into segments such as Nourish, Nurture, Play, Seek and Retreat, the projects are mostly very easy to make, but with many options for altering it depending on your fabric, time or preferences. All the projects are made from repurposed / up-cycled materials, but Amanda includes other options if you want to use new materials.

Written in Amanda's generous, sharing and open manner, you feel as if she has let you into her warm home (look at it here), and is guiding you through the projects herself. And that your children are playing with her children around your feet and in the yard. Little interludes of tips, tricks, quotes, Earthy Tips, Crafty Tips and ideas add to the projects, and give you a greater meaning for your crafting. It's more than just the projects that makes this book what it is, it's the reasons behind each project, the knowledge that Amanda and her family make and use each and every item in the book.
There is a good resource section (though primarily focussed on the USA, it is easy to find other options), as well as a basic sewing terms, fabric options, even tips on setting up your own sewing space as well as collaborating with your children, and how to make time to do the projects.

And of course the beautiful styling and photography that is a big part of Soulemama's appeal. The mixing of layers and colours, with pre-loved and hand made textures. This is the main appeal of this book, for me; the honesty and simple beauty of the projects and the styling, as well as the inclusion of her own children as models.

As an experienced sewer, I do find the projects are fairly basic and simple, and the instructions are written only, with no diagrams, though there are templates for some projects. Having said that, I enjoy this book for it's inspiration, and really most projects (in life) need only be simple in idea yet rich and nourishing in possibilities.

If you give this book as a gift to a friend, it would be lovely to include some vintage fabrics or notions, or some scraps of your own most-loved fabrics. Your friend would appreciate the thought, and then be guided, by Amanda, as to how to transform these scraps into new treasures.

*All reviews are offered here as assistance in navigating the crazy world of crafting books, tools, fabric and notions. They are the personal opinion of the reviewer.

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