Monday, June 18, 2012

Double Book Review - Sania Pell


As I've mentioned, I'm trying to finish Lucie's room so I can check one space off my list. I hate to say it but I didn't make much progress this weekend for two reasons. One, is that the room has been occupied for a few days by a steady stream of Lu's friends and two, we went to Kennebunkport for Father's Day. Needless to say, we didn't do too much on the house this weekend.

As the room is still occupied and will continue to be occupied until Wednesday, I'm switching to some of the other projects that I want to finish for her space. I'm hoping that I can do these "under the radar" because I don't want "help" on these, if you catch my drift ;-)

Here's where Sania Pell's two FABULOUS books The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. come in. I have five to six projects that I am doing/have done from these books. That, my dears, is a record!
My copies of The Homemade Home & The Homemade Home for Children
along with the stuff to make a whole bunch of projects.

These books are great because the projects are beautiful, clever, actually doable with materials that you can actually find, and are easy to adapt to your color-scheme or taste. It's really rare to find all of these things in one book (or two books, as the case may be). I can't tell you how often I find craft books filled with projects that are easy with easy-to-find materials but are ugly "Crafting with trash, turn your used toilet-paper tubes into a lampshade?... Um, no thanks" or beautiful but impossible to source. "Where in heaven's name am I going to find pink yak's teeth?" or impossible to make "If I start knitting now, maybe I can finish this car-cover knit with thread before 2020." It's a rare book that has lots of lovely, make-able projects and Sania pulled it off twice!

I'm using that linen/cotton blend from Purl Soho for her bulletin board.

The first of the five-ish projects is this linen bulletin board from The Homemade Home. I love how simple, natural and useful it is. The instructions for all of the projects are clearly written and easy to follow. Sania makes suggestions for things that can enhance the project that you can use or not, like spray-painting those clips. I'm going to leave them silver but I can see where a color would be pretty.

Those are old Martha Stewart cookie cutters from waaay back when she did Martha by Mail. I loved that catalog.
 She has a couple of projects using paper clay. I'll be making this butterfly garland from The Homemade Home for Children for Lu's room too. I happen to have butterfly cookie cutters but they are pretty easy to find. Now that I've used the paper clay I'm sold. It's easy to sculpt and it air-dries. I love the shades of gray she uses.

My version of the storage jar labels from The Homemade Home. Sania's are better...
Many of the projects serve as an inspiration to create your own version. I LOVE the paper-clay tags but I decided to use strips of Lu's fabric for the ties and to blind emboss the words with alphabet stamps. Sania makes suggestions for variations on the projects, like using ink or adding buttons. She gives you permission to make the project your own. That is really refreshing. Not that you need permission to make something your own, it's just that by making the different suggestions Sania reminds her readers that crafting is a creative act for the individual. There isn't a "right" way.

Some of the projects are impossibly simple and clever like this one from Homemade Home for Children. I would never have thought to make a blackboard from an artist's palette! This is fantastic! Wooden artist's palettes are inexpensive and their shape is lovely (although I've had one child walking around with it next to her face saying "Look! I'm Pacman!" I also found this cool German colored chalk from Bell'occhio that I'm going to grab for her to go with it. Shopping for the stuff to go with the stuff you're making can be one of the downsides of crafting.

I have two chairs that I'm planning on quirkifying (I just made that word up) like this one from Homemade Home. Lu's antique Victorian chair that I've already painted turquoise is going to get that green ball-fringe as well as a new seat from that fabric. It's going to be cool.  As you can see, Sania has large projects as well as the small, simple ones. However, even this chair doesn't seem daunting to attempt, it just seems fun. It's nice not to be scared of a craft.... you know what I mean, that it's going to be too hard to make, not actually scary, geez.

I love this project from Homemade Home for Children. So pretty.

If you like crafting and you're looking for books with lots of lovely projects that you can actually make, I can't recommend these enough. The projects are both great and inspiring, the instructions are easy to follow, and the photography is beautiful. Sania also includes patterns for the projects in the back.  I've just shown you a teeny, tiny sample of what's in there. She has TONS of projects in these books. They range from easy, do it in an hour, to more difficult but still eminently doable. I LOVE these books and I hope she writes more!

I hope to share some of the finished projects with you this week.

I'll see you tomorrow!


  1. hello heather,
    your books are lovely, and you are inspiring! i'm not crafty at all, but i appreciate it - and the beautiful blog post. joy, n

    1. Thank you Noreen! Joy is a good greeting for you because you definitely bring joy with your kind words!

  2. i think i need these books in my life. i have never seen 'the homemade home for children'. this is a great review, and i am loving your crafty projects xxx

    1. LEAH!!! Good to hear from you!!! Thank you. I'll be posting more of them soon... if I can stop procrastinating ;-)


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