A Handmade Home – Give them the Gift of your Heart

When you hear the phrase handmade home, you may conjure up an image of Grandma’s house, filled with artwork made specifically for her by her grandchildren.  You don’t necessarily think of the latest styles or trends. 

historic room displaying a quilt top in navy, cream, and red, fabric pieces, old table, treadle model sewing machine

Some of us do have a mental image of what’s ‘in’. But if you look at the magazines, watch the ads on television, or peruse the shelves of your local bookstore, you may feel that you have to spend a ton of money to get the ‘look’ of those trends.

What most people don’t realize is that the ‘look’ you are searching for doesn’t come from a magazine, nor does it have to be a replica of Grandma’s house.  That look and feel comes from your heart.

It is one of comfort that feels welcoming from the moment you walk in the door. It isn’t the furniture, the design or the accents. It isn’t the paint color, the rug or the curtains. A real home stems from the hearts of the people who live and love in it.

linen pillow embroidered with the word Hope next to a white vase filled with purple hydrangea

Some of the most precious things you have in your home are more than likely things that were handmade – yet perfectly stylish.  The crocheted doily on the side table wasn’t made in China. Instead, it was lovingly crafted by Aunt Sue. The needlework pillow your cousin made for you. The quilt that has been handed down through generations. Even the measuring cups you still use, because your Mama used them. Those are the things that make up a handmade home.

A ‘handmade home’ also doesn’t necessarily mean a home filled with crafts. There are handmade items that are used to work with, and often stored in a drawer or cabinet. Others are in view, but often mistaken for something purchased. And some elements of a handmade home are intangible, but still lean towards comfort. These are things that are ‘crafted’ in the heart and create a feeling of peace throughout the home and the people who live in it.

It is all these things that hold the magic of home. When someone walks in, they immediately feel as if they have come home – whether they live there or not. There are no worries about moving something out of place or knocking over a vase. They feel welcomed, at peace, and any stress they have seems to just roll off their shoulders.

Are you ready to have that handmade home you have always dreamed about? Then let’s sit down at the table for a visit.

crochet pot scrubbers in turquoise, red, and bright multicolors

Projects for the Handmade Home

For me, I enjoy making simple projects that are useful. I hate having to spend a lot of money purchasing things I can make for my home. Some of the first projects I created were for my kitchen. My friend Alona taught me to knit by showing me how to make dish cloths. They worked so well, I now make sure I keep several on hand.

While Lorea and I were working on a couple of projects, we noticed that there was quite a bit of the Sugar and Cream yarn left over –but not enough to make another big item. So she gathered up all the scraps and crocheted a dish draining mat. This is perfect to set on the side of the sink and use when you wash out a glass, or a few smaller items.

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Speaking of washing dishes – one of Alona’s patrons at the beauty shop shared with me her directions for making a pot scrubber out of toile. Although it took some getting used to working with the roughness, I discovered these were some of the handiest items to have when washing dishes. Since then, I have made some with scrubby yarn, and use those for Teflon coated pans. No more scratches!

(Don’t be surprised! Pot scrubbers can be used for more than cleaning pots. I use them for two other reasons: 1) I make them to use when I am washing up my fresh eggs. Some days, the chickens get them ‘dirtier’ with stuck-on yuck. A pot scrubber works perfectly – without damaging the egg! 2) I make one from the toile netting and one with scrubby yarn. I tie the two together with a ribbon and attach a business card. These work perfectly for when I am visiting with someone in a waiting room and they want to read more about The Farm Wife!)

A Handmade Home in Other Areas

ecru crochet table cloth used as a bed covering

The Bedroom

Creating items for a handmade home doesn’t have to be limited to the kitchen.  Consider the bedroom. There is nothing better than opening a drawer than to have a lovely scent spill out. This can be done by making simple sachets.

I have a crocheted tablecloth that was handed down by a great aunt. Instead of putting it on the table, I use it for a coverlet on the bed in the guest bedroom.

rice bag created with green floral fabric with chickens embroidered in reds, yellows, and greens

The ‘Nurses’ Station

Feeling achy? Before those sore muscles come to ‘visit’, create a Rice Bag. In fact, these can be made in different sizes for the big and small aches and pains.

The Living Room

And don’t forget adding a bit of warmth to a chilly evening. There is nothing better than curling up with a cup of hot chocolate, a good book and a warm throw on a cold winter’s evening!

four-shaft floor loom warped with red and white checked dish towels

All the Other Rooms

As a weaver, I have created blankets, dish towels, bath towels and table runners and more to use in my home. By weaving my own, I can choose my colors, size items to fit, rather than having to special order or make do with standard sizing, and to some degree, add design touches that aren’t commonly found in stores.

Instead of purchasing curtains, make some! Curtains are easy to make, and with all the fabric available, you can easily create the style and size you need for your windows. If  ‘windows are the eyes of the home’, then give yours a makeover with something you created!

white, blue, green and red notebooks between chick book ends; notebook opened to Needle Craft page

Getting Organized

Having a handmade home doesn’t always mean a picture or pot scrubber. Sometimes it is intangible, such as having an organized and well-working home. Creating simple meal plans and learning how to cook those meals is a great place to start.

An organized home is a neat home. Clutter is kept at a minimum, books are stored on shelves, and there isn’t a stack of dirty dishes sitting in the sink. Laundry is either folded and put away, or placed in hampers ready to go in the wash. And exposed items on shelving are in some semblance of order and neatly stored.

Keeping our paper under control and organizing our lives so our holidays run smoothly are also another way to create a handmade home.

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Homemaking Skills

Another intangible is in the way we manage our living space. Living a harried, stressful life reflects on your home. When we take on too many things outside the home, there isn’t enough time to keep it clean and neat.

Laundry tends to pile up, and the dust bunnies come out from underneath the bed to take over the entire house.  When someone comes to visit and sees you struggling to get your home clean, instead of feeling welcomed, a guest just may feel like she is disrupting your day and is more of a bother than a pleasure.

Although keeping your home neat and clean is important, it is also not necessary to worry about keeping it spotless.  If you are constantly worrying about a floor that needs to be swept, or windows that need to be washed, you won’t have time to enjoy it either.

gray couch with white knitted throw pillows under a water color seascape

Instead of focusing on your visit, you will be searching out that tiny streak on the window or wondering if your counters or floor is clean enough to be ‘acceptable’.

Here’s a hint:  Most folks don’t notice a little bit of dust or clutter. Instead, they are just looking for a friendly visit. Don’t believe me? Take this simple test. Think about the last time you visited a friend’s home. Did you spot check her housework? Did you put on a pair of white gloves and do a cleanliness check? Probably not. Instead, you just stepped in, got a hug, and more than likely helped yourself to a glass of lemonade, right before settling in for an enjoyable hour or two with a friend.

And if you do have a friend (or a picky mother or mother-in-law) who wears white gloves into your home, just smile and offer her a dust rag and a can of Pledge. Then tell her that you also have a handmade recipe for laundry soap that will get those gloves bright white again in no time. Consider it free housecleaning services!

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Another intangible part of a handmade home is your finances. No, you don’t have to be wealthy – nor do you have to spend all of your money on the latest trends. But whether we realize it or not, managing the household funds is part of having peace of mind. By being frugal and keeping track of your finances means less stress from worrying about how to pay the bills. Less stress can easily translate into a happier home.

green bath towels decorated with a strip of yellow daisy fabric trimmed in white edging

Gift Giving

Choosing which handmade items to use as gifts can often be a challenge. Surprisingly, there are many things you can make and give, which will also encourage the recipient to begin their own journey to a handmade home.  And they don’t have to be just for Christmas or birthdays. Create a surprise ‘Just Because’ gift for someone who needs a smile!

Consider things like creating a Family Cookbook. Instead of getting many phone calls from family members in search of Grandma’s recipes, give them all of those treasured recipes in one binder!

gift basket filled with assorted Cajun items - Red Beans and Rice mix, Tabasco Sauce, Wooden Spoon, Canister of Tony Chachere's

Gift baskets with an assortment of handmade items are always fun. The recipient gets more than one thing, and all of those things are combined with a theme in mind. Think ‘Kitchen’ basket, filled with jars of handmade jams, jellies, and a loaf of homemade bread. Or fill it with baking and spice mixes, recipe cards and maybe even an item from Grandma’s kitchen that a sibling or other family member would be thrilled to have.

Take it a step further and start writing your own story. How many times did you enjoy listening to your parents, grandparents, or other family members, as they shared memories of what it was like when they were young? One of the most precious gifts you could give is a notebook filled with these memories, which can be shared with future generations to come.

table arrangement with a vintage milk bottle, wooden Holstein cow and enamelware bucket filled with red geraniums

Create a Handmade Home for You and Your Family

From handcrafts and hand-me-downs to organizing, finances, and gift giving, a handmade home takes on many shapes. These are just some of the ways you can create a handmade home. If you want to learn even more, stick around!

Ready for more Handmade Home Inspiration?

Check out these other posts in the Handmade Home Series!

Catch the Drip – Handmade Coasters

Add Fun to Your Gifts with Quilted Gift Tags

Make Life Easier in the Kitchen with Handmade Baking Mixes

Tempt Your Taste Buds with Handmade Seasoning Mixes

Julie Murphree is a blogger, newspaper columnist, and speaker on all things ‘Living a Simple Life on the Farm’. She is the author of \\\'The Farm Wife – Living a Simple Life on the Farm. She and her husband have 60 acres in NW Louisiana where they actively work on living as sustainable as possible.

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