Handmade Living: 40 Step-by-Step Projects for Crafting a Beautiful Home + Win a copy!

Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy of Handmade Living in exchange for an honest review. Here’s what I think. 

You don’t have to be God’s gift to crafters to make most of the projects in today’s book, nor do you need a lot of time. Which is ideal any time of the year, but especially coming into the holidays when our to-do lists are long and our patience is short. Handmade Living: 40 Step-by-Step Projects for Crafting a Beautiful Home by Willow Crossley has a wide variety of lovely DIYs to gift and keep, many everyday objects made more personal with bits and bobs you might already have around the house. Turn an old book into a secret place for safe-keeping, trim a plain-jane basket with spare ribbon to make a pretty piece, and make a personalized print using old stamps, buttons or Scrabble tiles. AND NOWHERE DID I MENTION A SEWING MACHINE (aka THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE.) Granted there are a few projects where a stitch or two is in order but no one said you couldn’t do it by hand.

Handmade Living is Willow’s third book, this one originally published in 2012 but newly reprinted this year. The UK-based fashion journalism grad previously sold her handmade jewellery, fabric-covered books and other wares at her online shop, Willow Rose Boutique, and now works as a floral and interior stylist.

One of my favourite projects in the book is the block print napkins, which you could easily make using some ready-made linen or cotton napkins and stamps. (Stamping the user’s initials would be lovely too.) Wouldn’t a set make a lovely host or hostess gift?

And the pom-pom paniers are right up my alley too. As easy as sewing your favourite trim and/or handles to a ready-made basket.

“The fleur-de-lis may be the symbol of France, but to me the symbol of Provence is a panier — a straw basket. Having lived in France, I realize that the panier is a way of life. The French use them for shopping, for beach bags, for storage, to collect figs and lavender… There’s something so wholesome and comforting about them: they’re neither flashy nor shiny and there’s not a logo in sight.” — Willow Crossley, Handmade Living

I think we can all agree panier is FAR SUPERIOR to basket.

And the lavender-scented bath salts require just a few simple ingredients and a stir, but pour them into a vintage jar tied with a ribbon and they become a luxurious handmade treat. Willow includes her recipe for rose salts too.

I think new and more experienced crafters would be quite happy to see Handmade Living under the tree, perhaps gifted with a project from the book or some supplies to start one of their own.


Thanks to Thomas Allen & Son, I’ve got one copy of Handmade Living to give away! To enter to win, tell me what you like to craft (do you knit sweaters? scrapbook?) or who you’d give this to and what they like to craft. This entry is mandatory.

For another entry, visit try small things on Facebook and like (or love!) this post and leave a comment, then tell me you did so and your name on Facebook in the comments below. (You don’t have to share, but the holidays are coming and you-know-who is watching!!)  

And feel free to tweet the following once per day and leave the url for your tweet in the comments below (one entry per tweet). Make sure you’re following try small things and thomasallenltd on Twitter for your entry to count.

DIYs to gift and keep —> #Win “Handmade Living: 40 Step-by-Step Projects for Crafting a Beautiful Home” from @trysmallthings https://wp.me/p4xBed-6T2 CAN 11/30 #HandmadeLiving #DIY

The contest is open to Canadian residents 18+ excluding Quebec and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on November 30, 2018. The potential winner (chosen at random) must respond to prize notification within 48 hours and provide the correct answer to a skill-testing question, otherwise another winner will be selected.

Update December 1, 2018: Congratulations Jennifer O! 

Images 2, 3, 4 and the cover from Handmade Living by Willow Crossley. Copyright © 2018. Photographs © CICO Books, 2012. Used with permission from CICO Books.

120 responses to “Handmade Living: 40 Step-by-Step Projects for Crafting a Beautiful Home + Win a copy!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: