Come Visit Our Handmade Happy Home

Jennifer Paganelli, Happy Home, our handmade happy home, oh my handmade

When Chronicle Books asked me to join in on a new type of blog tour to promote Jennifer Paganelli of Sis Boom‘s new book Happy Home I almost said no. Don’t get me wrong I love Jennifer & all things handmade + Chronicle but my life is pretty mad with renovating, selling and planning to move + homeschool and work. The sad truth is my sewing machine is buried under a mountain of dust in my in-laws basement with no signs of being rescued any time soon. But the intent of this blog tour was to take a different approach to the standard review and instead of only reviewing the book to share my handmade home with you. I can’t really say no to that! My home is a haven of handmade goodness, simplicity rubbing knuckles with chaos and bright splashes of colour-even though it has been stripped of all but the essentials for viewings I think it radiates all the things I love most about handmade. Everywhere I look there are objects made with love that tell a story. I want my home to welcome you into it like a hug and I do that by carefully choosing and crafting what surrounds us with intention. So I was immediately called to Jennifer’s introduction to her book and knew it would connect with many of you:

“At the core of any happy home is love. This book is all about expressing love with handmade projects and creating a happy home-a home that feels like a warm hug and brings a smile to your face…To me a happy home is a place where you can truly relaz, celebrate and appreciate the moment. If I held out for absolute perfection in my home, I’d drive myself crazy, and worst of all I’d be too preoccupied to savor the most meaningful moments: quiet time with the kids, getting messy with the dog…try to remember that you are right where you are supposed to be, and that is where happiness lies. We are all unique and that should show in what we create.” 

Amen! Today I would like to take you on a tour of my Happy Home and share just some of the treasures that bring me happiness every day. Stay tuned to the end of the post to enter a giveaway to win a copy of Jennifer’s book!

Jennifer Paganelli, Happy Home, our handmade happy home, oh my handmade

Our living space is filled with handmade touches from many generations and we chose a soft grey-white as a palette and backdrop to showcase my collections and specifically my Nana’s artwork and textile pieces. Top: Decal from Cherrywalls, octagon blanket and pillows of hand-dyed, cut and stitched wool by me. Bottom left: paper mache dolls and fabric/copper bookends by my Nana, far left print by Tiffany Moore, centre print by Jessica Swift, right print by Mary Kate McDevitt from Inkwell Boutique.  Bottom right: My Nana’s silk hand-dyed tapestry on the wall & her hand-painted people table, woven basket from my New Mexico Spark Retreat trip, turquoise chair found on the curb. 

oh my handmade, happy home

This is a small space so we kept it simple and I love the way the room looks with the gray floors! The table and chairs were a buy & sell score by a girl who likes refinishing retro furniture. I finished the room with bright flowers and the wonderful culinary prints by EvaJuliet from Montreal. I’ll have to do a before and after reno post so you can see how icky this room was not so long ago.

oh my handmade, happy home

I showcase handmade in my kitchen with an ever changing display of tea towels…it might be a bit of an obsession. I loved this mountain print towel by Oh Little Rabbit so much I framed it!

oh my handmade, happy home

Upstairs in the bathroom I made three art deco prints by Matou en Peluche the focus of the room, the downstairs 1/2 bath has two matching ladies also. The handmade triangle print ceramic bowl came back with me from New Mexico and my soap is handmade by contributor April of Anointment.

oh my handmade, happy home

Our bedroom is fun and vibrant showing off a number of pieces of my Nana’s hand-dyed textile art on either side of the bed and on the dresser we salvaged from the trash and repainted. In the top left pic two antique Balinese carved heads are from my Grandmother on my Dad’s side and the centre statue of the goddess Tanith is from Spain by way of my aunt Jennifer. The Goal clip board I gave Chris for his birthday is from Decoylab.

oh my handmade, happy home

The girls rooms are filled with handmade loving! I had to tone it all down for staging but Ila’s room is still a space where she is held close by stories of how much she is loved. Some of the pieces I shared in her room makeover last summer like the pom-poms over her bed from Sela’s 2nd birthday, the wall art, and the flower wands. I love looking in her room and seeing my years of time on OMHG there! I made the Waldorf style dolls for Ila’s 6th birthday and their silk dresses this past Christmas, the hand-dyed silk wand is by a local lovely, Caitlyn of The Sparrow Tree and I got it at the Spring ECMC fair, and the tutu dress from  Lilybug Tutus. It makes me happy to know that other mamas made the toys that my girls use and remember, and now our stories are interconnected. Isn’t it a beautiful handmade world we live in?

oh my handmade, happy home

Sela’s room has less stuff in it because she is a force of nature! I only keep toys I love putting away because if I have to pick them up a bazillion times I might as well enjoy it. I made the big whale in my first summer as editor here, my dad and Chris’s grandfather both have a presence in the furniture. On the bed is the family of dolls I made for Sela’s 2nd birthday, a Jane Foster stuffed rabbit we bought at Dots & Loops in Lunenburg, and on the left a ukelele slinging ‘mama’ doll I bought at Love Me Boutique.

And that, more or less, is our home. That we will soon be leaving-the thing that makes me ever joyful is that our home is us and this collection of things I love made by hands I also love and we can carry it with us to Lunenburg or wherever the journey might take us. One thing is for sure, once we settle in I’ll be dusting off the machine and making the awesome octagon pillow pictured below and some of the other beautiful projects in Happy Home that want to live with us.

Now it is your turn! Tell us a story about your handmade happy home or share a picture, instagram, memory, (get creative!) of how handmade makes your home happy in the comments and enter to win a copy of Happy Home by Jennifer Paganelli from Chronicle Books! I’ll choose a random winner on July 5th and post the winner at the bottom of this post. Be sure to also share your stories with the Happy Home community by tweeting your story with the hashtag #happyhome.

{Note: I received a copy of Happy Home from Chronicle Books to review but everything else was my idea}

happy home

This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to Sadie Hartmann with comment #14, hooray for your happy home building:)


  1. esther says:

    I believe in leaving a print of ourselves in each nook and corner of our house in order to call it home. At every turn, I want to see something to remind me of who we are and how we got to today – it could be a board coralling the paper and knick-knacks that drift in and out of our house timestamping our various activities. Or a photo collage of our family through the years. Or a once-loved dress refashioned into a different decorative item. My home is a work in progress, but it is a work of the heart.

  2. oh Jessika, thanks for showing your lovelies and the handmade. your grandma’s art gave me the chills. This is exactly what i see for all of us surrounded by things that touch our souls. Just surrounding ourselves with what makes us Happy is truly a Happy Home. You are all the things that you write about and in turn give us permission to believe..basically I see you as one big heart!! xo

  3. Sarah Davenport says:

    I LOVE looking around my house and seeing bright funky hand made items!! It makes me feel happy. I have repainted things, and made some not so pretty suttf lol My home is inviting and cosy 🙂 I love it!!!!

  4. jet says:

    My fave handmade project which i’m still adore and be greatfull of is my paperflake glass window curtains.
    In my new appartment i live in a nearestly street which is typical dutch in th old centre of the city Haarlem.
    So this was the first time i needed badly on my big sliding walls glass curtains, but soon we all experianced that we could just hang something in front of them, because they all have a special adjustment so i needed something light weigthed.
    I found out how to make them water resistable and found out i had to glue my selfmade fabric just to the glass.LOL
    but everybody thinks i have bought it , so i enjoy my privecy and the beauty of it.;D

  5. Melissa says:

    My handmade obsession began at an early age. Having two grandmothers that lived during the great depresssion and a single mom raising me. They handcrafted for necessity. When I married to was only natural that I wanted to make my own curtains, Christmas decore and then years later some of my children’s clothes. It gave me an outlet to be creative and learn that it’s ok and sometimes rewarding to be different than the neighbors! Thanks for letting me share, Melissa

  6. I love having a handmade home and being an artist, my home is certainly filled with my own touches all over. However my favorite part of my home, the thing that gives me a smile every time i look at it is the arched trellis we installed in front of the house last month.

    Red and yellow honey suckle are already climbing all over the trellis and then extending down to the sidewalk is a mini garden with red and yellow flowers – geraniums, marigolds, zinnia. I love sitting at my kitchen table, looking out my window and seeing that little bit of magic out front.

    It makes coming home feel special.

  7. Garilyn says:

    Throughout our house you will find handmade items, from the quilts my grandmother made to the new items I’m making which include: quilts, clothing, and accessories for the home.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  8. Love your sweet happy home- it’s no wonder you’re rocking all the showing!

    In the past, I was always giving away all my good stuff to friends and family and left with goofed up ceramic bowls or misprinted tea towels, but it kind of made me chuckle.
    I’m slowly getting better at making/doing stuff specifically for my house, in addition to buying things from other artists I love (like Jess Swift- I have 3 or 4 of her prints!)

  9. When I was little I was always around my grandmother and aunts crafting. My grandmother was always sewing, knitting, crocheting or gardening. She taught me everything I know about all of it and I soaked it up! My home is filled with little things that remind me of that time. The feeling of contentment and coziness while looking at my handmade goodies or those of my families is what makes me feel at home.

  10. Jessica says:

    I’ve been living with my boyfriend for the first time on our own since we got together; and it has been awesome!

    I’ve painted canvasses for our living room, knitted a blanket and ornaments (including my money box, jewellery stand and other bits a pieces).

    But my cousin also made me a wine rack out of up-cycled horse shoes (he’s a blacksmith) as well as other bits and pieces of items from family. And when I get my sewing machine from my boyfriend’s partners I plan to sew curtains, skirts and just plain awesomeness.

    I think it’s called nesting 😀

  11. CaraQuilts says:

    I love making things and my house is dominated with quilts, pillows and random crafts I’ve made or my daughter has made. My daughter is so used to handmade she was shocked when she found out her friends blankets and bed coverings came from a store and weren’t sewn by their moms.

  12. Yvette Ramsdale says:

    I love when a home has handmade items. It tells a little story of who you are. I am always creating little things for my home and my children’s home. They love the afghans that I make. I am always giving away my handmade items for christmas and birthdays. I always have different themes each year. I love buying from my fellow artisan as I believe we take our time and love goes into each item.

  13. My Happy Home is an 1860’s home with lots of charm and details. To compliment the home’s original style, I find timeless antique treasures at Flea Markets, thrift stores and Estate Sales. Often times, the pieces I bring home need a little TLC so I find creative ways to give them a makeover. Thanks for the chance to win! <3 ~Sadie Lou

  14. Ashley says:

    Beautiful. We are in the middle of a reno after purchasing our first home this year and have been injecting handmade personality to any and every detail. It so nice to see our young family’s story unfold and create so many memories along the way. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. Mrs. B says:

    We are currently remodeling a 1930’s home. I love doing this in older, neglected homes. Looking and listening for the character of the home to “speak” in the way of what colors to put on the walls, trim details, etc. It takes me a while to get rooms put together, because some things just belong and I like to live in the space a while and get to know the room. Throughout though is crocheted afghans from Great-Grandma, vintage doilies or embroidery, my childhood teddy graces an old wooden high-chair. It’s just the little things that make it home.

  16. Geri says:

    Oh, Jess… your home is just that – a home! And a beautifully personal one at that. That’s the great thing about homes – they’re made wherever + in whatever space our family’s are.

    We’ve been in our house for 7 years (this December) + it’s a very different style/feel from our last home in Scotland. We’ve slowly culled those things that just didn’t work + introduced new things (we do a LOT of repurposing in our family) + were finally able to incorporate my great-grandmother’s table + sideboard, which made me really happy… it was brought over from Ireland in the 1800’s by HER family 😉

    We also put up a gallery of some of our favourite images (all of them black + white in black frames) in the front landing, which we enjoy every time we leave or come home.

    I’m also very lucky to be able to allocate an entire half of the basement over to my studio… I have a generous husband! He gets the TV room, so I think it’s a fair trade 😉

    And after 7 years, the proof was revealed to be in the pudding when he came into our livingroom + said, “I really love our home”.

    Home is wherever WE are.


  17. Nikki says:

    I definitely don’t have as many homemade things in my house as I would like, but I do have a few DIY projects to share. Our rain barrel in the garden is an old, converted trash can and we have an old wood canoe that we are working to make into a bed for our herb garden. The pillows on our sofa are all old sweatshirts with cool prints or from awesome events (we have one pillow that was formally a Les Mis sweatshirt) that Ash’s mother made. The hutch in our kitchen was made by Ash’s grandfather and the blankets on the bed by Ash’s mom and grandmother. Obviously, her side of the family has lots of DIY/homemade genes. 🙂 I’m hoping that once we’re done unpacking (we’ve been here a year and we’re still not done!), there will be more homemade goodness around the house. Whoohoo!

    Your house is amazing, Jess! I love it! 😀

  18. Hahaha “zee kitchen” 🙂 I LOVE your place Jessika!! I love that you will be bringing all of that handmade love with you to your new home. You are one talented lady 🙂 I love how many things in your home are made by family. So special. xo

  19. Lauren J says:

    Love your beautiful home!
    I’m new to sewing, so not a lot of home made stuff around the house yet, but there are some pillow cases and curtains, and I have plans for a quilt in the near future! My oldest daughter is also a talented artist, so we’re going to frame some of her work and display it.

  20. So beautiful! I love all the touches and love that are in the house, but at the same time it’s not at all cluttered – it’s simple and clean, and ONLY contains the things you absolutely love the most. Am working on that in my own home – getting rid of everything that I don’t love.

    We have lots of handmade touches around here, some lovely paintings on the wall, photographs on a gallery wall in the diningroom, linen cushions on the couch, fiber art on the walls in the livingroom.

    I love being caught in the busy-ness of a moment and then catching site of one of my favourite things, and stopping and taking a moment to soak it in and enjoy it being close to me.

  21. Your home is beautiful! I love those grey floors! I think my favourite part of our home right now is actually my little girl’s room….it makes me happy to be in there. I made quite a few of the things in her room (a large piece of art on the wall, a paper butterfly mobile) and there are also several embroidery art projects made by my mom (some were mine). There is also a locally handmade mobile with fabric birds perched on beach wood. I would like to bring more handmade textiles into other areas of our home (cushions, blankets, I also LOVE the idea of collecting dish towels) the extra little details can make a lot of difference!

  22. Ranell P. says:

    My moments are lately. I have been making clothing for two orphanages in Haiti and I just can’t wait to see the pictures I will receive with the kids wearing their new clothes. Such a wonderful project I started!

  23. eileensideways says:

    divorce after 30 years, selling my home of 27 years, downsizing my possessions to move into a cookie cutter apartment, complete with beige walls, non descript square rooms. filling it with handmade crafts; hand lettered calligraphy prints, pretty curtains, daughter’s artwork, handmade pillows, and hanging my favorite quilt on the wall made my house a home.

  24. Briony says:

    I’ve just started getting into world of blogging – not me personally but following lots of other peoples journeys. My version of homemade comes from my mum and mother in law who are both very nifty with a sewing machine. In my daughters rooms the bright pink curtains made my mum make the room POP and my mother in law is always on hand to mend dollies and toys that have come a bit unglued. The beds were crafted by my gorgeous hubby and they each have matching bed spreads, designed by me and made by the nannies. A handmade pinboard covered in – you guessed it – pink material adorns the wall and is covered with homemade paintings and drawings from my beautiful girls.

  25. Blythe says:

    I have to begin by saying your Nana’s textile pieces are beautiful, I’m jealous!
    I was lucky to inherit a great painting from my grandmother that is right at home with our various thrifted 1950’s and ’60s pieces of furniture. Our house is dotted with new and vintage hand made pieces as well as textile pieces by me. My other half was in a few local bands so we have many of his band’s show posters by Yo Rodeo dotted around as well as several prints purchased on Etsy and from Inkwell Boutique. One of my prized possessions is a Donna Wilson pillow, I adore her work.

  26. April says:

    I just read through this a second time – the whale brings back memories and lessons learned. Thanks for the soap shout out. Our home is filling with handmade things – the backdrop being an 1850s-1910 Victorian farmhouse with loads of charm. My very favourite is a quilt I started long before I was pregnant with Andrew, worked hard on while pregnant and ultimately had finished by Becky of Organic Quilt Company – it arrived the day before I went in to labour and is still my very favourite. I also collect art of all kinds – especially art my kids make. It’s raw, it’s unique, it’s beautiful. Good luck with the selling/moving/re-settling.

  27. Ranell P. says:

    My home is just beginning to be sprinkled with handmade. It creates such a homey feel. You also have such a feel of accomplishment when you create something for your home and can just sit back and admire! BTW, Jennifer Paganelli is my favorite designer and inspires me the most!

  28. Sybil says:

    Your photos are lovely. I particularly like the whale and the wee rocking chair.
    I’ve made all the pillows on my couch and stenciled a border around the walls. I am planning a woven wall hanging and also some knitted & fulled feet for my chairs (courtesy of a designer on Ravelry) – so much better than those sticky dots that never stay on.

  29. rena says:

    omg the floors! the floors!

    my obsession for the home is probably textiles. i am also amassing tea towels and pillows at an alarming rate 🙂

  30. Lyndsay says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! I love all the colorful, happy treasures you have showcased in your home! Especially the Matou en Peluche prints. I just adore her stuff. We are two years in our newest home and with this one I did away with trying to make things matchy-matchy and trying to be on trend. I have sprinkled our house with pieces i LOVE. Things that make me smile. Handpicked from Etsy or the Farmer’s Market or any of our awesome local crafter markets.

  31. Martha says:

    The Book makes me smile just at the title!
    It would be a treat to have this book and to pass it to my adult daughters just starting out!
    This home is so sweet as well:)

  32. Martha says:

    OH! MY! I forgot to add,
    I love making seasonal throw pillows for our home. Also, My children have selected pretty and fun cotton fabrics for their own pillow cases and that makes them happy!
    For my grandson, I’ve made him a duvet and matching pillow case of his choice. (he’s 3)

  33. Gail Myers says:

    My home has things made by the entire family, my son’s oil paintings hang in many rooms, my husband builds many things like end tables, art pieces and we display his pencil drawings. I sew pillows, curtains. I knit throws, hand towels, washcloths and other decorative items.
    Our home is our artistic vision!

  34. I have only just recently started sewing as I hadn’t touched a sewing maching since school (20+ years ago) But I am loving every minute of it and learning something new each day. I have only made a couple of things for my daughter so far but have high hopes of decorating my house with gorgeous fabrics. Which is why I would LOVE to win this amazing book. 🙂

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