About Us

Homemade•Handmade is about the joy that comes from creating with your own two hands. Whether it’s a batch of blueberry muffins, a custom-made necklace or a piece of furniture, there’s something special about the homemade—something that you just can’t get from the store-bought.

What do you love to make? Are you a beader? Do you conduct kitchen experiments? Maybe you dream about appearing on Cake Boss. Whatever inspires your creativity, I hope you learn something new or find inspiration here—and I hope you’ll share your ideas with us.

Who is Homemade-Handmade?

Once upon a time…
Many years ago (when we were freshmen at Washington University actually), there were two girls who had never met, but both suffered from a housing crisis. Poor housing lottery numbers and an odd number of people in the group meant that there was a good chance neither would get housing. But then…Mary was talking French with Lesley’s roommate, Dawn (Lesley and Dawn had plans to live together the next year). Mary and Dawn got along pretty well, and studied together occasionally. After neither of them got housing, Mary and Dawn were walking home from class one day, discussing what they were going to do. Dawn joked, “You should just live with us. We have good numbers, we’d definitely get it if we had a fourth person.”Mary replied back, still joking, “Do you go to bed early?”

“Yeah, and we’re clean too.”

And an idea was born. Mary didn’t have very good options anyhow, so they decided to go for it. When Dawn filled out the form, she listed Mary and Lesley as roommates–even thought they had never met.

Luckily for both of them, they got along wonderfully that first year and went on to get an apartment together for the next year–and the year after that. (That was a great apartment, with a koi pond in the backyard, great storage, and central air.) They still got along wonderfully. In fact, in three years of living together, they never had a single fight.

But then they graduated. Mary stayed in St. Louis for another year and then returned to her hometown of Chicago to be a teacher. Lesley moved back to Milwaukee to pursue her dream of working in publishing.

The rest is history.  They each lived happily ever after, occasionally visiting the other on weekends. And doing crafty projects. And baking. And decorating. And, well, you get the idea.


My name is Lesley Weiss, and I come from a long line of do-it-yourselfers. I grew up in a household where it was normal for my mom to whip up a set of dresses for my dolls on her sewing machine…or tear down the bathroom walls and redo them herself. I’ve helped my dad build decks and basement rec rooms and watched him throw seemingly random ingredients in a pot and come up with magic. From them, I learned that when you make things for yourself, you can customize them exactly to your liking.

I’m a professional writer and editor and was lucky enough to spend seven years working for a great hobby publishing company. So many people who like to make things! It was there that I learned to bead—eventually working as a book editor on their jewelry-making line of titles and then as an associate editor for Bead&Button magazine.

I also had the great privilege to write a book for Kalmbach Publishing Co., released in fall of 2010—The Absolute Beginners Guide: Stitching Beaded Jewelry. I left Bead&Button to pursue other adventures, but I still love to make things, and I love to share what I learn with others—and Homemade•Handmade is my latest creation!

If you’d like to learn more about me, please visit LesleyMWeiss.com. If you’d like to learn more about the publications I’ve worked on or articles I’ve written, please visit my portfolio.


I live in Chicago, where I teach high school math. I do my best to be green, including biking to work when possible, recycling and running the Green Team at my school. I wouldn’t say I’m artistic, but I like to put things together so they look good. I make all my own cards, and I like to think I’m pretty good at choosing the right paper and look and combination and then putting it together, but I can’t really draw or anything like that. I’m working on learning to do different types of lettering though!My mom saves EVERYTHING (because you never know when it might come in handy) so whenever I get a specific idea in my head, she’s the first person I ask. And my dad is one of the handiest people I know, so he’s my go to for home repairs and the like, especially replacing light fixtures.

When I’m not decorating my Chicago condo or making some cards, I’m probably baking something (I’m trying to cook more, but I’m a baker at heart) or playing a game with friends.

If you would like to learn more about me, I don’t really know what to tell you, since this is all there is. I could give you some sample math lessons or something, but I don’t have a portfolio or professional site or anything. But I’d be happy to make you a certificate.