Mess and clutter? Utter disorganization? What's a crafty comfort queen to do?

This blog is to be the chronicle of my attempts to learn home economics. Creative, DIY home and life management with an indie, crafty, green flair. Responsible and personally expressive "mistressing" of all that stuff that falls into the "life" category.

I'm crafting my own version of domesticity based on the indie craft and DIY movements and teachers like the writers of BUST, Pagan Kennedy, and Ariel Gore (not your grandma's housekeeping). Being house-proud has always been a struggle, but it's time to get it together. As of this moment, I embrace my domestic side, heavy on the irony of course (not your grandma's housekeeping)...and vow to change my ways and channel my inner Pagan Kennedy (the Martha for non-Marthas).

Feedback is welcome. Tips are appreciated. And if you have an uncontrollable desire to come and be my maid, the big pink door is open.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Excuse the ugliness, and other reformatting issues

I am reformatting right now.  It started with my whole life, and trickled down to my blog - sort of backwards, but what are you going to do?  I can't wait to decorate and reformat my new living space.  However, in the meantime, I came across the new template designer on Blogger.  And of course I was compelled to try it out.  I ended up with a pretty hideous blog there for a week or so, and just realized how bad it was tonight when trying to show my college English students how to sign up for a blog.  I pulled mine up on the projector and winced.  Everyone was very polite, but I had to bite my cheek to go on with the lesson until I could fix it on a break.  Whew.  New matchy colors and a pleasant pink stripe have eased my design pain for a little while, and I will try not to think of this debacle ever again.  But it's still not right.  Be careful of compulsions in your non-Martha world.  Sometimes inspiration is not inspiration, but obsession.  And obsession is not usually very pretty - and your bunny ends up paying the price. 

I need to meet a nice graphic designer who can hook me up with the funkiest blog on the block, but until then - or until I get my own copy of CS4 - I will work with the resources I have.  Like the fabulous black and white damask curtains that are now hung in my 5th residence in 2 years (3rd in 5 months).  This brings me to my lesson for this section of my life and the oh-so-important sub-theme for this post - the resourcefulness, not the damask. Perhaps like many of you, I have emerged from this difficult recessionary period a humbler, more grateful version of myself.  With a rather intense ironic streak that may have been buried for a while, and an equally intense dependence on damask.  (It's on my dishes and coffee cups, too, but I'm not obsessed.  Really.)  Viva la modern Victorian!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Good Luck Movin' Up Cuz I'm Movin' Out

Time to move - again.  I think I'm going to have an aneurism before I finish this move.  But I am optimistic. The city of Raleigh is a mecca of culture with most of the bennies of living in the South.  There are communities of eco-minded and creative folks all over town.  And my own neighborhood is nestled sweetly among the trees and hills.  Raleigh's great for that - not mowing down all the woods in the name of progress. 
So moving itself, unfortunately, is not an eco-friendly endeavor.  Recycled boxes are available, but potentially filled with critter eggs to transpose to your new abode.  Not a pleasant thought.  So I got new boxes and recycled them afterwards to become something more than they were.  I also saved a few for projects, including a painting surface for giving my furniture a new lease on life.  I have a few pieces that need a little pizazz and some eco-friendly paint, so I now have a surface on which to take this on. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Down with Napkins? Not sure Martha would approve...

One of the "green" cutbacks I have learned about in staying with my friend is a decidedly firm stand against napkins and paper towels.  They have paper towels in the household for emergencies and her aging father in law who seems to like to use them in lieu of plates, much to the chagrin of my friend.  However, at the dinner table, they rarely make an appearance. 

Towel available from BlueQ

As a woman whose momma raised her right, to always place a napkin in the lap (after setting the table with it folded into a triangle on the left side of the plate with a fork atop it), I was a bit shocked at this turn of events.  Now Martha would probably approve if, say, cloth napkins were used instead.  She (my benefactor) does use towels for wiping up spills from counter to floor, and many of them are washed daily, but no cloth napkins.  It may be an attempt to curb water usage because of all the other towels being used, plus lots of dishwashing in the Whirlpool.  But it takes a lot of kitchen towels to fill up a washing machine, I have noted.  So the action of substituting real towels for fake ones is probably negligible as far as environmental impact, and certainly the better choice.  I have not yet asked about the lack of cloth napkins - don't want my curiosity to seem a criticism, which it is not.  But I have found that these actions do save many paper towels.  I used to have a bad habit of going through them way too quickly, and now I find that I don't need them half as much as I thought I did.  We have saved countless trees in the month and a half that I have been here, and she has been doing this for a year, so the tree rescue count goes up even more for her. 

In my next place, I plan to invest in kitchen towels (after I replace the one of hers I caught on fire) and maybe some cloth napkins.  At the very least, though our laps are bare at the dinner table and my sisters would gasp, I am proud of the fact that I - and my 3 yr old son - have managed to curb our crumb dispensing and keep messes to a minimum.  Reduced cleanup ability, plus living in a near-immaculate household - have a significant impact on inspiration to be cleaner by nature.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How to reduce your impact: Lesson 1 - Move in with your best friend!

I am guilty of severe neglect on this blog recently, but I have a good excuse.  After eight years in the same city, I moved to North Carolina last week.  I grew up in eastern NC, but I'm now in the Triad, near Greensboro.  It's beautiful here, and I'm so glad to be back in the state.  I absolutely love North Carolina and can't believe I stayed away so long.  I'm kind of a hippie/country girl at heart, even though I love 80s electronica, Victorian tea sets, and doc martens.  Love to have a farm someday with sheep, Alpaca, or llamas to produce wool for sale on the Internet, and host spinning and weaving classes in my barn where I usually rehearse with my grrrl rock band.  Nonexistent as of yet, but a girl can dream. And it certainly wouldn't be unheard of in NC, where hipsters and good old boys and girls mix beautifully and the arts and culture are second only to the gorgeous landscapes.

Anyway, this is the first step - moving here.  My dear best friend and her husband and daughter have been willling to put me up for a month or so while I get my you know what together and get a job.  So my projects of late have been more job-application-oriented.  But I'm conserving paper, - yay me - and my friend is an excellent teacher of green living, especially since she started teaching a college course on global impact. 

My next few posts will be sharing some of the techniques I'm learning here about how to reduce your footprint in everyday life and not kill yourself doing it.  Simple but meaningful acts that can help the planet and help us all feel a little better about our own impact on it.

So stay are forthcoming, as well as updates on my job search and how all this quality time with my son is probably going to kill me.  With love, of course! 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Self-Flagellation, Nerf Darts, and Naps

Tragically, I have a fatal flaw.  I have ideas that zing through my brain like Nerf darts, bouncing off of all the other ones and creating new and glorious hybrid darts that inspire excitement and wonder.  This is not the flaw.  The flaw is that the darts always fall to my brain-floor eventually without ever reaching their destination.  True, destination is not as important as journey, but I'd like to finish something.  Or continue something.

But kudos to me, I'm still keeping up with this blog.  Sometimes I slack for a few days, but I have made a commitment, so I am sticking to it.  Keeping up with the blog is good, but the blog is about keeping up with my life. Hmmmm. Only half done, as usual. [note to work people: I am only this way at home.]

I need to make a commitment to making my bed.  I think that's what started this.  I made my bed this morning, and I honestly haven't done it since the time I wrote about it in an earlier post.  It's been a while.  And so making my bed actually made me feel bad. Sort of counterproductive. 

We women do that to ourselves, don't we?  Damned if we do, damned if we don't.  Damned if we do half.  Damned if we overdo it.  My brain gets tired of berating me, and of course of picking up all the Nerf darts that I left on the floor.  So it gives up.  Damned if I don't is the easiest of the damned truisms.  Obviously. 

But I don't want to do that anymore.  Recognizing is half the battle.  Ack, just the thought of another battle makes me tired.  I'm going to take a nap.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cultural Creatives: Are you Ready to Rise?

Talking 'bout a revolution....
So what makes a "Cultural Creative?"  According to sociologist Paul H. Ray, cultural creatives are made up of people with varying degrees of the following traits: focus on or interest in spiritual mysticism, ecological and community sustainability,  relationships with others and acceptance. Belief in the importance of world travel, altruism, and activism. Self actualization and feminism. Concerns about violence. Creativity in daily life. Nature as sacred. Distrust of big business. Simplification of life in general. Alternative health care.

Sound like you?  This "group" has the potential at this juncture in time, according to Ray, to actually create another renaissance in thought.  To revitalize the culture.  But many don't know they are members. And you can't have a renaissance without awareness.  The way this will work is if people band together in larger and larger communities, find each other and generate power in numbers.  It's started to a degree, in indie craft forums and green community groups, for example.  Consumers and other audiences already have gained more power over business through online networking and the viral spread of ideas. 

I for one am ready.  I've got my eco grocery bags and knitting needles, my little man, some of the most unique and interesting people on the planet that I'm lucky enough to call my friends and family, and my humble little blogs.  My immediate family (all conservatives) told me I'd lose my idealism by age 30.  Guess what?  I'm 34 and I've still got it!  And by "it," of course, I mean all that and a bag of soy chips.  Hey, ho - let's go!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Self-Editing for English Majors

I promise I will tie this in to my blog theme, but I had to share that today I had a conversation with my boss at the IT company about expectations, since I never hear anything from "that side" of the building - I am a marketer and copywriter.  I'm a bit on the sensitive side, so I need a little pat on the back every once in a while.  Finally I asked for it.  The answer I got?  You do a great job.  I love your work.  But can you try to shorten your explanations in the future?  We don't know what you're doing half the time because when you explain it, you get so excited that you go on for a while and we glaze over.  Sorry, just being honest.  We're all super-logical over here. I don't even type like you do.  /makes clicking noises and jiggles his fingers

Ouch.  Okay, I get it.  I am a bit long-winded.  And I tend to babble when I get excited.  So I started taking a look at myself a little more harshly...