Author Event: Kate Payne and *The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking*

A few weeks ago, Kate Payne visited the bookshop to present her book, The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking: Decorating, Dining, and the Gratifying Pleasures of Self-Sufficiency — on a Budget! This is a nice paperback original from Harper Design (with a nice price point, just under $20).  I was telling people it makes a great gift for college grads, those getting their first apartments, newlyweds, etc.  I thought the target market was “hip” twenty-somethings; that may be the original intent, but I learned from reading The Hip Girl’s Guide – and from our conversation with Kate Payne – that it’s never too late to learn new homemaking tricks!

The group at the bookshop enjoyed a lovely roundtable discussion with Kate; we chatted about food preservation, quick home repairs, ironing solutions, and budget-wise decorating ideas.  Kate began by reading a few excerpts from the book.  One of my favorites is this passage from a section in the Introduction titled “Why Homemaking?”:

Because it’s cool to have a cool house.  It’s damn gratifying to throw down a loaf of homemade bread with your home-preserved blueberry jam. Because feeling in control in your own house does wonders for every instance when you’re not under that sweet roof.

And that’s really what it’s all about – not “keeping up with the Jonses” or having a kitchen floor so clean you can eat off it – but feeling in control and happy in your home sweet home.

The book is divided into three sections: Part I gives quick (and inexpensive) decorating ideas room by room.  Kate is a master at repurposing found objects into fun and functional accessories for the home.

Part II is a more nuts-and-bolts guide to housekeeping tasks; this is where you’ll find instructions on how to fold a fitted sheet (confession: I’m content with my “you’ll never see it going by in a bus” efforts at folding linens!), and how to create non-toxic cleaners from items you can find in the grocery store (we have three family members with allergies/asthma, I’m taking steps to ditching the chemical cleaners – this is a great resource!).

Finally , Part III, “Life After Restaurants,” looks at cooking, preserving food, and projects for entertaining/parties.  Kate talks about CSAs, farmer’s markets, buying spices and grains in bulk (another change I’ll make), organic produce (where to prioritize), and food co-ops.  She gives instructions on the best way to freeze meats, vegetables, and herbs, as well as an overview of canning and a handful of recipes.  Resource listings are abundant, and I was pleased to see a nod to one of my favorite canning sites, Food in Jars (Marisa’s recipe for Tomato Jam is the best!).

I’ll end with the publisher’s description of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking.  Whet your homemaking appetite with this, then check out The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking blog and follow Kate Payne (@hipgirls) on twitter:

This is not your grandmother’s handbook!  Modern women need a modern approach to domestic pleasures – a guide to doing household things on their own terms.  The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking does just that with east-to-follow, low-cost solutions to make your home an inviting space for living and entertaining.

7 comments to Author Event: Kate Payne and *The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking*

  • I love her attitude because I agree great homemaking is about having a home that you love. This book sounds great!

  • This does sound great! Thanks for sharing!

  • This sounds like a really cool book, and like something I could really use. Kate is right, it is cool to have a cool home, and when it’s clean and good things are baking in the oven, there is no place I’d rather be. Thanks for sharing this with us today, Dawn. I am going to have to grab myself a copy of this book soon.

  • I can always use tips and hints — even after all these years.

  • This looks like a fun one! I agree that a lot of the books out there are kind of stodgy, so I would love a fresh approach. Canning and baking can be cool without being a ton of work.

  • Kathy – yes, a very Erma Bombeck attitude (don’t keep the fancy dishes in the cabinet — use them!)

    Julie – it was so nice to have the back-and-forth chat with the author as well :)

    zibilee – she says the best air freshener is the smell of fresh-baked bread (not Lysol spray)

    Beth – I’m taking baby steps toward replacing chemical household cleaners; never too late to change!

    Lisa – so true! You don’t have to exhaust yourself prepping a fancy dinner party (too tired and cranky to enjoy it), pot-luck it instead.

  • Dawn, I had a great time. Thank you for making my visit special. I’m actually putting away the jars of pickled deliciousness you so kindly send home with me now!

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