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.