Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday Sussie: Photo E-Course

note: Saturday sussies are amusing finds I encounter during the week.  I like to share them for no other reason but because they strike my fancy, as every sussie should.

I ran across a promotion for Unraveling, an online course by photographer Susannah Conway, and thought it looked intriguing.  

The e-course, beginning on February 16th, focuses on exploring different aspects of your life using photography and writing.  Each week participants are given a photo assignment along with some questions to ponder about the pictures they took.  The purpose of the course is to reconnect us with different pieces of our personalities, lives and relationships.

Sounds like a fun challenge to me!  

Click here to learn more about fees and details, and to sign up for the next course.

Don't forget to come back on Monday to read more about Nesting and to meet 2009's first Marketplace Maven!

Previous Saturday Sussies:

Friday, January 30, 2009

Avoiding the Subject...

I've been dancing around it for weeks now--the subject of motherhood.  I mean, here I am writing a series about Nesting, and avoiding almost altogether the very purpose of nesting in the first place--to prepare space for children.

Now, I wrote earlier this month that my journey into motherhood is taking longer than the average ascent.  This, naturally, has been rather disappointing to me, and has consequently left me feeling like I'm standing on the outside of this great club without an admission pass.  I've watched lots of friends and acquaintances be admitted into the club while months turned into years of waiting for my turn.

All this while, I've been assuming that motherhood begins with that double line on the early pregnancy test, advances cautiously toward delivery, and then blossoms with the arrival of a baby.  And even though I've been dipping my toes into Nesting, I've always felt that true preparation comes with morning sickness and maternity pants.

But it occurred to me recently that nesting in nature actually starts much earlier than I've been acknowledging.  Birds, for instance, from whom we borrow the phrase "nesting," build their nests Before they even have eggs to lay.  In human terms, this means they set up the nursery before the stick turns pink.  Now, I'm not a headed out to Babies R' Us armed with a registry gun, but this little reality has gotten me thinking about the Real way we women prepare for children, and it starts a lot earlier than we think.

So I've decided to officially expand my definition of Nesting for the remainder of this series.  From this point onward, any woman who is actively preparing her lifestyle for the advent of kiddos someday in the future is nesting.  And for the next couple of weeks, I'll be talking about what that preparation looks like (hint: it includes a lot more than nurseries and strollers), and when it starts.

Until then, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  I, for one, will be enjoying a pre-birthday pedicure, courtesy of my good friend.  
Please stop by tomorrow and check out another Saturday Sussie, and again next week to read more about Nesting, Smarty Pants, and (finally! yay!) this year's first Marketplace Maven!

Previous Nesting posts:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Domestic Deep Thoughts

I have certainly enjoyed knitting and baking lately (obviously), but I promised that I wouldn't spend the whole week talking about yarn and coconut.  Because while I've been purling away and eating frosting, I have been pondering about the connection between what we are experiencing economically as a nation (and as families) and Nesting.

I recognize that on the surface these two things don't appear to have much in common--"making a home" and the very complex web that is our global financial system.  But at the most basic level, we respond to the global economy First through the way we manage our households.

Now, I love to decorate and bake and craft as much as the next person (well, probably more...), but behind all of these activities, I am making active decisions about my engagement with the outside world.  Where I buy my "stuff," for instance, influences the way businesses function.  How I manage my money directly influences how vulnerable I am to some of these larger-than-life trillion dollar corporate financial troubles.  Choices I make to repurpose things, or create them from scratch, invests resources into a specific type of economy (small, green, informal) and divests them from another type of economy (large, formal, corporate).  My decisions to live within the means of one income, and my choice to leave the traditional workforce--even those directly impact my relationship with the modern global business world--in some ways for better, and in others potentially for worse.

A few days ago I talked about Nesting as a pursuit of beauty--one of the hallmarks of civilization--and how creating safe and beautiful spaces, no matter how small or insignificant, is...well...significant.  The same applies here with home and the economy.  The small, mundane, unglamorous decisions that we make on a day to day basis from our households (verses the Very Large, flashy decisions being debated this week in Congress) have consequences and influence.

Obviously there is a lot more that can be said about this topic, but I'm just trying to grease my own mental wheels!  The overall point, I suppose, is that knitting and coconut cupcakes, and the choices that go behind them, matter.  

Who knew domesticity could be so deep?  

Related posts:

Breakfast of Champions

Coconut cupcakes--the breakfast of champions.  

Get the cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart Living here.
Get the recipe for the frosting from Real Simple here (from the apricot-coconut cake).
Drink it with Yorkshire Gold tea, found here.

Become a champion.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Putting Things in Order (or at least in pretty boxes)

I wrote yesterday that as a woman, I naturally gravitate toward the pursuits of beauty and order. And because I'm also moderately addicted to efficiency, I especially like it when beauty and order are combined in pretty, well functioning items. 

What is it about organization that attracts me?  The appeal of baskets stacked neatly on my shelves, or dividers in my lingerie drawer, or upright files for my magazines?  I know I'm not the only one.  A whole "organization industry" has blossomed (ex. the Container Store, Real Simple Magazine, all of HGTV) based on this inclination to get things in order--and making it look 
good in the process.

I think that behind all of it there is this idea that if I have a spiffy box to corral all of my paperwork and bills, that somehow filing and paying them will be more enjoyable.  Or, say, if my lingerie drawers looks nice, then maybe folding laundry won't feel like such a chore.  Of course, this reasoning doesn't always work.  What usually ends up happening is that I find adorable organizing stuff, dump a bunch of papers or whatever into them, and end up with neatly contained and yet completely unorganized piles of to-do's.  

Regardless, I took a peek into See Jane Work's online store today, and Behold!  An organizer's dream!  So many fun books and planners and boxes and containers to divide and quantify and chart and record my life.  And of course, they all multitask as attractive objects packaged in fun colors and shapes.  

Getting things in order has never looked so fun.  When can I start?
*photos from See Jane Work

Previous posts in this Nesting series:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Smarty Pants: the Federal Debt

Last week I wrote that I was about to embark on a quest to educate myself about the current economic situation so that I would be able to at least comprehend what a trillion dollar stimulus means, and what an educated response to the economy in general should be.  Now, admittedly that goal is ambitious--if world-class economists can't agree on the appropriate approach, what makes me think that I can hone in on an opinion?  Nevertheless, as promised, I started reading up.

Well, several days later I haven't gotten that far.  Not because I think it's boring (although I will confess that my latest knitting binge has kept me otherwise occupied), but because there is so much information to process--so much to learn--especially for an economic novice like myself.  

So I don't have much yet to share, except this--you might have noticed on the sidebar that I have added, just for today, the National Debt ticker on the above left.  My reading, as you might be able to tell, started with budget deficits and the federal debt, hence the rather alarming clock.

Here are some of my initial comments:
1.  I had a physical reaction when I visited the debt clock for the first time yesterday.  A sort of rising panic in my stomach.  Seeing all of those zeroes, and the millions adding up so quickly, made me want to check my own bank account!  Which leads me to say that..
2. is so easy to hear the words "billion" and "trillion" and relegate them to some abstract concept of monetary value.  But seeing the numbers scroll by like that made it seem a little more real to me.  Not completely real, but a little more real.
3.  The basic fundamental truth behind the federal debt is that the government is spending a lot more than it is drawing into it's General Fund (funded by our income and corporate tax dollars).  And these numbers don't even include the stimulus package currently being debated in Congress!
4.  The government borrows money from the Social Security and Medicare trust funds to help offset this debt, but that money only covers about half, which still leaves the country about $5 Trillion in the hole...
5.  ...and where does the rest come from to fill in the gap?  Foreign countries.  Like China, for instance, and the United Arab Emirates.  And they are charging interest.  Let's hope they don't come calling to collect anytime soon!

I read recently that people tend to dismiss things they don't understand.  Well, I certainly don't understand the complexities of our modern global economy.  But what I do understand is that spending more than you make year after year leads to one inevitable end: bankruptcy.  And I have no idea what bankruptcy would do to our nation, but I can't imagine that it would be pretty.  

I hope I haven't frightened you all into never returning.  I promise I'll take the clock down tonight (mainly because I can't stand watching it for too long).  But I also promise that I will keep routinely writing on this issue of the economy, because it is too important to ignore.  And I can't in good conscience write day in and out about the home economy and entrepreneurialism, or even spending money on swing-arm sconces, without paying mind to some of these bigger issues.  

note: Smarty Pants posts are my routine reflections on current events.  My hope is that we will all become smarty pants.

For Previous Smarty Pants posts on the economy, read below:

Nesting: the Pursuit of Beauty

One of the more challenging things about dedicating a couple months to the subject of Nesting is that on the surface it doesn't seem to be a very worthy pursuit.  For instance, I spent a recent night laying awake in bed for three hours with nothing on my mind but the pressing need to redecorate my spare bedroom.

Now a tempting response to a night like that would be "isn't there a pill they can prescribe for that?" (incidentally, yes--it's called Tylenol PM and works like a charm.  No prescription necessary).  I mean, hours spent contemplating which shade of blue you want to paint your walls (Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl, in case you were wondering) aren't exactly life changing.  Hours spent creating a safe and comfortable home (aka nesting) aren't particularly life changing either.  (Of course, hours spent in a scary, angry home are life changing, but we won't get into that now....)

But while I was laying awake pondering the long-term benefits of swing-arm sconces, it occurred to me that much of life, at least for me as a woman, comes down to the pursuit of three things: beauty, order and purpose.  The first of those, beauty, has been occupying us ladies for centuries.  And it is a good thing!  Have you seen what happens when women quit caring about beauty?  Underarm hair and interior decorating from the 1970's come immediately to mind.  Not to mention Stalinist architecture and the demise of civilization as we know it.

Of course this isn't to say that faux-fur bedding is on par with the Louvre and democracy, but it matters!  Or at least our pursuit of beauty--even the "starting at home," as HGTV so poignantly preaches--helps balance out the things that are unavoidably beauty-less, like, say, the current economic malaise, or Middle Eastern politics.  And though it is true that sewing a new coverlet for my bed won't cure all that ails us, it does make a concerted statement about the timeless way we live.  Not a "I'm shallow and only care about what other people think of my pretty home" statement, but a "I believe that comfort and beauty are worthy pursuits, even if they are only small efforts" statement.  A "I want to create a space--be it through art or music or my living room--that is pleasing and enjoyable for my friends and loved ones, because so much of the world isn't pleasing" statement.

Perhaps you think that I'm stretching a bit to say that Nesting is this important.  That's okay.  There are days I think it's a little less grand too.  But today I'm focusing on the pursuit of beauty.  And today that starts in my spare bedroom.

Previous Nesting posts:

Monday, January 26, 2009

An Afternoon at the Yarn Store

After rekindling my knitting itch late last year, I finally decided that I had had enough of shopping for yarn at the local big-box craft stores.  I mean, I'm not a textile snob--acrylics have their place--but a girl needs some cashmere every once and awhile!

So I contacted Laura (you met her as Laura of Uproar) and we hit one of the local yarn stores in our town for a great afternoon of colors, textures, and...ahem...spending.  Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed.  So many great, soft options (angora, merino, cashmere--Oh My!) that I had to force myself to put down skeins many times lest I break the bank and be banned from all knitting by my husband (how is always, by the way, asking me why I bother to knit when you can go to the store and buy something for cheaper.  Will he never learn?).  

Of course I had to come home immediately and start some new projects.  Thankfully the weather cooperated (recall the 70 degree spring fling I mentioned just days ago?), and the weekend was ice cold and snowy.  Perfect for hunkering down with my needles, some cocoa and my favorite movie.  I've started two different sock patterns at once to see which one will win the contest for favorite, and--incidentally--also started a new love affair with Big Love (it was on HBO while I was knitting).

Now, I promise I won't spend the whole week chatting about yarn (lame)....  While the needles have been clicking away, I've also been thinking a lot about Nesting, the "stay at home" label, and being a pre-mom-in-waiting--all of which I'm sure I'll write about over the next several days.  

In between my knitting, of course.

Related posts:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday Sussie: 24 Boxes

note: sussies are amusing things I find during the week (or year) that I thought you might like to know about too.  I call them sussies because I like the word.

Since I wrote about cooking yesterday, I thought I would carry on the theme for today's sussie.  I stumbled upon 24 boxes last year when it made Blogger's "Blogs of Note" list.  Creator Jennifer Mayer decided to start the blog when she signed up for a community supported agriculture share (CSA) in her local area and needed to figure out how to eat all of the fabulous seasonal produce she received!

A quick view of the site reveals a few things:
A.  Jennifer has a knack for food styling and photography, making her food creations look absolutely delicious.
B.  Her recipes are unique creations, and she usually offers a downloadable pdf for your printing pleasure.  Thanks Jennifer!
C.  After a few weeks of reading and printing, you'll be well on your way to your own 24 boxes cookbook.
D.  Participating in a CSA is a great way to support small, local farms, and also a very good way to get your recommended daily servings of fruits and veggies!

So, if you like creative recipes made with lots of yummy produce, check out 24 boxes this weekend and happy cooking!  As I mentioned yesterday, I--of course--will be eating cheesecake.

Previous Saturday Sussies:

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Cheesecake First

We've been invited to dinner tonight, and since I assigned myself the task of bringing dessert, I thought I would try my first ever homemade cheesecake.

Incidentally, this has been a month of baking firsts for me.  For instance, last week I made my first chocolate cake from scratch, complete with cream cheese frosting.  Formerly a Pillsbury cake mix and frosting-in-a-can kind of girl, I have to confess that it really does taste better when you make it with flour, eggs, and sugar from your own pantry.  

As for cheesecakes, the closest thing my family ever made to the real thing were those Jello no-bake recipes which, naturally, came from a box.  They were tasty, but I sincerely hope that my effort today tastes...well...more impressive?  More like the Cheesecake Factory and less like...Jello (not that I have anything against Jello, of course).

Obviously I'll have to wait until after dinner to see how it actually turned out (pretty doesn't mean tasty), but since it didn't explode in the oven, and it smells like a cheesecake ought, I'm fairly optimistic.

For the record, I used a simple graham cracker crust and a cheese-filling recipe from Ellie Krieger's The Foods You Crave (she substitutes part skim ricotta for some of the cream cheese).  And the topping is just fudge with a few toffee sprinkles (I couldn't resist...).  

Hope you all enjoy your weekend!  I will be eating cheesecake.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Smarty Pants: Econ 101

It's been an eventful week so far in the nation, what with the inaugaration of President Obama and all.  But while the celebration and fanfare has been roaring, the economy has been tanking.  Again.  Or, at least a slew of major financial institutions have reported disappointing--if not alarming--numbers, and the sensitive stock market has had yet another hiccup upon hearing the news.

Since the economy is Numbero Uno on the new President's list of priorities, and recent talks about possible remedies involved trillions (yes--that's Trillion with a T), I thought that perhaps it was high time that I devoted a little time to the subject.

Now, I don't mean that I'm going to brush up on my macroeconomic theory (brush up!  hah!  I don't know any macroeconomic theory to begin with!).  But I am going to check out some books I recently received over the holidays (no--not the craft books I mentioned on Monday, or the business resources I mentioned last week....are you getting the idea that I like books?).  Books like Common Cents and I.O.U.S.A.--both recently published on the subject of the economy, and both conveniently sitting on my bookshelf.

And I will probably get around to reading some magazine and newspaper commentaries and articles on the subject of the new stimulus and the banking malaise as well, because certainly those writers know a lot more about it than I do.

And I will be doing this because a) a Trillion dollars, not to mention several trillion dollars, is a Huge amount of money for me to ignore, b) I think that global economics and home economics are inseparably linked, and c) I want to impress people at parties with my super cool knowledge on the subject (naturally).

It goes without saying that I'll be reporting back on what I learn, minus the lame pie charts and stodgy acronyms, because I want you to be informed about this Trillion dollar issue too.  And so that you can be super cool at parties.

So, without further adieu, let the economic homework commence!

Previous Smarty Pants posts:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Blog Birthday

I was reviewing my monthly calendar this morning, and realized that my "blogiversary" had snuck up on me.  It was exactly one year ago today that this little project was launched, albeit under a different title ("be adornable").  

Looking back, I am very thankful for what a friend this small internet space has been for me over the past year.  Working from home can be lonely, and it has been refreshing to come here every week--sometimes every day of the week--to talk about my life.

And it has introduced me to a whole world of people and ideas I didn't know about--like the handmade movement and it's maiden, Etsy.  Like the realization that being domestic was the same as being resourceful and mindful and creative.  And like the wonderful entrepreneurial mavens that have inspired me with their projects and blogs and books and businesses.  

So today I thought I would take a minute to wish a happy birthday to Deviantly Domesticated, to thank all of you who stop by to read and post a comment, and to look forward to another year of blogging!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


If the lure of new projects motivated me out of bed yesterday morning, than the demand for chores pulled me out this morning.  Yes...I know--projects are Way more fun.  But alas my receipt pile has admittedly gotten a tad bit out of control (I explained politely to my husband that I was only Two months behind after he suggested ever so subtly that "maybe it was time to update Quicken?").  And my new plan to only go to the grocery store two times per month is working swimmingly if you don't count the fact that we have run out of vegetables completely and now have only processed meats for daily consumption (note to self: pick up more dietary fiber...).  

Furthermore, today is supposed to be 70 degrees (yes--that's right, people.  It is 70 in sunny Colorado in January.  I might just be tempted to sunbathe), which means that technically I could get a jump start on that spring cleaning I've been meaning to do ever since we moved into this house four years ago (don't judge me--I've been very busy).  And I really should water the plants in the backyard since we haven't had a lick of snow this year and everything just looks thirsty.  

And now that we have reached an 87:2 ratio of magazines per humans in the house, perhaps it is time to do a wee bit of sorting and recycling.  Just to...ahem...clear some room for the new magazines, of course.  

So, anyway...clearly I have my work cut out for me.  Until tomorrow...happy nesting (even if your nesting involves chores, too)!

Previous Nesting posts:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Malaise Busters

What has the power to get me out of bed on a Monday morning?  The lure of projects, of course!  I finally pulled these beauties from my bookshelf (gifts from friends and family over the holidays) and am ready to start stitching.  Stay tuned this week as my projects develop!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Giveaway!

At last it has arrived: my first giveaway here on Deviantly Domesticated!  

Those of you who were reading during the Handmade Holiday series over the months of November and December might recall that I developed a love affair with knitting.  I even stayed up until 3:00 am one night knitting a pair of gloves because I was so eager to see what they looked like completed!

Well, since a person only needs so many pairs of gloves (I've reached my quota), I thought I would make a set for one of you lovely readers out there.  This pair of fingerless gloves are perfect for keeping your hands toasty while still giving you the freedom to do important things (like fiddle with keys and strap kids into car seats and find your lip
stick in the bottom of your purse).  
Knitted from a Debbie Bliss silk-cotton blend, they are super soft and warm in rose pink.  Thanks to Cheryl Niamath for creating such a great pattern, and for for providing it for free!  (Download the pattern here to make a set yourself).  

The winner will be selected through a raffle via comments posted here (only one comment per person, please).  Comments will close at 5:00 pm MST and the winner will be announced then!  

note: comments are closed.  Leah Frink is the winner!  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Marketplace Maven's Book Review: the Anti 9-5 Guide by Michelle Goodman

Since I'm taking the month of January to hunt down new Mavens for the first season of 2009, I thought I would use this time to highlight a few great resources out there for the entrepreneurially inclined.  First on my reading list this year has been
Michelle Goodman's The Anti 9-5 Guide.  

The books starts with a familiar story (at least familiar to me) of a young woman--Michelle--working the 9-5, stuck in a cubicle, and hating it.  So she ditched her job and launched her freelance career.  Without a plan, I might add.  This book is her "if I only knew then what I know now" tome to being your own boss.  

Unlike a lot of career books that teach you how to set up and manage a business, Goodman's book shows you how to get out of the job you don't like and into the profession you've been dreaming of.  A more creative, flexible, and freelance profession.

Goodman includes a lot of tips that I wish I would have had during my days as a 9-5-banker-contemplating-a-big-career-change, like how to do research about the job you want (hint: a lot of it includes networking and interviewing other people).  She stresses how important budgeting is before you leave your bread-and-butter job, and how to nurture a business on-the-side until it is grown enough to work full time.  Goodman also shares some great tips on working from home (I applied a lot of these to myself), and how to work with kiddos/spouses/pets in the house and still get stuff done!  

Overall, her practical how-to's were insightful and easy to implement.  And encouraging.  I can wholeheartedly say that this is the book I wish I had had before I left the 9-5, but it is certainly better late than never.  So, if you are contemplating a career change from the cubicle to the home (say a new mom, or a twenty-something creative crafter, or a current maven), this is a great book to add to your library.

To read an interview of Michelle, conducted by previous Mavens Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears of The Boss of You, click here.

See you all tomorrow!

Related Posts:

Resting--A New Nesting Tradition

Now that I work from home, days on and days off kind of blur together in a way they never used to when I worked in a cubicle.  So when I decided last fall to designate one day off every week and really try not to do anything, I didn't know what kind of challenge I was getting myself into.

Taking time off, I'm sure you know, is no easy feat for modern women such as ourselves.  I, for instance, am always tempted to keep my email on during my day off.  And it always manages to lure me back into work-related tasks (damn that little audible "ping" of new messages!).  Or, when I'm sitting on my sofa trying to reflect on the previous week in my journal, I'll somehow end up writing, as if on autopilot, about next week's to-do lists and upcoming projects and appointment reminders.  It must be some sort of sickness.

To remedy my malady, I've been experimenting lately with a "system," so to say, for turning off.  To start, one of the first things I've learned is that a dirty house and an empty fridge are my leisure busters.  If you work full time with weekends off, you know exactly what I mean.  You come home on Friday hoping to have a couple days off only to find a list of chores (clean the bathroom, Cinderella; wash the sheets, Cinderella) mercilessly waiting for you.  Thus, in order to actually accomplish a day off (Saturdays are my choice), I have to get a head start.

Now, I haven't actually accomplished this utopian goal of having fresh sheets, dinner on the stove, a clean house, and flowers and dessert on the table (just for fun--I'm an overachiever) all by Friday night before the sun sets, but I'm getting better at getting there.  For instance, I've learned that if I wait until Friday to clean and cook and do laundry, I'm hosed.  So I've started cleaning earlier in the week to see how far I can get.  And I try to hit the grocery store early so we don't run out of staples (what?!  coffee and No cream!?) by Saturday.  And I have to shut off my computer by Friday night (drastic, I know, but I'm a junkie), and stash my to-do lists in out of sight places lest I be tempted by emails and notes.

I bring all of this up because part of nesting is resting (ah...clever rhyme).  No home is peaceful (one of the best qualities achieved by nesting) when we don't make time for the peace.  So please, do yourself a favor this week, and tackle a few things today that you normally save for the weekend.  Then promise yourself that you aren't going to fill that freed up precious weekend time for something else.  I, for one, will be tackling the toilets this afternoon.  I mean, the cleaner the toilets, the better the rest, you know?

note: yes, that is my dog.  He is quite possibly one of the most pathetic dogs in the world.  Makes very sad faces and is totally unappreciative of the life of leisure he lives....

Stick around later today for my much belated Marketplace Maven post when I review a great maven resource (aka fabulous career book).  And definitely come back tomorrow for my first ever free giveaway raffle!

Previous Nesting Posts:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nesting is...Economizing

Last week I wrote about how nesting is often an act of creativity.  Creativity that seems to be particularly (though not exclusively) female.  Like cozy decorative throw pillows, for instance, which are lovely and a must-have home staple.  The same pillows, I might add, that defy my husband's utilitarian reasoning--why do we need these if we don't sleep on them?--as he begrudgingly puts them on the bed.  It must be a girl thing.

But nesting is not just about creativity.  It is also about economy.  They don't, after all, call it home economics without reason.  There is a certain resourcefulness (often a creative resourcefulness) that accompanies securing a nest.  Like keeping a well-stocked pantry in the event of an unexpected potluck that your 7 year old forgot to tell you about until...oops...two hours before.  Or taking advantage of the space under your bed to stash extra toilet paper rolls when they go on sale.  Or having a freezer full of meals in the off chance (okay...often chance) that you don't feel like cooking dinner.

These things are hardly glamorous, for sure.  Throw pillows are way more fun.  But the economic side of nesting is one of its best features.  Because I know myself--when I head out to Target to "pick up a few things I've run out of"...say...several times a week, I spend A Lot more money than I planned (BTW--have I mentioned my new pink patent leather peep toe pumps?).  Having things on hand at home keeps me out of the stores and thus keeps money in my pocket.

Another great example of this is food.  How many times have I ordered pizza when the fridge was empty and I didn't feel like cooking?  Many.  And how much does pizza cost compared to a few frozen meals?  Um...for us, about the equivalent of four day's worth of homemade dinners plus lunch leftovers.  You do the math.

And how about the economic advantages of creative resourcefulness?  I posted on Monday about a cute set of baby quilts I made as part of this Nesting season.  I didn't mention that 100% of the fabric was recycled from thrift store and closet castaways.  Nesting this way was kind on my pocketbook, and also kind on the environment and local economy.  They didn't teach me about that in home-ec class!

So in this season of nesting (for those of you who are joining me), consider embracing the economy of it along with the creativity.  And next week we'll get into the enterprise of it!  I can't wait!

Still to come this week--my first free giveaway, a very belated Marketplace post, and more nesting.

Previous Nesting Posts:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Kind of Afternoon...

In addition to wanting a more creative career, and a more flexible schedule, I also left the 9-5 so that I could, from time to time, have afternoons like this...

A warm cup of tea, stretched out in the sun with my blanket, my journal and, of course, the latest issue of Domino Magazine.

Homemade macaroon cookies dipped in chocolate.

And dinner in the crockpot already cooking.

Nesting doesn't get much better than that!
To read previous Nesting posts, click below:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nesting: Nurturing my Maternal Side

I wrote last week in The Personal Side of Nesting that, for me, part of this season is about preparing for motherhood.  And while most women do this by taking vitamins and getting in tune with their bodies, I will do it by decorating (naturally).

So I thought I would get in touch with my maternal side by launching a few projects.  Now, I've noticed that there seems to be a lack of variety out there in the world of nursery wares, or at least in my price range.  I'll admit that I like some of Dwell Studio's designs for Target, but otherwise the options seem to be a bit...generic.  Incidentally, I do have a sewing machine, and some time, so....

First I started with this fabric (above left).  I found it disguised as a dress in a thrift store.  I loved the coral, mustard yellow, chocolate brown, and just a touch of blue--perfect for...say...a modern baby girl, no?  Six dollars later, some scissors and a seam ripper, and I was well on my way to my first nursery design.

Pieced together and sewn over several days, I ended up with two quilts and a little extra fabric to spare.  I'm thinking the next project will either be coordinating curtains or a crib bumper...

And while I was out, I also picked up what is undoubtedly the world's most hideous floor lamp for $6.99 at Goodwill (my husband said I was scammed).  In spite of its shabby state, I have some major makeover plans for this sad discard, and think it will be the cutest nursery lamp someday.  So even though my hubby is contemplating banning me from thrift stores from this point forward (he just lacks my optimistic imagination...), I think in the end it will be a triumph of recycling and resourcefulness!  

Thus concludes my Nesting update for this Monday.  But don't go far--debuting later this week will by my first ever giveaway along with my first ever email newsletter sign-up, more chat on Mavens, and of course, more Nesting.

Previous Nesting posts:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday Sussie: Confessions of a Shopaholic, the Movie

note: Saturday Sussies are frivolous things I find throughout the week that I like to share with you.  "Sussie" is a Texas phrase--I think it has something to do with getting "sussied up," but I can't be sure...

Okay, so I know that this is a bit premature, but I'm dying to see the new Confessions of a Shopaholic movie, debuting on February 20th.  I've read all the books (several times over), and always laugh hard enough to offend polite company.

There is just something endearing about Becky Bloomwood and her spending addictions.  Compulsive shopper or not, you can't help but relate to her somewhat twisted rationale and quirky behavior.  The movie, I know, will stray from the book (they always do), but if it provides another opportunity for me to laugh at Becky's antics, I'm bound to be a fan!

Check out this post on Buzz Sugar about the movie, and to view the trailer.  If you've read the books you'll notice right away the absence of a certain British accent (yep--they made Becky an American--bummer...), but I still got a chuckle.

You can bet I'll be ready to hit the theater in February!

Previous Saturday Sussies:

Friday, January 9, 2009

Nesting is...Creating

I wanted to linger a bit on an idea I wrote about yesterday, which is that domesticity and nesting are creative endeavors.  Now I realize that most people probably don't see it that way initially.  I mean, when we are busy with work and errands and social obligations, the "domestic" stuff we do for home tends to be the most immediate, which unfortunately is also the most boring.  Like washing dishes and doing laundry and frantically cleaning out that embarrassing ring in the toilet before guests come over.  But given the benefit of time, domesticity can really, genuinely creative.

I think that I first noticed the creative potential of home when I was working 9-5, and busy, and exhausted.  I'd come home on the weekends and decompress by thumbing through design magazines and buying fabric to make new throw pillows and perpetually changing my linens.  It was my attempt to balance out the blandness of corporate work with some dash of creative inspiration.  And though my affection was for home design, I've seen others apply the same principle with cooking or gardening or hosting.

The thing about our modern society is that most of what we do at home that is creative is no longer necessary (another great point that Jane Brocket makes).  What used to occupy hours and hours of women's creative energy--things like knitting and needlepoint and quilting--are not required by today's modern female.  Target, for instance, can churn out aisles of beautiful garments, accessories and housewares quicker than we can make them and for a fraction of the cost.

This truth, however, makes me a little sad, because all of that creative energy that was once invested in making things is now invested in consuming them.  Why bake bread when you can buy a loaf for pennies at the store?  Why cook dinner when take-out is easier?  Why knit socks or a hat when Wal-Mart sells them cheaper?

While I would be hard pressed to stand in front of a crowd and proclaim that domesticity is noble, I will say that the creative practices of cooking and gardening and knitting and quilting do promote some needed virtues in our time.  For instance, they close the gap between producer and consumer, making us more sensitive to the true costs of money and time that go into our day-to-day goods.  Domestic creativity also promotes uniqueness and quality--two traits that have fallen on rough times of late.  Furthermore, creativity--especially the run-of-the-mill domestic variety--promotes resourcefulness and problem solving, which are invaluable in any era, but particularly useful in ours.

I promise that I'll now climb down from my domestic soapbox--it is a Friday after all--and leave you to enjoy the rest of your day and weekend.  But my hope is that you might enjoy it with some domestic creativity of your own.

Don't forget to join me tomorrow as I revive the Saturday Sussie after its brief hiatus, and highlight something fancy and frivolous just for fun (no soapboxes allowed).  And of course I invite you to come back next week for some more Nesting.

Previous Nesting Posts:
My Domestic Renaissance

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