Meet the Maker: Kate Payne

meet the makerSometime last year, I was virtually introduced to Kate Payne, the author of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking. I don’t remember how the introduction occurred, but from the moment I visited her website, I’ve been hooked. I was so hooked that I purchased her book last November, and I love reading it in the little snippets of free time that I get.

I’m hoping to put a lot of her homemaking tips to use when we get our house, so I will do a full review of the book then. But for now – I just want to share her amazing story.

Photo from Kate Payne

Photo from Kate Payne

Before this book, Kate was what she calls “a flashy cook” – cooking food that would excite, but was not necessary by any means. She has also donned titles such as grant writer, half-assed homemaker, nanny, after-hours poet, doodler and gardener. She studied anthropology and sociology in the Sonoran Desert and once worked on an organic tomato farm.

Kate started the blog in 2009, when she was living in a ground floor apartment in Brooklyn, NY. She wasn’t making the money she was used to, but she still wanted the comforts of home. She dug inside for a little creativity and improvisation, and there the blog – and subsequently the book – were born.

“I started the blog specifically with the intent to write a book. The blog was a sort of sounding board for me to see if what I was thinking about writing was of interest to anyone besides me. I was not a blog reader at the time and my background in grant writing didn’t factor much into my blogging endeavors. I think the rigors of writing well–proofreading, syntax, punctuation, grammar, etc.–should go into any style of writing one does, whether it’s books, blog posts, magazine articles, or grants. “

She decided to write a book because she felt like there wasn’t enough resources out there for women who weren’t so hip on homemaking and keeping a clean house. Aside from that, she found herself questioning if it was normal for a modern, empowered woman like herself to actually enjoy the domestic life.

Image from Kate Payne

Image from Kate Payne

“The stigma and history surrounding women and domesticity fueled my intrigue in exploring my own relationship with the kitchen and household chores. With my book and approach I hope to shed a new light on DIY and eco-oriented homemaking. We all need somewhere to call home and shifting our attitude toward our homes is a good first step.

I’m of the opinion that you should pick and choose what you do yourself based on what you actually like doing, and then dedicate money you save there on quality items or services you don’t particularly enjoy. What makes the most sense for certain people to do themselves, doesn’t make sense for others. “

On top of maintaining her blog and writing her books, Kate also writes grants part-time for a nonprofit and maintains a quarterly column for Edible Austin. She works with her Marketing Coordinator Christina Valentine on the blog, tour event planning and managing workshop preparations. And because that is clearly not enough, she also works with a local farmers market group and helps maintain their website and social media.

“Freelancing means I’m working nearly all the time, but working on things I feel passionately about makes it worth it. I always carve out time to eat dinner with my wife, who does most of the sustenance cooking around our house. (I manage the fermenting, canning, desserts, ice cream and bread making, the projects we love, but can ultimately live without.)”

Meyer Lemon bath salts. Photo from Kate Payne

Meyer Lemon bath salts. Photo from Kate Payne

Kate started canning in 2009 and peach jam was among her first projects, which she was afraid to eat because she was terrified the jars were full of botulism. She also made a triple citrus marmalade, from Eugenia Bone’s book Well Preserved.

“As I endeavored to learn more about canning, I soon discovered that all the hype surrounding your imminent death by canning was not really likely if you followed USDA-approved canning methods and practices. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is a great resource for beginners.”

A self-taught cook, she gets a lot of her recipe inspiration from Joy of Cooking and many of her gluten-free recipes will start from there and from pastry chef David Lebovitz. She will then make the recipes gluten free-friendly by substituting the flour for a flour blend based on what she is making. As for her preserving projects and recipes, she’s inspired by Linda Ziedrich, Eugenia Bone and Sandor Katz.

She and her friend started the Food Swap Network, which provides hosts and attendees with a bevy of resources and information. Existing swaps that are registered on their site are searchable for anyone nearby who wants to join the fun.

Gluten-free Cinnamon Cake. Photo from Kate Payne

Gluten-free Cinnamon Cake. Photo from Kate Payne

Kate’s new book The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen comes out next month and is available for pre-order now. She says it will be in the same style and format as her freshman book – it will just focus completely on the kitchen, which really is a world of its own.

“I took over the cooking for the year I wrote the book as evidence that even someone like me who doesn’t enjoy daily sustenance cooking can reasonably and affordably incorporate cooking into their busy lifestyle.”

She hopes people will just simply focus on doing their best, and will relax when they hit the learning curve that comes with working on new projects. And as for the best compliment she’s received:

“A single mom told me how she’s never had time for any household things, but my book and small-batch preserving recipes on the blog inspired her to try doing some kitchen projects with her daughter. They now spend more time together cooking and canning, which means the world to her.”

Photo from Kate Payne

Photo from Kate Payne

Kate will be kicking off her HGGK Book Tour (hooray!) on May 24 in Ann Arbor, MI and the tour will close in Albuquerque, NM on July 1. I have listed the dates and locations of her book tour, and you can also see her full classes, demos and signings schedule by visiting her at katepayne.net.

      • May 24 – Ann Arbor, MI: Literati Bookstore, time TBD
      • May 27 – Austin, TX: BookPeople 7:00pm
      • May 28 – Houston, TX: Blue Willow Bookshop, 7:00pm
      • May 29 – Brooklyn, NY: Greenlight Bookstore, 7:30pm
      • June 13 – Tucson, AZ: Antigone Books, 7:00pm
      • June 17 – La Jolla, CA: Warwick’s, 7:30pm
      • June 23 – Seattle, WA: Book Larder, 6:30pm
      • June 28 – San Francisco, CA: Omnivore Books, 3:00pm
      • June 30 – Phoenix, AZ: Changing Hands Bookstore, 7:00pm
      • July 1 – Albuquerque, NM: Bookworks, 7:00pm

You can find Kate Payne by visiting her on The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking website, you can find neat stuff in her store and you can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. If you know an awesome maker who would be perfect for this series, please leave a link in the comments, share on my social media or e-mail it to me!

Weekly Wishes #1

Last week, I wrote about this awesome site I happened upon – The Nectar Collective – where Melyssa, who runs the blog, started Weekly Wishes – where she shares her goals and challenges each week. I do the same in my journal but I thought it would be cool to also share them on my blog. So this will be the first time I’m linking up my blog to the Weekly Wishes party! Here are my wishes for this week.

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Business wish – Create buttons for both my Sweet Mariposa shop and my blog. I have wanted to do this for a long time but with how tricky WordPress is, I have had some difficulty. I am able to post buttons I have grabbed from other sites, but I’m having trouble posting my own. I found a tutorial on Jade Louise Designs so I’m going to try that out since I haven’t had any luck with tutorials I have found before. If you have had luck posting a button you created on a WordPress.com hosted site – please let me know! Another business wish is to read through Ch. 9 in The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin. I’m starting Ch. 7 tonight so I’m hopeful that I will reach my goal by the end of the week.

Image belongs to Kari Chapin

Image belongs to Kari Chapin

Creative wish – Finally finish these cheese graters! I originally painted them purple and put an octopus on one and was in the midst of putting a butterfly on the other when I decided to ditch both designs and go in a different direction. So I spray painted them both a crazy lime green and now I’m working on finishing up the designs and adding some embellishments before they officially earring holders! I’m going to share the tutorial on my Linkouture when I’m done!

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Fitness wish – 15 minutes of exercise + 15 minutes of yoga each day. I’m starting at the beginning again, and hoping that I can accomplish that every day. I get plenty of walking with my daughter but I’m only 14 lbs away from my goal weight and I know if I put a little more effort into my exercise every day, I can get it done. Then I can finally do the ol’ wardrobe switch-a-roo!

Home wish – Start canning all my vegetables from the garden. Also, learn how to can. I’m going to start at Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking and move on from there. Things I want to make: hot sauce, salsa and pesto, for starters. Helllooo Christmas gifts!

What are your wishes for the week? Post in your blog and then link up to Weekly Wishes to share! Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for find more inspiration for my weekly wishes and join me on my journey!

Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favorites

This week has been very special. Instead of spending hours scouring Pinterest and Etsy for something lovely to write about, I found it all in my very own life. Not that I mind my creepily close relationship with both websites, it is kind of an amazing feeling to not have to search very far, or very long, for inspiration. Here are some of my favorite things that has happened in the last week or so.

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Cards! From CocoPress – I entered Emmaline’s Instagram giveaway, and I won this pack of cards! They are so super cute that I don’t really want to send them anywhere, but that would be just plain greedy. I’ve actually read about crafty pen pals, so if I get into something like that, these would be perfect! I will post Emmaline’s story on my Meet the Maker series soon, so stay tuned to read more about this wonderful printmaker!

Image belongs to The Petit Cadeau

Image belongs to Alison Butler

Why I Buy Handmade from The Petit Cadeau – Allison wrote about why she buys handmade and the slow gifting movement on her blog. “It’s about making a conscious choice for gifts. It’s about making gifts with love or purchasing something made with care by hand. It’s an energy” You can read more buy clicking on the link or image above. You can also join the movement with @thepetitcadeau on Twitter, just use the hashtag #whatimgifting. I’m also writing about the lovely Allison for my “Yo Momma Monday” series and you will get to read her story soon!

Image belongs to Interweave

Image belongs to Interweave

Knitting contest from Interweave – I have actually formed a good relationship with Tiffany from Interweave through this blog, and she let me know about this contest! Interweave is offering a prize package to knitters who share the story behind their first knitting projects. I remember my first knitting project – I was trying to make one of those rasta beanies, and it got super stretched out so now it’s pretty ridiculous. I still have the beanie! I will share my story in the contest and will also share it on my blog. It’s going on now through Nov 8th. If you win, you get to choose up to 5 items for your prize package. Score!

Image belongs to Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Image belongs to Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap – This is the first time I’ve heard of such a thing, and let me tell you – it sounds awesome! The cookie swap is hosted by Love & Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen, both blogs that I love. Participants must have a blog that is at least two months old and must have at least two food-related posts in the last two months. There is a $4 entry fee, which goes directly to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, and the deadline to enter is Nov. 4th.

I have been taking little steps to integrating food more into my blog, and this is just more motivation to keep me going that route. And I get to try cookies from other food bloggers? Done.

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Weekly Wishes on the Nectar Collective – And last but definitely not least, I found this little goodie when I was doing some research on another wonderful person I am writing about, Lix Hewett. Melyssa, who runs the Nectar Collective and Weekly Wishes, posts her goals and/or challenges for the week every Monday. She then invites others to join her through a linkup.  I do this on my own every week in my journal, but it sure would be nice to share and get inspired by others.

I have found that the more I involve myself with others in the crafting community, the easier inspiration comes to me. If you see anything here that speaks to you, share your thoughts in the comments below. You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for more of this goodness. Have anything you want to share? Simply use the hashtag #fridayfavorites or tag me in the post! Happy Friday to all!