1–10 of 21 entries in the category: Homebody

The Little Things

February 10th

This weekend I planted a vegetable garden. One of the perks of returning to my little home in Tempe: space to garden. I’d done a good bit of work over the years to clear areas for gardening and no surprise — they were empty and ready for some attention.
Back to Tempe


Tomatoes and leeks and peppers and zucchini and in a few months, we will have more vegetables than we know what to do with. Thankfully we also have more Ball and Mason jars than I know what to do with. (I may be a bit of a jar junky.) I see a tomato canning party early summer.

Back to Tempe


Otherwise, I scratched the itch to have everything spotless and organized this weekend.

Back to Tempe

New drip pans for an old stove  — with a bit of elbow grease and Magic Erasers (which, my God really are magic and possibly produced by Unicorns) and voila — a much nicer looking, sparkly clean stove:

Back to Tempe


My other cleaning hack worthy of sharing: my little home has OLD cabinets. They could use to be replaced, along with just about every other fixture in the joint. My mom suggested cleaning them with Simply Orange and my goodness if that didn’t make a big difference.


Back to Tempe



Back to Tempe


You wouldn’t believe the ick that stuff removed. Are they brand new? No. Are they clean and ready for more use? Yep.

So, while this place isn’t palatial, it will be clean and tidy as we take our time moving in. I’m pleasantly surprised by how much it feels like home. A garden always helps with that.

Back to Tempe

This week: painting, bathroom updates and new carpeting. And lots of watering the little garden that could (and will).

My home in Denver was the Heirloom Homestead. Any votes if I keep the name or spice it up? I’d love your suggestion.


Posted in
Arizona, Happy Hippie, Homebody
Comments (11)

Thanksgiving Day Planning

November 21st


This year, I’m adding the following to our table of friends and family for Thanksgiving day celebrations (friends are bringing the bird, gravy and mashed potatoes):


Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls I like to surprise friends with the delivery first thing Thanksgiving morning. They can be picked at all day, or enjoyed first thing with a big mug of coffee. They are warm and gooey and wonderful and a great kick off to a day of excess.


The feast:

Cheese platter

Parsnip carrot soup — served in tiny glasses, to be sipped before dinner

Brussels sprout hash — because, yes. I just love these and I don’t care if I have to take the remainder of the dish home with me. YUM.

Cranberry and ginger relish from Orangette — I’ve made this in the past and it is making me drooly just thinking about it.

Sweet potato casserole, family recipe

Big, fluffy rolls. I may get adventurous and try this recipe. I may buy them.

{Fluffy roll + turkey + cranberry + sweet potato casserole = heaven. Like, I’m pretty sure that is what is served in heaven any time you want it.}

The recovery:

Ice cream, dark chocolate sampler — pie is for the birds.


This is the first year without my Grandma Max, who loved this holiday. I plan on having a bowl of giant black olives and tiny pickles on the table too, in her honor. (I wish I’d thought to ask for her pilgrim salt and pepper shakers.) Off to make a market list and pulling out dishes.

My favorite large-meal hack: the day before, I line up platters and dishes with post it notes labeling the recipe and the order for cooking, along with non-refrigerated ingredients. It helps me keep everything in order and warm when ready to be served.

What is your Thanksgiving tradition?





Posted in
Celebrate!, Domestic Art, Homebody
Comments (7)

Make It Work

October 14th

I am slowly turning our third floor into a sewing room and office. The room started as our catch-all for boxes we didn’t know where to unpack, rolled rugs — purchased for our New Jersey home — with its gorgeous hardwood floors, and stacks of books that didn’t make it to the haphazard piles on bookshelves downstairs.

I wanted a space to iron, cut and sew fabric. I also wanted things to be organized in a way that allowed me to access them. If I have to move a dozen boxes to get to the one I need for that one additional element to any project, it simply won’t happen. After a few weeks, it is starting to come together. Far from perfect, but better than where we started.

First find: a chair and cushion at Goodwill — purchased for $5:

The making of an arts + crafts loft

The making of an arts + crafts loft

Second find: a small farm table to replace the one I loved in Golden. This one is smaller, but it will work for my sewing machine. (Or a laptop, if we want to work up here as the weather cools.) Carpets unrolled, chair pulled in and this little table works like a charm.

The making of an arts + crafts loft

But dang it, if that doesn’t still look messy. Baskets of sewing books and that printer were driving me crazy. Also, I don’t have anywhere to cut my fabric, which was sitting with the ironing board in a corner:

The making of an arts + crafts loft

And those little windows needed some attention. Curtains. Some funky curtains. Another cheapy Goodwill find, a good washing and ironing and voila:

Creating a sewing room

Perfect? No. Functional and better than staring at tiny venetian blinds? Yes.

A trip to Ikea with a gift card later — two more bookshelves were added upstairs and that clutter took a much better turn:

The making of an arts + crafts loft

Creating a sewing room

Creating a sewing room

As for cutting the fabric, for now, I’ll have to share the sewing table and make the best of it until I find another sturdy table that will work.

Creating a sewing room

A pretty and functional space.  A minimal investment in new things. A focus on using what we have.


Posted in
Arizona, Homebody, Reuse
Comments (9)


July 16th

Driving across America. Again.

My family.


Posted in
Comments (9)

Before + After Week: Office

June 20th

Growing up in Phoenix, I was spoiled by real estate. I grew up in a home with a walk-in closet in my bedroom. Our house had two nicely sized bathrooms and a double garage.

As an adult in the Denver area, I realize how much younger of a city Phoenix is. Homes here in the same socio-economic range often come with one bathroom, zero closets and a nice parking spot on the street. My new home does have a few closets but nothing significant. When organizing my office, I  did not like my many tubs of art supplies hanging out for everyone to see:

Before + After: Office

Hi! We previously lived in a closet where no one could see us, in all our plastic glory. 

Before + After: Office

Nor the green drapes — although they did provide awesome shade. This space needed some organizational love, including sewing up some panels to hide the junk:

Before + After: Office

Two yards of heavy canvas and 30 minutes of sewing later — voila. Hidden junk. 

 Before + After: Office

Before + After: Office

Also — Sue sent a lovely housewarming gift this week that she embroidered. I couldn’t bring myself to use the dishcloth in the kitchen, but it looks sweet here — along with the African chicken my friend Tina sent.

Before + After: Office

And my favorite Japanese print curtains in place. It’s starting to feel like home.


Posted in
Heirloom Homestead, Homebody, Reuse
Comments (3)


January 9th


Brunch for the gang

Brunch for the gang

Brunch for the gang

Brunch for the gang

Brunch for the gang

Dear friends came into town this weekend for a certain football game; I welcomed the chance to cook for their paleo palates by starting their visit off with brunch. (This egg casserole and this pancake recipe are entirely worth adding new ingredients to the grocery basket. The pancake was actually so good — hefty, filling, satisfying and healthy — I’d consider making it a new Saturday morning routine. No syrup or other nonsense required.)

I’ve come to believe brunch at home, where the coffee, music, temperature and timing are just as you like it, is the perfect way to catch up with those you love.













Posted in
Heirloom Homestead, Homebody, Kitchen Talk
Comments (6)

Secret Vegetables

June 15th


sauteed onions and garlic make life better

My brother and his girlfriend came over for my first Heirloom Homestead dinner party this week. We celebrated Jess’ 23rd birthday. (Yeah. Not only is she pretty, but she’s young too.)

Mmm... brains! (okay, cauliflower)

Her favorite meal, per Cody is “alfredo with white wine and snickerdoodles.” The cookies didn’t happen, but the rest did. And because I’m trying to do this paleo way of eating, I knew I’d need more than just sauce. So, I steamed some cauliflower and blended it into the sauce, along with sauteed garlic and onions, to both make the pasta sauce thicker and more substantive. With chicken and a big spinach salad, it wasn’t a bad meal.

Cauliflower puree

(Yeah. I didn’t make the alfredo sauce. I don’t normally eat this way, but I was out of time and this was handy.)

Chicken, cauliflower alfredo

I nearly got away with sneaking the vegetables into the sauce without Cody knowing; alas, they showed up 15 minutes early and the hungry bear paced in the kitchen watching my every move. Thankfully, they were both too hungry to complain and seemed to like the dinner. I know they liked the mint chocolate chip for dessert.

I’m still dreaming of a big picnic table under that giant tree in the backyard for some summer BBQs. Soon.


Posted in
Heirloom Homestead, Homebody, Kitchen Talk
Comments (5)

Building a Homestead

May 19th

Feed me!

Other than my lame attempts at poetry and my very public screaming about the weather for the last week (see: Twitter) — I’ve been thinking about this new little home I’m building. Technically, I’m renting. But let me get carried away, will you?

The creation of a home is something that requires magic. How many have visited a house that felt homey? Or maybe you better remember those that didn’t? It is strange to be in a house that is so perfect it resembles a Stepford scene/Pottery Barn catalog. On the contrary, my favorite homes are interesting for the same reasons my friends are — quirks, flaws and wild senses of both humor and creativity.

giant home that looks like a doll house

Not my childhood home

The home I grew up in was immaculate. Homemade quilts on the backs of couches and tucked in tidy linen closets, rows of homemade preserves and pickled vegetables in the pantry, a riot of roses in deep planters overlooking the living room window. My mother was a domestic queen who thoroughly enjoyed keeping house, including a penny-perfect budget.

My mother, I’m sadly not. But she did provide great encouragement for her children to be artsy dreamers. The house of my dreams is similar in design to that of Frida’s childhood home in Mexico. Adobe walled bedrooms, with French doors leading to a central courtyard — where giant, old trees are wrapped in tiny white lights, and a kitchen full of pottery and a warm meal awaits any visitor. I was closer to recreating this vision living in the desert southwest. And by “closer,” I mean a long-shot.

used to be homes

Also, not my childhood home

Alas, my dream home isn’t a log cabin in some remote up-canyon community. (Lovely to vacation, but my social heart would die a sad, lonely death up in them there hills.)  Instead, my Colorado homestead blueprints include:

  • A rustic farm table with benches for the kitchen — rumor has it my carpenter grandfather is working on this for me. Spoiled? Slightly. I hope to host many community dinners and eventually feed a family at this table. I am so very, very thankful my grandfather is creating this heirloom for my new home.
  • A kitchen window where I can hang the Japanese curtain panel I purchased and tucked away years ago, knowing the day would eventually come when, indeed, I could look out over my
  • kitchen garden. Have you heard of a potager? Frida and Diego had one of these too. In theory, you should be no farther than arm’s length from the kitchen to harvest herbs. For this home, this garden will be one of pots. While I timed my escape of Arizona’s heat just right, I underestimated the time it would take to get settled to plant my own garden in time. A few potted tomatoes, basil and other herbs will be just outside of that window, next to the compost bin — also handy to have near the kitchen sink. Grandpa already built the compost bin. I know. A carpenter and a quilter in the family? I’m lucky.
  • My own pantry lined with Mason jars full of food I’ve grown and preserved
  • A proper guest room with plenty of clean linens for the many visitors I’ve have scheduled for summer get-aways
  • A stack of board games and a wine fridge; I’d rather entertain with these than a television
  • A large dog bed in the living room, a large coop full of fowl in the yard, and a porch with a bench, pots of flowers and a wind chime
  • Framed photos of the many I love
  • A basket over-flowing with yarn, needles and projects to share with visitors
  • Another basket for cards and correspondence — what a treat to have the postman come to my door!
  • A chalk board where I can list my prayer for the week

dreamy kitchen table and setting

shutters, stars, dress form, white and soft blue

blue and white quilts

I'm going to find this table for my living room

This is all coming together; it really is such a dream to be in the mountains, at this phase of life. I wish more than anything I could be surrounded by those I love from Arizona. Until then, here I will be an urban homesteader — a title I will take with pride.



Posted in
Colorado, Community, Happy Hippie, Homebody, June Cleaver
Comments (6)


May 14th

Sheila treated me to a homemade meal this week that was too colorful and delicious not to photograph:

For poaching fish





Salmon, poached with dill and lemon; roasted acorn squash; plantains with cinnamon

This paleo/primal way of eating is tricky. Whole milk in my morning coffee, grilling sausage for dinner, eating cheese or greek yogurt when I want an afternoon snack? All fantastic. I am satisfied eating much less, with much more fat in my diet. My skin is clearer. My cravings are changing. I’m enjoying eating foods I’d previously banned on some ridiculous fatty prohibited list.

If I never eat a no/low-fat cookie, yogurt, ice cream sandwich again — it will be too soon. Bring on the fat. Hold the sugar.

That said — this way of eating is not convenient. Just like any significant behavior change, it takes a commitment and preparation. Working from home, I spend a lot of time now in coffee shops with wifi. Empty carbs are cheap and prolific. I can’t just have a bagel for breakfast. If there aren’t eggs on the menu, I’m either going hungry, or I’d better hope I remembered to grab something before I left the house. A wrap for lunch won’t work. Pizza for dinner isn’t happening.

Yet the benefits are worthwhile. When I move into my own little homestead (with wifi and a coffee pot) that produces vegetables and eggs from the yard? Well. It will make this all that much more convenient.

Who knew eating like a knuckle dragger would be so satisfying?



Posted in
Homebody, Kitchen Talk, Paleo
Comments (3)

Pantry Dreams

May 12th


I am an organization freak. I always have been. I can’t get out of a bed without making it (sometimes even at hotels). I wipe down the bathroom counter every single time. I have a google doc that tracks car repair and maintenance. (I once got two transmission flushes in a six month period because I didn’t have such a system.) My spices might be alphabetized.

Yeah. I’m nuts. For a long time I hid this, or attempted to, as to not have my OCD nature yet another point of critique. But recently I’ve come to the conclusion that we are all nuts. And life is just so much more interesting and fun when you let your freak flag fly. So, guess what? I love to clean. I love to organize. The Container Store? Better than a trip to Tiffany’s. Seriously. (No mining guilt!)

I have pipe dreams of having a side business organizing other’s spaces. There are some very specific tools and habits to keeping an organized home or workplace. And once these become routine, you are set. Plus, I look at these small daily changes in behavior as prevention.

  • Put in two minutes today to sort through mail, recycling every single bit of paper you don’t need, canceling catalogs, paying bills — you don’t end up with a pile the size of Everest on a Saturday afternoon with late fees and precious, sunny weekend hours wasted inside sorting.
  • Keep a “Goodwill” bag in your closet. Every time you add a new piece of clothing, you agree to donate. No one was infinite closet space. This limits shopping too; you only have so many hangers.
  • Make those hangers the same brand and color. Face your clothing all the same direction. You’ll be shocked how many new combinations you are able to create with the same materials.
  • Google docs and calendars are ideal for tracking birthdays and other important events. Make a plan on the 25th of each month to write out cards for the next month — with stamps and addresses handy. Then mail in two batches. Send thank you cards at this time too. I keep a running list. People don’t care when the card arrives; they want to know you thought of them. And a handwritten note might was well come licked by T-Rex, they are so rare.
  • Burn your CDs. Buy a backup hard drive. Buy another one. Get rid of your CDs.
  • Use the library. Clear your shelves of books you don’t plan on ever using again. Donate generously.
  • Clean out your wallet at least once a week. Face bills. Sort receipts. Keep a supply of stamps.
  • Minimize your cleaning supplies. Bleach, vinegar, coarse salt, lemon juice, a couple good rags and Magic Erasers. You don’t need much more.
  • Keep a trash bag in your car; empty it regularly. Keep a towel in the trunk. Wipe down your dash when things get hairy. This towel is also particularly great for the occasional $2 car wash. I run through these quarter car washes about once a month.


When a friend recently asked me for some tips on how to be more organized, I started with an especially tricky space. Organizing a small space is even more of a fun challenge. A pantry under the stairs? One with deep shelves? Bring it.


I started by pulling everything out and grouping like items. I spent $15 on two shelves (one long, to hold baby food and formula) and the other for canned goods, and one basket — for granola bars. Because in Colorado, one cannot have too many granola bars.


Some 20 minutes later — voila. Because the shelves are long, I organized like items deep. In other words, they are stacked behind each other to the very back of the shelf. Use one, pull the next one forward. But here is the trick about organizing: this will only work if the behavior changes too. You have to learn to work with a new system to make it a system.


If this were my pantry — I’d paint the inside of the door with chalkboard paint and keep a running grocery list.

And yes, I know. It’s nuts I took so much pleasure from this project. And yet? Better. Much, much better. Organization, cleanliness and frugality are the trinity of a smart home.

(Freak flag at full mast. )



Posted in
Domestic Art, Good to Great, Homebody
Comments (25)