Carrying On

Silhouette of woman watering a garden

Somehow, it’s already July, after the longest/shortest three month period ever. With everything that’s happened and happening in the world, I just haven’t had the heart to write about…anything.

Briefest of updates: The March Housewife Experiment was largely successful. I stopped writing about it in the early coronavirus days, but I did keep it up in practice, for the most part.

I liked the routine, and I loved that my apartment was never dirty. Some of the regular cleaning was a bit much. I don’t know that I need to clean the top of the fridge every week, really. I also never fit every recommended task into a single week, but the attempt was satisfying.

As we head deeper into summer, I will likely lose whatever remained of my ambition. This is what happens when it gets really hot out, pandemic or no pandemic. I think reinstating those daily routines might be very helpful for staying functional. I’ll let you know.

Speaking of staying functional…it’s hard, right? I have absolutely fallen into the trap of constantly checking social media. This means I spend all day learning about new instances of people suffering and the triumphs of injustice. At best, I can channel this into action. At worst, I just stare, and scroll, and stare, and scroll, while feeling my blood pressure creep higher and higher. So I’m trying to find the balance between “informed” and “constantly incensed.”

One of the keys to that balance is the daily rituals and tasks of domesticity. Cooking meals, and making things, and getting dressed, and cleaning up…I suspect this is a large part of how humans across history have kept it together when everything falls apart.

In the past months, I avoided writing here because the stuff I cover seems so small in the face of the world in this moment. But it’s really not so inconsequential–it occupies much of our lives. Moreover, the “home stuff” is what keeps many of us going through the hard work of addressing the bigger picture. It’s not necessarily escapism, it might be that (ugh, buzzword) self-care we’re all trying to practice.

What’s keeping you grounded these days?

4 Vintage Fall Looks

It’s finally fall. This week the temperatures dropped, the air crisped up, and sudden pumpkin cravings set in.

One of my favorite things about fall is sweaters. My love of sweaters is well-documented. Sweaters are a key part of fall vintage style, and autumnal style in general. But sweaters aren’t the only fall clothes I’m excited about.

This year, I realized everything I like falls into four distinct categories. So I named them and made Pinterest boards because that’s the kind of nerd I am.

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How Can I Tell If A Canning Recipe Is Safe To Use?

“Aren’t you worried about poisoning yourself?”

Whenever I talk about canning with people who don’t do it, it never takes long before they ask this question.

I always say, “No, safe canning is easy, don’t be scared.”

But the fact is, I’m definitely concerned about poisoning myself and others. That’s why I follow safe practices. Improper canning procedure can result in ruined food, sickness, and in some extreme cases, death. (We all remember those green beans from East of Eden, right?)

1940s woman holding arm full of mason jars filled with food, text: "Am I proud! I'm fighting famine by canning food at home" She probably wasn't using safe home canning practices.

So how do we know if a recipe is safe? It’s not hard, but you do need a little know-how.

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Spring Cleaning: The Update

I started spring cleaning, and almost immediately got the flu.

I very much enjoyed my sparkling bathroom as I moved from bathtub to bed on repeat while battling the good old influenza. One could draw the conclusion that deep cleaning is a health hazard, but my cousin got it at the same time, and as far as I know, he didn’t have any major cleaning projects going on.

However, the flu took me out of action for two Fridays, and then I left town, so spring cleaning is officially extending into May.

Oh well. It seems like spring itself is also going back and forth, so May definitely still has that, “Spring is here!” feel.

Spring Cleaning: First Steps

1940s print image of woman enthusiastically sweeping with a broom

Things have gotten a little cluttered around here. This is mostly my doing. And when it’s cluttery, it’s hard to actually clean things.

As happens from time to time, I was fine with the general state of things until I was suddenly not, and now I want to shout, “We are living in squalor!” and CLEAN. ALL. THE. THINGS.

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