Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Please allow me to begin my rant today by sharing this blog post that made me laugh out loud this morning! (I'm pretty sure Ruth Krauss is A.) a lunatic, B.) my new favorite author and C.) an untapped crafting gold mine!)  I found this gem of a book on Lane Smith's blog, Curious Pages: Recommended Inappropriate Books for Kids. 

In case you're not convinced to take a look at Lane's post, please admire the sheer kookery of this project:

But, this is a blog about womanly things, NOT children's literature, so let's (reluctantly) say good bye to Lane and move on to Accessories!
As I look thru my favorite blogs, I often find pictures of rooms that I think are amazing! They are sweet and put together and FULL of beautiful accessories!

Accessories like the Nester's WOMANLY apothecary jars.

Or this beautiful dresser-scape also from the Nester.

Or this WOMALY apothecary jar and *groan* antique scale from Miss Mustard Seed's guest bathroom.

And this WOMALY dining room table top from the Lettered Cottage. (Do you see those green eggs that match the green apples that match the green tulip stems?!)
Pictures like these make me weak in the knees!  I dream about my big, old house full of perfect children and perfect pets, immaculately clean and chalk full of accessories like these.  Then I wake up and I remember that I CAN'T stand clutter or nick-nacks in my house!  The top of my book case: empty!  My coffee table: empty!  My breakfast bar that is too shallow for stools: empty. The fairy tale me is very into shabby chic with accessories all over the place. The real me is almost modern with funky framed fabric from Ikea and not a nick-nack in sight.  I think the WOMANLY me should somehow negotiate a compromise between the two. So that all three of us can live happily ever after!

Sorry, I just had to share one more oddity!  Thanks for sharing, Lane!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Beauty Products

TIME OUT! Before I go any further, I have to tell everybody about the AMAZING blogging milestone I just reached!  I emailed one of my blog-crushes, Kim ,from Dear Daisy Cottage the other day to tell her how fabulous and cheerful I think her blog is and to ask for photography tips.  Not only did she email me back with kind words and encouragement, but she visited my blog, commented AND added me to her Blog Candy list!  I'm totally somebody now!  It's so fun and flattering to be included in a list with such clever and creative people!

The other day, I decided to go to the mall and visit my friend (and fellow blogger), who works at a Nordstrom make up counter.  We had a nice visit during her 15 minute break and then she offered to do my make up.  I hadn't showered, I was in a stained, hooded sweatshirt with greasy hair but who doesn't love the feeling of being beautiful and pampered? Right? 
When she was finished, she asked me what beauty products I needed samples of.  I told her I didn't really need anything.  "Ok," she replied. "What do you want?"  I still couldn't think of anything. She came thru with samples of a great moisturizer and lots of perfumes.
Sometimes I'm so focused on domestic-type woman skills that I miss fabulous opportunities for womanly lessons in other areas, like beauty products.  I am not a shopper.  I go to the mall in ratty clothes with a total in-and-out mentality.  It might be more womanly for me to take time and browse and investigate products.  Thanks, friend, for pointing out this new opportunity for womanly growth!

Me, after another make-up encounter with my womanly Nordstrom friend.

What do you think?  Any woman skills you'd like to see me tackle?  I'm newly open minded!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Womanly Craft: A House of Love

Back in December, I discovered these adorable paper houses created by the fabulous, creative Anna at twelve22.  They really spoke to me, probably because I have been hurt and disappointed many times by gingerbread houses gone awry.  Forgetting that I hate clutter of all sorts, I began dreaming of a whole paper cottage village.  By the time all my other Christmas decorations found homes, I realized I did not have a spare surface for my little houses, so I filed the patterns away in my pile of deferred craft dreams.
Today, I got the chance to resurrect one of them! 
A friend called me this morning, sad because she was feeling weighed down by existential pressure, dealing with a quarter life crisis, as John Meyer might say.  We chatted for quite a while and tried to figure it all out, but were not were not very successful.  I decided to go visit her at work and take a little present to cheer her up.  What to take though?  Then I remembered the little Christmas cottages!  The pre made ones were a little too Christmas-y for the occasion, but the fabulous, creative Anna made a blank template to decorate however I want!  I "borrowed" quite a few elements from the original, but managed to create something adorable and special, just like my dear friend!

"Borrowing" details from Anna's house.  I can't believe her attention to even the tiniest details!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Womanly Baking Success!

My knitting group was over the other night and I decided to make up for the burnt cookie incident with these beauties from my blog-crush, Pioneer Woman's site.  Because I'm a rebel who can't be bothered to follow recipes to the letter, I made them sans nuts, undercooked them a little and obviously cut them while they were still warm - I just couldn't wait.  It's a pretty simple, straight forward recipe and I thought they would be a breeze, but I did run into a minor baking catastrophe.
The recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups of brown sugar, but despite checking my supplies and heading to the grocery store before I started baking, I only had 1 1/4 cups. By the time I realized this, I was already committed, so I decided to improvise. I know that white sugar = brown sugar - molasses, so I figured I could just add some molasses to some white sugar and it would work out. Hopefully...

Surprisingly, it worked great!  The brownies were moist and delicious and my sweet knitting group with 5 ladies ate half the pan in less than three hours.  To equal 1 cup of brown sugar, I used about 7/8 cup white sugar and 1/8 cup molasses.  In the future, I may use a little less of each, but the important part is that I achieved womanly success!  Aren't you proud of me?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Closed Minded?

I have several things to clear up before I officially begin this post:
1) No, I have not cleaned my room yet.  The shame that comes from having posted a disgusting picture of my room online has apparently not given me enough motivation.  Maybe the shame of having to admit that I haven't cleaned my room despite the shame of posting a picture of it on my blog will be enough.  Maybe...
2) I did not finish Adam's scarf in time for his birthday.  Oh well, there's always his 20th birthday, and since he did not give me a Christmas or birthday present this year, I don't feel too bad.
3) All of my cleaning and blogging time lately has been gobbled up by my new obsession, Doctor Who. A boy in my Sunday School class told me that I would love it and probably should put a David Tennant poster up on my wall.  I do love the show, but I'm not quite ready for David's poster. His eyes are too intense, a little like a crazy person. I did have a Doctor Who dream last night though.

Now, on to the main event!

In the 21st century, we have access to an incredible amount of information.  A reasonable person might think that this would make people more well rounded and better informed.  According to a story I heard on NPR, this just isn't true.  Instead of seeking out information from a wide variety of sources, people mostly read stuff written by people who think like them.  So their oppinions are enforced and the other guys look like idiots.  When I heard this, I shook my head with all the moral superiority I could muster.  "Oh, you people," I thought. "You're so closed minded.  Why don't you try listening to someone different from you."  Of course, I knew I was different.  I'm all about dialogue and I'm totally interested in the opinions of people who are different from me.  Right?
Not so much.
A quick glance at my Google Reader shows that I almost exclusively follow mommy blogs and craft blogs that lean toward the rural side. Pretty much, I read stuff from the women I hope to be. 
My biggest blog-crush is totally the Pioneer Woman (of course who isn't just a little bit in love with her?).  Her photography and sassy writing make me want to move to Northern Oklahoma.
If Oklahoma doesn't work out, I've got a back up plan, Montana.  I recently fell in love with Teresa at Meadowbrook Farm.  Teresa, can I PLEASE just move into your house?
The one, redeeming blog I follow from the person who thinks the least like me has got to be the Sartorialist.  He's a fashionista, who has taught me that you can pretty much wear whatever you want, as long as you have the appropriate attitude.
So, maybe I am a little closed minded.  I mostly like to read stuff that agrees with me.  I guess that's okay, as long as I keep in mind that other opinions do exist and they are often intelligent and well thought out.  At least now, the morally superior look has been wiped off my face.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Goofus and Gallant

Disclaimer: I ADORE my roommate!  She's beautiful and smart and really good with people and definitely way more womanly than me in all kinds of ways.  However....
Do you remember Goofus and Gallant from Highlights magazine?  Goofus is the lovable slacker who's always messing up and Gallant is the total brown noser who pretty much just existed to make all the rest of us feel like failures.  Here are a few examples of their respective behaviors:
1944: "Goofus opens a package that is meant for Grandma; Gallant carries Mother's package, unopened, to her."
1955: "Goofus doesn't remove his cap at a playmate's home; Gallant removes his hat."
1960: "Goofus turns on the television when there are guests; whenever guests arrive, Gallant turns off the television at once."
1979: " 'I'll copy this poem and send it in,' says Goofus; Gallant writes his own story."
I think most people like Goofus much more than the up-tight Gallant.  If you 're one of those people, prepare your nerves to be grated upon because in this post, I get to be Gallant!

When I started a load of laundry today, I noticed there was a bunch of dried, crusted detergent on the agitator.  I pointed it out to my roommate, who had no idea that you're supposed to put powdered detergent in the bottom of the washer, and showed her the proper way to do it.  Then, I opened the silverware drawer - which is less than 4 feet from our junk drawer - where I discovered a carabiner.  "What's this?" I asked.
"I wanted to keep it," she replied.
"In the silverware drawer?  It probably isn't very clean."  I'm not really a germ-o-phobe, but eating off a utensil that has been sitting next to a key chain doesn't sound very hygienic.
"Ok, you can toss it. I don't really need it." 
She's pretty easy to live with, but really?  The silverware drawer? 

Roomy is pretty good natured about my (not so) gentle womanly lessons.  In fact, one of her goals while living with me is to grow into more of a woman, especially in the kitchen.  It's a good goal for her.  When I was out of town at Christmas, she tried to mix cookie dough with my immersion blender and ended up with egg and butter in her hair.  Last week, she used a steak knife sitting by the sink to make a PB&J sandwich.  It was the same knife that I'd just used to make guacamole, so her PB&J had the added flavor of onion.  These are not isolated incidents.  In fact, odd things frequently happen when Roomy spends time in the kitchen.
Goofus (Roomy) melts spatulas when making scrambled eggs; Gallant (me) always uses heat-safe utensils.
Goofus breaks wooden spoon handles; Gallant holds the spoon close to the top for proper leverage.
Goofus makes PBJ & onion sandwiches; Gallant always uses a clean knife.
Goofus puts groceries away wherever they happen to fit; Gallant organizes the fridge and cupboards as she unloads grocery bags.
Goofus has a messy room; Gallant...hang on a minute....that's definitely my room...
Oh well, we can't all be as perfect as Gallant.  That's why I'm a woman in training!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Womanly: a post feminist rant

“If a woman is sufficiently ambitious, determined and gifted - there is practically nothing she can't do”
                        -Helen Lawrenson

As this is a blog about becoming a woman, I believe it's pretty important to define what womanly means to me.  With all due respect to Gloria Steinem and company, THIS woman is all about cooking and cleaning and crafting, in short - homemaking.  I so value and appreciate the things great women, like Susan B. Anthony and Simone de Beauvoir have done for me personally.  It's great that I can have an intellectual conversation and be taken seriously.  It's also great that I can be a high-powered corporate executive.  The beauty of post-feminism is that I am free to seek fulfillment in a career, but I am also free not to.  I choose sort-of not - at this point in my life, I am pretty career oriented, but only out of necessity. So, thanks ladies!

Female role models in the public sphere don't often line up with my post-feminist ideals.  They tend to be more feminists, with crazy important things to do and families falling apart (Hillary Clinton style) or anti-feminists who believe women belong in the home making food and making babies.  (Ok, to be fair, it's not very common to hear about the second type but that's because they're too domestic to be in the public sphere).  Because of the lack of public role models, I've turned to my personal heroes to help me define "womanly."  I have been blessed with amazingly strong, talented and womanly women in my life!

My grandmas are AMAZING example of  women.  My mom's mom is smart and well read and funny and people really like her!  She was a beauty queen as a teenager, but that didn't make her vapid, instead it made her well spoken.  My step-mom's mom practically ran the small town where she lives in her career as a city secretary. She's a very skilled organizer!  My dad's mom might just be the pinacle of post-feminist womanhood. She is so put together and intelligent!  In the days before disposable diapers and helpful husbands, my grandma bore nine children - 6 of them in the first five years of her marriage!  Grandma has a quiet strength that can be surprising sometimes, but it shouldn't.  She was also a working woman with an illustrious career at the post office. How womanly is that?!

My step-mom has also been an awesome example of womanly virtues in my life.  She's so entrepreneurial and creative!  She is a small business owner, which requires tremendous hard work and dedication, but she always manages to make time for her family too.  She taught me the bulk of my foundational crafting knowledge.  I really admire her for her strength of character and drive to accomplish great things.  She inspires me to dream big.

George Washington said "All I am, I owe to my mother." If I'm being totally honest and not sentimental, I'd rephrase that to "All quirky things I am, I owe to my mother."  I inherited so much of my personality from my mom.  In fact, many of my friends say that she's just me plus 20 years. (Sorry to make you seem really old, Mom.)  She's intelligent, quick witted and she really lights up a room.  She's also head strong and not easily lead astray.  My mom has overcome really terrible obsticles, that would have left a lesser woman hopeless and bitter, but she came thru with grace.  I would probably love her more though, if I had not inhereted the ability to trip on nothing or only sing in a key that belongs only to myself from her.

To the thousands of feminists reading my blog: Please don't be fooled that the majority of my "woman skills" center around homemaking.  I come from a long line of strong, independent women and value other skills too.  (I just value the girly ones more.)

Photo of Gloria Steinem courtesy of feminist.com

Monday, February 1, 2010

A woman-skill kind of day: baking AND knitting

First of all, let me address the elephant in the room.  In my last post, I promised to try to stop doing things like licking walls full of other people's gum.  I've got to be real; that's probably not going to happen.  In ninth grade, my lips were pretty badly burnt when I kissed my parents' lit fireplace during a game of truth-or-dare.  If burns and the aftermath of weeks with chapped, peeling lips did not deter me from putting my mouth in odd places, the botulism, or whatever diseases were lurking on that wall, probably won't either.

Until today, I was confident that I had mastered the important woman skill, baking chocolate chip cookies.  I know to add a little extra vanilla and more brown sugar than white sugar.  And a tip I recently learned, drop the cookie sheets right after you take them out of the oven to knock the air out of the cookies and keep them chewy.  Unfortunately, I am not immune to burning them. It was crazy; they went from raw to burned in seconds.  It was especially embarrassing because I was baking them for my womanly friends who came over to knit tonight.

Luckily, knitting turned out much better.  I taught two ladies to knit, one successfully, one "creatively," and worked on a scarf I started making for my brother's eighteenth birthday...hopefully it will be finished by his nineteenth birthday, next Sunday.  I had a lovely evening, chatting and knitting and laughing at my friends' attempts to knit.