Several years ago, through a mutual friend, I met the uber-fabulous, creative, thrifty and genuinely lovely, Kate Payne.  I have always admired Kate's tremendous tenacity, unique outlook and the wonderful people with whom she surrounds herself. 

One of my favorite memories with Kate is one in which the Canadian and I spent a very quiet Christmas Eve with Kate, her partner Jo and a few other friends in the tiny house she was living in at the time.  Normally the Canadian and I would travel to Fort Worth to see MomE's family, but that year we were in Austin while most of our friends/family were out of town.  Kate invited a few of us over and we cozied up to each other on the couch, chair, and floor in the sweet little space, drinking hot chocolate, listening to Christmas carols and laughing.  When the Canadian and I left that evening, the city was still -- a Silent Night -- and we have both remarked in recent times that that evening remains among our favorites.

The reason I tell you this is because, I want you to know how special Kate is and what an amazing person I consider her to be. A few years ago Kate and Jo moved to New York and it was there that the intersection of creativity, necessity, frugality and inspiration occurred.  Kate's work-life and home-life were often one and the same as she worked out of her tiny place in Brooklyn and it was this situation that was the impetus behind making a space for herself that was both organized and inspired -- on a budget.

And thus her blog, and subsequently her book, were born.
As a fellow blogger/friend of Kate, I had the privilege of receiving a copy of her book to give away to my blog followers, so it with great delight that I present to you my first giveaway: The Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking!
Click for source
A quick review: I was so excited to receive my copy in the mail from publisher Harper Collins.  Crisp and fresh off the presses there is something a little intoxicating about being able to hold a book that hasn't even been in a bookstore yet...not to mention seeing my friend's NAME at the bottom. That is just. so. cool.  Further, I know (because of conversations with Kate and just following her life in general on Facebook) that this book is the culmination of some hard work, major deadlines, more than a few sleepless nights, giddyness at one's first publication and a lot of really wonderful doors opening at *just* the right moment, making this an extra-special read.

So I jumped in and have been reading and re-reading ever since!  The chapter I was (and still am) most excited about is the one on preserving/canning.  I've been the recipient of several phenomenal batches of Kate's jams (blueberry lemon and meyer lemon marmalade are among my favorites!!) but have always been seriously intimidated by canning.  Kate's easy-going writing style makes canning seem as simple as it probably is and she has inspired me to tackle canning as soon as I get to out world, a can-goddess is in the making!

The book is packed with all kinds of innovative ideas and fresh perspectives on domesticity, but don't mistake Kate for Martha Stewart - she doesn't have a giant team of designers making her life pristine for the camera. She's a trial by fire kind of girl with the sort of authentic advice that tells you this is not her first rodeo.  For example, a few bouts of food poisoning due to eating leftovers LONG after their expiration date led Kate to research food-poisoning remedies such as Oregano-oil (a tip from her book). 

This book is slightly geared toward the beginner (a lot of what Kate writes about is pretty familiar territory to me), but, there is something in here for absolutely everyone.  You will read great tips from her family, follow her thought process as she tried to solve some domestic issues on a major budget, and laugh with her as she tells you about a few failures that led to great successes. 

For more info about the book go here

And now -- the giveaway rules:

1) How to enter: Leave a comment on this blog entry for one entry into the giveaway -- tell me about your most brilliant domestic accomplishment

You can earn ONE additional entry by either:
**following me on twitter (@texpatsabroad),
**subscribing to the blog on Feedburner (to the right of this post on the sidebar),
**writing a post on your blog about this giveaway (with the link to this entry),
**OR tweeting about this giveaway at least twice.

If you do the additional entry, you need to comment on this blog again to tell me that you've done it and if you linked to it in a post, please include the link in your entry comment (for a total of two comments = two giveaway entries)

2) What you get: You will get a brand new, hot off the presses book, The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking and (I haven't asked Kate this yet, so no promises) but, I will try and get her to sign it for you.  ALSO from me, you will get my grandmother's homemade banana pudding recipe.  My sister used to make a vat of it and would eat two or three bowls a day (she barely weighs a 100 lbs *sigh*)

3) Contest dates: The giveaway will run from April 28th - May 6th - the drawing will occur . 

4) Who is it open to: It IS open to expats (and of course US/Canada) -- I will ship *almost* anywhere in the world (depends on price but I'll do my promises if you're in Somalia or the DRC or somewhere equally as difficult)

5) How will the winner be decided: drawing on May 6th -- announced here and on Twitter.

Also, check out some of Kate's 'how to' videos below:
4/27/2011 11:03:33 pm

One morning, without even really thinking about it, my daughter and I slathered slices of toast with cinnamon peach jam and sat on the balcony to eat. Nothing extraordinary until I realized we had baked that bread together and las summer, we canned that jam. It was such a part of our lives but we had done it!

Seriously, banana pudding? Favourite thing ever. I have fond memories of making stovetop (from the package..) banana pudding with my older brother. :)

4/28/2011 12:01:08 am

I have little bins in each room that I'll drop things into when I don't have time to bring them to their proper place. When I have the time then I will take that bin and go around the house dropping off the items in it that go in their place.

Linda White
4/28/2011 01:10:51 am

My favorite memory is making brownies with my kids all around waiting for me to give them the bowl and spoon to lick! These are never box brownies, I make them from scratch with my mother's recipe and always have the ingredients in the house to make them!

4/28/2011 01:55:51 am

I recently took up sewing and managed to sew my new niece a dress. If it falls apart on her is one thing but I sent it off completely stitched and re-sized for her ever growing body. Hoping it lasts through the summer because it came out hella cute.

4/28/2011 04:52:15 am

We have figured out a way to make brownies in the microwave using the mixes and a custard cup. Great for in the summertime.

Julie Potts
4/28/2011 07:47:54 am

My most brilliant accomplishment?

Um.....learning how to fold fitted sheets perfectly. My husband taught me. :)

4/28/2011 01:40:01 pm

I painted the bathrooms

4/28/2011 09:24:51 pm

I have been learning to perserve my own food. I have been dehydrating all kinds of fruits and vegetables, canning, and having a huge garden.

4/28/2011 10:13:47 pm

I have been trying to keep a garden! It's nice to have fresh veggies!

Jenn S.
4/29/2011 02:49:06 am

My most brilliant domestic accomplishment was making curtains the bedrooms in our house.

Jenn S.
4/29/2011 02:49:28 am

Following on twitter: jashelep

Judith (from Israel)
4/29/2011 06:11:32 am

My most brilliant domestic accomplishment was to give my husband cookbooks for his birthday. Now, he does all of the cooking - and baking.

4/29/2011 10:10:59 am

My most brilliant domestic accomplishment was painting the house

Marlene V.
4/29/2011 02:01:00 pm

Tell me about your most brilliant domestic accomplishment. I create a menu for the week so that I have all the ingredients on hand and can grocery shop accordingly.

5/3/2011 06:00:46 am

i recently made a kick ass mexican lasagna that was so good my boyfriend keeps wanting me to make it again! It was meatless too...

5/3/2011 08:44:11 am

I have tiny domestic accomplishments frequently, but my most brilliant... hmm... possibly wrangling my husband's sock collection into a single chest of drawers. That doesn't sound very impressive, but the man has A LOT of socks.
I also followed on twitter (@megandrossw)

5/4/2011 05:20:19 am

I made my bed today. That was a domestic accomplishment. It's the little things, you know?

Oh, and I'm making braised lamb shanks for dinner. Does that count?


5/4/2011 10:11:07 am

last year my son and I painted the entire interior of our house. it's so pretty and fresh now. I love coming home!

wendy wallach
5/4/2011 11:13:32 am

My most brillant domestic accomplishment was crocheting a couch quilt!

madamerkf at aol dot com

beveanne mckinley
5/4/2011 08:18:18 pm

i'm learning how to cook and its been 3 meals since the fire alarm went off or anybodyu got sick

5/5/2011 02:43:48 am

So I didn't intend to write a post about this giveaway, but then something happened...

Kylie C
5/5/2011 07:05:27 am

Having never upholstered anything before I re-upholstered two wingback chairs last fall. I used a library book as a guide. They look good but more importantly they haven't fallen apart!

Ed Nemmers
5/5/2011 10:18:57 am

I make a magnificent Sweet Vidalia Onion Pie!

5/5/2011 11:27:41 am

I am sewing curtains.

Melissa B.
5/5/2011 09:37:10 pm

I 'brilliantly' squeezed a family of four into a travel trailer for six months while we looked for a house to buy. Our own house had sold far quicker than expected and we had been left in a lurch. Thanks to creative minimization, we survived it!

Veronica Garrett
5/5/2011 10:55:25 pm

I have finally managed to organize my closet. I purchased several containers and with hanging lots of clothes up the clost is finally free of clutter.

susan smoaks
5/5/2011 11:17:54 pm

i am not very domestic but i did make curtains out of sheets and i am proud of that!

Debbie Kennedy
5/6/2011 12:21:12 am

My most brilliant domestic accomplishment: I cook all of my meals for the week on the weekend, and make a big pot of soup too. Then we have soup for all of our lunches and we only have to reheat whatever we want for supper. I don't have time to prepare meals for my family during the week and my husband gets home too late to cook. Saves alot of stress and time during the week.

5/6/2011 01:43:56 am

Learning how to cook has been an interesting experience but last year when I hosted a brunch and made everything from scratch, everyone was blown away.

Diane Baum
5/6/2011 02:23:32 am

I actually painted a bathroom-Yipee

5/6/2011 07:37:09 am

I donanted some excess furniture and my home is a lot more open now

nblexp ( at ) gmail (dot) com

5/6/2011 07:38:27 am

I follow you on twitter as c5519

nblexp at gmail dot com


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