Monday, January 30, 2006

It's only Monday

This past week was not all that eventful, domestically speaking. I finished up the clear-out of the household cupboards, etc., but the assortment of stuff that has been collected in the basement still needs organizing and sorting, before that space can become suitably habitable. The saga of the sewing machine continues, as I finally have a new one (Singer 1120), but so far, I have only managed to remove it from the box. I plan to begin some sewing projects this week, but at the moment, my head is still reeling from this nasty sinus infection. Sigh.

Regarding my transformation from being a somewhat independent feminist to being a domestic goddess...well, I'm still in the early stages yet, so I'm not vacuuming in pearls, heels, and tiny-waisted dresses. I'm still enjoying these lounge pants, flannel, and sweatshirt days! However, I'm sure I'll find my happy medium soon enough. I always have had that certain attraction to most things Martha, I have always adored Kate Spade, and I've recently discovered Rita Konig. I doubt I'll end up as dedicated to the vintage role as some of my new online friends, whom I greatly admire (see links section, especially, "My House is Cuter Than Yours") but then again, I'm an all or nothing sort, so I never know...But while I'm not necessarily dressing the part (yet), I have been doing a considerable amount of cooking (my newest obsessive hobby) and cleaning, so at least I'm living it, to a certain extent.

Until we meet for coffee,

Monday, January 23, 2006

Perhaps if I correctly answer the Bridgekeeper's questions, I'll get my new machine...

My quest for a sewing machine has transformed into something similar to a Monty Python film. As I wrote last week, I had ordered one from Amazon and it was on its way via postal mail. Well, it did arrive, but referring to it as being less than adequate would be a considerable understatement. It was approximately the size of a gallon of milk and apparently for use by young girls to sew coordinating separates for their Barbie Dolls. Needless to say, I returned it and am now shopping the various department stores for a suitable machine. I will have one by next week's post; promise.

Otherwise, things have been ordinarily domestic. This past week has been busy with reorganizing cabinets and closets, clearing out unnecessary clutter from the house. (Mind you, at the moment it is all being collected in the basement, but it will be completely removed from the house soon). However, cooking has nearly taken precedence over cleaning, as I've become quite addicted to menu planning, recipe testing, cooking websites and also cookbooks, of course. (It's just so much more fun to cook and eat, than it is to clean and launder.) Still, I'm slowly achieving a balance between these two pillars of domesticity.

Until we meet for coffee,

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Good Wife

So it seems I have finally accepted the role of the good wife. I have finally submitted to a husband, finally yielded the power and control. As Biblically prescribed, I have finally become what a wife should be (Ephesians 5:22-24 KJV; Proverbs 31:10-31 KJV). This is what this housewifery stuff is all about. I am no longer attempting to be the more strong, rebellious, and controlling partner. And surprise: independence has not been wholly lost, nor has my identity been compromised. I have realized that any particular job/career choice did not define who I was as a person, only what I did in return for monetary compensation. Therefore, I have simply accepted less responsibility, leaving the more for whom it was Divinely intended: my husband. Unfortunately, it has taken many years for me to accept this less is more scenario, but better late than never. My father would have been very proud of his reinvented, "little one." If he were still alive, he would say, "Now you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing!"

Happy Birthday, Daddy.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, Daniel got the old sewing machine going again. However, in the end, the old machine just wasn’t up to the task. There was little hope, after all. Some parts were far too worn to work properly, while others simply wouldn’t work at all. Therefore, the old sewing machine has reverted back to fulfilling its role as a table. In response, I have ordered a shiny, new and modern tabletop model which should be arriving this week! Hurrah!

Hopefully soon, I’ll be posting pictures of home-sewn aprons and retro kitchen accessories. Accessories? Yes, accessories! Toaster and tea kettle cozies, pie covers, casserole dish warmers, pot holders, tea towels, and any other kitschy domestic, culinary cuties that I decide to fashion.

Until we meet for coffee,

Monday, January 9, 2006

I should have taken Home-Ec classes in high school

Since last week’s initial post, I’ve been occupied with errands, social obligations, and things regarding this particular project, all the while still attempting to find the mysterious routine of this newly domestic lifestyle. I’ve seen the various ‘routine lists’ devoted to the duties and tasks of the accomplished housewife, but I’ve yet to personally master any sort of routine. Granted it’s only been a couple of weeks, but I tend to be more comfortable being quick to the study, rather than the slower student. Mind you, unfortunately this often works against me, as I also tend to bore easily and perpetually gravitate towards the next challenge. Still, I intend to soon find a regular schedule for domestic tasks.

And then there’s the challenge of this new apron making project...

Regarding this particular project...Since my initial post, I’ve added several links to other sites by very helpful, friendly, and supportive online vintage, retro housewives and crafters, two companion logos, a slogan of sorts, and a clickable-ad linking to our online store. But perhaps more interestingly, my husband managed to get my mother’s old sewing machine (Montgomery Ward Model URR 285 from the1960s) restored to working order, which at first seemed impossible. The machine had not been used in many years and its working parts were all locked up. With some manual manipulation of moveable parts, some cleaning, and lots of 3-in-1 oil, Daniel got it going again! Hurrah!

During the weekend, I went to a local Hobby Lobby in hopes of finding some apron sewing patterns and discovered that not only did they have several retro/vintage styles to choose from, but ALL patterns were on sale for 50% off as well! I bought two packs. And this is where the hesitation enters into the story. I’ve done many creative things in my life, but with the exception of repairing occasional rips and tears or sewing buttons with needle and thread, never have I actually sewn things on a sewing machine. But now that I’ve undertaken this apron making project, I must sew and sew well. Therefore, I must practice (and practice often).

I’ve decided that before attempting to make the aprons from my recently purchased patterns, I’ll start off practicing with those very simple aprons made from things like old dress shirts, tea towels, etc. Once I’ve made several of those, having made friends with the machine, I’ll start incessantly sewing all sorts of aprons. (So consider yourselves forewarned! I do things either all the way, or no way at all, lol). It seems rather silly for me to be somewhat intimidated by a sewing machine. I don’t normally become intimidated by much of anything. But while on the whole, this domestic way of life is nearly an entirely new world for me, I refuse to be defeated by its operations and equipment.

I’ll keep you updated on my domestic mishaps and adventures...

Until we meet for coffee,

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Happy Birthday to my favorite Domestic Goddess!

Today is Autumn's birthday. I can hear Bette Midler singing and can see Snoopy dancing. I wish I were with her to celebrate this milestone of aging, lol (she'll hate that comment). I love her beyond description and I miss her terribly. You see, Autumn lives too far away, although I'm sure she'd say that I live too far away. So, this new year, I intend to make the miles seem less. I will email and call more often (despite the fact that I detest talking on the telephone). I will sit down and rediscover the lost art of letterwriting (longhand-yikes!). Perhaps I will even venture out to the west coast. Who knows? I am notorious for being somewhat unpredictable...

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Housewifery 101

As my dear friend has said....going from working woman to housewife can send you in to a tailspin. I myself have done it successfully..twice. That first day is always an interesting one. Lots of pacing or just trying to figure out what to do with your day. But, let me tell you, there is so much to being a housewife, it can make one's head spin.

I am the CEO, CFO, driver, cook, janitor, and social secretary of the S family. I do it ALL. And...I love it. It is no secret. It is fulfilling. No, I may not earn a paycheck doing it, but I do hone the same skills I used while working outside the home. In many ways I am busier. I do long for something of my own sometimes...which is what has brought me to this point....apron making. I keep hearing that voice in the back of my head, "What are you thinking? You don't need yet another thing on your plate!!" Why not, I say. Maybe something will come of it maybe not. We'll see....this should be interesting.

The Suburban Apron Company

Admittedly, I'm new to the recently rediscovered lost art of housewifery. Until very, very recently, I was labeled a workaholic. So, with the strong encouragement of my husband, I've decided to take on the role of the stay at home wife. No more insanely long commutes. No more getting home late, leaving home early. No more schedules and deadlines. No more identity?

For the first week, I struggled with this lost sense of self. But since this transformation occurred in the midst of the Holiday Season, I did, however, discover a hidden culinary talent. I thought, "Okay, apparently, I'm a good cook. Now what?"

Now that the holidays are over, I've been living domestically. Laundering, Cleaning, Cooking, etc. But there are no incoming paychecks. So, I need to attempt to make some money while working at home. But how? There are infinite work-at-home scams out there. There are infinite pyramid schemes as well. And there are the traditional housewife enterprises, like Tupperware and Pampered Chef...

I had a couple of vintage cookbooks, so I decided to delve into the world of vintage housewifery. I've read and am re-reading, The Vogue Book of Menus and Recipes (c.1964) and The Modern Family Cookbook (c.1942). There is much to learn about hostessing and housewifery. I went online to discover a subculture of retro housewives out there and they all seem to be enterprising souls, much like myself. I emailed my friend, Stacey, who has been a stay at home mom for years. When I told her of the vintage, retro housewifery subculture, she was nothing but praises. She was equally enthusiastic, when I mentioned the idea of somehow making some extra pocket money by staying at home. Thus, the not very original idea of sewing and selling retro aprons was launched. While retro aprons are kitschy, cool, and fun, there are many already for sale in cyberspace.

Which is why you're reading this. I will maintain a diary of our struggles as we attempt to home-craft and distribute retro aprons, as The Suburban Apron Company, and I personally attempt to adjust to suburban, domestic bliss?

Until we meet for coffee,

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006