The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking {giveaway}

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Last month I shared a little bit about gluten-free baking with my friend Kate Payne of Hip Girls’ Guide to Homemaking. I’m very excited to announce that her book of the same name is now available in stores! I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book in advance, and I spent an hour poring over it as soon as the delivery truck drove away.

Hip Girl's Guide
It’s fitting that Kate and I became friends through last year’s Can Jam, a yearlong project where we canned seasonal produce. Generally, people who put up produce are those looking to get back to their roots of a more simple and less expensive life. This theme prevails in what might now be my favorite how-to book (and I’m not just saying that ‘cuz she’s my friend).

The book is divided into three main sections (decorating, DIY, and food) and each section is chock full of tips for bringing out your hip home. Even though the book is geared toward the 20-something just making their first home, there is plenty of information that can be used by everyone, from creating your own drapes to container gardening to eating on the cheap. Kate not just tells you how to do something, but jumps into the why of it all. She recognizes that the DIY life is hard for some people to transition to, and makes a case for it through her research on chemicals and waste, as well as through her step-by-step guides that make the task at hand seem undaunting for even the least hip homemaker.

Kate’s personality really shines through in the book. Her fun attitude, easygoing style, and little bit of cheekiness are all displayed in the book. I’ve said before that Kate is who I’d like to be when I grow up (though I think she is younger than me) and I’m not kidding. If you’ve ever checked out her blog, you’ll recognize that same blend of wit and down-to-earth practicality throughout the book.

The fine folks at Harper Collins are allowing me to give away a copy of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking to a lucky reader! All you have to do to win is leave a comment sharing your favorite hip home tip.

Need inspiration? Here’s a tip from the book:

Tear a cotton ball in half, dot it with real vanilla extract (not the faux stuff), and suck it up like regular debris the next time you use your vacuum. You’ll infuse the house with a sweet smell while you clean!

I’ll draw a winner for the giveaway via on Saturday, April 23, so get your comments in before midnight Friday!

Feel free to share as many tips as you’d like, but one comment per person, please.


  1. Well, I’d love to be able to take in all the great info in Kate’s book. So here is my tip.

    Use crunched up newspaper with your window cleaner when wiping down mirrors or glass. It leaves a streak-free shine and reuses the newspaper before going into the recycle bin.

  2. One of the best ways to get rid of the stink in something cloth is to put it out in the sun. You don’t want to leave anything dyed dark out for too long because the sun fades.

  3. I save all the ends, heels, crusts, half bagels, buns, homemade bread, etc. in a bag in the refrigerator. Eventually, I pop them in the food processor, turn them into crumbs, and then toss them in a zip-lock in the freezer where they keep forever. They cook like panko, and have no preservatives or other junk.

  4. I don’t know how hip my home tip is but here it is… I use baking soda for a nice fragrance free alternative laundry detergent.

  5. =) I don’t know how hip my home tip is either… I mop my floors with hot water and about 5-10 drops of essential oil… scent depending on what I’m in the mood for. Peppermint oil repels mice (we live in the country); orange oil smells divine!

  6. I use vinegar to wash windows for a streak free shine. Vinegar is also great for cleaning your countertops!

  7. To get rid of soaked on burned gunk on your stove grates, but them in a container, add a cup of ammonia and let it sit overnight. (Or, for really stuck on junk leave it in longer) Be careful taking it out because it is the fumes that do the work and they are potent. Then with very little elbow grease, rub the gunk away.

  8. Favorite tip: A splash of vinegar in your simmering water will help keep the whites together on poached eggs. Learned this from my grandmother, who also helped make poached eggs my favorite meal in the world.

  9. You know those blue Downy balls that dispense fabric softener for you? Instead of buying expensive, smelly fabric softeners, fill your Downy ball with white vinegar and throw it in with your wash. The vinegar helps rinse the detergent out of your laundry, and makes everything much softer and less static-prone.

  10. After making vanilla extract (1 bottle cheep vodka and 6 vanilla beans split let sit for 4 months), I use the spent vanilla beans to infuse our sugar bowl for a bit of vanilla essence to our coffee.

  11. I make my own vanilla. I fill a glass container (EX- mason jar, used glass water/juice bottle) with vodka and about8 vanilla beans. YUMMO!!!

  12. When I have a party or pot luck to go to and no time to cook… this is a great cheat. I take a wedge of Gorgonzola cheese and approximately the same amount of room temperature butter. I cut the cheese into smaller pieces and then mash/mix the two together on my mixer until it looks fairly creamy and spreadable. I then stop on the way to the party to pick up a nice crunchy on the outside, firm on the inside loaf of fresh bread.

    Tell guests to spread the bread with the Gorgonzola and butter. It is by far my most popular “recipe”. No one can believe how easy it is to make because it tastes so good.

  13. I would love to win this for my daughter. She’s been married for almost 2 years now and will soon be getting their own place. This would be great for her since they are on such a tight budget.

  14. Again, not very hip, but I use vinegar all over my house. I use a vinegar/water solution to wash my floors. I put a healthy splash in my hot water canner to keep my mineral-y water from leaving deposits on my canning jars. I use it to remove the odor of pet accidents on my rugs. I use it as an herbicide on my patio and in my garden.

  15. I am not only un-hip but a dreadfully housekeeper, so I need all the help I can get. I do can and maintain a sourdough starter, at least, which activities seem surprisingly hip these days. My tip is to keep a vanilla bean in the sugar bowl on the counter. It infuses the sugar with lovely vanilla overtones, perfect for that spoonful in the coffee or a couple of tablespoonfuls that go in the sourdough waffle batter. After a while, I chuck that bean in my extract jar (full of used beans and vodka) and put a fresh one in in the sugar bowl.

  16. I reuse my sheets of parchment for multiple rounds of baking, first cookies and later to line the bottom of a cake pan. No need to use a fresh sheet each time!

    I also cut up old t-shirts and towels to make my own kitchen rags. Brilliant!

  17. To get rid of a “funk” smell in your kitchen sink, run a wedge of citrus (lemon, lime, orange) through your garbage disposal.

  18. I desperately need this book! My “hippest” tip is barely a tip at all – to ensure that our house gets a thorough cleaning at least once a month, my husband and I invite our friends over for a Game Night. With a two year old running around the house, it’s easy to forget about the big things, but the thought of guests (who don’t have kids!) gets us moving!

    Seriously, I need this book!

  19. We have a dog which can turn perfectly nice carpet into stinky-ness in quick order. I sprinkle baking soda and crushed up dried lavender from the local lavender farm, leave set for about 15 minutes and vacuum. The house smells great and I don’t have to subject my allergies to the horrible carpet sprinkle stuff you can buy at the store.

  20. I know I am so behind the times, but I am loving all the things I can do with baking soda! I am also desperate to win this book, as my local library told me they would not be purchasing it! 🙁

  21. Don’t have a dishwasher? Occasionally lazy about letting dirty dishes sit and “cement” in your sink (ahem)? Turn this task into a relaxing, mini spa treatment.

    Boil some water for your favorite tea (a full pot of water so you have extra). Enjoy a cup and pour the rest of the boiling water over those nasty, crusty dishes. Slather your hands in a rich lotion and don a pair of rubber gloves to wash your now easy-to-deal-with dishes. When done, you’ll have a sparkling pile of clean dishes and the softest hands.

  22. To give my plants a pick me up I give them the coffee at the end of the pot.
    Every morning there is always a little left over coffee – not enough for a full cup anyway (my mugs are too big I guess) so after it cools I give my house plants a drink. It works great in stimulating growth.

  23. Clean hard wood floors with white vinegar and water. No harsh chemicals and your wood finish will last much longer!

  24. I save all my organic onion peels, carrot ends, old wilted celery etc and make vegetable stock every once in a while – it’s tons cheaper! I’ve been waiting for this book to come out, so exciting.

  25. It’s a hard pick but my fav. home tip is using tin foil to sharpen scissors. Works like a dream. Thank you for the chance to win!

  26. Use peanut butter to get gum out of your childs hair. You then have to give your child’s hair a good washing, but the peanut butter works and keeps you from having to cut the gum out.
    If they have gum on their cloths, use Ice to freeze it
    and it will pop right off.

  27. If you burn yourself while cooking – chop a tomato in half and rub it on the burn rather than running it under cold water. The acid in the tomato will keep it from blistering! 🙂

  28. If you dampen the inside of the dustpan under the faucet before picking up the pile of dust and dirt, the dust sticks to the pan. No sneezing!

  29. I’m a big fan of finding ways to substitute ingredients that are healthier. For example, any time I make pierogies, I make them with sweet potatoes instead of regular for all the vitamins (and flavor!) and also substitute 1/3 of the flour with whole wheat to make it a much healthier version.

  30. My tip? Skip harsh cleaners in the tub. Get a bath poof on a stick (the back scrubby kind), squirt some cheap shampoo in the tub & sprinkle it with baking soda. Wet the poof, scrub away. Works a treat.

  31. 1) when using green onions, stick the root end back in some water, it will keep growing for a bit longer and you can get at least one more use out of them.
    2) make your own croutons! I get a loaf of french bread (day old is usually 1/2 off too), cut it up into 1″ cubes and toss with some olive oil, salt and garlic powder (you can get creative with your seasonings and come up with something daring), spread out on a tray and put into your oven at 300 to 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so. WAY cheaper than buying them in a box/bag.

  32. Don’t know if it’s atip or just plain laziness, but I run my children’s booster seats through the dishwasher. They’re easy to wipe off, but I don’t want to mess with taking the straps out of them to throw the straps in the wash, so I leave them on and throw them through the dishwasher to be sure they get clean, too.

  33. Baking soda! That’s my household tip. Add it to laundry, soak out a stain, deodorize anything from the fridge, to shoes, to your smile ( by brushing your teeth with it!). Use it in baking, in cleaning, to soak yourself ( bathtub!), settle a stomach ( mix a half teaspoon in a little water and chug it down!). There’s no end to all you can do with baking soda. I keep a shaker jar (dollar store- cheese shaker variety) in every bathroom, the kitchen, laundry room, garage, and basement of my house. I’ve also given many a shaker jar away as a gift too!

  34. Ah I have been wanting to buy this so maybe now I can win it! My tip clean the mirrors with newspapers and eco-friendly cleaner. The newspapers don’t leave streaks and you don’t have to use a paper towel! Recycle newspaper when done!

  35. Here’s my Hip Homemaker Tip: for an all natural deodorant, use equal amounts of corn starch and baking soda. I keep mine in an old dusting powder jar and use a pressed powder pouffe to apply.

    The powder works to absorb odors and wetness but it doesn’t interfere with whatever fragrance I choose to wear that day.

  36. I fill my softener cup in my washing machine with white vinegar when I wash sheets or towels. The vinegar takes any musty smells out and the vinegar smell goes away in the dryer or on the clothes line.

  37. For a quick bathroom tidy-up, I swipe the outside of the toilet (and the floor around it) with some toilet paper. Toilet paper does an excellent job of picking up the hair and dust, and it can be thrown into the garbage pail right away.

  38. After completing a crochet project, I usually have left over yarn, but not enough to really “do anything” with, so I make my own dishrags out of them. I certainly don’t mind the mis-matched yarn when cleaning the kitchen!

  39. I juice a ton of lemons, pour them into ice cube trays and freeze them. I’m never left without lemon juice when I need it!

  40. Want to make cookies but don’t want to scarf down the entire batch? Mix up your cookie dough, portion out the cookie dough into balls, squish down, and then freeze them. Grab and bake as desired. That way you can easily control your portion, and always eat your cookie fresh out of the oven. Dough lasts for ages in the freezer.

  41. I spend 15 minutes at the end of the day picking up. After I brush my teeth and everything is done I gather up magazines, cookbooks, maybe the odd sock and put them in their place. After doing this for a few months I now find that it is hard to find 15 minutes worth of clutter to put away.

  42. I cut up all my veggies as soon as I get home from the store, as well as juice any citrus I won’t be eating hole and freezing it. Having everything prepped when I want to use it saves so much time.

  43. My tip is to mix fabric softener with water to make your own “febreeze”. Put it in a reusable spray bottle that way you can refill when needed. Safe to spray on couches, rugs, curtains, any kind of fabric since its just fabric softener! It smells great too!

  44. to prevent clogged drains, i flush all my drains with baking soda, vinegar and hot water once a week. normally on sundays, during my cleaning routine. i shed like crazy, so this especially helps in the bathroom!

    1 cup of baking soda + 1 cup of vinegar and let bubble and work for 10 minutes.
    the i pour boiling water.

  45. A Stay at home mom, 9 months pregnant with my 5th, I could use a great read about now. 🙂 I have no tips- except that Ikea’s bin system doesn’t work very well for preschoolers.

  46. Thanks for the giveaway! Here’s my tip: When it’s 90 degrees, the middle of summer, and you have lot of fresh fruit and no inclination to can, do all the jam prep now – Put the prepared fruit (plus spices or lime zest, etc) in a Ziploc freezer bag, with the jam directions clearly written in Sharpie on the outside. Then, when temps dip in Sept/Oct, make your jam! No more sweating over a canning kettle in July to make that blueberry-lime-honey jam, and fewer dishes to do at canning time, since fruit is pre-measured and chopped/crushed.

  47. In my garden I like to plant radishes in the rows of anything that’s slow to germinate. The radishes are ready just when the other plants start to need room and if they’re too spicy for my kids we saute them in a little butter or stir fry them with other veggies, it sweetens them up and cuts the spice enough for the kids to eat.

  48. I love her tips on small batch canning! Many times last year I put up two to four jars of something I had that needed to be used up. The result – more jars of tasty food to use over the winter!

  49. Gosh, I’m pretty new to the homemaking biz, and I don’t know if I have come up with any great tricks…that’s why I need this book!

  50. When I have a bit of leftover wine, I pour it into an ice cube tray and stick it in the freezer. When they’re frozen, I pop them out into a ziplock and store them frozen. When making a pan sauce that calls for wine, I use wine cubes!

  51. I love these kinds of tips! I got many new ideas just by reading the comments. I bought a plain spray bottle from Target and filled it with vinegar and water. I use it to clean almost everything. It’s cheaper and not full of chemicals.

  52. To stretch too-tight leather shoes, simply fill a ziploc baggie with water, seal, and stuff inside the shoe (one bag per shoe). Then put the pair in the freezer. The water will expand when frozen and stretch out the shoe. You can repeat this as many times as it takes to make the shoes fit well. This has saved many a pair of shoes!

  53. I’m feeling more in need of homemaking tips right now, than able to give them out. I love using a left over lemon and some salt to clean the kitchen sink. It gets it clean without chemicals and smells good, too.

  54. I put white vinegar in a spray bottle and use it to clean and disinfect the whole house! Kitchen counter, table tops bathroom sink mirror and toilet! No harsh chemicals and it won’t hurt my little one.

  55. When we were fearful that our newborn would wake the moment the batteries ran dry in her swing & thus, interrupting any potential time for good sleep, we jerry-rigged the swing the an old car battery (in the proper casing of coarse) so the infant swing would continue to swing as long as our little one needed it to for a good nights rest.

  56. I sort my mail on the way back from the mailbox that way the junk mail doesn’t even land on the kitchen table – it goes straight to the trash!

  57. Well, I am gonna be 40 on Saturday, Apr. 23rd. This would be the perfect gift. 🙂

    I took a tip from Rachael Ray and started using a garbage bowl while I am cooking. I just took it a step further. I take a produce bag, or plastic shopping bag and line the garbage bowl. When I am finished all of the garbage is already bagged and the bowl is still clean. 🙂

  58. I’m not hip nor a girl, but I enjoy books that help me take better care of my house.
    I can be a bit clumsy while cooking, so I burn myself whenever I bake. Instead of using any FDA approved ointment, I put a little bit of mustard on the affected area. A few minutes later, it feels fine!

  59. I have a micro-fiber couch and have discovered the best thing for cleaning any stains or marks is hand sanitizer! I use the foam kind and it gets the stain (usually pen marks or marks from people’s shoes….seriously, don’t put your shoes on my couch!) without taking out the red color!

    And I’m totally stealing the wine cubes idea. I already do that with broth or things like coconut milk. Just hadn’t thought about it for wine yet!

  60. My tip is to wear gloves whenever you cut up jalapeno peppers, or any hot pepper. I will never again make the mistake of not wearing them.

  61. One of the ways we stretch our budget is to make our our bread stuffing/croutons and bread crumbs. The stuffing/croutons are simple. Make a loaf of savory bread in your bread maker (or by hand) and then cut it into chunks and let dry. Package it in re-sealable bags for later. We also keep the heels of bread in a pan on the counter to dry, my boys won’t eat them anyway. When we need bread crumbs we put the bread in the blender and voila~! we have bread crumbs…

  62. I use a spray bottle with white vinegar to clean just about everything. Cheap, easy, and nasty chemical-free! I also try to buy products in glass jars I know I’ll re-use. I store most of my pantry items in repurposed glass jars. Keeps everything fresh, organized, and prettier than those awful plastic bulk bags. The more attractive items (pastas, dried chiles, colorful beans) are in big jars on shelves in my kitchen.

  63. I don’t really have much of a tip except maybe Borax is a wonder. It spruces up laundry, helps to get those extra tough stains out, keeps the hard water film off your dishes in the dishwasher and helps kill fleas. I know it does a lot more, but that’s what I’ve used it for thus far!

  64. If you ever came to my house you’d see how desperate I am for this book. My tip for hip homemaking. I like to make my own vegetable broth (it is way cheaper and contains almost NO sodium), but I hate buying all the veggies at once. So I keep a large baggy in the freezer, and anytime I have leftover veggie scraps, I freeze them. Then when I need vegetable broth, I can just whip out all the veggie leftovers, boil, and voila!

  65. I always have a big jug of castile soap on hand – I use it for everything, from making my own body wash and shampoo, doing the dishes, and making chemical free laundry soap by adding vinegar, glycerin, water, and some essential oils like tea tree and lavendar.

  66. Place a bowl of water in the microwave, with half a lemon (cut side up) sitting inside. Microwave on high 1 minute — this helps loosen any grime naturally.



  67. Today I finally tried a tip I read about for using the left over peel from a pineapple to scrub your legs in the shower. Use the fruit side not the peel. The acid from the fruit is supposed to help exfoliate your skin. After I scrubbed my legs I then took the fruit side and rubbed it on the shower walls. After it sat for a second I flipped it and used the peel side to scrub the walls. It worked and smelled like a great tropical treat!

  68. This may be pretty obvious, but I always take out and have within reach a debris bowl and an inexpensive plastic scraper whenever I am cooking, especially during vegetable prep and pizza and dough making. I scrape everything off the surface into the debris bowl with the scraper before wiping down the surface, keeps my sponge cleaner and the clean-up, especially of flour, is super easy.

  69. I have had so many tomatoes left over lately, that i have started canning green tomato pickles, and making a lot with cherry tomatoes! They have turned out terrific, and people love the novelty of a cherry tomato all sour and hot popping in their mouths!! 🙂

  70. I keep a mesh laundry bag by the hamper for our baby’s clothes and put his dirty socks directly in the bag. It keeps the socks together and they don’t get stuck in the washer or dryer.

  71. When cleaning the bowl or spoon from mixing bread dough, use cold water rather than warm water to ensure that you don’t gum up your sponge!

  72. Tips? Ugh… I am searching for them, hence the strong desire for this book!! While I can do domestic stuff (I make cloth diapers for my kids, we use homemade napkins & non-paper towels, I sew my girls’ clothes, love hand embroidery, etc), I’m homemaking-challenged!! I could use all the help I could get — my four girls and my husband would be very appreciative 😉

  73. I use scrunched up aluminum foil and kosher salt to clean anything stuck onto my cast-iron frying pan. Rinse with hot water, wipe well with a clean rag or paper towel until it’s clean, and put it on a burner set to medium for a few minutes to dry completely. NEVER use soap on cast iron.

  74. 1. When making vegetable (or meat and veg) broth, DON’T start with boiling water – start with a small splash of oil and throw your veg in the pot when it’s HOT. Let ’em cook a little, and even get some caramelized edges. Dry heat (a small amount of oil is considered dry) does wonders to develop flavors and gives your final broth a much more complex taste.
    2. Hate cleaning? I can’t stand it, but I love a clean house. I go onto iTunes and download full – FREE – audiobooks. What’s the catch? The *authors* are the ones reading the books, and they’re generally names you’ve never heard of, but will become addicted to. I have found a dozen authors I love to listen to by doing this.
    I find it so much easier to clean when my brain is occupied with the complexities of building a scene, and I can pop in my earbuds if I need to vacuum. It uses less electricity than running the tv in the background, and I don’t find myself frustrated and distracted by what is showing on the screen.
    Alternately, you can sift through “classes” on iTunes U – also free – to listen to.
    3. I have three smallish, clear bins with locking-handle lids. In one, I keep my dressy flats and heels; the second holds my typical walking shoes, sneakers, etc. In the third, I keep my muckyboots and work boots. This not only keeps them from ending up all over the house, but keeps me from tracking mud.
    If you don’t wear your shoes often (like me) and live in an area where you’re likely to bump into at least one spider or scorpion in the night (like me), the the locking bins will guarantee you stepping into your boots and shoes without a worrying wonder of what might be sharing the space with your toes, or having to swab your open-toed heels with tissue to clear out the webs when springtime comes and you’re back to wearing them.
    4. Hang on to your old seed catalogs that have recipes in them. Even if you transfer the recipes to your computer, your kids will love flipping through to look at the pictures, plan make-believe (or real) gardens, and use them for collages.

    1. Hi there – I deleted your extra comments. Sometimes people’s IP addresses get flagged by WordPress/Askimet as possible spam and I need to manually approve comments. Sorry it happened to you, but all your comments in the future should show up immediately!

  75. I save the plastic 2# coffee containers and use them to store flour, sugar, oats, and other dry food items I buy in bulk. I also buy spices in bulk and then make up my own blends for Italian spices, pumpkin pie spice, etc. I can always use more tips.

  76. Love household tips!
    One of my favorites is to freeze summer pesto when I make a big batch at the end of summer. I store it in 1/4 servings packed into plastic ziplock bags. A quick thaw and you have the flavor of summer at your disposal all winter long! Great for tossing into soups, meatballs, and spreading on pizza for a quick sauce.

  77. I buy softner by the bottle….wet a soft cloth and dibble a little softner; rub in and throw in dryer instead of dryer sheets. Continue process for each load to dry…..saves money this way.

  78. Almost anything can be cleaned with various combos of white vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda. Reduces chemicals in the home, environmentally friendly, doesn’t have the negative properties of chemical antibacterials, and inexpensive to boot!

  79. I make my own deoderant!

    melt 1/4 c beeswax, 2 oz shea butter, and 2 oz coconut butter together
    add 1 t ground lavender and 5 drops of sage oil (antipersperant)
    allow to cool in an old deoderant container

  80. Wow, so many great tips!
    After I wash my jars and need to store them until next use I put them in the oven for about 30 mins on its lowest setting and then let them cool in there and then I can put the lids on and store and they won’t have any condensation built up in them!

  81. Instead of spending twice the money on eating out, I enjoy inviting friends over to my home to share drinks and laughter — I love to combine a selection of home preserved jams, pickled goods, home baked bread and supplemental nuts, crackers, and cheeses to serve as a high class appetizer platter on the livingroom coffee table. It’s so much more affordable and personal…and what a way to celebrate all the hard work in the kitchen!

  82. instead of throwing out tubes of lotions, i cut the almost empty tube in half. there is still tons of lotion still inside, then use the bottom of the tube as a cap for the top half. this works for tubes of all kinds

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