My name is Melissa and I am a Moderate Homemaker

16 Apr

*This is reposted from a blog that Liz and I started last year and hoped to continue before life got too crazy. I’m posting it in hopes that it’ll inspire me to blog more and document my homemaking successes and more often, failures.

I recall one time shortly after Finn was born Patrick and I were sitting around filling out forms for something or other. On the box under my name that said “occupation” Patrick paused. “Homemaker?” he asked. I bristled. Seriously? Did he really think I just sat around all day keeping the house clean and his slippers ready by the door? I felt demeaned. I was NOT a homemaker. I have a degree from a good university and interests outside the shininess of my floor. I had a career before having Finn and planned to go back to that career when he was older. But what was my current occupation? I decided on “stay-at-home mom.” At least there was some dignity in that. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom ever since (or SAHM as the kids say).

Enter Radical Homemaking, a book by Shannon Hayes. Friends were talking about it a few weeks ago and I decided to pick it up. The subtitle is “Reclaiming Domesticity from a Consumer Culture.” Intriguing.  I read the first few pages and was hooked. The author is interviewing a homemaker, a women with a Ph.D. who is agonizing over whether to continue on a career track or become a homemaker, her real desire. She voiced the question that has been floating in my mind for years: Continue reading

Video 2 Feb

The Pursuit of Filthy Lucre…

21 Dec

…is pretty much what keeps me busy these days.

So I announced on this blog a few months ago that I was opening an Etsy shop selling crib bedding- Dnile Design. I thought I’d put my sewing hobby out there and see if anyone was interested. I figured I’d leave it be and if I got the occasional sale, great. A little extra money coming in. I planned on having maybe a sale a monthish.

Three months later, I’ve had almost 40 orders, one side of our playroom has been transformed into my studio, my mailman knows me by name, and credit card companies have started sending me applications in bulk. There are fabric scraps and random threads constantly stuck to our clothes. My arms are covered in burn lines from bumping into the iron while prepping fabric. Most nights and naptimes find me at the sewing machine with Genius mixes of Guns N Roses and Americana blasting from the iPhone dock. Things are a little busier than I expected. I’ve had to raise my prices once already to slow down orders.

This is definitely a good thing. It’s nice to have something concrete to work with a tangible end product and feedback. I love being able to be home and raise our kids while they’re young but as any mother will attest it’s not exactly the most gratifying job day to day. It’s often dirty and frustrating and full of negative feedback usually in the form of a scream. In fact at the moment I’m alternating between typing this and stopping Rhett from swatting the Christmas tree with a broom. Being able to think and create for someone and then hear how much they love it is feels really good. And of course, the money is nice, especially with two house payments and preschool to pay for.

Now I need to look ahead and decide where to go with this. I’m right at the brink of getting more orders than I can keep up with. I’m doing zero advertising or social media networking because I don’t want to bump up sales. That’s tough because I also have this natural inclination to do those things and grow my business as large as possible. BUT I’m limited in time and production capacity so I need to accept that this just isn’t the time for it- not while I have munchkins that I love in need of my attention. I’m thinking of raising prices again but at the same time I don’t want to have a product that normal people can’t afford. We’ll see where we go from here.

In the meantime here are a few photos of recent orders:

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13 Nov

My mother is about to explode. She still hasn’t seen pictures of the kids on Halloween and she’s going CRAZY. Even though we have a good reason for procrastinating- our camera has been languishing in the capable but slow hands of the Geek Squad at Best Buy for the last two weeks. We got the memory card back though and I just loaded it into our old camera to upload the pictures. Behold, the Mason house turned into the wonderful world of Dr. Seuss.

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A Day at the Beach

10 Oct

We drove down to Newport Beach tonight to take a walk and watch the sunset. It was a perfect California evening.

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Announcing DNile Design

4 Oct

Finally! I’ve been toying with the idea of setting up an Etsy shop for ages now but never had the time or the focus. Suddenly all that has changed. Finn started preschool recently and the twins have realized that they have the run of the house from the playroom to Finn’s room two mornings a week so they pretty much disappear. I finally have time on my hands, something I haven’t had in a very long time. Our house has a fantastic and large playroom that doubles as my sewing room, so I can get work done while the kids play behind me. I’ve been finishing so many projects recently that I thought “hey, I can actually do this now.”

So announcing… DNile Design! I’m putting my sewing hobby to use making custom crib bedding and personalized quilts using fun modern designer fabrics. These are for the hip mama who isn’t into traditional boring baby decor. I’ll be working with customers to pick the right colors and fabrics and make a nursery set that they’ll love. Please spread the word, I’ll need all the help promoting my shop that I can get, especially in these early days. You can visit my shop here: Below are some shots of a sample I made for Lucy in luscious autumn prints. There are a few grandkid photos as well to placate the grandmas.

Tell your friends! I’ll also be putting up gift certificates for custom bedding and quilts as well- great for shower gifts.  AND if you use the coupon code STATEOFDNILE, you’ll recieve 10% off!

Fair vs. Fair

5 Sep

Call me a skeptic, but when I, a recently transplanted Midwesterner, saw ads everywhere for the Los Angeles County Fair, I may have rolled my eyes a bit. I mean seriously, LA, with its breezy attitude, fake boobs and materialistic culture, has a county fair? Do they even know what a county fair is? Don’t they realize that some people around here may have actually been to a real (midwestern) county fair and have pretty high standards for what constitutes one? I mean really, there’s no way they could have hot dog pig races around here without being ironic about it.

But it’s Labor Day and that meant that admission to the Fair was only $1 today. Sold! Continue reading


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