Domestic God(desse)s.

The main domestic goddess of my panetheon is Elizabeth Zimmerman. She is author of Knitting Without Tears, a widely revered tome amongst dedicated knitters, and other excellent knitting books. Why is she a domestic godess, rather than just a knitting goddess? Well, by accident or, more probably, design, she expresses knitting as a microcosm of domesticity. Knitting isn’t about producing garments, it is about loving your family. It is swaddling infants, making sweaters that your adolescent children will wear in public, keeping your husband’s feet warm in wool socks, and in general, outfitting your loved ones for the Great Big Cold World. It is responding to your framily’s wants and needs with both thrift and generousity, with efficiency and attention to detail, and expressing your creativity by giving of yourself to others. She advises learning to knit without watching your work so that you can knit away while reading the children a bedtime story. She suggests that mittens for children should be gifted in threes, since one will always go missing. She says that there is always someone who needs a winter hat. She recommends knitting children’s sweaters from the neck down, so that the cuffs and hem can be more easily lengthened. Hobby knitters (such as myself) dreamily imagine living in such a world, where one’s knitting skills are a vital and important part of the household’s function. Even if we don’t have that in the modern world, we can still take the ethic of thoughtfully providing for our family to heart.

Another domestic goddess of mine is the Flylady. I appreciate that many people cannot stand Flylady, and to each his or her own. If you want to bash Flylady, feel free to start another thread, but I respectfully request that you don’t attack her (or anyone else’s choces) here. I don’t agree with her on everything, and she does certain things that I think are wrong, stupid, unhelpful, or all three. But her key messages—or at least the messages that are important to me—are an insightful blending of self-reliance and generosity. You, and pretty much only you, can make positive changes in your life. You must also do it for yourself, not to get anyone else’s approval, gratitude, or cooperation. To accomplish this, you have to turn away from negativity—stop beating yourself up over your failures, and stop playing the martyr. You cannot change enverything at once, and have to take it one step at a time. Sometimes you try to tackle too much at once and burn out, and sometimes you lose your motivation and drop out. If it happens, you just have to pick yourself back up and try again, and not dwell on it. Concentrate on the positive, which is mostly going to come from inside you. You can take satisfaction from everything you do to improve your home, no matter how small, even if you don’t do such a good job of it, and even if nobody else notices, or if they criticize what you did or how you did it. You’ve done something for yourself and your family, and something is better than nothing. This taps into something deep inside me. I cannot feel like a whole, successful person unless I’m taking care of my home and family. If that sounds like nonsense to you, you’re not alone. This isn’t something my husband can understand, either. But that’s how I am, and Flylady seems to be on the same wavelength and has been a great help to me. (Whew! I think I managed to get through that paragraph without any twee Flylady jargon!)

So, tell us about your domestic gods and goddesses, and why you are inspired by them. Even Martha Stewart. :slight_smile:

I’ll second the recommendation of Flylady. I’ve been on and off of her list for several years now and following (within reason) her principles have helped me maintain a semblance or order, followed by a small glow of pride, in my home.

As a child, I did not learn how to clean or manage a home from my mother. In fact, her home is still in chaos! I literally had to learn how as an adult, and it’s been through trial and error for the most part. Flylady has been helpful in my journey, as has

Nigella Lawson, because I love her cookbooks- they’re a joy to read, and she thinks creatively about food rather than just listing recipes.

John Thorne, ditto. I love his food writing. He singlhandedly got me interested in cooking when I was a teenager. I found one of his books- Outlaw Cook- at the local library, and for the first time realized that cooking could be done thoughtfully and intelligently.

Peg Bracken. My Mum has the I Hate To Cook Book and I’ve been reading it since I was a kid. Also I Hate To Housekeep.

Cheryl Mendelson, author of Home Comforts, the most thorough and intelligent guide to housekeeping ever. She is a Perfect Being.

Annie Berthold Bond is the natural domestic goddess.

Oh, c’mon. I want to see what other people have to say. Don’t let this thread die.

My grandmother.
I’m serious. This is a woman who at 89 is still laying the breakfast table for the family (now just my parents and youngest sister) every morning, complete with table cloth, sugar, jams and marmelades in little bowls with their own spoons, two kinds of tea in their own pots, coffee in the french press, milk and cream in their own little jugs and toast in a toast rack.

Other than that, I love Delia Smith and Darina Allen’s Cookery Books.

Cheryl Mendelson. Martha - I do love Martha. Even when she’s over-the-top (homemade marshmallows, anyone?) Julia Child. Paula Deen (her cooking reminds me of the women in my mother’s very Southern family).


I like Flylady, too. She’s a little glurgy for me, but she’s right about the routines, the calendar, and that you can do anything for 15 minutes.

I gotta step up to the plate and say Martha, as well.

Yeah, she’s a Waspy snob, but damn, I do like the decorating or collections and Good Things.


Cheryl Mendelson. Um, can we like, dedicate a shrine to her? Keep a candle lit or something?

Also, the lady who keeps this blog: Yarnstorm.