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Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World Paperback – April 26, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

KELLY COYNE and ERIK KNUTZEN grow food, keep chickens, brew, bike, bake, and plot revolution from their 1/12-acre farm in the heart of Los Angeles. They are the keepers of the popular DIY blog, Root Simple, and the authors of The Urban Homestead, which the New York Times describes as "home economics as our greatgrandparents knew it...the contemporary bible on the subject."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605294624
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605294629
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
By any chance, have you, like me, wanted to be able to make truly useful things for years? Intended to convert to cleaning in a cheap, responsible way? But just kept finding books of recipes and tips that didn't deliver, were overly complicated, called for such a wide variety of ingredients, many obscure and expensive, that you started to doubt it'd save any money at all, even if you didn't botch a single thing? I mean, what's the point of trading out my very long domestic shopping list of items I can find at Target with an equally long list of items that have to be gathered from the far-flung corners of the globe?

This is not one of those books. This is brilliant in its simplicity. The recipes and ingredients are so elemental, the authors might be the Prometheus of Home Ec. I've had the book for five days. Not only do I not need to buy half that domestic list anymore (and I imagine that will only grow as I work my way through more projects), but I don't know what I'm going to do with the stuff -the shaving cream, the detangler, the toilet cleaner, the windex- that's already in the house because this homemade stuff is BETTER than the store bought junk. What I like best about this book might be how it's changed the feel of my whole place. There's life and processes everywhere: soap is curing, the hair rinse is steeping, seedlings are sprouting, herbs are growing. I look at things around my home and see new uses for them. I see something I typically buy and think "I could make that." There's something peacefully reassuring about this but more so it's a loud humming of anticipation, excitement, and almost manic creativity. After about 8 projects, I started thinking "There needs to be a recipe for solid perfume! I'd really love a recipe for throat lozenges! With honey!
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If you are even slightly interested in becoming self-sufficient in your household you need to purchase this book. It's the best I've seen on the subject - for newbies or veterans.

I happen to be a bit of a veteran in this area, for years having made my own laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, toothpaste, kombucha, gardening, canning, you name it. I've flipped through many books on this subject and have never been impressed - it's all either extremely rudimentary to the point of stupidity, or overly complicated and expensive. This book is neither: it's simple but not without explanation, inexpensive and accessible, and even projects that should be a little more difficult are explained clearly and in great detail. Nearly half of the projects I've already done variations of or do on a regular basis, yet there was still material I learned a great deal from. Soapmaking is one thing I will specifically mention.

Soapmaking books tend to be focused on making "pretty" or scented or "exfoliating" or some other stupid fancy complicated things. I've wanted to make bar soap for years - just basic, simple, easy, practical. This book contains a recipe for "blender soap" - 3 ingredients and a blender. And the lye they recommend using? Common drain opener available in most hardware stores. To borrow from the extensive reviewer Auntie Claus... it is "brilliant in its simplicity." That's really an accurate description of this entire book. I already have two batches of soap curing and this information alone was worth its purchase.

(I will also add that they include the "hard way" of making soap via the traditional method of lard and homemade lye from wood ash.
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I bought this book about a month ago and just yesterday made the "Herbal Stick Deodorant" for my husband. He has tried a few of the store bought "natural" brands and they all gave him a rash. I'm happy to say he loves the home made herbal stick deodorant. No rash and it really works!
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Nothing new here folks. I think these topics have been covered just as well or better in a slew of books that started with The Nearings "The Good Life", and maybe even earlier in Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (circa 1861). As others have mentioned, the text design is difficult to read, but I doubt that the authors picked it. I also know after 30 years of homesteading (both urban and rural) that there are better ways to do a lot of this stuff. For one thing ladies, don't make your own menstrual pads, buy yourself the reusable Keeper or Diva Cup (search on-line for sites) and you will never have to buy a tampon again. Olive oil lamps are useless, invest in an Aladdin brand lamp for easy reading and working - it will last a lifetime with proper care. I did find there was something sweet and genuine in the goal of this book and it's actually why I gave it three stars. Each generation seems to feel the tug to go back to the "simple life", and each seems to think they are the first to invent the concept. I wish anyone interested in this topic and lifestyle have a chance to explore and experience it. I would suggest you take this book out of the library and actually buy The Encyclopedia of Country Living: An Old Fashioned Recipe Book by Carla Emery to really get back to basics.
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