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Contact Kate

My name is Kate.

I’m a grant writer, half-assed domestic goddess, former nanny, after-hours poet, committed doodler, trash collector, big-time procrastinator, tea and toast and jam obsessed Austinite. I come from Swedish, German, Irish and British great grandparents. I collect old typewriters; some of them still work. I studied anthropology and sociology in the Sonoran Desert. I worked on an organic tomato farm once. I paper mache’d gigantic thumbs once, too.

I started this blog in 2009. I was living in a ground-floor apartment in Brooklyn and found myself under-employed yet as intent on keeping a cozy home as when I had a salary to back up those efforts. It became clear that creativity and some improvisation were in order, thus the HGGH blog, then book were born. I’m still employed in the creative and freelance economy with my mainstays in freelance writing and teaching.

I write for publications like Edible Austin, HGTV Mag, Acres USA Mag, Canning Across America and the kitchn websites. I teach classes on green cleaning, home food preservation and other food-based instruction both privately and at culinary instruction schools and centers like Whole Foods, Central Market, The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts.

I used to be a flashy cook, meaning I stuck to making things that counted as alarming (jam, bread, ice cream, muffins, marshmallows, etc.) as opposed to required. Thankfully J’s presence not only ensured our daily demands for actual sustenance, but those habits have worn off on me (which I wrote about in book 2, Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen, out April 2014). I doesn’t hurt that we’re on a tight budget, so making 98 percent of the things we eat, here at home is what we do. J does creative (and delicious) meal planning well, I do throw-it-in-the-pan-and-hope-for-the-best well. Our powers combined keep us happily fed all year round.

We have one 10-lb dog who yields her body weight in discarded fur at least once a week, a stack of old window panes I schlepped to Brooklyn and back, houseplants that are now thriving, a larder stocked with homemade pickles and preserves and a ton of dust bunnies under the bed. We are rearranging the norms, making urban living on a budget work for us and doing the things we love while we’re at it.

Write to me at kate {at} katepayne {dot} net if you’re feeling chatty or visit my author site to learn more.

All photos on this page courtesy of Jo Ann Santangelo.