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Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World
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Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  871 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Spending money is the last thing anyone wants to do right now. We are in the midst of a massive cultural shift away from consumerism and toward a vibrant and very active counter-movement that has been thriving on the outskirts for quite some time — do-it-yourself-ers who make frugal, homemade living hip are challenging the notion that true wealth has anything to do with mo ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Rodale Books (first published November 9th 2010)
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 ·  871 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Mar 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ecology-diy
Just a fantastic collection of DIY home-centered projects written for an audience that resembles me: cheap, environmentally & punkishly inclined, discretionary but fairly ambitious, and an urban USA eco-hipstery type. Probably not for everyone, but sat exceptionally well with me. With DIY project books, the tone & style really matters; I can read about a project twenty times but I generally won't attempt it until it's explained just so, in a way that I "get."

Exceptional proje
Gail Williams
May 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
i cannot give this book enough stars. i found their first book, 'the urban homestead', to be quite inspirational and something of a catalyst for me. that book planted the seed for many of the things i do now in my day to day life, such as cooking most of my meals from scratch, using homemade cleaning products, etc. however, the new book takes it to a whole new level. i've been wanting to try soapmaking, but the resources i've come across have these long lists of items you need and make it seem a ...more
Apr 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: foodie-hippie
I definitely love the idea of this book, but I found many of the projects a little too off-the-grid for what I'm willing or able to try at this point. But I do appreciate that the authors anticipate that, and encourage you to try the ideas that seem intriguing to you and leave the rest for another person or another day. When my current cleaning supplies run out, I am excited to try their mixes. I am not, however, willing to brush my teeth with a stick. I also get frustrated any time I read books ...more
Nov 17, 2013 rated it liked it
The title did not lie. It was definitely radical home economics. Some of the projects I do already: clean with vinegar, compost, grow my own herbs and vegetables and sew, but some of the projects I will NEVER do. Yes, I am talking about making my own sanitary napkins. An admirable idea, but not going to happen.
I really liked the section on beekeeping and on raising chickens. They were both very informative, but also made the reader feel like those projects were doable. I also really liked
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Pretty standard fare for those somewhat versed in homesteading
Shannon Hayes
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is an intelligent compendium from my favorite bloggers, Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne, over at Root
I first met Erik and Kelly when I was researching Radical Homemakers, and I was blown away by their creative union of theory and practice to build a radical urban homestead in the most unlikely location of downtown Los Angeles. This is their second book, and true to form, they pay close attention to the how to details that enable a radical homemaking family to sink or swim -- from homemade
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. Great if you want to go totally hippie or if you just want to do a few things yourself, whether it be make your own shampoo or install a garden drip system. Just lots of great information with zero smugness and lots of humor (directed often at themselves). I also highly recommend the authors' blog Root Simple - read it every day. Now I'm off to turn the compost and order some seeds :)
Very much recommended.
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Radical this certainly was, although post-consumer our world definitely is not. But how many DIY books have you read that contain instructions for making a self-composting toilet or slaughtering your own chickens?? I liked this a lot - the DIY situations were right up my alley and I learned tons about, for example, making your own fermented foods and espaliering fruit trees. Some of this information is sure to be useful.
Jun 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Some good cleaning recipes. Also recommended soaking time for beans that isn't too long. I wondered why my beans came out like mush when I followed the Instant Pot's timing. Need to soak them for much less time. I thought they would soak up as much water as they could & leaving them in it wouldn't matter. Silly me.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting variety of projects with clear instructions and helpful illustrations. Some projects have safety warnings but some warnings are missing such as boiling water before using it as a nasal rinse to ensure avoiding rare but deadly brain-eating parasites.
Christy Wilhelmi
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Creative ideas for using fewer resources, and living lighter on the planet. I found myself bookmarking many projects for future reference. I can’t wait to make the body products, and I am already using the baking soda toothpaste recipe. Interesting info delivered with humor and class.
Lindsay P
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is everything I want in life.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
may not make these exact items; book does generate a lot of ideas
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great ideas
Southern Wildfolk
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent resource for the off grid library.... or anyone else who wants to be a radical homemaker/homesteader.
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Many things to like about this book. If you're already active in living a more sustainable life, this book will present some challenging next steps. If you're just beginning, you'll still find a lot of easy and involving projects to try as first steps.

The author was one of a few "self-sufficiency experts" who were profiled in this month's (Feb/Mar 2012) Mother Earth News. Coyne is the author of a blog called "Root Simple." Her description: Root Simple is about back to basics, DIY living, encompassing h
I want to buy this book.
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
What a fun book. It gives me comfort to know there are other couples out there asking themselves ways to make things themselves in a safe, environmentally friendly, cost-effective way. It doesn't cover quite all the stuff discussed in Home Economics, but rather expounds on a new generation's concerns and puts focus back into so much stuff long forgotten. Home Economics was once said to be the backbone of Democracy because it instilled a family foundation in all matter of household living, from f ...more
Jun 18, 2016 added it
Shelves: favorites
This is about as close as any book has ever come to changing my life. Not to say it's perfect, or even the best book I've read about homesteading. It's far from that. The directions aren't always as clear as I, a book-smart person lacking so-called "common sense," need. The projects aren't always useful (I mean, an oil lamp? Really?) or relevant (there'd be no place to put a humanure toilet in my apartment complex even if I, or my neighbors, wanted one). There *are* some projects I have tried, o ...more
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read books like this all the time. I'm one of those 'aspiring homesteaders' who is constrained by a neighborhood association. Who knows what I would or wouldn't do if that were not the case.

This book's instructional range covers so many bases. The length of coverage falls within a pretty decent ballpark for my attention span. Not to brief as to frustrate, not too long as to lose me, just enough to satisfy my educational needs but leave my looking for more if need be.

May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
If you are intrigued by the theory of urban homesteading but aren't sure how to put the ideas into practice, this is the book for you. It's full of projects and how-tos, ranging from the simplest 5-minute oil lamp (olive oil, a piece of string, and an Altoids tin) to how to set up beekeeping or a long-term compost system. The book is arranged by time of project, with sections broken out into daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally, and annually (or once ever) descriptions of time commitment. The inst ...more
I have their first book "The Urban Homestead" as well, and I have to say that I liked this book much better. The previous one was hard to recommend because they apparently lacked an editor who could point out that maybe they shouldn't cuss in a how-to book (though I liked the project portions enough to have it on my shelf). The new one, done by Rodale, seems to have given them an editor. Many of the recipes and projects can be done immediately and cheaply in minutes with stuff you already have a ...more
May 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
wow. comprehensive. from diy lipbalm and shampoo bars to processing a chicken and a diy composting toilet. wow. I'd say that this is a must-have if you're really interested in homesteading (urban or otherwise), living more lightly, spending less money, living more intentionally. Not really bedside reading, as I was ready to drift off right as I got to the latter of my four examples, but certainly informative and inspiring. Can't say I'll jump on that form of composting, but if we needed it, it's ...more
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
This book is really more of a project-based how-to book for sustainable living. Even though I read it all the way through, it really is meant more as a reference. The book divides projects up by how often you'll need to do them, which is really convenient if you're looking for a weekend project vs. an afternoon project. Among my favorites were homemade soap in a blender, mead brewing, and natural cleaning products. For those of you are more ambitious, there are also sections on keeping chickens ...more
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book. It is well written, clear, concise and well organized. They take you through, step-by-step how to make a number of household items. The chapters are organized by items you need daily (tooth paste, shampoo, etc) to items you will only need to make once or yearly.

It also starts with simple projects and allows you to progress to more challenging projects. I have already made a number of things and plan to make much more. Such a satisfying feeling, making your own persona
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have read several how-to/homesteading/trendy home ec books and this one is a keeper. There isn't much narrative about "why we do this stuff" other than in the introduction, which is refreshing. I think most of us who read books like this want the 'meat and potatoes' to be real, how-to, instructional stuff--and this book delivers. I would give it five stars, but I would have liked more diagrams/pictures to help the folks that learn visually. I'm a learn-through-text learner, but I know some fol ...more
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
This a a much better book than their last book. There were some simple easy to do projects or recipes for some at home basics like cleaners, personal hygeine and kitchen recipes. Many of the recipes were made simple instead of long drawn out, complicated versions I have seen elsewhere (like soap or vinegar). There were also some larger projects like behives or composters and a variety of in-between things. Almost anyone could make use of at least a few of the ideas. I am going to have to buy a c ...more
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it
This book has inspired me to move "make our soap" much higher on my list of DIY projects that I want to do. I liked the layout of the book - from simple, day-to-day projects to major infrastructure improvements (like building your own beehive or composting toilet). Most of the more radical projects I probably will never come close to contemplating doing, proving that I'm perhaps not as a radical DIY-enthusiast as one might think. I was glad to see that my sewing skills far exceed those described ...more
barb howe
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great guide for how to make just about anything (soap, shampoo, lip balm, deodorant, all-purpose cleaner, moisturizer) Useful and informative, you'll find lots of everyday items that are way cheaper and healthier to make yourself at home. I will never buy luxury bath products again! Only thing is that the way the book is organized is bizarre (not by type of product but by how often you would theoretically make it (weekly, monthly, yearly). It'd be much easier to use if they categorized things ...more
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-farm-garden
Nice follow-up to their first book, The Urban Homestead, with a lot more “how to” details. I’ve been making my own skin cream and some house-cleaning products for a few years now, and there are some new ideas here for those and a lot more. And of course it fed my longing to raise chickens, even though I know I would hate caring for them on cold winter mornings almost as much as I would hate the resulting increased raccoon traffic through my back yard.
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