I’m a big fan of Stuff That Works.
Stuff That Works is the stuff that we all do to make our lives easier, better, more lovely, less challenging. I enjoy lots of Stuff That Works: aromatic baths for stress, walks in nature to clear my head, using lists and a planner to manage my time.
Of all the Stuff That Works for me, nothing does more to nourish my soul and set me up for success than my Maker’s Day.
Maker’s Day emerged from a principle I learned when I worked on a large commercial farm in Denmark: PLAN WHAT YOU CAN.
On the farm, we had a regular schedule that helped make things easy: Tuesday was always the day we brought in our milk. Wednesday was always the day the kitchen was mopped and scrubbed and generally attacked with a scouring pad. Thursday was always laundry day. (That meant changing all the sheets on twelve farmhands’ beds, y’all. I will never forget it…)
Wherever possible, important tasks and chores on the farm were scheduled to be a regular part of my routine.
The routine on the farm made it easy for me to organize my energy around what needed to be done on a regular basis. It spared me from having to find or make time because the time had already been made.
On any given day of the week, I woke up knowing what I needed to do and got to work doing it.
The ridiculous comfort that came from my schedule on the farm taught me valuable lessons about planning to reduce stress, increase joy, and facilitate a sense of thriving. It allowed me to be present at the same time it helped me get stuff done. And it was with that outcome in mind that I first created my Maker’s Day.
There are no farmhands at our place and there is no milk to bring in on our farm. Here, my struggle has never been keeping up with laundry: my struggle was finding the time to make good things. Healthy, slow foods. Homemade bread and pasta. Ferments.
We eat slow food at home 95% of the time and we often end up with busy days that extend our work well into the evenings.
We enjoy homemade cheese, kombucha, fire cider, fresh-baked bread, and the like, but only when I make the time to make them. Too often, before Maker’s Days, I only knew we needed to make/bake/create something because we had run out. The fire cider jug would be empty. The kombucha jar was drained. The bread box was empty. And we would often have no idea what the hell we were having for dinner at 6 PM.
Until I started planning Maker’s Days.
ALL of the available time I have on Maker’s Days is dedicated to creating and accomplishing the things I need to do in order to maintain our healthy, handmade, homemade lifestyle.
It’s the day when I create things that help us thrive so that I can reduce stress, avoid panic, and free up both time and brain space for the remainder of the week.
In our household, Maker’s Day is typically Monday.
Maker’s Day is the day I:
- set our meal plan for the week’s dinners
- make a grocery list
- make bone broth
- make cheese or yogurt
- hard boil eggs for snacks
- make fire cider
- bake granola
- make ghee
- cut up veggies for nibbling
- make salad dressing, mayonnaise, ketchup, and other condiments
- set up a pickle or ferment
- soak and set sprouts
- simmer a pot of soup
- bake bread
- prep and freeze pizza dough
- set up an Instant Pot meal
- replenish tinctures, teas, and other herbal goodies
- blend and refill bath salts, body washes, soaps, and other aromatherapy products
- empty/reload the food dehydrator
- bottle our kombucha and set up the next ferment
- bottle and refresh our water kefir
- make breakfast bars, quiche, or other healthy, to-go morning foods for the week
I don’t do every thing every week, but I check in on everything each week to make sure I don’t get behind in having the homemade things we love at hand.
Maker’s Day was born when we embraced a strict elimination diet last year to avoid foods that trigger an autoimmune issue in our household–and it completely saved my butt. We couldn’t just run to the store and pick up most ready-made foods as the majority contain ingredients that were contraindicated for us. Going out to dinner was utterly impractical, annoying, and expensive.
Once I began setting up regular Maker’s Days, we never ran out of the homemade, slow foods we need to keep us going: we have organic salad dressing, healthy snacks, nourishing bone broth, and other things at the ready.
Even when I have to skip a Maker’s Day due to travel, my previous Maker’s Days usually have my back.
With meals planned for a whole week on a somewhat regular basis, there are inevitably leftovers in the freezer we can eat during extra busy weeks.
If we have anything from the garden or market that needs to be used before it goes bad, I’ll cook something that specifically features those items just to put by the leftovers for another day. Too many carrots to eat in a short time = carrot soup in the freezer. More fresh herbs than we need = food dehydrator. Extra tomatoes = spaghetti sauce. Maker’s Days mean less stress, less waste, and more free time.
Maker’s Days give me a cherished feeling of active engagement with the things that help us thrive along with a sense of peace for the rest of the week. We don’t find ourselves racing to the grocery store for overlooked items we need or scrambling to source something nourishing to indulge us. We’re SET.
Every week, I get a profound sense of accomplishment thanks to my completed list–and I start the week with my desire to make, create, blend, craft, pickle, ferment, and putter in the kitchen sated.
Maker’s Day provides real comfort in other ways as well.
It isn’t just about having our favorite things on hand. While I am often required to be at a computer for my work for hours on end and can easily get sucked into a day in a chair, Maker’s Days keep me moving around my kitchen, pantry, mud room, and garden. They keep me active, productive, grounded, and focused all day long.
When I am buried in details and deadlines, Maker’s Days offer a protected, sacred sanctuary wherein I can put all of my attention and energy to creating the things we like, want, and need.
No matter how crazy life gets, I know I always have a respite offering time spent creating healthy, nurturing, homemade delights.
In many ways, Maker’s Days give me time every week for the kitchen witchery that I can’t live without.
With my list of things to make in hand and my time protected, I can set my intention, focus on my desired outcomes, and make not just food but magic.
Maker’s Days have become a meditation, a healing time, a day all about our wellness. And the energy from that association goes right into everything I make on those days.
It’s not always possible to honor Maker’s Day as we intend, but we do our best and they serve us well. Securing even one Maker’s Day in a busy month brings deep comfort and abiding joy. [If you don’t have seven jars of ferments and four kinds of sprouts going at one time like we do and lack the passionate compulsion to make your own everything), once a month might be all you need.]
All I know is Maker’s Days work for us. Perhaps you need a Maker’s Day, too?
Bless and blessed be.