I’ve been awkwardly babbling about these two ladies for months now. Referring to them as my ‘homesteading ladies’ (like they’re MY people. weirdo). I could drop something about them in literally any conversation I partake in these days. It’s strange and embarrassing. So maybe once I get all this off my chest I’ll finally stop. Or not. Who knows, either way, I want to give the world a piece of my mind about Shaye Elliott and Angela Reed.
I think it was about two years ago, I was in my rented Toronto basement apartment home. It was a lazy afternoon with my girls - two and four at the time. We might've been folding laundry or at least surrounded by it.
I wanted some TV on but not a mindless show or any kind of nonsense. I wanted the audio visual sensation but something useful. I had root cellaring on my mind. I wanted (still want) to get the design right and understand how this storage space works most effectively. So I suppose I typed in ‘root cellar’ on YouTube and up popped The Elliott Homestead Channel.
Boom. Life changed forever.
Can’t remember if I went down the rabbit hole right that afternoon or if it was days or weeks later. Either way, I started watching her kitchen tour, home tour, garden tour, thrifting adventures, garden planning, homeschooling etc etc etc. oh! And the essential makeup applying routine even as a homesteader! I was enraptured (pretty deep… I mean that kitchen wallpaper! Wallpaper must be in my life now) but I wasn’t necessarily spellbound just yet.
You know how these things go…full on for a moment, then quiet and then back again. And then she came back full force. Last year, around April 2021 when we finally moved to OUR homestead full time. I was getting into our garden and I started BINGEING. I mean, falling asleep to her picturesque montages of the spring garden, summer garden etc. I was creating my dream garden and I had an example to follow. I tried searching other channels, just to not feel like a weird stalker, and get other ideas, but I don’t know. There’s just something about this one. The beautiful woven dance of flowers, food, stunningly simple home, their modesty yet intense passion for life, it’s beauty and often unnoticable charms. They put their cameras right on the good stuff! And I know there are so many talented people that do this. The thing that makes me happy and obsessed with this channel is its popularity too I guess. It’s that I’m not the only one that is fascinated by all this and that fascinates me too. These people are on to something. Somehow glamourising a seemingly unglamourous life.
Saying that - they are humble as heck and solid to the earth. I mean, intensely solid. Her talk of hard work and her addiction to it is probably perplexing for many but it’s invigorating for me. In a world of so much monotony, duplication, automation, addiction to ease and comfort, it was literally electrifying to hear someone else - that is popular(!) and inspiring and doing really cool stuff, talk about hard work like it’s the sexiest thing ever. Ahh I can breathe! Yes!! Let’s get our hands dirty, let’s sweat and yes even toil for a bit as we create our masterpieces. Then we sit back and admire our creations, in the garden, the kitchen and the rest of the home.
Which brings me to the Homemaker Chic podcast. This is not like grandma’s copy of Home and Garden magazine, which I know has a very updated, modern feel to it now. The Instagram accounts are definitely drool worthy. But it’s this personalized touch of Shaye (that’s her name by the way) and Angela (her co-host), and bestfriend who is coincidentally another incredible successful Youtuber, blogger, homesteader, magic lady extraordinaire. I adore Angela. Her humour, her outlook on life and centered rationale. I vibe with her so much. In fact, character wise I probably match Angela more but as they say.. Opposites attract and Shaye’s super punchy (albeit delightful) attitude and intense zest has a hold on me. It was a real eye opener, listening to her unapologetic viewpoints on the podcast compared to her very docile, dreamy Youtube videos. I loved to learn this side of her.
Well so, I binged the first few seasons all summer (while working in the garden of course). The whole of the first season is probably my favourite. So many of their views, approaches, assertions, just got me, down in the gut. And I don’t feel like they speak as if EVERYONE should live like this and do what they do etc. They just love their lives so much and are so unwaveringly clear on what their missions are and they are embodying those missions to the absolute max. Profound inspirations in my opinion.
Now. What exactly IS their mission? To revive the ever so drab and dreary life of the Homemaker. In their words - To rescue the Art of Homemaking.
And what an Art it is. I had no idea it was an Art. I’ve always thought of it as a consequence, no, a byproduct of just simply living in a home. You know, like you have to fill up the home with furniture, sure, decorate it (and I’ve always been excited about that part), and then maintain it. Clean it of course, keep it functional etc.. but to Make a Home.. I didn’t realize that was a real thing and that THAT is the primary thing I’d been doing for a few years by then. I suddenly had VALIDATION. This is my main vocation. I am managing the space where my family lives and by God’s grace - actually thrives! I can do this people. I want to do it! This is my life’s passion. I make the food, the home, the garden, the whole package. I host the parties, I hold the space, create the atmosphere, the environment. This is my JOB.
Now wait. Why do I suddenly have this validation? Cause two random ladies make some fancy Youtube videos and giggle over starching their tablecloths?? (Which by the way - I do draw the line there). It’s validated because all of this is in complete connection with living a Holistic lifestyle. Cooking food from scratch, that you grew in your garden, where you also harvest your medicines, and decorate your home with the flowers that you also grew, so you can bring the nature that you’re surrounded by all day into your home to continue to admire it, respect it, marvel at it and stay connected with it. You place the flowers in thrifted vases which saves the earth from producing more needless stuff, in addition to everything else that’s been thrifted. As an Intentional Homemaker, you are aware and concerned of the products and merchandise that comes into your home. And if you happen to be a MOTHER as well - your children are watching all this every. Single. Day. Absorbing it, learning how to replicate it. To learn respect and reverence for all the details that make a house, a home.
My own mother showed me an example of this. Obviously, not to the fine detail of professional Youtubers but the glimpse was there. It was clouded though by modern culture and the lack of appreciation, heck the complete lack of acknowledgement of such a vocation.
Sure sure, there’s Martha and a few other niche circles. But what’s encouraging about this movement (I’ll call it a movement now), is that it combines everything - home, food, garden, fashion, children, yes animal rearing too, which is not yet my realm but eventually.
The world is shifting now. And it’s not about politics or climate change or pandemics or anything at all on that scale. It all comes down to what you or I or anyone else do as an individual. It starts with looking after our own minds, bodies and souls, and those of our families too. And the best way to do that - is not just to make the time for it but the space too. Dare to dream up and cultivate the space that will nourish you wholly. No matter how large, or small or even tiny your space is. We must make it ours. Real, true and authentic, perhaps even Chic :)