Helen Cordes — DIY maven

By Elizabeth



Meet UNBORED writer extraordinaire Helen Cordes. If you get to be friends with Helen, she’ll insist on calling you “Mrs.” As in “Hey, Mrs! What’s up?” It’s her creative way of taking a sort of old-fashioned term and making it cool.

Josh and I have known Helen for years. I feel lucky that when I was getting started in journalism, Helen took a shine to me and became my informal mentor. Without her influence, I  might have gone down the path of writing “Best Of” stories about hairspray and pantyhose.

Helen has had such a deep and lasting impact on my life that it’s hard to put into words all that is wonderful about her. But one thing I’ll say is that if there was ever a person who embodies the UNBORED ethos, it’s Helen.


Helen grew up on a farm in Colorado, which means that when she wasn’t doing chores she had a lot of time to herself. As a result, she became extremely industrious. In addition to growing her own veggies in her Texas garden, Helen sews a lot of her own clothes and has knitted enough sweaters and hats to dress a small town. And man, can this woman read and then spin ideas: Newspapers, magazines, websites, newsletters, catalogs, pamphlets–Helen could discover something interesting from the nutritional label on a bag of rice.

Helen and her husband Eric–who is a political science professor–homeschooled their two daughters. Jesse is now getting her Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley. Zoe is a music and media consultant and student at the University of Texas, Austin. She’s also one of our beloved UNBORED contributors, who wrote about how you can make your education your own on page 28.

In addition to all her hobbies and child-raising accomplishments, Helen is the executive editor of New Moon Girls, an awesome organization that publishes an international  magazine and hosts a safe online community for girls ages 8-14.