Like many at-home artists I know, I don't have a dedicated studio space in which to do my work. I sew in my dining room, which means often my supplies are sharing space with placemats, candles, and salt and pepper shakers. (See attached photo and http://www.flickr.com/photos/66931774@N08/6086031033/) I also do the majority of my work in two-hour increments, while my two-year-old son naps. In order to stay on track in such a multipurpose space and constrained time, I try to be as organized as possible - a skill which doesn't come naturally to me, unfortunately - and I try to create a sonic environment that's conducive to working. In my case, this means listening to variety of podcasts. Here are some of current faves:
If I have just a few minutes to listen (and work), I go to:
The Dinner Party Download (http://www.publicradio.org/columns/dinnerpartydownload/) - These fifteen-minute episodes include a usually-terrible joke, a cocktail recipe, a brief history lesson, and notes on emerging food trends and interesting people. If I ever actually went to dinner parties anymore, I'd be stocked with good conversation fodder after listening to the DPD.
The Memory Palace (http://thememorypalace.us/) - I'm a history geek, and these super-short, incredibly poignant moments of lost and eccentric American history never fail to move me.
WTF with Marc Maron (http://www.wtfpod.com/) - Totally profane ("WTF" stands for what you think it does), totally irreverent, and often weirdly profound, Marc Maron is a comedian who interviews other comedians in his garage, along with the occasional non-comedian guest (try to track down his interview with Baltimore's own Ira Glass of "This American Life.") Even if, like me, you have no idea who have the interviewees are, the conversations are always worth a listen.
Slate's Gabfest, Culture Gabfest and DoubleX podcasts (http://www.slate.com/id/2065896/view/2182767/) - Each of these is fiercely intelligent, funny, hour-long roundup on the latest political or cultural news, with a good mix of high- and low-brow content (Marc Maron has been a guest on the Culture Gabfest). Listen to one and feel a little bit smarter for the rest of the day.
The Simple Mom Podcast (http://homefries.com/p/the-simple-mom-podcast/) - Blogger Tsh Oxenreiderbroadcasts low-key, thoughtful, and down-to-earth conversations with other low-key, thoughtful, and down-to-earth parents about everything from traveling or crafting with little kids to maple syrup-making. Simple Mom provides a little bit of perspective to sanity-deprived parents of small children.