Monday, November 1, 2010

Magazine Monday, Nov. 1 - Martha Stewart Living

Martha Stewart you say? 

I like Martha Stewart for the very reasons a lot of people dislike Martha Stewart.  The woman has the uncanny ability to make a mountain out of a molehill.  :)

No joke.

Instead of going to the store and buying a paper bag, the woman will go into her backyard, chop down a tree, have it processed in her mini paper mill she keeps in her 100 year old shed, and wallah, she has a paper bag that looks just like the one I bought in the store for 25 cents. 

Martha doesn't ever try to tell you this is how you should do it though; Martha is a self admitted control freak and OCD person.
If Martha wants to make a paper bag instead of going to buy one, she does.

You go, Martha.

I've been a Martha fan since I bought this book

Remember this?
Me and Martha, we go way back. :)

The magazine continues some of the tradition started in her original books...along with some newer sections as well.
One of my favorite newer sections of Martha Stewart Living is her photography section.

Of course Martha has her own little studio...filled with several computers for various and asundry purposes...

particular photo editing programs and online services that she likes to well as a big screen HDtv for previewing photos.

Did I already say Oy?

And heavens to Betsy...please don't forget all the top of the line photography equipment...
I was drooling at this point.

After I finished updating my "Dream On, Sister" wishlist, Martha brought me back to reality...

pears decorated using simple but delicious smelling cloves to welcome guests...

Now, I was kidding about Martha bringing me back down to Earth from the stratosphere of camera equipment....
this is the stuff I really like about Martha.

Whenever possible, Martha uses natural ingredients and decorates using traditionally inspired ideas.
I'm giving these pears a try this year...they're just so warm, unpretentious and inviting.
Don't you think??

How 'bout this pomegrante door hanger as the photo introducing her "Good Things" section??
If you know anything at all about Martha, you know there will be some very "good things."


More good things...
this time for the kids...

Martha can get really get elaborate with entertaining, but she seems to try and be realistic about it as well. 
Take this breakfast planned for when a hostess may have a large crew in the house...most people have their own routines, likes and dislikes, etc. 
This kind of breakfast would satisfy most...and doesn't mean the hostess has to spend hours and hours in the kitchen preparing each and every meal

My brother says people who stay at my house are on their own.
He stayed at my house once, and I didn't make him breakfast.
Now, he'll never let me forget it.
Little brothers are just that way ;)

Martha always includes things from her own home as well as ideas and photographs from the homes of other real people...not celebrities.

I love that this table has a bench with it :)
The table my parents had in our dining room while I was growing up had a bench :):)
And, I absolutely adore the pumpkins and long candles as centerpieces.

Oh my!!
Aren't these seasonal desserts fabulous!!!!

And, of course, Martha will talk you through wine selection...frugality is always considered but with the understanding that you should always buy the best wine you can...and by all means, depending on the occasion, you may, in fact, have to splurge.  The choice is up to you.

 Besides entertaining, there's also a section for weeknight cooking...this pasta shells recipe is a family favorite and can even be prepared and frozen on the weekend to be taken out some busy night and still provide a hot nutritious supper for a hungry bunch of kids and husband. 
Martha provides the original recipe as well as some options for fillers depending on an individual's family's personal likes and dislikes.

 Now, this is the kind of mountain out of a molehill that I think Martha does very well. 
While she is certainly ahead of the game with the newest and most sparkly techno gadgets, she also honors timeless traditions such as letter writing, invitations, and thank-you notes. 
There is nothing like a handwritten note...yes, email is quicker and can be shot out in a heartbeat...but a handwritten note sends a message just with the note matter what it says inside...that the writer thought enough of you to go the extra put in a little extra send you a message.

Now, here's where Martha overwhelms me and even makes me feel guilty.  The section on housekeeping kills me. 
She has a housekeeping agenda.
Daily, weekly, monthly, bi-annually and yearly.

My housekeeping agenda is.....
get it done when you can, when you think about it, and/or when somebody runs out of underwear :)

This month's housekeeping includes how to make room in your home for guests...closets, drawers, etc.

A final recipe for each month usually goes along with the season of the magazine issue.
For November, it was a Pumpkin Cream Pie
Gingersnaps for the crust!!!!
I'm makin' this for our Thanksgiving this year!

Even after all that baking, decorating and entertaining, Martha is not done yet because she is also a collector...where in the world she puts all of her stuff, I'll never know.  But, there is always a section on a particular collectible, how to tell authentic from copy, and lots of gorgeous pictures of the various forms, kinds, labels, designs, etc.

With all her organization, cleanliness and attention to detail, it may surprise some to know that Martha is a pet lover.  She actually has numerous cats and dogs living inside her house and quite a few other animals as well living outside. 
In last month's issue Martha showed how her renovated kitchen was organized (she had, of course, planned out every inch) including a "pet station"...each of the animal's food bowl and containers of food were, of course, divided and had their own little individual station...

Uh-Oh asked why he did not have his own pet station.
I told him to quit reading my magazines. :)

On the flip side of this month's issue is an actual section on pets.
Martha has always had Chows and Himalyan cats...another of the reasons I like her...most of her publications include pictures of her animals sitting in chairs, on couches, etc. where they obviously are comfortable being.

I don't read every section of Martha Stewart Living because there are some sections that don't appeal to me at all...the crafting section (this month was knitting)...yes, Martha sews...why are you surprised???
 and the gardening is a little over my head...
but I still look at the fantastic pictures :)
Keep it comin', Martha!


  1. This is a wonderful post! I wish I could hire Martha Stewart for every holiday there is.:) She might be a bit too OCD for my taste, but she definitely knows what she's doing and I like quite a few of her ideas for decorations.

  2. Martha has the ability to inspire me and make me feel totally inadequate at the same moment. I love how much your post had be vacillating between those two emotions!

  3. You are hilarious! I just spent the weekend with this magazine and reacted just about like you did.

    I too have been a fan ever since that original cover edition of Entertaining. Although, now that I think of it, Quick Cook may have been my first one.

    I just went through some boxes and found that I have almost all the back issues of the magazine back to some of the early 1990 issues. I've been flipping through them -- what a lot of fun!

  4. I love how Martha inspires you. You must have more confidence and/or skills than I. She makes me feel like a lower life form!

  5. Oh how you make me laugh!! I love your sense of irony, I could just hear your voice in my head - reminded me of a D-Gen skit. ;)

    Martha is something else isn't she? I loved the walk-through of her mag; I've never picked one up before and I have the feeling she'd make me feel not-up-to-par even though we're completely different people and with opposite interests. But she's handy to have around right?

  6. When I got engaged to my now-ex-husband back in 1996 I picked up a copy of a Martha Stewart magazine and as I flipped through the pages I decided then and there that I was going to carry a bouquet of lilac hydrangeas and then I told my florist of my decision. Her reaction? "I despise Martha Stewart!" I asked her why and she informed me that Martha makes everything look simple and then went on to tell me that hydrangeas do not bloom in July (my wedding month) so the florist complied to my wishes and ordered hydrangeas from down south. Soooo....even back then I was a Martha Stewart fan and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one!

  7. Irena, I think I would definitely be a nervous wreck if Martha was at my house...she doesn't have the best reputation for patience...of course, neither do I ;)

    Lifetime Reader, I just have to skip over the parts that make me feel inadequate...bc there are certainly some sections that do :):)

    Rose City, most of my back issues have been donated to the college where I work. One of our art teachers loves the designs in MSL and the preschool is always begging for magazines that have pictures of food, flowers, and other everyday objects not found in many women's magazines.

    Mindee, I just go with the flow...if I feel inadequate, I turn the page :)

    Shannon, LOL, ok, you cracked me up...I even went on YouTube and revisited some D-Gen parodies.

    Teacher's Pets, Martha does make everything look simple...I just skip over that stuff and kinda laugh at her...she obviously enjoys what she does, so more power to her, I say. I stick with the most simple stuff she does though...I don't have a whole staff of folks working for me either. Everything's a lot simpler when you're surrounded by people who are paid to do what you tell them ;)

  8. I LOL when I read how you described Martha's process. One of my new favorite magazines is Real Simple --love it.

    BTW--those desserts look so good for the holidays

  9. I love Real Simple as well...I especially love all the quotes throughout the magazine...many of them literary :) How could we not love a magazine like that??