Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Vintage Halloween

A dear, sweet elderly couple that live down the street are in the process of sorting and clearing things out as they prepare to move to Florida to spend their 'golden years.' Mrs. Golden just stopped over and asked me if I would like to have this assortment of vintage Halloween decorations!

They are the old paper cut out party decorations and a few of the honeycomb decorations. They are so cool! There is also a trick or treat bag with a wonderful vintage print. (which appears to be newer) She gave me several different packages.. most of the items are in great shape. What's amazing is she even had the original packaging!

I clearly remember these cut out decorations when I was a kid! We would scotch tape them in the windows where our pumpkins would glow for all to see. Thanks Mrs. Golden!

A Chocolate Comfort Food

Who doesn't love chocolate cake? Especially an old fashioned chocolate cake! I had a craving for a delicious chocolate cake. My friend Chris refers to this 'look' as 'Grandma's chocolate cake.' I love the simplicity in the swirls of chocolate frosting. For one of the best chocolate cakes ever, try the "ultimate chocolate cake" with Mrs. Millman's chocolate frosting.

More Decorative Uses for Apothecary Jars

John, one of our fellow 'Martha' people and regular reader of House Blend (as well as being a friend..), shared his use of apothecary jars as part of his seasonal decorating. I love the look!

Its' simple... it's elegant.. and it speaks to the season quite nicely! Looking good, John!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gone Batty!

I've been dabbling in my Halloween decorating.. this years theme will be "bats and cats" using some of the great items from the Martha Stewart Crafts line.

A few of bats have taken over a shelf in the family room. The three apothecary jars on the top of the bookcase are from the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's. They are filled with leaves, grapevine balls and oversized acorns. Fall and festive!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Beautiful Send Off

I wanted to bring to your attention a stunning farewell tribute to summer.

Dr. Brent added this to his most recent "To and From" blog entry. The photography is breathtaking and the music is absolutely perfect. Take a moment from your busy day, relax, and enjoy.

Body + Soul Magazine Receives 2008 Gold Eddie Award From Folio Magazine

Body + Soul, a Martha Stewart publication, was honored with a 2008 Gold Eddie Award for editorial excellence from Folio magazine. The award is in the women’s fashion/lifestyle category for the September 2007 issue.

Congratulations to the staff of Body + Soul!

To learn more and be inspired to live a better life, visit wholeliving.com

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's Time to Celebrate!

There's a lot to celebrate during the month of October. House Blend will officially celebrate it's 'blogaversary,' the newest book, "Martha Stewart's Cooking School" will be released on October 21st, Macy's will be celebrating its 150th birthday, and of course there's Halloween!

What better way to celebrate than to give readers of House Blend the opportunity to win a wonderful prize package. Here's what you have to do:

Since this blog is about 'grabbing a cup and talk about Living' I want to know what "Living" means to you. Martha has often said that what the company does is help people enhance their day to day living. So what is Living to you?

Write a short essay (and here's the catch just to make it interesting) in 150 words or less describing what Living means to you. Submit your essay to:


No later than Sunday, October 13, 2008. All essays received will be forwarded to our distinguished judge (and friend of House Blend) Dr. Brent Ridge, who will review all the entries and select the winner. The winner will be announced here on House Blend, the evening of October 20, 2008.

The winner will receive a wonderful Living inspired gift basket:

  • A selection of kitchen tools from the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's
  • An assortment of favorite craft items from Martha Stewart Crafts
  • 2 bars of Beekman 1802 Goat Milk soap

Submit your essay and help us celebrate Living!
This contest is NOT sponsored by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia or any affiliates of MSLO, Macy's Inc, Martha Stewart Crafts, or Beekman 1802.com. This contest is sponsored soley by the author of this blog who wants to give back to those that have given so much of their support and kindness to visit and enjoy this space.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Martha Stewart Halloween and Christmas Crafts Featured on QVC

UPDATE!: This news just available from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia:

For the first time, Hannah Milman, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s Executive Editorial Director of Crafts, is scheduled to appear on QVC to demonstrate new Halloween and Christmas products from Martha Stewart Crafts. Viewers will be able to purchase custom-kitted products, which were created especially for QVC, during the one-hour broadcast. Custom-kitted products include a Cutting Tool Kit, Halloween Punch Kit, Christmas Ribbon Storage Kit, Food Packaging, and Glitter Stamp Craft Kit.

What are you doing Friday, September 26th? If you're a QVC shopper, it could be your lucky day to purchase craft products during the Martha Stewart Crafts hour.

During Martha Stewart Crafts, learn how to use Martha’s signature tools, glitter, embellishments, adhesives, paper, and holiday decorations to complete many different projects from paper crafting to seasonal decor.

During this hour, special craft merchandise 'kits' will be made available for the first time at special QVC prices.

Martha Stewart Crafts on QVC: Friday, September 26th, 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. (eastern) 6-7 a.m. PST.

Martha Stewart Craft items will be available through QVC at 1-800-345-1515 or through QVC.com

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Welcome Autumn

Monday, September 22 marks the first day of Autumn.

We officially say, 'goodbye' to summer as the days become even shorter and the temperatures begin to drop.

The autumnal equinox (which happens at 11:44 a.m. EDT) is the point where the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, from north to south. It is told that on the day of the equinox, the sun rises exactly in the east and sets directly in the west.

While the word 'equinox' means equal night, it's not necessarily true on the exact date of the autumnal equinox. The precise day when the sun rises and sets at the exact same time varies across the country. Here in Michigan, September 25 marks the day when the sun will rise at 7:23 a.m. and will set at 7:23 p.m. providing exactly twelve hours of daylight.

Why Leaves Change Color in Autumn

Tree and plant leaves contain pigments that give them their color. Three pigments are involved in fall color:

Chlorophyll — gives leaves their green color.

Carotenoids — provide the yellow, orange, and brown colors

Anthocyanins — give the red and purple colors. In contrast to the other two pigments, anthocyanins are produced in the autumn, in response to bright light and excess plant sugars in the leaf cells.

During the growing season, most tree leaves are green because they are full of chlorophyll. Plants use chlorophyll to capture sunlight for photosynthesis, the process that enables them to manufacture their own food. The amount of chlorophyll is so high during the summer that the green color masks all other pigments present in the leaf. As the days grow shorter in the fall, chlorophyll production slows down and eventually stops. The carotenoids and anthocyanins that are present in the leaf then become visible.

Amaze your friends with this bit of information!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

House Blend Celebrates!

House Blend is celebrating an exciting milestone: a consistent visitor count of over 1000 hits per week!

From very humble beginnings, House Blend has grown to be a favored destination of many to find information of interest on all things Martha, the Martha Stewart brand, and other resources for good Living.

Inspired by several different blogs (which are linked in the sidebar), House Blend was designed and created not to ‘compete’ with other blogs; but rather to serve in a similar way as an information source.

I’m very grateful that so many of you have made this blog a regular part of your Internet travels and have returned time and time again to enjoy this space. I thank you.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Martha and Emeril Cooking Up a Grand Opening of Two New Macy's Stores!

Just days before it celebrates its 150th birthday, Macy's is opening two new stores in New Orleans with one giant party. Honorary co-chairs Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse will join Macy's, Inc. Chairman, President & CEO, Terry Lundgren to welcome an array of local and national celebrities to Macy's Cocktail Gala benefiting The NOCCA Institute. The evening's star-studded festivities will be held at Macy's new three-level store at Lakeside Shopping Center, and feature a first-time-in-New Orleans cooking demonstration by Martha Stewart & Emeril Lagasse, plus a high-energy celebrity fashion show.


Look for Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse, Tommy Hilfiger, Russell Simmons, Clinton Kelly, Steve Madden, Chef Tyler Florence, Chef Cat Cora, Chef Dave Lieberman, Gavin DeGraw, Irma Thomas, Nestor Torres and Sunny Leigh on the red carpet as Macy's all-star celebrity line-up arrives for the evening's events.

6PM - Celebrity and VIP guests walk the red carpet.

6:30PM - Private Megastar VIP Reception begins.

7PM - The in-store gala gets under way at Macy's Lakeside Shopping Center. Guests will experience wonderful culinary delights, cocktails, and entertainment on all three levels of the store. Meet some of your favorite celebrity friends and designers in their department as our buzz-worthy television commercial takes a real-life twist.

8PM - Guests enter a tented venue and, for the first time in New Orleans, Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse will cook together - including a recipe from Martha's newest book, Martha Stewart's Cooking School!

Stay seated for an exciting fashion show featuring a dynamic combination of fashion and dance with stunning models, edgy street dancers, local celebrities and pillars of the New Orleans community strutting the runway.
Private VIP Megastar Reception tickets are $500 and Superstar Cocktail Gala tickets are $150. For tickets or more information, please call 504.940.2900 or visit http://www.nocca.com/. All guests will receive a complimentary gift bag designed by a local NOCCA student. Note: For press credentials to the event, please contact Vanessa Mayfield at 504.210.1304.
Photo courtesy of the Martha Blog

October Everyday Food

It's that time of year again... time for comfort food!

The October issue of Everyday Food will be hitting the newsstand in the next couple of weeks (and it's already in some mailboxes!) with a wonderful array of recipes that will warm you as the weather begins to turn cooler.

The cover shot is an incredible spinach and prosciutto lasagna. The best part, it only takes 10 minutes of prep! (page 87) Inside, you'll find the best lasagna and mac & cheese recipes; quick prep slow cooker surprises your entire family will love; dark chocolate treats and Chinese take out favorites without the guilt.

Make sure you pick up this issue. You're sure to find recipes that will have your family asking you to make it again and again!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Martha's Cooking School Sweepstakes

To celebrate Martha's new book, "Martha Stewart's Cooking School" (due for release on October 21st) the Martha Show is holding a contest! Log into marthastewart.com/cooking school and enter to win fabulous prizes! There will be five grand prize winners of an incredible prize package:
  • A trip to New York City to see the Martha Stewart Show on the first day of the new cooking school series on the show
  • $250. gift card from Macy's
  • A complete set of cookware and cooks tools from the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's
  • Martha's newest book, "Martha Stewart's Cooking School."

After you enter, you have the opportunity to 'spin the Martha wheel' to instantly win a great cooks tool prize. Enter often and good luck!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Martha Stewart Living - October Issue

Halloween is right around the corner and you'll have a frightfully good time at Halloween with inspiration from the October 2008 issue of Martha Stewart Living!

Here's a peek at what's inside:

Frightful Endings
Conjure a brood of seriously sinister sweets, including creepy cakes and ghoulish cookies, sure to delight even the most jaded tricksters (p. 152).

Night Visions
For a memorable All Hallows’ Eve, cast a magical spell with eerie, glowing party d├ęcor, such as a bewitching display of hors d’oeuvres (p. 166).

An October Feast
Celebrate the flavors of fall with a simple update to the classic German Oktoberfest, including sausages with apples, sauerkraut, and onion (p.84).

The October issue will be on newsstands September 22nd!

Also, don't forget... the experts at Martha Stewart Living are on hand to help with the first ever Halloween Workshop. Follow the link on the sidebar of this blog for great workshop projects.

Are you inspired by the covers of Martha Stewart Living? Scroll down this page and view all of the October issues through the years! It's a fun look back in time at Living!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Season 4 Opener Trivia

Did you happen to notice the 'truck' that John Barricelli was in? Do you know where that truck came from? It's the old Martha By Mail delivery truck that was used in television commercials and print ads when Martha By Mail was first developed in the early 90's. They covered the old MBM logo with the Martha show logo. It's just like Martha to keep everything! Just a bit of trivia...

I thought the season kicked off in a great way... no celebrities! It reminded me a great deal of the old show format.. I've watched it twice!

As my friend Will pointed out in an email, the stables were absolutely the cleanest stables on earth!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Paint Stir Stick Swatches

This "Self Portrait" ad from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia reminded me of the 'good thing' I learned (from Martha, of course) several years ago.. keeping paint swatch stirrers. As you mix a can of paint, allow the wooden stir stick to drip into the can and then allow it to air dry. On the non painted portion of the stir stick, write the color, the finish used, what room, date painted, and manufacturer of the paint. Also include any 'recipe' for the paint color mix should it be available. Drill a small hole at the top of the stir stick and keep all your color swatches together using a binder ring, or tied with a piece of twine or leather lacing.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Season 4 Begins Monday 9/15!

You've waited all summer and now it's time to tune in to the new season of The Martha Stewart Show which starts on Monday, September 15. Martha and 100 lucky members of the audience kick off Season 4 by inviting you along to visit the place Martha calls home: her beautiful farmstead in Katonah, New York.

Martha will also be joined by some of her favorite chefs: Boston's grilling expert Chris Schlesinger, New York's Joey Campanaro, and Scott Peacock, of Georgia's Watershed restaurant. Then the popular “pickle guy" Rick Field prepares a distinctive recipe for dill cucumber spears with a twist. Plus, Martha is taking you on an exclusive tour of her amazing vegetable garden and stunning stables.

The season premiere week also includes:

Tuesday, September 16: Innovative Chef Heston Blumenthal, of Britain’s world-renowned restaurant The Fat Duck, shares some unexpected cooking that will surprise the palate. Also, popular radio hosts Jennifer Koppelman Hutt and Alexis Stewart (“Whatever with Alexis & Jennifer”) dish the inside scoop on their new show “Whatever Martha” and get a lesson in frosting and decorating cakes. Plus, find out what Martha and friends have been up to this summer with pictures from their latest travels.

Wednesday, September 17: It’s the Blogging Show!!! Martha goes one-on-one with some of the internet’s most prolific and popular bloggers including Perez Hilton, Matt Armendariz of mattbites.com, and Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen. Plus, as the road to the White House heats up, Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin join Martha for an inside look at covering the presidential election on Politico. And Margaret Roach tells Martha how she used her green thumb to grow her popular blog, A Way to Garden. How I would love to be part of this show!

Thursday, September 18: Academy Award-nominated actor Terrence Howard joins Martha in the kitchen to chat about his debut "Shine Through It," and to make a mouthwatering new recipe you'll definitely want to try. Then, renowned primatologist Jane Goodall talks about some valuable tips on what you can do every day to help better our environment. Plus, the creators of Myachi, the new game your kids are crazy about, are in the studio to demonstrate some amazing tricks with these popular hand sacks.

Friday, September 19: Tune in for a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the September cover of Martha Stewart Living. Then, Martha shows you how to give your home a modern -- and affordable -- boost by stenciling pillows with stylish patterns. Plus, world-renowned fashion designer Ralph Rucci share his recipe for molten chocolate cake, and to chat about the documentary "Ralph Rucci: A Designer and His House," narrated by Martha and airing this month on the Sundance Channel.

This is a BIG premiere week! If you miss one the show during the day, don't forget you can always watch it on Fine Living at 8pm eastern. (there is a one day delay)

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Today, we remember.

We remember where we were. We remember what true fear felt like. We remember the spirit of America as we pulled together as one, united as a diverse family for a common good. We remember the sorrow. We remember the sorrow families and friends still feel to this day. We remember our hero's. We remember the miracles of survival. We remember the emptiness of loved ones never recovered. We remember that sunny September morning with the first hints of autumn. We remember the shock. We remember the silence in the air. We remember trying to return to some sense of 'normal.' We remember the pain.

We remember today. We remember what our world once was.

I miss that world.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Martha Stewart Living Radio Soon Available on XM

With the merger between XM and Sirius Satellite Radio complete, the new company, SiriusXM announced today the beginning of new subscription offerings for owners of XM or Sirius satellite radios.

Beginning October 6, SiriusXM will begin "Best of Both" programs for subscribers. “Sirius on XM” will include two Howard Stern channels, Martha Stewart Living, NBA, Sirius NFL Radio, Sirius NASCAR Radio and Playboy Radio. “XM on Sirius” will include, NHL Home Ice, Opie & Anthony, Oprah & Friends, Public Radio with Bob Edwards, College Sports and PGA Tour.

The "Best of Both" oferring will allow current subscribers to retain their current radio devices. The initial subscription cost will be 16.95; a four dollar increase from the current 12.95 monthly charge.

Also announced, starting October 6, an a la carte programming option to allow listeners to pick and choose up to 50 of their favorites from both services for a monthly charge of $4.99. The a la carte options will require subscribers to purchase new radios.

This is great news for listeners of Martha Stewart Living Radio.. if you're an XM subscriber, you won't miss all the great gardening, decorating, petkeeping and whole living hints and how-to Martha Stewart Living Radio has to offer. The best of Martha Stewart Living experts are as close as your radio and your telephone, since most shows offer a call in Q/A with the hosts and guests. We can't forget "Ask Martha," which is the listeners opportunity to call in and ask Martha personally that burning question you've always wanted to ask!

Subscribers to either XM or Sirius can expect specific details on the new programming options in the coming weeks.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Seasonal Decorating Inspiration

Now that the Labor Day holiday has come and gone, it's time to turn my attention to transforming our home from summer's 'light and breezy' to warm and inviting with the colors of autumn.

The photo you see to the left is actually a scan. I found these leaves last autumn and decided to scan them instead of attempting to photograph them. This photo became the inspiration for our seasonal fall color theme.

I've always enjoyed changing the look of our home for the seasons. In the coming weeks you'll find posts that will discuss how to find your own personal color inspiration, and seasonal decorating on a budget. Seasonal decorating doesn't have to be expensive!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Emeril Collaborates for 10 Book Deal!

First Book Due in May 2009

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. today announced that Emeril Lagasse is collaborating with HarperStudio, a new imprint of HarperCollins, on a multi-year, 10-book project. Mr. Lagasse is one of the first authors to join HarperStudio, which launched April 2008 as an innovative book publishing platform. The chef's first book with HarperStudio will focus on indoor and outdoor grilling and will go on sale May 12, 2009, in time for Father's Day. It will be Mr. Lagasse's first book since 2005.

HarperStudio will promote Mr. Lagasse's new book program and previous titles with an aggressive, integrated, multimedia marketing campaign. The HarperStudio website and emerils.com will play a significant role in these efforts, featuring video, photography, texts and blogs. MSLO will also help market the books across its Omnimedia platforms, including internet, magazines, television, and radio.

Stated Charles Koppelman, Executive Chairman of MSLO: "As a celebrity and accomplished chef, Emeril is the perfect author for HarperStudio's cutting-edge book publishing formula. We believe this collaboration presents significant opportunities for MSLO and contributes to our growth strategy for Emeril's brand."

"Emeril's long-term commitment to our new company gives us the chance to bring his new books as well as his existing best-sellers to an even broader audience," said Robert Miller, President and Publisher, HarperStudio.

"I've had a great relationship with HarperCollins for over 15 years," said Emeril Lagasse. "Since 1993, we've published 12 cookbooks for adults and children, including many best-sellers. I look forward to working with Bob and his team as we bring together the unique publishing model of HarperStudio, the infrastructure and expertise of my parent company, MSLO, and my ongoing passion for creating fun and innovative recipes for cooks at home."

Mr. Lagasse's relationship with the HarperCollins family has resulted in a number of best-sellers including "Emeril's Creole Christmas," "Emeril's TV Dinners," "Everyday's a Party," "Emeril's There's a Chef in My Soup" and "Emeril's There's a Chef in My Family."

The new book will feature approximately 170 mouth-watering recipes, 75 photos and many of the useful cooking tips for which Mr. Lagasse is known.
Recipes include Emeril's Delmonico Bone-in Rib Steaks, Northern Italian Style Chicken Under a Brick, Grilled Pork Chops with Mixed Herb Chimichurri and Grilled Banana Splits.

Since joining the MSLO family of brands in April 2008, Mr. Lagasse has continued to grow and expand the Emeril brand. His guest column titled "Kick it Up" for Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine continues in the September issue with his family meatloaf recipe. This fall, Mr. Lagasse will begin appearing in regular segments on The Martha Stewart Show, the nationally syndicated, Emmy-winning daily television series that begins its fourth season on September 15. Viewers can also watch Emeril on Emeril Green, his new cooking show on Discovery's eco-friendly Planet Green network and on Emeril Live on Fine Living. In addition, Mr. Lagasse's new cookware line for Pro-Clad is available at Bed Bath & Beyond and HSN exclusively until November, and will rollout nationally thereafter.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Josh!

I missed Josh Kilmer-Purcell's birthday, so I wanted to send a belated birthday greeting!

I hope you enjoyed your birthday, Josh!