Friday, October 31, 2008

Are Martha Stewart Stores in the Future?

While in Chicago on Thursday to sign copies of her new book, "Martha Stewart's Cooking School," Martha shared a scoop during an interview with the Chicago Sun -Times.

While her many products already are sold in Macy's, Costco and Kmart, ''I long have dreamed about having free-standing Martha Stewart stores ... and we can easily fill a store with all the products we make,'' Stewart said. While no locations are set, ''I would love to have a store on Michigan Avenue ... that would be great,'' said the queen of crafting, cooking and raising the bar of Americans taste levels.

'Though," she added, "that concept may first be launched internationally.''

Last year, Martha staffers participated in the 'Next Big Idea" contest. One idea submission included a free standing store.

To have a 'one stop shop' for all Martha Stewart products would be a dream come true for many brand loyal consumers. I for one find it frustrating that there is not one 'place' where all products are visible and available. With Macy's utilizing the "My Macy's" personalized concept of merchandise buying, the entire line is not available at every Macy's store and the website has a large, but limited selection of merchandise.

Martha has changed the way we live, I can easily see her changing the face of retail. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

During the same interview, Martha also gave a hint that her new entertaining book will be available in the next 12-14 months.

Photo credit: Brian Jackson / Sun-Times

Happy Halloween!

The pumpkin is carved, the cauldron is boiling on the stove, and the treats are ready for the little goblins. It's Halloween!
From our home to yours, we hope you have a safe and 'spooktacular' Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Halloween Spirit

Looking for that little 'something' to jump start your Halloween spirit? I have the perfect place for you... Beekman 1802.

Dr. Brent shares tales of spirited interested in his blog "To and From" while four year old Mary Beekman shares a story or two in her own blog. Mary has lived at the Beekman for over 200 years.

To round out your visit, make sure you step inside the Beekman family crypt (close the door behind you) and stay for a minute (or two). What goes on inside the crypt when the door is closed? Go in.. and see... If you dare. Just remember: what happens in the crypt, stays in the crypt.
Photo courtesy of Beekman 1802

Martha Stewart and M & M's Sweeten the Holiday Season

(PRNewswire) Mars Direct, a division of Mars Snackfood US, announced a collaboration between MY M&M'S® Chocolate Candies and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc (NYSE: MSO).
The collaboration, which will be unveiled on Friday during a special live Halloween edition of the Emmy-winning series, The Martha Stewart Show, combines Martha Stewart's unique do-it-yourself craft ideas with personalized MY M&M'S® to deliver style and smiles this holiday season. These unique, fun and affordable handcrafted gift ideas will be available exclusively at and across all of MSLO's media properties. In her Friday show, Martha takes viewers on a first-ever behind-the-scenes visit to the MY M&M'S® factory, giving audiences a glimpse into what it takes to produce one of America's all-time favorite sweets.

Through the integration, MSLO will create a cross-platform 360-degree program promoting stylish, personable and affordable holiday gifts featuring MY M&M'S® Faces. This platform will allow consumers to put their favorite faces and personal holiday messages on M&M'S® Chocolate Candies. In addition to being featured on The Martha Stewart Show, these exclusive do-it-yourself personalized holiday gift ideas will be on Martha Stewart Living Radio on SIRIUS; MSLO's online, eight-week Holiday Workshop at; and through do-it-yourself articles featured in Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food magazines.

"We are very excited to launch this strategic alliance with Martha Stewart, as she is the arbiter of creativity, style and good taste," said Jim Cass, vice president and general manager, Mars Direct, Inc. "Millions turn to Martha for do-it-yourself inspiration for holiday gifts, and MY M&M'S® is pleased to provide a platform to personalize gifts that are fun, meaningful, and a treat to eat."

"From family tree ornaments to wish jars, MSLO's personalized holiday decor and gift ideas featuring MY M&M'S® Faces will allow our audiences to tell their own unique holiday stories," said Martha Stewart. "Featuring custom photos and messages with a sweet chocolate twist, each holiday craft idea allows consumers to take personalization to a whole new level to create truly one-of-a-kind holiday memories."

MY M&M'S® has also created two Martha Stewart-inspired autumn and holiday M&M'S® blends that will be given free exclusively to Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia audiences with a minimum MY M&M'S® purchase. MY M&M'S® can be ordered online at

Handcrafted Holiday Gifts Never Tasted So Sweet

Create your personalized holiday gifts, stocking stuffers and edible season's greetings by ordering MY M&M'S® customized chocolate candies online at
MY M&M'S® Faces are available in 7-ounce bags at $12.99 per bag (minimum order: 3 bags); a 5- or 10-pound bulk box for $139.99 or $259.99, respectively; or a variety of 1.6- to 1.75-ounce party favors (minimum order: 20 bags), priced at $4.39 - $6.89 per bag, based on variety. MY M&M'S® Faces are a fun way to tell your personalized story in a brand new way.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Book Signing - A Day To Remember

Blowing winds, temperatures hovering in the low 30’s and random snowflakes falling from the sky were no match for hundreds of Martha Stewart fans and followers who lined up in the early morning hours to obtain their wristband and copies of “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School” for a book signing at Border’s Books in Birmingham, Michigan that afternoon.

I arrived at 7:45 a.m. and a line had already developed outside the store. An estimated 100 people had already lined up at that hour waiting for the 9:00 a.m. store opening. Those first in line arrived as early as 4 a.m.!!

Fans bundled in blankets, others wrapped in coats and scarves, were all chattering madly about Martha and anxiously awaiting their wristbands. There is a unique bond that happens between total strangers standing in line together. Within minutes, your talking with total strangers as if you’ve known them all your life.

It was an eventful day and I wanted to share a couple Martha photos. I created a recap of the day that I am happy to send anyone interested in reading it. Please feel free to send your request for the recap (it includes many photos!) to

Amazingly, many people purchased 5,6,7,8 books and Martha signed each one!

Prior to starting the book signing, Martha said a few words to those of us standing in line. It was great to see her face to face and share a moment with her as she signed books. I know everyone was as thrilled as I was to see her. Having an entire Martha day.... it's a good thing!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Holiday Happenings at Macy's

Stop at your local Macy's and you'll find all the signs that the holiday season is rapidly approaching. I love this time of year!

We attended the Macy's 150th celebration this weekend at our local Macy's and I went "under cover" with my camera phone to take a few pictures to share:

The seasonal display at the front of the Martha Stewart Collection was beginning to fill with wonderful kitchen items for the holiday season. A selection of dishtowels, cupcake liners in two sizes, a cake stand adorned with the ornament graphic and a cookie cutter set were just a few of the items that have started to fill the display.

While not the best shot, this tree loaded with Martha Stewart Collection ornaments welcomed you to 'Holiday Lane.' The ornaments are beautiful and I of course want the sign.

The first 150 customers to arrive on Saturday morning were treated to $15 gift cards to use for shopping on Saturday as well as wonderful chocolate star topped cupcakes.

My first stop at Macy's is always on the second floor in the house wares department. As soon as I turned the corner into the "Cooks Tools" section, this wonderful cake/pizza lifter caught my eye. I've added it to my Christmas list!

Next stop, on to the seasonal display in the Martha Stewart Collection. Red is the theme this year it seems with red spatula's and red packaging for many of the holiday themed items. Here, you can see the ornament coffee cups and the crock-o-red spatulas. The spatulas have my favorite holiday graphic design on them. I had to buy a couple.

If you're a fan of gingerbread houses, you'll love these easy to assemble gingerbread house kits. The kits come in two sizes and are complete with pre-made gingerbread pieces, decorations, and other goodies.

Another shot of the coffee mugs. Right behind them are the cake stencils for the holiday season.

When the Martha Stewart Collection was first released at Macy's, I loved the white storage crocks. Until this past spring, they were not for sale. They now have crocks in red with a white logo as well as white with the blue logo. I already have 5 white crocks (that are completely full of kitchen tools) but I decided to add in a red one as well!

Another picture of more Martha inspired and decorated trees.
Pictures never give justice to the actual merchandise. I would shop early if you wish to add any of these wonderful Martha Stewart Collection items to your holiday home. Seasonal merchandise never lasts on the shelves!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Review: Martha Stewart's Cooking School

I dashed out at lunchtime today to pick up Martha's latest book, "Martha Stewart's Cooking School." I was pleasantly surprised to see that at 12:30 this afternoon, there weren't many copies left on the table! As I walked in the door to our local Border's Books, three people had copies of the book in their arms, obviously sharing in my excitement to open the book and get started.

Arriving home this afternoon, I sat down to begin my exploration. From the moment I opened the book, I was eager for the next page.

Cooking School is very much a text book. Starting with the basics such as a cooks golden rule, equipment, knives, herbs, seasonings, onions, and citrus, the cooking school book provides necessary information to get the home cook started.

The remainder of the book is divided into seven lessons: Stocks and Soups; Eggs; Meat, Fish and Poultry; Vegetables; Pasta; Dried Beans and Grains and ending with Desserts. Within each 'lesson' readers will find step by step 'how-to,' with beautiful photography showing each step of every technique.

Martha Stewart's Cooking School is not your typical cookbook. Instead of being loaded with hundreds and hundreds of recipes, Cooking School provides instruction on numerous cooking techniques and provides recipes to test the new found knowledge. This book is worthy of being required reading at any culinary school.

Sarah Carey, food editor and co-host of the PBS series Everyday Food co-authored Cooking School with Martha. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Carey has been employed with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia since 1999 as a food editor.

Of all the cookbooks published by MSLO, Martha Stewart's Cooking School is a departure from the others with it's text book format and focus on the 'how' instead of the 'what' to cook.

I predict Martha Stewart's Cooking School will skyrocket to the top of the charts as a best seller.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Martha Stewart talks about her new book, cooking technique

Blog note: This article originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press, October 19, 2008

I recently had a chat with Martha Stewart. Yes, that MARTHA -- the queen of crafts, the doyenne of cooking and the grand professor of how to do, well, just about everything.

On Tuesday, Stewart is out with another cookbook, "Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook" (Clarkson Potter, $45). And chatting with her by phone about the book was no different than hearing her on radio or TV. It was that trademark Martha Stewart tone that fans are fond of: authoritative, confident and convincing.

Local folks will get to sample some of that Martha flavor at a book signing at Borders in Birmingham on Oct. 29.

Stewart said she had plenty of inspiration for the new book because she gets over a million questions a year from readers and viewers of "The Martha Stewart Show." Those questions birthed the book's theme.

"I am a teacher, so I thought this would be a good time to use all of our knowledge and put it down as a cooking school," said Stewart, who turned 67 in August. "We have people coming on the show all the time using some of these techniques, and we've never organized them as we have in this book."

Julia Child paved the way

Stewart suggested that people approach "Cooking School" the way she did with Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (Alfred A. Knopf, $40).

"I cooked every single recipe; now they're making a movie about what I did," said Stewart. "Julie & Julia," scheduled for an April 2009 release, is about a secretary who decides to restore her ambition by preparing all 524 recipes in the Child classic.

"Not only I did, many of my friends (did). We cooked every single thing in those two volumes of 'Julia Child'."

Her new book, Stewart explained, is like a simplified version of Child's.
"Here we go through the different techniques -- the braising, the poaching, the steaming, the oven roasting, the sautéing so that you really know what you are doing when you say you are sautéing," she said. "And the recipes we give are really jumpstarts for you to then be able to sauté something else. You are going to sauté a piece of chicken cutlet and you will be able to do veal if you wish, or beef or something else."

"Cooking School" is built around technique. The chapters are called "Lessons," with each explaining and showing the how-to's of stocks and soups, eggs, meat, fish and poultry, pasta, vegetables, dried beans and grains and desserts. In some ways it's like a textbook, with the lessons numbered 2.1, 2.2, etc. and "extra credit" sections such as making soup garnishes or homemade mayonnaise in the egg lesson. There are plenty of illustrations and pictures along with step-by-step instructions.

The book has more than 500 pages, 200 recipes and is loaded with color photos. It's also a hefty book, weighing about 4 pounds, and is geared to today's cooking style and trends.

You can cut costs, too

Given what has been going on in the economy, I asked Stewart if knowing how to pull off the techniques in the book will help people save money. "Very, very much so," she said. "We're all about that.

"I think all the how-to's, the do-it-yourselves, are totally reflective of what's going on in the world today," she said. "Paying a lot of attention to nutrition and homemade is exactly where we need to be right now."

The basic techniques in the book will help home cooks save money. For example, when you learn to make stock, you will save money because you are using inexpensive chicken parts or ones that you have saved from cutting up a whole chicken.

"I am a very economical person and I have always cut up my own chicken," Stewart said. "I don't remember buying a chicken breast -- ever. Because I will use the rest of the chicken for something else."

While some parts of the book will prove helpful in daily cooking, others provide a pure culinary knowledge boost, such as learning how to prepare or french your own rack of lamb.

"I think it will be interesting once people see this book. I think it will make them more curious about how they can prepare their own food and how they can economically create delicious meals."

Stewart also spoke with me about the importance of good cooking tools; really goods knives, maybe a chef knife and a paring knife, are essential, she said, as are the perfect sauté pan, the perfect omelet pan and a food processor. The tools are outlined in a basics chapter in the book.
"The right tool for the right job is very important," she said.

'You have to want it'

Make no mistake, "Cooking School" is not for those who say they have no time to cook or can't cook.

"It's not about saying: 'Oh I can't do this. You have to first want to do it,' " Stewart said. "And then once you do start doing it, I think people will really enjoy it. I think people just don't realize how good it is."

Stewart hopes readers will discover that they really like to cook. She said she knows, however, that some people just don't care.

"But I think mothers, especially, should know how to prepare variant, nutritious dishes for their families," she said. "I mean it's their obligation. Don't have a family if you don't know how to feed them."

So what's next for Stewart and her staff? "We're working; we're not slowing down," she said.

November Everyday Food Makes Feasting Easy

With a month to go before Thanksgiving, hosts for the holiday can breathe a sigh of relief... the November issue of Everyday Food will help to take the stress out of preparing every one's favorite holiday meal.

With helpful recipes and time savers to make 'the easiest feast ever,' Everyday Food will guide you through a picture perfect meal with time to spare. Here's a look inside this issue:

* Sauteed Chicken with Mushrooms and Green Beans

* Cranberries
* Cranberry Bread
* Braised Brisket with Cranberries
* Basic Cranberry Sauce

* Emeril's Turkey Roulade
* Emeril's Wild-Mushroom Stuffing

Glazed Vegetables
* Honey-Glazed Carrots
* Glazed Carrots with Orange and Ginger
* Glazed Turnips and Parsnips with Maple Syrup
* Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar and Lime

* Butternut Bisque

* Mulled Cider
* Parmesan Straws

* Softening Brown Sugar

* Flat Iron Stake, Seared with Wine Sauce

* John' Pear and Almond-Cream Tart

* Cinnamon-Walnut Baklava

* Cornmeal Cookies

* Pumpkin Cream Pie
* Chocolate Pecan Pie
* Cheddar-Crusted Apple Pie
* Coconut Custard Pie

* Roast Turkey with Brown Sugar and Mustard Glaze
* Bourbon Gravy
* Pecan Cornbread Dressing
* Stewed Green Beans with Bacon
* Sweet Potato Casserole

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Martha Stewart's Cooking School Hits the Shelves Tuesday 10/21

Martha Stewart's Cooking School - Lessons for the Home Cook, will be available at your favorite bookstore beginning this Tuesday, October 21.

Arranged by technique, the book is geared for the home cook at any skill level. Designed to teach 'how' to cook, not simply 'what' to cook, Martha Stewart's Cooking School showcases lessons in roasting, broiling, braising, stewing, sauteing, steaming and poaching to help a beginner learn and a seasoned cook perfect their skills.

Along with techniques, Martha Stewart's Cooking School features 175 all new recipes that put the lessons to work, along with more than 500 color photos including many step by step images to take the guesswork out of cooking.

In addition, the book provides insight into essential equipment, ingredients, and every other aspect of the kitchen to round out the culinary education. Sorry... course credit is not available for reading the book!

Kirkland Signature Martha Stewart Food Line Expands

The long awaited additions to the Kirkland Signature Martha Stewart food line at Costco will soon be available.

Martha's holiday ham will return once again with availability beginning in November. It's the perfect main course for your holiday table.

In late October, Costco shoppers will find: Turkey soup, Pork meatballs, Apple/raspberry slab pie, and beef chili with beans. In November several more additions are expected: Mushroom dip, Chicken slab pies, and Olive bruschetta.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Martha Stewart Products Holiday Gift Guide 2008

As we begin to prepare our lists and check them twice, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia introduces the Holiday Gift Guide 2008, with many wonderful ideas for everyone on your Christmas list.
The cover of the gift guide.
This is on my Christmas list! The tin alone is wonderful!

One of my favorite taste treats is a good bread dipped in olive oil. A perfect hostess gift or gift to bring to the holiday table.

Snacks anyone? A wonderful assortment of savory snacks available through Martha Stewart for 1-800 Flowers.

This gift basket for Afternoon Tea suggests calm, comfort, and relaxation. A perfect gift!

If you love glitter (and who doesn't?) you'll love these classic Martha glittered ornaments available from Martha Stewart Crafts. Add some 'sparkle' to your holiday tree!

Martha always says you know it's the holidays when you hang the wreath on your front door. This beautiful Noble Fir wreath would look perfect on any door!

There are so many wonderful gift ideas for this year!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Calendar Comeback

Do you remember Martha's calendar?

From 1991 - August of 2003 readers of Martha Stewart Living magazine could view Martha's calendar each month. From replacing storm windows, to hosting birthday parties, Martha's calendar gave readers some helpful reminders of things to do for the current month. If Martha said we needed to clean our garden furniture in March... by golly, we cleaned it in March. Even if it was still snowing in the northern states!

Martha's calendar was removed from the magazine in September 2003 as the company at that time was making moves to 'de-Martha' the magazine in hopes of retaining advertisers. The calendar, Martha's monthly letter and her 'Remembering' column were all removed as a reaction to the fallout of her legal problems at that time. (what most Martha fans refer to as the 'dark days)

When Martha Stewart Living Television relaunched as "Martha-the Martha Stewart Show" the calendar made a brief appearance for several months. Eventually, that was phased out for reasons unknown.

Today, on "Ask Martha," the live radio call in show on Sirius/XM, a caller asked Martha if the calendar would ever come back. Martha announced that in the 'very near future' we will see the calendar once again. Not in the pages of the magazine; but on

For those that loved the calendar as I did, this is welcomed news. As much as I would love to see the calendar back in the pages of Martha Stewart Living, I'm willing to settle for an online version!

Did you read the calendar? Do you miss the calendar?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Martha Makes It Easier To Holiday

Your friends at Martha Stewart Living are making it even easier to buy the 2008 holiday special issues! Click here to download your own coupon for $2.00 off a single copy purchase of either holiday issue -or- get $5.00 off when you buy them together (you'll have to wait until November 3 to purchase the 'Seasons Eating's' issue).

The magazines list for 6.95 each. Who doesn't like saving a little money? Click, print, and save on this 'double whammy' of holiday issues!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Taking a Look Back at Special Issues

Now that the first Holiday special issue is hitting the newsstands, I thought I would take a look back at the other special issues. The above photo does not include the digest size special issues.
Special issues have been very successful for Martha Stewart Living.
"Martha Stewart Baby," started as a special issue and eventually evolved into it's own magazine, and then changed names and focus to "Martha Stewart's Kids." (The Kid's magazine ceased publication several years ago and has been replaced with a digest size special issue and online content. )
If you look closely in the photo above, there are two special issues included that were distributed through Kmart. A re-issue of Holiday Baking was a Friday after Thanksgiving shopper giveaway in 2002. Another special Kmart issue was "Martha Stewart Summer." Both of these magazines are increasingly more difficult to find for collectors. They can be found from time to time on eBay and usually sell for $20 or more.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Early Morning Halloween

This was kind of interesting... in the craft/project/spare room, the window was decorated with one of the Martha Stewart Crafts bat window clings. This window faces east and as the sun was coming up through the trees, it reflected the bats onto the blind. I thought it was a great photo opportunity!

More Halloween

Here are a few more photos of some Halloween decorations in our house this year:

A glittered Martha chandelier, a few bats, and a glittered skull bring a bit of the season to a small corner in the family room. Since this picture was taken, the chandelier chain has been painted black.

This vintage "Happy Halloween" sign adorns the side door.

I love my Martha Stewart wire work egg tree... but how to use it for Halloween? Make pumpkin eggs, of course! Each egg holder is lined with Spanish moss.

Crafting, crafting, crafting. I decided to make my own Halloween cards this year, using all Martha Stewart Craft supplies. David did comment it was about time I used some of it! The cards were easy to make. Mr. Skull kept me company while I crafted.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Martha's Got Issues!

The November issue of Martha Stewart Living is starting to arrive in mailboxes!

November is one of my favorite issues of Living and this issue lives up to that 'favorite' status, hands down! The simple but sophisticated styling on the cover alone makes it a favorite in my magazine collection.

In every November issue, there are always delicious ideas to make any Thanksgiving feast spectacular! A couple hints of what's inside for this year:

*Turkey for Every Table
* Glints of Genius (Bright cut - a traditional handicraft)
* Sensational Sides
* Woven Welcomes (Geometric patterns for decor and desserts)
* Pilgrim's Progress (Re-creation)
* Soft Focus (velvet)

Also inside this issue is a special ad featuring not one, but TWO special holiday issues! The first issue, "Have Yourself a Handmade Christmas" features 151 easy ideas for everyone on your list; treats from the kitchen and creative cards and wrappings. This special holiday issue goes on sale on Monday, October 13th. (If you're a Target shopper, you will more than likely find it near the check out by Friday of this week.)
The second special holiday issue, "Season's Eatings - Celebrating from Thanksgiving to New Year's" will include over 101 recipes, strategies and time savers in the kitchen and good things for the table. If you enjoy entertaining over the holidays, you'll want to pick up this special issue.
The second issue notes that it is a special collectible issue. As a collector of Martha Stewart items, all holiday special issues are collectible and claim a good price on such services as eBay. The Season's Eatings special issue IS highly collectible since it's the first issue of such a 'double holiday' press. The Season's Eatings special holiday issue goes on sale November 3. Again, Target shoppers, you should be able to find this issue by October 31.
Each issue is listing for 6.95.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A "Scent-sible" Source

For years, I have looked for a source that could supply the scent of a real balsam fir tree without having to deal with the mess a life tree brings.

I've tried many different manufacturers of candles, room sprays, and 'natural oils' to no avail. Nothing quite captured the scent of a real balsam fir. I recently came across an e-commerce website that was so poorly created (visually), it made me hope that they spent more time on their product!

Paine Products in Maine specializes in balsam fir products, including oils, incense, and balsam filled pillows (among other items). I thought I would order a small bottle of oil to see if it was any better (or worse) than oils I've tried in the past. I have to admit, the balsam fir oil is by far the best I have ever found! Not only is the oil pure, essential oil, it has no chemical processing 'after scent' as it's warmed and released into the air.

Reasonably priced, a bottle of the balsam fir oil will provide you with the scent of Christmas all season long. To order and see other products, log into their website.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

It's Coming...

While the header of this blog reflects Halloween, preparations are well underway in retail for the upcoming holiday season. Walk into your area Macy's stores and "Holiday Lane" is beginning to fill with stunning ornaments, beautifully decorated trees, and a lot of holiday merchandise from Martha Stewart.

This year, the Martha Stewart Collection is using a wonderful graphic for their holiday merchandise. Being one that looks at packaging and appreciates good design, I'm loving the holiday tree graphic that is being used. The deep red tone on tone background has the same design elements as the tree. I love the small use of my favorite color blue on the tree design. It's that bit of the unexpected.

This graphic and background is being used on various boxed gifts in housewares and can also be found with several of the decorative house ware items.

What I love most however, is the use of the graphic details on a set of holiday dinnerware. The design lends itself to a retro feel for the holidays. I've already started purchasing pieces for my holiday table this year.

In addition to the basic pieces show in the picture above (dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, and mug), salt and pepper shakers and cream and sugar sets are also available in matching patterns. The price point for the dinnerware is extremely reasonable. Dinner plates: 9.99 Salad Plates: 8.99 Bowls: 8.99 Cups: 7.99 Cream and Sugar Sets: 14.99 Salt and Pepper Sets: 7.99

Give your holiday table a festive feel this year with dinnerware from the Martha Stewart Collection!

Now.. back to our regularly scheduled holiday...

Farewell My Little Friend...

In August, I introduced you to Maxwell. He was a stray who came wandering through, looking for love and food. Max was a wonderful cat. Hesitant at first to trust a human he didn't know, Maxwell wasn't sure how to react to my desire to help him. He would stand back and watch me as I worked in the garden. I would put down food and fresh water for him on a daily basis. Eventually, Maxwell learned that I was someone he could trust.

Maxwell and I bonded. He responded to me when we would talk. He loved to be loved. I would spend a great deal of time with Max to socialize him, and reinforce with him that he could trust me... that time proved to be the key to a much happier life for Max. He was my buddy. Max would follow me around the garden, (helping where he could) and frequently would cozy up on one of the patio chairs for a long nap.

As the weather turned rainy and as the nights began to cool down, Max had his own outdoor home. It was cozy and warm on those cool nights and protected him from the rain on a shower filled day. Maxwell had found a home. Maxwell found love. Maxwell found me.. as if it was meant to be.

Despite my best efforts at keeping Max happy, I could not change the fact that he was indeed an outdoor cat and preferred it that way. If I saw him wander off on his next adventure, I always would call for him to come back... but he was a man-cat who enjoyed the great outdoors and wasn't about to give up that part of his spirit. Thankfully, Max always returned, greeting me the next morning for his breakfast and very often would be waiting for me as I arrived home. This was his usual pattern until just a day or two ago.. when Max didn't come home. I was worried that he was lost, or too cold, or something worse.

Yesterday, I discovered that Maxwell's desire for adventure took him to a place where he didn't stand a chance... a very busy street. Maxwell was struck by a car and was killed. My heart sank when I saw him. My little buddy... my little Maxwell. Some say that cats have nine lives... he must have used the prior 8 before coming into my life.

I've cried a lot since yesterday. I've felt guilty for not changing his ways and bringing him indoors. I've said plenty of "...if only I had...." And yet, I wanted Maxwell to be happy... being who he is... with his spirit for adventure.

In the last couple months, Maxwell experienced something that so many animals never have and that's the love of a person. When I held him in my arms, he would burrow so hard against me. He couldn't get enough. He often times would fall asleep in my arms. He knew he was safe. He knew he was loved. I knew that Max loved me too.

The hardest thing to do is to say, 'goodbye' to someone or something you loved so much. But, reality is that I'll never have that time with him again. I'll never see that look of gratitude in his eyes. What I will always hold with me is knowing I did the right thing in giving of myself to a deserving animal. I gave him the best couple months of his life. I'll always love you, Max. Farewell, my little friend.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

October Podcasts Now Available!

Get the latest Martha Stewart Living podcasts on iTunes! The October selections are now available for download, with many inspiring ideas for Halloween!