Sunday, March 29, 2009

Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Crafts - Review

The release date is THIS Tuesday, March 31st! Anticipation is building in the crafting world for this first in a series of craft books from MSLO.

My friend Andrew received an advance copy of the book (who, me? Bitter? ) and wrote an excellent review on his blog, Martha Moments. Please take a look!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Martha Stewart Stationary Coming Spring 2009

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. today on Thursday, a full line of co-branded social stationery products with Crane & Co. Martha Stewart and her design team will create a line of beautiful, personalized invitation suites to be released this year, beginning with Martha Stewart Stationery™ Weddings in Spring 2009. The line will be available through Crane stationers equipped with Crane’s Personalized Design Studio—a proprietary stationery design system, via, and other select online retailers such as

The Martha Stewart Stationery Weddings collection will feature 24 invitation suites comprised of invitations, save-the-dates, and response cards in a range of styles designed to showcase Martha’s unique style and Crane’s timeless elegance. A distinctive selection of papers will include new calligraphic motifs and flourishes, decorative scrollwork, embroidery inspired designs, and hand-engraved details.

“I am delighted to share the Martha Stewart Stationery Weddings collection, crafted with master stationers Crane & Co.,” said Martha Stewart, founder of MSLO. “From the first save-the-date card mailed to the last thank-you note re¬ceived, a wedding creates a lovely paper suite. With so many choices for color, lettering styles, and motifs, a bride and groom can create a wedding invitation that will be a unique expression of themselves.”

The new stationery products further extend MSLO’s wedding franchise, which encompasses Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, extensive online content on, including a variety of online wedding-planning tools powered by WeddingWire, and wedding-related books such as Weddings by Martha Stewart and Martha Stewart’s Wedding Cakes.

“We are very excited to join forces with Martha Stewart and the brand she has built,” says Anita Brady, vice president and general manager of Crane’s Social and Business Stationery. “The Crane name has been synonymous with the finest stationery available through seven generations of Crane family and the brides they have served. This collaboration will ensure the next generation of brides is equally well served.”

Martha Stewart Stationery Weddings will include a complete range of accessories, such as wedding programs, place cards, menu cards, thank you cards and table accessories. Couples may customize their designs through engraving, thermography, letterpress, lithography, and foil-stamping. In addition, the collection features papers that are tree-free, 100% cotton or contain post-consumer recycled content, and are FSC or Green Seal certified.

In time for the 2009 holiday season, the company will release boxed and personalized Martha Stewart Stationery holiday cards.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Martha Receives Two Nominations for 2009 James Beard Award

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has been nominated in two categories for the 2009 James Beard Award.

Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, has been nominated in the General Cooking cookbook category and the afternoon radio program, Living Today on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Sirius 112/XM 157 has been nominated in the audiocast/radio show category.

The James Beard Foundation Awards shine a spotlight on the best and brightest talent in the food and beverage industry.

Covering all aspects of the industry—from chefs and restaurateurs to cookbook authors and food journalists to restaurant designers and architects and more—the James Beard Foundation Awards are the highest honors for food and beverage professionals working in America. The awards are presented each spring at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Nominees and winners are fĂȘted at a weekend of gala events in New York City that has become the social and gastronomic highlight of the year.

Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards are a program of the James Beard Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to celebrate, nurture, and preserve America’s culinary heritage and diversity in order to elevate our appreciation of the culinary arts.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Advertising in 1934

Last Christmas, my friend Mike sent me a copy of the December 1934 Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Just inside the front page there was an ad that caught my eye and quite frankly, tickled my funny bone!

So, you might be asking yourself, "so what is so funny about a widow with five children?" Well.. nothing really. But it's the mere fact that THIS was considered effective advertising for the day.

Mrs. Merle Brown (our featured widow) who is described as 'sensible' noted that it wasn't easy living on her $100.00 a month (Her husband left no insurance... she seems a bit bitter) and she couldn't afford 'baking failures.' So, skimp as she must, she wasn't about to give up Royal Baking Powder.

As Mrs. Brown says, "Good butter, eggs and milk cost too much to be trusted to cheap, doubtful baking powder."

Hmmm.. maybe it's true... everything old is new again?

A Simple Springtime Dinner

One of my favorite, easy to cook dinners has to be roasted vegetables with bow-tie pasta. The meal itself speaks of warmer days when we long for the gardens to come alive after their long winter naps.
Any of your favorite vegetables will work in this dish. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Place a pot of water on to boil (for the pasta) and begin preparing your vegetables. In our dinner this evening, we included zucchini squash, green peppers, red peppers, red onion, carrots, asparagus, mushrooms and a few grape tomatoes.

Toss all the sliced ingredients together in some olive oil and spread the vegetables out on a large baking sheet. Generously season with salt and pepper (Kosher and fresh ground, respectively). Roast in a hot oven until the vegetables take on a bit of color and become tender. Drain your pasta well. You don't want a lot of extra moisture on the pasta. Place the pasta in a large bowl (large enough to add the vegetables and toss).

When the vegetables are done, put them in the same bowl as the pasta, including the 'drippings' of olive oil and moisture from the veggies from the pan. To 'brighten' the taste, squeeze 2T of fresh lemon juice into the vegetable/pasta combo. Toss the pasta and vegetables together. Tonight, I added a bit of crumbled feta cheese, or you could use any cheese of your liking.

Serve with some good hearty crusty bread and a glass of your favorite wine. Dinner in about 30 minutes and it tastes even better the next day!

A Weekend Pleasure

Life seems to be increasingly stressful. (I realize that's not a profound statement...) As work stress and anxiety over the economy mount, I've decided it's time to take better care of myself. I'm not talking about the eating healthy/staying active routine; but rather the 'little' things in life that bring me a sense of calm. Those are the 'good things' in life.

For instance, on weekends, I will very often make a delicious Latte for myself. The ritual itself is calming.. carefully tamping down the espresso ground coffee, steaming the milk to a wonderful foamy consistency, carefully pouring in just the right amount of milk and froth.. the result, a stunning and beautiful cup of coffee that I can for a few moments just treasure. Using our jadeite coffee cups and saucers, (with coordinating blue napkins, of course) it makes a weekend coffee just a little more special. With that first steaming sip, I briefly close my eyes and tell myself, "you deserve this... enjoy it." And, I do.

In a fast paced world, it's essential to slow it down, take a step back, and do those 'good things' no matter how silly or unimportant they may seem to others. For me, the weekend Latte is one of those good things. A friend of mine said to me just this morning, "why not just run down to Starbucks?" He doesn't quite get it. The ritual of the brew, the smell of the espresso, the sound of the frothing milk, and the gentle noise of cup to saucer, is not something Starbucks can give me. It's just a little good thing for me, myself, and I. And, we deserve it.

Gardening Returns to the White House: That's a Good Thing

I was so happy to learn that President and Mrs. Obama are planning a rather large vegetable garden on the grounds of the White House. It's been decades since a vegetable garden has been part of the White House property.

First Lady, Michelle Obama got down and dirty with the help of 30 or so elementary school children, breaking ground on the new garden. In addition to providing fresh fruits and vegetables for the White House, the garden has an education component for the children who will be back to plant it, harvest it, and cook the harvest in the White House kitchen.

I'd love to see this garden project inspire others around the country to create their own growing spaces. Whether spaces are limited to a balcony of an apartment or as large as several acres of farm land, gardening is an excellent (and healthy!) way to reduce the family food budget while providing a great education for adults and children alike.

I recall several years ago, I grew so many tomato plants that I had to learn how to can tomatoes. I couldn't let them go to waste! Our neighbors also reaped the benefit of my numerous plantings. I think they had all the tomatoes they needed!

Now, vegetable gardening is kept to what we will use in a season. I have to tell you, there's nothing like going outdoors and picking your own salad, fresh herbs, and vegetables for dinner. The taste is unbelievable!

While people may not always agree with the policies of this administration, I think the Obama's deserve kudos for bringing gardens back to the White House.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More Cookbooks & Tyler Florence

While I'm most fond of Martha Stewart and the experts at Martha Stewart Living, I'd be lying if I said I didn't also enjoy the work of others. One of my favorites is Tyler Florence.

A Saturday isn't complete without tuning into "Tyler's Ultimate." I've always been impressed with the rather easy recipes from the show and enjoy watching him work around the kitchen at his rather hectic pace. (He moves faster than anyone else on television!) The show is engaging as is his television presence.

I didn't have a Tyler Florence cookbook, so I decided I would take advantage of a great deal and I ordered all of his books that have been published to date.

The package of books arrived today! I've spent a good portion of the evening paging through them. Each book is enjoyable and I've already placed a few Post-it Notes on various pages, noting recipes I want to try. I have a feeling it's going to be a 'kitchen weekend.'
Dinner is at 7... hope to see you.

Monday, March 16, 2009

MSLO Launches Pet Initiative

New Website to be Supported by Pet-Focused TV Programming, Magazine and Radio Content
Nestle Purina PetCare, Purina ONE to Be Lead Sponsor of Multimedia Pets Program

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. today announced the launch of a multiplatform pets initiative with as a cornerstone of the program. The website will provide fresh ideas and information related to pet care and the joys of animal companionship, including a blog from the perspective of Martha's French Bulldogs, Francesca and Sharkey, called "The Daily Wag" at

The primary sponsor for the new website will be Nestle Purina PetCare, a leading global manufacturer of pet products and an innovative marketer within the pet food industry, and its super-premium pet food brand Purina ONE.

Martha Stewart is widely recognized as an animal lover who is devoted to her pets, many of whom have been featured in the pages of Martha Stewart Living, on the nationally syndicated daily television show The Martha Stewart Show, and on Martha's popular blog on This devotion is shared by her enthusiastic fan base. According to MRI, the Martha Stewart audience includes 9.7 million dog and cat owners who share their home with a collective 21.7 million dogs and cats; they purchase more than 200 million pounds of pet food each month.

Martha Stewart, Founder of MSLO, stated: "I have been passionate about pets all my life and over the years have been fortunate to share my home with many dogs, cats, and canaries. I understand why people consider their pets to be members of their family and am delighted to be offering a website, television programming, and other content that celebrate that special relationship and help consumers to better care for and enjoy their pets."

The new website will serve as a comprehensive resource for pet owners seeking information and ideas on a broad range of topics from nutrition and grooming to fun crafts and contests. In addition to Francesca and Sharkey's blog, it will feature hundreds of videos and articles, as well as photo galleries, quizzes, and more. The website will also provide advice about pets from MSLO's experts and Purina's nutritionists and veterinarians.

Nestle Purina and Purina ONE will be featured on the new website through proprietary content, a link to Purina ONE's website -- -- and through online advertisements. As part of its multi-million dollar agreement with MSLO, Nestle Purina and Purina ONE also will be the subject of two special segments on upcoming episodes of The Martha Stewart Show. Martha recently visited the St. Louis headquarters of Nestle Purina to film one of the segments.
"Nestle Purina and Purina ONE share a passion for pets with Martha Stewart, and we're excited to be collaborating with Martha on this new website," said Michael Crawford, vice president, Consumer Insights and Communications, Nestle Purina PetCare Co. "We believe this is a great opportunity to further educate pet owners about the best ways to nourish and care for their pets."

"MSLO is focused on integrating our assets around our audience's core passion areas. We are delighted to launch our Pets franchise with the support of Purina. It's a winning proposition for MSLO, for Purina and for consumers who care about pets," said Wenda Harris Millard, President of Media and co-CEO of MSLO.

The website is part of a larger effort to build on MSLO's established presence in the category and leverage its extensive library of pet content. Pet content, integrations and advertisements will be featured across all of MSLO's media platforms, including The Martha Stewart Show, Martha Stewart Living Radio and the company's magazines. MSLO also will explore Merchandising offerings.

During the past two decades, pet ownership in the United States has steadily increased to its highest level ever.* An estimated 63% of U.S. households -- or 71.1 million -- include at least one pet.* Consumers spent an estimated $52 billion on their pets in 2008, a number that has more than doubled in less than a decade.**

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Martha Introduces the New Martha Stewart Living

Martha Stewart and Martha Stewart Living will introduce the public to the 'new' Martha Stewart Living Magazine during the Monday, March 16 airing of the Martha Stewart Show.

Spring is the 'fresh start' season and MSLO took that to heart with wonderful changes to the magazine beginning with the April issue (which officially is on newsstands Monday 3/16).

A welcomed change is of course, the return of Martha's monthly calendar which lists all major holidays and important dates, useful gardening and housekeeping tips and reminders, plus some insight into Martha's daily life and regimen, which might inspire you to exercise, do yoga, or make a delicious healthy supper!

Our friends at Martha Stewart Living are also offering a special subscription event that 'gives back' to three very special charities.

From March 16 through March 31, 2009, Martha Stewart Living is promoting a very special magazine subscription offer at as a way of giving back. MSLO will donate 50 percent of your total subscription order to one of Martha's three favorite charitable organizations: The Martha Stewart Center for Living at Mt. Sinai, the ASPCA, or Conservation International. All of the magazines are included in this special offer, and you can order for yourself or as gifts for friends and relatives. Simply visit and click on the special charitable donation subscription offer -- giving back is a Good Thing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Martha Stewart: Store, Walk on the Shore, & More!

One of the things I love about having friends across the country who love the Martha Stewart Collection as much as I do, is the 'under-cover' work they do when they find new items added to the collection.

Today, I received two emails almost at the same time from my friend John who lives not too far from me and my friend Elaine, who lives in California, sharing the new finds during recent shopping trips to Macy's. Take a look at some of the new items:

Do you desire a delicious crisp salad at work? Try one of the new "Salad Chillers." The Martha blue lid holds a removable ice pack that will keep your salad well chilled all day. Also, built into the lid is a removable salad dressing dispenser. Also available are individual portion containers to pack all your favorites for that healthy lunch alternative to fast food.

Food storage in a variety of shapes and sizes (including larger cereal storage containers) with lock tight lids. These type of storage containers are my favorites. I love locking lids. Hmm.. look at the color of the handles.. my favorite blue color

Now this is an item that I'm sure to add to my own kitchen collection. A set of seven duo cut biscuit cutters (in blue no less) are stackable for easy storage and give you the option of a fluted edge cut or a straight cut. Great for biscuits or cookies. At only $9.99 these are a great find!

Hello Blue! Hello Green! Martha and Macy's welcomes back the colors of summer with great picnic baskets, melamine dishware and glasses, and much more.

Whether it's chopping nuts for a favorite recipe with a new Martha Stewart Collection nut grinder (a bit hard to see in the top picture..) or walking along the beach (or down the street to Starbucks) in a comfy pair of flip-flops, Martha seems to have you covered!

Simple, but elegant, the maidenhair fern tea/coffee service is perfect for a private tea time or sharing it with others in the neighborhood. Sugar and creamer sets are also available.

Last but not least, while the items featured in the above picture are not new, it's a reflection of Macy's "Welcome Back Color" campaign, with store displays using 'blocks' of same color items in a single display. Attention MSLO or Macy's: I'd love to have one of the large circle logos for my collection!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Well Equipped Kitchen

It's no secret that I have an obsession with maintaining a well equipped kitchen. While some people enjoy shopping for clothes, shoes, purses, or a new fragrance, I am completely happy wandering through the housewares department, loading my arms with great gadgets and tools to make my everyday cooking easier. Here are a few of my favorites that I believe are the beginning of a well equipped kitchen.

Top Row (L-R) Silicone baking mats, rolling pins (in all shapes, sizes and construction), microplane for zesting
Bottom Row (L-R) Colanders in various sizes, stainless steel measuring cups, stainless steel measuring spoons

Top Row (L-R) Heavy mixing bowls in various sizes, prep dishes, non-skid cutting boards
Bottom row (L-R) Hand held citrus press, silicone basting brush, citrus reamer
Top row (L-R) Large wooden cutting board, cookie scoop, digital instant read thermometer
Bottom row (L-R) Kitchen shears, meat thermometer, digital timer

Top row (L-R) Cooling racks (several!), silicone spatulas, Asian strainer
Bottom row (L-R) Tongs (locking) in various sizes, vegetable steamer, wire whisks in various sizes

Let's not forgot the all purpose wooden spoons (a lot of them). Wooden spoons are just a given in any kitchen!
What's your favorite kitchen tool?

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Corner Office

When you think of the incredibly talented staff at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, it would be easy to imagine the zillion and one ideas that must be floating around the office.

Last year on the Martha Stewart Show, Martha discussed the 'big idea' contest where members of the MSLO staff presented ideas for consideration. I ran across that show on a DVD not too long ago and it got me thinking... "If I was the boss, I would..."

My ideas would take pages and pages of this blog. As a consumer of "Martha-everything" I know what is attractive to me; but I'm curious as to what YOU would do if you had the corner office. What new licensing agreements would you forge? Would you envision a Martha store? A live plant partnership with a well known distributor? Share your thoughts... I'd love to read your ideas.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Heirloom Gardener

While visiting the Beekman 1802 Mercantile website, I was overjoyed to see several collections of heirloom seeds. The seed collections are among the favorites of Beekman and are supplied from the Landreth Seed Company.

Here is a sample of some of the seed collections that are available:

The Beekman Heirloom Tomato Collection includes: Brandywine (a personal favorite), Yellow Pear, Cherokee Purple, White Wonder, Kellogg's Breakfast and Black Cherry Tomato.

The 1800-1850 Beekman Heirloom Vegetable Collection includes: Long Green Cucumber, Yellow Pear Tomatoes, Purple Topped Turnips, Bloomsdale Spinach, and Bullnose or Bell Peppers.

The Beekman Historic Landreth Zinnia Collection includes: Giant Lavender Queen, Giant Orange King, Giant Purity White, and Giant Scarlet King.

Not only does heirloom gardening keep history alive, it provides the home gardener with varieties that are no longer commercially available.

The seed packets alone are works of art! I'll be placing my order soon. I hope you'll do the same.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Decorating for Easter

Bring spring inside your home with these great decorating ideas for Easter

With great flower punches and incredible glitter from Martha Stewart Crafts, you can embellish small Easter basket candy holders or glitter your colored eggs for that added sparkle. Line your glittered eggs in egg cups for a bit of sparkle on your dinner table. As always, Martha Stewart crafts are available at Martha Stewart Crafts, Michaels, Wal-Mart stores, and other retailers.

Large apothecary jars or footed hurricane lamps make a great home for brightly colored eggs nestled in fresh green ferns. These egg filled jars make the perfect centerpiece or mantel decoration.

One of my favorite decorating ideas is this gorgeous wicker basket filled with green clover, green eggs and of course the favorite - a chocolate bunny. For the how-to to create your own, click here.

Another charming idea is a beautiful egg garland. Color or glitter the eggs in a color scheme that coordinates with your decor. This garland will look wonderful in any room of the house! Get the how-to here.

Calling All Gardeners!

Have you had one of those magical moments in your garden that made you jump for joy? Ever grow a prize winning piece of produce?

Martha Stewart Living Radio (Sirius XM channel 112, channel 157) is holding a fun contest, wanting to know your most defining moment as a gardener. Share your most defining 'green thumb' moment and you could win great gardening prizes!

To enter, tell Martha Stewart Living Radio your most defining moment in 200 words or less. Email your submission to by 11:59 p.m. ET, March 7, 2009.

The gardening experts at Martha Stewart Living Radio will choose three finalists, and starting March 8, 2009. They will post the finalists green-thumb stories on the radio blog so you can vote for your favorite entry. The finalist with the most votes, wins. (pretty simple, eh?)

One winner will receive either a Brill Razorcut 33 Push Reel Mower ($229 value) or a Brill Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler (Compost Bin) ($189 value).

The winner will also be announced live on the "Homegrown" show, which airs on Martha Stewart Living Radio (Sirius 112 and XM 157) on March 17, 2009.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pet Website Debuts Today

Pet lovers and pet owners will enjoy the newest microsite available on, all about pets.

Debuting this morning, the new site offers an entire array of pet related news, information, and projects. Also included is Francesca and Sharkeys very own blog, "The Daily Wag." Martha's sister Laura will give 'voice' to Francesca and Sharkey as they enter the world of blogging and share their adventures.

Log in to and select "pets" from the top navigation bar. Oh.. make sure your cat, dog, lizard, or fish can see the screen... they will love it too.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Martha Stewart Living Undergoes Redesign

Spoiler Alert! Don't read if you don't want to know!
With spring right around the corner (at least by the calendar), the editors of Martha Stewart Living magazine took the spirit of renewal to heart with several changes that are introduced in the April issue. This issue brings back an old favorite, debuts new sections, and the pages appear to be refreshed... like a warm spring breeze ushering in new life to familiar surroundings.

First, the old favorite. Martha's calendar is back in print (page 4)! This reader favorite was removed from the magazine several years ago with a previous redesign following Martha's legal troubles. Readers expressed their desire to have the calendar return and MSLO listened. From the looks of the calendar, April will be a busy month for Martha!
According to research conducted by MSLO, readers of the flagship magazine travel frequently (77%) so Martha's column will from time to time change into her personal travel handbook. April brings us a first look into Martha's travels with her trip to Prague (page 25).

Martha's calendar returns!

There are two new sections debuting in April. The Briefing (page 37) is a section to keep readers informed about everything from books to exhibitions, from events to food trends. In keeping with MSLO's commitment to healthier living, Apothecary (page 43), provides updates on the lastest wellness information and advice on choosing the best beauty products and tools.

Fashion makes it's official debut with this issue (page 61) and will be a regular feature in the magazine. April looks at essential spring jackets.

The last page of the magazine, "Cookie of the Month" has been renamed to The Last Course. It's scope will expand beyond cookies and feature recipes for other sweet and savory treats. Not to worry.. readers are assured that they are not forgetting about cookies... they will still be featured from time to time.

With fresh graphic redesigns and page layouts, Martha Stewart Living ushers in spring as it should be - with a fresh look and a fresh start. ______________________________________________
My thanks to Louis G. from Gestures for sharing his pictures and information on the April issue. Please visit Louis on his blog. You'll be inspired!

New Blog From the Crafts Department

If you're a crafter, or if you like behind the scenes looks into the crafting world at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, you're going to love the newest blog, "The Crafts Department."

The blog will give readers an inside look into the crafts and projects that are created for the magazine, television and products created for the Martha Stewart Crafts line.

As the blog gets started, join staffers as they move to the Starret Lehigh building on 26th street in New York. You can read the blog by logging into