Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
It was only last year that I decided to reclaim it. It needed to be sanded down and repainted. I chose a dark cream tone, since neutrals work well in just about any scheme and I was quite pleased with the way it turned out.
I like the idea that I will have this 'artifact' from my father's childhood home in any home I live in. I also like the sculptural, architectural detail it lends to the room it finds itself in. In a traditional setting, it blends right in. In a modern setting, it adds a counterpoint of interest to cleaner lines.
The baluster now finds itself tucked neatly in the corner of my living room, where it stands in subtle contrast to its surroundings.
One of my favourites from the Martha Stewart Collection is the Oasis Red bedding set. It just screams festive warmth! Let's snuggle.
Friday, October 24, 2008
“There’s a really interesting dichotomy with her,” director John Hudson explains. “She’s a high-powered business woman, and yet she has made all her money and built her business on the ideal of domesticity. It’s such an odd kind of thing. I don’t know if you’ve seen her magazines, but everything’s perfect. And really, how can you attain that unless you have a bevy of servants like she does?”
That’s what Dough: The Politics of Martha Stewart tries to knead through; not Martha herself, but the struggles of the women who follow her in lieu of her "impossible" perfection. Shadow Theatre regular Coralie Carins plays all nine of the show’s domestic divas—“Everything from high-powered society women to a street person, and everything inbetween,” Hudson says—as they follow, reject, or grapple with the teachings of Stewart.
Something tells me Martha wouldn't be a fan of this play. But if you're in the Edmonton area and feeling brave, you may want to check it out:
Dough: The Politics of Martha Stewart
Directed by John Hudson; Written by Lindsay Burns
Starring Coralie Cairns
Runs Thu, Oct 23 - Sun, Nov 9 (7:30pm)
The Varscona Theatre (10329 - 83 Ave), $17 - $25
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The book was designed by William van Roden, who also designed the Homekeeping Handbook, the Everyday Food cookbook and the Baking Handbook. Since the publication of those books, I've become a huge fan of this designer, who uses minimalist strategies to perfectly clarify instructional text in a way that is attractive and engaging.
Cooking School is no different.
It's a prime example of the well-planned guide. Much of this also has to do with the writing, which was undertaken by Martha and food editor Sarah Carey. The writing is clear, consise and well structured into highly-organized chapters that promote basic culinary techniques, which subsequently graduate to more challenging cooking tasks. All of it is fully illustrated with hundreds of step-by-step photographs.
I thought I'd take you 'inside' Martha's Cooking School and describe some of the details.
There are numerous new photographs of Martha throughout the book. Portrait photography was undertaken by Ditte Isager while the food photography (below) was done by Marcus Nilsson.
“To home cooks everywhere, may you always continue to learn.”
From Martha’s Introduction:
“This book has been designed and written as a course of study, very much like a college course in chemistry, which requires the student to master the basics before performing more advanced experiments. The lessons here begin just as they would in a true cooking school, with instruction about the essential tools and equipment, and perhaps the most basic lesson of all: how to hold and use a chef’s knife. You’ll also learn about fundamental ingredients, such as onions, garlic, and herbs & spices, as well as how they are used to build flavors. Then the book is organized in seven chapters, each offering indispensable lessons, such as the proper way to make a rich brown stock; poach eggs; braise meats, fish and poultry; prepare fresh pasta; simmer and puree vegetables; and cream butter to produce a fine-crumbled cake. The lessons are followed by recipes – a tutorial in stock making, for instance, is followed by a soup recipe that calls for the stock. This practical approach works throughout the book, which means that you build your recipe repertoire along with your skills.”
Weight: 2 kilograms
Dimensions: 26 x 21.2 cm, and 4.4 cm thick
The Basics, 1) Stocks & Soups, 2) Eggs, 3) Meat, Fish & Poultry, 4) Vegetables, 5) Pasta, 6) Dried Beans & Grains, 7) Desserts.
Food photography by Marcus Nilsson
Portraits of Martha by Ditte Isager
Book designed by William van Roden
Printed in Japan
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I got giddy when I realized I had a stack of new white frames that I had recently purchased (with not much idea as to what I'd use them for) and the little craft project that followed could not be stopped once the inspiration took over. I decided to frame a pair of the leaves, which were perfectly flat and completely free of moisture, one year after their first pressing. It's ideal to press them in a flower press, not books, since the pages of the book could potentially warp from the moisture or stain. But I made sure to layer them well with paper towel and there were no casualties.
I finally settled on a chartreuse-toned paper with a faux-bois pattern. It's modern and goes well with my decor. Green and red are also complementary colours and the crimson leaves stand out nicely against the green, which I really liked. I picked my two favourite leaves from the bunch I had, laid them out first to make a nice arrangement and then glued them with craft glue to the paper.
I have three other white frames and I'm not sure whether I'll make a gallery of leaves or just do the one frame. I'm also not sure where to put it yet, but I have a few ideas. The nice thing about these kinds of projects is that they're easy to do, inexpensive, and can be as temporary as you want them to be: a few days, a month, a year, or several years.
I should really get sick more often.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
But all this talk of the faltering economy and discussions about how to save money got me thinking about how juicy the taste of extravagance really is. What better time than Halloween is there to fantasize about over-the-top escapism?
I’ve always wanted to have a wickedly decadent Halloween party that spared no expense, in the vein of the Goths or the dreamy Victorians. I'd love to throw a big masquerade ball for adults only in some lavish location, sipping dark, vintage port in our costumes and eating slice after slice of Devil’s Food Cake, layered with the richest icing.
And in this moneyed fantasy I would have loot bags for all my guests containing the most exquisite Halloween treats. I did some virtual shopping for this pretend party and came up with some pretty good finds for my loot bag (which would actually be a large wooden trunk lined in black velvet and bejewelled with onyx fixtures on black leather buckles, in case you were curious) as you’ll see below.
These sketchbooks and journals by the 27 designers at Modofly.com (an artists' collective) are printed with eerie images that speak to the holiday's darkness. The sketchbooks measure 5.25" by 8.25" and the smaller journals measure 3.5" by 5.5." The sketchbooks are $36.
Let the pets get in on the dress-up action, too! These one-of-a-kind Tutus for your animal child come in three colours and are available for cats and dogs alike. They can be custom made to fit your pet. Very soft tulle is used and there is a 5 inch gap at the bottom of the tutu for extra comfort and accessibility. The seller also makes adult and children's Tutus to match! $15. Search for seller jiniaj.