Sunday, February 28, 2010

Margaret's March to-do List (if and when...)

Margaret Roach, currently the most popular garden blogger in the universe (and former editorial director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia), has greeted snow-laden March with an 'if-and-when' to-do list of garden chores: outdoor tasks to dutifully perform this month to ensure splendid results on your lot as spring unfurls. You know, if and when the snow melts...if and when it's dry enough...if and when green buds start sprouting.

Margaret holds Jack, a wayward farm cat who now calls her garden in the Catskills home. Margaret is currently working on a new book and updating her website.

You can read the full list of Margaret's March chores at her blog, A Way To Garden, which is currently being redesigned. (I'm excited to see the results!) I've plucked some of her wisdom from her newletter to share here with you:

HOARD CARDBOARD AND NEWSPAPER while you wait, to smother areas for new beds, or thwart weeds under fresh mulch in existing ones.

WHILE INDOOR CHORES such as seed-sowing commence on schedule regardless of weather, outdoor chores sometimes have to wait until April. Caveat emptor: Be sensible and don't muck around in too-wet soil or walk unnecessarily on sodden lawns. Love your soil, and protect it.

YOUR PLANT ORDERS should be in the mail, or headed that way. When things arrive, bare-root woody plants will take priority in planting, so think ahead.

GET YOUR JOURNAL, calendar or notebook ready to record bloom times, timing of tasks, successes and failures, and valuable information from catalogs or seed packets.

TAKE A WALKABOUT (IF AND WHEN): Check to see if mulches are in place or if they've heaved, or if burlap and other protectors have come loose, exposing vulnerable plants. Once soil drains, pull and dig up perennial weeds now, before they get a foothold. After some sunny, dry days, rake snow mold off the lawns.

EMPTY bird boxes of old nests.

MUCK OUT WATER GARDENS of fallen leaves and other debris at the earliest opportunity, using a net. Keep an eye out for any tadpoles, newts and salamanders in every heap; return them to their watery hideouts.

CUT DOWN ORNAMENTAL GRASSES before they begin to sprout anew. Cut back old foliage of earliest bloomers like epimediums, or things that emerge fast and would then prevent easy cutback, like tall sedums. Cut back evergreen groundcovers whose leaves will fade when new crop pushes, including epimedium, hellebores, and European ginger (Asarum europaeum).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Illustrator, Stan Fellows

In the March issue of Martha Stewart Living there is a visually endearing article about songbirds in the garden. Illustrated by Stan Fellows, the imagery depicts some of the northeast's most prized feathered singers in a collage of dreamy watercolours.

Watercolours have always entranced me, especially those that take a modern or updated approach to the age-old painting technique. I think it's the aforementioned dreamy quality that attracts me, the creation of form and shadow using as few lines as possible.

Stan Fellows has been an illustrator for 35 years and works primarily in watercolour. His work has appeared in numerous prestigious publications such as National Geographic, Harper's, The Atlantic and Field & Stream. He works monthly for the Wall Street Journal's wine column as well. Stan was kind enough to let me showcase some of his work, shown below.
The article from the March issue of MSL is filled with watercolour imagery of birds. Stan, who is based in Minnesota, sells much of his artwork through the Campbell Steele Art Gallery and you can see several examples of his paintings on his blog. He also gives private lessons to individuals and small groups in the Iowa City area.
I love Stan's use of perspective, light and composition. His work always seems to have a sense of movement.

A sample from Stan's sketchbook reveals some of his notes. The unfinished spaces lend a lot of interest to the page.

Again, a beautiful use of light and colour. The space surrounding the cutting board is only inferred but you get the depiction of morning sunlight streaming through a kitchen window with just a few simple brush strokes and the use of colour.
The cleavers in Stan's paintings never seem to get finished!

One of Stan's wine paintings, which are seen regularly in the Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Martha Stewart Living at Home Depot

With the launch of the new Martha Stewart Living products at Home Depot just around the corner, I thought I'd preview a few of the new products that will be available to us (Canada and the U.S.) next month. Along with the new Martha Stewart Living paint and the new Martha Stewart Clean products, shoppers will also be able to purchase indoor and outdoor rugs, various organizational storage units and hardware and patio furniture under the Martha Stewart Living brand. Below are a few things I've got my eye on... A useful bench ($68) placed at a busy entryway is the perfect place to store the things you take with you as you leave your home every day. The cubbies could be used for just about anything. Pefect for storing shoes and boots, they could also be designated as recycling centers: glass, paper and plastic. (The clean, minimalist designs of some of the storage units makes them very versatile.) Pretty and practical fabric storage boxes (10.5" by 11") come in all shades and have label windows for easy identification: $6.45 per unit. This Belle Isle sofa (my favourite of the 16 new patio collections) would look gorgeous on a patio, deck or balcony. Personally, I may use it as a banquette in my kitchen: $499.The Floating Dahlia rug in brown is my favourite of the new rug collection: $157 - $547 depending on size. Sign up for the Home Depot newsletter to be informed about any and all new Martha Stewart Living products as they become available. The newsletter allows you to shop Martha's Toolbox, learn about kids workshops, read press releases related to Martha Stewart Living and has a link to Martha's blog.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fresh Flavor Fast

Be sure to mark your calendars for next week; February 23rd is Everday Food Day! The date marks the release of the much-anticipated follow-up to the Everyday Food cookbook and a special episode of the Martha Stewart Show devoted entirely to Everday Food.

Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast features 250 recipes that are delicious, simple to prepare, and filled with flavorful fresh ingredients. Accompanied by beautiful photographs, the recipes focus on quick-cooking, easy-to-assemble dishes that use what’s on hand.

Organized by meal and category—breakfast; appetizers; salads; soups and stews; sandwiches, burgers, and pizzas; pastas; main courses (chicken, beef, lamb, pork, seafood, vegetarian); side dishes; and desserts—there is something here for everyone, for every budget and for every time of the day. Recipes range from Pasta with Peas and Ricotta and Crispy Ginger-Lime Chicken Thighs to Grilled Fish Kebabs and Flourless Chocolate Cake.

In addition to recipes, the book also offers nutritional information, basic tips and techniques, and ways to stretch one meal into another. For example, make chicken for dinner one night, then use the leftovers to create orzo with chicken, corn, and green beans, as well as a chicken salad.

Observation: As I was going through my image files, I noticed I had a copy of the original cover design for the book as it appeared on Amazon last June. You'll notice the title has been changed from Fresh, Fast, Flavorful to Fresh Flavors Fast. The colour of the Everyday Food logo was changed from sky blue to a teal green and the image on the cover was downsized very slightly to show more of the meal on the dish. Every little detail counts!

Note: Be sure to tune in to the Martha Stewart Show on February 23rd for an Everyday Food celebration with the hosts of the Everyday Food series, John Barricelli, Anna Last, Sarah Carey and Lucinda Scala-Quinn.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Displaying Plates

When a friend emailed me for ideas on displaying a rather large collection of vintage plates she inherited from a relative, she had only one rule: "I don't want to stand them up in an old granny hutch." Fine. Try hanging them!

Hanging plates is a traditional way of displaying decorative dinnerware or serveware and has been seen in many cultures, from European to Asian. Centuries ago, elaborate displays of plates in a home was a sign of wealth and high social status. Hanging plates these days, however, can make a bold statement in a simple way. Whether your tastes are traditional or modern, you can bring an interesting twist to a room through plate display. It is also an effective, and often inexpensive, way to fill large expanses of blank wall space in an interior, adding texture, dimension, pattern and colour.

Plate hanging is not just for the kitchen or dining room, either. As shown in the images below, displays of plates in unexpected rooms, such as hallways, living rooms (even bedrooms) can lend a lot of impact. Before beginning, gather the plates you want to hang and be sure to draw a diagram of how you want the plates to look. To be extra safe, trace the plates onto a roll of brown craft paper and cut them out, then arrange the paper cutouts onto the wall to see what the end result might look like. (The pictures were taken from Southern Accents, Country Living, House Beautiful, Living Etc., and Martha Stewart Living.)
This is a very traditional display of English transferware, with emphasis on symmetry and balance. The monochromatic tone of the plates blends beautifully with the neutrals in the room. The look is semi-formal English Country.
An assortment of plates in varrying shapes and sizes emphasizes the height of the wall in this hallway, adding to the dramatic dimensions of the space.If you've got it, flaunt it! This blue-and-white Chinese porcelain looks extravagant displayed on a King George II style display mirror in a master bedroom. Its tone contrasts beautifully with the pale yellows in the room, adding impact and giving the wall a definite symmetry and focus.
These inexpensive plates bring a bold touch of pattern and colour to a dark teal wall, their bright green hue giving the room a bit of punch. When mixed with framed pictures and three-dimensional wall-hangings the plates act as artwork, as good as any botanical print.
A mix of round blue plates and square tiles arranged in a symmetrical display over a fireplace adds a subtle touch of formality to this otherwise casual country living room. The blend of shapes and patterns adds interest.A wall-mounted wooden dish rack plays host to a collection of solid green and white plates. The spare use of pattern, the mix of sizes and shapes, and the one lone blue plate give the vignette a calming, minimalist feel with a quirky edge. Bring a three dimensional look to the display of hanging plates by mounting them on blocks of wood. Cut small blocks of wood in varrying depths (so that a multi-level effect is attained) and then screw blocks of wood into the wall. Glue the plates on so that an overlapping look is created. Use only inexpensive, decorative plates for this since you are unlikely to unstick them from their wood blocks. Above, the shapes and patterns are mixed, which adds to the 3D effect, but the palette is monochromatic.The same three-dimensional technique was used here, but the patterns, colours and sizes are wildly different, giving a bright, vibrant collage effect.If wall space is limited and you must use a hutch to display your plates, try painting the inside a bold hue. Arrange the plates in artful stacks to show off their patterns. Here, one pattern is used but you could mix and match, separating various types by shelf or by similarities in tone or style: all teacups on one shelf, all plates on another, etc.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Everyday Food iPhone Application

Yes, you read right! Now you can download any number of the classic Everyday Food recipes right on your iPhone, updated with each new issue! Click here to download and see below for some of the application's features.

  • Get Daily Dinner Ideas: Receive a daily alert with a new dinner recipe idea from Martha and her team with cooking, shopping and serving tips.
  • Find Recipes: Search and download thousands of Everyday Food magazine recipes, featuring large photos optimized for each device. Share recipes via email with friends and family; save favorites to a universal recipe box.
  • Create and Organize Shopping Lists: Using ZipList (, a free online shopping list and recipe service that powers the app, you can add any recipe's ingredients to your grocery list with one click.
  • Create multiple shopping lists by event, store, or whatever works for you. Items can be sorted by aisle or category and prioritized by marking their level of importance - ideal for quick grocery stops when there's only enough time to pick up the most-needed items on the list.
  • Save, Share and Synchronize: Sync and share your shopping lists and recipe box on the web. Family members can add or remove items via, email, instant message or text message - and the list is automatically synced with your iPhone or iPod Touch.
  • Find a Store: Locate a nearby store using GPS technology or zip code search, including maps and driving directions

Monday, February 15, 2010

Poached Eggs 101

For all my knowledge about Martha Stewart and her offerings, my cooking skills are basic at best. This will be surprising to some, I'm sure, but I never said Martha Moments was a cooking blog. Oh, I can steam rice, scramble eggs, fry bacon, roast a chicken and bake potatoes, whip up a decent stir-fry and make a mean meatloaf on occasion, but I'm no professional.

Until Monday afternoon, poaching was a no-go area for me. I had never dared to attempt it. I have one of those egg poachers with the pre-formed egg dishes that sit over a bath of boiling water, but that's totally cheating. I had never made real poached eggs. I figured it was time to try.

The March issue of Everyday Food has a great how-to feature on poaching eggs, along with several recipes that put these delicious creations to good use.

Everyday Food magazine is my kind of cooking publication, full of helpful tips, simple and fast recipes that don't skimp on taste. I cook from Everyday Food much more than I cook from Living, which is why I was intrigued and tempted by a how-to article on poaching eggs. It always seemed strange to me to simply plunge an egg into a pan of water - strange and intimidating, to be frank. (Wouldn't the whites go every which-way and scatter into an icky mess?)

So, I brought out the eggs, rolled up my sleeves and poached me some eggs! Below are the instructions and the results of my experiment.

  • In a 12-inch straight-sided skillet, heat 2 inches of water over medium heat until tiny bubbles cover the bottom of the pan. Crack each large egg into a separate small bowl (do not use eggs with broken yolks). When a few bubbles have broken the surface of the water, gently pour each egg into the pan leaving room between them.
  • Cook the eggs, undisturbed, until the white is just set and the yolk is still runny, about 3 to 4 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to gently release the eggs from the bottom of the pan, if necessary.

  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs one at a time from the water. If serving them immediately, blot the bottom of the spoon with a paper towel to remove excess water before serving.

  • Poached eggs can be stored in the fridge for up to three hours before serving. They can be warmed up using the same simmering procedure used to cook them, but reduce the time to 30 seconds.

My first attempt was a blatant failure. I added the egg too quickly to the water and it went everywhere, as I had originally feared it would. I also think the water was not yet hot enough. Later, when I attempted to unstick the egg from the bottom of the pan, matters got worse and the whites dispersed even more. After five minutes, I removed the egg with a slotted spoon. This proved to be disastrous! The egg yolk, still creamy inside as it was supposed to be, gave way through the slots of the spoon and splashed back into the water. I didn't even get to the paper-towel stage. It was a bad scene. It was time to calm down, regroup and try again. This time I was determined to make it work.

To help improve my results this time, I made a few adjustments; I added a bit of salt to the water to help congeal the egg whites (and I mean just a dash of salt) and let the water get a bit hotter before adding the egg.

I brought the salted water to a boil first then turned down the heat to a simmer before very gently adding the egg from the small bowl I had emptied it into. It turned almost immediately white, which was much more promising than the first attempt. When I saw the flailing bits of egg white reaching out towards the sides of the pan like the desperate tentacles of a sea creature, I got those palpatations again, but it was all for nothing. I looked at the photos in the magazine and noticed that they revealed the same sort of tentacle effect. (My note to anyone who tries poached eggs: allow for some egg-white tentacles. They will do no harm.)

I began to notice that the body of the egg was getting that nice, round, pretty shape shown in the magazine. Bolstered by confidence, I unstuck the egg with the spatula, with much better results this time. I also gently cut away the egg-white tentacles with the spatula and scooped them out of the pan. I watched my little egg island float for another two minutes or so. I could tell the yolk was still creamy inside, which is perfect.

To remove the egg, I did not use a slotted spoon. (Why tempt fate?) I used a shallow ladle and tilted it to spill out any excess water, holding the egg gently in place with the spatula. I placed the egg on a small plate, which removed more of the water, and then gently lifted it to my lunch plate.

Et voilá! I got it on the second try! My happy little poached egg, sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper, and served with 12-grain bread (delicious when soaked with yolk), a slice of tomato and lettuce went down easy. It was so delicious! It was the texture more than anything that I noticed - smooth and melt-in-your mouth good! That's Everyday Food.

Martha Donates Glitter to University

Tim Waldrop is a living example of the old saying, "Ask, and you shall receive." The Western Illinois University associate professor of art recently asked for, and received, a substantial donation (more than $3,100) of glitter and glitter-related craft materials from Martha Stewart Crafts.

The sparkling decorations are being used by students and faculty to create their one-of-a-kind artwork for display in the next University Art Gallery show, "Exploring Media: Glitter," which will run from Tuesday, Feb. 23 through Thursday, March 11.
A kickoff reception, open free to the public, will be held from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Art Gallery.

"This generous donation from Martha Stewart Crafts directly impacts our students' artwork," Waldrop said. "'Martha Stewart Living' asked me to document the students and faculty working, and the exhibit as well," Waldrop said. "They said they would like to include the show information and images on their blog. This is really exciting for our students and for our department participating in the show."

He started preparing for this spring exhibition in Fall 2009, thanks to a Western Illinois University-Macomb community Performing Arts Society (PAS) grant, which, in part, helped him schedule visiting artists for the glitter exhibition.
Waldrop has been requesting, and receiving, nontraditional materials for this annual exhibit, "Exploring Media," the past four years.

"I began the "Exploring Media" exhibit series as a way for our students to become more experimental with materials. I started by simply contacting specific corporations and manufacturers who could possibly donate 'unorthodox' materials," Waldrop said.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Vancouver Garden

I am a fairly proud Canadian. I enjoy maple syrup; I ski; I speak French and I'm pleased that we're hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, one of Canada's most beautiful cities. To further highlight the beauty of this seaside city on Canada's west coast, I thought I'd showcase a garden there that I have loved for several years. It is the private, residential garden of Thomas Hobbs and Brent Beattie, both artists and both owners of the renowned Southlands Nursery. It has continued to inspire me.

The home itself was built in 1933 in the Mission Revival style, nestled in the nape of a hillside above a beach known as Spanish Banks. Hobbs and Beattie took possession of it in the 1980s, making a dream come true for Hobbs, who had admired the home since he was a teenager:

"A friend drove me by in his sports car, knowing I would be enchanted by its faded Hollywood awnings and intricate tile roof. I was more than enchanted; I nearly got whiplash. The street was still unpaved at that time and difficult to find, and the house looked almost abandoned. Strings of old Christmas lights were falling off the eaves and a poor looking stuffed pheasant stared sadly out of the living room window. On the cliff side, concrete stairs with rickety wooden handrails rose through blackberry bushes. I returned occasionally on my own to sneak around. There were three underground garages, I discovered! I imagined Norma Desmond's car was still inside one of them and that 'Max' was probably watching me from one of the windows."

The house, with its pink stucco walls and arched windows, is reminiscent of Old Hollywood. Giant Chamaecyparis lawsoniana trees (left) dwarf the house and are becoming a rare species of tree in the region. The views of the mountains and the city across the bay are breathtaking.

When Hobbs was 33, 19 years after he first spotted it, the house was at last his. He Christened it Casa Triangulo, because of the multitude of triangular shapes that govern the architecture. More than a decade later, the home's refurbishment was still not complete, but it was a labour of love and passion that he likens to the drive and ambition of a prolific painter. Of particular interest to Hobbs, a professional landscaper and designer, was the garden and the home's spectacular grounds.

Hobbs says his style of gardening was influenced greatly by the landscape of this property and almost none of the original plantings remain. The property's dramatic slopes and curves brought the bold, dramatic side in Hobbs (a side that was always very evident, by the way) to his gardening philosophies. Among his design signatures: zone-defiant planting, unusual foliage, terra-cotta pots overflowing with succulents, and black iron furniture, tucked mysteriously into the nooks and crannies. Below are examples of his style and the gorgeous results of his efforts to restore the home.
Palm trees in Canada, you ask? Well, yes! Vancouver's temperate climate (Zone 7) allows for the growth of many plants and trees that are found nowhere else in the country, including the non-native Trachycarpus fortunei, the hardiest of all palm trees. Hobbs also grows species of Yucca and Magnolia on the property, and has great success with all manner of succulents.

The sweeping terrace at the back of the house was built by Hobbs and Beattie to maximize views of downtown Vancouver and the bay. Gold-leaved Fuchsia, Ballotta and Abutilon spill out of a raised, circular planter in the foreground. Another palm tree, one of five on the property, has proven to be completely winter hardy. "Uplit at night, it is easy to imagine oneself on the Riviera," says Hobbs.

"The garden is actually quite small," says Hobbs. "It encircles the house, and a path of cast-concrete pavers that look like mellow Yorkstone allows you to see it all without much effort." The entry fountain, above, is edged with Asplenium scolopendrium, Thalictrum Elin and Bergenia.
Hobbs abhors anything typical or tacky in the garden. And that goes for garden hoses, too. He opted for a black garden hose, barely visible wound around a pair of copper hooks on a stucco wall that is laced with Abutilon Huntington Pink and Hedra Helix Goldheart. Stipa arundinacea frolics about while scculents in a shallow moss-and-chicken-wire nest adorn the top of the wall, looking as if they had always grown there.

Here is another garland of echeverias, sempervivums and other succulents. This one, studded with coloured-glass ornaments for dramatic effect, is growing along the staircase leading up from the terrace.
Hobbs has an extensive collection of handmade terra-cotta pots from Impruneta, Italy. This one holds the very dark Echeveria "Black Prince" which constrasts well with a chunk of coral, creating a sort of undersea vignette. So extensive and unusual are Hobbs' succlent plantings that he has taken to calling them Echeveria pizzas: "A little of this, a little of that."
An antique plant stand from France holds personal favourites. Pots of Saxifraga fortunei would get lost if they had been planted in the garden. Elevated here for all to see, their primary status in Hobbs' list of preferences is evident.

An inexpensive antique cabinet from Indonesia stands gracefully along one of the garden walls. Inside, a pillar candle illuminates the dark leaves of Cimicifuga simplex.

Thomas Hobbs has written two beautiful books on gardening: Shocking Beauty and The Jewel Box Garden. Both are highly recommended.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

From Etsy, With Love

Shopping online can be a bit of a cold experience: the clicking of the keyboard, the swirling of the mouse, the 'buy' and 'check out' buttons on your screen. It's not exactly tactile. But there is one site (mentioned here several times before) that thwarts all that technical coolness with the sheer warmth of its purpose: to market and sell handmade goods from crafters, sewers and artists all around the world. I'm speaking, of course, about Etsy.

I'm a member of the site (as a buyer) and I have a very small roster of favourite sellers so far. I recently added a new one to the list. Her seller name is Pinkcherrymama. If that's not enough to entice you, have a look at her wonderful crafts, below.

I adore her vintage, well-used, well-loved style. She embraces all things distressed and obviously has loads of fun recreating that look in her own paper crafts. I urge you to have a look at her store and puruse some of her designs. They are almost tangible.

These bookmarks are embellished with a ruby rhinestone.

Borrowing a design from the pages of a vintage book about Marie Antoinette, she manages to authentically create French elegance on these gift tags.

Here, too, she applies a royal touch.

Among my favourites in her collection is a series using "Alice in Wonderland" imagery from the first edition. Above is a set of tags in various sizes ($6.95) with depictions of Alice and her assortment of crazy cohorts.
The hare tags have a glittered heart.

She may not have been the nicest of queens, but at least she was a woman of her word. Here, too, the heart is glittered.

The seller has a gallery of ribbons to choose from.
She also makes gift bags with the images that have a timeworn patina.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Martha, La Russa, Purina to help Pets in Need

When people are having trouble putting food on the table, chances are the dog's dish or the cat's bowl is running empty, too.

Martha Stewart, baseball manager Tony La Russa and Purina One are joining forces to give away more than 63,000 pounds (that's 11,000 bags) of dog and cat food to people with pets in need.

The Purina One bus is midway through its journey across the United States, stopping at animal shelters along its route to donate pet food.

"My dogs and cats are very important to me, and I can't imagine what it would be like not to be able to give them proper care and food on a regular basis," said Stewart. "With so many people adversely affected by the difficult economy right now, a program like the Purina One Tour for Heroes is critical."

The food is being given away during an 11-city, coast-to-coast mobile tour of animal shelters called the Purina One Tour for Heroes, stopping in Houston on Friday.

The campaign includes an online social networking fundraiser. Those who want to take part can go to the Web site, locate a pet that needs adopting and post the photo on their Facebook page. For every photo that's shared, Purina One will donate $1 — up to $50,000 — worth of food to shelters in local communities. If $50,000 is raised, an additional 112,000 pounds of dog and cat food will be distributed. Also visit for more information on pet adoption.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Made-to-Order Kitchens by Martha

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and KB Homes have announced the debut of Martha Stewart Built to Order Kitchens in two Florida markets. For the first time, homebuyers will have the exclusive opportunity to choose a Martha Stewart-inspired kitchen as a feature in their new Built to Order KB home. The designs are initially being offered at KB Home's Moss Landing community in Tampa and Arbor Ridge community in Orlando.

KB Home will be hosting grand opening events at its Moss Landing and Arbor Ridge communities on Saturday and Sunday, February 13 and 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guests at the events will be among the first to view the new Martha Stewart Built to Order Kitchens, tour the decorated model homes, and enter for a chance to win a trip for two to New York City and two tickets to attend The Martha Stewart Show. Local chefs will also be on hand to conduct live cooking demonstrations in the kitchens featuring recipes from Martha Stewart's newest cookbook, Martha Stewart's Dinner at Home: 52 Quick Meals to Cook for Family and Friends.

An example of the Katonah kitchen.

From classic to contemporary, KB Home homebuyers will have three distinct Martha Stewart Built to Order Kitchens design styles to choose from: Katonah, Skylands and Lily Pond. Based on Martha Stewart's own kitchens at her homes in New York and Maine, the designs will offer Martha's signature look and efficiency. The kitchens will feature Martha-inspired countertops, cabinets, backsplashes, kitchen islands and other details.

Martha Stewart's influence can be seen throughout the kitchens, which have been thoughtfully designed with both form and function in mind. The Martha Stewart Built to Order Kitchens incorporate distinct cabinet configurations including well-placed glass doors and open shelving for convenience and display, a selection of solid surface countertops chosen for both their beauty and utility in food preparation, a functional bank of drawers next to the range for easy access and storage of cookware, and numerous design details such as backsplashes and cabinet hardware. Additional choices include a single basin sink favored by Martha for its capacity to handle cleaning dishes or a 10-pound turkey with ease, pendant lighting for the island, additional display options including glass shelving, cubbies, and hutches, as well as specially selected flooring, faucets and more.

For directions to KB Home's Moss Landing and Arbor Ridge communities, or for more information on the grand opening events February 13 and 14, please visit or call 888-KB-HOMES.

PS: I deleted the "Decor Dilemma" blog because I reconsidered having 7,500 visitors peeking into my bedroom. But the advice I garnered was great! Thank you to those who commented!