Sunday, October 31, 2010

Martha's New Cookie App for i-Pad

November 1 marks the launch of Martha Stewart's new cookie application for i-Pad. Featuring more than 50 recipes from her vast library of cookie recipes (shortbreads, chocolate-chips, meringues, etc.) the application will feature a 'runway' interface that the user can scroll through with the touch of a finger, allowing her to select the cookie she would like to bake. Once selected, the user can access the recipe, the shopping list of ingredients, video tutorials, built in timers and a glossary of cooking tools. The application was designed by Callaway Digital Arts for Martha Stewart and Mac and will cost $8 to download.

Happy Halloween!

I want to wish everyone a frightfully good night tonight! Happy Halloween! For a bit of nostalgia, read about the history of vintage Halloween postcards, which are among the most highly collectible. As a collector of postcards myself, I've searched high and low for gems like this one below at antique shops and flea markets but have had no luck at all. Click here to see more examples and read about their history. Enjoy your All Hallows Eve!

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Holiday Issue!

Look what I got today! It's the new Holiday cookie issue, which is making its way to newsstands across North America even as I type this. The 116-page supplement (not available as a subscription: newsstands only) is devoted to baking and presenting the world's best cookies with a real emphasis on the recipient. Whether the receiver is intolerant of gluten, prefers her cookies crumbly over chewy, or lives in Japan, there is a cookie here for everyone, and myriad ideas and suggestions for packaging and shipping these baked good to friends in other cities or, indeed, other countries. The content is divided into eight sections: For Traditionalists; For Trendsetters; For Those Far Away; For Those Near and Dear; For The Little Ones; For Grown-Ups; For The Health-Conscious; For Hedonists. There are all the classics (chocolate chip, shortbread, etc.) and plenty of new selections (Smokey-Bacon Ginger Cookies, Rose-Water Cream Sandwiches) with varying levels of challenge for the baker. Collectors, be sure to pick up your copy soon. They sell out FAST!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Winnie's Craft Room

My good friend and colleague, Winnie Yeung, is an avid crafter. She works with me at Anthropologie in Toronto and we are constantly bouncing creative ideas off one other - work-related and otherwise. I was very inspired by Winnie's craft room at her home in Leslieville, a quaint Toronto neighbourhood famous for its vintage shopping, out-of-the-way but fabulous restaurants and cozy old homes. The room is where she creates adorable outfits for collectors of the world-famous Blythe dolls, a kooky doll created in 1972 that quickly became extinct - and which is now enjoying a mad resurgence in popularity. Winnie designs and creates special outfits for these dolls that are one-of-a-kind and completely unique. Her Etsy site is quiet at the moment but Winnie assures me she is still keeping busy with requests for new outfits from her regular customers. I thought it would be nice to share photos of her craft room with you. Perhaps you have a small spare room in your house you could devote to your hobby. If so, Winnie's attention to detail, organization and layout will hopefully inspire you to create your own charming space.

The room is bright and cozy, located on the second floor of her house.
On the right side of the room is Winnie's desk, which she uses to draw and paint, cut & paste, sew and stitch her creations. Winnie says she loves the view of her small garden from the window, which is always interesting, year-round.
Winnie wanted me to include this photo of the craft studio while it is in use. It's quite a change from the neat and tidy photo above: artistic ambition at its finest!
On the wall over her desk, Winnie created a fabric-covered bulletin board for inspiration photos and a place to hang some of the adorable doll clothes she makes.
"I love my fabric," Winnie says. "I drool over fabric with gorgeous colours and prints and I can't help but collect it. I have it organized somewhat by colour: neutrals, greens, etc." You will notice the self-healing cutting board by Martha Stewart Crafts, a line that Winnie loves. "A lot of my tools are Martha tools."
Winnie made this adorable pin cushion for her push-pins out of a mossy/grassy fabric. She says it often keeps her Mac mouse company when she's at work.
The left side of the room is fronted by a handy Ikea unit with cubbies for her supplies. All of them are organized in boxes, small drawers and Rubbermaid containers for easy access and storage.
To help organize her fabric, Winnie uses a vintage set of metal drawers.

Hooray For Merchandising!

In its third-quarter report, MSLO touted significant gains in its merchandising division: this segment of the company made $9.6 million this year, compared to $8.9 million the same quarter last year.

The gain is attributed to the following:

+Continued strength in the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's, led by sales in the soft home category (textiles, bedding).

+ The successful launch of the lower price point Martha Stewart Essentials program.

+ Strong performance of the Martha Stewart Living line at The Home Depot, driven by sales of a new carpet program. The cabinets, countertops and hardware program launched in the quarter and a holiday décor assortment began rolling out in early October and have proven to be highly successful thus far.

+ Expanded distribution of Martha Stewart Crafts, including shipments of seasonal Halloween products into Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts, and Stewart's HSN products, which debuted in July.

+ A "robust debut" of Martha Stewart Pets at PetSmart; the line is expected to expand in Spring 2011.

+ Double-digit wholesale sales growth in Chef Emeril Lagasse's core partnerships.

These candy-cane gift boxes with labels and dividers from Martha Stewart Crafts at Michael's are just one example of a multitude of new holiday craft products launched by MSLO this year.

Charles Koppelman, executive chairman and principal executive officer, said, "For the past five years, we have been focused on diversifying and expanding our Merchandising business for long-term growth and we are seeing our efforts bear fruit in this quarter's results. We are applying the same aggressive mindset to our Broadcasting business with our slate of new programming on Hallmark Channel. Broadcasting has been challenging due largely to the remaining run-off results from syndication in the quarter. Our Internet business continues to perform very well and our Publishing business had a solid quarter."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Brian's Crafty Halloween

A devoted reader of this blog kindly allowed me to use his photographs of some of the Martha Stewart Living Halloween projects he has embarked on recently, most of which were used at a Halloween party he gave at his home this weekend. Brian Utz is inspired by the ideas and projects in Martha Stewart Living magazine and never wastes an opportunity to try them himself at home. I have been privy to many of his projects and they are usually highly successful, as you will see below.
Glittered gourds and pumpkins sparkle up the night. (Martha Stewart glitter, of course!)
The Spider-Web cake is from a past Halloween issue of Martha Stewart Living. It looks so decadent!
The dry-ice pumpkin cauldron, also a project from a past issue of MSL, looks amazing.

Brian downloaded all of the Halloween templates from, including these butterflies from this year's October issue of MSL. They look amazing when they're printed in colour and hung to look as if they are magically fluttering out of an old specimen book.

Also from this year's October issue is this massive, six-foot tall dinosaur fossil.

He made meringue bones (a classic MSL recipe) for guests to gnaw on too! The dining room was set for a Halloween feast!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Small Pumpkins Dressed Up

Okay, we'll continue on a theme of sorts: dressing up your Halloween pumpkins instead of carving them up. I'm not sure why I am finding the mix of organic pumpkin flesh paired with fabric so intriguing this year, but I'm enjoying the decorative (and festive) possibilities - not to mention the classy understatement and the hasty simplicity these projects provide. A few days ago I shared with you the ingenious idea of dressing your pumpkins in fishnets (via Craftzine) and now I've compiled some little gems that have been dressed in nothing but thin stripes of ribbon, ric-rac and paint. The looks are subtle but charming and they work especially well on smaller pumpkins, which can be difficult to carve.

Eddie Ross dreamed up these gorgeous gourds and it's no surprise that Chanel was his inspiration. He painted the pumpkins white and dressed them in black ric-rac, attaching cardboard-cutout leaves to each of the larger pumpkins. Situated on a mantel with Spanish moss and surrounded by silver and Wedgwood, they are effortlessly elegant.
Good Housekeeping took the elementary but no-less-effective measure of simply painting stripes on these pumpkins. It is basic but still whimsical.
Another Good Housekeeping project: take your favourite strips of decorative ribbon and simply wrap a single strand around a small pumpkin. Gather an assortment of them together in a large vessel for a more impacting image and choose ribbon that coordinates nicely with the pumpkins' bright skin tone.

Ric-rac and ribbon combine for a variety of fun and festive stripes on these pumpkins.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pumpkin Burlesque

If even the idea of painstakingly carving an intricate pattern on your Halloween pumpkin this year tires you, perhaps retiring to the boudoir will provide just the answer you're looking for. When I saw these 'dressed-up' pumpkins on the Craftzine blog, I knew I had to share this ingenious idea. Slip one leg of a pair of fishnet pantyhose over a smallish pumpkin for a somewhat naughty interpretation of the Jack-O-Lantern. Once the pumpkin has filled the foot of the stocking, trim off the excess and decoratively tie the opening around the pumpkin's stem. The lacy black patterns create bold and textured designs over the orange skin of the gourds and tease the imagination. The effect is elegant, grown-up whimsy! Visit Craftzine for more Halloween DIY ideas and information.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Martha Wraps Radio City

Between November 5th and December 30th, guests visiting Radio City Music Hall in New York City will be dazzled by a winter wonderland, courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Martha and her team of editors are decking the halls of this historic Manhattan landmark with all the festive trim and decorations you can imagine, all from the Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's. The highlights include a decorated, 20-foot Christmas tree, an oversize snowflake made of glittering ornaments, lighted ribbons and garlands on all of the staircases and balconies, and a forest of white trees decorated entirely in peppermint-themed, red-and-white ornaments. For more information about the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, click here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Costume Couture

I've promised myself that one year soon I will dress-up for Halloween. And I'm not talking about Devil's horns and a painted-on goatee; I mean really, really go all out. My dream is to do a drag version of Cruella De Vil, paying appropriate homage to Glenn Close and her starring turn as the classic Disney villainess in the live-action version of "101 Dalmations." Her costumes in the film were grotesquely flamboyant and I like to dream that my Cruella costume would provide the same shock of drama.

Grown-up Halloween costumes can be exquisite, as demonstrated over the years by Martha Stewart. Her Black Widow costume, her Ghostly Equestrienne and this year's eerie fortune teller are all wonderful examples. For the serious Halloween and costume devotees, they can also be investment pieces, as timeless as any wedding gown.

On Etsy, an online collective of artisans, there are dress-makers who are devoted to these heirloom-quality costumes. I've selected a few below for your viewing pleasure. All of the gowns are handmade in luxurious materials to fit your specifications, an attention to detail that is reflected in the price points - some reaching over $10,000!

All of the gowns shown above are by Glamtastik, who specialize in elegant burlesque . Click here to view their shop.

All manner of handmade Gothic gloves, chokers and cuffs at Tristiana. Click here to view her shop.
This extraordinary, handmade Roman head piece actually sold on Etsy for $14,000!
This $5,000 gown (also sold on Etsy) is reminiscent of one of Disney's wicked queens.
And if you're a label hound, why not splurge on vintage Alexander McQueen, like this Neo-Gothic gown from his 2008 collection.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

November's Special Pet Guide

One of the most interesting features of the November, 2010, issue of Martha Stewart Living is the special section at the back of the issue devoted entirely to pets. The back cover of the magazine is actually the front cover for this 23-page special pet guide. This is the first time Martha Stewart Living has devoted a full section to pets, and the first time the editors have designed the magazine to be two-fold with a front and back cover.

The section is primarily dog-centric (that's Martha's Chow-Chow Ghenghis Khan on the cover) but there are some tips for lovers of other forms of pets as well. There is a "Great Finds" section with favourite pet products selected by the editors, a "Good Things" section with crafts and DIY ideas, an article on adopting from a shelter and a Q&A with pet expert Marc Morrone. But the piece de résistance is a section devoted to dog breeds, photographed by Robert Clark in New York City. Most of the 75 dogs that were photographed over a three-day production period were competitors in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, held annually since 1877. The dogs are so beautiful and the spread was so expertly photographed by Clark. I really enjoyed this section. You will be able to see behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

All Set for November

I'm not going to lie; November is my least favourite month. Here in the north-east, it is dark, drab and dull, full of cloudy skies, cold temperatures and leafless trees. Thank goodness for festivity! In the U.S., Thanksgiving is a much grander affair than it is in Canada, but even those who do not celebrate in November are able to plan and dream ahead for Christmas. The November issues of Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food are finding their way into subscriber mailboxes this week and will be on newsstands next week. Both are exceptional examples of holiday prep and meal-planning. I can't wait to explore them both! Below are the covers.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Martha Store Near You?

During a recent on-stage interview at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Martha revealed to Shopping Network CEO Mindy Grossman that her company is working on creating concepts for a Martha Stewart store. She did not divulge any details, but this is something that has been a wish of mine (and many other fans of the brand) for years.

Martha did have a stand-alone store in Japan's Yurakucho district ten years ago, which sold many of her products at the time, but she has never had her own store in North America. Currently, MSLO has over 40,000 different products bearing Martha's name, spread over a vast landscape of diverse retailers: Macy's, Michael's, Bernhardt, Home Depot, PetSmart, Safavieh, Flor, Murray Feiss, among others. The idea of being able to source all (or at least most) of Martha Stewart's products under one roof would be a dream come true. Wouldn't it be nice to throw your teal tote bags into the station wagon and say, "Let's to go the Martha Stewart Store, kids. I'm low on glitter and fiesta ware."

As someone who works in retail (Anthropologie) I also foresee tremendous opportunity to really solidify the brand's commercial identity through display concepts, product placement within these concepts, floor-plan design and atmosphere. Allowing the consumer to effectively step into a Martha Stewart "world" would hone the company's merchandising vision while simultaneously giving the customer a personal experience she can remember. (I have a head full of ideas for store concepts even as I write this!)

In any case, this is exiting news. I really hope this becomes a reality.

Martha also announced that readers will be able to download the first digital version of Martha Stewart Living on November 1rst for iPad. "We aren't taking the magazine and putting it on the iPad," she said. "We're designing something completely different." Among the features will be a 'cookie application' and other software designed to help homemakers. The same day this debuts, so too will Martha's special Holiday Cookies magazine!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada

Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday of October, due to the earlier harvest. It did not become an official, national holiday in Canada until 1957 when Parliament declared it to be: "A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed." Despite the references to God, Thanksgiving in Canada is not officially considered to be a religious holiday and it is instead designed to coincide with the secular harvest festivals of England and Europe.

Since Canada shares such a similar colonial history to the United States, many of the cultural trappings of Canada's Thanksgiving are the same. The American traditions of food (turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce), decoration (gourds, cornucopias, wheat) and celebration (big family dinner) are all identical in Canada.

So, I would like to wish the Canadian contingent of Martha Moments readers a very Happy Thanksgiving! Eat well. Be well. And thanks to everyone for your support.

Martha's Halloween Special

Don't forget to tune in tomorrow night at 9 pm for Martha's first Hallmark Halloween special: Tricking and Treating. Brendan Fraser joins Martha at her home in Bedford for some spooky fun. The special was filmed in Martha's equipment barn, which was converted into a scary space using all manner of decorations and effects. To read about how the barn was converted, visit The Martha Blog.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Introducing "Martha Wrap"

My friend Kenn recently discovered a brand new Martha Stewart product from her expanding grocery line. It is called "Martha Wrap" - a parchment/aluminum foil combination that protects food from any metallic taste with the parchment side while enhancing cooking speed with the benefits of foil. In almost every food demonstration Martha has presented using aluminum foil, she has suggested first lining the foil with parchment. The new "Martha Wrap" takes care of these two steps in one roll. On Oprah the other day, Martha mentioned that the company is developing more patents (including a craft punch designed for the corners of paper) and Martha Wrap will likely also join the list. The product is currently only available in limited quantities at Safeway stores in the United States. To see more of the product, visit Kenn's blog, House Blend, which you should be reading anyway! You can find out more about how to use it by clicking here.

KB's GreenHouse with Martha

On Tuesday, Builder magazine announced that the KB Home GreenHouse: An Idea Home Created with Martha Stewart will be unveiled at the January 2011 International Builders' Show in Orlando, Florida.

In addition to the home design being influenced by Martha Stewart, one of the country's leading lifestyle experts, the KB Home GreenHouse is slated to be the first net-zero energy, single-family home in the Builder Magazine Concept Home series. The KB Home GreenHouse will also demonstrate to consumers that this environmentally friendly home not only saves energy and water through the use of solar and thermal systems and meeting EPA's WaterSense for new homes specifications, but can also save them money for years to come by reducing energy bills.

"Teaming up with KB Home, one of country's premier homebuilders, and incorporating Martha's incomparable style and eye for functionality has been a fantastic experience," said Boyce Thompson, editorial director for Builder magazine. "We're always looking for new ways to showcase the latest and greatest in building technology and KB Home's efficient designs and industry leadership in the field of green building have allowed us to do exactly that."

The home will open for tours on Wednesday, January 12, 2011. In addition to live on-site tours, an online virtual tour will be available for those unable to make it to Orlando. To learn more about this year's Builder Magazine Concept Home and register to take a tour, visit

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Martha Stewart Pet Costumes + Contest

Who says Fido has to miss all the fun on Halloween? The new Martha Stewart pet line at PetSmart has now added costumes to its roster of pet-care products. Ranging in price from $11.99 to $17.99, the costumes are durable and most of all comfortable. Below is a selection from their gallery.

I was also notified by PetSmart today about a contest that could see your pet starring in a 2011 Pet Smart commercial. Join more than 7,500 pets that are in the running for the grand prize by submitting a photo of your pet dressed up in Halloween garb to the PetSmart Facebook site. Martha entered Francesca and Sharkey today! Entries will be accepted until October 27th and there are also over $3,600 in gift cards and cash prizes to be won. The grand prize winner, voted by Facebook fans, will be announced on November 1.