Martha Martha Martha

comments: 70

Studioapartment1 This isn't a picture from yesterday, but I did sort of feel this way after having to apologize to the people who didn't get the bags they wanted yesterday. I am so sorry, you guys. I will make it up to you. And thank you, so very sincerely, for your orders. Thank you!!! Someone asked me to put them on Flickr which I never remember to do, but if you want to see them, they're there.

I went thrifting again with my friend Sarah yesterday. When I went to pick her up she showed me a photo that she cut out of the newspaper of a woman with a really funny name (which of course I can't now remember Pinkalene, and other keepers include Jackornathan and of course Ca$h); she and her friend send funny names to each other when they find them (love that). It reminded me of one of the only things I've ever cut out of the newspaper — the police reports from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, July 12, 1997. We were driving through Montana on our way from Missoula (where we then lived) to Chicago for our wedding, so I kept a scrapbook of that time. I think we were sitting in a McDonald's just off the highway, and remarked on how . . . strange . . . the people seemed. (If you're from Bozeman, maybe you know this. If you're one of the strange ones yourself, please forgive me.) We started munching our happy meals, and opened the paper. "Listen to this," I said to Andy. "This is the police report."

  • Three adults at a party being raided by police were caught jumping out of an apartment window in the 2300 block of West Main Street.
  • A man in the 500 block of South Black Avenue hit his girlfriend in the face with a lunch bucket. The girlfriend responded by socking the man and breaking his eyeglasses.
  • A suspicious man was seen in Bogert Park offering tennis lessons to children for $10.
  • Someone threw a penny at a man in a wheelchair and his attendant while they walked in the first block of West Lamme Street.

Lunch bucket? "Socking"? A penny? Is it just me?

Actually, it's kind of a relief, really, compared to the Portland police reports, or most other cities for that matter. Not that I'm condoning socking someone in the face with anything, etc.

The photo above is a picture of me, taken in the summer of '97. I am just waking up, I guess, in the Murphy bed in our studio apartment. Yes, I am a very crabby riser. But please note the stuff in the background. Oh. My. Goodness. That sliver of white on the right side? That's a wall. We had to move furniture every night in order to pull the bed out. (It slid back into that built-in cabinet thing, slid under the bathroom floor, actually, which was a few feet above the rest of the apartment.) This was actually the most darling apartment. But it was 20' x 20' square. We measured it one time. Nevertheless it had a foyer. It was called the Rozale, and was built in 1916, I think. That bed seems awfully small for two people. There looks to be a bullhorn on the cabinet behind me. I have no idea what's up with that. Oh, and I see the fountain, too. Every studio apartment needs a water feature, no? I always likened our stuff in that apartment to an archaeological dig; layers and layers of life, books on top of boxes, lamps on top of books, bullhorn (of course).

We lived in Montana from 1994 until 1997. I was thinking about this time yesterday after I left Sarah's, and remembering how into Martha Stewart Living I was back then. I bought every issue, and watched her show every single Sunday morning at 9:00. I cooked the stuff and made the projects and dreamed and dreamed and dreamed. Martha and the things she was teaching me were a huge part of my life. I learned so much from her. But I miss the old Martha, somehow. I miss the old show. I miss when she didn't care about what people thought of her so much. And when I get the magazine now I don't drop everything, make coffee, turn on some Irish music, and hit the couch, the way I used to. These days it sometimes it takes me a week to get to the thing. And Blueprint isn't really working for me. I can't get my hands around it, somehow — like, it feels like it has so much potential, but then I go through it once, don't remember a thing about it, and I immediately recycle it; it's not sticking. And I am someone who has bought and saved every single issue of MSL, including Weddings and Kids (and even Baby — if you remember that beautiful thing). But I don't save Blueprint. And I don't watch her new show; I don't even know if it's still on, honestly. I want to love these things, I really do. But I can't really figure out why I don't.

Nevertheless, I've been hugely influenced, as so many have, by Martha Stewart. I wish things had stayed simpler for her, I guess. Do you know what I mean, or is it just me?



I've liven in Bozeman most of my life. I think they write up all the stupid and crazy reports on purpose. Someone even started a blog that repeats the police reports from Bozeman! :)

I think this stuff happens everywhere..but for some reason, they think it is hilarious to post the most embarrasing things in our police reports. :)

I remember the old Martha as well. I too used to buy all the MSL mags up until she went to prison and a new editor took over. The magazine is just not the same anymore. and don't get me started on her new show! Not like the old at all and not in a good way! I too, don't like the Blueprint mag. I thought it would be much better than it is, but it is lacking in substance as well.

i can say as an archaeologist that i have never come across a bullhorn on a dig. is that the lost quilt?

It's not just you! The new show is terribly disspointing because what I love is the MS LIFESTYLE. Not her, as much as what she represents: a bright, sunshiney home filled with bowls of fresh fruit and handpieced quilts. I use to go to my grandma's (a dark wood, overstuffed ranch-style house) and open up MSL and be transported to a world where people collected white pottery (instead of beer steins) and thrifted (instead of Wal-Marted) for deals.
I think that's why I was drawn to your blog, the pictures represent a real-life version of MSL: collections, precious things all in a springy palette with clear lighting.

i'm a huge martha fan, but i watch her show in ff>>. i never watched her show before, but tivo makes more sense to see what i want to see. i love her style, her taste, but i rarely do her "projects." have you read her book, "the rules"? that made me really respect what she has done.

I wish things weere simpler for all of us really. Our world is different, our homes are different, our families are different, and we are different. Still, through it all, "It's a good thing" this life we have.

I've decided after just the initial issue that Blueprint will NOT be on my renewal list. It had such promise, but just seemed to, well, fall flat. Living is still OK, but not the drop-everything-read-it-NOW that it once was, either. I guess I'm just little too stuck in the way things used to be as well. I know what you mean -- can't quite explain it, but things are DIFFERENT now... Rapping with Diddy just doesn't endear me to the new Martha for some reason.

Love the photo, though! The epitomy of cozy!

Chris Howard says: October 05, 2006 at 08:39 AM

I know EXACTLY what you mean. I started watching Martha Stewart when she had an unknown little show on Lifetime back when I was in college. My mother was (and still is) a housewife who has long since burned out on all the "froo-fra" stuff so I lapped it up from Martha like a hungry kitten with a saucer of milk. Like you, I lived in small apartments dreaming of the day when I would have my own home and a lovely yard and a place to actually decorate. I loved her old show and watched every single episode, even in the last couple of seasons when it became more about ridiculous stuff like baking cookies with Elmo rather than inventive household ideas and recipes.

The new show- it's almost painful to watch. Poor Martha, she's just not terribly personable, and watching her live (no editing!) with celebrities tripping over herself and trying SO HARD to act friendly just doesn't work. Whatever household hints/projects they do have been covered in past seasons of MSL and are just sad attempts at rehashing them. Martha just does not have the personality to be a bubbly talk show host, and that's what they are trying to make her into.

As for Blueprint, it hasn't pulled me in either. But Alicia dear, we are not the Blueprint demographic. I think the magazine is meant for people who are in the "hip young 20s more concerned with a great pair of new heels and a cool couch for the apartment" phase of life. I'm past it, and happily so. I'll take my comfortable shoes and cute little house over heels and an apartment any day.

I was kind of dissappointed I did not get to see all of the purses. I kept trying to get in and then when I did they were all gone : ( BUT on a good note, that just shows you how much we love you and your stuff! That's a good thing, right!?

I know what you mean about Martha. She is just, well, too commercial/polished -- something now. I really cannot get my head wrapped around Blueprint either. I am like you, I have saved all of my back issues (or torn apart and kept the things out of the really old ones is there was not a lot). I have especially kept all her special baby issues and kids issues. I was so upset when she decided to get rid of "Kids". I think that was a huge goof. Don't get me wrong, I love Family Fun, but I loved her perspective/recipes/crafts for kids. She had 2 different ones with crochet patterns and one with all of these ideas for bandanas (which I loved and still make capri pants/halters/dresses and bloomer kind of things from them for Em). Don't get me wrong, I still want her Jadite collection, but things have just changed for Martha.

P.S. Don't you think she appears, well, "uncomfortable" with herself now? I watched one and only one of the new shows and that is the first thought that came to mind.

BTW - love the Brady reference; it will make me giggle all day!

Don't even get me started on how much I completely ADORED Martha Stewart: Baby. Adored it, seriously! Antique pillowcase baby dresses?! *swoon*

I have been subscribing to MSL for like 12 years..and i know what you mean. I don't watch TV, so know nothing about her TV persona, or lack thereof, but the magazine has become so control freakish and perfect. Whatever happened to rioteous color, layered patterns, lots of clutter!? Not that MS was ever a clutter person, but your blog is so much better: it shows how real people can live artfully with real possessions.

A robin's egg blue studio trumps a bedford gray kitchen anyday in my book.

Martha Stewart to me has always been something around but never something I had been into. Recently I have enjoyed back issues a bit more from the library book sales for a quarter each. I am even going to try her Halloween egg tree. When I think of Martha I sometimes see Cybil Sheppard instead of Martha. And I think Cybil seems warmer than Martha too which is funny. On the newspaper front, I am from a very small community and our police report can be downright silly sometimes. Dh and I sometimes snuggle on the couch together and laugh together as we read them.

I was a Martha Lover since she was on PBS. My family still jokes about bay leaf turkey at Thanksgiving. I even recieved 100 shares of Martha from my husband when she went Public. When she started to get into her sleek new style, it just stopped appealing to me as much. Becuase seriously, what am I going to do with all the stuff I collected to be just like her. Once on vacation we went to her Turkey Hill home and hung around out front trying to see her and told our daughter, who was about 4 at the time, that we'd probably end up on Hard Copy (remember Hard Copy???) and she cried and cried because she didn't want to be on that show. We look back and laugh at how silly we were. I'll always love Martha even if I don't read her mags as much or watch the show. Even my daughter now 18 feels like Martha is a part of our family history.
Love the photo. And the bullhorn. Who DOESN'T have a bullhorn?

You had a MURPHY bed?!?!?!? I am so jealous....

Of all of the Martha publications, I just LOVE her Halloween issue of the magazine. I don't subscribe, but that is the one issue that I rush out to buy every year!

I think the whole "Martha" thing is the same as the whole "Threads" thing....everything just needs a couple more steps to be superb...just another half hour of time on a project and it's wonderful...everything now is rushed and commercialized. That's why everyhting you make is wonderful!

I was just trying to describe the *exact* same feeling to my husband the other day. No more little jump of excitement when you see a corner of her magazine cover peeking out from the mailbox, no slow turning of the pages to make it last somehow that much longer. Sigh. Thanks for your words, though. I'll point him to this post and maybe, just maybe he'll "get" it a little? Nah. Probably not.

I, too, know what you mean about Martha. I adored her pre-prison show. I wish they would just show it in reruns instead of the moronic show she has now. I have most of her cookbooks, I loved her magazine...just loved everything about her lifestyle. Now, she's just not the same.

Oh I am so with you! My family even used to call me "Martha Jr" as a nickname. I don't have children, and yet I have every Baby and Kids issue. I still get Living and it sits beautifully next to my reading chair, although I find it less engaging than I once did. I do get Blueprint, but at 37 I think I am little past that demographic. Anyway, you are not alone.

you are not alone on the old martha feel and the lack of feeling toward blueprint. glad to know i'm not the only one. :-)

I agree with your sentiments about the "new" Martha. I also have all of the magazines, tapes of many of the shows, books, merchandise, etc., including Weddings and I've been married, happily, for over 20 years. I just loved the styling, photography, etc. She and her team have had a big impact on my own style and its direction over the years. I liked the first issue of Blueprint, but think they might be trying to be too much.

I was able to attend a couple of tapings of the new show and there is no editing. For example, they tape the show from 10-11 am and it airs that day at 11 am!

I just don't find her as credible as I used to. I don't think she knows or cares about the celebrity guests and that makes her uncomfortable because she's not an "expert" on the topic and in control. I just don't look to Martha to tell me about the latest movies, etc. and that content detracts from the segment that's supposed to teach us about house and home issues.

My 86 year old Mom didn't like the new show because she didn't LEARN ANYTHING. I couldn't agree more.

Dude, I used to spend HOURS going over Martha back then. I stopped my subscription finally a couple years ago. It seemed like she was just recycling all the old ideas. Yeah, the old Martha rules!

I too miss the Martha of old. I stopped my magazine subscription because I found myself feeling the way you describe. It's a shame.

i loved the old martha - even if i did make fun of her every chance i got, i still learned soooo much. oh how i have tried to get into the "new" just doesn't work. though she seems a little more humble since her prison stint...her show is just...blah. i mean it's a talk show, not choked full of cooking and crafts and field trips and good things!

hold dear to your old image of martha and don't watch the new show, whatever you do!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at