Remembering George Christiansen

Early last week, Martha's younger brother George Christiansen died suddenly at home of an apparent heart attack at the age of 65. George leaves behind his loving wife Margaret (Rita) and their daughter Kristina.

Many Martha Stewart readers remember George from his appearances on her television shows, articles in her magazines and mentions of him in her books, particularly "Martha Stewart's New Old House" in which the renovation of the Adams House was largely overseen by Martha's brother.

Martha had great admiration for George's excellent skills as a builder and carpenter. Many of the early renovations at Turkey Hill (under Martha's stewardship) were designed and completed by George and his contracting firm, Pequot Remodeling, based in Fairfield, Connecticut.

I know I speak for everyone when I wish George's immediate family comfort and condolences during this difficult time. Below is a link to a wonderful clip from Martha Stewart Living of George and Martha making blueberry pies together. I know he will be very missed.
Click here to watch the video.

Martha Guest-Edits Down East Magazine

The April, 2017, issue of Down East magazine, a publication devoted to life and agriculture in Maine, is guest edited by Martha Stewart. In the issue Martha takes a look back at her historic home on Mt. Desert Island, Skylands, and shares some of its 100-year-old history with readers. There are also features on the cheeses of Maine, a spring garden party, backyard chicken-keeping and a look at the changes in the region's aquaculture with the coming of climate change. The magazine is not widely available on newsstands but you can order a copy of the April issue (or subscribe) online. Click here to see more.


The April Issue

The April issue is appearing on newsstands and arriving in subscriber mailboxes and I must say I really love the cover! It is a bit reminiscent of the April, 2013, cover but it is nonetheless a very attractive looking photograph. Inside there is the promise of Easter ideas (crafts, cooking, entertaining) as well as a clutter-clearing strategy just in time for spring cleaning. I've always enjoyed the spring issues for their approach to homekeeping; that fling-open-the-windows-and-start-decluttering approach. I haven't seen the issue yet, myself, but I'm looking forward to receiving it soon. (Note: the newsstand cover features a solid blue background vs. the patterned background shown on the cover below, which is the subscriber version.)


A Look Inside the First Issue

It took me years to finally accept that I needed to have the first issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine in my collection. For so long I had told myself that paying upwards of $60 for a magazine - no matter how coveted or collectible - was simply not something I was willing to do. Well, I caved. I found a copy on eBay for exactly $60 with a reasonable shipping rate so I bit the bullet and bought it. It arrived last week and I have been examining its pages, imagining how exciting it must have been for Martha and her team to finally see a published issue on the newsstand. In November, 1990, it made a huge impact on the publishing world and from there Martha never looked back. Below I've shared a look inside the pages of this rare issue. I hope you find it enjoyable!

Putting a photograph of the magazine's founder on the cover was unheard of at the time, as was naming the magazine after her. By 1991, however, Martha understood the power of branding. Her face was recognizable through her television specials, print ads with Kmart and subsequent commercials for the retail giant. Daring though it may have been, it simply made sense to put her on the cover. The photograph was taken by Neil Kirk on the balcony off Martha's bedroom at Turkey Hill. Martha's shirt, pants and belt are by Louis of Boston. Her sweater is Armani; her t-shirt is Hanes. The watch, of course, is a Rolex.
All the hallmarks that make Martha Stewart Living recognizable were immediately evident while I was browsing through the issue: lavish, full-page photographs of beautiful and delicious-looking food abound throughout the issue. Martha really was the pioneer of this photographic vision. No other American publication granted full-page status to food photography. Gael Towey was the creative director on the project and went on to spend over 20 years at the magazine with Martha.
The first issue was a holiday issue with a focus on holiday entertaining and food preparation. The editorial shown above was devoted to holiday desserts.
An article about making "Cookies for the Children".
Alexis Stewart, Martha's daughter, makes her first and only appearance in the pages of Martha Stewart Living magazine in this article on homemade gift wrap.
While the ideas may look a bit dated by today's modern standards, they are extremely creative and the results are extremely beautiful.
The kitchen of the Adams House, a Connecticut historic home that was renovated and auctioned by Martha for charity, was the subject of this decorating feature. Martha documented the entire process of renovating this house in her book "Martha's New Old House". She also made several VHS videos of the process, which she sold at Kmart and through phone order.
The first Martha Stewart glossary was devoted to types of conifers.
In the early '90s, Martha's name was synonymous with wreath making. A full feature on how to make several variations of the holiday wreath is really informative.
Perhaps my favourite feature of the first issue is this cardboard page featuring pop-out decorations for a New Year's Eve at home. The idea was to use the silvered moons and stars as decoration on the holiday table, or even to suspend over a baby's crib in a mobile. Then, the cut-out spaces could be used to stencil anything you desired: a gift from Martha to you!


  • A profile on an up-and-coming celebrity chef named Ina Garten
  • Restoring an antique chandelier
  • Good Things!
  • Planting bulbs indoors for the holidays

After so long denying myself the joy of this issue, I must now urge everyone who collects Martha Stewart Living magazine to seek it out. You can occasionally find good bargains, as I did, but don't expect to pay less than $50 for it - unless you're really, really lucky! I hope you enjoyed this look back on this Throw Back Thursday!

The March Issue

The March issue is appearing on newsstands and it looks pretty delightful! Spring is such a time of renewal after a long winter, a time to open the windows and doors, sweep away the cobwebs and let all that sunshine in. I love the colours on the cover and the promise of a lot of home content with "stylish ways to elevate your rooms". There will be a sneak peek inside Martha's new baking book (see the post below) and a section on how to grow vegetables anywhere - even on balconies, I hope!


A New Way To Bake (New Book!)

At the end of March, Martha's company will release its 88th book! It is a baking book called "A New Way to Bake" that features 130 recipes that use better-for-you ingredients without sacrificing the taste. It will be released on March 28th, but you can pre-order it now on Amazon. See below for the description.

Here is the go-to cookbook that definitively ushers the baking pantry beyond white flour and sugar to include natural sweeteners, whole-grain flours, and other better-for-you—and delicious—ingredients. The editors at Martha Stewart Living have explored the distinctive flavors and alluring textures of these healthful foods, and this book shares their very best results.

A New Way to Bake has 130 foolproof recipes that showcase the many ways these newly accessible ingredients can transform traditional cookies, pies, cakes, breads, and more. Chocolate chip cookies gain greater depth with earthy farro flour, pancakes become protein powerhouses when made with quinoa, and lemon squares get a wonderfully crumbly crust and subtle nutty flavor thanks to coconut oil. Superfoods are right at home in these baked goods; granola has a dose of crunchy chia seeds, and gluten-free brownies have an extra chocolaty punch from cocoa nibs. 

With a DIY section for making your own nut butter, yogurt, coconut milk, and other basics, and more than 150 photographs, including step-by-step how-to images, A New Way to Bake is the next-generation home-baking bible. 


Martha Stewart's Slow Cooker Recipes - August 29th

Martha Stewart's Newlywed Kitchen - December 12th


Martha's Flowers (Release date unknown)


Happy New Year! (And New Issue!)

Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year! Thank you all for reading the blog, keeping me inspired and sharing your thoughts about one of the most influential brands ever created! I think 2017 will be a good year for Martha! I love this quote from the opening page of the well in the January/February issue of the magazine by feminist Gloria Steinem: "Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning." A good omen, indeed.
The cover is a bright and festive ode to love and happiness!