8.28.2022

Martha Stewart Living - The Early Weddings Issues

I've wanted to do this post for a long time but simply didn't have the raw material to do so. Before Martha Stewart Weddings became its own entity, special issues of Martha Stewart Living magazine devoted to the subject of weddings appeared annually, and then seasonally, between 1995 and 1999. While the magazines are branded with the Living moniker, and were introduced to the public as special issues, they are in fact counted as part of the list of volumes that were published as Martha Stewart Weddings in later years. 

In this sense, they are difficult to classify. They occupy that 'grey area' between being a supplemental issue of Martha Stewart Living and emerging as a fledgling publication of its own. This is why I consider them to be in their own category and do not list them as special issues of Martha Stewart Living, nor count them as editions of Martha Stewart Weddings. Although, as mentioned above, they are technically numbered as a part of the Weddings editions. 

A very kind person on the Martha Moments Facebook Group recently acquired all of them in a search to complete her Martha Stewart Living collection and agreed to scan them for the blog! Thank you Eileen! We both thought it would be helpful for collectors of the magazine to have a visual record of the covers of these often-elusive issues. They are enticing and informative in every way and full of the most beautiful weddings content you could imagine. Martha is listed as the editor in chief for several of the issues. What is interesting to note in the masthead is how quickly Darcy Miller ascended the ranks, beginning as one of several style editors and making her way to the editor by the eighth volume - just four years later. She eventually went on to become the editor-in-chief of Martha Stewart Weddings and then Executive Editorial Director of all Weddings content for the Martha Stewart brand. 

These magazines often appear on eBay, if you're searching for them, for prices that are quite reasonable, given their collectability. Thank you again, Eileen for the scans!

Issue Number One: Spring, 1995
Issue Number Two: Spring, 1996
Issue Number Three: Spring, 1997
Issue Number Four: Fall, 1997
Issue Number Five: Winter-Spring, 1998
Issue Number Six: Summer-Fall, 1998
Issue Number Seven: Winter, 1999
Issue Number Eight: Spring, 1999

5.29.2022

My Tag Sale Finds

I wasn't able to purchase as much as I would have liked at Martha's Great American Tag Sale, the proceeds of which benefit the Martha Stewart Center for Living, a geriatric facility at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, New York. I was limited by what I could safely bring home with me across the border into Canada in my small car, and by that bothersome exchange rate! What I did find, however, were items that 'sparked joy' the moment I saw them. Below is my 'show and tell' gallery.

I have wanted one of these L.E. Smith lidded caramel glass dishes for a very long time. They were originally produced for the Martha by Mail catalog in the early 2000s. There weren't very many on hand and they went very quickly. Thankfully my friend Tim knew that I wanted one and was generous enough to reserve one for me. 
I've always loved the warm tone of the caramel glass and the very interesting acorn and squirrel motif. These dishes were shown in the catalog as soup bowls, perfect for a Thanksgiving table setting. I am hoping to find one more of these to keep this one company. I will simply display them in my china cabinet. 
Another fortuitous find was this Martha by Mail tote bag, which also sold in the early 2000s for $88. I found it hiding under a pile of wrapping paper in one of the sale barns on Martha's property. It did not have a price tag but it was sold to me for a mere $10! It's in pristine condition and I love the sturdiness of the canvas. It has three pockets on the outside and one pocket on the inside. Its dimensions are very large and you can get quite a bit in there. 
The authentic Martha by Mail tag!
In the same barn, I found this slightly sun-faded jade green scrapbook, which was also sold through the catalog. It is linen covered and the paper inside is acid-free with each page separated by a transparent sheet of velum for further protection. At the risk of sounding like a grandpa, they really don't make them like this anymore. This was only $30.
When I got home I discovered some of the pages were already decorated with old photographs. I wrote to Martha with a photograph of this page asking if any of the photos were of importance to her and offered to send them back. She did not want them back so there they shall remain! I wonder who these people are?
My favourite find is this Victorian wicker plant stand that Martha had at her home on Lily Pond Lane in East Hampton, New York. Martha says she painted it herself using one of her Martha Stewart Signature colours from Fine Paints of Europe. I simply couldn't resist it and Martha was very glad I got it. I love its pentagonal shape. I have a Boston fern in a vintage Anthropologie flower pot sitting on top. I think it works nicely. 

There were numerous rolling pins on sale - various types and lengths, made of various materials, all from her personal collection from one of her various houses. I chose this one, which 'spoke to me' when I saw it in a large ceramic canister filled with its brethren. Vincent Manzo, the antiques expert on hand to help shoppers, ensured that Martha signed this for me: a very nice gesture! She happily obliged. (Lucky me!)
I purchased this antique American vase for my mother. The mark on the base was not legible but I did see a "U.S.A." stamp, very faded, along the perimeter of the base. I love its proportions and the two 'handles' on the side. Very unique.

Not shown are the other gifts I purchased for family: a beautiful modern cake server made in Italy, also for my mother. Her two best friends received Victorian silver cake servers. I love knowing that each of those cake servers likely made an appearance at one of Martha's dinner parties in one of her lovely homes. Each one of these items will be treasured!

Click here to learn more about the Martha Stewart Center for Living. 

5.22.2022

Martha's Great American Tag Sale

When I received an email from one of Martha's television producers in early April of this year telling me that Martha would like me to attend her first ever tag sale at her farm in Bedford, New York, I was floored. She asked if I was interested in attending and being one of the featured guests on a television program about the event. I wasted no time in replying a resounding "YES!" What followed were two weeks of preparation for the trip - my first trip out of the country (I live in Canada) since the pandemic hit in early 2020. I had to get everything in order, including all my vaccination papers, all of the documents required to be on the television show and make all the travel plans. It was a short window of time to plan it, but I was determined to make it happen. And happen it did!

Martha held a pre-sale cocktail party at the stables on her property, which I was invited to but was not able to attend because of scheduling. I regret not trying just a little bit harder to get that extra day off work - but it's all hindsight now. You will see photos of this cocktail party in an upcoming post by Bernie Wong and Dennis Landon, two of Martha's biggest fans (who met on the Martha Moments group!) and collectors of her merchandise. They were also asked by Martha to attend the tag sale.

Not only did I get to see Martha again and chat with her on a few different occasions, I got to meet so many of the people I had corresponded with for years on the Martha Moments Facebook group, including Bernie and Dennis, who have become great friends. I was so proud that Martha Moments had a really strong representation at the tag sale and that it was regarded by Martha, and much of her staff, as THE resource for fans online and on social media. Everyone I met from the group was so warm, caring, friendly and generous. But, honestly, I would expect nothing less from such a great group of people. 

Below are some of my photos from the event. Please be sure to watch the program about the tag sale, which airs on ABC on Wednesday, May 25th, at 8 pm. You will see me, Bernie, Dennis, and several other Martha Moments 'regulars' on the show! It's going to be great fun! Enjoy!

The morning of the tag sale, everyone was asked to park at the John Jay Homestead, which is just a short drive from Martha's home in Bedford, New York. I was so enchanted by the old 1787 homestead, which is where statesman John Jay, one of three authors of The Federalist Papers and the first Chief Justice of the United States, retired. Everyone attending the tag sale was asked to park on the large lawn. From there, attendees would be transported to the sale in shuttle vans, scheduled to arrive and depart at timed intervals, based on the ticket timeslots. 
These are the vans that transported the guests from the John Jay Homestead to Martha's farm. They are shown here in Martha's driveway the morning of the event.
Before heading up to the vans, Bernie Wong and I stopped for a quick photo. We were both so excited to be there! Bernie and Dennis both dressed in really fun mint-green overalls and green patterned shirts. Bernie's favourite colour is green (it's also one of Martha's favourites) and they both looked so great. 

Bernie, Dennis and myself were referred to by the producers as "the superfans" - the ones asked by Martha to attend the sale. We were given the royal treatment - we even had our own private shuttle van that would pick us up from the tag sale whenever we were ready to leave! We felt very special, indeed!
Everyone who attended the sale was given a paper wristband with a number on it. They were, of course, Bedford Gray, and emblazoned with Martha's iconic sycamore logo, which is the symbol of her farm, Cantitoe Corners. The number on the wristbands helped the salespeople keep track of our purchases as they were taken from the tables and placed aside until you were ready to pay.
When we arrived, Martha was waiting for all of us - with the cameras rolling for the ABC special about the sale. Martha instructed the large crowd to please be careful when they were shopping: "No pushin', no shovin'...walk, don't run!" Everyone was definitely very excited and it wasn't a stretch to believe that some people would 'crash the gates' as it were. But everyone was very respectful. These are MARTHA fans, after all! We know etiquette. Martha rang a large bell to announce the official opening of the tag sale and we were off! (As I went past Martha I gave her a quick kiss on the cheek! She approved.)
There was SO MUCH to look at and take in! It was overwhelming at first: chairs, tables, hutches, desks, benches, dishes, glasses, serveware, cookware, bakeware, books, magazines, all kinds of furniture and decorative accessories, from lamps to candlesticks to rugs to mirrors... And they were all part of Martha's personal collection. Many of the objects had been used in her houses over the years, in her kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms. There was even clothing Martha had worn!
Each item was tagged and priced. Many of the prices were very reasonable and all of the objects were in excellent condition, of course. Martha takes care of her things, as well all know.
There were so many unique and beautiful things. I, of course, wondered where everything had been, originally. Many of the items were from her home in East Hampton, Lily Pond Lane, which she sold last summer.

I loved this piece so much, but it was well beyond my budget - and my capacity to bring it home across the border to Canada in the trunk of my car! But it was stunning.
The tag sale was held in the hay field of Martha's farm. None of the main houses or stables were visible from this section of the farm.
Outside the tents was all of the outdoor furniture! There was SO MUCH!
I loved these beautiful wooden chairs. I remember seeing them on Martha's terrace in many photographs. 
Not far from here was the "contemporary house" on Martha's property - the only residential structure Martha has not yet refurbished, inside or out. There were all manner of bedframes, hutches, framed prints and posters for sale in this structure. Adjacent to it was another tent filled with wicker furniture, garden urns, flower pots and more!
At the end of a very long driveway through the woods was an enormous storage barn, where I'm assuming many of the items had initially been stored. Even still, it was packed to the rafters with items from Martha's old television studios and offices, including this original "American Made" sign that had once hung in the clerestory of the Starett-Lehigh building, where the Omnimedia offices had once been located. In this barn were Martha Stewart products for sale: merchandise from Macy's, Martha by Mail, Home Depot, Home Decorators, Wayfair and more. There were bins of Christmas ornaments, scrapbooks, tote bags - all manner of items that bore the Martha Stewart imprint. 

THE PEOPLE

Truth be told, it was the people I met at the tag sale who really made the whole thing special for me. Aside from seeing Martha again, which was so wonderful, it was meeting people like Bernie and Dennis, and many others from the Martha Moments Facebook group who made their way to the tag sale from various parts of the United States: Anthony, Tim, Matt, Jennifer, Jeremy, Kristina... All such friendly people I had admired from afar now standing with me in Martha's yard! Everyone I met made the experience brighter, more engaging and certainly more memorable. 
This was "our group" - the people I spent the most time with at the tag sale. Front and center is the amazing designer and ceramicist Christopher Spitzmiller who is as much a Martha fan as the rest of us! Jennifer Zimmerman, far left, was like a big sister to Bernie, Dennis and myself and encouraged us at every turn. That's Bernie and Dennis looking dashing in their matching outfits! To Chris's right is Tim Obert, a Martha enthusiast who only recently discovered Martha Moments. Next to him is Anthony Picozzi, the co-administrator of our Martha Moments Facebook group and someone I've admired for many years. And far right is Matt Obey, Tim's partner and administrator of the @purelysalem Instagram page, which is worth checking out!
One of the highlights was finally meeting Kevin Sharkey, someone whose work I had admired in the magazine for decades. He is currently the executive vice president and executive director of design for the Martha Stewart brand. He was friendly and charming and we both enjoyed the light being cast upon our faces from the plethora of silver cake servers below us - three of which I purchased!
I had met Hannah Milman 11 years ago at an event at the Omnimedia offices but I got to speak with her more in depth at the tag sale. Hannah was the editorial director of crafts for Martha Stewart Living for many years and is responsible for so much of the inspirational projects we got to see over the years. I was so pleased to hear that she will be in charge of the new American Made initiative that Martha Stewart Living will be resurrecting! Stay tuned for more news on that! 
This is Jeremy Lambertson, a longtime member of the Martha Moments group and a reader of this blog for many, many years. It was great to finally meet him! He is a professional collector and he got some excellent things at the sale!
This is Jocelyn, the official writer and photographer for TheMarthaBlog.com. It was great to finally meet her! She said she always likes seeing my comments on the blog posts. 
Jocelyn snapped this photo of me with the plant stand I had just purchased - one that Martha painted herself at Lily Pond Lane. This photo later appeared on Martha's blog!
Bernie and Dennis posed with Wendy Norling and Ryan McCallister. Wendy is the caretaker of Martha's estate in Maine, Skylands, and Ryan is Martha's head gardener at Bedford. They were both so incredibly friendly and warm. 
Vincent Manzo, an antiques expert and appraiser, was on hand to help shoppers with any questions they may have had about any of the objects for sale. He helped Martha select and group the items, along with the main organizers of the event, Kaminski Auctions. Vincent was such a joy to be around and was so exceptionally sweet! He loved all of us Martha groupies!
This is Samantha Frisoli who was responsible for organizing much of the inventory and ensuring everything had the appropriate tag. When I met Sam, she told me she used this blog for so much of her research into many of Martha's own products! I was so honoured to hear that!
It was a great pleasure meeting Carey from The Idea Emporium. She told me she was a huge fan of the Martha Moments Instagram page. Her work has been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, as was her own wedding! She was so much fun!

You'll be hearing more about the sale here on the blog in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back. Bernie and Dennis will be sharing their memories here too! (They attended the cocktail party and got a special treat on the last day of the sale!) In the meantime, be sure to watch the one-hour special on ABC on Wednesday, May 25th, at 8pm: The Great American Tag Sale with Martha Stewart! You'll see me, and many of the people mentioned above!


5.11.2022

Remembering: Martha Stewart Living

 Hello, friends! I'm back from the ether. Recent events in the world of Martha Stewart have prompted me to revisit the blog and post some updates. Stay tuned for upcoming posts about my experience at Martha Stewart's Great American Tag Sale at her farm in Bedford, New York, as well as the remembrances of my friends Bernie Wong and Dennis Landon. I'm looking forward to working on those posts and sharing photographs from the event - which was such a dream come true!

Also, I could not let the cessation of my favourite magazine go undocumented here. As I'm sure many of you have heard, Martha Stewart Living magazine has ceased publication. Several weeks ago it was announced that Dotdash Meredith, which owned Martha Stewart Living magazine, had decided to stop its publication, both online and in print. Many readers were initially shocked by the news, since there didn't appear to be any sort of lead-up or forewarning from the publishers. The May, 2022, issue which is on newsstands now is the last issue we will see. Most of the magazine's staff was laid off and it's still slightly unclear how or when the magazine's content will find a new digital voice. 

The first issue of Martha Stewart Living, left, was published in November of 1990. The final issue of the magazine was published last month: May, 2022.

During a brief conversation with Kevin Sharkey, EVP of Design for Martha Stewart Living, at the tag sale a few weeks ago, he assured me that the magazine wasn't "finished" but rather in a state of flux as they search for new ways to deliver lifestyle ideas, recipes and design inspiration to its former readers. In the initial press release about the folding of the magazine's print edition, Martha urged readers to pay close attention to Martha.com and a new platform emerging there called Martha Now. Be sure to visit the link and sign up for exclusive offers and content!

I know many of us will miss the monthly delivery of the magazine to our mailboxes, or perusing it at the checkout stand or newsstand. I certainly always enjoyed receiving Martha Stewart Living and taking time to carefully leaf through its pages. You all know how much of a dedicated "Martha student" I've been over the years, so it does feel odd to know I'll never again receive a new issue of my favourite magazine. It had been a part of my life for 25 years. Thankfully, I have over 200 of the best issues the magazine has ever published and I frequently go back and read them, cover to cover, always finding something I missed the last time. They are treasures I'll never part with. 

To read about my favourite issues of Martha Stewart Living, be sure to browse through a monthly column I wrote several years ago called Looking Back to Move Forward, highlighting what I feel are the magazine's best issues, month by month. 

Also, click here, for a brief history of Martha's magazines, including Martha Stewart Living, and click here for a celebration of the magazine's 25th anniversary with posts about the 25 Best Things about MSL.

During one of the lockdowns, I endeavored to organize all my back-issues of Martha Stewart Living. The first step was getting them all out of storage to see what I had. I love this photo of this 'pile' of wonderful issues. I've organized them by month in sturdy magazine holders from IKEA. I prefer to read them by season.

1.02.2022

The Best of Martha Moments

Hello Everyone! Some of you have noticed that I haven't posted in awhile. I have decided to retire the Martha Moments blog for the foreseeable future. It has been online for fifteen years and I think this year I'd like to simply redirect my focus to other areas of interest. That said, I will continue to curate content on Instagram @martha_moments and continue my post as the chief administrator/founder of the Martha Moments Facebook Group. I suggest you follow one or both of those accounts. 

Below is a gathering of links to some of the best serials and posts on the Martha Moments blog that have appeared over the years. I always intended this blog to be an archive of Martha's achievements, viewed through the lens of an avid and curious reader/viewer. I think I've accomplished that. What you'll find in this post is a summary of some of my favourite content (and yours!) that you can return to and easily access. 

Thank you ALL for making Martha Moments so enjoyable to produce over the years. This project has enriched my life in innumerable ways. I have met some extraordinary people through this venture and have had some illuminating experiences that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Thank you, too, to Martha and the people at Martha Stewart Living for embracing me and accepting this blog for what it is: a love letter. 

THE BEST OF MARTHA MOMENTS: CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW

Click here: THE STUDENTS

I'll start the list with you guys! I've always enjoyed highlighting the people who have learned from Martha: the students, readers and viewers who have gleaned so much from her instruction over the decades. So many of you are so talented and have showcased your prowess so generously with me. Here you'll find a compilation of posts featuring some of your best work - inspired by Martha!

Click here: MARTHA'S BOOKS

This is a comprehensive list of all of Martha's books, listed in descending order from the most recently published. I know many of you reference it to help build or edit your library. 

Click here: MARTHA'S MAGAZINES

Here is a list of all of Martha's magazines, with descriptions of their mandates. They include Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, Everyday Food and Blueprint, among others. You'll find their publication dates as well as mention of all of the editors-in-chief who helped run them over the years. 

Click here: MARTHA'S SPECIAL ISSUE MAGAZINES

Magazine collectors seeking some of Martha's special issues will find this link helpful. These were magazines that were sold at the newsstand only and were not part of the regular subscription. They are collectible today!

Click here: MARTHA'S INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATIONS

This is a list of Martha's publication ventures outside of the United States: international editions of Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings and Everyday Food.

Click here: MAGAZINE REVIEWS

Many of you enjoyed my monthly and yearly reviews of Martha's publications. Here they are!

Click here: MARTHA'S NEWSLETTERS

Precluding her foray into the world of magazine publishing was The Martha Stewart Newsletter. This is a history of that publication.  

Click here: MARTHA TV

A collection of posts devoted to Martha's television ventures. 

Click here: MARTHA MERCHANDISE

From her "Everyday" collection at Kmart to Martha by Mail to Macy's and beyond... This is a compilation of posts that highlight the creative genius behind Martha's product lines, from paint, to gardening tools, from craft supplies to closet organization systems, from furniture to lighting...

Click here: REMEMBERING: MARTHA STEWART PAINT

A popular post about the history of Martha's paint lines. 

Click here: REMEMBERING: MARTHA STEWART EVERYDAY GARDEN FURNITURE

A summary of Martha's popular "Everyday" garden furniture lines at Kmart. 

Click here: REMEMBERING: THE BUNSHAFT HOUSE

For a brief period in the 1990s, Martha's owned the only residence ever designed by renowned architect Gordon Bunshaft. This is a history of the house. 

Click here: REMEMBERING: MARTHA STEWART KIDS

A history of the Kids magazine with all of the covers shown.

Click here: REMEMBERING: ENTERTAINING

A look back at Martha's groundbreaking first book, Entertaining. 

Click here: REMEMBERING: MARTHA BY MAIL

A history of the Martha by Mail catalog.

Click here: MARTHA BY MAIL

Her best merchandising venture to date! This is a compilation of posts devoted to Martha by Mail. Collectors will find these interesting to read. All of the Martha by Mail catalog covers are shown here as well many of the most sought-after products.

Click here: TURKEY HILL

All about Martha's beloved former home in Connecticut.

Click here: CANTITOE CORNERS

All about Martha's farm in Katonah, New York.

Click here: SKYLANDS

All about Martha's historic home in Maine.

Click here: LILY POND LANE

All about Martha's former summer home in the Hamptons.

Click here: MARTHA'S APARTMENT

All about Martha's former Fifth Avenue pied-a-terre in Manhattan.

Click here: LOOKING BACK TO MOVE FORWARD

This was a monthly serial I wrote in 2012 after then editor-in-chief Pilar Guzman wrote about looking back at past issues to help guide the direction of the magazine. I decided to do the same and selected my favourite issues of Martha Stewart Living for each month of the year. I had a lot of fun writing it.

Click here: 25 BEST THINGS ABOUT MARTHA STEWART LIVING

For the 25th anniversary of Martha Stewart Living magazine (2015) I decided to do a daily countdown of the best 25 things about the magazine throughout the month of December, beginning on the first of the month and ending on Christmas Day. It was very popular and I had fun writing it. (I know Martha enjoyed it too!)

Click here: DOMESTIC INSIGHT

This was a fun little series I did about the history of some of those common things around the house we all take for granted: lazy susans, salad spinners, corn-on-the-cobb skewers...

Click here: AN INTERVIEW WITH MARCIE McGOLDRICK

Former craft editor Marcie McGoldrick spoke to me about her time working at Martha Stewart Living and her beautiful work as a ceramicist. 

Click here: AN INTERVIEW WITH ERIC BEARE

The painter responsible for the beautiful mural that graced the foyer at Turkey Hill spoke to me in 2013 about his experience working with Martha and his craft. 

Click here: AN INTERVIEW WITH LLOYD ALLEN

The author of "Being Martha" spoke to me about writing this book, being Martha's friend and neighbour in Westport, Connecticut, and visiting her at Alderson. 

Click here: MEETING LUCINDA SCALA QUINN

In 2013 I met Lucinda Scala Quinn, former editorial director of food for Martha Stewart Living, and now a bestselling cookbook author and television host in her own right!

Click here: VISITING MARGARET ROACH

In 2005 I drove down to Copake Falls, New York, to tour the garden of Margaret Roach, who was then the editor-in-chief of Martha Stewart Living. I had loved her book "A Way to Garden" and seeing her garden in person, with Margaret as the guide, was a dream come true.

Click here: THE GOOD THINGS EVENT

In 2006, only a few months after I had started the blog, I got tickets to see the Martha Stewart Show and attend a special event at the Manhattan piers the following day: a celebration of all the Good Things the magazine stood for. I met some fabulous people and met Martha for the first time!

Click here: THE BLOG SHOW

In 2010 my dream came true! I was a guest on The Martha Stewart Show! Read all about it...

Click here: THE TASTEMAKERS EVENT

In 2010 I was invited to the Omnimedia offices to partake in an evening of celebration as the company honoured all of its favourite vendors. I got to hang out with Martha for a bit, meet some of the editors and see some of the offices. What an interesting night!

Click here: MARTHA AT THE TORONTO FOOD SHOW

In 2013, I attended the Toronto Food Show. Martha was in attendance and I watched her demonstration, which was followed by a book signing. Martha caught up with me afterwards to share a bag of chips!

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I imagine I'll add to this list of links as I think of them... For now, please enjoy what I've posted so far and explore the blog anew! 

Love,

Andrew