Prestige Signature In Quebec City

On my recent trip to the east coast of Canada, one of my favourite stops was Quebec City, which is among the oldest cities in North America. I will have more about the city itself in a future post, but I wanted to blog about an excellent shop I visited in "Vieux Québec" (Old Quebec) on the town's historic Rue Sainte-Anne. The shop is called Prestige Signature and it specializes in lighting, hand-painted ceramics, rugs, jewelry and decorative objects from the Middle East, particularly Turkey. Founded over 20 years ago by David Shakibaian, the design firm imports only the best, hand-crafted goods. Touring the shop was very exciting, since there was beauty to be found at every turn. The sales clerk was gracious enough to let me take photographs for the blog, which you will see below. I wanted so many of the beautiful things in this store, but it was the lighting that particularly caught my eye. Although definitely traditional in style, I felt it was fresh and lively and I could not stop admiring all of the handcrafted details in each piece. I can certainly imagine many of these chandeliers and colourful suspension lamps in modern settings. I hope you enjoy the eye candy!


Halloween Central at Marthastewart.com

It's not too late to get your spook on! As with all holidays, Martha Stewart Living is still the best at creating and presenting ideas for festive celebrations. MarthaStewart.com has a great list of links for just about every Halloween project and idea imaginable. Click here to find your haunting inspiration through articles, galleries, recipes, videos and more! Happy Halloween!


Martha's Costumes Through The Years

One of the reasons I adore Martha is because of her boundless imagination. An innovator and a stylist, she always brightens the spectrum of any subject she is handling. When it comes to Halloween - her favorite holiday - she fearlessly lets her imagination fly. To celebrate the holiday she has donned numerous costumes over the years, many of which were documented in special Halloween issues of her magazine. I couldn't resist compiling images of some of her most timeless looks. Enjoy!

New Kids Crafts Book On The Way

Next spring Martha fans can look forward to two new books to add to their library, including a new book of kids crafts. The book is called Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts For Kids: 250 Inspired Ways to Create, Build, Design, Discover, Display, Give and Celebrate and it will be released on June 18th, 2013. It will be hardcover with 400 pages, published by Clarkson Potter. This book will follow the release of Martha's book about healthy living, Living The Good Long Life, which will be released on May 7th.


Brian's Pumpkin Blaze

Martha Moments reader Brian Utz loves to throw a good party. And when it comes to entertaining with style, Martha Stewart has always been his go-to guide. This year, Brian went all out, hosting his own "Pumpkin Blaze" Halloween dinner party for 30 guests last weekend in the laneway of his Pennsylviania home. Brian based the decorations and menu on those featured in Martha's book Martha's Entertaining, which was released last year. In the book, Martha throws an elaborate Halloween party in her stables using pumpkins and nocturnal animals as the main decorating themes. Brian followed the book but also invented some of his own strategies and ideas. Many of the decorations and materials Brian used are from Martha Stewart Crafts (the glitter, the decals) and Brian also used Martha Stewart templates and clip-art for many of the crafty projects you will see below. One of his most ingenious ideas was to use Martha's Buri animal ornaments from last year's holiday line at Macy's in a spooky arrangement he created using twisted branches. I've gotten to know Brian a little bit over the years and I've featured him on the blog before. You can read about the Halloween party he threw a couple years ago using many ideas from that year's October issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. Enjoy these Martha's Moments from Brian's party!  


Gael Towey Leaving After 21 Years

When a reader emailed me with a link to a photo on Instagram, I could scarcely believe my eyes. It was a photo by Gael Towey of her office at the Starett Lehigh building in Manhattan in a state of disassembly with the caption, "Almost finished packing. It's been an amazing 21 years." Towey is resigning from her post as Chief Integration and Creative Officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. To say I'm sad about this would be a huge understatement. Next to Martha, Gael was the most significant influence on the design and creative philosophy of the Martha Stewart brand, in all of its forms. Comments on the photo are all supportive and Gael says her last few days at MSO have been remarkable. Just last week Gael hosted journalists at her home to kick off the first annual American Made Awards with Martha in attendance. You can read about that here. I certainly wish Ms. Towey all the best in her future endeavors and I want her to know how deeply she will be missed by MSL readers and fans of the MSL brand. She is one of my greatest design heroines!
Gael Towey, right, goes over some of the Martha Stewart Living iPad features with Pilar Guzman, editor-in-chief.
Photo: The Martha Blog


A Martha Moment: Painted Pumpkins

I recently returned from a wonderful trip to the east coast of Canada and took many, many photos - some of which I will be sharing here on the blog in the coming days. I love snapping photos of 'martha moments' when I'm out and about with my camera. In this instance, it is a simple but artful grouping of pumpkins, chrysanthemums, corn stalks and gourds with a colourful twist. A couple years ago, in an October issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine, there was a great suggestion for Halloween décor: painting your pumpkins black before carving them. This principle was applied (and taken a few steps further) on the lawn of the legislature in Quebec City. I think it's such a fun way to do something a little unexpected for Halloween. Simply paint the pumpkins in bright colours and intersperse them among more traditional autumn fare. You can get even more creative by adding a second coat of polka-dots or stripes.


Bon Voyage, My Friends!

Hi everyone! I will be taking a long journey around Canada's maritime provinces: by train, by road and by boat! I will be away for approximately two weeks, exploring the east coast and taking plenty of photographs along the way. I will have a lot to share with you when I return! Things at Martha Moments will be pretty quiet until the 24th, so just sit tight until my return. Feel free to explore previous posts by using the links below the "BLOG HIGHLIGHTS" category along the side menu. Brush up on the history of Martha's homes; learn about Martha by Mail; read about the history of Martha's ventures on the web or take inventory of all the Martha Stewart special issues that have come and gone. Lots to keep you busy! I'll miss you! Below are shots of some of the places I'll be visiting...
1. Quebec City 2. Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia 3. Cavendish, Prince Edward Island 4. The coast of Newfoundland 5. The French isles of St. Pierre and Miquelon 6. St. John, Newfoundland


The November Issue

Martha Stewart Living subscribers are celebrating the arrival of the November issue in their mail boxes! The cover is shown below. I love the colours, composition and font! I can't wait to dig in. (And I'm not just talking about the pies...)


Remembering: Great American Wreaths

Among the many Martha Stewart books that line my bookshelves, there are several that I recommend to just about everyone who has an interest in the subjects of home and lifestyle. One of them is Great American Wreaths, a slim 144-page volume that was issued in 1996. It is one of the most inspired - and inspiring - books that Martha has ever created. The vision behind its theme is one that was clearly guided by passion (a true love of the United States) and a concise devotion to celebrating the myriad natural wonders of each state through the creation of over 50 beautifully unique wreaths, swags and garlands.

The idea came to Martha while she was interviewing then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House in Washington, D.C., helping her plan the holiday themes and decorations that would adorn the estate's many rooms, balconies and hallways: "Wouldn't it be wonderful to make a wreath representing each U.S. state?" Hillary Clinton and her staff loved the idea and Martha decided then and there that she would do it. 
Martha enlisted the help of her magazine's style editor at the time, Hannah Milman - a superb crafter who is now the executive director of the crafts department at Martha Stewart Living. Hannah and Martha worked very closely on this book, writing a list of the 50 states and territories and their capitals, followed by lists of their official state trees and flowers, major agricultural products, minerals and produce. The process took over a year of intense research and investigation to determine what materials to use, as well as to develop a true understanding of the history and purpose of wreath-making in American culture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture was consulted, as was its forestry service. The National Parks service, state agencies and universities were also brought into the fold. Finally, growers, farmers, gardeners, friends and editors were sourced to help design and make the wreaths, determining which method of wreath formation was best suited for the materials being used.

The book is organized into wreath types: wire wreaths, straw forms, living wreaths, swags and garlands, twig wreaths, molded forms, thatched forms and gathered wreaths. Detailed instructions on how to make the wreaths are included, along with informative historical facts about each state and its natural wonders.

I think this book is a brilliant articulation of America's bounty and a touching tribute to its union. It is also a wonderful reflection of Martha's sincere and devoted love for the country she calls home, as well as her incredible talent to turn the inspiration behind a dream into the creation of something beautiful.