The Martha Manual

Next January, Martha will release the first in a series of three books devoted to doing things the Martha Stewart way. "The Martha Manual" is the first in the series and will instruct readers on how to do (almost) everything, from building a campfire to removing red wine stains; from how to fold a flag to how to bathe a cat. Encyclopedic in its tone, with 400 pages of information, I imagine the book will have a similar feel to the Homekeeping Handbook but will cover a wider range of lifestyle topics, such as how to play certain lawn games and the best way to pack a weekend bag. Encompassing organizing, gardening, cooking, celebrating and crafting, the book will be a go-to resource for any household conundrum.


Examples of Martha's Metal Tree Planter

Members of the Martha Moments Facebook group have recently shared photos of their new metal tree planters from QVC. Everyone who has received it, that I have spoken to, has loved the item: easy to install, durable and, especially, beautiful. (Some did mention they wish the pots were slightly larger so that they could plant more in them). In the photos below, all look delightful mounted on the walls of their homes. Thank you to Dennis Landon, Shannon Weidner-Brown and Melissa Smith-Knerr for sharing their photos. Have you purchased anything from Martha's QVC line yet? What do you think of the items?


A Preview of Martha’s Auction

When Martha Moments reader Paul Stoddard (of Swirly Designs) realized that the upcoming Martha Stewart auction in Beverly, Massachusetts, was being held just a half-hour drive from his house, he decided to take a closer look. Kaminski Auctions is hosting a sale this weekend at their gallery at 117 Elliott Street of hundreds of items from Martha Stewart's prop library. These were items that were used primarily on Martha's television shows, at various events and for the magazine. A portion of the benefits will go to support the Martha Stewart Center for Living at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Paul took the drive to the gallery and had a chance to preview the auction items. Below are his photographs. Thank you, Paul, for sharing them! If you cannot attend the live auction, absentee bidding is also provided. Click here to bid for items online.
Outside the gallery are large banners advertising the sale.
Kaminski has provided catalogs for the auction.
A pair of Martha Stewart Collection oven mitts has been autographed by Martha for the auction.
This toboggan was also signed by Martha. It was featured on the cover of the December, 2009, issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine.
I loved these white chairs!
And all of this lawn furniture!
You can't have a Martha Stewart auction without cake stands!
Beautiful vintage glassware.
An interesting mix of silver pieces - badly in need of some polish!
One of my favourite things to collect: egg cups!
The gallery was filled with items!
I quite like this collection of garden planters.
Paul noticed a small bin with handmade Christmas ornaments, featuring images of Martha's family, including her mother and her nephew Christopher.
Paul was quite taken with this one of Martha with her mom.
The wreath that was featured on the December, 2017, issue of Martha Stewart Living, created by Kevin Sharkey, is also up for auction.


Martha's Five Best Cookbooks

As my cookbook-author friends Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell once wrote, "No one really needs another cookbook." The best and most classic recipes have already been immortalized in cookbooks around the world. Many of the simplest recipes have even become part of our culinary vocabulary. Some, like hard-boiled eggs or baked potatoes, have been committed to memory, while heirloom recipes usually get written down on notecards or scraps of paper and are passed from generation to generation. Published recipes are now easily found online and are simply copied and pasted, texted, tagged or forwarded from friend to friend to friend. 

Still, there is something to be said for a collection of recipes printed on paper with beautiful photographs to look at, with special tips and hints from the experts. It's nice to have recipes grouped by theme or by season or by menu, all collected between two covers. I recently tasked myself with the challenge of selecting Martha Stewart's top five cookbooks. With more than two dozen cookbooks bearing the Martha Stewart imprint, whittling down the selection to five absolute essentials seemed like a sensible thing for a Martha blogger to do. So, below are THE top five Martha Stewart cookbooks that everyone needs, listed chronologically by publication date.  Not everyone will agree with my selection, of course, but that's what the comments section is for! [Following is a list of supplemental books that could bolster and complement the Big Five but that are not necessarily must-haves.]

The first is The Martha Stewart Cookbook. Published in 1995, it is a collection of more than 1,400 recipes from the Martha Stewart archives that had been published to that point. All of Martha's classic recipes from each of her previous cookbooks are featured in this one volume, making it, perhaps, the most essential Martha cookbook of them all. Recipes for every level of skill are featured, although most are quite advanced. Over 21 chapters, Martha organizes her recipes by subject and takes us through "The Basics" (stocks, doughs, pastry, etc.), "Eggs", "Vegetables" and so on, spanning more than 620 pages. Lovers of the lush photography that is usually featured in Martha's books may be disappointed since there are no photos to be found in this book - only how-to illustrations accompanying some of the recipes. This is very much a compendium, a recipe repertoire, a how-to tome, underscored by Martha's tips and notes for entertaining, setting a table and stocking a pantry. For the Martha Stewart completist, this book ought to be in your collection.
Her first book on the subject of appetizers is classic Martha: well-organized, ambitious in its scope, beautiful in its presentation and brimming with inspiration and information. Martha Stewart's Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook was published in 1999 and is probably one of the most user-friendly cookbooks I've ever seen; even the size of the book was considered to make it easy to fit in the palm of the reader's hand while in use! All of the colour photographs for the recipes are collected at the front of the book, cross-referenced with the page number featuring the recipe, allowing the reader to browse the imagery first to select which hors d'oeuvres appeal to them, visually. Grouped into chapters denoting the style of the hors d'oeuvre (layered and stacked, wrapped, rolled, filled, folded, stuffed, etc.) the book takes all the guesswork out of the selection process, even providing menu suggestions, wine pairings and a chapter on cocktails! Frankly, it's the best book on hors d'oeuvres ever written, in my opinion, making it a definite Martha must-have. 
The Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook contains the very best of the holiday recipes published in Martha Stewart Living magazine, from the first issue through to 2003, which is when the book was published. Included are Martha's favourite Christmas recipes as well as selections by her food editors: more than 600 recipes in all. Having the best of Martha's Christmas recipes in one volume is a reader's delight and it's one of our family's favourite books to use each holiday, even if we only make one or two of the recipes. Over ten chapters, each course is covered, from breakfast to dinner: Christmas morning essentials, hors d'oeuvres, main courses, desserts and cocktails. There are how-to illustrations and full-colour photographs to guide and inspire the cook, as well as menu suggestions and presentation ideas, even packaging ideas for giving food as gifts. It's a gorgeous, thorough collection of the best holiday recipes Martha Stewart Living has ever published.
In this beautiful volume, everything - and I do mean everything - you need to know about baking is included. Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook was published in 2005 and it is the definitive guide to the art of baking. By beginning the book with general baking tips and baking equipment, the book gives the reader a sense of confidence immediately. The book then progresses into Simple Baked Goods, then Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Tarts, Cobblers and Crisps, then Yeasted Baked Goods and finally Pastries. This is followed by a Basic Recipes sections where you'll find recipes for lemon curd, buttercream frosting, seven-minute frosting, meringue, etc. Interspersed throughout the chapters are helpful hints and how-tos, such as how to ice a cake, how to use a pastry bag, etc. The recipe selection is extremely delicious (especially the cakes!) and the photographs by Jonathan Lovekin are enticing and artistic with their consistent grey backdrops. It is a gorgeous book and especially a very helpful book for the novice baker and those who are more advanced. If you're up for the lesson, this book can teach you how to bake - guaranteed!
Baking has always been easier than cooking for me. I suppose it is the careful instructions and measurements that, if followed carefully, yields the ideal result. Cooking requires more finesse. It's more about instinct than design. Martha, however, being the astute teacher that she is, was determined to teach her readers not just what to cook but how to cook in her 2008 publication, Martha Stewart's Cooking School. In what is perhaps one of the best cookbooks ever written, Martha is determined to make the reader feel so confident, and so self-assured, that any culinary challenge can be met head on. She does this using her trademark step-by-step, instructional tone, leaving no question unanswered; from how to chop an onion to how to truss a chicken, this book is overflowing with lessons for the home cook. Grouped into chapters by cooking method (roasting, broiling, braising, stewing, sautéing, steaming and poaching) Martha provides a thorough overview of each technique and answers why this method of cooking works for the foods and recipes that follow. Using this book, the cook is never left to venture blindly into the unknown. It is highly recommended for anyone new to the art of cooking and because of its scope and attention to detail, I've ranked it as a Martha must-have.


If five Martha Stewart cookbooks is just too minimalistic for your bookshelves, I've selected some companion cookbooks from Martha's library that are certainly worth adding to your collection as complements to the Big Five, above.
Each one of these baking books is a gem unto itself but when combined into a series of four you've got yourself a party. New Pies & Tarts, Cupcakes, Cookies and Cakes - every baked confection you could ever dream of is found in these volumes. 
This book is the perfect book for weeknight dinners that are fast and delicious. Divided by season, it has a back-to-basics feel with recipes that take less than an hour to cook but that don't skimp on flavour. You'll find everything here from starters and sides to main courses to desserts. (The macaroni and cheese is to-die-for!)
Food snobs may scoff at the idea of a cookbook devoted to American food but this book takes you on a culinary tour, from coast to coast, celebrating the regions that developed some of the most iconic American foods that are enjoyed around the world, from hamburgers and French-fries to shoofly pie! (As a Canadian, many of the foods are familiar to me but there are numerous exciting regional differences that inspire. I loved reading the backstories to many of America's signature foods).


Martha Curates Recipes for Two Literary Classics

In a new book-to-table series for children, launched by Penguin Books, Martha Stewart will curate a collection of her recipes inspired by two literary classics, which are to be released this October: "A Christmas Carol: The Classic Novel with Recipes for Your Holiday Menu by Giada de Laurentiis, Ina Garten, Martha Stewart and Trisha Yearwood" and "Pride & Prejudice: The Classic Novel with Recipes for Modern Teatime Treats by Martha Stewart." Both books will include the complete novel, with illustrations, and themed menus of recipes from well-known chefs.
These will be the perfect gift for any youngster interested in reading the classics and trying their hand at some time-tested recipes that are inspired by the themes of the book. (We don't have either of these novels in our collection of books, so these will be going on my Christmas list!)

Spring Issue of "Real Weddings"

As I've always said, you don't need to be getting married to read Martha Stewart Weddings. Anyone interested in fashion, flowers, cakes, stationery and entertaining will find the magazine to be a source of great inspiration. In this new special issue, one can add travel to that list. In the spring issue of Martha Stewart Real Weddings & Honeymoons, the editors take us from Hawaii to Italy and all across the United States, showcasing some incredible honeymoon destination options - which are also great locales for an anniversary trip, by the way! It's a gorgeous issue!

Martha Stewart Real Weddings is a supplement to Martha Stewart Weddings and is not part of the regular subscription. It is issued twice a year (spring/summer and fall/winter) on newsstands.


The Martha Stewart Storefront on Amazon.com

Amazon customers who shop for Martha Stewart products can now take advantage of a one-stop portal featuring all of Martha's product categories, including a few new ones! The Martha Stewart Storefront on Amazon.com launched this morning, showcasing four categories: Books, Food, Pets and Area Rugs. 

Rather than having to navigate through the larger Amazon.com website to find Martha Stewart products, you can now find a collated and curated 'storefront' featuring the best Martha has to offer, including her own personal favourites and tips and solutions for incorporating beauty, functionality and organization into your home. 
This is how the new Storefront appears on my phone.
In addition to Martha's books, you can now shop her new Pets line, place orders for Martha & Marley Spoon meal delivery kits and shop a wide assortment of Martha Stewart area rugs with Safavieh. There is a "Latest Book" link and a "Featured Product" link at the top, which will change regularly. At the bottom is a banner featuring "Martha's Favorites".