Thursday, August 3, 2017

Happy 75th, Martha!

I know I've told this story before, but I'm going to tell it again...A long, long time ago on West Jefferson in one of those enormous apartments that cost next to nothing and no longer exist in West Central, I stuck some white peonies I had found in the alley into a jar. "Very 'Martha Stewart'," my dearest friend, Erin, commented upon seeing it. What? Martha who???

Of course my older sister was already a subscriber to Martha Stewart Living, and after a flip through one issue I was hooked. It all just clicked! Cooking, gardening, decorating, entertaining, even cleaning! This lady was teaching me how to do everything the fastest way and with the best results. It was a Good Thing, indeed!

Any reader of my blog already know how nuts I am about Martha and her aesthetic. The ideas she and her editors, designers, gardeners, chefs and house keepers have shared and continue to share for the past 35 years (if you go way back to the publication of Entertaining) has inspired me in countless ways.

Here's a look at an old post I put up 5 years ago to celebrate her 70th. It's a little amazing to look at this and see how my tastes have changed and my collections have grown. I should do an updated version of this entire post. I did add some newer photos of Cantitoe Corners from my drive-by in April.

I love this picture, and it hangs (rather tongue-in-cheek) in my kitchen. (Now, in 2017, it hangs on a large gallery wall.)




Where it all began-my collection of Fireking Jadeite. I loved the hunt (and still do) finding pieces in thrift stores and antique shops. I've backed off a bit, but still pick things up when it's a good deal. When I started collecting 12 or so years ago, the pieces were still pretty moderately priced...now they cost a bit more.
The Jadeite led me to Wedgwood drabware. My collection is tiny, and I say that it is now the only thing I will buy (to try and curb my Plate Collecting Disorder)...but everyone knows that is not true.
The first major purchase I ever made (by major I mean something that cost over $100) was this spice rack from the Martha by Mail catalog. It came complete with spices (don't worry...they have all been replaced many times) and I love it as much today as I did all those years ago.
The kitchen is where a lot of the "Good Things" come into play-like my pots taking the place of curtains, and hung on a simple rod.
Of course the legendary "original" Good Thing-decanting dish soap into a glass bottle. (Martha Stewart Clean products make my life easier, as well!)
Martha first taught me about faux bois...and my small but growing collection of concrete or terracotta vessels designed to look like wood is a new interest.
Of course color is a constant inspiration, and ever since her paint was available at K-Mart I have had a paint chip board above (or near) my desk.
And the books and magazines. Some think my keeping the magazines is ridiculous, but I promise you I still flip through them (usually pulling all of the past issues of the current month to go through) all the time.
So this post wouldn't be complete without some pics of two separate "Drive-Bys". My friend Christina's childhood home was pretty close to Turkey Hill ("where it all began") in Westport, Connecticut.



Driving to Connecticut last April, I tricked Contractor into driving by Martha's farm in Katonah, New York. Here is the approach of the Summer House.

It always surprises me when I am reminded of just how close to the road all of the buildings are. The Summer House is used for entertaining, as well as a repository for Martha's vast library.

The original owner of the property would move to the 18th Century Summer House in summer, and back to Martha's primary residence, the Winter House (which was presumably better insulated), in the colder months.

Passing the Winter House. Martha sort of re oriented the buildings along Girdle Ridge Road to face inward onto the 150 acre farm rather than face the road. Thus the "front", or road side, facade is actually the "back". The Winter House was built in the 1920's as a "fancy farmhouse".

Here you can clearly see the deer fencing that surrounds the property.

Next up is the little Tenant House built toward the end of the 19th Century.

The large glasshouse Martha commissioned for her extensive collections of tropical plants. In addition there are several hoop houses as well as a vegetable greenhouse where Martha grows vegetables in the ground year round.

I absolutely love the little pond house built into the wall and painted Bedford Gray like every other building on the property.

On the way out I made Contractor turn down Maple Avenue to catch a glimpse of the roof line of her stables. All of this is so familiar from The Martha Blog, it's almost surreal to see it in person.

I hope you enjoyed this little old/new post. Happy birthday, Martha!