I'm a self-professed Martha Stewart junkie. Whenever I'm in a craft funk, I turn to her website, her books and her magazines for the inspiration to keep creating. Around the holidays (and often months before anyone else eve begins to think about Christmas), I'm surfing Martha's site for holiday ideas and taking advantage of the fact that her holiday books are all in stock at the library... although not for long once I've ransacked the shelves. Though I know plenty of people have their beef with Martha, and I don't really blame them, I also think she's an extremely talented woman who has built an empire out of domesticity and crafting.
A small part of the feminist inside of me hates that she has further entrenched and capitalized upon grossly traditional female roles as housekeeper, cook, etc. On the other hand, she has turned these oft-despised at-home tasks on their head, taking advantage of any and all opportunities to introduce another degree of artistry into the home. My feelings toward Martha Stewart and all that she represents are dueling inside of me - I love nearly everything about what she does and how she does it. She is a master of domestic beautification, the culinary arts, fine crafting, and extravagant planning, among an infinite number of other skills. But is she making us women succumb to the notion that our greatest ambitions in life should be seated at the home, in the kitchen, cleaning, cooking, and decorating?
I digress... this post isn't supposed to be about my ambivalence toward what Martha Stewart represents, but rather about her innovation and some of the ways in which she makes her ideas so accessible to the common crafter. I get emails from both Martha Stewart and Martha Stewart Weddings on a regular basis with seasonal craft and event ideas. All you need to do is visit the Martha Stewart website (or the Martha Stewart Weddings website) and sign up for the Craft of the Day newsletter. Featuring everything from elegant decorating tips for the holidays to kid-friendly crafts and handmade gift ideas, these emails provide me with an abundance of projects to try and file away and always keep me thinking creatively and craftily.
I don't think this little campaign for team Martha is really a revelation to any of my readers - I'm sure everyone knows who she is and can, at the very least, appreciate her creative genius. More than anything, I hope that this little post helps inspire further creativity among the blogosphere and gives credit where credit is due. I know there are plenty of times where I feel like I get locked into the same sort of creative mode and can't break out, whether I'm constantly sewing or find myself unable to disengage from paper crafting. Whenever I need to find some new ideas or take on another type of project, Martha is my go-to resource and never once have she and her team failed me.
So if you find yourself in a creative rut, you're looking for some holiday inspiration, DIY wedding ideas, or you're simply in the mood to take on a new project, I'm going to advocate looking to Martha first. I've been searching through books, blogs, and magazines, but still have yet to find any source that so consistently churns out marvelous ideas and ceaseless inspiration as the Martha Stewart name.
And to prove my point, here are a few of my favorites from Martha's holiday archive.
Teacup Candles - Yeah, I know I've blogged about this idea before (I actually thought of it myself before I saw it on Martha's website), but it's such a great gift and a really wonderful way to add a bit more homemade ambience to your place!
Light Bright Artwork - I think this decorating idea is so fun and doesn't have to be limited to the holidays! It could be transformed to be seasonally appropriate, whether it be Christmas, the Fourth of July, or just a year-round decorating element!
Paper Doily Wreath - I was never much into wreaths until I delved into Martha's collection and all the possibilities were revealed to me! Gone are the days of your mother's craft fair wreaths! I used to think wreaths were largely decorated according to the country home look, but Martha has wreaths for all seasons with styles from modern to classic to outdoorsy to eclectic - and they're so easy to make yourself!
Christmas Tree Place Cards - A festive way to seat guests at a holiday table! Using objects found in nature, this place setting is full of the scents and sights of the season, low-cost, and so simple.
Cookie Cutter Ornaments - Sure, cookie cutters are a staple of your holiday traditions, but have you ever thought to decorate with them? This is a great way to personalize the adornments on your holiday tree. Using family photographs and colorful paper as backing, these ornaments are unique and a great way to reuse worn-out cookie decorating tools.
Recycled Paper Gift Wrap - This woman can make even a newspaper-wrapped gift look good. By combining reused papers of a given color scheme, this recycled gift wrapping looks as festive as it is eco-friendly.