Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Martha, Martha, Martha

I love Martha Stewart Living magazine. It's one of my favorite magazines. I want to save every issue but can't because we don't have the space for it. So instead I've saved many, many articles and all of the Good Things columns in big binders to which I frequently refer. The trouble with MSL, however, is that I find so many great ideas and never have enough time to do them all. I still have articles from 1992 that I love and from which I find inspiration. Isn't that weird, that I still love those same articles and ideas after so much time?

Anyway, I spent naptime today tearing through my binders, trying to find the article in which lovely Martha dyed fabric with natural plant dyes (my friend Laurel says it's September 2001, but she doesn't have it either). I can't locate it although I'm sure I saved it. I remember loving the resulting colors, and I really want to dye some cotton voiles myself this summer, especially since white voile costs just a few dollars a yard but the colored voiles are all something in the range of $16, which is just outrageous when I'd rather create my own colors anyway. So here I am, drooling over the Baker's Linen Apron and feeling the need to order myself a bunch of that gorgeous linen, finding the sleekest and simplest shelf brackets, finally uncovering that article about making your own lamps from old vases and pottery. Grandma B. always quotes a dear, departed mutual friend of ours who used to say, "Every day Ben [her husband] and I look for something we've lost, and every day we find something we didn't know we were missing." I feel that way about Martha; every time I look through my MSL archives I find some other project I didn't know I needed to make. And meanwhile, I haven't found the project I already did know I needed to make.

These are some of my favorite linens from Grandma V. Thanks for your sentiments and for your comments and suggestions regarding the stains. I've been soaking them in Oxi Clean and hoping for the best, and in some cases the results have been terrific. The one item that I love most, however, is proving to be more troublesome: this tablecloth is card table-sized, and the cross-stitched scene repeats on all four sides, while the little motif/letters (I wonder if this is a foreign language or just a geometric motif?) repeat at each corner. It's made of high quality linen, and the embroidery is all cross stitched. It must have taken forever to make, and I have no idea about it's origins: Grandma and her second husband may have picked it up during one of their many trips. She must have bleached it already, since the tablecloth is lighter than the matching napkins. It may give me an excuse to spend a morning in the sun sometime when the babysitter can watch the kiddo and I can pretend to be removing the spots from the tablecloth when I'm actually laying in the grass, reading a book, and simultaneously hoping that the stains come out with me doing nothing to help them. I'll need to re-stitch that bleached cross-stitched area as well.

By the way, there's been a lot of blog talk about the faded and overdyed fabrics in the most recent issue of MSL. Count me in: I immediately reached for the yards of garishly printed voile I bought a few months ago. The fabric was really inexpensive, unlike those Liberty Tana Lawns that Martha's people used. I need more bleach to do the job, but I'm thinking about a summer blouse, maybe a little bit like this one.



  1. oh wow, you did score nicely. i love the camels, that is quite lovely. i have the whole shootin' match of martha magazines except for the last 6 or so, i let the subscription lapse - whoops.... so if you would like some scanned info , let me know, i can look and scan.

  2. Anonymous9:32 PM

    maybe you can find the MSL Septmber 2001 issue on ebay?

  3. Anonymous11:03 PM

    sorry Liesl--If memory serves me I think that it was in an issue between September 2000-September 2001. I could be wrong, though.

  4. Anonymous11:52 PM

    Marthadex says it's September 1997. It is a pretty article! I can scan it for you if you don't find it.

  5. i was just going to point you to miss maitreya's marthadex:

    heh heh. she beat me to it!

  6. Anonymous7:13 AM

    indeed September 1997 (issue 52) and it was one of the first issues I bought - it was only recently available in the UK and was very hard to track down.

    The 'Good Things' in this issue were etched glasses, iced grapes, shoe shine kit, a coffee cozy etc - hope this helps you track it down. I could scan it but I see a few others have offered already.

  7. Anonymous8:15 AM

    okay, i have never heard of anyone else who saved parts of martha magazines and put them in binders!

    Me, too!

    i think it's way smart - i will never got through a huge stack of magazines to find what i want, but i will flip through my notebooks, which i've arranged by category: holidays, parties, housekeeping, decorating, crafts, etc.

    yay for the anal ones! :)

  8. Ooh, dying Dharma voile ... what a great idea!

    And I have that "calories" handkerchief/scarf, and I think Lulu Guinness used it as a motif for cosmetics bags a couple seasons ago, too. Fun!

  9. Anonymous12:53 PM

    The motif is a Chinese character (also used in Japanese) that loosely translates to blessing, good fortune, something like that. The Japanese word is "fuku," pronounced foo-koo.

  10. I actually have saved all of my Martha's! I'm such a loser that I bring out all of the months issues that I have each month... Right now I'm gathering all of my Junes back to 2000!

  11. Those linens are beautiful. I love the idea of using plant dyes on voile. I've died fabric and trims, but used plane jane rit dye in the liquid form, so I could mix my own colors. Can't wait to see what you think of the plant dyes. And I like that blouse, too.

  12. Anonymous10:31 PM

    It's amazing how often, when I go back to those MSLs, I find myself interested in things I wasn't necessarily interested in when the mag came out. That's why I can't part with any of them. No other magazine works that way for me, except maybe Marie Claire Idees.