Spending the holidays with Martha can be chock-full of impractical ideas

Once again, my tendency to buy “good deals” has bested me. I fell for a special discount on Martha Stewart Living magazine a few months ago, and since I had forgotten that I have NOTHING in common with Martha Stewart, I made the mistake of ordering the magazine.

Reading the holiday editions of Martha Stewart Living (or most other DIY home magazines, for that matter) only produces a feeling of inadequacy, frustration and frankly, disbelief, for me. I mean, who has time for this stuff?

I banished diminutive pinecones, glitter and any project with exhaustive directions a long time ago. Revisiting Martha Stewart Living brought on some flashbacks of traumatic craft projects my subconscious had repressed (for good reason).

The holiday-induced craft insanity starts with the homemade gift tags (with hand-harvested pine needles and those infernal mini-cones) and continues through the whole issue.

Martha’s delicately iced gingerbread house is a tiny replica of her cottage on her Bedford, N.Y., farm. And when she says “farm,” she means her 153-acre estate, which is really more like a small village. Oh, how charming.

I wish I had the skills to replicate one of my multiple dwellings. Like, maybe, our shed or doghouse. And while I’m constructing that adorable edible structure, let me whip up some homemade cocoa and flatten marshmallows just so I can cut them into attractive snowflakes so they can melt away instantly. That’s a great use of my time.

The homemade gift section of the magazine this month is especially insane. If you’re part of Martha’s inner circle, you can look forward to receiving a jar of golden honey from her farm/compound’s hives, with a tiny carved wooden spoon attached. I can almost picture Martha out there in her bee suit, carefully harvesting the sweet nectar, and whittling those spoons on her porch with her chic French bulldogs.

Or you could get a handcrafted horsehair accessory, made from the tail hair of one of Martha’s five Friesian horses. Not only were these bracelets and tassels woven by hand, but then they were opulently swathed in gold paper and finished with a wax seal. Can I ask, what the heck you do with a horsehair tassel? Do you sweep tiny dust? Use it to brush crumbs? I have no idea.

If you’re really lucky, you get a knit garment (which looks like something Frodo would wear) fashioned from fiber grown by one of Martha’s black Welsh sheep.

Once again, I’m sure after Martha harvested the honey, whittled the spoons, trimmed the horsehair, wove the tassels and wrapped them all in gold, she started shearing the sheep, carding the wool, spinning the yarn and knitting the vests.

And if you somehow have time left in your day for more crafts, feel free to make your own forest animal ornaments from wool felt. Nothing says Christmas like a bear offering a candy cane or bringing you a present on its back!

These complement the woodland table setting theme, complete with tiny hollowed-out wood stumps for personal salt cellars at each table setting. What would Christmas be without a small army of crazed-looking squirrels perched in the center of the table? You could eat a lovely meal, surrounded by beady-eyed woodland critters. So appetizing.

I’m so glad I decided to terrorize myself with this magazine chock-full of impractical ideas. I’ll be lucky to mail Christmas cards after New Year’s Day.

I still have shopping to do, and Martha is wrapping all her presents next week (according to her calendar). I’m sure they’ll be gilded with glitter and tiny metallic pinecones.

Each page turn makes my blood pressure rise just a little bit and my left eye is starting to twitch. GAH! Take it from me, holidays with Martha are not a “good thing.”

Erin McIntyre is a writer, master gardener and owner of the gourmet pickle company, Yum Pickles. Email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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I can relate. My daughter-in-law decided we should do a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving dinner, so I was assigned Creamed Greens and Delicata Squash with Lady Apples???? Who knew? Both recipes actually turned out quite well, and now I know a Delicata Squash from a plain old green squash, and I found that Safeway carries both items. Thank heaven for the produce guy who found both items for me. It was an adventure, although I will say a delicious one.

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