Thanks to Sadie’s inspirational blog entry, I decided that I needed to read Jen Lancaster’s The Tao of Martha. Since I began reading this memoir, I have cleaned out and reorganized my wardrobe closet, laundry room, and utility closet. I have come up with some clever ideas for organizing along the way (these ideas will be posted at a later date). Jen and Martha have also motivated me to use my creativity to decorate for Halloween. I made a trip to Michael’s to pick up a few supplies…of course I checked out the Martha Stewart section because you really don’t need much else! I only purchased a bottle of glue, glitter, and some fun scrapbooking labels. This is what I came up with. Of course, I also made a pit stop to TJ Maxx for the haunted house candles and owl candle holders.
My mantle is now decorated and it only cost about $40. The only thing I already had was the fall leave garland that you see in the back and the ceramic pumpkin bag in the center. I found all of the glass bottles and jars around the house. You can use empty wine bottles, beer bottles, perfume bottles, vinegar and oil bottles…anything that you think looks good. I simply either glued or taped the scrapbook labels depending on whether I wanted to permanently use the bottle for decoration for years to come. If the bottle was empty, I used colored soap or spices I had around the house to fill the jars. I have one more craft project to make the mantle complete. Don’t worry I’ll let you have a look at that one too. In the meantime, get inspired!
I read another book! I’m on a roll! That’s two summer! (I realize that I am the only person my age who considers this a legitimate accomplishment, I would provide an excuse to avoid judgment but I am fresh out of excuses for this one)
Anyway, this book had my name all over it for two reasons: A) I live for Martha Stewart, she is the ultimate, and B) I read something by Jen Lancaster
and loved it. Lancaster has a series a memoires about various portions of her life that revolve around certain themes or challenges. In this book she is in the process of rebounding from a particularly challenging year and makes a new year’s resolution to follow the “tao of martha” to both build some skills and restore some self purpose. I’m all about this.
The style of writing is so relatable to me because I feel like she’s talking to me like we’re best friends. I think if we met each other we would have plenty to talk about because we watch all the same shows, have similar personal priorities, and we are both firmly in Camp Martha (not to be confused with Camp Oprah). I love that she divides women in Camp Martha and Camp Oprah. Oprah’s people are about living your best life and having pajama parties with your best friends. Martha’s people, on the other hand, are more goal oriented. They focus on accomplishments. She points out that Martha doesn’t have a bathrobe. When she wakes up in the morning, she immediately gets dressed for the day. I love it! I’m the same way! (full disclosure, I have a bathrobe, but I never wear it in the morning, I either immediately shower and get dressed for work, or get right into my workout clothes)
So Lancaster spends the whole year working through various areas of Martha’s domestic empire from broadening her cooking repitoire, to working in her garden, to planning the perfect party, to re-organizing her kitchen cabinets, to re-decorating her guest room. Not only does the experience broaden her own set of capabilities, she learns a lot of lessons of efficiency and perserverance in the process. She doesn’t keep a strict schedule and her projects kind of eb and flow based on her moods throughout the year, but she ends up finding a lot of value in the exercise overall. She stuck to her resolution for the full year and ended up with a much cleaner, more efficient household and life when all was said and done. Another reason to bow down to the all knowing Ms. Martha Stewart.
In the process of unpacking and setting up my new apartment, I have had a few occasions to consult Martha myself. Here are some of the fruits of that consultation: my picture hanging. It’s not quite perfect, but I think its damn close.
Here is a look at my completely remodeled pantry. As you can see, it was inspired by Martha herself. I even picked the paint color out to match her style. Martha would be proud. Now I have access to all of my kitchen accessories to make the perfect tablescapes for my guests. It’s only half full in the picture here but by then end of the day the shelves will be completely covered.