Like most of America I side on the hate side of the love-hate relationship with Martha S. She makes millions of women around the country feel bad about themselves because she has set a bar far too high for normal folks. One year I actually blew out the yokes to paint eggs after watching Martha's show (she didn't teach me the technique - both my Mom and husband prefer that method). My friend MR thought I was crazy. She was right as it is much too much work for coloring eggs with kids.
It is important to remember that Ms. Martha's accomplishments don't happen in a vacuum. She has a sizable fortune (no comment necessary) and a large staff to help her do the leg work that you and I have to do ourselves. If Behind Every Successful Man -- there is a woman, then behind every episode or issue of Martha there is a staff of hundreds plus millions of dollars in advertising. Producers, technical folks, make-up crews, stylists, designers and chefs, painters, planners and who knows what else.
So last year when I got a free year's subscription to Martha, I actually only took it after reminding myself that she has a money and power, and I have neither. My message-to-self was: don't freak out if she makes the impossible seem within reach and all goes wrong.
And so far I have. I haven't made a single recipe in a single magazine - although I have her cookbook and I do use simplified recipes from it regularly. I haven't tried any of her design tips. I haven't cried a single tear because I can't form the perfect hand-made thank you card (and as many people know, thank you cards aren't my strong suit).
But this month's magazine was definitely a keeper. Why??? It seemed like almost every page was just for me! The first food I saw were persimmons - which remind me of my trip to Japan. Then there was a "breakfast for a bunch" with a beautiful parfait that I have the perfect dish for. There were tips on making extra room for guests - I've already done some of the tips, thank you very much! "Revisiting Radio City" - check! Got our tickets last spring. But the culmination of my (to incite her competitor) A-Ha moment proving the issue was a Poppet-issue was "warming trend". It gave an easy hand-knit headband pattern.... but guess what? I'm about 45 minutes away from finishing the one I started SATURDAY! And I like mine BETTER!
There was also a should-be-inspiring, but actually useless section for dreamers like me called "Follow Your Art". Anyone who knits knows there is no money in knitting of this kind, unless you want to make $2 per hour. And finally, there were ideas from Martha's own "collection" (ie a Macy's add)- which I can knit someday.
As with the rest of mass media, it's important to take "the best" and ignore the rest. Usually Martha's magazines end up in my recycling after spending 8 months in the powder room. This one will get stored with the holiday stuff for next year.
It's good to be inspired - in moderation. If I get even ONE of the issue's suggestions made, I'll be happy. The good thing about me is that even if I inspire others, no one is ever intimidated by me! Realistic expectations - and realistic results.