I’ve got your hue RIGHT HERE

A few weeks ago, I spent a weekend in a perfectly lovely cottage in perfectly lovely Charlottesville, Virginia, with some ladyfriends. Long story short, Martha ruined my life.

I’ll back up!

I brought the May issue of Living with me, and not one potentially delightful episode in that weekend seemed to pass without somebody picking up that damn magazine and making loud “UGH” noises. Every year, I am confused by the color issue (this one confidently proclaims on the cover that there IS a hue for me!), which, if you’re new to Martha is an issue devoted to…I’m not sure. Buying Martha Stewart brand paint? Cooking only pink things? I have an amused vision of opening up my Color Issue one May to find a provocative thinkpiece on race relations, but for now, it’s paint colors to inspire. And in spite of myself, I usually end up with a couple of ideas.

Oh yeah, it looks all cool and innocent with its paint chips and throw pillows.

This May, nobody on this trip could put the issue down. And it wasn’t because of the Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake (I made that – details in next post!) or because of the pretty neat feature where the editors all picked a palette and let it inspire a project. Not hardly! Our repulsed grimaces were usually due to one of three things.

1. Spritzdekor


“At first glance — and even second — the pieces on these pages might be mistaken for 1940s dinnerware.” Oh man, if you made that mistake on your first — or even second — glance, you have a BIG surprise coming! Turns out, these peppy plates and such were made in the 1920s! Joke’s on you!

I was wrong on both counts, actually. At my first glance, I was pretty sure they were made in 1986 at Six Flags. Who knew that Europeans in the between-war-era would find cheerful airbrushed kitchenware to be quaint as hell? And furthermore, who knew people in 2010 would want to collect them? For a company that truly cares a lot about peonies and superneutral paint colors (OK, I really liked that article as well, see page 130 in the May issue for a mind explosion), how is it possible that MSLO didn’t grimace with distaste when this feature was pitched?

2. Frigging Trina Turk and her House of Wonders

Designer Trina Turk and her bespectacled husband throw spontaneous dinner parties by the pool at their desert house! Food courtesy of their perfect retro grill.

“We have two of them,” says Turk. “I said, ‘Do you really need another one?’ But this is exactly what we’re into. We’re the kind of people who collect things, who think about what type of silverware would go with this house”…

Hang on, lemme just….one more twist over here, and there! I’ve got it! My perfect superneutral noose in “Ash Bark” (Martha Stewart Living Paint – MSL211) is now knotted and ready for action! Now what were we talking about? Oh yeah! Rich people who have charmed lives and call their lucky friends to come over and enjoy the spoils of being a fashion designer. Sounds awesome! I will get right on that!

Seriously, though, I understand that these sections are meant to inspire and uplift me out of my own plebeian life of drudgery and mismatched chairs and into ambitious dreams of desert glamour, but the grins of Turk and her husband beside their pool made everyone who flipped to that article say something along the lines of, “I hate your face.”

Double augh!!

Trina and Jonathan, I’m positive you guys are really nice people, and normally, believe it or not, I am too! I just want your life so badly that it’s hard to avoid resenting you. We good? Good.

3. This ad

Three augh!!s followed by a sigh

Yeah, OK. Martha had little to do with this one. But this ad is not only gross, it depicts a cat in weird anthropomorphic pain. It gives me shivers and makes me sad at the same time. Also, EVERYONE KEPT SHOWING IT TO ME.

Don’t worry, Marthable fans. I am feeling much more cheerful about June’s issue. And, if you’re wondering, maybe I did find a hue. But maybe I didn’t!



  1. Amanda · June 1, 2010

    I’m going to have a print of that cat framed for you. And hide it strategically around your home to scare you.

    • Steff · June 2, 2010

      I do not know Amanda. But her devious thinking seems positively delightful.

  2. marthaandme · June 2, 2010

    Ha ha! You’re exactly right about all three. I simply am weirded out by the cat. The dinner party is simply too rich and perfect and the plates are just hideous. I have never understood the color issue either.

  3. Susan · June 2, 2010

    Amanda is a huuuuuuuuuuge jerk and if she’s not careful, I’m going to show up at her house with a retro grill and Trina Turk’s husband’s glasses!

  4. Mom · June 12, 2010

    Actually the cat is running in fear of the plaids, diamond shapes, stripes, nasty French’s mustard color chair and weirdly matching phone. Probably also the fear that the cuckoo will jump out any moment (although any self-respecting cuckoo anywhere near that room would stay inside his nice dark clock). We can be thankful, at least, that Jonathan Turk
    with his in-your -face plaid pants is not in the room.
    Love your comments as always.

  5. Margo · August 27, 2010

    Now I see where the wit comes from! Go mom!

  6. Nicole Lang · October 24, 2010

    I know I am a whole season late on this comment, but actually these ads are quite ingenious, by DDB, I believe. “Cats all over the world are having a hard time finding their litter box”, so certain breeds of cats whose surroundings dictate their breed are stifling the urge.. The cat in the above ad is a Scotch Fold, hence all the plaid..they have one with a Russian Blue so there is Russian Orthodox wallpaper in the background and a Russian painting… I think they have a Calico in a typical North American looking room etc…

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