Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Stroll Through Longwood Gardens

Canna in bloom in Longwood Gardens

When I first learned about the Light exhibit by Bruce Munro at Longwood Gardens, I put it on my must-do list. The photos I saw of the glowing lights in the garden darkness positively captivated me. So I finally found the time to make my way there on a recent weekend. I arrived in the late afternoon and took advantage of the remaining daylight to wander through the magnificent gardens.

Situated in the historic Brandywine Valley, Longwood Gardens is an Eden for plant lovers and one of the preeminent gardens in the United States. Although its just 32 miles from Philadelphia and 12 miles from Wilmington, Delaware, the surrounding Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, with its little town center and charming B&Bs, seems far removed from both.

The 20 indoor and 20 outdoor gardens that spread over the 1,077 acres of the park proved to be too much to cover in the couple of hours before nightfall, but I did manage to see a number of the gardens highlights. And though the day was a bit overcast, it didnt detract from the beauty of the plants and trees.

My first stop was the topiary garden. Im always fascinated by how plants here, Japanese and English yews are clipped into all kinds of cool shapes. (I also cant help but think of the moving topiaries in Stephen Kings The Shining, though these werent creepy like the ones in the book.)

The topiary garden at Longwood Gardens

From there, I headed to the nearby rose garden, positively radiant with brilliant yellows, oranges, pinks, and reds.

A little bit of sunshine on a gray day

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Essentials: Julia Leach

It started with a striped shirt. Nine years ago, Julia Leach found an old fishermans top in a Paris vintage store. She designed a flattering soft-cotton version and a few accessories (a straw hat, espadrilles), and her collection of beautifully reimagined staples, Chance, was born.

Sturdily constructed and big on thoughtful details (covered buttons, necklines with just enough scoop), her pieces are on the wish lists of women more concerned with style than fashion. So what does Leach herself wish for? With a rapidly expanding business and a bicoastal schedule (she splits her time between New York and Los Angeles), she dreams of a Saturday off to have the whole day to go for a drive, cook, write, hike, discover something new, she says.

And becauseshe never knows when she might stumble upon thenext great inspiration, she has one rule, whereverthe day may take her: Pack light, and carry a big tote. These are a few of her favorite things

Julias Saturday Essentials:

1. When in New York City, Leach loves treasure hunting at flea markets. One recent find: a cache of 300 love letters written between 1938 and 1941.

2. The self-described tomboy pairs jeans (vintage Levis or these APC New Cures, $175) with everything.

3. Serge Lutens la Nuit, $130 for 50mL, reminds her of evenings in the Hollywood Hills.

4. Leach prefers her jewelrybold, old, and simple, like this turquoise cuff.

5. She wears these handmade sandals, $425, all year.

6. Though not big on makeup, shes never without a tube of Burts Bees lip balm, $3.

7. My fishermans sweater($345)has been around the world with me, Leach says.

8. She admires Joan Didions spare prose, especially The White Album,$14.

9. Leach serves Domaine Fourniers Sancerre Cuve Silex, $35, at her chilled-out dinner parties.

Love Leachs style? Step inside her artsy, book-filled living room in our blog-exclusive Q&A.

Portrait by Isabel Asha Penzlien

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Friday, September 28, 2012

A Taste of Home: Texas Kolaches in Brooklyn

Before Autumn Stanford, owner of the Brooklyn Kolache Co., can even ask me what kind of kolache I want, Im already eyeing the round, puffy buns topped with slices of jalapeno. The dense, sweet dough yields to my fingertips as I bring the weighty creation to my mouth and take a bite. Kolaches, with roots in Eastern Europe, taste more like Texas to me than any bite of barbecue or spoonful of grits ever could. Stanford describes a kolache to the uninitiated Brooklynites who visit her bakery as a stuffed, slightly sweet yeast bun.

Kolaches originate in Eastern Czechoslovakia and the pastries were brought to the Lone Star State by Czech immigrants who came to Texas through the port of Galveston in the early 20th century. The sweet fruit and cream cheese pastries are more traditional, but Texans have put their own stamp on the pastries with savory offerings like jalapeno sausage (think super-sized pigs-in-a-blanket) or ham and cheese.

Stanford, who was raised in Austin, grew-up eating the hand-held meals on road trips to Houston. When she had the idea to bring kolaches to New York, she began looking up recipes in Texas Monthly and making kolaches every weekend. Everything came together when she found the perfect space, a cozy spot in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Since opening earlier this year, Stanford has found that kolaches can serve different purposes for different people. On the weekdays its commuters taking them to work, but on the weekends everybody talks about where they went to get kolaches while growing up or going to school in Texas. There are even regional preferences within the state, with Houstonians opting for the savory buns and Dallasites favoring the sweet varieties; both types are made with the slightly sweet, yeasty dough, which Stanford leaves to proof in the front room.

Having grown up eating kolaches for breakfast (and often for lunch in my high school cafeteria), it didnt take any convincing to get my on board. But for many of Stanfords regular customers, their journey toward kolache fandom began when they came in looking for something else, a bagel or a muffin, traditional bakery fare. All Stanford has to do to sway them is insist, to the point of demanding, that they sit down and try one. Bite by bite she shares a Texas tradition and a warm, filling taste of home.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ready for Your Closeup: Improving Your Etsy or Ebay Product Photos

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mail Art

The first piece of mail I ever received from my friend Kiera Coffee was a clear, stamped bag of fall leaves (plus a deflated balloon), collected from the park where we had recently met for a walk. There was no note and, really, the package didnt require one. It was funnier and more impactful on its own.

Over the years Ive known her, shes continued to mail me odd little surprises, as she does with all her friends (see the current issue for her wonderful essay on this tradition).

Ive received, for instance, a piece of bark, a comic-strip envelope, andsix crayons taped together.

Some of these items make reference to something weve done or talked about. Some delightfully make no sense at all.

And when I get, say, a toy animal with stamps tied to its tail, the absurdity of receiving such a thing through the mail always makes my day.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Living Backstory on SiriusXM 110

Is there anything youd like to know about working at MSLO? Listen to my brand-new radio show, The Living Backstory, live every Tuesday at 5 p.m. EST on SiriusXM 110 for a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most humorous and interesting people in our office.

As promised, a few notes on todays show:

This is the childrens book written and illustrated by todays guest (and one of my favorite people in the office), Living copy editor Ali Bahrampour.

Our second guest, Ilyana Mansfield, made this beautiful dragon mask for author Ursula K. LeGuin.

And this is the book our editor in chief, Pilar Guzman, referenced in her October editors letter about apples, which just hit newsstands on Monday. I learned more about this fruit in doing the fact-checking for Pilars letter than I have in three decades of eating them. I know my department director, Ann Sackrider, felt similarly about fact-checking for the story on Maine pomologist John Bunker, who is kind of a historian in the work of Johnny Chapman, a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed.

If theres anything you would like to know about working at MSLO, call us next Tuesday at 866-675-6675.

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From the Blogs: 101 Ways to Use a Donut Pan

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a link to a super-cute blog that featured a riff on one of our August Good Things. Really excited to see our ideas translated in the blogosphere, I jumped over to Tiffanie TurnersCorner Blogand immediately fell in love.

Tiffanie and her kids created a self-imposed challenge: 101 ways to use a donut pan. She took my cookie cup Good Thing and ran with it, turning it into her donut pan idea no. 19 (above). I fell in love with the gambit of ideas she has invented and tested, and was dying to know more. (I have a rule that Im not allowed to buy any more uni-tools and this is right up my alley!)

I reached out to say thanksand find out more about the woman behind the blog We absolutely love your blog! what was your inspiration?

Thank you! I absolutely love everything about Martha Stewart Living! I have been a fan for years and years!I started blogging in late May of 2011, to document everything the kids and I were doing during our first real summer vacation. Over the last 15 months the blog has evolved into a showcase for my projects, my art, my costume making and some cooking, as well as a place to hold memories for our family. Blogging is such a great way to gain exposure for things you make that might not otherwise get much attention.

Donut coddled eggs, a.k.a. breakfast perfection.

How did you get started on your donut pan adventures?

The 101 Donut Pan Uses project started in May of this year, when I tweeted how I had an impulse to buy a donut pan but was going to wait until the next morning. Someone who I didnt know well at the time, but has since then become a friend (Giselle from the wonderful Rare Device housewares store in San Francisco) told me she would give me a set of pans that she wasnt using. When I picked them up, my daughter Stella started naming all these other things we should use them for. The 6-year-old mind is amazing at riffing on ideas, and she has come up with some of the most popular ones!

Do you have a favorite donut so far?

Right now my favorite edible donuts are the donut madelines, because they were just perfect, and the cookie cups, which I adapted from (your!) shortbread cookie-cup recipe in the August issue of MSL. My favorite nonedible donuts are the chalk donuts I made this week. They are gorgeous. The crayon donuts are a close favorite, and I see people making them and selling them on Etsy now.

Mini cherry pies

Any surprises along the way? What worked and what most definitely didnt work?

Dislodging the donuts is always tricky and somewhat scary. Recently Ive given in and used baking spray (oil and flour spray) on many of the baked goods and the donuts just fall out of the pans. Ive had to go into more of a test-kitchen mode when I embark on the projects, because Im taking them pretty seriously!

Check out Tiffanie and her fantastic donut-inspired projects over at the Corner Blog!

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Mini Masterpieces

Everything you need to know may be learned in kindergarten, but for me, at least creativity began in preschool. Some of the best art projects I ever did as a kid were at Crocus Hill Preschoolin St. Paul, Minnesota. And going back 25 years later for the schools fabulous art show (their 51st!) brought my colorful, tactile experiences right back.

My favorite, the metamorphosis unit, is still going strong throughout the year, Crocus Hill kids watch real butterflies grow, spread their wings, and finally fly to Mexico while documenting the process through art (think gold glittered seams on the chrysalis). A brand-new segment this year on abstract art led to the Wassily Kandinsky project, in which kids used watercolor and crayon to create the gorgeous group piece above.

I hope these snapshots will get you and your kids inspired to make and learn together as the new school year begins.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sleeping Beauties

Thanks to Olayfor bringing us this post. Find your Olay beauty ritual at

Whether its a swipe of lotion or a multi-step process, most women develop tried-and-true nighttime beauty routines over the years. Just how specific? We asked a few of our editors to share their before-bed beauty rituals:

Robin Sayers, Executive Editor, Martha Stewart Weddings

I have three levels of commitment, depending on how Im feeling. When Im exhausted, I just use a wipe. Its not ideal, but its so easy and speedy and definitely better than plopping into bed without doing anything. When Im semi-ambitious, Ill remove my mascara with a smaller eye-makeup remover wipe, wash the rest of my face with a mild cleansing milk, then apply a moisturizer all over my face and neck. When Im in full-on Type-A mode, Ill remove my eye makeup, then use my beloved electronic cleansing brush, followed by a toner, then an eye cream, a retinol (only every other night), plus night cream.

Olessa Pindak, Health & Beauty Editor, Whole Living

First I remove my mascara and liner with a gentle eye makeup remover. Then I wash my face with a creamy cleanser and give myself a little facial massage, which helps me relax and does good things for my skin by stimulating circulation. Depending on the night, Ill sometimes put on a moisturizing or detoxifying mask while Im brushing my teeth. After I rinse that off, I put on eye cream and a lot of moisturizer so my skin is dewy. I always sleep with a soft, silk eye mask I like how it makes the room dark, even when Im traveling and cant control the light.

Sarah Smith, Senior Associate Beauty Editor, Martha Stewart Weddings

I switch it up every night, but lately I wash my face with a gentle cleansing oil to take off makeup and the days oils and dirt. Then, I sweep a glycolic acid pad all over my face and neck to smooth out the texture and take off that top layer so my treatment products (next up!) penetrate better. Then I go back and forth so my skin doesnt freak out: one night Ill apply a thin layer of old school cold cream, the next night Ill use a gentle retinol product to help smooth out fine lines.

Whats your bedtime skincare ritual?

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Join Us for a Fall Gardening Chat

As fall begins to unfold, dont let the colder weather catch you off guard. Its the perfect time to clear your garden, prune back perennials, and plant bulbs for spring. For expert advice about your fall outdoor refresh, join our Martha Stewart Living gardening editors on September 26thfrom 3 to 4 pm EST for a live Twitter chat. Were excited to share our foolproof fall planting tips and favorite gardening gear, but were even more excited to dig in and answer your questions.

By participating in the conversation, youll also have the chance to win one of ten Home Depot gift cards valued at $50 each. All you have to do is follow @MS_Living, ask a fall planting or gardening question, and include @MS_Living and mslfallplanting in your tweet. Or you can retweet our initial fall gardening tweet. To enter via Email:Send an email with your name, address, telephone number and age to this addressduring the Promotion Period.

See the full ruleshere.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September Book Club: NW

The back-to-school season has officially kicked off. The crisp air is getting us all excited to pull out our cozy sweaters and scarves, and more than ever, snuggle up with a warm cider and a good book. Were happy to announce the Living Blogs book of the month: Zadie Smiths NW.

Smiths latest novel was just released on September 4th. Having read and loved her prior novels, we are excited to jump right in!

From the Publisher:

Zadie Smiths new novel follows four Londoners Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their London is a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end.

Depicting the modern urban zone familiar to town-dwellers everywhere Zadie SmithsNWis a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.

Stay tuned throughout the month for teaser questions, party ideas, and our feedback. As always, let us know if youre reading along!

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The Sketchbook Project

Post-Labor Day, I begin to dread the short, cold days that force me indoors come winter. (Bad things can happen when Im faced with snow, an endless supply of hot chocolate, and my entire Netflix instant queue.) But after a recent visit with Chris Heuberger, head librarian at the Brooklyn Art Library, I sealed my winter project fate.

The art library is home toThe Sketchbook Project, a traveling exhibition of artists sketchbooks. Sign up online and youll receive a blank sketchbook in the mail. Fill it up using any subject, style, format, or media youd like. Return the sketchbook to the library via mail or in person, where it will be cataloged and taken on a tour of galleries and event spaces all over America. When the tour is over, the sketchbooks are permanently added to the Brooklyn Art Library collection. The best part? Anyone can participate.

The purpose of the project, in Chriss words:

The Sketchbook Project is a communal art project. We believe in creating a public space, both online and in person, where people can express themselves, get back to handmade, tell their story, think visually, and most importantly, connect with each other. It reminds us that art is made by real people.

Who could say no to that? Here are a few sketchbooks Chris pulled for me:

This sketchbook by Filmina and Star Lata came all the way from Spain.

Artist Amy Liebenberg incorporated embroidery into her work.

I love Jonpaul Smith's mix of patterns and discarded keys.

Adria Katz turned a sketchbook into a shadow puppet box.

You dont have to visit the art library in person to get inspired. More than 10,000 sketchbooks are digitized online.

Interested in participating? You have until January to create a sketchbook for the 2013 tour, so sign up and get inspired!

Photos by Katrina Zook

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Campfire Cook

Summer vacation may have ended, but the great outdoors still beckon. Todays post is a special dispatch from Amelia Crook, an Australia native (and former Martha Stewart staffer) currently road tripping through the West Coast. She shares her recipe for rustic, crusty campfire bread.

wrapping damper dough around the perfect roasting stick

Im in the volcanic Cascade Range in Oregon, and gant, gnarly pine trees circle a small clearing where weve set up camp for the night. A stream runs by, providing a surprisingly noisy backdrop to the task at hand: baking bread.

Im making damper, a simple bread that Australian bushmen made when they spent nights out under the stars. Its a fun and satisfying way to spend an afternoon in front of a fire, listening to the crackle of the flames and anticipating the warmth of fresh bread dripping with melted butter and jam.

mixing the dough

The key ingredients to this recipe cant be bought at the grocery store. They are: a hunger you can only get after spending the day outdoors; a campfire that youve coaxed into existence from a few bits of wood; and a slight chill in the air, inviting you to make something warm.

Stick selection is also important. Im imagining you are well-versed in what makes a good cooking stick from the wonderful American tradition of smores, but just in case, a straight, long and sturdy but not-too-thick branch is best. Use a sharp knife and channel your inner woodsman to whittle the last 8 inches of the stick to a clean point.

beautifully browned; just add butter and jam

This dough is very simple, and works just as well without the butter or sugar, but a little decadence goes a long way when camping. I found some locally ground whole wheat flour and picked up a jar of wild huckleberry jam from Kruse Farms in Roseburg that made this damper taste even sweeter.

dig in!

Australian Damper

Serves 4


  • 1 coffee mug of flour (who carries measuring cups when camping?)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbs chilled butter, cut into squares, plus extra for spreading on the bread when cooked
  • Handful of raisins
  • Water
  • Jam


  1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Rub butter into the flour mixture to form a crumb like texture. Add raisins and stir through. Add enough water (and more flour if necessary) to make a smooth dough.
  2. Divide dough into quarters. Take a piece and roll it in your hands to make a sausage shape. Twist the dough around the whittled end of a long stick. Hover the dough over hot coals, away from flame, until a golden brown crust forms. It is ready when you tap the bread and it sounds hollow.
  3. Remove the bread by holding it while you twist the stick out from the middle. Slide some butter and jam into the hole where the stick was and enjoy.

For more simple recipes, check out Amelias blog at

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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Gone Girl Book Club Wrap Party

Book Club finally caught up last week to discuss Augusts brain-twisting selection, Gone Girl. We found it tricky to save conversation for a big group discussion, as every new chapter had us on the edge of our seats. We met up at the end of the day on our office roof deck, brought a few snacks, and couldnt stop talking about Nick and Amys sociopathic journey.

Snacks, Prosecco, and a sunny afternoon! A perfect recipe for discussing "Gone Girl."

We found it a little bit difficult to bring the plot to life for our party because so much of the book is focused on a murder case! No one wants to sit in a police crime scene to chat with friends, so we focused on smaller story lines for our decorations. We turned a table into a dressed-up version of Nick and Gos The Bar, and brought Prosecco, wine, and crunchy bar snacks. Kristen and I wanted to set up an Amy-inspired treasure hunt to lead our fellow readers to our gathering, but that seemed a little excessive and a little grim, so we settled for a multiple-choice invitation:

Augusts book discussion will

See after the jump for a few of our favorite moments. Be careful, and click ONLY if youve read the book spoilers abound!

  • It was already difficult to trust Nick he was an extremely unreliable narrator, with his daydreams of killing his wife, and incomplete thoughts about his location and activities. When we found out he was cheating on Amy, it was a disappointing but expected turn. It was interesting, however, that after we found out about his mistress Andie, he became a little more likable.
  • Finding out Amy was alive had all of us buzzing: Have you gotten to the black page yet?!? Not every one liked that maneuver, but some of us thought that it was an interesting way to pit us, the reader, against both of them.
  • As Amys duplicitous plan completely unraveled, she missed opportunity after opportunity to even remotely redeem herself. It was fascinating to so completely mistrust and dislike a character but be totally wrapped up in her every move.
  • The ending left us a bit wanting; general consensus was that neither Nick nor Amy ever really get their just desserts. Personally, I loved the ending; it was a fantastic way to tie up the story and leave us with plenty to wonder about what was in store for their future.

What did you think? Let us know in comments below!

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Behind the Scenes: The Martha Stewart Living Test Kitchen

The delectable dishes that beckon from the pages of Martha Stewart Living month after month all get their start in our test kitchens, brought into being by the skilled hands and creative minds of our food editors. Heres a peek at their tools of the trade.

blenders, food processors, mixers, cutting boards, sheet pans, and racks!

A fleet of appliances, cutting boards, sheet pans, and cooling racks, ready for service.

a fleet of kitchenaid mixers

Most kitchens may not need three mixers, but were not most kitchens! (p.s. there are even more mixers in the pastry kitchen)

saute pans

Enough saute pans to fire on all burners!

cake pans by size

A cake pan in every size, for every possible occasion

muffin tins

Do you like your muffins mini, moderate, or monstrous? Weve got tins for every taste.

pyrex cupboard

The Pyrex cupboard: measuring cups, baking pans, pie plates, and plenty of prep bowls for exquisitely organized cooking.

editors fridge

Each editor has a shelf in the refrigerator that holds the components of the recipe shes working on at the moment.

common fridge

There are often leftovers, all of which go into the common refrigerator. Youll always find dairy products, herbs, and LOTS of condiments.

Want to see more behind-the-scenes photos? Join us on a tour of the pastry kitchen.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

A Luminescent Evening Stroll

Water Towers

Longwood Gardens, in the Brandywine region of Pennsylvania, is spectacular any day you visit, but for a really enlightening experience, be sure to go one evening before the end of September to witness the extraordinary large-scale light installation by British light artist Bruce Munro. His first garden installation in the United States is breathtaking picture a maze of 69 columns of light made up of 17,388 recyclable one-liter plastic bottles filled with water and fiber optic wires that change color to the tune of an accompanying soundtrack. Hes committed to sustainable practices, with many of his works using as little wattage as a lightbulb or a microwave oven.

Walking through the gardens at night provides a whole new experience, although a bit of an eerie one. (I have to admit, as a city girl I was slightly taken aback by the barely lit paths and the sounds of countless insects chirping in the void.) Long dark passageways are brightened by glowing orbs that resemble flowers, like in the Forest of Lights, where 20,000 stems shine in the night.

Forest of Lights

The conservatory was also transformed by Munros hand, with six majestic Snowball Chandeliers, each made of 127 uniform glass balls that change color in unison.

Snowball Chandeliers

The Light Shower, also in the conservatory, casts a delicate rain storm of 1,650 teardrop-shaped lights over the flooded Fern Floor.

Light Shower

The Field of Light, consisting of 7,000 frosted glass spheres, dazzles from a distance across the small lake.

Field of Light

Though not technically part of the Munro exhibit,the water lily poolsoutsidethe conservatory provided a glorious look at night-blooming water lilies, romantically lit to bring out their beauty.

The exhibit is up through September 29, 2012. Visit to purchase timed tickets; the garden is open till 11 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday during the show.

All photographs by Kathleen Kent

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The Audience Choice Award Top 20

Voting for the American Made Choice Award is heating up, but theres still time to cast your vote for the winner and be entered to win prizes from Avery, The UPS Store, and, of course, Martha Stewart.

Heres an update on the 20 American Makers who are currently in the lead (displayed in alphabetical order by company name):

Jahje Ives of Baby Jives Co.

Susan Roth of Bainbridge Farm Goods

Bryan Scott of Barn Light Electric

Erica Hager of Bison Booties

Andrew Fuller of Cirmes Tonosorial Parlour

Daniel Chaffin of Daniel Chaffin Furniture Makers

Tuli Fisher of Fisher Blacksmithing

Joshua Bingaman of Helm Boots

Lindsay Henry of Inklings Paperie

Jill Draper of Jill Draper Makes Stuff

Lauren Lilling of Keep it Sweet Desserts

Miley Barcus of Nashville Chocolate Kitchen

Norman Love of Norman Love Confections

Heather Jones of Olive & Ollie

Abigail Barnes of Paper & Cake

Jackie Starker of Pupcakes, Bits & Pieces

DeAnna Reposa of Simple Peace

Michelle OHolleran of Sophisticated Pup

Brian Howell of The Bee Man Candle Company

Erin Heflin of Whip it Good Cookies

Check out our top 20 and browse all 100 finalists on the American Made site.

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Whos Your Favorite American Maker?

With close to 2,000 nominations, it was tough work picking just 100 finalists for the American Made Audience Choice Award. Now the decision is in your hands! Visit the site to see which nominees were chosen by the editors ofMartha Stewart Living and vote foryour favorite.

We were blown away by the quality of the entries, and our finalists couldnt be more varied. They come from 33 different states and range in age from 24 to 65. For some, their business is a full-time passion, for others its a side gig that lets them explore their creativity.

You can come back each day and every time you vote youll be entered to win prizes from our sponsors.

Tweet @MS_Living with the hashtag AmericanMade to let us know your favorite Maker!

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Targets Retro-Chic New Collaboration

Were always on the lookout for home goods that make cooking adventures feel special. These fun under-$25 pieces, part of Targets new collaboration with The Curiosity Shoppe, would make great gifts for just-graduated college kids (or anyone setting up a new kitchen on a budget). Created by Lauren Smith and Derek Fagerstrom, The Curiosity Shoppe is a craft-centric store for creative people in San Francisco (and online!). The whole collection has a kitschy-cute Americana vibe, and launches in-stores and online on Sunday.

America Cutting Board, $25

Serving Platter, $25; Ceramic Bowl, $20

Set of 3 Kitchen Tea Towels, $10

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