Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tiny Food Party!

Photograph by Teri Lyn Fisher

L.A.-based food bloggers Jenny Park and Teri Lyn Fisher of Spoon Fork Baconare a perfect pairing. Jenny is a food stylist and recipe writer and Teri is a dreamy food photographer. They unite their powers for their blog, which features down-to-earth yet beautiful recipes with sophisticated flavor profiles all with minimal intimidation factor. Their first cookbook, Tiny Food Party! has that same vibe. Included are classics like mini tacos, handheld chicken Parmesan, and funnel cakes, plus unexpected treats such as pajeon, a Korean pancake dish, and bolinhos de bacalhau, a classic Brazilian snack. Read on for their tiny-food inspirations and a sneak peek at their recipe for miniature Pop Tarts. You can pick up the book for $10 on Amazon.

Is there any food that shouldnt be miniaturized?
We dont think so. The smaller the food the more you can eat.

What do you think is so appealing about tiny food?
Tiny things in general are just so cute. Smaller pieces of food always mean a larger variety, which means you can try a whole lot more. Its also always fun to eat with your hands.

What was the toughest part of miniaturizing normal-size food?
We had to get creative with some of the recipes. For instance, we used quail eggs instead of regular for our deviled eggs to make them extra tiny. It was also a challenge to make everything able to be eaten with your hands, and in one or two bites.

What are the keys to successful party food?
Picking recipes that will go well together and pairing them with fun cocktails and drinks. We also like to serve food that isnt messy no one likes a sauce drip on her blouse.

How do you plan a menu to suit multiple tastes?
We recommend adding a vegetarian option, and if you know you will have people over that are vegan or gluten-free, you can always make the recipe to suit them. There are so many great gluten-free recipes out there, and people would be surprised how easy it is to convert recipes to accommodate special diets.

If you could invite five famous foodies to a tiny food party, who would they be?
We would love to throw a few back with Anthony Bourdain and get sarcastic with him. Another dream is to stuff our faces with Guy Fieri and try on his sunglasses. We would love to sit and talk Oaxacan food with Rick Bayless. Also, we want to eat sugar with Christina Tosi, and sit on Roy Chois lap.

Click Here to Get the Recipe for These Cute Mini Pop Tarts

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A Passion for Pumpkins

Childhood pals Chris Soria and Marc Evan dont sleep much in October. Leading up to Halloween, the masterminds behind NYCs Maniac Pumpkins drop their day jobs as a muralist and an illustrator, respectively, to fill around 500 orders for their amazing jack-o-lanterns. They use pumpkins as blank canvases for intricate portraits, fantastical monsters, and tongue-in-cheek replicas of famous art.

How did your business get started?

Chris: For several years we had been carving pumpkins just for fun for Halloween parties or for bars we were working at.

Marc: Then we started getting requests in 2009, the New York Yankees asked us to carve 50 pumpkins in 36 hours for Game 1 of the World Series. Thats when we realized we had to take the next step.

Whats your strangest creation so far?

Chris: Last year we made a life-size alligator from several different pumpkins and then moved it to various public places around Brooklyn.

How do you choose a pumpkin to carve?

Marc: You want it to be plump, not sunken or withering. And look for a green stem; its a sign of a younger pumpkin.

What tools do you use?

Chris: We primarily use linoleum cutters for etching and pear-shaped clay loops for skinning the pumpkin, leaving the remaining pulp to sculpt into. We also use knives paring, utility, craft for details.

Whats the key to a pumpkins longevity?

Chris: It is a fruit, of course, and once you start carving, its susceptible to rot. Wrapping it in plastic and putting it in the fridge when its not on display will make it last longer. You should also take a good photo of it, because its not going to be there forever.

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

10 Ways to Use Pumpkin Seeds

Nothing feels more autumn-y than carving pumpkins on a crisp October weekend. Even scooping the slippery goop is worth the effort, as long as you know what do with the bowls of fresh seeds. Now that weve learned the commonly used Spanish name for these little guys pepitas we refuse to call them anything else. Here are a few of the best solutions weve found for pepita overload

Pumpkin Seed Brittle (MarthaStewart.com)

3 Toasted Pumpkin Seed Recipes (101cookbooks.com)

Pumpkin Seed Trail Mix (MarthaStewart.com)

Spiced Pepitas (umamigirl.com)

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup (smittenkitchen.com)

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds (MarthaStewart.com)

Coconut Pineapple Pumpkin Seed Smoothie (nytimes.com)

Grilled Chicken with Pumpkin Seed Sauce (MarthaStewart.com)

Toasted Pumpkin Seed Lace Cookies (yumuniverse.com)

Pumpkin Seed Pesto (flourishingfoodie.com)

Flourishing Foodie's Pumpkin Seed Pesto

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Links We Love This Week

As the Living editors gear up for Halloween (and Franken-storm), here are the links were sharing around the office.

DIY Bat Curtains: Halloween decorations that you can reuse next year? Were all for that.This simple bat-patterned curtain via Design Sponge is a cute backdrop for a party.

Halloween Cards: How sweet are these hand-drawn designs from Wit & Whistle?

Leather Keychains: These DIY animal keychains via Between the Lines would be easy to make and fun to give.

Profile on Anna Bond: Were longtime fans of Rifle Paper Co.s Anna Bond, so we were pleased to see a profile on her and a behind the scenes look at her workspace over on Sous Style.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cute Costume Kits for Kids

Theres barely enough time to shop for Halloween costume supplies, much less piece them together to make something wearable. If youre feeling panicked about this year, weve found a shortcut.

Kiwi Crates costume kit is an adorable package filled with supplies and instructions for a DIY costume you and your child can craft together. Little ones will love the supplies in both the Superhero and Flying Fairy crates glittery tape, foam shapes, metallic markers, and sparkly ribbon.

Every kit has the same supplies, but its up to you to create the look of the finished product. (Wed add a few basic craft materials glitter, felt, beads, sequins to the mix to make it our own).

Quick and easy, its a nice happy medium between storebought Green Ninja costumes (which we predict will be everywhere this year!) and starting from scratch.

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Party Tricks from Bash, Please

Paige Appel and Kelly Harris are the endlessly creative duo behind the Culver City, California-based Bash, Please, a full-service event production and design house. Beyond being the people to see about stunning locations and gorgeous floral arrangements, they are also ambassadors of fun an element thats evident in the one-of-a-kind weddings, birthday parties, and bridal showers they style.

Their collaboration began over coffee when Paige, a social and corporate event planner, and Kelly, a designer of floral and succulent arrangements, met and decided it would be way more fun to unite their powers. Together they eschew the expected (no garter toss or chain-hotel ballroom weddings here), seek inspiration from artists, and truly enjoy what they do.

We asked Paige and Kelly to share five sure-fire tricks for throwing an out-of-the-ordinary, truly memorable party.

1. Set an intention.
Find a specific narrative or something that makes people feel like there is a direction behind the party. Weve taken famous couples from history, like Johnny Cash and June Carter. For a John and Yoko party, the inspiration and ideas stemmed from their songs and story as a couple, like the hammers and nails we used for decoration. Once youve figured out the big idea, keep that in mind throughout the planning process because it will help you feel less scatterbrained as a host.

John and Yoko party

2. Give guests a little direction.
The invitation gets people excited and offers a nod to your intention. Plus, guests always ask what they should wear, so providing a dress code makes them feel more comfortable. You can say on the invitation that everyone should wear some form of black and white, dress like they want to impress, or that they should bring sunglasses, flip flops, and a Hawaiian shirt.

We used to host movie club, where everyone would bring potluck and watch a movie together. You can take the theme further: watch Annie and have everyone dress as if theyre from the Great Depression. It can be as elaborate or minimal as you make it, but give people a little direction as to what youre doing.

Movie party

3. Get creative when sourcing decorations.
Were not the kind to go to one place to find something. If youre planning a party, its always better to go to the right sources a contemporary home decor store, flea market, or antiques shop that fits within your cohesive theme. For a granny-chic party, we went to peoples homes and scoured for Amish textiles and Quaker throw blankets, and we also had a lady crochet a bunch of boutonnieres for guests to wear.

Granny-chic party

4. Dont force favors.
Favors should be part of the partys story or a cohesive element of the theme. Dont force it, unless it adds to the intention. It could be something that people consume, use, or have fun with at the party. If youre having an 80s party, maybe youd give the women an 80s kit with legwarmers, blue eye shadow, and sparkle lip gloss, and the guys could get a koozie and some weird sunglasses. That way everyone can jump right in with some element of the 80s and be part of it.

Sunglasses for a desert wedding

Give a memento that can be a useful, nice reminder after the fact, like wine keys for a wine party, or seed packets of heirloom tomatoes and carrots for a gardening party.

Garden Party Seed Packets

5. Walk the party yourself.
Envision the party as a guest. How are guests parking, and what will they see upon arrival? When they walk in the door, are they greeted with a specialty cocktail that gives nod to the narrative? Is there an interactive conversation starter or music playing from a certain decade or era?

Make sure youre covering every sense. Events are sensory and theres an element of the subconscious that you experience in all those tiny little details, so thinking about that while planning is key to pulling off a successful event.

Photo of Kelly and Paige by Max Wanger
John and Yoko Party by Bonnie Tsang
Movie Night by Brendan Kidd
Granny Chic Wedding by Featherlove Photography
Sunglasses for a Desert Wedding by Max Wanger
Garden Party Seed Packets by CharleyStar Photography

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jodi Levines Favorite DIY Halloween Costumes

Crafts editor Jodi Levine is no stranger to the DIY Halloween scene. A craft department veteran here at MSLO, Jodi has developed dozens of DIY costumes that cover every skill level and budget. Here are a few of Jodis favorites, which she shared on the Living Backstory radio show.

Masks and Headpieces
For a simple touch of spooky, try the Bat Headband above. If youre looking for something a little more complicated, Jodi also recommends theBirds Nest and the Leaf Mask.

No-Sew Costumes
No need for a sewing machine or even sewing skills, for that matter to create an impressive costume. The Spider Web Mom and Spider Baby costumes above use safety pins, wire, and hot glue. Other no-sew options are Umbrella Bat Wings, Bubble-Wrap Jellyfish, and Leaf Swamp Couple.

Hair-Based Costumes
If youre looking for a last-minute costume, hair-based costumes are the perfect option. Try theMedusa Hair above, or for something a little more involved, try Madam Butterfly.

Supermarket Costumes
If you want to DIY a spectacular costume but dont want to spend a lot of money, these costumes are a great option. Costumes like the Knight and Baby Dragon are crafted using everyday items you can find at the store, like sponges and pie tins. Our Coffee Filter Princess, Garbage Bag Witch and Doily Princesses are equally budget-friendly. You may already have most of these supplies at home.

(For more best-of and behind-the-scenes conversations with our editors, tune in to the Living Backstory today and every Tuesday at5 p.m. EST/2 p.m. PST on SiriusXM 110.)

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Up-to-the-Minute Dispatches from the American Made Workshop

Martha with Calvin Klein on the "blue carpet"

After an amazing gala last night, the American Made Workshop at Grand Central Terminal is bustling today. We started with a morning yoga class, created neon necklaces with our crafts editors, and gleaned pearls of wisdom from fashion heavyweights such as Tory Burch, Calvin Klein, and legendary J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler.

To join the fun, follow our live coverage onTumblr! Well be posting dispatches and behind-the-scenes peeks throughout the event.

Early morning yoga to start the day

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The Furry Stars of Instagram

We love seeing how you use our products in your everyday life, and we love looking at pictures of cute animals. Which is why were thrilled to present six four-legged Instagram pups mugging for treats, decked out in their Martha Stewart finest.

(Does your pup want to show off his Martha Stewart swag? Dont forget follow us on Instagram @ms_living and tag your photos with marthastewartpets.)

1. We cant get over the cuteness of Willow bundled in her favorite blanket and sweater, taking part in what her owner, @amryan, calls her favorite activity: sleep.

2. @alitysoskis pooch, Ivy, doesnt usually oblige when her mom wants to snap a picture, but as soon as she was outfitted with her sweater and collar she couldnt help but strike a pose.

3. How fashion-forward is this pup named Wonton? His owner, @rudyyads, says hes loving the new addition to his fall wardrobe.

4. Sometimes you just want to lounge around the house in your favorite sweatshirt. @toniasims pup, Chloe, is working her camo hoodie for fall.

5. Meet Tyce, @ashleyjeanetteds 5-month-old dachshund. Tyce enjoys savory treats and long walks in autumn and his Martha Stewart Pets jacket, of course!

6. Dexter is a French bulldog with many social occasions on his calendar this Halloween. Here, his owner, @chelseakram, gets him prepped for his debut with a costume fitting.

Get your own Martha Stewart Pets gear here.

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Saturday, October 20, 2012

A DIY Super Hero Mask Party

Our guest blogger today is Susan Peterson, the force behind craft blog (and online leather goods shop)Freshly Picked. Susan lives in Utah with her husband and two small kids.

Super hero masks are an easy way to make any T-shirt and jean combo into a super hero outfit. Leather masks are great because theyll last long past Halloween and are fun and easy to make. Plus, your kids can help!

I recently created this project as a birthday party favor for my friend Metas super hero party.

For this project, youll need tooling leather. You can buy a bag of tooling leather from your local craft or leather store for about $15. One bag of tooling leather will make about 20 masks.

Tooling leather is moldable when wet and will dry into whatever shape youve molded it into.

Youll also need to download the super hero mask pattern.

Start with a piece of tooling leather. Wet the top side with a spray bottle. Print out the maskpattern and place it on the wet leather. Use something pointy to trace the outline. This will transfer the mask shape to the leather.

Cut the leather and then shape. For this mask, I useda face piecefrom the craft store. You could also use your own face to get the shape. Let the mask air dry until it is thoroughly dry. Ours dried for a couple of hours, but you might want it to dry overnight.

We painted each mask white as a base and then let the kids embellish to their hearts content. It was so fun to see each childs personality come out in the masks.

Photos by Ashley Thalman

Cutesy Crafts: Superhero Party Masks Evan and Audrey's birthdays are coming up, and since they are only a week apart, we just have combined parties for now. This year's chosen theme is ... DIY Tutorial Superhero Mask After posting earlier this week about a Super Hero Party, I decided to include a DIY tutorial showing how to make an easy, inexpensive superhero mask. I was able to ... East Coast Mommy: DIY Super Hero Party 11 year old birthday... hmmmm! Boys are more my specialty, but I did grow up in a house with two sisters. :-) What about a Royal Wedding Tea Party? Super Hero Birthday Party & Free Printables Living Locurto ... Fun ideas for a super hero birthday party. Free printable party invitation, masks and capes. Great DIY craft ideas. LivingLocurto.com Homemade Super Hero Masks eHow.com Dress your child as a favorite superhero for a costume party or Halloween trick-or-treating. Most superhero costumes consist of leotards or tights and a utility belt ... Our Vintage Pop Art Inspired Super Hero Party Super P Turns ... My little Super P Turns 3. Vintage Pop Art Inspired Super Hero Birthday Party As Seen on Hostess with the Mostess! Here is the background on how this theme and ... Party - Super Hero Birthday Party - Pinterest / Home Girls are Super Heroes too! Superhero mask tutorial - easy masks made out of craft foam sheets (no sewing required.) 4 repins Host a DIY Superhero-Themed Kids Party - Rachael Ray Show Grettas superhero-themed party for her sons 1st birthday party is affordable and easy to pull off using these stencils and ideas for masks and decorations from ... Superhero Photo Booth Props- printable diy birthday party ... Personalized Superhero Photo booth props Printable DIY (Do It Yourself) designed by The Party Project: These vintage Superhero comic book styl... Printable Super Hero Mask Tutorial/Template/Pattern Vanilla Joy Pin It Part 2 of the Too Late for Christmas tutorial series is superhero masks! These were so easy I made two in every color and I used this

Friday, October 19, 2012

Talking Trends with Blogging Royalty

After two days of inspiration, creation, and innovation, theres only one logical question to sum up the American Made workshop: Whats next?

That was the topic tackled by a team of five of the top names in the blogging world in the last panel of our event. Editor-in-Chief ofMartha Stewart Living Pilar Guzman hosted the roundtable discussion of whats on the horizon for food, design, and lifestyle bloggers. Heres what they had to say:

For food trends, Im seeing a lot more natural styling. When food is heavily styled, it may make a magazine look good and pretty, but it doesnt make people want to cook. -Deb Perelman ofSmitten Kitchen

Im seeing a return to color in decor. Strong colors like bright pink or fuschia. I think people were depressed and scared a few years ago, and when youre scared, you dont take risks. Color is a risk. But now these are risks people are willing to take. -Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan ofApartment Therapy

I look a lot at the actual design of blogs, and Im seeing a lot more joy, more sparkle in blog design. Its a more definitive step in the blog itself. -Stacy Morrison ofBlogHer

People putting type on their photos! Its the thing, and its doing really well on Pinterest. -Gabrielle Blair ofDesign Mom

DIY is now its own vertical. And Im excited to see that the people, the innovators, are not a specific demographic its a psychographic. These are all people who want to make their life more beautiful and fun. More people are creating their own worlds. -Erica Domesek ofP.S. I Made This

What recent blog trends have you spotted lately?

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Decoupage with Heather Ross

Most crafters will admit to elbowing someone out of the way at the fabric store to score the last yard of Heather Ross fabric. Guilty? Then you know why sewers and printmakers alike are going crazy for Heathers new book, Heather Ross Prints.

Heather Ross Prints puts a stop to those late-night Etsy searches for sold-out Heather Ross yardage, giving us the power to print Heathers designs onto any surface, including stationery, wallpaper, and in the case of the step stool below furniture.

To celebrate Heather Ross Prints, Heather is kindly giving Living blog readers the decoupaged stool project and matching clip art from the book. (Though a step stool doesnt have to be the subject you can apply the same easy technique to nearly any hard surface.)

Download the how-to, and tell us what youre planning to decoupage. Ive already started a list of things in my apartment that are in need of a decoupaged unicorn and VW bus.

Download the Decoupage Stool How-To

Download the Playing Horses Clip Art

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dont Miss Marthas New Show

Sharpen your culinary skills this weekend with Marthas new PBS show, Martha Stewarts Cooking School. With each episode, shell break essential techniques down to basics giving home cooks the building blocks to master any recipe and improvise in the kitchen (the holy grail of cooking, if you ask us). Tune in starting this weekend for weekly episodes dedicated to everything from the proper egg-poaching technique to homemade sauces to roasting veggies (without the guesswork) to preparing the perfect chicken. Class is in session!

Find local showtimes here.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Home Design Inspiration (and a Bookish Giveaway)

Clear off the coffee table, because three noteworthy design books have just hit the shelves. Two were born from beloved blogs and one from the HGTV and 9 by Design duo and all three are full of accessible, inspiring home ideas.

Design*Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney (Artisan Books)
Gorgeous photos, informative captions, inspiring crafts, and DIY tricks flipping through the dreamy pages of Design*Sponge at Home is reminiscent of spending an hour or two on Pinterest. (Im not the only one who does that, right?) And trust me, youll wish you could pin just about everything you see.

Favorite feature: The DIY Basics sections lists of all the tools you should have in your home and easy-to-follow instructions for the how do I do that again? projects that come up anytime you tackle a room redesign.

Home by Novogratz by Rovert & Courtney Novogratz (Artisan Books)
Before-and-after lovers, this is the book for you. Walk through 20 home renovations complete with step-by-step details on the process and what it took to get to the end result. As if the Novogratzs expertise wasnt enough, its peppered with extra tips from pros on everything from hanging art to color selection.

Favorite feature: A budget analysis at the end of each overhaul so you know exactly how much dough went where.

Young House Love by Sherry & John Petersik (Artisan Books)

The Petersiks are breaking out of the blogosphere with their first book. (And yes, theyre bringing Burger, too.) With 243 tips and tricks for crafting, updating, and renovating your home (all written the signature Petersik pep youve come to expect from their blog), their book will have you itching to break out your ORB spray paint.

Favorite feature: Handy project breakdowns that let you know just how much time, effort, and money youll need to invest before you begin each project.

If you just cant wait to get your hands on these books, youre in luck! Were giving away one copy each of Home by Novogratz and Design*Sponge at Home. To enter, leave a comment on this post. Good luck!

See the official rules. Giveaway closes on October 10, 2012.

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