Martha, Where Art Thou?

September 25, 2009

It’s funny to live in a country where you cannot find Martha Stewart anywhere. It’s like, kind of weird, surreal, strange… no problematic but just odd because she is everywhere in the states. I don’t see her publications on newsstands (only one that I know of in the train station carries random issues of Weddings, but they haven’t had one since I arrived so perhaps they’ve discontinued selling it), I don’t see her products in stores, nothing. The average housewife/mother/other here, I’m guessing, doesn’t even know who she is. Jamie Oliver, Donna Hay, and Nigella Lawson are known and esteemed but try to find a Martha book and you’re up a creek without a mint green paddle. It really floors me. I guess I just assumed she was big over here.

Martha, Where Art Thou?

Why isn’t Martha in Germany? Is she in France? The UK? Martha Martha, where art thou Martha? I don’t get it, truly. I think Germans would love her. She is everything they admire — she’s a perfectionist, she’s organized, and she’s an exceptional cook and homemaker. Europe would love her (I’m assuming she’s not a household name in the surrounding countries as well after a quick google search), right? And in a country where modern crafting is starting to really take shape, she could dominate the market here. Germany needs you, Martha Stewart. Or do they? It’s a lot to think about. And for selfish reasons, I need to see your face a little more because seeing you on the internet just doesn’t cut it. It’s not the same as holding your products in my hand or watching your show where you invite rappers to dish and comedians to dine. In fact, I don’t see a “celeb” culture here when it comes to crafting and decorating… Hmmm.

(images: martha stewart)


  • Reply laura trevey September 25, 2009 at 8:55 am

    the beautiful flowers shaped in a heart are so sweet!!!
    .-= laura trevey´s last blog ..Be Kind, Original Watercolor Painting, 5 by 7, Colorful Home Decor =-.

  • Reply Erin September 25, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Holly, I think this is your golden opportunity to become the Martha Stewart of Europe!

    • Reply decor8 September 25, 2009 at 9:25 am

      Erin – You’re too kind!!!

  • Reply amyoliver September 25, 2009 at 9:08 am

    No Martha here in the UK either… I have no idea why she hasn’t come over. Perhaps the cost of bringing her programme across to a UK television station was prohibative? Shame, because every time I go to my parents house in Canada I watch Martha in a steady stream (much to the annoyance of my husband) and I love her products….

  • Reply Shimelle September 25, 2009 at 9:08 am

    In the UK, she’s here and she’s not here! If you’re near enough to a Border’s Books, they stock all the MSLO titles (along with other things in that genre and lots of American imports in general) and those who take a real interest in craft or decor know who she is…but she isn’t on television here, and if you mention her name in casual conversation, most people seem to only know her for her legal troubles!

    Her craft lines have recently been picked up by a UK distributor, but to my knowledge there is no UK equivalent of the lines she has done for department stores in the States.
    .-= Shimelle´s last blog ..New digital releases [3] =-.

  • Reply georgina September 25, 2009 at 9:49 am

    well… I’ve discovered Martha’s world 3 years ago when I started my blog. If I want some of her products I have to buy them online (the same for the magazines). Most of the things I want and love I cant find them in my country.
    I like to visit her site and love her products….. but I’ll tell you something: “we can live without Martha”.
    And I’m agree with Erin!!! Holly, I’m sure you could be better than Martha!!!!
    .-= georgina´s last blog ..reciclando =-.

  • Reply Jessie September 25, 2009 at 10:16 am

    yes Shimelle, i’d have to agree.. most people in the UK know her for her tax issues!? but i think she’s great, i wish we had more of her over here, i have all her craft border punches! oh and she’s sometimes shown on ‘wedding tv’.. not that i watch wedding tv?! :) i just wish i lived remotely near a borders book shop to get some of her mags!
    .-= Jessie´s last blog ..DaWanda Featured Seller: Carolmaro =-.

  • Reply Katherine September 25, 2009 at 10:21 am

    I’d echo what Shimelle says, you can generally get most of her magazines in Borders. I’ve bought them in a couple of independent newsagents in Edinburgh but we have quite a lot of Americans living here. I had heard of her before getting into reading craft blogs and before the legal stuff but I can’t for the life of me remember where.
    .-= Katherine´s last blog ..We spend our lives eating cupcakes =-.

  • Reply Malgos September 25, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Just around the corner, in Poland, we get Martha’s Living.. 4 times a year ( Easter, summer, Christmas issue, etc.) It’s a pity there are only four seasons of the year;)

  • Reply Wendy September 25, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Yey, she’s not in the Netherlands either. I wreckon she’s just not cool enough but rather too housewifey…

  • Reply Ashleigh September 25, 2009 at 10:39 am

    I have to ask what you mean when you use the term “house wife”? As I would consider that improper dated language….almost offensive.

    • Reply decor8 September 25, 2009 at 11:23 am

      Ashleigh – I feel just the opposite, I think the role of a housewife/mother/homemaker/care provider, etc. is a wonderful honor. Whether you live alone, have kids, have a wife yourself, or a husband, the ability to provide for your family, take care of your home, these things are all great honors and I personally understand that some may view them as old-fashioned, but I certainly think of the modern day Oprahs and Marthas to be the most powerful, amazing people alive. Some feminists argue against this, but my view is not that being a homemaker is beneath a woman, but that it actually a prestigious role. Of course, it’s not the only role. Plus, in my home my husband does lots of work around the house but I still do a majority of it — not because he makes me or expects it — but because I actually really, really love my nest.

  • Reply Marquita September 25, 2009 at 10:40 am

    “Martha what?”, people ask me aroun here (Portugal). Martha Stweart is known among a limited number of people – crafters mostly – but most of the rest have never heard of who she is.
    Buying her products locally is worse then “Mission Impossible” and finding her magazines is something for an “Indiana Jones”.

  • Reply Laura Gaskill September 25, 2009 at 10:48 am

    I don’t know about Martha in Europe (or not being in Europe, as the case may be) but – you just made me snort with laughter remembering the time Martha had Snoop Dogg on her show :D
    .-= Laura Gaskill´s last blog ..The Enormous Tiny Art Show {& for sale online!} =-.

    • Reply decor8 September 25, 2009 at 11:08 am

      Laura – OMG I recall that one, it was what I was thinking as I wrote this. Wasn’t that a trip? I really loved it.

  • Reply lisa h. September 25, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Oh no, Holly!!! Could this be the first pangs of homesickness? :O

    Martha is a very powerful force indeed!

    (can her show be viewed online?)
    .-= lisa h.´s last blog ..Blue, Red and White =-.

    • Reply decor8 September 25, 2009 at 11:07 am

      Lisa – Oh no worries, not after 7 weeks — it’s really just an observation I had the other day… Martha is no where to be found and I had this “twilight zone” theme playing in my head as I strolled the large bookseller here yesterday and could not find ONE book by her. :) It was absolutely the strangest thing ever.

  • Reply Alla September 25, 2009 at 10:59 am

    you`re absolutely right about there being no “celeb” culture in Germany when it comes to crafting and decorating!!!
    I came across Martha while living in the US for a while and I`d love to have more of a celebration of crafting and decorating here! I agree with the others: perhaps you could style up the German scene…

  • Reply Elisabeth September 25, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I send the issues of Martha to my sister in law in Switzerland. I know her circle of friends covet them when they arrive!

  • Reply Polly September 25, 2009 at 11:09 am

    She’s not here in the UK. I had only ever heard of her through blogging when I started in February. I have never heard of her outside your blog really! I wish you could get some of her stuff over here. I really want some of those paper punches you showed about a month ago! So gorgeous!
    .-= Polly´s last blog ..2010 Calender =-.

  • Reply marie September 25, 2009 at 11:31 am

    She’s not in France either. I discovered her through American blogs. You can find her magazines only in international newspapers and magazines shops.

  • Reply Ashling September 25, 2009 at 11:37 am

    In Ireland the majority of people wouldn’t know who Martha Stewart is at all. We have no well known craft celebrity type person at all. I visit Martha’s website, but to be honest I must prefer following blogs. I recently posed on my blog looking for some ideas. I seem to be the only one of my friends who are into crafts and I have suggested to a few that I would like to make some crafts and bring them to a local country market but they almost think I’ve lost my marbles. But I really crafts and I don’t pass any remarks on them.

    All things nice…

    .-= Ashling´s last blog ..DIY, crafts, sewing, knitting, cross stitching… =-.

  • Reply Katy September 25, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Firstly, there’s only the UK and Ireland in Europe that speak English – so Martha’s TV programme and magazines might not be understood in 48 out of the 50 European countries. As a UK-based stylist, I have to say that Martha is known over here, but not very popular – she’s a bit of joke to us really! I guess it might be to do with the whole fraud thing…and also her weird obsession with dressing dogs up etc, which is just seen as very American and in quite bad taste! I don’t mean to offend people who love her – I love a lot of her (staff’s!) crafting ideas, although sometimes I get the magazine and it’s full of cliches such as pumpkin pie, Independence Day bunting, using leaves to print on napkins – all seems a bit American and cheesy to us. I think she’s also quite a sinister figure – more Stepford wife than domestic goddess – we Brits prefer someone a bit more authentic. She’s such a business woman…I guess the Brits just see her as a bit of a phoney! I think you should be embracing German culture rather than mooning around searching for American things. I don’t know why Americans think that everything American is BETTER than anything or anyone elsewhere. Martha is nothing more than a BRAND, and we just don’t buy into that sickening, self-promoting kind of stuff in the UK!! I guess we see through it.

    • Reply decor8 September 25, 2009 at 11:50 am

      Katy – This is so good and interesting to learn. And no worries, I’m not moaning at all — I’m very happy here but thanks for the advice just the same!

  • Reply Anna September 25, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Holly, I do enjoy your blog, but do you think that a couple of months living in Germany qualifies you to judge what the whole of Europe would ‘love’?! Although I can’t speak for every nation, here in the quaint depths of ‘Europe’, I consider her no more than a fraudulent, sickeningly twee, self-promoting fake with nothing to say that any normal person could draw anything from. Tying acorns to napkins? Please! I for one have better things to do.

    • Reply decor8 September 25, 2009 at 12:02 pm

      Anna – I write from my unique perspective and yes, I think lots of people here would really enjoy seeing some of her things, just like in America we love all that is European. I see Europeans as being extremely opening and welcoming people who enjoy learning about other cultures. The people that I’ve met in my limited time here appear to be fascinated with things from the states in addition to other countries outside of Europe as well. So yes, while not everyone would love her, I think a lot of people would take an interest to her overall aesthetic. Not because she is American, because it’s a different presentation and sometimes different can be alluring.

  • Reply isabel September 25, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Marta Stewart is not in Portugal either!

  • Reply Anna September 25, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    The whole point of Martha is that she’s not different! She represents the unchanging American ideal house wife.

    • Reply decor8 September 25, 2009 at 12:06 pm

      Anna – you keep commenting under different names on the same post. I don’t mind, but you certainly don’t need to do that — I would like to know who you are since you mentioned you are a stylist in the UK. No more hiding! :)

  • Reply Anna September 25, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    I am using pen names deliberately actually as I would rather not reveal my identity…I know that criticising the holy Martha on a big American blog won’t be popular! I will say that I am based in Scotland, and although you can buy Martha mags in big book shops here, in cities like Edinburgh anyway, she has never really caught on. I guess although somebody like Jamie Oliver is a ‘brand’ too, he is much more human and accessible than Martha. It’s an interesting subject, but I think putting all 50 European countries in one big bracket is a mistake in itself – they’re not states like in the USA – every country is different and the language issue is massively important to consider too.

    • Reply decor8 September 25, 2009 at 1:09 pm

      Anna thanks and have a lovely weekend!

  • Reply Anette September 25, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Martha isn’t on TV in Norway either. But they recently started to sell MS Living at the magazine stores here.

    About what Katy says about language. Not a lot of european contries dub tv shows. France, Germany and Spain do, but Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries and many others don’t. We show a whole lot of other american shows, so why not Martha? I mean, we get Rachel Ray (EVERYDAY)! My guess, it’s a money issue… Cooking shows like Ray’s, talk shows like Ellen and Oprah and so on appeal to a larger audience and the tv stations get more for their buck my airing those shows. When I come to think of it, I’m kind of happy Martha isn’t on here. It would be torture to se her cook and make stuff when I can’t get hold of half of the ingredients or supplies. :)

    Tv is one thing though. It’s strange that the magazines are carried in Germany! You will probably find some craft supplies though. Try Scrapbooking stores. Martha Stewart Crafts is carried in many stores in Norway by now. Good Luck!

  • Reply leslie September 25, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Holly -you are brave to open up this can of worms and I love that about you! Through the years I have always found the Martha critiques fascinating… especially the passion behind them…
    .-= leslie´s last blog ..Color Me Pretty =-.

  • Reply Petra- Designfragment September 25, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    In Sweden we get Martha Steward Living ( the magazine) and her show airs on TV but none of her products as far as I know. Such a shame!
    .-= Petra- Designfragment´s last blog ..Designfragment rekommenderar! =-.

  • Reply Emp. September 25, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    As one of Martha’s employees, I must politely disagree with Katy’s comment about Martha being nothing more than a “brand.” In my experience, Martha is extremely accessible, friendly, and down-to-earth. I have been treated far better here at her company than I have at any of my previous jobs, and much of it is due to her own personal efforts to make sure her employees are happy. Just wanted to throw in my own two cents in defense of Martha! :)

  • Reply pinkpeonygirl September 25, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Hi Holly, here in Belgium we actually do have Martha’s show on TV, not dubbed, we don’t do that here (thank goodness), as well as Oprah and Dr Phil. She has been on air here for a couple of seasons so I’m sure there is an audience for her here. I am not a fan of her personal style and presenting skills, but I love her craft projects. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any of her products in the local shops, however I feel they are a little overpriced anyway.

    • Reply decor8 September 25, 2009 at 4:17 pm

      Interesting to know about the languages and such. I watch about 30 minutes of TV max a week, and sometimes none since I moved here and I’m happier for it to be honest — I think I watched too much television in the states because the fun never ended. Always a new series, a new reality show… I’m happy to have a bit of a break!

      I know here, all movies are dubbed in German as are American and British TV shows. It’s hard to watch them when I know the “real” voices!

  • Reply Corrien September 25, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Holly, we don’t need Martha, we’ve got you!
    I’m so inspired by your blog, thank you!

    Have a great weekend

  • Reply Cris September 25, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    it’s very hard to find her magazines here in Spain. I’ve bought some from ebay.com and love them, they are a treat.
    Many people would love her magazines and show over here, but the language barrier is a problem I guess.

  • Reply Canarybird (Sharon) September 25, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I’ve not seen any Martha magazines or TV programs here in Spain either. Not all Spanish women understand English nor do they go much further than just looking at the Spanish decorating magazines, without buying expensive home decorating products.

    With the exception of the wealthy, the average Spanish family lives in a rather small apartment unlike the large spacious homes and gardens we are accustomed to in North America. And their decorating consists of what they can sew up themselves or buy in discount warehouses.

    There is still not such a large middle class here as in North America, and many people are still struggling to cover the basic necessities. Regards from Tenerife. Sharon.
    .-= Canarybird (Sharon)´s last blog ..61 ~ Bibi & The Dove =-.

  • Reply Allison September 25, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Katy, Anna, or whoever you might be… I don’t think that Holly was assuming that she knows what is good for Europe, Germany, etc., but was merely sharing about someone who inspires her, and obviously Holly inspires quite a large number of readers, including yourself. I think it would be safe to say that she might have a pretty good impression of what would appeal to many in Germany since she has a large following of German readers who give her feedback and she has lived in Germany more than just a few months… or perhaps you have only recently started to follow her blog. Again, you may not have taken notice to have heard her swooning and wowing over inspirations from her new culture.

    Perhaps a simple “I don’t really care for Martha” would have been sufficient rather than your indignant attitude, which seems to be the exact same attitude as “BETTER than anything or anyone elsewhere” that you believe and just accused all Americans of possessing.

    Martha did really taint her reputation a few years back, but aren’t there tons of celebrities that the public seems to be able to get past their past wrongs and focus on what they actually talented at doing? You can have all the talent in the world and without the business savvy, you would remain just a “domestic goddess” as you put it. Of course it is all about branding… don’t you attempt to create a “brand” with your stylist business? As for the pumpkin pie and Independence bunting that you find so disgustingly cheesy, don’t you think that one should take into consideration the main target audience of your marketing efforts? I imagine that most of Martha’s readers prepare something for an Independence Day cookout and did actually bake a pumpkin pie last year… it’s quite yummy and perhaps you should try it, it could sweeten up your hostile disposition a bit.
    .-= Allison´s last blog ..Amy Does it Again! =-.

  • Reply Larissa September 25, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Anette, Martha Stewart used to be on ‘FEM’ every day of the week here in Norway! I come from Australia and we never had Martha and I only ‘discovered’ her when i moved to Norway and was unemployed while I learnt the language and watched way too much tv. But I watched Martha everyday at 5 all last year and the first months of this year as well – love it! I must say I haven’t see much tv for the last 5 months or so so I am not sure if she is still on, but she definately was, but no one speaks about her here and you certainly can’t buy her products. She just isn’t that hip here… don’t know why!

  • Reply Larissa September 25, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Anette, I just saw you wrote that you have seen Martha products in many stores in Norway – which ones? I have never seen any and would love the heads up on good craft stores stocking Martha’s punches. I am in Bergen..

  • Reply Carolyn September 25, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Hi Holly. I hope you are settling in well to your new life there in Germany.
    Martha Stewart’s craft line has recently been picked up by a major craft/fabric store here in Australia. Whilst I enjoy browsing the website for the clever (and pretty) ideas, there is no way I could justify spending $US40+ on a little green box to help me keep my photos organised! The Martha Stewart ideal looks great in photographs, but does it translate in to the real world? do people actually live like that? It all looks so perfect! If you do, please let me know how you do it!!!
    Love the blog by the way.

  • Reply Jane September 25, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Well this is an interesting discussion…. There is no Martha in Australia on television as far as I know, you can’t buy any of her products, you can buy Martha magazines in many newsagents but she is certainly not a dominant presence. I do agree with the comments of Anna\Katy in part and I don’t think she is a particularly authentic person, but at the end of the day she is simply a clever creative woman who has created a massive business over many years with a huge infrastructure to support it. Good on her, I say. I don’t agree that she is all about pumpkin pie etc, her website is very broad in its scope and quite inspiring. What I think is a bit of a shame about any dominant person (Oprah, Martha, etc) is that they take up a lot of air time and ‘block out’ smaller perhaps more diverse voices and creativity. But I guess its all about where you look. And Europe is a diverse interesting place so why would she not be a success there if she chose to push that market?
    .-= Jane´s last blog ..Sunrise House =-.

  • Reply melissa September 25, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    I do think it’s weird that as a domestic empire in the US, her company hasn’t put much effort into developing a European market (from what I can see.)
    I, for one, miss a bit of Martha here in London. I am able to get her magazines in Borders, but those are few & far between.
    I’m American, so I’m used to having a massive and overabundant selection of craft supplies available to me in paper stores, stationery shops, etc. (I’m totally fan of her craft line). I can’t find anything like that in London. Not Martha Stewart brand, not any brand…

  • Reply ninainvorm September 25, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Fun to read these comments! I can’t be sure about it (maybe I should only speak for myself), but I think that for most people in the Netherlands, where I live, Martha Stewart is a bit too sweet, romantic and ‘perfect’. Lots of people here like a more basic, modern style. It’s always a bit tricky to start about ‘American’ versus ‘European’ style on blogs, cause you quickly get this discussion like people from the one continent feel better than the other. With the risk of sounding like a chauvinist European: I think Martha is a bit ‘too American’ for lots of people here. That doesn’t mean that we don’t like anything American here, cause I think it’s obvious Europeans like quite a lot of American stuff, but certain styles are associated more with the American country taste & lifestyle than with the European style. A simple example: I think in America, rooms and pieces of furniture are often much bigger than in Europe, probably simply because Americans usually live in larger houses. Like this concept of a ‘master bedroom’ with a huge bed with lots of pillows and bed linen for example isn’t very common here.
    Hard to describe exactly… I hope this is of any help for the discussion?

    • Reply decor8 September 26, 2009 at 5:44 am

      Nina – Ha! Yes, I see your point. My husband remarked the same after growing up in Germany then moving to America for 8 years. He thought all these massive homes and master bedrooms and tons of pillows was very “different” than what he was accustomed to. Now it’s my turn to live here and observe the differences. I’ve been traveling to Germany every year since 1999 and since 2005 I lived here 2 months each year, but now that I have relocated here full-time, learning time will officially begin. I wanted this and I wanted to learn about the differences because I find it fascinating. I clearly have a lot to learn and cannot wait until I am able to be here for several years and am able to make more observations based on a long-term living experience. It’s very exciting.

  • Reply Emma September 25, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Holly it seems you have opened a massive can of worms! Who knew?! I am in two minds about Martha, I am proud to call myself a part-time housewife, but on the other hand I find her a bit fake and VERY American, which is fine, we shouldn’t judge her for her nationality, but this could be why she hasn’t branched out to Uk/Europe/Australia? Here is Aus we don’t see much of her, I think her magazines are available in Borders or bigger newsagents, and I’ve noticed that she has just brought out a range of craft supplies at Spotlight – the Australian crafters megastore. It’s not as if Aussies don’t know who she is though, I think majority (females?!) would.
    .-= Emma´s last blog ..{ Blue, White…and Red? } =-.

  • Reply Trish September 25, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Since some magazines from Martha Stewart can not be found in Mexico like Body + Soul I buy them from Zinio in a Digital format. You can also buy other Martha Stewart and other design magazines there. I know it is not the same as having a paper magazine but it feels the void.

  • Reply Mermaid September 25, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Holly
    I’m Irish and living in NZ. We’ve recently gotten Martha products over here in Spotlight (a craft and fabric shop) but I think they’re pretty over priced. I’m not a fan of Martha and would be disappointed to see the crafting scene (which definitely needs a shake up in Ireland – less indie crafts and more ‘Irish Country Women’s Association’ unfortunately) get sucked into more of a celebrity culture if it means bringing Martha and even worse Paris Hilton craft products to market. I’ve watched I think one or two of the Martha shows online and don’t mind browsing through the magazines but as Kathy said it is a “bit American and cheesy” with too much focus on things like turning your house into a Halloween spectacular and decorate wastefully for each passing season or event. I much prefer plugging into blogs (like yours – which I love incidentally) and finding out about local crafters, craft ideas and events online.
    I know it can be hard to move to a new country when things you take for granted aren’t present – I used to make a lot more handmade cards at home and was beginning to sell them and the raw materials (like appropriately priced envelopes) aren’t as easy to come by over here. But there’s a wealth of yarn, fabric and other supplies which are much much easier to find in NZ than Ireland. So I’ve branched out! I sew and crochet more here and have even managed to make some of my own clothes which don’t look homemade. :)
    Give it a while and you might change your mind!

    • Reply decor8 September 26, 2009 at 5:35 am

      Mermaid – I agree 100% with that, “I used to make a lot more handmade cards at home and was beginning to sell them and the raw materials (like appropriately priced envelopes) aren’t as easy to come by over here.”

      My husband was recently in a craft store with me in the U.S. and remarked that, “This is all so easy for women now, they can buy everything already made and just stick it onto things”. He was referring to those stickers and add-ons for scrapbooking (which I do not buy anyway). He is German and says that crafting is more about what your parents made with you, for you and what you learned to do in school – more based on community and family than showing off or trying to win some popularity contest. Gave me something to think about.

      I like Martha Stewart craft products, books, etc. I think her publications and books are strong and nicely done. Her new craft book is beautiful and inspirational. But never in my life have I taken one of her projects and copied it 1 to 1. I usually learn about some great new tool or idea and then spin it in my own way to create something unique for me. I honestly think that most of the ladies online that I associate with do the same. As a person, I’ve not met Martha to form a personal opinion. I’ve not worked for her. Liking what a person does and liking the person are too different things. I filter a lot of content each day for my job so I can extract what fits my taste and move on. I leave what I don’t like behind and move on like most of you do when you refer to blogs for inspiration.

      I really have enjoyed this exchange with all of you and thank you so much for speaking your minds. I didn’t expect it at all, it’s been really, really interesting.


  • Reply coucoumadame September 25, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Hi Holly,

    Just wanted to share a silly television show that I occasionally watched while living in Germany called “Das Perfekte Promi Dinner”….maybe you know of it already? It features celebrities who cook for other celebrities and are “judged” by each other, whoever gets the most points wins – 5,000 euro i think! – and gives it to a charity of their choice. I know you said you don’t watch too much tv there, but if you ever feel like using zero brain, but still practicing your German, it’s an easy watch! :) They also have the “Das Perfekte Dinner” regular show with “regular” people, not celebrities. Sometimes you can find good recipes too! I think it comes on VOX.
    .-= coucoumadame´s last blog ..Hutschenreuther Lined Vase =-.

  • Reply Guinnevere September 25, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    I like your twilight zone description. Martha’s show had been recently switched from its usual time on my network, here in the states. I don’t watch her faithfully, but everytime I would turn the tv on to watch her show, and it wasn’t on, I felt this sense of loss. In fact, I finally had to look up the new air time to start feeling normal again….haha, such MS junkies!

  • Reply Diana September 25, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    I have to say, I’m not a big Martha fan. I mean, her products are gorgeous, don’t get me wrong… but she just rubs me the wrong way. I won’t get into all the reasons, as some of them are admittedly hearsay, but…

    I think it would be lovely to live where such a “brand” doesn’t exist. Crafting is such a personal, cottage industry thing… It makes me a little sad that Martha’s turned crafting into big business. I’m more charmed by the DIY projects posted on sites like Creature Comforts or Threadbanger.

    So I guess I’m with those folks who’d rather see a Holly Becker European takeover! :-)
    .-= Diana´s last blog ..More Instax! =-.

  • Reply allison September 26, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Hi Holly, You can find Martha in Switzerland. (usually for 14 CHF a magazine) Some of the news stands carry her and yes, of course the train stations. I was an ex pat for about 5 years and at first missed Martha-but then you realize you don’t need her! There are much more interesting and creative ideas right where you’re at! Enjoy :)

  • Reply Jacqui September 26, 2009 at 2:15 am

    No real Martha presence down here in New Zealand either. We can get the magazines at some big shops but they’re hideously expensive, like $15-16 minimum. I looked at a subscription and the price was also prohibitive. I used to subscribe to Living when I lived in Australia about 10 years ago and it was a reasonable price and easy to do – now it’s impossible to get an international subscription direct without a lot of work and the price is nuts. I wonder if the company actually pulled back from the international market? We’ve recently been able to get a limited range of her crafting supplies which is nice though. People here do know who she is but if they call you a Martha Stewart it’s not used as a compliment! I still like her style a lot, but it’s very hard to translate it out of North America without it looking a bit…odd. I don’t know why that is, perhaps she’s very much of her place and market?

  • Reply tanja September 26, 2009 at 4:28 am

    Do you have a “Martha, come over here!” paper? I would sign it!
    .-= tanja´s last blog ..Eintrag vom 25.09.2009 um 10:27:47 Uhr =-.

  • Reply Maya September 26, 2009 at 7:07 am

    Martha Stewart is on Israeli Cable TV (along with Dr. Phil and Oprah), but I don’t think there is much of a Martha Stewart culture here. The Israeli crafting shows are hilariously opposite to Martha… “eh, it’s good enough” seems to be their modus operandi (however you spell that! Ha!). My husband bought me an Israeli craft book, and its ideas basically consist of gluing pieces of wrapping paper onto plastic. There’s a kind of design aesthetic here that I like to call Isra-fab… gold paint, sparkles, roccoco-ish images, oddly-shaped wood, etc. So maybe we could use a little Martha taste. :)

    At the same time, I do find Martha condescending and unintentionally humorous. Her idea of crafts simply doesn’t seem practical– I remember an episode in which she showed how to make these beautiful snowflakes out of about a HUNDRED six-pack plastic pieces. Cool idea, but not something I’d ever do. l I’d much rather follow a design blog culture than a Martha culture.

  • Reply Maya September 26, 2009 at 7:17 am

    btw I do agree with Jacqui– Martha Stewart style would look odd here in Israel. Too American. Parts of her aesthetic might work here, such as her color restraint. Her general attitude wouldn’t, though. Women almost always work full time here, and Martha’s wasteful decorating for each holiday definitely wouldn’t fly. We’re also much more closely tied to Eastern European/Middle Eastern food traditions. I love the way food says something about people’s heritage here. Bring on the gefilte fish stuffed inside an actual cod! Conversely, furniture and buildings are all very new here, as most of our citizens arrived as European or Middle Eastern refugees, so Martha’s classic New England Farmhouse look doesn’t fly.

    I also remember a Martha episode in which she was making tabouli, and the chef suggested that the parsley and mint could be replaced with dill, basil, or any other herb. I can imagine a collective gasp from the Middle Eastern audience at that. :)

  • Reply Tilda B. Hervé September 26, 2009 at 7:32 am

    To be honest, I’m not a big Martha fan. I think in Europe (perhaps specially in Switzerland) design and decorating doesn’t fit with the mind of ‘Martha’ style.
    For me a lot of the Martha stuff is interesting, but never really challenging, provoking or new. It’s nice, but not more.

  • Reply Rose September 26, 2009 at 7:51 am

    Hi Holly,

    We have a kind of ‘Martha Stewart’-type crafty woman here in Turkey, Derya Baykal. The comparison isn’t quite accurate to be honest, but I’ve become fascinated by what she represents for housewives in Turkey. She has a daytime show with a kitchen and craft studio set up, with guests working on projects while she does interviews, cooks things with famous people, and wears/displays the things she makes. Her website is http://www.deryabaykal.com/ and it’s not in English, but if you snoop around you’ll see the kind of things she does. She’s very well-loved here. As for Martha in Turkey, I think you can find magazines here and there, and I think most people know who she is, but I wouldn’t say people admire her very much or get excited like I do to sit down with a glossy magazine and dream away.

  • Reply Iva September 26, 2009 at 8:56 am

    I’ve always had kind of an issue with all that difference. I have many friends abroad, including the US, I watch mostly american tv shows, read only international magazines and I really see the difference in the products. A couple of years ago most of the clothing companies like Victoria’s Secret, American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch and many others didn’t ship to my country or even worse – didn’t ship to Europe at all. If there was an exception it was UK most of the time, which is I guess more similar to US than the other european countries. But now most of these companies do ship everywhere in Europe. I think that Europe is more about small local shops rather than big companies and that is why the products you guys see everywhere in the US are just not that popular around here. We do have Starbucks, but most europeans prefer having a small cup of strong espresso at a cute little family cafe.
    I do miss having more art supplies at stores here even though I have never experienced having them. There are many things I’d buy and that would make my crafting a lot easier but as I said we don’t have it here and most companies don’t ship. I do think this will change though, just like the clothing companies :)
    .-= Iva´s last blog ..Back to School *Part 3 =-.

  • Reply Ester September 26, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Not everything what is famous in the US, would be famous in Europe ;)
    Before I started follow this blog, I never heard about her.
    .-= Ester´s last blog ..Jasper Conran design =-.

  • Reply Juana @ SweetVisualAids September 26, 2009 at 11:12 am

    In Portugal we did have access to the Martha Stewart show on our cable tv. We don’t dubbed any original programs as also here in Belgium on the Flemish channels.

    Regarding Martha i don’t have a strong opinion as I’ve seen through the comments. I like watching the show as it brings an interest perspective of the American household life. And indeed her crafts are amazing.

    After view all these mix feelings over Martha i couldn’t avoid reading her biography. She achieved quite a lot, we have to give her that. Yep every one makes mistakes, regarding her conviction on fraud, but she did pay for it.
    .-= Juana @ SweetVisualAids´s last blog ..Lets jump 2!! =-.

  • Reply Miss-Ninie September 26, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Being from Belgium, your neighbour country, up untill 2 years ago I had to go to SWITSERLAND to find one of Martha’s magazines!!!! Now I can by “Living” in a magazinestore in my hometown, Ghent. But I have to be very quick to be there on time or somebody else buys it!
    Finally I decided to subscribe to it, which was not a peace of cake. But it was worth it, because every month I get to be very happy now when I open my mailbox and find a little bit of America in it.
    .-= Miss-Ninie´s last blog ..Monsieur Moustache =-.

  • Reply Lovely Sunflower September 26, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    The best thing about Martha Stewart is definitely her craft supplies. All those punches! However, I don’t quite get their prices, they must consist of silver/gold/diamonds or something…
    I did subscribe to Living though, going to give it a try!
    Germans tend to like ‘Markensachen’ a lot (you should have seen Abercrombie shirts being sold for thirty euros on German ebay) and that’s one of the reasons why Martha’s concept would definitely sell here.
    .-= Lovely Sunflower´s last blog ..HomeGoods StyleScope – I’m a Bohemian Casual =-.

  • Reply Stella September 26, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Martha Stewart isn’t in Norway either – but one of the tv-channels are sending her show every now and then. Somehow we manage without her! ;)

  • Reply Zee September 27, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I read some comments and it was an interesting discussion. I agree with Ninainvorn.
    I like Martha’s magazine and her aesthetics but I don’t watch her shows. I am not a tv person. I do prefer to see what the small crafter (like me) is creating and I find very satisfying finding them on blogs. I just heard about Martha in 2005 when I discovered the arts & crafts blogs. I am in The US since 2002. In Brazil, if you care to know about it, we have our own “Martha”, her name actually is Ana Maria Braga and she is popular. Comparing both of them, Ana is not a “big company”, I am not sure that she sells products with her name. I don’t know if Martha would work well in Brazil. I think she would have to “change to fit” in our reality. Each country has different cultures and values.
    .-= Zee´s last blog ..The Future of Food =-.

  • Reply Johanna Lu September 27, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    As another commenter noted we have her on an obscure slot on Swedish television. But she doesn’t really have a mass appeal to us in Northen Europe. Here are a couple of possible reasons.
    1. That sort of crafting Martha does ain’t that big among grown-ups in Sweden. The stuff that she makes is instead very similar to what Swedish kids do in kindergarten (crafts is a huge thing in schools here and pretty sophisticated). But it’s not what appeals to grown up tastes.
    2. Swedes are a little “sensitive” to obvious branding, i.e we don’t really like lifestyle concepts. Of course we fall into the branding “trap” all the time, but it has to be less obvious. And look less commercial. A couple of celebrates has tried to become the Swedish Marhta, but they have not succeeded.
    3. Also I would say that Swedes are much more into cooking than crafting in general (hence why Nigella, Gordon and Jamie are households name.)

  • Reply volksfaden September 27, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    I think that the home arts are just being rediscovered in Germany and perhaps throughout Europe, for years it definitely was not cool to sew or make things. Now a whole new generation of crafters are making a statement and developing an individual, very European style, which I think is great. I don’t miss Martha’s influence here (or her amazing marketing savvy) and although a greater selection of craft materials would be great, I think the whole craft scene is growing and expanding in a very unique way and I am not sure I see the need for her products or crafting celebrities.

  • Reply mijk September 28, 2009 at 2:27 am

    A bit late to comment but You’re question got stuck in my head over the weekend. I even checked out martha’s website to see if it would work in the Netherlands. I think it wouldn’t. First we don’t do much namebrands anyway. Even a lot of dutch design is sold under a label not under a namebrand. Secondly martha is just to big. If you check out her website there are recipes stories on finace weddings pets. She can’t be doing that alone, she can’t know it all, so we ‘know’ there is a whole collective of creative minds working for her who are just not mentioned. That makes it so fake in my european eyes. Imagine marie claire Idees pretending it was just one Marie Claire doing it all.. SO weird and I think it would be less valued. Don;t know if I made myself clear enough. I think Europe is just not into name branding in this way.. Did you realise we don’t have any names attachedc to fabric design? It’s just fabric you love or don’t love and someone must have designed it!

  • Reply Ana September 28, 2009 at 4:19 am

    I do agree with Marquita, meaning that you can find her magazines but that’s it. As I live in a very touristic part of Portugal, it’s easy to get the magazines, but don’t even think about the rest. I ususally drool over that on the internet and try to have friends bringing me things from the States. Aside from that, she’s also known for her tax issues – but that’s not a very good thing for being known for…

  • Reply Laura September 28, 2009 at 6:24 am

    no Martha in Italy…I think only few people nknow her here…..
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..W l’asilo =-.

  • Reply steven September 28, 2009 at 6:32 am

    I think it’s hard to put Martha into a category because she does cover such a broad base of disciplines: cooking, decorating, crafting, merchandising, etc…

    so when one says whether Martha would ‘work’ or not in a particular country, i’m assuming that they mean the entire MSLO organization as it now exists… but had that been the case in the US- had the existing format been dropped into the US market in one big chunk, it probably would not have worked. Because at the end of the day, MSL is a brand and brands take time to develop.

    Martha Stewart did not start with a huge creative team – it’s something that has been cultivated over many years — so while it’s a brand, it evolved from one person’s ideas and drive. Give the lady some props! :D

    All that being said, it’s actually not much different than other lifestyle magazines in concept. (regardless of ones style choices) Here in the Netherlands we’ve got great magazines such as VTWonen and 101Woonideeën… it’s the same sort of content: design, decorating, entertaining, shopping, etc… they just doesn’t have one person’s name all over it… maybe that makes it less “fake” for people, I’m not sure. (i don’t really understand those comments).

    You can buy MSL magazines at the American Book Center in Amsterdam — http://www.abc.nl — (they sell her books too) or you can subscribe and MSL will send it directly to you :-)

  • Reply rdekko September 28, 2009 at 8:09 am

    well, NO Martha also in Greece, although i watch her over the internet. When i meet people in my workshops they frequently ask me who’s Martha. I really don’t believe that they don’t know her! As for me, a big issue is that not everybody speak English -we also have a difficult lunguage- and we are not so this kind of crafty i mean in Martha’s style. I can live without her and on the other hand she has some wonderful things. In conclusion nobody knows her and the comments have been up to 74 -mine included- so i guess she is very well known and mented to be discussed!
    .-= rdekko´s last blog ..?????? ???? ? Knitetd Vases =-.

  • Reply rdekko September 28, 2009 at 8:12 am

    additionaly i think we the Europeans are more marie claire’s idees style than Martha style. I can’t say that i don’t like her collection of houses, but i don’t agree with all this promoting this kind of collections the time that there are so many money problems worldwide and everybody knows for the tax issues she has.
    .-= rdekko´s last blog ..?????? ???? ? Knitetd Vases =-.

  • Reply Sarah September 28, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Hi Holly,

    I’m a bit late coming into this, but I wanted to weigh in… As a fellow expat (I live in London), I have to admit that a major lifeline back to the States, especially around holiday time, has been an issue of MS Living, which I really have to hunt down (my only sure-fire source is the Borders in Oxford Street). There are a lot of other shelter magazines and brands in the UK, and some, like Living Etc., Homes and Gardens, Delicious, Donna Hay, etc. are seriously mouthwatering, but when it comes time to find an inspiring Thanksgiving menu (which I like to celebrate with my British husband and half-American daughter and our British friends), only Martha Stewart can really deliver.

    I definitely think there’s a position open for a European version of Martha (Holly Becker Living?), but when I get especially homesick for American holidays, American style, and American food, it’s Martha to whom I turn. Thanks for featuring such inspiring local designers and decorators on your blog, because it’s broadening my horizons, but seriously, if there was an easier way to get my Martha fix in England (even just sorting out the international subscription plan would help!), I’d be the first to sign up.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Frankenbaby =-.

  • Reply Amy September 28, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I’m currently living in Finland but I am from New York. There aren’t any Martha Stewart magazines or books here either. Funny that I can find a MS Wedding magazine too.

    It’s been really interesting to read all the comments. I’m surprised at the level of disdain for Martha Stewart. I would say she is somewhat controversial in the US but not for the same reasons.

    I don’t begrudge her for being a smart business women (except for the insider trading), and I don’t think she has ever claimed that she thinks of every idea. That’s why she spotlights her colleagues and their ideas in the magazine and show and doesn’t pass them off as her own. I also don’t look at any blog/magazine/tv show and think that is exactly what that author wants me to do. I just use it as a starting off point and take bits and pieces from each.

    I would also say that there is brand loyalty in Scandinavia but maybe not so much in “celebrity” form: Finlayson, Moomin, Marimekko are a few examples that you can find on diapers, hair detangler to band aids.

    Interestingly, there is a new lifestyle tv show with a crafter named Anu Harkin who is the editor of a very popular craft magazine that aired last week and I am interested to see the reactions from my friends here.

  • Reply Hanna September 28, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Interesting discussion for sure. There are slight cultural differences between European and American ways of crafting, creating and making. As for myself: I find some of Martha’s ideas a bit tacky and over the top for a plain scandinavian and Finnish design lover like myself, but I do appreciate her wit and her teams insight on the “American lifestyle”. In the states the show seems to appeal to the traditional and conservative American house wife- types and that necessarily isn’t as such translatable to European way of living. But nevertheless she still can teach us a thing or two :)

    And a tip for Amy in Finland: MTV3 AVA channel airs Martha’s show with a slight delay (last time i watched two weeks ago they were on doing a christmas show 2008). Also Helsinki based bookstore Akateeminen kirjakauppa carries her magazines.

    In Finland we have non-comercial show called Stömsö (http://svenska.yle.fi/matochfritid/stromso.php or watch the latest episode in webtv for free http://arenan.yle.fi/ohjelma/640097dce4540406dc1a91b2ef6cbef0) that I believe fits better with the nordic mindset. The show is in swedish and covers a wider lifestyle from values that are both homey, approachable, ecological and durable.

    Holly, your discussion opening was a brave one. I hope you see the comments as a positive opening on the cultural differences but also on the similarities. Thank you for your excellent ideas and insight!

    • Reply decor8 September 28, 2009 at 2:56 pm

      Hanna – Oh yes, I do, so thank you! I’ve really enjoyed all contributions to this discussion. How boring when all agree and “fave” every single idea, right? It’s more interesting when we sit around a table throwing around our opinions, because all can learn this way. That’s why I moved to Europe, I really felt a need to live here (Germany to be specific) so as to better understand my husband’s point of view — the last few months here have been so eye opening, way more so than when I knew I would fly home again. I am “home” and so I now much seriously learn and expect to have my ideas and opinions met with opposite views. And that is absolutely okay and welcoming even. If I did not want to learn about how people think here, I’d not bothered moving over. So far, every drop has been interesting. Some things sting, some things are like honey, but all things meaningful and helpful to me and to my family life. I’m really starting to “get” certain things my husband thinks and feels on a new level of understanding. I say to all of us, keep bringing our honest thoughts and opinions to the table. :) It’s good for all. We don’t have to change our views to respect and hear those of others.

  • Reply Moline September 28, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Hi Holly! You’ll normally find Martha at the Magazine Dealers in German airports and Train stations, but they normally only have 2-3 copies ( beliebe it or not). I got her easily in Istanbul and Mexico but since being back here I am relying on a sibscription and that is what you should do. I have her subsceibed and get Real Simple magazine at the Lueneburg Train station – they call me ea h month to Pick it up.
    Hey Dear, when will you have time to come over here- I’ll also prepare à soup for you and I won’t Be here for long anymore…

  • Reply Brooke H September 29, 2009 at 2:10 am

    My new obsession/TV guilty pleasure is watching “Whatever Martha”. It’s on the style network, here in the states, and it’s basically Martha’s daughter and her friend sitting around watching vintage episodes of her mother and making fun of her the first half of the show and the second half trying a craft project while watching Martha and trying to follow along. (which they can never seem to do)

    I absolutely love Martha, have been watching on and off since I was about 15, and am in no means anti-Martha, but this show is just just laugh out load hilarious sometimes. I love it. Like Maya commented earlier, Martha is sometimes “condescending and unintentionally humorous” and the show “whatever martha” amplifies it. Maybe its on youtube and you could check it out.
    .-= Brooke H´s last blog ..Project We Do =-.

  • Reply Gizel September 29, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Ah! I think this is sometinhg we should really protest about! No Martha Stewart in Israel or Brasil either! ( The two places that interest me for selfish reasons). Absurd! Here in Israel they started a translated edition of “Living” a few months ago but it didn’t pick up. I don’t know why. Economic crisis? Mentality differences? It’s absolutely unacceptable! Martha for president of the United Nations! Martha for world domination! – Can you hear my world domination laugh?

  • Reply ANNA September 29, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    this is such an interesting post! i have never been to the states so far, so i know martha only from the internet and she is so fascinating for me. i can imagine that u miss her stuff. thank u holly, for this insight, (and to all the others for all these comments… wow!)
    .-= ANNA´s last blog ..* =-.

  • Reply jja October 3, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    “Germany needs you, Martha Stewart.”

    I am in Germany and agree with this. i would like to have her shop or magazine here. At the moment I can only buy her books over amazon.de.

  • Reply Maria October 4, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    You find Martha where I live (Panama) and she is great! I even bought the big homekeeping guide at a book store here.

  • Reply Tiffany October 5, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    My mother-in-law is half Irish & half English. She resides in the UK. When she comes to visit I always see her reading my MS Living magazines. When it comes to gardening, my MIL is the master. Honestly, her garden puts anyone’s to shame. Yes, even Martha’s. But through Martha she’s still learned a few things she hadn’t known and not always specifically through her, but the specialists or special guests she highlights. Her most recent visit she enjoyed her Craft Encyclopedia book I had on my coffee table. She even insisted we do one while she was here. We chose nature prints with photo blue paper.

    I often cook from the Everyday Food magazine and my in-laws love every meal calling it “gourmet” when they really don’t contain that many and that unique ingredients, unlike the recipes in Living. FYI – the new editor of Everyday Food is English.

    For those who dislike Martha &/or her business, I often wonder if her products had a totally different random name or face on them if they would be received better.

    Truth is, through her and her name so much goodness has been shared with so many. So many talented people around the globe have been able to expand and make a name for themselves and their businesses, large or small, with her help and the exposure she brings. We’re all better and more cultured because of it too, at least I know I am.

    Despite her past legal issues, she continues to be very well-rounded and a force in so many different areas of “living” well. (I can honestly say that when she was in prison I missed her and her show. How many celebrity type people who’ve been in prison can you say that of?) There aren’t many faces anywhere else around the world that can wear so many different hats on a TV show. They usually specialize in one or two things. She knows gardening, cooking, interior & exterior design, she covers travel, foreign foods, fashion, home organizing & maintenance, pet keeping, flower arranging, party planning, crafts, health & fitness, the list goes on. Whether she has a deep knowledge of the topic or not, she still continues to bring specialists in from all around the world to share their knowledge via her shows or magazines.

    True, she doesn’t do everything. Honestly, would you be able to? But with only getting four hours of sleep each night, she still seems to accomplish a whole lot.

    Bottom line, I’m not sure why she’s not more well known around the rest of the world. But I guarantee if she asked someone from Germany, Japan, Portugal, Australia, Ireland or Brazil to be on her show or magazine they’d be more than willing and jump at the chance. And I’m more than happy to watch and learn.

  • Reply Nicole RJ October 6, 2009 at 7:31 am

    I love Martha, but at the same time it’s kind of nice to know she hasn’t completely taken over the world!
    .-= Nicole RJ´s last blog ..Bride on a Budget: Balancing Act =-.

  • Reply Raina Kattelson October 15, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Funny, I was just in Istanbul and the mag was everywhere. I was hoping for so many of the other magazines I pick up while in Europe- Elle Wonen etc. but they were nowhere to be found!
    .-= Raina Kattelson´s last blog ..istanbul-a few shots around the topkapi sarayi =-.

  • Reply Binky-Bo October 17, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    You can buy MS-magazines in airports, large train stations and well equipped book/magazine-stores (at least in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich).

    And I think there are two types of people in Germany who know Martha: One group is people who are into interior design, decoration and crafting. The other group are people who read a lot of (foreign) newspapers/magazines and who follow other countries “culture”.

    I have known who Martha is since years. But me knowing who she is probably is due to my interest in northamerican and british culture: I read a lot of UK/Canadian/Aussie/US books and magazines and enjoy (some) of the TV-shows. And I am interested in interior decoration and design. So I belong to both the “groups” mentioned above.

    What can probably be said of both types of Germans that know Martha: They have a slightly critical opinion of her. Although the fact that she is a clever business woman who created a empire is recognized and highly respected, they way in which she presents herself does not find much approval here. And lots of her stuff is considered to be a little bit tacky.

    Like the scottish stylist (Anna?) wrote, she definetly is considered to be a bit of a joke. People who know MS find her a little “bieder” (square) and fake. And yes, the “Stepford Wife” comparison would probably be found appropriate by most.

    BUT!!!: The people who know her in Deutschland are a minority. I think that of the 85% of the Germans who DON´T know her, 30% would LOVE her. They would follow her shows and buy her stuff. And: Why not?

    As we say here “Jedem Tierchen sein Plaisierchen” (“every animal deserves his plaisure”).

    I have mixed feelings on Martha. But that is not the reason that I am happy, that we don´t have her here: I am happy about every brand that is unique to a country. I love browsing Urban Outfitters, but wasn´t happy when they came to Hamburg. Now I have one thing less to look forward to when I am in the US.

    So I would like MS to stay were she got big: In the USA. Like her or not, the lady is part of the american culture.

    The nice thing about Europe is: There are loads of totally different countries and cultures! And of course inspiration form other countries and continents rubs off and develops new trends. But I like the world to be a sort of patchwork blanket. Not one big piece of monochrome fabric!

    (I hope my english was ok – I usually only speak, and harldy ever write)

    • Reply decor8 October 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm

      Binky-Bo – Great comment and very good insights… Thank you, lots of what you said really, really makes sense. I’m learning SO much living here in Germany about my own culture and I’m starting to see things so differently but in a very good way I think. I am enjoying my new views very much.

      Yes I can see what you mean about the different groups here and where people are getting their influences and such… Yeah we don’t get Martha mags in Hannover – we did last year but no more. I have been looking for “Living” and “Weddings” for my Fall fix, but I cannot find them. But (ha ha) I’m surviving!

      Now I’m not really feeling the need for my Martha dose as I was at first when I moved here because there is just SO much already around me that is fascinating and new… I’m finding a lot of satisfaction with what I am finding here and also, when I need it, there is always the Martha website which is a massive resource.

      Thanks for your words, great, great thoughts!

      And to all who commented here, this has been a most excellent meeting of the minds. :)

  • Reply Binky-Bo October 18, 2009 at 11:16 am

    One more word on Marthas absence in Germany: I don´t miss her here, but what I DO miss is a good interior magazine. I feel the german living/home/decoration-mags are not nearly as good as the ones you get in the Uk, France, Holland or the US.

    • Reply decor8 October 18, 2009 at 1:39 pm

      Binky-Bo — Try Hauser, Living & More and Living At Home. Living At Home is like Martha Stewart Living but with a European touch (more laid back). Living & More is just plain gorgeous eye candy. And Hauser is for the architecture and interior design crowd, so a bit high level in some respects, but gorgeous.

  • Reply NenaghGal October 19, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Luckily I can get Martha Stewart Living in Ireland at Eason’s. Having just moved to Ireland from New York in 2007, I know what you are going through!! I’m constantly posting things I’ve pulled from her issues over the years up on my blog to inspire others over here! But I sure do miss being able to get my hands on all her great products like her line of crafting papers, stickers etc. at Michael’s Craft Stores and all the other great places she’s developed lines.
    At other times I do find her just a tad too perfect – but she’s certainly inspirational and if we can do even a quarter of what she does in our lives – making a cake, whipping up cookies for Halloween or even doing a few flower arrangements – our homes look better and friends and family definately respond! Great discussion.

  • Reply Binky-Bo October 20, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Holly,
    thanks for the recommandation. I know all three magazines (quite well indeed) and agree, that they are the “better” ones here in Germany. I still do not find them as good as lots of the international mags…

    But: That gives me something to look forward to when travelling (or when visiting the magazine shop in the train station or airport)!

  • Reply Figen October 23, 2009 at 4:30 am

    Wow, I’ve just read this and although very late to jump in, I’d still like to add my opinion. I’m from the UK and I live in Turkey. I avoid her show like a disease – the dubbed voices are just so awful and stiff that she sounds like this automated person in a cardigan ordering people about : )

    I’ve read a few MS issues thanks to my US expat friends Rose and Tara with who I regularly swap magazines as we live so close. And, I must agree with most of my fellow UK commentators. But, I wouldn’t go so far with the negativity. Simply, I believe that she works hard to appeal to her own followers. I don’t think she should be insulted so much because she’s obviously not trying to push Thanksgiving feasts or decor onto Europe – she’s doing it for her own culture. It’s that simple! If she were interested in Europe – or vice versa – I’m sure she’s savvy enough to present a European version with a different approach.

    From a British perspective, while her magazines are scrumptious, I just read them for pleasure. Her article on making up the perfect bed was simply astounding. A nice read, but who in the UK would layer a bed with so many ruffles, pillows, covers and sheets? All I could think of was the volume of washing – and dust mites!! I think her decor ideas are gorgeous and I like her recipes but, again, I prefer the more three-dimensional Nigella and the straight-talking hilarious Jamie Oliver. It’s not really important for us to see celebrity guests on these shows – just the food! And, like a few comment stated, I’d rather see lots of greening, recycling and clean practicality in projects as this appeals enormously to the UK – who has been environmentally aware for over half a century (perhaps of the war years) and this has become somewhat established in everything we do now – rather than so much material to be purchased and used.
    .-= Figen´s last blog ..A very talented knitter I know =-.

  • Reply Binky-Bo October 23, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    Sorry, a little off-topic, but I can`t resist the comment :-)

    Hi Figen,
    I am following this discussion with great interest (and have given some comments). What I like about it is not only the whole Martha thing, but the fact that so many different nationalities give their opinion on the same topic.

    You mentioning the environmental awareness of the Brits put a little grin on my face. You see the people in the UK as very interested in green matters since half a century. I disagree! I have frequently travelled to the UK since years (from Germany), but I also know Holland, Denmark and Sweden quite well.

    Over the years I always noticed how in Britain everything was always packed in plastic bags in stores: I bbought 1 chocolate bar and left the store with a little bag. I go out to get 1 apple and am given a plastic bag. When buying groceries I often seemed to be the only person who brought their own (textile)-bags along. Everyone else took loads of plastic bags from the supermarket. When buying a piece of clothing in a store, it would be wrapped in layers and layers of tissue paper…

    The awareness seems to have changed a little, as the frequent use of plastic bags in not so popular anymore in the UK. I feel that the level of awareness now is comparable with Germany/Holland/Scandinavia in the 80s. When the “This is not a plastic bag”-Trend was big in England two years ago, people in other European countries got quite a kick out of it. When I was a kid in 1985 there was a big “Jute statt Plastik”-Campaign, referring to bags. The whole green movement was never very strong in the UK, up untill about 10 years ago!

    Sorry, I´m not trying to be critical about the English: I love the UK, the english culture and the people. But in terms of environmental awareness the country was certainly never highly developed!

  • Reply Figen October 26, 2009 at 6:43 am

    Hi Binky-Bo : )
    Naturally everyone has their own view of other countries, and while I’ve regularly stayed in other European countries, particularly France and Germany as I have friends and German cousins there, I still wouldn’t like to say anything in comparison as I don’t feel I’m qualified to judge another country as well as I know my own : )
    I was actually not commenting about shopping. The article was on the Martha Stewart culture which led to the topic of crafting at home. Obviously I strongly stand by my opinion and, being 42, I can actually remember back almost half a century : )
    My insistence is upon frugality in the home which was actually on-topic. However I agree the latest consumer generation probably leaves much to be desired in this sense. But, I most definitely grew up in a post-war British culture which, IN THE HOME, observed frugality, practicality and recycling – though we never thought of it as recycling, it didn’t even have a name.
    Strangely enough, the USEPA argue that paper bags have been much worse for the environment overall in terms of greenhouse gases, carbon emission, recycling and shipping energy, etc. I don’t know enough on the topic to argue so I can’t/won’t give any qualified remarks on this. The general info is just out there for everyone.
    Also, coincidentally, plastic bags weren’t actually invented until the late ’70’s by the US so the British haven’t had that much time to enjoy them : )
    Sorry, Holly, for the hijack and I hope the steering is given back to Martha : )
    .-= Figen´s last blog ..A very talented knitter I know =-.

  • Reply Tina November 11, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Hi Holly, I’m coming into this discussion rather late (and I can see it was massively popular!) but I’m afraid I side with the people who think we don’t need her. I like reading your observations about Germany but I do think you need to be careful when making pronouncements about the whole of Europe – our countries and cultures are massively different, and I not think you should assume you know what fits in with our style if you have not lived in those countries. In the UK, there’s a reason why there aren’t those megastores like Michaels, we’re quite happy not crafting all day long, thank you very much. I do admire a lot of Martha’s work but it’s very very rare here that someone would spend time in prison for fraud and reinvent themselves as a celebrity.

  • Reply Soleary March 31, 2010 at 2:37 am

    I used to sell translation rights to Martha Stewart’s books and it was always amusing (though not all that surprising) to hear the rejections from foreign publishers. These ranged from “who is that?” to “wasn’t she the one who was a bit naughty?” to “we like the recipes and we’ll publish the book but only if we can take her off the cover.” I eventually succeeded in selling some of her MSLO books in a few territories, but I don’t know how successful they were. We actually had quite a bit of interest from Turkish and Romanian publishers but they didn’t have the budgets for producing books with the same specs as the original US editions and MSLO was quite picky about such things.
    In the end, though, the fact that she is such a big name in the US is actually a detriment to selling her in other countries. Why should a foreign publisher produce these *incredibly* expensive books (both in terms of production costs and in terms of the advance required to be taken seriously by MSLO) when she doesn’t have a platform in their country? (Or if she does, it is quite limited in comparison to her platform in the US). The same was true of other US cooking and home decor stars on our list.
    On top of that, home decor aesthetics vary greatly from country to country. I once received a rejection from a German publisher who said that the home pictured in a book didn’t look “lived in” enough because everything was too perfect. French publishers often said the home interiors were not luxurious enough. Some populations generally buy home decor books to find ideas that they intend to implement in their own homes and others buy them explicitly for aspirational purposes.

    Interesting post — thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Derya Baykal September 20, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Hi Holly,
    We have a kind of ‘Martha Stewart’-type crafty woman here in Turkey, Derya Baykal. The comparison isn’t quite accurate to be honest, but I’ve become fascinated by what she represents for housewives in Turkey. She has a daytime show with a kitchen and craft studio set up, with guests working on projects while she does interviews, cooks things with famous people, and wears/displays the things she makes. Her website is canimanne.comand it’s not in English, but if you snoop around you’ll see the kind of things she does. She’s very well-loved here. As for Martha in Turkey, I think you can find magazines here and there, and I think most people know who she is, but I wouldn’t say people admire her very much or get excited like I do to sit down with a glossy magazine and dream away.

  • Leave a Reply

    Scroll Up