Blog Posts by Martha Stewart

  • Talking Dirty: Is Hygiene Compromising Your Health?

    Irene Chansawang washes her hands 20 times a day. She doesn't get manicures or pedicures because she thinks nail salons are too dirty. She wouldn't dream of getting into the shower at the gym without wearing flip-flops, and keeps antibacterial wipes in her desk drawer.

    "I wish it was a cultural norm in this country to wear those SARS masks when you're sick," says the self-professed germophobe.

    In fact, all of us are like petri dishes: If you looked at your skin under a microscope, you would see it teeming with bacteria. But some scientists are suggesting that instead of running for the hand sanitizer, we should be grateful for the bugs -- some of them may be keeping us healthy.

    The common wisdom is that the only good bug is a dead bug -- and in an age of flus like H1N1, it's no surprise. Every subway pole, doorknob, or coughing coworker could be a source of life-threatening illness. Physicians say a little common sense is still the best strategy to ward off colds and flu.

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  • You're in Luck: An Adorable Last-Minute Way to Get Your Green On

    On March 17, the "wearing of the green" can be as simple as adding a cute clover accessory, especially for girls and boys.

    Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

    Green felt
    Sewing supplies
    Headband or hatpin
    Hot-glue gun
    Shamrock template

    Related: 12 Tools to Use in Your House in Unexpected Ways

    1. Print our template onto card stock and cut it out.

    2. Trace template onto felt and cut out. Lightly pinch center of clover and sew to hold in place, first with a vertical stitch, then a horizontal one, giving the shape dimension.

    3. Glue to headband, or pin to lapel or collar. (For a boy, try a boutonniere.)

    More from Martha Stewart:
    10 Ways to Save Energy at Home
    Dishwasher Dos and Don'ts
    19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time
    Martha Stewart's Ultimate Organizing Solutions

    Watch for More:

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  • 2 Easy, Inexpensive Upgrades for Your IPhone (Case)

    An iPhone upgrade doesn't require dropping major dime. Give your phone a whole new look with these adorable DIY cases. Talk about easy on the i's!

    Related: 13 Crazy Beauty Tricks That Really Work

    Embroidered iPhone Case

    This perforated case lends itself well to different kinds of designs: Try backstitching or cross-stitching.

    Sources
    iPhone 5 case, $27.50, by Leese Design, purlsoho.com

    Stitching Instructions

    Backstitch: Insert needle from wrong side, coming out at 1. Insert at 2; pull out at 3. Insert again at 1, and pull out past 3, creating equal stitches. Insert at 3, and continue.

    Cross-stitch: Using phone case's perforations as a guide, create a row of diagonal lines, then stitch back over the row, making Xs.

    Materials
    Cross-stitch phone case
    Scissors
    Embroidery needle, size 8
    Embroidery floss
    Embroidered case pattern

    1. Print out pattern. (You can also print a blank grid template and create your own design.) For cross-stitch ideas, go

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  • Give it a Whirl: Marbling Methods and Home-Decor Projects

    Try something free and loose, colorful and creative. One simple process brings personality to many corners of your home.

    Marbling is the opposite of paint-by-numbers. The process is artistic and painterly and colorful -- but the true joy is in the reveal, and in seeing how swirls of color in a tray of liquid translate to a piece of paper or fabric. "You have to embrace the surprise," says crafts editor Silke Stoddard, who developed the projects below.

    To be sure, masters of this craft -- which flourished thanks to European papermakers and bookbinders in the 18th and 19th centuries -- can precisely re-create patterns, but that often entails specialized equipment such as combs, feathers, and rakes. The designs here were made with literally nothing more than a coffee stirrer. "I wanted to simplify marbling, and take it out of that fussy old-world place, and make it modern and playful and organic," Silke says. Indeed, while this technique has often been used to dye eggs and

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  • DIY Striped Top (Because Nautical's Always in Season)

    Adorn an entire garment, or just a pocket or cuff, with crisp nautical stripes.

    Related: 35 Pantry Staples for Healthy Eating

    Materials
    T-shirt
    Painters' tape
    Craft paper
    Stencil brush
    Craft paint

    Related: 25 New Ways to Eat Avocados

    1. Create striped design with painters' tape. (If you want stripes on front and back of shirt, tape both sides, though you'll only paint one at a time.)

    2. Place craft paper between shirt layers to keep paint from bleeding through. With brush, dab on paint. Let dry.

    3. Remove tape. Follow directions on paint bottle to launder.

    More from Martha Stewart:
    13 Crazy Beauty Tricks That Really Work
    19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time
    8 Surprising Ways to Tame Your Sweet Tooth
    47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

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  • We're D(r)ying to Give This Laundry Room Redo a Spin

    Martha recently turned a closet into a laundry room that's every bit as functional as a much larger space. A few smart strategies made it doable -- and now the frequent tasks of washing, ironing, and folding are less of a chore and more of a pleasure. Whether you're just sprucing up your laundry area or planning a total redo, you can borrow these ideas for your own home.

    Related: 19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time

    Laundry Room Basics

    This compact space has everything you need and makes the most of every inch. Above the washer and dryer, sturdy, deep shelving holds the soaps, cleaning supplies, and towels that are used often; each shelving unit has a handy row of pegs for hanging items. A cabinet in the corner provides more storage -- and a surface for folding. An oversize homemade ironing board tops the washer and dryer, giving plenty of room for pressing tablecloths and other large linens; a smaller board is good for shirtsleeves and collars.

    DIY Dryer Sheets

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  • Declutter Your Data: 5 Easy Computer Organizing Hacks

    Your memory may not be what it used to be (whose is?), but it doesn't matter as long as you can search your computer and email for reminders and backup. Try these systems for efficient filing and retrieving.
    Confronting an unholy mess every time you turn on your computer negates the benefits of an organized workspace. Here's how to electronically clean up your desktop and use your computer to better organize your life.

    Related: 10 Ways to Save Energy at Home

    1) Tidy your digital desktop.

    Create folders. Filing away documents on a computer -- and subsequently retrieving them -- is infinitely easier than putting paper into folders and then into a drawer. So actually do it! Set up a system, such as a filing by project or task, or by month and year (or whatever works best for your specific needs), then start putting things away.

    2) E-shop efficiently.

    Systematize your passwords. Lots of people use slight variations of the same password for different sites -- and then

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  • How to Score Vintage Home Decor that Looks like New

    Photo Credit: Hunters AlleyThe creative team behind One Kings Lane knows a thing or two about unique interiors. Discover your own eclectic vintage and flea-market finds with the help of these tips from Andrea Stanford, One Kings Lane Vice President of Designer and Vintage Sales, and General Manager of Hunters Alley, the shopping site's just-launched vintage- and handmade-home-goods destination.

    Related: Martha Stewart's Ultimate Organizing Solutions

    Have Fun!

    Never be intimidated by shopping for vintage; it should be fun! Start by educating yourself. I love learning from people who are experts in their fields and truly passionate about their collections. Always ask questions about an item's maker or history. Visit flea markets and antique shows and browse online. As you become more familiar with certain eras or categories of decor, shopping will become so much more fun -- and you can truly enjoy the hunt!

    Start Small

    One of the easiest ways to start collecting vintage is to buy catchalls, vases,

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  • 4 Goofy, Memorable Birthday Party Ideas for Kids

    Teach kids to approach even the most special days with a sense of humor. These quirky parties are fun to throw and easy to throw together. Now that's something to celebrate!

    Tiny Party

    The big idea here is that it's a small world after all.

    Hint at the charm of all things Lilliputian by sending an itsy-bitsy invitation of mostly envelopes -- each opens to reveal one a size smaller, with the last one holding colorful confetti and a wee card.

    Guests sip strawberry Tom Thumb milkshakes from cordial glasses and snack on gherkins and mini grilled-cheese sandwiches -- cut bread into quarters to make four servings.

    A party banner is 1 1/2-inch-high cardstock triangles taped to thread, with a message spelled out in letter stickers.

    Proving that good things do indeed come in small packages, everyone leaves with munchkin toys and mini art and school supplies in palm-size favor bags embellished with pretty flowers.

    Related: 35 Pantry Staples for Healthy Eating

    Polka-Dot

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  • Make Old Appliances Work like New (or Better)

    If you wipe appliances regularly with a damp cloth or sponge, most will require little additional maintenance. A buildup of grime, however, calls for a bit more elbow grease and sometimes even a particular cleaning solution. Before you get to work, be sure to consult the owner's manual or call the company's customer-service line, since manufacturers use a variety of materials to make their appliances.

    Related: 47 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Kitchen

    Toaster Oven

    Basic maintenance consists of periodically cleaning out crumbs and wiping down the interior and exterior.

    Interior: Remove racks; wash them in warm, soapy water. If the inside of the toaster has a nonstick coating, wipe it with a cleaning pad that's labeled safe for this purpose. On a bare metal interior, you can use soap-filled steel wool. To avoid scratching a porcelain surface (or making it more difficult to clean the next time food cooks on), use nothing stronger than a nylon pad. Some toaster-oven interiors

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