There are several things I’m a big fan of in life: crafting, Michigan, glitter, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, vegetables and Martha Stewart (odd list, I know). It should come as no surprise that when asked if I’d like to attend a Martha Stewart taping, I jumped at the chance.
I got an invitation to join the studio audience for the Family episode back in January. Tickets to attend tapings are free, so many of the guests tend to be from the greater New York/New Jersey area. As I’m not a resident of either state and couldn’t take off work and jump on a plane right away, I asked if I could attend in the future and quickly realized that if I ever deserved an impromptu vacation, it was to see Martha doing her thing. That’s what lead me to the Chinese New Year Show taping. There’s a little something that almost threw a huge wrench in this whole process: a blizzard. New Yorkers were bracing for the “great snow of ’10″ as I breezed into town, laughing at the lack of snow on the ground. (I’m from Michigan- I laugh at your snowstorm!) That was Tuesday, Feb. 9. A huge front was moving toward the east coast on Feb. 10 and I came to the realization that I might be temporarily living in New York for a while. Folks all around were preparing for the worst. But not Martha. The show producers e-mailed guests and said the show was on. No blizzard would stop Martha Stewart. I could barely sleep the night before. Part of that might have been the impending wrath on snow the Weather Channel kept warning me of, but I’d like to think it was my show excitement. I planned alternate routes to the Chelsea Television Studios. I quizzed cab drivers the night before about how well they could drive in several feet of snow. I checked the New York Transit Authority on the hour to get train updates. I almost bought a pair of hiking boots in case I had to walk downtown. Luckily when I headed to the studio the snow wasn’t too bad (again, I’m from Michigan). Audience members, covered in snow, huddled in the lobby as they awaited their tickets and checked their wet coats. When you walk in, there are covers of Martha Stewart Living magazines on the walls, pastel-coated signs and a large portrait of Martha. Several portraits of Martha, in fact! There are two waiting areas with a GIFT SHOP up front, Martha on the large TV screens. Heaven? Just wait. It gets better. As I decided just how much I was going to buy from the gift shop, I was as happy as a soy clam- I was going to see Martha Stewart! And then… Joey Kola came out! He gave us a rundown of the show, thanked us for braving the snow and taught us our audience cues – loud applause, soft applause, “oohs” and “aahs.” And yes, our cue for “mmmm!” From there we lined up to take our seats in the studio. The studio felt so much smaller in person! It’s even cooler when you can see it up close. Great collections of plates in the kitchen, a lovely greenhouse to your right, Valentine candy all around, a craft area I’d like to live in… Sigh. I took my seat in the FRONT ROW (I’m going to pretend Martha requested I sit there) and got ready. Joey called Martha out right before the show and from there, it was a non-stop good time. Literally non-stop – we were filming live. Our guests were Joe Ng, Hao Jian Tian, and Martha Liao. I was amazed at how quick everything moves on set. You know when Martha and her guest leave the front table and head to the kitchen? A crew jumps in, moves the table ASAP and the front of the studio is filled with cameras and crew members. Amazing. We did a lot of cooking and some table decorating to get ready for the holiday. Martha showed off a daisy craft punch to make some pretty table runners. The guests were great and the audience was very excited to not be out in the snow! In between segments Joey kept us entertained, handing out funny freebies to once again thank us for braving the snow. Martha keeps very focused during the show. In between segments she’s talking to her staff, getting ready for the next segment. Her staff is fascinating. The kitchen crew cooks the whole time, running out to set up stoves for the next cooking demo. The creative staff double checks craft projects right before they’re shown off. Can you imagine the pressure?! When the show ended, Martha thanked us all for coming and took some questions from the audience. I should mention I’d almost lost my voice after the show due to my constant yelling and looked like an overall idiot from the huge smile planted on my face. I had to show Martha my appreciation! (See below) The show ended and I picked up my souvenirs. The hour had gone by very quickly and I was tempted to stay for another taping. I mean, rumor was LaGuardia was closed! Of course, I had the ONE airline that flew out all day, so by that afternoon I was on a plane back to Detroit wearing my new “It’s a Good Thing” hoodie. Attending a live taping of The Martha Stewart Show has given me a whole new appreciation for not only Martha and her staff, but for all DIY shows. There’s just so much work involved to show us 21 or 45 minutes of ideas. The next time you watch your favorite how-to show, send a mental “thank you” to the staff!
Despite missing the Family show, I took a cue from one of the projects and made my own scrapbox. Just three simple steps to make this fun souvenir. I used a basic Ikea frame. I painted the backing seafoam green (very Martha). I added my treats, along with some stickers! (I liked my “blog” sign for being a blogger!) If you’re ever possibly stranded in New York thanks to a snowmageddon, make sure to check out Martha. More Martha photos