Monday, December 28, 2009

Handmade Holiday

The past few weeks have been a hectic whirlwind of holiday preparations and parties and the holidays themselves. This year, I wanted to approach the holidays with the mantra, local and handmade. Some things I made myself, some things were made by others and still more things were purchased locally. My family - really the only people I purchase Christmas gifts for these days - are pretty easy and most of their gifts came from great North Brooklyn shops like Word, Catbird and Houndstooth.

The rest of my holiday was handmade. A few images:

glitter covered snowflakes for holiday cards

piparkakut in the oven

piparkakut cut out and waiting to be sprinkled with sugar and put in the oven - 
pigs and squirrels (I also made seahorses and skull&crossbones)

Swarovski crystal and felt bib necklace

stuffed pork loin roast for Christmas dinner 
(I know it could've been prettier, but I had never frenched a roast before) 

a row of Les Enfants Terribles elephants to fill holiday orders

Thursday, December 3, 2009


This Saturday, dear ones, Martha Stewart is hosting her holiday craft fair in NYC.  I'm remiss that I will have to miss it, as I already have too many plans for that afternoon - but I recommend that you go and check out the crafts (many of them by people who work for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia) - and hey, if you happen to be chatting with them, tell them about my little blog!

I love the idea of craft fairs before the holidays - it seems to me, however, that most of the craft fairs around these days are chock-full of silk-screened T-shirts and tote bags.  Now, don't get me wrong, I like a good graphic and a girl needs a lot of fun Ts and totes, but there is so much more to crafting!

As I have been unemployed for a year (or so) now, I am trying to figure out the best way to keep my holiday spending at a minimum.  I know that no one is expecting anything expensive or fancy from me this year, but I love the art of giving - picking out a gift for someone that is thoughtful and all about them.  Something that they might not think to get themselves or something they really admire.  I am lucky to have friends and family who also love the art of the gift - some of the nicest presents I have ever received were found objects from flea markets or old framed photos of us together.  These things need not cost a lot, but they mean so much.  The gift really is in the thought (the actual thought) that goes into it.

So, this year, I will be taking a cue from Martha and making as many gifts as possible.  I will be making my Christmas cards (I send them out every year).  Also, to raise a little cash for the Holidays, I have been taking orders for my little stuffed animals - you can look and buy on my Etsy shop - or, if you're in the 'hood, message me directly.  Today is a gorgeous and unseasonably warm day here in Brooklyn, so I'm going to take a walk to the little Greenpoint yarn store and see what they have and get a little inspiration for my holiday crafting.

And if you are in the area, next weekend is the Greenpoint Hearts and Crafts Affair at Cafe Grumpy.  It's been going strong since 2006 and I coan only imagine that it will be better than ever this year.  Stop on by and check it out and by some unique presents for the people on your shopping list!

Friday, November 27, 2009


Once again this year, Tina, Sarah and I cooked a Thanksgiving feast. Last year we cooked for 16 people (!). This year was smaller - just four good friends, with beautiful food and wine - but no less fun. Tina did the turkey and a delicious British sausage stuffing, yummy Brussel sprouts (with bacon) and the pan gravy (and was a gracious hostess). Sarah brought the all-American nostalgia with a classic green bean casserole and an apple-blackberry pie made by a friend of hers. And, gentle readers, I was charged with cranberry sauce, rolls and a pecan-bourbon pie. I had made some cookies earlier in the week and took some of the remaining to share (and for my friends to take home with them for later in the week).

cheddar-herb poppers (recipe via the November issue of Bon Appetite) baking in the oven on Wednesday night

red wine, sugar and pomegranate syrup reducing for the cranberry sauce

a close-up of the pecan-bourbon pie, straight out of the oven

the brussel sprouts washed and waiting to be blanched and then a quick saute with bacon

bacon food porn

stuffing, brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes by Mark and cranberry-pomegranate sauce with a red wine reduction (I made that!)

slices of delicious turkey and a mug full of gravy

a close up of the top crust of the yummy blackberry-apple pie made by Sarah's friend, beautiful and yummy!

and, of course, lots of Cote de Rhone was our beverage of choice

I hope all of you had as beautiful and enjoyable a Thanksgiving feast and day as I did this year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


© Briana Campbell, 2009

I made this little octopus (it's yet to be mailed) for my dear friends Jen & Tony's newborn son, Maxton.  On my Etsy site, you can see a different octopus I had made - I think it's cute, but it didn't come out exactly how I was imagining.  For Maxton's new friend, I enlarged the pattern a bit and made the tentacles a bit fatter.  I also decided on closed eyes - I think it's a softer, perfect for a newborn. 

Monday, November 23, 2009


©Briana Campbell, 2009

For a recent project in my textile design class at FIT we had to make a croquis (a tossed design), keeping in mind the fabric's use. I drew, using Photoshop, these vintage-inspired bicycles and scattered them over the page, on a soft green background. I envision this pattern being used on a mini-dress (think something like this from APC).

The next assignment, due tomorrow!, is to index the colors and re-color the pattern two different ways from a previously determined color palette.  I love the idea of getting an entirely different feel from a pattern using only a subtle change of color.

Hire Me Martha

Gentle readers, your MatchGirl has been alerted to the job she must have at Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Associate Designer, Crafts.  How very amazing would that be for a crafty girl like myself?  To make crafts, to come up with ideas, to organize the intense library that already exists at MSO...  That is something that I would love doing every day.  Absolutely love!  It was posted a month ago, so the likelihood of me getting this job is pretty slim, I'm sure (and I'm not sure any of the other jobs listed on the Martha Stewart website are quite right for me at this precise moment). But, let's take a look at the description and I'll let you all know why I would be an amazing fit for this job.

Associate Designer, Crafts
Posting Date: 10/15/2009
Type: Full-Time
Description: Assist in the development of thematic concepts, color palettes, style guides, create original artwork, and generate applicable product suggestions utilizing our design resources, archives, market research, editorial, and television content.

Assist in the development of Crafts / Weddings / Celebrations / Stationary products. Design select artwork, products, and create initial samples.
I can totally do this. As readers of my blog know, your MatchGirl is quite the crafty girl. In addition to my Etsy shop, I have a degree in Fine Arts and am currently taking classes in textile design at FIT. I've been making things my whole life. I've woven baskets, sewn everything from doll clothes to my clothes to stuffed animals. I'm a whiz with a paintbrush and pencil, I've silk screened, made paper, bound books and made masks for a black and white ball.

Manage the artwork library and leverage it for different product types and businesses.

Organize all design components to hand off to partners. Assist in the communication regarding product specifications with partners up to the final sample approval. Keep designers, merchants, and product mangers updated in all communications. Create and maintain formalized record of designs, design revisions, correspondence, and approvals. Maintain product communication consistent with current department standards.

Research trade shows, antique shows, and retail stores for inspiration and to keep abreast of craft trends and competitive landscape. Purchase market samples as reference.

Collaborate with brand management in the development of packaging and collateral. Confirm all details of the products and projects are accurate.

Maintain library of all MSO publications, artwork, and inspiration tear sheets.

Develop a strong sense of Martha Stewart design aesthetic throughout the design of all merchandise. Stay informed of the latest editorial and television content through appropriate channels. Use inspiration to create viable product suggestions where appropriate. Research and develop new ideas that will in turn inspire editorial and television.

In my last position, as the operations manager for a start-up cosmetics company/photo studio/event space (Think on the Smashbox model), I wore the mantle of manager of several businesses, all running under one roof. I believe that my former employer would say that I handled this with an enormous sense of organization, style and grace under pressure. When one is in a management position at a start-up, gentle readers, the ability to know where everything is, how everything works and what everyone else is supposed to be doing (and whether they are doing it or not!) is a great asset.

In my apartment, the books on the shelf are divided in categories (fiction, art books, cooking books, etc...) and in alphabetical and chronological order by author. The same for the CDs on my CD shelf. The clothes in my drawers are neatly folded, with everything at my fingertips and my closet is hung by category. Lest you think I'm a little OCD, I'm not. I'm not going to have a melt down if something is out of place. I'm simply organized. And, I've found that it's a lot easier to get things done quickly and well if you're organized to start.

So, even though the job was posted about a month ago, dear ones, your MatchGirl is going to give it a go - use her networking and her resources and see if she can't get herself this job (or one a lot like it)! Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I Like You

This is one of my favorite clips from the Martha Stewart Show. New York's domestic diva and funny woman Amy Sedaris (another of my favorite ladies) shows Martha how to make a cake from her very amazing and, quite frankly, indispensable, book on hostessing, I Like You.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hire Me Martha

Ah, gentle readers, as many of you know, your MatchGirl adores Martha Stewart. I've written about it here before. And last week, thanks to one of our fellow unemployeds (yay, Tony!), your MatchGirl had the opportunity to attend the taping of Martha's Brooklyn show (which you can watch here, if you missed it!).

The studio was totally big and beautiful, with a huge kitchen area, crafting area and humongous "greenhouse" looking section where she films her outdoor and gardening segments. Thanks to, I dunno, sheer luck, we were seated in the front row and had a prime view of Martha and her guests (and, of course, Joey, her warm-up guy). Martha was everything I had hoped she would be - please no jokes about insider trading or that you know she's difficult - she was totally self-deprecating and professional (and, once or twice, funny).

It was an amazing day. Who cares that I had to get up when it was still dark outside! It was so worth it! Beyond worth it.

As many of you know, I want to work for Martha.

So, dear ones, I have decided that I am going to launch a campaign, via this little blog, to get hired by Martha Stewart. Once a week I will write a post about how much I want to work for Martha and the reasons that she should hire me. Maybe someone who works for her will see it. Maybe not. But when I think about my job hunt - and where the past year has taken me, and the kind of job that I'd like to do on a regular basis - every day - I want to be doing things that I enjoy. I want to be able to work in a creative environment and get to be creative and to be surrounded by creative people. I want to work somewhere where creativity and a passion for all things creative (crafts, arts, sewing, baking cooking, gardening) is the status quo. And that's hard to find, even in New York.

Many of you have messaged me or e-mailed me to attempt to get me a connection at her company, and I really appreciate it. Many of you have said that she is a bitch, but the simple fact of the matter is that I've worked for a bunch of real tough people, and taken a lot of crap, and not one of them was as successful (or had really any excuse for being so rude, except that power had gone to their heads) as Martha Stewart. And, a few of you have said that she has a hiring freeze (which is probably very true - so many places do!), but that can't last forever, can it?

I'm a great manager and would happily take an administrative position somewhere in her company. Anything. A foot in the door is all I am asking for - it's the hardest thing, of course - but it's all I need. Once I'm in... Martha will see how much of an asset I can be to Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Seriously. Just leave it to me.

So, hire me Martha!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dream Job?

Ah, my lovelies, your MatchGirl has been looking for a job for a long time now. Your MatchGirl is frustrated. Your MatchGirl has felt all over the place. Especially as the year of unemployment looms and I feel as though I should just take anything that comes my way.

But here's the thing, gentle readers, I don't want to have to take just anything that comes my way. I want something that I am good at and that I am interested in and that I'll want to do for a while. At the end of the day, I want to work for Martha Stewart.

There. I said it. I want to work for Martha. She does all the things that I enjoy - baking, crafting, sewing. She gardens - I hardly ever kill the plants in my apartment. I think it could be amazing.

I started my classes at FIT because I'd like to go into Textile Design, and, while I am learning a lot, I'm not really sure the next step in this journey. I love what I have learned so far. I think I am pretty good at it and with a little practice I will be a lot better at it (but isn't that how everything works?). I suppose I should figure out how to get something entry level, but I am not sure where to begin.

When I think about working for Martha, I think about how diverse her creativity is - how many types of crafts and sewing and baking and cooking projects that she offers to her readers and her viewers. And I think about how great it would be, how fun, to spend your day not only perfecting projects, but coming up with new ones or tweaking old ones so they are modern. How great would it be to break a project down to it's barest parts and then teach it to someone - someone who thinks they're no good at stitching or baking or papier-mâché - and have them do it almost as good as Martha? (I mean, let's face it, no one is as good as Martha).

So. There it is. I want to work for Martha.
Who's going to hook me up with an interview?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


As you know, my gentle readers, your MatchGirl has been trying to hone her skills while unemployed. A career change is the long term goal, but more skills for my current one is an added benefit.

In the class I am currently taking at FIT, we are learning some pretty basic Photoshop with CS4. Our current assignment, due tonight, was simply to free-hand some abstract designs, which is kind of fun and also reminds me of the stuff that my sister and I used to do on McDraw and MacPaint on our first family computer (a little Macintosh SE) back in the mid 80s.

Here's one I did based on some fabric I had hand-painted to make a bag from:

And here's the fabric I hand-painted that inspired it:

And here's a photo of my LA friend J and me, by my dear friend Violet Shuraka, after a rehearsal dinner in Boston on 11 September, with the cute bag tucked under my arm:

Monday, July 13, 2009


Above are a couple of little stuffed elephants I have made for some babies I know. After the first one was a big hit, and some interest was shown, I've decided to try my hand at selling them on Etsy.

Keep an eye on for a whole slew of crafty prezzies for the kids in your life ... and probably some grown up stuff, too!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cupcake Cookoff Images and Links

As promised, here are some photos from Monday night's cookoff at Union Pool.

cupcakes near mine - the s'mores won honorable mention in the decoration part of the competition

more competition

my entry in the foreground

pre-competition in my kitchen

And a link from Not Eating Out In New York with her recipe and some photos of cakes she found appealing - the second one down is mine!

The winner's boyfriend donated $200 (bought 200 votes) to the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen - which, as stated previously is a really good cause! Good for him!

I would post the recipe if there was any interest, but perhaps I should keep it to myself and just keep wowing the crowds?

Thursday, April 9, 2009


A little bag, of re-purposed vinyl, I whipped up last Friday. A rainy day is great for projects!

The hot-pink cotton lining of the bag ...

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I mentioned in a previous post that I was attempting to make good use of my days. That I would be doing some crafty projects and that I would be trying to take some classes.

I'm looking at the FIT class schedule for the summer and the class I really want to take is not being offered. There are a couple that look interesting, informative and might be useful in the long run, but not that give me the skills that I am looking for right now. If I had a job, and an income, I might think about taking one of these classes. They're not crazy expensive, but, every penny counts these days and I think I will wait for the fall semester to take another class - one that will help me build a portfolio and move on. In the meantime, perhaps I can find a copy of AI and try to hone my skills over the summer so that I'm the star if the class in the fall ...

Anyway - I've put up a few posts called "Walkabout", which are just photos I've taken while walking around. I'll keep doing those from time to time. And I will also keep posting these, "FUNemployment" (thanks to my friend Eric for the title), which will be pix of projects I've worked on and probably some rambling about them.

Below are a couple of photos of a jacket that I made. The pattern is a Built By Wendy for Simplicity pattern (there are loads and you can find them online here, at either of the Built By Wendy store in NY and probably where other patterns are sold). The fabric is a really dark denim with a sheer(ish) cotton lining. I'm psyched to have it finished in time for the spring weather.

Monday, January 12, 2009


What is the purpose of Hire Me Martha? 

The objective of Hire Me Martha is to get a job working at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.  Ultimately, I want to work in the crafts department, either on the television show or as part of her magazine. It would be a dream to go to work every day and research and devise crafts, tweaking them until they were perfect and then figuring out the best way to teach the technique to others.

Why a blog trying to get a job?

Many have asked why I started a blog as part of my quest for a job with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.  Why not just apply, like everybody else?

Because I am not like everybody else.

I have submitted my resume through the regular channels.  I have applied through the career section of the Martha Stewart Website.  I have given my resume to friends who have connections at MSLO to pass along.  I have asked people if they know anyone or of anything.  I've reached out through Twitter and Facebook.  My resume is, simply put, with a lot of people.

A blog, though, with the dedicated purpose of working for Martha Stewart sets me apart.  It's proactive.   It shows the best of me and my skills and talents.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Inspirations, Ideas, Innovation




Les Enfants Terribles

My Etsy shop started with one little stuffed elephant, made for my friend Dash on his first birthday.

I've since added a mouse, an octupus and a shark, with plans for more additions to the menagerie in 2010 - a lion, a squirrel and a seahorse are all in the works.

I plan on adding some fun stuff for grown-ups - so keep an eye out for that as well!

Images of some of my creatures:

All photos © Briana Campbell, 2009 
Les Enfants Terribles logo by Joy Garletts

About Me

After being laid off at the end of 2008, I started the blog Unemployed Brooklyn under the pseudonym of MatchGirl as a forum to write about my life as an unemployed and single girl in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

During my unemployment, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the kinds of jobs I have had and the kind of job I would like to have.  I came to the realization that my supreme organizational skills, combined with a love of what was once labeled "homemaking", would make me a perfect addition to the team at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. 

While I've made good use of all my extra "free" time, from organizing happy hours for her fellow unemployed in North Brooklyn - to create a sense of camaraderie and support to those in the same situation to taking classes at FIT, it is when sewing, baking and crafting and creating stuffed animal designs for my Etsy shop that I find myself the most fulfilled and accomplished.

Ultimately, I would love to work in the craft department of either the magazine or the television show - researching and developing crafts.  Playing with fabric and glitter and paper every day to figure out the best and most interesting way to teach others how to make something would be the best job I could imagine.

That is how, and why, Hire Me Martha was born.

View resumé and read recommendations from former colleagues on LinkedIn.