Last night, I sat down with Martha (a dream come true) at a party to celebrate JC Penney's new home store. See what she had to say about decorating with kids in the home, her favorite things to do with her grandkids — Jude, 2, and Truman, 1 — which of her new sets she used for her granddaughter's recent birthday party, and whether moms really can "have it all."
POPSUGAR: Now that you're a grandmother, and you see all the gear and toys and mess that comes with kids, what one piece of decorating advice would you give to parents who are decorating with kids in mind?
Martha Stewart: Keep it simple. Keep the background very plain because you're going to add a lot to it. I've been watching my daughter, and I've been watching the decorating going on. I must say I really admire what she's doing because she has a blank slate with built-in furniture and the walls are bright white and she is putting the most incredible things on the walls — learning tools for the children. She has maps of the world — giant maps, maps of New York, maps of the United States, maps of the moon, from every angle — solar systems, alphabets. Name it, it's on the wall. It's very interesting and the children love it because everywhere they look they see something to learn.
PS: We're big fans of parties, so we're very excited about the celebration shop; what's your favorite baby shower theme?
MS: Any one of these can be adapted to a baby shower, it depends on what your house looks like, so that you can mix and match. I love the green fern, I love the pink for a girl, I used the red for Jude. [Martha's daughter, Alexis] had a 2-year-old Elmo party. I used a lot of the red for that party, and it was very successful.
PS: For moms who don't have a lot of time to put in for parties, but they want to throw a great party, what are your three elements of a party, shower, or birthday party that are must haves?
MS: You have to have something interesting that stands out, in terms of decoration. It could be just a ceiling covered with those gorgeous balloons and they're fabulous. It could be just a table decoration, beautiful paper stands and cardboard stands covered with cupcakes, although in our family the children don't eat sugar so everything is vegan and everything is very delicious. We had jello Elmos; they were a big hit, believe it or not! There was no birthday cake, so it forces you to be more creative!
PS: Have you started baking or cooking with the kids yet?
MS: Oh, the children cook all the time.
PS: What's your favorite thing to cook with them?
MS: Well, again it has to be primarily vegetarian. No sugar, no butter, and we make delicious food. Pastas and wonderful salads, asparagus . . .
Keep reading for Martha's thoughts on women trying to have it all and the best parenting trick her own mom taught her!
PS: What about crafts? You have a new craft book out for kids. Have you started doing them with the children yet?
MS: Oh it's a fabulous, fabulous 300-page book; 175 different craft projects for children. I took it home, first day I got that book, I ran it down to baby Jude. She sat on her sofa and she went through page by page and said she wanted to make every single project. It took her an hour to go through the book . . . at 2! So you can imagine what a 4-year-old or 5-year-old will do. They're going to want to make every project in the book.
PS: As a working mother and grandmother, who has been working and building an empire for so long, how do you fall in this debate in the mother having it all; are we trying too hard or should we not even be trying at all?
MS: You can never have it all. I haven't met the woman who has it all yet. There's lots of have-nots. I think the only equalizer for having it all is money, and that's difficult for most people to manage, but it's pick and choose and you have to really pick where you want to go.
PS: What is the best parenting trick your mother taught you?
MS: Best parenting trick? Treat each child equally.