The Best Homemade Gift Ideas Monthly Digest: free-gift-ideas-newsletter-April2009.html

by: Brenda Mullard

Table of Contents:

1. Happy Spring!

2. Dying Easter Eggs the natural way!

3. Welcome New Subscribers

4. What's new?

5.Crafter/Artist Interview of the Month

6. Reader Recipes

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Terrier Dog Dressed As Easter Bunny
Jeffry Myers

1)Happy Spring!

As I sit writing the latest edition of The Best Homemade Gift Ideas e zine I am watching the snow fly. What? Snow in April? Yes, here in Wisconsin we haven't had temps much above 35 degrees.We are strong folks in Wisconsin and can endure the cold, but for many of us we too are longing for the warm weather of Spring to come.

I am also beginning to think about Easter, dying eggs with the kids, and yummy Easter morning brunch with my family.You can find a bunch a Easter gift ideas on the Easter page page.

2.Dying Easter eggs the natural way!

I know my kids always look forward to dying Easter eggs. We have tried all sorts of different ways to add color to make our eggs fun and festive! I have added a page that shows and tells you how to use vegetables and spices to add natural colors to your Easter eggs. It's a natural healthy way to dye your eggs without chemical. It's also green for the planet.

3.Welcome New Subscribers A big welcome goes out to all of my new subscribers! This website wouldn't be worth creating if it weren't for my wonderful valued readers. Thanks for your continued support! It's great to have you here with me. I love to find out where everyone is from and what it is you create and do. Please drop me an e-mail if you get a chance. I am always looking for new artists or crafters each month for this newsletter.

4)What’s New? I have added a few things new things to the website this month. The Easter page has some new and fun ideas for Easter baskets and egg dying. Learn how to boil the perfect egg too! I have also added new card to my paper greeting cards shop The flower fruit bouquets are a great gift to give to the Easter brunch host or hostess. They really are pretty easy to make. A couple of cookie cutters, some fruit and maybe a little chocolate and wha la! Instant edible gift idea!

5.Crafter/Artist Interview of the Month

Easter is just around the corner and what better time to learn about the art of Pysanky. These eggs are so beautiful that it would a shame to only display them once a year at Easter time.I would like to introduce all of you to Ann Morash our Pysanky egg artist of the month.

Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from? Family?

I was born, raised, and still live in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The Ukrainian side of my family comes from Sydney, Nova Scotia. Many Ukrainian (and other) immigrants came there to work in the steel plant - my grandfather was one of them. He came from the old country, but he met my Polish grandmother here in Canada. There was a large enough population in Sydney that they were able to build their own church, which is still in existence. And they always do a piece on the local news from Sydney when it's Old Christmas (as we still use the old calendar and celebrate it on January 6/7) and Easter, interviewing families (including my own relatives that live there) who continue the practices.

How did you get started making Pysanky eggs?

My family belonged to the local Ukrainian club, where I learned Ukrainian dance, some language, and pysanky. The pysanky class was taught by Cathy Karpenko, a wonderful woman who taught classes for over 20 years. I first learned when I was three. Back then it was just scribbling with the kistka, doing a one-color egg, but it was great to be exposed to the techniques at that young age, I think it really helped my artistic development. I made eggs almost every year at Easter, but really took it up seriously in high school, when I started developing my own designs.

Do you use different kinds of eggs to do the Pysanky on?

I've only had opportunity to use a few different eggs. I've done chicken and ostrich, but I've also done a cockatiel egg. It was a surprise by a neighbours' daughter for her coworker, who had given her one of his cockatiel's tiny eggs.

Where do you create these wonderful eggy works of art? Do you have pictures of your studio or work space?

I moved fairly recently, and there's still areas of our place that aren't unpacked, I'm embarassed to say! I usually set up for a time on a spare work table, with the dyes in a row at the back, and my work area in the front.

How long does it usually take you to create one egg?

4 - 5 hours, depending on the intricacy of the design, including waiting for the eggs to dye.

I have read that the different symbols that are used to decorate the eggs mean different things? Can you tell us more about that?

I have a little section on Symbols and Color meanings on my site, for more info:

Do you sell your eggs? If so how might someone go about purchasing one of your eggs?

I don't actually sell my eggs through my website (although I did sell a set of pysanky egg Christmas ornaments back in the late '90s). If people inquire, I give a price, but I don't actively sell. I want to encourage people to take up this art for themselves, even if they only try it once. People will always choose an easier way - if they see an egg for sale, it's much easier to buy one, than to try and make one themselves as a super-special present for a loved one. I think it's much more special for the recipient if their loved one makes the egg themselves.

6)Reader Recipes This month's recipe is Stuffed French Toast I have made this recipe to take to a lot of breakfasts where I needed to bring a dish to pass. It's very easy and so yummy! Perfect for any Easter brunch!

Stuffed French Toast Ingredients:

8 slices Cinnamon Bread (I usually use the Sara Lee Cinnamon Bread)

8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened

Walnuts ( I am sure you could use pecans as well if you choose to)

Maple Syrup

Powdered Sugar

Sliced Strawberries

8 eggs

1/4 cup half and half

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Stuffed French Toast Instructions

1)Carmelize walnuts but simmering over medium flame with maple syrup until syrup thickens - put aside.

2)Heat griddle (I use an electric griddle as it is easier to control the heat setting).

3)Spread cream cheese as desired over 4 slices cinnamon bread, place carmelized walnuts on each slice with the cream cheese, then place another slice of cinnamon bread on top to make a sandwich.

4)Whisk eggs, half and half, and vanilla until well mixed. Spray griddle with oil, dip each sandwich into the egg mix and then place on griddle, flip when lightly browned, then gently "roll" all the sides along the griddle to cook any egg mixture on the sides of the sandwiches.

5)Layer each sandwich with sliced strawberries then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with warm maple syrup.

This recipe make 4 servings.

7. Project of the Month

Come on readers. I am still waiting for those gift ideas! I have now made it even easier to share your ideas. You can go to share you ideas This new page makes it easy to submit a project idea along with pictures and instructions!

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To Easter Ideas

To Fruit Bouquet instructions

To the paper greeting cards page

Fun Satin Eggs Gift Idea

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