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The Best Homemade Gift Ideas Monthly Digest: free-gift-ideas-newsletter-October2008.html

by: Brenda Mullard

Table of Contents:

1. Happy Halloween! Did you carve your potato yet?

2. Welcome New Subscribers

3. What is new?

4. Crafter/Artist Interview of the Month

5. Looking For Reader Recipes!

Welcome to Fall!
1) Happy Halloween! Did you carve your potato yet?

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That's right, I said potato! Where did the tradition of carving pumpkins into jack o lanterns all begin? Well, let me tell you. 700,000 immigrants came to America in the 1800s during the Irish Potato Famine, bringing with them the traditions of Halloween and the use of Jack-O-Lanterns. Traditionally, the lantern was carved from a turnip, potato, or beet and lit with a burning lump of coal or a candle. These lanterns represented the souls of the departed loved ones and were placed in windows or set on porches to welcome the deceased. They also served as protection against malevolent sprits or goblins freed from the dead. Turnips and gourds were not as readily available in the Americas so the pumpkin was used and found to be quite an adequate replacement. The pumpkin jack-o-lantern has been an essential part of Halloween celebrations since the Victorian days and today is a universal symbol of Halloween.

On my Halloween page I have a great How To Carve a Pumpkin video So go out in the patch and find that perfect pumpkin, find your favorite scopper and knives. It is pumpkin carving time!!!!
I got this great site sent to me from one of my FABULAOUS readers!!!

Thanks Kim from Neenah, WI! It is virtual pumpkin carving. My kids just want to do this over and over again! I have to admit, I carved bunch of times too. So much fun! Thanks again Kim!


Did you try the pumpkin carving website? What did you think?

Not keen on using a knife here is another alternative to carving. 2.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 all of you. Thanks for your continued support! It's great to have you all here. 3.What is New?

As always I have been working on new projects and gift ideas for all of you. I have added a new recycled materials gift section to my website for the trash to treasure folks.

I know it's only October, but we are starting to think about Christmas. I added a how to

wrap gifts section on the site as well. I am such a right brained visual learner!! So of course it's a video as well!

I have also stared designing paper greeting cards. I plan to add more every month. Feel free to take a look. There are a couple of winter snowmen just waiting be become Christmas cards.

These cards are beautifully printed and sent right to your door ready for you to address and pop in the mail! As always if there is something you are looking for and can't find please e mail me. or if you have a great gift ideas of favorite project you would like to share, by all means, send me those too. I would love to hear from you.


4. Crafter/Artist Interview of the Month This months artist/crafter's name is Jeni Barackman. She hand paints very whimsical and cute tea pot sets. The colors are fun and cheerful and I loved them when I saw them. So... without any delay, here's.... Jeni!

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a stay at home mom of two boys ages 5 and 2. I love anything to do with paper and sewing, and I occassionnally like to paint :) I went to nursing school and then figured out that wasn't for me so I am trying out lots of things now so I know what I like when my kids are in school.

2) Did you o a lot of crafty stuff when you were a kid?

I got the knack for crafts from my mom. She did bazaars when I was young and she let me put in a few items to sell. At that time it was homemade pies and paper earrings and pins.

3)What got you started painting ceramic tea sets?

I started painting tea pots because I wanted to make something special for my nieces. I thought that would be a wonderful thing to do since I only have boys, who are not into tea parties! My mom and I were doing a bazaar with tea party sets and we thought that the tea sets would go great with them and sell them better.

4)Your designs are really fun. Where do you get the inspiration for the designs you use?

The inspiration for the tea sets came directly from the fabric that we use in our tea party sets. I tried to capture my most favorite parts of the fabric. I also like to use a lot of color, one thing about ceramic painting though is you never know what you are going to get until it is fired, which my type of personality doesn't like!

5) Do you build the ceramic pots and cups yourself?

I didn't make these sets. We live near a paint your own pottery store. That is my break from my kids- I go and paint in the evening after my husband gets home. I makes a stressful day go away!

6) What does your painting area look like? How do you go about firing your pieces once they are finished?

I don't paint at home, but in the pottery store it is pretty neat. I always try to go with a plan. I get the design even before I go to the shop. That way more of my time is spent painting rather than thinking. My craft area at home is another story - complete disaster!

7) Have you ever given a painted tea set as a gift? What was the person's reaction?

I am saving the sets for my nieces when they get a little older, right now the oldest girl is 4. My mother and my mother-in-law are my biggest fans and they love them!

8) If someone wanted to purchase a tea set from you where could they find you? Do you have any other websites out there?

If someone wanted to purchase these my website is: www.sewsewcute.etsy.com

9) If some one wanted to try making a painted teaset of their own, what bit of advice would you give them?

I try to remember that I am painting from the heart not for perfection which is really hard for me. I would say try to have fun with them and take your time. Have a plan before in hand so that when you get there it isn't so overwhelming. Pick a store that will let you make many visits.

Thank you so much Jeni for sharing your talent and information about your whimsical tea pots.



5. Project of the Month Like always, if you try this gift idea or any other, show us pictures and tell us how it all went for you! We all learn from each other.




6. Looking for reader recipes!

Do you have a great recipe for comfort foods to make on those chilly autumn evenings or a fun tailgating goodie to take to share at a football gathering. Please send them my way! I would like to put these together for an autumn recipe page. Here's a yummy recipe from one of our valued readers!

My family and I just loved this recipe. I was asked to make it again. This is delicious comfort food at its best!

Thanks Carrie from North Carolina!

Ingredients: 1-1/2 pounds ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, cubed and softened

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic salt

7 cups uncooked wide egg noodles, cooked and drained

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Directions: In a large skillet, cook beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Remove from the heat; stir in the tomato sauce, sour cream, cream cheese, sugar and garlic salt. Place half of the noodles in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; top with half of the beef mixture. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350¢X for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese; bake 3-5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.

Carrie, I have to saythis is a new family favorite!!! My kids loved this one.

HAPPY FALL YA'LL! Look for the next news letter coming in November!


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