The Best Homemade Gift Ideas Monthly Digest: free-gift-ideas-newsletter-January2009.html

by: Brenda Mullard

Table of Contents:

1. Happy New Year Everyone!

2. Make New Year's Resolutions or Goals You Can Keep!

3. Welcome New Subscribers

4. What's new?

5.Crafter/Artist Interview of the Month

6. Project of the month

7. Reader Recipes

1) Happy New Year Everyone! Happy New Year to all of you! I hope everyone made it through the holiday with his or her sanity. :0) Even though it's crazy, I love it. My children are small and still believe in Santa which makes it all even more fun. It was good to spend time with family. Yes, I even enjoyed spending time with the in laws. I am looking forward to another year of homemade gifts, tricks, tips, ideas and recipes. I am also looking forward to hearing from you too. Feel free to drop me an e-mail anytime.

2. Make New Year's Resolutions You Can Keep! So many people make New Year's resolutions that they just don't keep. Lose weight, work out everyday, eat healthier, etc., etc., etc. Who keeps these? Seriously? The past few years I have started making goals for the year. I don't like to call them resolutions but rather goals. Last year was to start this website. I would definitely say I achieved that goal thanks to all of you. I always like to pick a goal that scares me a little. Something that takes me out of my comfort zone. I always wanted to try to get my artwork published so two years ago that was my goal for the year. So I started painting again after many years of life getting in the way. The scary part of all of it was sending examples of my work to companies. But I did it anyway. What was the worst that could happen? I would be in the same place if nothing happens. So start sending! I did, and I sold a couple of my paintings to a card company. It was so exciting.

So here are some GOALS you may want to try in 2009:
1) Renew a passion for something you like to do. Whether it is something you loved to do as a child or a hobby that has fallen by the wayside, pick it up again.

2) Start a new hobby or small business from your hobby. Just as I did with my painting, put yourself out there and see where you go.

3) Stop with the why-ning. "Why?" is an acceptable question coming from a toddler, but not from you. Why am I stuck in this crummy job? Why don't I have a better boyfriend? A better question: "How?" How do I get a better job, a better guy? Put yourself in charge of the change!

4) Don't procrastinate. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow... Let me be the first one to tell you, tomorrow never comes! Go out there and get what it is you want. Don't wait for "it" to come knocking on your door. You'll be waiting for a very long time!

5) Don't sweat the small stuff. So your plan A didn't go as planned. Big deal! Change your plan A to plan B,C,D,or F. Rethink, rearrange, and adjust your plan until your resolution or goal is achieved.

This year my goal is to make my own video for my website. I have no clue on where to start or how to begin, but I am going to learn! Stay tuned to see what I end up coming up with!

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.

Valentine's Day is February 14th. Don't forget to make a special homemade gift for you sweetie! Check out my Valentine's Day Gift page for lots of homemade and semi-homemade gift ideas. I have also added a watercolor painting lessons page. I love watercolor painting and thought it would be fun to share what I know as well as cool watercolor painting tutorials that I come across. This page will be changing and added to often so make sure you visit from time to time to see what is new.

For those of you already thinking about Easter I have lots of homemade gift ideas on my Easter page as well. If you have any new homemade gift ideas you would like to share please let me know and we will post them for all to see!

As always if there is something you are looking for and can't find please or if you have a great gift ideas or favorite project you would like to share, by all means, send me those too. I would love to hear from you. 5. Crafter/Artist Interview of the Month This months crafter turns trash into treasure. MoJo used her creativity to turn empty Kool Aid pouches into functional bags. She has expanded her idea into a bunch of different products and has made a full time job out of a hobby she loves! Let me introduce you all to MoJo.

1) I am always curious as to how people get started doing what they do. What inspired you to start making these recycled bags and when did you start making bags and other things from recycled food bags?

I started out making Kool Aid juice pouch bags, but it got to the point that I was seeing them EVERYWHERE so I wanted to try something new. I started making the ramen wrapper change pouches and it just grew from there.

2) Is there anyone in particular that inspires your creativity?

My whole family inspires me. They're always bringing me cute wrappers they find and giving me ideas.

3) Do you follow patterns when you create the bags and other items? Do you create the patterns yourself?

I rarely follow patterns, but when I do they are patterns that I created.

4) Have you given any of your creations away as gifts? If so, how did the person react to your homemade gift?

Oh I love to give my creations away as gifts! I always get the best reactions. :)

5) Do you have a special work space or studio that you do your work in?

Oh my workspace is a total wreck right now so no pictures. LOL I try to stay organized but when I have a lot to work on it gets kind of messy.

6) Do you do any other kinds of artwork other than your recycled bags?

Oh yes, I love sewing and quilting. I've also just started to work with polymer clay and I'm really enjoying that. 7) Do you have another "day" job as well as doing your craft work?

No, I quit my "day" job about 4 years ago and it's the best thing I ever did. :)

8) Do you have a website that you sell your work on?

9) If someone was interested in purchasing one of your bags what would they need to do?

Just visit my website Custom orders are welcome! :)

Thanks MoJo for sharing your talent and craft with us!

Looking for more recycled gift ideas?

6. 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.
7. Looking for reader recipes!

Do you have a great recipe that you would like to share? I know I am always looking for a super yummy recipe to take to the family and friends as homemade gifts. What about a family friendly recipe for a casserole or a yummy batch of cookies? Please send them my way! Here¡¦s another yummy recipe from one of our valued readers!

Very Yummy Berry Muffins

Submitted by Mary from New Brunswick, Canada.

Thanks for taking the time to share this recipe Mary!

These muffins would make a great treat to take to a brunch or breakfast gathering. What a great way to treat your co-workers on break!


1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries 1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries

1 cup sugar, divided

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened 2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

TOPPING: 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/4 cup flaked coconut

2 tablespoons brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Very yummy berry muffin Directions:

1) In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, cranberries and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside.

2) In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth.

3)Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

4) Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; add to the creamed mixture. Fold in the berry mixture.

5) Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

6) Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter.

7) Bake at 400¢X for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Serve warm.

TIP: Muffins may be baked in miniature muffin cups for 10-12 minutes; recipe makes 4 dozen.

If using frozen berries, do not thaw.

I wish all of you the best in 2009! Remember to step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Do you have a talent, a passion or just know a lot about a certain subject? Do you want to learn how to make money by sharing what you know?

I never thought it was possible and yet here I am! I am so lucky to be able to do all the things I am able to with my kids and husband. Gradually I have seen my website take off and it has been an exciting ride. I would have never believed that I could get paid to share information about subjects I know and love. Even if you are a little bit skeptical watch the passion video. It's amazing what you can do and where Site Build It will take you!
To Valentine;s Day gift ideas

Watercolor painting lessons

To The Best Homemade Gift Ideas homepage