The Best Homemade Gift Ideas Monthly Digest: free-gift-ideas-newsletter-October2009.html

by: Brenda Mullard

Table of Contents:

1. Happy Halloween!

2. Welcome New Subscribers

3. What’s new?

4. Crafter/Artist Interview of the Month

5. Project of the month

1) Happy Halloween!

Buy at
Grinning Lit Jack-O-Lante...
Richard Nowitz

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 scoop and knives or carving kit. It’s pumpkin carving time!!!!

Check out this great virtual pumpkin carving website. I bet you can’t carve only once! My kids just want to do this over and over again! I have to admit… I carved bunch of times too. So much fun and there’s no mess to clean up! Did you try the pumpkin carving website? What did you think?

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. As always please feel free to share any comments you might have about my website or newsletter. Good and bad are always accepted and all comments and ideas considered!

3.What’s New?

This month you will find some great gift ideas for Halloween and Christmas I know it’s only October, but we are starting to think about Christmas. There is a short tutorial on how to wrap gifts I am such a right brained visual learner!! So of course it’s a video as well! I also keep trying to add new paper greeting cards to my paper greeting cards shop and also at my Zazzle shop. I have been blogging away with crafty gift ideas, recipes and tips for gift giving on my Best Homemade Gift Ideas Blog I try to update my blog often with new project ideas, tips, and tricks. Feel free to stop by everyday! Become a follower and get notified when a new post is added!

I have also had readers ask me about starting a discussion board. Ask and you shall receive! Come sign up to be a part of the discussion. Have a question? Have you used a product you want to tell others about? Come and be heard! Click Here

5.Crafter/Artist Interview of the Month

4. Crafter/Artist Interview of the Month

I came across this talented man Googling pumpkin carving patterns. I saw his work and just had to interview him. He is absolutely amazing! You might expect someone that is nationally known as a professional pumpkin carver to be a little nutty. But Gene Granata of Foothill Ranch is just a regular guy, who I think might be a little nutty from all the pumpkin fumes. He's married with two daughters in school, and is an engineer by day -who carves pumpkins in his spare time.

Nice hobby right? Granata is swamped with pumpkin orders, especially now with Halloween on the horizon. Requests are rolling in from Hollywood celebs, giant hotels, show producers who want pumpkins on their sets, and everyday people who put in an order last year for a custom pumpkin this season.

Gene works in his garage and it is as organized and professional as any serious artist’s studio. Pumpkins to carve are stacked neatly on one side, pumpkins to ship on the other, and the middle is his work space. Who knew this garage was meant to hold a car?

What's so special about what Granata does with pumpkins? He can do just about anything. He'll carve school logos, scary ghosts and seasonal motifs. Pleasant pumpkin faces are a perennial favorite. Growing in popularity are his pumpkin carved wedding center pieces.

“I've designed and carved Jack-O-Lanterns since before I could drive. After sharing a few of my designs with friends I began receiving annual requests to carve "pumpkin masterpieces" for family, friends, acquaintances, and their family, family's friends, etc. who insisted on paying me for the precious time. I was hooked!”

He carved around the family table the week before Halloween. It wasn't until his teens that he explored the possibilities beyond the basic pumpkin face. Then came the comments, then came the requests from friends and family.

"When people told me I could make a business out of carving pumpkins I thought, who would pay me to do this?"

Turns out lots of people with famous names such as Nicholas Cage and Tom Cruise.

"It wasn't until I built that my business really took off." That and the fact that "This Old House" magazine ran a feature about him. His phone rang off the hook and still does today.

There is a small community of pumpkin carvers worldwide and they keep in touch. Granata calls them only a handful. If you do the math, population 6 billion divided by 6 pumpkin carvers, one can imagine the demand. Gene carves year round to keep up.

He uses only the simple pumpkin carving kit that he sells on his Web site - a series of small precision saws sold on his web site. Granata's latest and greatest technique though is to simply "etch" an image in the pumpkin skin leaving a thin layer of the core.

"You can still see the light through this layer, but the advantage is the pumpkin stays fresh longer."

Each year I design and cut around 150-200 or more pumpkins. I guess you could call it a hobby turned obsession. I think I started calling it a "business" to justify all the time I was spending on it. You may wonder what happens to all those pumpkin guts. I know, you think of pies, muffins roasted pumpkin seeds, ... Nope- 99.9% gets bagged, and out in the trash it goes. Gene can easily fill a 96-gallon trash bag with pumpkin guts. Good thing the trash guys has an automated trucks!

I asked Gene how long it normally takes to carve a pumpkin. He said,” Some of the really complicated pumpkins take multiple days to finish, assuming you don't scrap it along the way. You should probably stop when your vision begins to blur. There's nothing worse than the feeling you get in your stomach when you complete a complicated cut, then realize you were supposed to leave that part connected. -AARGH!”

How did you learn to carve like that? “I watch, listen, and learn. There are lots of carvers out there with great ideas. TV, magazines, and the internet are great sources of pumpkin carving "pearls of wisdom". And keep your eyes open all year for carving inspirations!”

Thank you Gene for taking the time to tell us about your pumpkins and sharing your amazing talent!

5)Project of the Month

This month check out the toilet paper pumpkin tutorial. These are fun and quick. So easy I have had 2nd graders make them as a fall gift to give to their parents

Do you want to be published? Do you have a great gift idea you would like to share? Go to my share your gift ideas page and follow the directions on this page. Your idea won't only be used in my monthly e zine but you will also have a page published on my website. So what are you waiting for?

This new page makes it easy to submit a project idea along with pictures and instructions!

Do You like this newsletter/e zine?? VOTE NOW We are featured on the website Best E Zines!

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6. Looking for reader recipes!

Have you tried a recipe from our newsletter? Let us know how it turned out.

October Apple Dip

Ingredients: 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese

Softened 1 tablespoon peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme

Assorted apple wedges

Directions: In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and pie spice until blended; fold in marshmallow creme. Serve with apple wedges.

This very yummy yet simple recipe makes about 2 cups. I am planning on making this dip to take to school for treat day!

Share your favorite recipes too!

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!

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