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The Best Homemade Gift Ideas Monthly Digest: free-gift-ideas-newsletter-October2010.html

by: Brenda Mullard

Table of Contents:

1. Happy Halloween!

2. 2011 Top Halloween Costumes

3. Welcome New Subscribers

4. What's new?

5. Artist of The Month

7. Reader Recipes

We are in the running for The Best Newsletter!!!! Please Vote Now!!! As Featured On Best Ezines

1) Happy Halloween!

Halloween is approaching quickly. I never know how much candy to buy for the little ghosts and goblins that come to my door. Some years we have a bunch and other years not so many. I can remember trick or treating as a kids and making a mental note of the houses that handed out the full sized candy bars. BONUS! I sometimes schmoozed a little and depending on the time, if it was close to trick or treating being done for the night, sometimes I would get 2. I know, I know… kind of devious, but what can I say I was a kid and there was candy involved. So if you are one of those who hands out the BIG candy bars watch for your repeat customers. Greet them with a smile and say,"Thanks for stopping AGAIN!" Happy Halloween everyone! Make sure to stop by my Halloween Gift Ideas Page There are some really great ideas to take to Halloween parties or make for that special someone just because.

2) 2011 Top Halloween Costumes

Spiderman Costume

Skeleton Costume

Princess Tiana Costume

Big Top Clown Costume

Pirates of the Caribbean Pirate Hat With Hair

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 my wonderful valued readers. Thanks for your continued support! I have been receiving some awesome homemade gift ideas from many of you. Keep them coming. Don’t forget to attach pictures along with your instructions.


4)What’s New? EXTRA EXTRA READ ALL ABOUT IT! The Best Homemade Gift Ideas webpage will soon be getting a new look. Watch in the next few months for this exciting change. All the great information, instructions and recipes with a newer look.

Check out Halloween and Autumn ideas I am always looking for great Halloween and Autumn ideas from our wonderful and creative readers! Please keep them coming. I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with. HERE I am always looking for great Halloween and Autumn ideas from our wonderful and creative readers! Please keep them coming. I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.

Artists and Crafters... WE WANT YOU! Do you like to create homemade gifts or have a crafty hobby others would like to hear about? We want YOU!! Like always, if you try a gift idea from the website or any other, show us pictures and tell us how it all went for you! We all learn from each other.

5) Artist of The Month I came across a fantastic lego artist a few weeks ago. Yes, you read that right… LEGOS! The fun building blocks you remember as a kid. Turns out you can create some pretty unique art from these shapable toys!! I'd like to introduce Mike Doyle and his very interesting lego architecture.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I'm a 44 years old design designer working at a branding agency in NYC where I create packaging and corporate identities for companies large and small. Also, I do art pieces on the side. Father of two wonderful boys and have a very patient wife, which is key in making these Lego sculptures.

How long have you been making art?

I've been creating art all my life. It's in my blood. Though I have taken a number of breaks from time to time, I always come back to it. Art is the thing which I tend to obsess on ...until I burn out from time to time.

Was there anyone who influenced and still influences your creativity?

I love looking at art and things of beauty. I'm constantly influenced by all the creativity and innovation out there. If I were to pick one artist, I would say it was and is Matthew Barney. The obsessive attention to detail, grotesque beauty and intense (even if a bit incomprehensible) storyline are all very inspiring. I can't say that my work is at all directly inspired by him, but rather the high standards are at least something to strive for.

What made you think to use legos to create these cool houses

I think a number of things came into play here: my love and fascination for imperfect and decaying things, interest in abandoned houses, new found love of Lego and passionate anger in our recent political and financial environment. I tend to find beauty in imperfection. Things that seem in a perfect state lack the character and history. To me new, perfect objects have nothing to say - it only has a present tense. Decayed objects have past, present and future. At once we can see the object as it once was, what it has gone through and possibly can predict where it's going.

As for Lego, I rediscovered it a little over a year ago after a trip to Lego Land with my boys and nephews. I was always impressed by the mini land exhibit there with all the buildings. Where I really caught the bug, though, was in an area where you can build and race your own car. I had such a great time in there "playing with the boys", that when I got back to our hotel room, I quickly punched up to see if other adults were working with Lego. Boy, was I in for a surprise! Turns out lot's of adults build the most incredible works with them.

There are a number of aspects to Lego that i find attractive. Firstly, one can easily come up with a finished product - no messy glue, paints and such are needed. Just a few snaps ( or in my case a few hundred thousand) and you have by design a wonderful object. I am also fascinated with the notion of the strict rulesets Lego creates through the precise design and engineering of the pieces. Things snap together in a predefined way. The challenge is then how to bend these rules to create less mechanical looking and more organic feeling works. There are so many different shapes to the pieces (around 2,200 or so) and many colors to choose from. This variety empowers builders to work around the basic rigid rules in any number of many ways. Each way producing a different effect.

Do you know how many legos go into making one of your houses?

It's hard to tell with accuracy as I'm not counting as I go. :) I tend to guesstimate based on how large my collection is and how many empty drawers there are in the end. For this last piece "Victorian on mud heap" I think around 110k-130k pieces. The one before that was around 55k and my first model about 17k. Lego is not cheap and at pennies a piece, mountains of Lego leads to mountains of cash. Partially for this reason I kept the palate to blacks, whites and grays. Also I felt this felt more like creating a symbol of a thing rather than a true representation. Though, Lego does not have a great range of colors so things tend to look a bit cartoony. I speak of color and lack of it because this reduces dramatically the overall number of pieces that I need.

On the subject of numbers of Lego, I found early on that the only way to build like this is to file all the different pieces in their own drawer by shape and by color. No more searching through piles of random Lego spread out on the floor as I did when I was a kid. Organization is key to keeping the creative flow uninterrupted.

Any ideas for any sculptures in the near future?

I am most interested in organic forms made up of primarily primary shapes. Also the notion of decay is interesting. Depending on what week you ask me, I'll have a different answer as to what my next piece will be. I've been wanting to make photorealistic minerals and rocks. Also dead coral has been of great interest. Last week, I had wanted to do a photorealistic tree. That said I have a funny feeling I'll be working on another abandoned house next. :)

Do you have any advice for people who think they would like to try using "unconventional" mediums for sculpture?

Simply to do what feels right and is of interest to you. For me Lego is a passion. I can't stop thinking about the possibilities of the medium. Given you might be investing a great deal of time and money into this make it something that you can really love to do. As for "unconventional", the beauty to this is that there can be both the shock of the new and the joy of exploring unexplored territory.

Thank you Mike for sharing your creativity and unique sculptures!

4.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 perfect for brunch on Easter or any other morning you are looking for something great for breakfast!

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcake Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin

4 eggs

1 cup canola oil

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup raisins


1/3 cup butter, softened

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcake Recipe Directions:

1) In a large bowl, beat the sugar, pumpkin, eggs and oil until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger and cloves; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture until blended. Stir in the raisins.

2) Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

3) Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

4) For frosting, in a small bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add confectioners' sugar. Frost cupcakes; sprinkle with walnuts if you like. Store in the refrigerator.

I try to add to The Best Homemade Gift Ideas Blog when I can. Check back often for new ideas, daily thoughts and just great information.

We also have a Discussion Board up and running. We are always looking for your new ideas and want to hear what you have to say!

You can also find me on Facebook!

I am always playing around with greeting card ideas and designs. I have some great new Halloween cards ready for you to send to your favorite spooks. Are you looking for a certain themed card? Let me know and I will come up with the design you are looking for.

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!

Wanna try SBI? Well than TEST DRIVE IT!

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