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4th of July
Carol Dyer
The Best Homemade Gift Ideas Monthly Digest: free-gift-ideas-newsletter-July2008.html

by: Brenda Mullard

Table of Contents:

1. Snap Crackle Pop!

2. Welcome New Subscribers

3. A gift for the host or hostess with the mostest!

4. Crafter/Artist Interview of the Month

5. Project of the month

1) Snap Crackle Pop The 4th of July is fast approaching. We are planning a long camping trip with my side of the family. It’s a trip we plan with my brother’s family, my parents and my cousins. We have been going on this camping trip for 4 years now and I have to say it has become quite a tradition already. We always make sure to reserve our campsites a year in advance so we always get the same sites. The kids go fishing and of course we have to have fish for one of the dinners we make. We make sure have fist even if there are only one or two fish to cook. The 4th of July there is a HUGE fireworks show that we all go to. It’s just a ton of fun!

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,A gift for the host or hostess with the mostest!

Many of us will be either going to, or throwing a party or picnic this summer. Most of us know how much fun these gatherings can be as well as how much work they are too. What better way to show the host or hostess that you really appreciate them and their invitation than with a homemade gift?

There is the gift in a jar gift These are easy and fun to make. They are a work of are in themselves with all the beautiful layers. Go to you near by craft or fabric store and buy some patriotic fabric or summer theme fabric. Even a simple Gingham print will work great. Use this fabric and a coordinating ribbon to decorate the jar lid.

Another way to show your appreciation is to bring a floral arrangement. Everyone loves fresh flowers, even men. But if you go to a floral shop you may pay an arm and a leg for a simple bouquet. This is what I do. I go to my local grocery store or better yet farmer’s market. I buy 2 or 3 different kinds of flowers and put together my own arrangements. This way I can personalize the flowers for the person I am buying them for. You can also put together red, white and blue arrangements if you want to go that route too. Then I buy my own vase or container. I go to a thrift shop. You can find some awesome glass and even crystal vases as well as other interesting types of containers to put your arrangement in. And you can get one for a very reasonable price.

4. Crafter/Artist Interview of the Month

This month I came across a fantastic and super talented man by the name of Jack Johnston. Jack sculpts life-like art dolls. So it is truely my pleasue to introduce Mr. Jack Johnston.

Q. Hi Jack, How do you describe your dolls? My works are all character artdolls. They are works of art and are not play dolls, so I prefer to call them artdolls. Most of my work comes from my fond memory of Norman Rockwell's art. He always told a story with his work, and I like to do the same.

Q. Are your dolls intended for play, or mostly for display? Totally for display, I prefer to keep them behind glass and never allow anyone to touch them once they are posed.

Q. What did you like to play with when you were little? Do any of them influence your work today? I was raised on a farm, we didn't have electricity so our only connection to the outside was out monthly subscription to Post magazine. I would draw characters from Mr. Rockwell's paintings instead of doing other things that kids my age wanted to do.

Q. Are your dolls modeled after real people? Do you name them? Yes, they are all modeled after real people. I generally name them by what they are doing, i.e. if one of my characters is making a teddy bear, then he becomes the teddy bear maker, etc.

Q. How long have you been making dolls? How did you get started? I've been sculpting for 18 years. I was formally the V.P. of Marketing for Sea World in Orlando Florida. I got laid off with 125 fellow workers with very little notice and no severance pay shortly after the Gulf war broke out. My wife wanted a Father Christmas doll that year for Christmas, I couldn't afford to purchase one, so I tried my hand at sculpting it. That worked, she loved it, I made more and haven't stopped since. Q. What's your greatest influence today? Do you get your ideas from other dolls, other art, or something else altogether? My influence all comes from real life. I see an old character and I go home and sculpt it. I have the ability to remember thing I see, so I do not work from photos, just my memory.

Q. Tell me about your design process: When you design your dolls, does the idea pop into your mind fully formed, or do you sketch it out? I see my dolls totally finished, dressed and accessorized in my imagination before I start to sculpt.

Q. What do you like best--and least--about doll-making? I like it all. There isn't a part that I don't like. That is the magic of "loving what you do and doing what you love".

Q. Do you collect dolls by others? Some, I have about 50 sculptures in my collection. I don't have any dolls in my collection, only human figures.

Q. If someone is new to dollmaking, what's your best advice? Practice, Practice, Practice!!! Nothing more needs to be said.

Q. How and where do you sell your dolls? At major shows and from my studio. Most of my dolls are sold before they are made. I have people requesting them before I make them.

Q. What direction do you see yourself going with your dolls in the future? It is my dream to teach until I loose my ability to reason or use my hands. I anticipate teaching until I'm in my 80"s or beyond. I will stop traveling so much within one more year. I have a wonderful studio in my home, my dream is for students to come to me and give me a chance to enhance their sculpting experience. I plan to write two more books, one on make Babies and one on my life story as an artist and sculptor. I will also do a few more films. They seem to be in high demand and will last long after I'm finished teaching. I want people to say, "Jack Johnston made a difference in the lives of doll makers and collectors world wide". I never want anyone to say, "he was selfish with his talent and time". The grandest joy of all is helping others reach their dreams, if I can pass on to others the skills that I have gained in my life I will have made my mark.

Check out Jack Johnstons remarkable art dolls at Jack also has his art show and doll making class schedules listed here. He also sells an array of doll making supplies on his website.

Great big thank you to Jack for taking the time to let me interview him!

5. Project of the Month

As I told you last month, I am starting a section in this newsletter called project of the month. For the month of July our project will be garden stepping stones. Stepping stones are really quite easy and there are a couple of different ways to make them. On my website right now I have the “direct method” where objects are places right into the wet cement. So get the kids together and let’s see those stepping-stones. I will post the stepping stones that are sent to me. Send your pictures with a description to Please make sure to write stepping stone in the title box. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!

If you have a project idea you want to tell us about for the project of the month section please email me that too!

Do you know somemone who would like this e zine as much as you do? Please forward it to any family or friends who enjoy arts, crafts, gift making and giving!

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