Thoughts, Projects and Plans

 It’s been a while since I’ve blogged –  you may have noticed? – but to be perfectly honest, things have been fairly boring in our neck of the woods. 🙂  I haven’t been feeling 100% for several weeks now, and we’ve just sort of been getting on with the business of living day to day life.  No day trips, no special meals, no pictures even! 

Frank’s “Jack” O. Lantern from a few years back.

But now it is October.  The days have cooled significantly and the nights are darkening earlier.  All my friends in the US seem to be going pumpkin crazy on Pinterest and Facebook while I’m checking the stores daily for the big crates of fresh pumpkins they only bring in right before Halloween.  I didn’t have a garden this year, and I don’t know if pumpkins would have fared well anyway – the ones I grew last year rotted on the vine from all the rain.  So I’m dreaming of all the pumpkiny things I might try in the upcoming weeks.  I saw a recipe last night for pumpkin frozen yogurt made with Greek yogurt – maybe try?

I always get homesick for Indiana in Autumn.  I miss the colours, the apple orchards, the lovely long drives to Brown County and Nashville, the bonfires and corn mazes and, of course, the Heartland Film Festival where I worked and made some of my best lifelong friendships. 

Then, of course there’s everything that ensues after Halloween – a.k.a. the Christmas holidays.  Because things are tight this year with our upcoming move in 2013, I really want to keep it lean and try to make more of my gifts.   Trouble is, not everyone likes homemade stuff!  Frank and I were just bemoaning this fact the other day – how many times have we made something special for a friend or family member, only to find it months later in the back of a garden shed or under a pile of magazines in the closet?  It’s disheartening to say the least.  Still… I think I will try a few things.  Maybe you can “vote” and honestly tell me if these ideas sound like something you’d enjoy or if you, too would hide them in the attic?

1.  Embellished T-shirt.

Flower Embellished Grey T

I made this shirt for my sister for her birthday.  Well, I made the flowers on the shoulder.  I liked it, it was a fun project, and my sister seemed to like it as well.  (Word got back to me that my brothers-in-law, on the other hand, told her she looked like she’d been shot in the shoulder!)

2. Dolly Blanket & Pillow.

This one I’m pretty set on doing.  Evelyn loves tucking her babies in to bed but she has no little bedding sets for them.  I have lots of scrap fabric (including some really cute Raggedy Ann & Andy print) and while I don’t have a sewing machine, I think I could do up a little quilt and pillow pretty quickly.  Maybe I can find a box or bin to work as a bed, too.  If this isn’t too time consuming, I might try to do one for our niece, as well. 

I have also commissioned my mom to make some doll clothes for Evey’s babies, but she does have a sewing machine!  Can’t wait to see what she comes up with.

3.  Fun Food.

I always think I’ll have more energy than I do before Christmas, so I won’t fool myself and plan on making 12 dozen cookies for all my friends.  Instead I thought I might do some of those Jar Mixes, you know the ones, with everything you need for brownies or cookies or something, and the person only has to add an egg or whatever.  My other, possibly better idea, is doing up a gift box of Ice Cream Sundae stuff – just add the ice cream, or Curry in a Box – just add the meat or veg.  I’m never sure if people really use these or not, though… and does it seem chintzy?

One of Frank’s illustrations for my story, “The Christmas Wishes.”

4.  Kids Stories.

A few years back, I wrote a special Christmas story for my nephew, Sammy, and Frank illustrated it.  It was a lot of fun, and I know Sam and his sister, Ciara, still like to read the story, as do I!  I’d love to do this again, and I’m planning to… I just have to get inspired, frankly.  It may not take as much time as sewing a dolly quilt, but it takes a lot more brain power!  I won’t write it unless I know it will be good.

So, what do you think? And do you have any other easy ideas to share? 

Hope you are all keeping well.  xxx

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12 thoughts on “Thoughts, Projects and Plans

  1. I’m also amazed at how people put so much more value on things that cost money. I have a relative who’s actually quite blatant about this … “she could have spent a little more and got me something I actually wanted.”
    I think we can forget that a gift is a gift and should never be expected or owed.
    Some homemade things have gone well. I too made a children’s story and worked quite hard on it and the boy loves it still.
    Some haven’t gone well. I made a scrapbook cookbook and the recipient said, “I don’t think it’ll fit on my shelf.”
    That to say, I’ll continue to make homemade gifts. Bought things get broken or forgotten, just like homemade things, and I at least get the benefit of being creative and focused on a deadline.

    • Gifts are hard for some people, home made or not. I’m with you. I did the cookbook idea for my sister when she got married and she loved it! So don’t throw that idea away. 🙂

  2. Quote from my granddaughter, Juniper to Patty:
    Gamma, I like that it is getting colder cause that means it is almost Halloween, and then comes Thanksgiving and then Christmas!!!
    We have done homemade gifts as well (that is Patty has). When you come from a big family like she does, it is the thought not the cost.

    • I’ll bet Patty makes beautiful stuff – her jewelry was always lovely. And I think Juniper and Knute are very lucky to have a grandma who makes things – those are some of the special presents you end up holding onto for a lifetime.

  3. Best homemade gifts I’ve done:

    1. Snow globeshttp://www.marthastewart.com/276346/how-to-make-a-snow-globe/@center/307034/christmas-workshop

    2. Homemade lemon curd

    3. Cookies

    One that I’d love to receive: a photo book like from mixbook or snapfish.

    • I want to do the snowglobes – I remember you doing those last year but never heard how they turned out. Cool idea! Thanks 🙂

  4. It’s so funny you mentioned Brown County….this is my first fall in Indiana (Greenwood) & we just took a trip up to the state park & Nashville. : ) I’m hoping to move to Ireland next year, so I guess we’re sort of trading places. I love your blog!

  5. I think homemade gifts are a great idea. For the past few years I’ve had calendars made with my own photos from Photobox (I pounce when there’s a 2 for 1 offer) and last year made cookies and rocky road for work colleagues. I think the children’s book is a wonderful idea – something which would be cherished for years to come.

    ps have been following your blog for a while but never got round to commenting. Not sure if you’re still in The Wee County but I’m at the northern end of it:)

    • Hi Mairead, thanks for reading! I love the calendar idea and have forgotten to do it the last two years running. I’m still in Louth, all right – right in the centre of Drogheda!

      • Hi
        I’m in Dundalk but occasionally end up in Drogheda for work – perhaps we could grab a coffee sometime – have yet to meet a blogger in the flesh as it were!

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