Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Inspirations from Gooseberry Patch

Gooseberry Patch is one of those stories that inspires me on a lot of levels. Of course, the books are filled with lots of great recipes and craft ideas, but the history of the company is just as inspiring. It was started by two young moms over 25 years ago. One was an airline hostess and the other a teacher and both were looking for ways to earn money and stay home with their young families. They decided to start a mail order company selling the cute, crafty-style items they both loved.

Along the way, they started creating and selling small cookbooks. I have a couple in my library. It also started a community of readers who shared their ideas. More cookbooks lead to craft books and the mail order business fell by the wayside. Gooseberry Patch is now a major publisher and last year was bought out by a larger company. Inspiring story, yes?

Well, my inspiration starts with a Gooseberry Patch Christmas book I found a the thrift store for a couple of bucks. I love old recipe and craft books and when they're wrapped around Christmas, I love them even more.

As you can see it's Book #3. The current Christmas book is #17, so this one is about 14 years old. In publishing time, that's old, but the book is still filled with lots of cute ideas and yummy recipes that still work.

Now, like those two young mothers, I'm trying to make an income so I can stay at home, too. While I write for a variety of clients for upfront fees, I'm also trying to create my own income with other writing ventures. One of the places I've started to write is at Squidoo. It's a platform that allows you to share your writing and do a little Internet marketing on the side (or a lot of marketing depending on how good you are at it). In my case, I sell products through Amazon. The hardest part is coming up with ideas that readers might be interested in and that lend themselves to selling products.

Inspiration struck for me with this book. Why not a lens on Gooseberry Patch? So I set about writing a lens about 10 Reasons to Love Gooseberry Patch. And I wanted to re-create a couple ideas from the books.

One of them was for Nestled Bowels with Fruit. It's a very simple centerpiece idea for anytime of the time of the year, not just Christmas. And it's turned out to be a way to use some of my thrifty finds.

The problem was, my yellow bowls are waaaay too small for fruit. But I improvised.

Nuts work as well as apples and oranges. Besides, it was the first time I got to use these since I found them at the thrift store -- these two bowls plus a pie plate for $5 at the thirst store. And I picked up the red doily for a dollar at an antique mall. First time to use that, too. I added a few pieces of greenery and dried rose hips from the yard and a homespun ornament (another yard sale find) and voile... inspiration was born. And a crafty start to my Christmas decorating!

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