Looking for a Gift Made From Scratch and Created With Passion?

On the Golden Gate Bridge I saw a couple of cars decorated with reindeers’ antlers and red noses.



Sorry I couldn’t take a good picture: too much rain that day.

Since I landed in California from my native France, I’ve made mine whatever surprised me back then.

Okay, I’m pretty sure that I will never get a pair of antlers and a red nose for my car, but Père Noël and Santa Claus are good friends in my home.

Both bring thoughtful gifts.

Yesterday I received an e-mail from one of my college daughters, asking the family to stay away from costly Christmas purchases and to focus instead on gifts Made From Scratch or gifts that have been created with passion.

E-mails like that make me feel so optimistic for our future. Our kids are great. Our kids are thoughtful.

In my Inbox there was also an update for a review on my Middle Grade Novel.

“This well-written book would make a great holiday gift for “tweens” and older,” wrote this reviewer.

Thank you.

And thank you if you read my book and wrote a review. It means the world to me. Really.


Although Thanksgiving is the day to express our thanks and gratitude, I think that the holiday season is also a perfect time to be thankful for the people who surround us and make us happy in so many different ways.

Through the gifts we choose for our family and friends, we really say I love you.

And so we want of course to offer the best to express this love.

People who know me well enough don’t search too much for me.


I could share with you a long list of terrific books that I have enjoyed in 2014. All would make perfect gifts. Most have been written by excellent writers that I admire a lot but don’t really need my recommendations.

On the other hand I know of a few good writers who are less renowned and yet deserve some attention.

Like me they published in 2014.

I like the fact that they live in three different continents.

Oh and they also blog beautifully, generously, relentlessly.



Little Mike is adorable with his spiky red hair and his unlimited imagination. Mike the Spike by Stella Tarakson is a fun and smart picture book delightfully illustrated just made for the early reader on your list.


The second book in the fantasy Network Series trilogy by Katie Cross is as wicked good as number one. Witchery with a twist for the teen fantasy fan on your list.


A second chance at love and life is offered to Katherine in Provence. Promises to Keep by Patricia Sands is a delightful read for any woman into anything French.

And because you deserve a treat, too, check Kimberly Sullivan’s blog for some of her published short stories about Italian women and expat women living in Italy.


Need more ideas? Stop by Andrea, Anthony, Jennifer, Marcia, Marilyn, Mike, Nicki, Teagan for stories, poems and novels. If I forgot someone, forgive me.

There are just so many books to read and unfortunately too little time.

Remember, books are Made From Scratch and created with passion.


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  1. Evelyne, congratulations on an excellent and well deserved review on your latest book! (I just now shared on LinkedIn.)
    I can only imagine how proud you felt when your daughter said what she did about gifts. She “comes by it honestly” as they say where i was born, because her mom is a sweet and generous soul. It’s so kind of you to include a link to me in this post. I sincerely appreciate it. Hugs! 😀

    • Thank you, Teagan. I’m proud of my kids and I was touched by this email, this is true, I wish you a Happy Holiday season, and I’m glad to offer you a small gift through my blog! Cheers and hugs to you!

  2. Yes, they are and they take many, many, many hours to make. Thanks for the suggestions.

  3. No one searches much for me anymore, either. First, because there is not much I need … and what I do need, I’m better buying for myself to make sure it fits and it is what I want. For the rest of the family, I try to find out what they really need and if what they need is beyond my means, what they secretly want. Hopefully I can fill one of those categories 🙂

  4. I think books are the best gifts! I’ll be giving your latest to a few young adults on my list. Thanks for the other suggestions. I haven’t read any of them so am glad to add some new titles to my “to read” list.
    I love seeing funny things on cars. I have friends who put wreaths on the front grills of their cars.

    • You’re too kind, Claire. Thank you for your support.
      Funny things on cars surprised me a lot when I was new in the US. Now I’m used to them but I still notice and smile to the unique American taste for fun. Happy Holiday season to you!

  5. Thank you for your kind words about Mike the Spike – it was a lovely early Christmas present! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog posts throughout the year and look forward to more next year 🙂

    • Mike the Spike is a really good book for young boys and girls. The story is fun to read and the illlustrations are really cool too. Happy Holiday Season to you, Stella.

  6. Thanks for some excellent recommendations (some I already knew, it’s that great minds thing). Discovering this blog has been a gift of a sort this year. I’ve enjoyed your writing very much. Made from scratch…I like that.

    • Thank you, Dan. Your blog and the blogs I follow are also nice gifts through the year. I’m of course pleased to read that you enjoy my writing. Always a work-in-progress! Happy Holiday season to you and your family.

  7. Behind the Story says:

    This was a very thoughtful post, Evelyne. When your daughters ask for gifts made from scratch, it makes me think of my mother. She must have started weeks before Christmas making dresses for my sister and me and all our dolls. Our double-car garage had been converted into a hobby room, and she stayed out there until late at night sewing and then wrapping gifts–the wrapping always artistic and special.

    I did finish my Christmas shopping early, but I didn’t make any of the gifts myself. I hope they were well chosen.

    Two things I enjoy at this time of year: sending cards and Christmas letters to people I knew when we lived abroad or in another city, and the holiday festivities we share in our neighborhood. We collect donations and then shop for needy families. Today we gathered to wrap the gifts and decorate the clubhouse. Tomorrow we will have our party, and next week we’ll deliver the gifts.

    Thank you so much for including me and my novel in your list.

    • You must have fond memories of these Christmases, Nicki. Homemade gifts or at least gifts chosen with great attention are the best. I’m sure the ones you chose are great! Although I always try my best I feel like my daughter’s wish for this year was to make this day extra special. So I have switched my imagination to full gear!
      I also like neighborhood holiday parties a lot and I enjoy sending and receiving cards too!
      Including you in my blog was my little gift to you. See you.

  8. Congratulations on such a wonderful review Evelyne 🙂 What a delightful email from your daughter, how very proud you must be. And as you say, what better gift that is made from scratch and with passion than a book? How generous of you to link to the wonderful writings of others. I hope there will be many young people opening your book on Christmas Day 🙂

  9. Thank you, Sherri. It’s always great to see you here. I wish you a beautiful holiday season. See you soon.

  10. I’m honored for the mention, Evelyne! Like you, I love working my ‘adoptive’ home and customs (of Italy, in my case) into my stories. These short stories have been so much fun for me to write. You and your husband should pat yourself on your back for your daughter’s wise words. You’ve raised her well. : )

  11. I was glad to add you as a writer who is doing a great job, Kimberly. I’ve enjoyed reading your stories posted from your blog and I hope to see them in a book sometime soon. As for our kids, we parents try our best, right? Then it’s a combo between what we did and who they are. The result is always fascinating, I think. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  12. Homemade books are the best “made from scratch” gifts! I’m looking forward to reading your MG novel!

  13. Thank you…I really liked that last statement…books are made from scratch…….


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