Don't forget Mom

Tuesday, May 9, 2006
Photo illustration by Diane L. Wilson

Please don't say you forgot.

That's no excuse for the woman who washes your underwear and picks your dirty socks up off the floor.

Strapped for cash? Well, there's a solution for that too.

There's no price on creativity, so here's a list of fairly inexpensive, home-made gift ideas just in time for Mother's Day (and shame on you for waiting until the last minute).

The gift of memories

Photographs capture memories and stop time in its tracks. Preserve one of your mom's favorite snapshots in these homemade picture frames.

What you need: cardboard or poster board or papier mache frame; decorative paper or fabric; 12 colorful buttons (6 for each flower; 5 of one color, 1 of another color);12-inch piece of ribbon or string; photograph; scissors or paper cutter; white craft glue; magnet (optional).

What you do: Using the photograph as a size guide, trim cardboard to make the four sides of the frame. A paper cutter will give you straighter cuts than scissors. Place your cardboard pieces around your photograph to be sure they are the right size. You will also need a piece of cardboard for the back of your picture frame. Use the pieces you just cut as a guide to determine the size of your backing. Trace and cut out back.Turn decorative paper or fabric right side down on your work surface. Place cardboard pieces on paper or fabric and lightly trace around the cardboard with a pencil.

Cut out the patterns you just created. Turning fabric or paper right side up, glue them to the cardboard.

Line up your cardboard pieces onto your backing to help position your photo. Glue photo to the backing, and glue frame pieces around the photo.

Position buttons in each corner to create flowers. Use one color for the center of the flower, and five of another color for the petals. Glue in place once you have them where you want them.Tie a bow in the center of string or ribbon. Glue the tails to the back of the frame.You can also glue a magnet to the back of the frame if you like, or use the magnet instead of the ribbon hanger.

The gift of relaxation

Keep your eyes open for some unusual jars in which to store these do-it-yourself bath salts.

What you need: large glass or metal mixing bowl; 2 cups Epsom's salts; 1 cup sea salt, rock salt or coarse salt; food coloring; 1/4 teaspoon glycerin; essential oil for fragrance such as vanilla, citrus or peppermint, (optional); clean, dry jars with cork stoppers or metal screw-on lid.

How to make it: Try to do this on a day with low humidity as the salt will absorb moisture from the air. Combine salts in bowl and mix well. Add a couple drops of food coloring and mix well. Add glycerin and essential oil (4 or 5 drops) and mix well. Spoon salts into the jars and close them. Make a gift tag with the scent (if you used one) and suggest using 1/3 to 1/2 cup in the bath. Makes 3 cups of bath salts.

The gift of functionality

For busy moms, try this handy storage container.

What you need: clay pot (4- to 6-inch-diameter); Magic markers; fabric scraps; pinking shears; Elmer's glue; water; disposable bowl; paintbrush; wax paper.

How to make it: Decorate a 4- to 6-inch-diameter clay pot using magic markers, or cut out fabric using pinking shears. Lay out a sheet of wax paper to work on. Attach fabric pieces using a paintbrush and a watery (Elmer's) glue mix in a disposable bowl. Be sure the bottom has a hole for draining. Keep kitchen scrubbers in it.


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