Get the Boot!
Repurpose those adorable rain boots the kids in your family have outgrown. You can make them into garden pots that will make Mom smile whenever she sees them. Begin by poking a few drainage holes in the bottom of each boot. Then fill each boot with potting soil.
Now plant some of Mom or Grandma's favorite herbs in the boots. Lavender, parsley, rosemary, peppermint and sage do well. These whimsical planters look great on a sunny porch or patio.
Pretty Buds All in a Row
Save some unusual and pretty glass bottles in all shapes and sizes. Look for tall, thin olive jars and interesting oil or vinegar bottles, for instance. After you have cleaned them and dried them thoroughly, it is time to paint the bottles with a uniform color. I like to use spray paint for this project for the even way it coats the glass. I find that with gentle care, the paint holds up well. You can also finish with a coat of clear acrylic spray to protect the paint. (Be sure to supervise children with the paint.)
I like the uniformity of painting a variety of bottles in one color -- say white -- and then having your flowers do all the color talking. After the paint has dried, choose some colorful flowers from your garden to place in the bud vases. Choose different length stems and bloom sizes for dramatic effect.
Next, arrange the vases on a platter or tray. Check your local thrift store for good finds for this part of the gift. You can either use the tray as is or paint it as well. If you can't find a platter you like at the thrift store, check your dollar store and plan on painting it a complementary color to accent the vases.
Present the tray of flower-filled vases to Mom along with a card tied to one of the vases with a pretty ribbon.
Step on It!
Add some personality to Mom's garden with some home-made stepping stones. First gather up some colorful items such as small shells, marbles or rocks.
Here are the supplies you need: a mold (a clear, plastic plant saucer or cake pan works well), quick-setting concrete, screening or hardware cloth, decorative items. To make it easier to get the stone out of the mold, try coating the inside of the mold with Vaseline or cooking spray.
Follow the package directions for mixing the concrete, and then fill your mold about half full with the mixture. Smooth it down with gloved hands or with a spatula. Place screen or wire mesh into the mold (which helps give your stepping stone support) and then finish adding the cement into the mold until it is full.
Tap around the outside of the mold to eliminate air bubbles and then let it sit undisturbed for about 40 minutes. After the cement has partially set, you can add your decorations in any design you wish. Maybe you could spell out the words "Mom's Garden" or the names of some of her favorite flowers - or kids.
Let the finished design sit undisturbed for several days. When it is dry, you can carefully pop it out of its mold. If you like, you can seal the top of your stepping stone with clear acrylic paint.
Pour on the Love
Choose an inexpensive plastic watering can from your gardening center. Now ask your kids to find and cut out pictures of some of Mom or Grandma's favorite things from magazines, catalogs or newspapers. Ideas could include cats, dogs, butterflies, birds and flowers of course. Crinkle-cut scissors give a nice touch.
Next glue the pictures onto the can, overlapping the edges to cover the main front surface (and the back, if you like) Cover the pictures with a decoupage medium, such as Mod Podge.Tea Time
Create a pretty tea garden for your Mom or Grandma. Choose a wooden wine crate, an attractive basket or other window-sill size planter. Plant an arrangement of mint, lavender, rose geranium, chamomile or pineapple sage. Mom will be able to dry these fresh herbs for her own tea.
Here are some simple directions you could include on a card: After plants have budded, collect leaves and flowers. Lay them out flat on a counter or shelf where they can remain undisturbed to dry for a few days. Turn stems and leaves occasionally. Then store the leaves in a sealed bag or jar. Mom can combine leaves to make different flavor combinations for her tea. For good measure, add a pretty tea cup to your gift.
A piece of advice for fathers: Dads, while you do get bonus points for helping kids with these homemade gifts, please keep in mind that where you are concerned that the "it's the thought that counts" mentality applies to a nice dinner out as well.
Happy Mother's Day!