Pretty Useful Things
Over the years it has gotten more and more difficult to think of the perfect gift for Mother’s Day. As a kid in school the teachers would sit us down in art class, throw some clay, paint, crayons and paper at us and order us to make mom something special. As a young adult full of angst and deep, deep feelings I would sit down weeks in advance of the big day and start writing my mother poetry. Really profound, meaningful poetry that I hope she never, ever shares with anyone! When I started becoming more successful as an actor and could afford to buy my mother something fancy, we started making Bergdorf Goodman a Mother’s Day tradition.For some reason we found ourselves in NY around Mother’s Day for several years in a row and Bergdorf is our all time favorite indulgence. It made perfect sense to head over to 5th ave for a day of shopping. We always started with lunch on the 7th floor and then slowly made our way down through evening wear, casual wear and finally to the shoe department where we would spend hours just admiring all the pretty things until finally we made our picks and headed down to the gorgeous purses on the first floor. For a couple of years I bought the purse my mother most loved for her gift and when I became a mother myself she started buying me a Mother’s Day purse as well. Though it was incredibly fun and indulgent to be able to afford the luxury of a Bergdorf purse, it soon felt too indulgent. I began to want to go back to giving my mother something more meaningful and from the heart. No, I have not taken up writing poetry again, but I did break out my clay, paints, serger, and knitting needles to craft up some pretty useful things for the World’s Best Mom.
Back in December when I was busy serging up some dish towels in Purl Soho’s Linen Grid for my Christmas Gift Crates, I realized I had a ton of scrap fabric left over. I couldn’t bear to just throw it away and I had noticed on the Purl Soho sight that they had a pattern for Scented Sachets in Linen Grid. I figured this was the perfect way to use up that scrap fabric.
I modified Purl’s pattern a bit…well ok a lot, in order to save myself some time and energy. I omitted the insert and used my serger instead of the sewing machine. These beauties took me all of about 30 minutes to whip up and though my recipient ( that would be my mother) won’t have the option to replace the scented insert once the fragrance fades, I figure she can put a few drops of essential oil directly on the fabric to keep it scenting her delicates!
Katie's Super Simple Sachets
Use light weight cotton or linen fabric, ideally scraps large enough for sachet purposes, and cut two pieces at once to the size you desire. The beauty of Linen Grid is the Grid! I just cut along the lines already there which saved me from having to measure, mark and then cut. Serge three of the four sides in a yarn of your choice. I used a coordinating turquoise that matched the lines in the linen perfectly. Fill each sachet with your choice of filling. I used a combination of cedar chips and dried lavender buds for half and cedar chips with dried rose buds for the rest. I found the lavender buds gave off more of a scent than the rose buds so if I were you I’d stick with the lavender. Leave enough room at the top of your sachet to serge the last side closed and Ta-Da! You’ve got yourself some scented sachets!
Scrap fabric in a light enough weight to let the scent of your filling come through.
Coordinating thread, or contrasting if you want to get crazy! I used Maxi Lock in a coordinating blue.
Dried Lavender Buds
Dried Rose Buds
I’m a sucker for themed gift baskets and the sachets had already set the ton for the one I had planned for my mom. They brought to mind the elegance and refinement of an old fashioned ladies boudoir and bath, so I started thinking along those lines and came across these beautiful DIY clay bowls that I had pinned ages ago. I loved the look of them and the directions made them seem entirely doable. Which they were! I had bought the air dry clay and paints months earlier when I thought I might make the bowls for my christmas gift crates. I didn’t get around to doing them then but I’m thrilled I got to them now. They’re so easy to make and you can get as creative as you like with them. I did a few where I draped the rolled out clay over the bowl instead of shaping it inside. This created a ragged like edge that looks like one half of a cracked egg. I was thinking of the goose that laid the golden eggs as I painted the metallic edging around the bowl. These pretty and simple dishes are perfect for holding the jewelry you remove before taking a bath.
The last few gifts to complete the boudoir and bath basket were hand knit wash clothes, a coconut oil sugar scrub and handmade scented candles in vintage tea cups. The wash cloths knit up in an hour and the sugar scrub and candles took mere minutes. The Utah mountains are a dry, dry place to live and my mother has been struggling to keep her skin well moisturized. I figured the hand knit wash clothes could serve two purposes. They’re chunky and textured enough to be great exfoliators and they’re pretty enough to brighten up any ladies bathroom. The coconut oil sugar scrub was dreamt up with the same dry skin needs in mind. My mother dumps a bottles worth of coconut oil into her baths and goes through the stuff by the case load. I figured that by combining the moisturizing effects of the coconut oil she loves with the exfoliating and soothing properties of brown sugar she might get more bang for her buck. I chose brown sugar instead of salt or white sugar because of its finer grains and glycol acid properties. The candles were a last minute inspiration. My grandmother, Oma, my mother’s mother left me a bunch of her china after she passed with notes telling me which pieces had belonged to whom in our family tree. None of the pieces are still part of a complete set anymore and I’ve never know what to do with them. They’re too precious and meaningful to give away, but there aren’t enough pieces to use for entertaining. Then it hit me! I can use the tea cups and coffee mugs for homemade candles, and that’s just what I did. I figured that by making my grandmother’s china and her handwritten notes a part of my mother’s gift I could honor the love and connection they had and, I believe, still do.
2 skeins Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton in Vanilla
A pair of size US 10/ 6.00mm circular needles
Simple Seed Stitch Wash Cloth
Seed Stitch Wash Cloth
1st Row: * knit 1, purl 1 *, repeat from *-*.
2nd Row: * Knit the purl stitches, purl the knit stitches *, repeat from *-*
Repeat these two rows
With two strands of the kitchen cotton, cast on 25 stitches and work in seed stitch for 1 1/2 inches. Continue on in stockinette stitch working the first three stitches and last three stitches of each row in the established seed stitch pattern for 8 inches. Work 1 1/2 inches in seed stitch, bind off in pattern.
Simple Moss Stitch Wash Cloth
Moss Stitch Wash Cloth
Rows 1 and 2: * Knit 1, Purl 1 *, repeat from *-*
Rows 3 and 4: * Purl 1, Knit 1 *, repeat from *-*
Repeat these four rows.
With two strands of Kitchen Cotton, cast on 24 stitches and work in moss stitch for 1 1/2 inches. Continue on in stockinette stitch working the first four stitches and last four stitches of each row in the established moss stitch pattern for 8 inches. Work 1 1/2 inches in moss stitch, bind off in pattern.
10 ounces of soy wax flakes
Wick holder or wooden skewer
Glass measuring cup
Essential oil of your choice
Oma's Tea Cup Candles
Melt the soy wax in the glass measuring cup in the microwave. Mine took about three minutes to fully melt. Remove from the microwave and dip your wick into the hot wax, pressing it into the bottom of your container. Let the wax cool slightly before adding your essential oil. I love Butterfly Express oils and used their blend called Grace. I only needed 15 drops to get a perfectly scented candle. Stir the oil into the wax and then pour it into the vessel you’ve chosen. If you’re like me and have a bunch of mis matched china that’s too meaningful to give away, use that!
2 14 oz jars of coconut oil
1 bag of light brown sugar
essential oil of your choice
Food processor ( I used my handy Ninja!)
Coconut Oil Brown Sugar Scrub
Hold on to your hats, these instructions are crazy!
Place the whole bag of sugar and the two jars of coconut oil in a food processor. Blend on high for about 30 seconds. Add essential oil if you please. Put the scrub into a container of your choice and… that’s it! This scrub could not be any easier to make, so you have no excuse not to try it! I was going to use eucalyptus oil as the fragrance because it’s my mother’s favorite, but decided against it. The scrub smells so lovely on its own I didn’t think it needed any extra enhancement.