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.

Nancy toasting our Bergdorf Mother's Day!
A sweet treat before our shopping spree!

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!

Supplies Needed

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.

Cedar Chips

Dried Lavender Buds

Dried Rose Buds

I just happened to have the perfect coordinating thread for my serged sachets!
Rose, Lavender and Cedar will keep any drawer or shelf smelling sweet!
I did a variety of sizes to fit in any drawer or shelf or even in a pair of shoes.
I monogrammed my mothers initials onto one of the sachets for fun.

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.

A perfect set.
Never panic over a misplaced ring again!

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.

Neutral knit wash cloths that will look beautiful in any bathroom.
Seed and Moss stitch borders are simple and elegant.
Supplies Needed

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

Seed Stitch:

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

Moss Stitch:

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.

A tea cup and handwritten note from my Grandmother.
DIY candles require just a few supplies and are so easy to do!
Supplies Needed

10 ounces of soy wax flakes

1 wick

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!

I used a tea cup and coffee mug my Oma left me. For the mug I just doubled the recipe.
Supplies Needed

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.

I found a cut glass bowl for the scrub. It's all about presentation people!
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  • Natalie

    Ooh! I love these crafty ideas. The clay bowls are my fave!

    May 5, 2016 at 8:35 pm Reply
  • ariana

    I really like your blog because everytime I read some of your things I feel happy and relaxed. These ideas were great. I am willing to try some of them. Fingers crossed .

    May 5, 2016 at 8:35 pm Reply
  • Sandra Oranje

    Love all these new ideas. The clay bowls I wanna try with the kids when they want their aunty to visit them to get creative. They love to work with clay and so do I to be honest. Thanks for sharing this Katherine. 😉

    May 5, 2016 at 9:04 pm Reply
    • Katherine Heigl

      They’re a perfect craft project to do with kids! Let me know how they turn out! xoxo, KT

      May 6, 2016 at 11:05 pm Reply
      • Sandra Oranje

        Hi Katherine, for some reason I can ‘t reply on comments so I’ll do it this way. You wanted to know how they turned out. I will post a photo on my Instagram for you to see. The kids saw the blanck masks I had in my DIY bag so they chose to decorate them instead of making bowls. I one myself and it turned out really nice for a first time bowl. I do need to find better clay though, because mine started to break and crackle while rolling it out. Hope you like what I’ve made too. xoxoxo

        July 12, 2016 at 11:21 am Reply
  • Louise

    have a very nice mother’s day..Awesome gifts..
    Thank you for sharing..I just finished a baby blankie and mailed it off this week..
    take care.

    May 5, 2016 at 9:29 pm Reply
  • Adita

    You are sooo creative. I love all these ideas!! Thank you & I hope you have a beautiful Mother’s Day!!

    May 5, 2016 at 9:55 pm Reply
  • Trisha Tormollen

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful crafts………I hope to try my hand in knitting……Ive been a crocheter forever… wish me luck……I also like your wash cloths……do you use for dish washing also??
    Have a blessed Mothers day with your mom……Trisha

    May 5, 2016 at 10:45 pm Reply
    • Katherine Heigl

      I hope to try my hand at crocheting soon! I’ve never tried it. I do know there are tons of dish cloth and watch cloth crochet patterns out there so you should make yourself a set. You could absolutely use these wash cloths in the kitchen as well. Thanks for your sweet wishes! xoxo, KT

      May 6, 2016 at 11:03 pm Reply
  • Helen M.

    Your gifts are exceptionally thoughtful and beautiful, and down-to-earth. LOVE them! Have a happy Mother’s Day!

    May 6, 2016 at 5:20 am Reply
  • Gwen

    I love everything, but your clay bowls won me over. Now I have to make a set for myself and mom for her birthday. I like ve the idea of the home made gifts. While it’s always nice to buy someone something a hand made gift show that to put the time and effort into your gift.

    I hope you having a great Mother’s Day.

    May 9, 2016 at 12:15 am Reply
  • Gwen

    While I love your hand made gifts your clay bowls won me over. Now I have to make a set for myself and my mother for her birthday. To me while it’s always nice to buy a gift hand made gifts show how much time and effort you put into making something special for someone.

    I hope you had a great Mother’s Day.

    May 9, 2016 at 12:27 am Reply
  • Heidi_Australia

    I agree. I absolutely love a good gift basket. The skill is in thinking of things that really go well together – I definitely think you nailed this one! Thanks so much for sharing all the recipes and patterns, I’m very much inspired to make more handmade gifts for birthdays, etc.

    May 9, 2016 at 10:35 am Reply
  • Bridget

    I LOVE those little monogram sachets you made. What kind of embroidery machine do you have? Is it just a setting on your sewing machine? One of my machines has the option but I have never tried it! Feeling inspired. I pinned some of these other ideas for Christmas next year, too. 🙂

    May 10, 2016 at 8:08 pm Reply
  • Sharon

    It would be great if you had an on line store. Monica Potter has a brick and mortar store in East Cleveland but you can order from her on line. I have seen several things I would order that you have posted, like the sachets. Of course you could do this in your SPARE TIME. 🙂

    May 16, 2016 at 10:07 pm Reply
  • M

    I know your mother loved her Mother’s Day gift basket. I love the crafts that you made. I’m going to check out that air clay, because I would love to make some pretty dishes like you did. I love to paint and have been wanting to hand paint some pretty dishes to put on my bedroom bed side table, dresser and bathroom vanity to corral those little items that tend to get misplaced.

    My dh just surprised me with a serger when he found a great deal on a Janome on Woot! I learned to sew in college as part of my interior design major. I’ve been wanting to get back into sewing, and I love how versatile a serger is. I had never heard of Purl Soho, but now I can’t wait to order some fabric from them. I’m teaching myself different embroidery stitches from a couple books I picked up on Amazon and the sites I’ve pinned from Pinterest. I want to make some handkerchiefs to keep in my handbags, and finding nice linen fabric isn’t easy. I am so excited to see such gorgeous fabric and yarns. I really love the metallic linens. I’ve always wanted to make a quilt, but most of the quilting fabrics I’ve seen would clash with the decorating style and colours that I love. I also love natural fabrics, especially linen, and I think that Purl Soho’s gorgeous linen fabrics would make an amazing quilt. My granny who taught me to cross stitch, hand sew and took me to her church’s quilting bee would be very proud. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful website!

    May 17, 2016 at 1:07 pm Reply
  • Jennifer

    Love the simple serger trim in blue! Going to try that out. Thanks! Love your website btw! I’m excited to see what you come up with next. 🙂

    May 19, 2016 at 10:23 pm Reply
  • Andrea Napier

    Katie, I miss your company so much! And this beautiful blog reminds me why. Let me know when you’re ready to learn to crochet….we’ll make a weekend out of it. xoxo andrea

    May 27, 2016 at 8:07 pm Reply
  • Sandy

    LOVE❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Everything! So happy I found your site.

    June 24, 2016 at 8:22 pm Reply
  • Christine

    Wow! Amazing , sweet and thoughtful gifts! #greatdaughter❤️

    June 25, 2016 at 1:24 am Reply
  • Heidi LeRoy

    Homemade gifts are the best! Hands down. I absolutely love this gift basket and am inspired to recreate many (if not all depending on my abilities 😉 of the components. I think that gifting our handmade items to loved ones, for me at least, helps rationalize the amount of time it takes to make the same thing you can buy for a few bucks at a big box store. I always look first to stores like etsy to support talented moms and their passions. So glad I found your blog – it brings me serenity.

    August 19, 2016 at 9:39 pm Reply
  • Amanda Silkey

    I am so glad I came across your blog today. Loving everything in it! I feel a true connection to what you are doing with it and it has inspired me to work on my own. And that tea cup pic.. do you have ties to buffalo, ny? From the queen city here myself! #buffalove

    August 15, 2017 at 4:20 am Reply
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