mother’s day gifts

If you’re new here, welcome! I’m AmberLee, and Giverslog is my place to share recipes, gift ideas, pretty wrapping ideas, and whatever else is on my mind. I also own an online chocolate shop, The Ticket Kitchen. Stop by if you get a moment!
Are you ready for a peek at how my new stands turned out? I’m more than a little thrilled with them. It’s great fun transforming a set of thrifted candlesticks into bright summery treat stands for the next shindig. (See the first set I made right here).

Being able to take these apart to switch out plates is a big deal for me. Even though my kitchen now is roomier, much much roomier, than the apartment and condo kitchens I’ve somehow squeezed into through the years, space is still at a premium. Plus I like picking a melamine plate whenever I find one I like and being able to put it to use with the stands I already have.

Best of all, I figured out a new trick that will let you use any candlestick you fall in love with at the thrift store. Not just candlesticks that have a hole through the center.

The shopping is really the best part. (You can get glimpse here of the first set of these I put together.) But for this time around, here’s the list of what I picked up.

Supplies & equipment:
1. Set of thrifted candlesticks. I often find candlesticks at the thrift store that can be disassembled and have a hole all the way through the middle. To find out if a candlestick can do this, just pick one up at the thrift store and try to unscrew. But hole or no hole, any candlestick will work. On my last thrifting trip I fell in love with some sticks that did not have a hole through the middle, I discovered I could still make my stand interchangeable. Here’s my big trick. Are you ready for it? All you need to do is find a…
2. Cork that fits snugly into your candlestick. (You need this only if your candlestick does not have a hole all the way through the middle).
3. Drawer pull that lets you take out the screw. I picked up mine at Lowe’s this time around. Don’t you love the crystal knobs?
4. Allthread that fits your drawer pull. This just looks like a really long screw with no head or point. To make sure it fits my drawer pull, I try screwing it in right in the isles of Lowe’s.
5. Nuts and washers.
6. A few fun melamine plates. I picked up mine at Target.
7. Primer and paint, if you choose. I love Krylon.
6. A hack saw and drill. A wood bit works perfectly for drilling into melamine.

Here is a candlestick I took apart and found I could dissasemble and have two pieces with a hole all the way through the middle of each.

Yea for Krylon. So many possibilities with this stuff.

Now comes the easy part… Here is the how-to for putting it all together, whether your candlestick has a hole through the core or not.
1. Paint. If you’re planning to paint the candlestick, disassemble it, prime, and paint.
2. Drill. Tape the plate in the center and drill through your taped spot. Take it slow and easy, I’ve cracked a couple plates by being in too big of a rush.

3. Cut your allthread. If your candlestick has a hole through the center, use a hack saw to cut your all thread to the length you’ll need to go from the bottom of the candlestick to the top to screw into your drawer pull. Cut carefully so you don’t ruin the thread and are still able to screw a bolt or your drawer pull onto the end. If you are using a cork, cut a tiny piece of the allthread so it is just long enough to screw through the cork and into the allthread.
4. If your candlestick does not have a hole through the center, add a cork. Wedge in a cork where the candle would go. Make sure it is a super snug fit. Cut off any overhang. You want to make sure the plate will rest evenly against the top of the candlestick. Drill a small hole in the center of the cork where the drawer pull will screw in. Make the hole just smaller than the allthread, so it screws in snugly.

Here is a set I assembled by screwing an all thread through the center.

Here is a set I made by using a cork.
3. Assemble.
 Now you get to thread your whole creation together. If your candlestick has a hole down the middle, put the washer and screw at the bottom, then thread the allthread through your candlestick piece, then add the plate, and finally, screw on the drawer pull at the top. If you are using a cork, simply screw one end of the allthread into the drawer pull, then put the other end through the hole in the plate and screw it into the cork in the candlestick. That’s it. Now your stands are ready to party, or to fit neatly in your cupboard.Good luck! If you make a set, I’d love to hear how it goes.


I wanted to show you what we ended up doing with our Meant to Be Calligraphy stamp that we’re giving my son’s totally amazing kindergarten teacher.

I always think it’s fun to let the kids in on making a gift for their teacher. They always feel so proud. Even if it’s just a note to go with the gift, which is usually the simplest solution. But this time we thought we’d use our stamp to create some handmade stationary. We really tried to keep it simple and my son loved the project. We packaged it all up with some fun supplies from my favorite Japanese packaging shop, and I’m really satisfied with how it turned out.

I used the giant drawing paper you find at the art store because I love the colors and texture.
We folded it in half and ran it through my paper cutter, then my son got to work with his watercolors and a toothbrush.
I love how it turned out.
We also made some fabric name tape using this method.
Then wrapped it all up with some tape and envelopes from UGUiSU (i want to buy everything there).

And now it is all set to give to one amazing kindergarten teacher.
(p.s. If you’re still searching around for a last-minute teacher gift idea, you might find something to spark your creativity here, here, or here.)



This week I’ll be tying up my handmade gift retreat. And like any good party, I’m not ready for it to be over! But I have stellar women to finish it off, and I have something wonderful coming around the corner, so I will try to be brave.

To kick off the week, I hope you’ll help me say Hello to the beautiful Hannah of Sherbet Blossom. Hannah lives in Utah with her adorable family and runs a design shop you really must see. I love her May I Suggest series she has going right now, and before that her Project Organize (don’t you love her for this? you might run across me while you browse). I’m so thrilled to have her here today sharing a dear gift. I’ll leave you in her hands.


I think we all have ancestors/relatives that we relate to more than others. Relatives that we seem to take after. Someone that shares your same interests, character traits or humor. My Grandma Boo is that relative for me. She was a woman who had a passion for design; she always had the latest fashions in clothing and home decor: not your average grandma. She loved to laugh and she adored her husband. She was always serving other people and thought of herself last. She was the ultimate, glamorous hostess.

I come from a family of cooks and Grandma Boo was the best. When she passed away, my mother made all of Grandma Boo’s descendants a book of my grandmother’s recipes. It is now one of my most prized possessions. I am sad to say this book is not available for purchase, but it SHOULD be!
My copy is full of food stains, kid scribbles and jotted notes. I love this book. I know that I am safe making anything in it. Everything is delicious and most recipes are accompanied by memories of my grandmother. The smells and taste of her food brings in a rush of memories. This is a gift that will keep on giving.

Today, my teary-eyed three-year-old came to me requesting “Grandma Boo’s Cookies” after falling down. How could I refuse him? Grandma’s cookies make any sadness a little sweeter.
Now the she is gone, Grandma’s recipes have become my homemade gift of choice. I pull out the recipe book for every holiday. Many of my friends, neighbors and family members have been the recipients of her fantastic recipes. Nothing can invite a smile like the gift of homemade chocolate chip cookies.

My grandma’s cookies are one of my favorite items in the cookbook, and like my grandma, I don’t believe in secret recipes. Sharing makes cooking even more fun. The recipe is my gift to you today. Enjoy!

3/4 c. shortening
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
2 c. quick rolled oats
1 pkg. chocolate chips
3/4 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Cream together shortening and sugars. Add eggs. Add remaining
ingredients in order and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees until done.
(About 10-11 minutes.)


Book Portrait


Books are such an important part of who you become. Which is why I am completely in love with the idea of getting a portrait made of the books our little family is particularly fond of at the moment, which you can have done here. Thanks Letter Soup and LMNOP.

p.s. What book helped make you who you are?


Have you ever had tres leches cake? For anyone who hasn’t, it’s heaven. You take a yellow cake and drench it in three kinds of cream. Pretty good idea, right?

I’ve been craving all things latino even more since my aunt visited. I miss her!

So I had this thought last week that I’d like to try tres leches pancakes, I thought it was worth pursuing. I took a stack of hot pancakes, layered them with fruit, and poured on a bled of three creams until they were bien mojado—nice and wet. They turned out to be pretty good (pancakes and cream? what a surprise).

But I found I liked it best having one pancake on a plate at a time. Because it’s rich, for one, and because that way the pancake can really soak up all that wet goodness.

Tres Leches Pancakes
Cook up a stack of your favorite pancakes. You’ll probably want a lighter pancake, whole wheat may be too heavy. While you’re cooking and flipping, mix the following ingredients:

1 12-oz. evaporated milk
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup heavy cream or whole milk

Once the pancakes are done, poke a few holes in them with a fork. Pour the cream mixture over them, making sure you don’t stop until they’re nice and wet. Serve with fruit, and dig in.


I’m wishing you a happy Father’s Day weekend. I will get to hang out with my dad, for the first time in many father’s days, so it should be a great weekend for me and the family. Be sure to stop by next week, I have a pretty incredible sponsor to introduce you to, you’ll get to hear from Crystal, and I have my biggest. giveaway. ever. See you then.


A Good Weekend


How was your Mother’s Day? I hope it was all you wanted it to be. Mine was lovely, and included peach cobbler in a dutch oven and homemade ice cream. I also received some sweet handmade tokens, two of them from friends who are busy young mothers themselves. Seriously. Busy  young mothers (one of them here) who find time to make things for other women on Mother’s Day. These are the kind of amazing people I get to have in my life. Thanks, girls.


One year my SIL and I conspired to completely organize my mom’s gift wrap closet. (See how I organize mind right here). We bought organizational supplies and went the whole nine yards. I don’t know who had more fun, my SIL and I having an excuse to buy organizational supplies or my mom getting to open the closet on Christmas morning and find complete and total order (not always easy when you’re not the only one using a closet). So here are a couple pics to get your organizational juices flowing. Aren’t they dreamy?

incredible craft room from this flikr stream, also some favorite craft organizational ideas here

dreamy pantry from here via here


Mom Wants a Bra


Alright ladies, tell me truly, have you ever gone to be fitted for a bra? And then, afterward, did you go out and buy a really nice, really comfortable one? Has your mother?

Confession. I haven’t.

But incase mom might like a fitting and a bra, here is a great resource. The Undie Awards. Every year thousands of women and men weigh in on their favorite bras and undies. You can find 2009’s winner right here. Check out their bra fitting guide here. What a handy resource.

And here are a couple other great resources I’ve come across.
Petit Elephant has an excellet guide for fitting your bra to your body type right here.
—Never one to be left behind, Opra does too. You can find it here.
—And for brand new moms, Cake lingerie makes the most lovely nursing bras you’ll ever find, and they also do their own a great fitting guide. The helpful diagram above is theirs. Who knew that there was so much to know?

p.s. This gift might be best coming from a daughter to a mother. What do you think? Men, if you’d like to get something for the mother of your children, you may be safe going with a great sports bra.


I love this idea for anything, but especially for Mother’s day. Inspired by vintage tinted photos, Unplug Your Kids made this simple project. You are looking at photos printed on standard copy paper, then colored with colored pencils. Wouldn’t this be beautiful with lovely pictures of grandma in her heyday or surrounded by her grandkids? Get the full DIY here (found via here).


This post goes out to all the men who have ever thought about getting Photoshop for the photographing mother or wife or sister or lovely woman in your life (and who knows, maybe you secretly want it for yourself too). Men, now is the time to get it.

Have you seen what the latest version of Photoshop (CS5) can do? Holy smokes.

My sister works for Adobe and was telling me all about it this weekend. What you’re looking at below is a feature called content-aware fill. And it’s amazing. It’s photography sorcery. If you have 2 minutes, you can see a video here. And there are a few other super amazing new features in CS5. See a video here. I thought you might like to know.

And to my readers who are photographers, stick around. I have a giveaway coming later today that I know you’ll like.


Today I’ve put together a gift idea for you that Grandma can keep in her purse and that involves pictures of her Grandchildren. I thought that might be a nice combo. And I also made a discovery in the process. Read on to hear more.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Grandma her own checkbook cover that features the silhouettes of her favorite people in the world, her grandchildren:
A scrap of fabric big enough to wrap around a checkbook cover
A scrap of colored felt
Fabric glue, like Liquid Stitch
A fabric marker or permanent marker, or fabric paint and a paintbrush
Embroidery thread or Divine Twine and a needle

I love getting Divine Twine in the mail. It makes for a happy mail day.

Start by cutting your fabric in a rectangle big enough to be the cover for grandma’s checkbook. Lay a checkbook cover flat, and cut around it, leaving an extra quarter inch on the sides for gluing, and adding an extra inch or two on the top and bottom to fold over the checkbook and make pockets for the back and front cover to slip into. Remember the way you used to cover your books in grade school? This is a little like that.

Cut out frame shapes from the felt and glue them where you’d like them.

Now it’s time to take some pictures of your kids to use for the silhouettes. Have your kids stand in front of a window and snap the picture with the window as backlighting. This will give you a stronger silhouette line than if you just take a regular indoor picture. Print the picture out at an appropriate size.

Place the picture behind the fabric and trace each silhouette with a pencil. I taped my picture and my fabric to a window so I could easily see the outline. Bring the fabric off the window and trace the profile again with a fabric or permanent marker. Here’s a little tip on technique: be sure to keep the marker moving. If you stop to hold still the ink will bleed a little more into the fabric and make an unsightly blob.

Fill in the silhouettes with the marker or with fabric paint. Now here is my fun discovery. Did you know you can embroider with Divine Twine? I’m so excited about the possibilities! I pulled out two threads of my licorice twine and used the remaining two to embroider a little hanger for my frames. I thought it added a nice final touch.

Finally, flip the fabric over and glue the sides together to make the pockets that the checkbook covers will slide into.

After you’ve given your project a day or two to dry, send it off to grandma with a note of love.

And once you’ve gone to the trouble of making silhouettes of your kids, you can get creative and make other goodies for mom’s or grandma’s purse. Like maybe a set of calling cards and matchbook notebooks featuring the same silhouettes. Any other fun ideas of things to do with silhouettes? I’d love to hear.


I think a fabric bloom is just the thing to give mom on Mother’s Day, don’t you? Something lovely for her to pin on to make her feel queenly. I’ve seen so many beautiful fabric flowers floating around that I thought I’d gather them here for a little inspiration in case you’d like to buy or DIY.

buy Heart of Light | Grosgrain tutorial | 100 Layer Cake tutorial

buy Emersonmade | Miss Priss tutorial | Prudent Baby tutorial

buy Twigs & Honey | buy Sarah Culleton (via here) | Ruffles and Stuff tutorial

Everyday Chaos tutorial | buy K. Autumn (via here) | Mama Monster tutorial

Salty Pineapple tutorial | Knit Picks tutorial | buy Tago Design


Clickin Moms

If you happen to be a budding photographer, you are going to love one of my new sponsors. More on Clickin Moms coming soon.


I’ve always thought a crop of flowers right outside mom’s window is the perfect Mother’s Day gift. If you think so too, get the how-to for this window box that cost an entire $3.12 from the lovely ladies at HowDoesShe.
And not that I would ever use this blog to drop a hint, no, I’m not that enterprising. Or maybe I am. But either way, aren’t these DIY planters amazing? I want a full set. (I’d also go for this simpler version).

And I couldn’t end this post without adding these two. If you insist on having the freshest herbs for your outdoor dining, you can have your way at home or on a picnic. You may not want to permanently redesign Mom’s bike for Mother’s Day, maybe a temporary portable herb garden would be best.


Divine Twine

p.s. Did you hear about the new Divine Twine in the works? Pretty colors like cotton candy. Yum. I can’t wait.


Here’s a quick little project I thought you might like to make for mom or grandma on Mother’s Day. It easy, and come on, aren’t the results fab? Put a few scraps of fabric on the table in front of your kids and see what lovely things they come up with.

You’ll need just a few supplies:
-A pair of scissors
-Scrap pieces of felt and patterned fabric
-Pipe cleaners
-A fun array of buttons

We  snipped out a few varying shapes and sizes of fabric. I liked the round felt with the scalloped pattern fabric. Layer them as you like and snip a single slit right in the middle.

With the pipe cleaner, make a loop big enough to fit as a ring in the back, and make a little twist to finish the loop.  Then poke both ends through the slit in the fabric, through the button holes, and give the pipe cleaner one more twist on the top to hold everything in place.

And there you have it. Something fabulous for grandma or mom to wear on her special day.

We also discovered that if you make a slightly bigger version you can make mom’s bike pretty too.

Happy snipping.