Disclosure: The books I have reviewed in this post were provided courtesy of UncommonGoods, a great website for shopping handmade, recycled, or Made in USA gifts. (All the good stuff you know I am about. I actually linked to them in my holiday gift guide a few years ago.) As always, all opinions are 100% my own!
Without a link to her amazon wishlist, it can be a bit tricky to shop for the mom (or moms) in your life for Mother's Day. Take my mama, for instance. Unless I know for sure she's had her eye on a new fragrance or a handbag or I've got a new birthstone charm to add to her mama/nana necklace (celebrating her babies and grandbabies), I stay away from perfumes, jewelry and other accessories. I want my mom to actually use what I give her! Instead, I like to think about her interests.
While perusing some gift ideas over at UncommonGoods, I came up with this little list of inspirational books that the moms in your life might love to receive and (hopefully) mark up and dog ear instead of looking pretty on the bookshelf (though, I'll admit they are some nice looking books)!
I love this book for so many reasons. First, it comes at the perfect time because we're expecting Baby #2 in October! (How's that for an announcement?) Second, I tried keeping a pregnancy journal for Hunter and failed miserably. I just used a regular old unlined journal, and most of it I left blank. I do have some special entries, but I just didn't spend as much time on it as I wish I had. This journal has some great quotes and prompts that really help me think about all the facets of pregnancy, little things that never even occurred to me to record the first time around. Third, I feel like second babies often get cheated in the sense that parents tend to take less photos of them than the first born and they rarely get to look back on keepsake books like this. Baby #2 will have a one-up on Hunter because he or she (we're waiting to find out the gender) will have a much more complete pregnancy book! Finally, this is most probably my last pregnancy, so I really do want to treasure the whole experience!
This paperback book is great for the mama who already is a DIY expert with some crocheting experience (or knitting or embroidery, which are the other two books in the series) who needs a refresher or wants to have a book handy to learn some new techniques and stitches. For a newbie like me who looks dreamily at the 10+ blankets, baby booties and beanies that her mama has lovingly made, desperately wanting to be able to do the same, the illustrations can be a little confusing. My mom sat down with me one afternoon and showed me the basics, and I practiced for hours, but I have already forgotten what I learned. Perhaps after some YouTube tutorials and more practice, I will find this book more useful.
If you know a mama with a sweet little garden but her seed collection is a mess, she'd probably appreciate this book. There are plenty of two different-sized envelopes/pockets to hold store-bought and home-prepared seeds with room for notes about when the seeds were planted and harvested. I will note that only a mama with a modest seed collection might find this planner useful for organizing the seeds by season to pick and choose from year after year. Someone like my mom, however, would need several of these organizers for each planting season, especially since she has a pretty extensive collection of seeds that would definitely not all fit in one organizer.
For the Mama in Touch with Her Inner Picasso: "104 Things to Paint"
Of all the books on this list, this one I chose most certainly with my own mama in mind. She is not formally trained, but she just really likes to paint. The book is simple: thick, thick pages with prompts like "a pile of laundry" or "a broken pencil" or "grape soda" to get the creative juices flowing. It could be just sketches at first, but the pages are thick enough to welcome water colors or other kinds of paint. I imagine for someone who likes to paint but finds an entire blank canvas a bit daunting, this book is the perfect size for having a little fun with shape, form, style, and color!
For the Globetrotting Mama: "Travel Stub Diary"
This is the book I was most excited to receive. I have envelopes and zip top baggies full of museum ticket stubs, train passes, and brochures from all the lovely places I have visited. I couldn't imagine parting with them, but I also didn't really know what to do with them -- until now! This diary is essentially a photo album with side and top loading sleeves for all those ticket stubs. The margins have space for writing little notes to go along with the keepsakes. You could totally make a DIY book like this using a photo album that has space for notes, but this diary has space for extra large keepsakes like brochures, which would definitely not fit in a regular photo album.
I just love the idea of this attractive, cloth-bound book. We all have a story to tell, so why not start recording it for posterity's sake? I also love the idea of writing something down, and picking it up 10 years from now to reflect on it. Although the entries in this journal together won't read like a carefully woven story, there is space for elaborating a bit more on a particular topic, so it will sound more like lots of short stories. I actually really like the topics and prompts because there is something special about remembering ordinary details like how my parents met or how they chose my name or my earliest memory. There may come a time that I don't remember those stories anymore, so it will be great to have them written down in a special little book that can be passed on from generation to generation.
If you still need more gift ideas, click here! You'll find lots of great gifts for the mom who loves to entertain, like this soapstone serving platter or this olive server.
Also, feel good when you shop at UncommonGoods because you can help support a charity through the Better to Give program. Plus, this company is a founding B Corp, which means they make a commitment to provide better wages for their employees and give back to the community. For more information about B Corps click here.