Love by Mail: Celebrate Mom

5 easy DIY Mother's Day gifts

By Ashley Memory


Missing Mom this year? Crafting mailable gifts for Mother's Day can be fun and easy. Mom will appreciate the special attention, and the fuss-free packaging will help ensure that your bundle makes it to her mailbox just in time. 


Home-baked hugs 

If you can't squeeze your parent in person, send her a sweet embrace by mail. Muffins are the ultimate comfort food any time of day, and they also make a tasty breakfast, snack or dessert.


With your favorite muffin recipe, whip up a batch - whether raspberry, blueberry or banana - and top with a mixture of sliced almonds and sugar before baking. This step will keep muffins from crumbling while on the way and pack a delicious crunch in every bite.


For a touch of luxury, wrap each one in colorful paper and secure with a ribbon.


Mailing tip: Nest the muffins in the individual holes of a 10x13-inch yogurt storage box, which is available at the grocery store. Surround the box with bubble wrap and secure tightly inside a larger 12x15-inch container.


Tropical breeze tea mix 

One sip of this easy, breezy Hawaiian-inspired tea will immediately whisk Mom away to her own private paradise. The delicious blend of orange and pineapple flavors, along with a hint of coconut, will have her dreaming of the beach from any seat in her house. For extra pizzazz, cover the top of the jar with a scrap of tropical fabric and tie it off with twine.


Tropical Tea Breeze Recipe

1 cup of unsweetened iced tea mix
1 three-ounce box orange-flavored gelatin
1 three-ounce box pineapple flavored gelatin
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon coconut extract


Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Pour into a plastic jar. Instructions to Mom: Pour 3/4 cup of water into a microwave-safe mug. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir 2 tablespoons of tea mix into the water. Enjoy!


Mailing tip: Pack the jar of tea into a 4x6-inch cardboard box and seal.


Quilted fabric coasters 

Mom will love the beauty and practicality of coasters sewn from fabric that matches her décor. Coasters cushion the table from scratches, and they're easy to launder. Plus, these accents are fun to make, and you can stitch up six in just an hour or two. For my fabric, I used inexpensive remnants purchased at a high-end fabric store.


To make the quilted fabric coasters

12 squares of prewashed designer fabric, cut into 5.5-inch squares
6 squares of felt or batting, cut into 5.5-inch squares
Coordinating thread


sewing machine


Lay 2 squares of the designer fabric with the printed sides facing each other on top of one square of felt or batting. Pin together. Sew around the perimeter with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, stopping two inches from the end, which leaves an opening. Trim corners of excess bulk. Turn right side out and press, and then turn fabric of the opening under 1/4-inch and press again. Close the opening by sewing on top of it as close to the edge as possible, going all the way around the coaster, which creates a decorative border. Quilt a design in the center to secure batting, such as an "X."


Mailing tip: Place inside a padded 8x10-inch envelope and seal.


Songbirds from any window 

While nibbling on a muffin and sipping her tea, Mom would be sure to appreciate a view to the amusing antics of the chickadees and nuthatches feasting on a convenient feeder by her window. She can hang it herself on the very day it arrives.


Making your own brick of nutritious bird feed (or "suet") couldn't be simpler, and you'll have plenty of extra to ship her later for endless hours of joy.


To make the ready-to-hang bird feeder
* Save the plastic netting from a recent bag of fruit. Snip open the top, empty the fruit, and insert a brick of suet you purchase or make yourself (directions below).

  • Pinch together the top and create a single loop. Secure with a rubber band.
  • Make a hanger by straightening a wire coat hanger and bending it by 3 inches at the top and bottom. Fold to fit into the mailing envelope.

    Instructions to Mom: Unfold the hanger. Thread the loop of the birdfeeder through one of the hooks on the hanger. With the remaining hook, hang the birdfeeder over a tree branch or other favorite outdoor bird perch.


    Ingredients for Homemade Suet 
    1 cup shortening (or lard) 
    1 cup crunchy peanut butter 
    2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
    1 cup cornmeal
    1 cup raisins 
    1 cup sunflower seeds 


    Melt together shortening and peanut butter over medium heat without boiling. Remove from burner. Stir in oatmeal, cornmeal, raisins and sunflower seeds. Spread into a 9x13-inch pan coated with nonstick spray and freeze overnight. Let thaw slightly and slice into 6 square 4x4-inch bricks.


    Mailing tip: Pack your bird feeder, folded hanger and suet in a 6x9-inch padded envelope and seal.


    Family tree 

Trace your mother's ancestors back several generations. Type the information up (or write it out neatly) and title the page with a surname. Add a family motto, crest or legend, and encase it in a thrift-store frame. One with narrow dimensions (9 1/2 x3 1/2 inches) works very well.  Now Mom can see her family tree at a glance and display it with pride for years to come.


Mailing Tip: To protect the glass, encase your new heirloom in bubble wrap and put it inside a larger box, such as a 5x11-inch shoebox, and wrap in brown paper.


Ashley Memory, who lives in Asheboro, is a freelance writer with fond memories of growing up crafting with her mother, Jane. Jane lives in Burlington.