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Your friend, the one with the super crafty hands and creative ideas, is a mother... and Mother's Day is coming up! (or her birthday, or some other special day). You want to give her a gift basket of craft items to inspire her imagination, but she doesn't want you to spend money at the craft store. What's a gal pal to do?

It's simple: raid your basement and attic for everyday objects, normally labeled "junk" that you know she will turn into crafty treasures. Stimulate her and provide hours and hours of activity and enjoyment with materials for crafts, homemade gifts, and art projects. This is the PERFECT Mother's Day gift for a friend!

Crafts with Clothing

Rummage through your discarded children's and adult clothing and cut them with pinking shears into squares ready for quilt making. You can match the silky materials or the cotton materials together or simply stack them without matching. Tie the squares together with a lovely ribbon. You can also cut up old blue jeans into squares and bind them with twine or leather strips.

Craft Collage

This uses stuff from all over the house. From the toolbox, collect an assortment of small metal and plastic pieces that have strange shapes (you know those pieces from self-assembly furniture that didn't fit anywhere), small suitcase locks, wooden dowels, colored telephone wire, keys, fishing tackle, etc. The attic should yield broken bits of toys like wheels, jigsaws or game pieces. Your jewelry box will have beads from a broken necklace, single earrings that are missing partners, bits of an un-mendable watch, a belt buckle or an old fountain pen. Your trash will become a crafting gift basket your friend will treasure.

Crafts with Paper

You have books that are torn or gathering dust in the attic. Go through them and cut out pages with poetry or images that you like. Roll these up in a piece of colorful cloth and tie with a ribbon or rubber band. These she can incorporate into many craft projects. Maps make great backgrounds for mounting photographs. Book covers can become the sides of handbags, the edges or lids of craft boxes, refurbished as journal covers or be reinforced as bookends.

Crafts with Electronics

If you feel she already has plenty of the above "junk" items, then add some electronics. Used CDs can be painted to make coasters or pendants or become part of a picture, scrapbook or collage. The keyboard keys from an old computer can be turned into jewelry, made into fridge magnets, or used to frame a picture. The insides of a hard drive yield ribbons connecting the electrical elements—these make colorful bracelets or anklets. The interior components of a computer, being curiously shaped, have great scope for being painted and mounted as wall art.

No Two Alike

One thing is for certain, when your eclectic craft gift basket is revealed, your friend will know that you put effort into giving her the raw materials she loves to work with. She will certainly not get two similar presents and will be able to say that what you have given her is a truly unique, thoughtful and full of crafty potential.

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