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There’s one thing for sure when it comes to me and my momma: the apple did not fall far from the tree.
I inherited her wonky sense of humor, weird artsy ways, love of reusable bags, passion for gardening, and zeal for hiking. (We both can also destroy a house with our crafting clutter faster than any two people on the planet.) Additionally, I inherited her love of giving people gifts, which can be challenging as an environmentalist. Most people have enough “stuff”, and every time you buy something, you’re creating an impact from the manufacturing process to the wrapping paper.
Does this mean I’m anti-gift? No! Gifts can make you feel so special and loved, and that’s absolutely worth something. I did do a piece on some lovely ways to have a greener Mother’s Day last year, that’s worth checking out before or as you reach for that credit card, but this year I decided to round up some upcycled gift options that all the moms in your life will love.
Real quick: some of you are probably asking, “What’s upcycling? Why is it better? Why should I buy my mom an upcycled gift for Mother’s Day?”
Upcycling basically means that the item you’re buying had a previous life as something else, was broken down into usable material, and remade into something new and fabulous. The terms “repurposed”, “salvaged”, and “reclaimed” are also great indicators that what you’re buying is an eco-minded gift. The reason I’m such a huge fan of upcycled Mother’s Day gifts are that 1) there’s just this cool factor that comes along with something lovely that used to be something else and has been creatively reworked and 2) by reusing previously manufactured materials, you’re disrupting the supply and demand chain and lessening your impact. For instance, using reclaimed barnwood instead of new wood means no new trees were cut down for the making of that item, no more fertilizers were introduced into our soil and waterways, and no habitats were disrupted. See what I mean? Guilt-free shopping!
Finally, everything on this list has been handmade by a small business and can be found on Etsy, which just became the first global ecommerce company to offset carbon emissions from shipping!
1. The Invincible Succulent
What it is: A gorgeous glass succulent
What is was: Salvaged glass from doors, windows, or cabinets
Why she’ll love it: Who hasn’t killed a succulent or six? For anyone and everyone who loves the look of succulents or aloe plants but has a brown thumb, this one is sure to be a slam dunk in the gift department. Not only are these art pieces just beautiful to look at, they’re a great addition to the modern home and a fun conversation piece as well. Plus, no water required.
Where to get it: Glas & Glas, $64.67
2. The “Totem” Earring
What it is: Striking minimalist sycamore earrings
What it was: Salvaged wood scraps
Why she’ll love it: You certainly don’t have to be a mom to fall in love with these fabulous and sophisticated earrings. The simplicity of the raw wood and geometric forms captivates. As stated on the storefront, “This very unique earring is like a Brancusi "colonne" sculpture for your ear!”
Where to get it: Silver Fish LA, $64.00
3. The Rose Print
What it is: A lovely artist’s rose print
What it was: A vintage dictionary page
Why she’ll love it: The unique design and concept were inspired by timeless images from a bygone era. It’s classic yet modern, a fun take on the botanical prints everyone so loves these days. Prints Variete is also currently offering a buy 2 get one 1 sale, so you can spread the love to all the moms!
Where to get it: Prints Variete, $9.90
4. The Wine Caddy
What it is: A beautiful and functional wine caddy
What it was: A retired wine barrel
Why she’ll love it: At the end of a long week, most of us want some quality time with our loved ones and/or a glass of wine. The moms in your life are sure to love this beautiful, sustainably made wine caddy, especially if you add a card asking for some one on one bonding time.
Where to get it: Fallen Oak Designs, $30.00
5. The Modern Wall Art
What it is: Gorgeous home decor
What it was: Salvaged wood
Why she’ll love it: Any mom who has ever watched Chip and Joanna Gaines with envy is going to love this reclaimed wood wall art - especially since it features preserved moss and requires zero care. (Faux gardeners, this ones for you!) The 12” by 12” piece can either stand upright or hang from a wall, and custom orders are also available.
Where to get it: Silver Sage Woodworks, $30.00
6. The Bath Caddy
What it is: A bath caddy just begging you for some self care
What it was: Reclaimed barn wood
Why she’ll love it: Moms are notorious for taking care of everyone but themselves. Nurturing is a joy, but can also leave the moms in your life feeling spread thin and less than their goddess selves. Encourage her to slow down and pamper herself with this beautiful, luxurious bath caddy. Pair it with my DIY Rose and Meyer Lemon Salt Scrub, if you’re feeling crafty!
Where to get it: Tumbleweed Cabin, $128.00
7. The Denim Makeup Pouch
What it is: A modern and stylish makeup pouch
What it was: Men’s jeans
Why she’ll love it: What’s not to love? It’s hip, it’s a one-of-a-kind gift, it’s an eco-friendly way to keep the on-the-move moms in your life organized. In the words of creator Elana Bloom, the creative mastermind behind Solstice, “We believe in the dawning of a new season of slow fashion, where we renew our values toward the materials we put on our body and refuse to settle for anything less than ethical and sustainable. We celebrate the natural world through choosing materials that evolved from nature: reclaimed 100% cotton denim and ethically-sourced organic cotton thread.”
Where to get it: Solstice Studio, $35.00
8. The Funny Bookmark
What it is: A humorous end to your mom’s evening read
What it was: A vintage spoon
Why she’ll love it: If there’s one thing my mom is known for, it’s falling asleep while she reads in bed. It’s like clockwork, fifteen minutes from opening the front cover to snoring loudly! So for any of the moms in your life who are wiped by the end of the day, this funny and charming bookmark will help them keep their place… and their sense of humor.
Where to get it: EAT Creations, $18.47
9. The Vintage Block Puzzle
What it is: A whimsical 6-sided puzzle
What it was: Vintage postcards
Why she’ll love it: Anyone who loves a puzzle is going to get sucked into this deceptively challenging 6-sided heirloom puzzle (also I made this one!). Each side features a different antique postcard, painstakingly given new life as a whimsical puzzle that’s sure to entertain for generations to come. Custom themes may be available upon request.
Where to get it: Fin & Stem, $42.00
10. The Geometric Terrarium
What it is: A charming and modern terrarium
What it was: Reclaimed glass from a framer’s shop
Why she’ll love it: Whether housing air plants (my favorites!), knickknacks, or simply left empty to catch the light, these terrariums are a lovely addition to any home. The terrariums are available in two finishes and feature a small loop to allow them to hang.
Where to get it: Glass and Trash, $44.00
11. The Colorful Cross Body Bag
What it is: A hand-patched artisan messenger bag
What it was: Reclaimed canvas and leather materials
Why she’ll love it: It’s functional, it’s fashionable, it’s a truly unique statement piece. From the team at Vaan & Co., “Vaan & Co.’s upcycled genuine leather bags are completely handmade with exceptional care. Each piece of genuine leather scrap is carefully monitored before it is hand patched up into sheets to further create into the perfect genuine leather bag. The threads used in this process are heavy duty. The creation is truly the work of an expert artisan.”
Where to get it: Vaan & Co., $82.50
12. The Whimsical Storage Canisters
What it is: Beautiful botanical glass canisters
What it was: Recycled wine bottle
Why she’ll love it: I mean, these are so cute I’m probably going to buy some of them for myself. Kitchen or bathroom storage that’s whimsical and functional? Perfect. It’s an added bonus that the glass is transparent, so you’ll accidentally never run low on pasta ever again. (Caaaarbs!)
Where to get it: Rose and Burke, $36.50
13. The Boho Wind Chime
What it is: A gorgeous boho wind chime
What it was: Vintage silverware
Why she’ll love it: Anytime ordinary objects are upcycled in such an extraordinary way, it’s hard not to want to immediately buy it. This beautiful boho piece upcycles vintage flatware into lovely falling leaves for the perfect wind chime to spruce up your mom’s garden or patio.
Where to get it: Twisted Metals, $98.95
14. The Geometric Serving Platter
What it is: A contemporary serving platter
What it was: Strips of salvaged glass
Why she’ll love it: This extraordinary piece is simple yet textured, unusual yet perfect for everyday entertaining. The moms in your life will love the ripples in the form and delightful asymmetry, and the fact that it’s a practical and functional art object even more!
Where to get it: Urban Glass Studio, $61.93
15. The Modern Wood Pendant
What it is: A sophisticated pendant
What it was: A retired wine barrel
Why she’ll love it: This elegant pendant will go perfectly with almost every outfit. Whether for the eco-friendly mom, the fashionista momma, or any mom in your life who aspires to that sommelier life, this is another thoughtful gift that has a fun story behind it.
Where to get it: Branch & Barrel Designs, $62.00