Mother's Day Gift Guide

updated 05/02/2005 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/02/2005 01:00AM

what do moms want? KNOW-HOW

Decorating JunkMarket Style
by Sue Whitney & Ki Nassauer
For the woman who can't drive by a flea market without stopping, great ideas for converting castoffs into homey treasures.

Container Gardens
by P. Allen Smith
The PBS garden guru's how-tos on growing spectacular mini-gardens in window boxes, hanging baskets, flowerpots and the like.

Debbie Travis' Facelift
by Debbie Travis
Secrets of using color and texture to redo rooms without breaking the bank, from the HGTV star.

You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Grown-Up Girls
by Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas
An info-packed volume with Scout-hand-book-style chapters to help Mom acquire skills from beading to firewalking to performing stand-up comedy. (On the last, the author advises, "Come out swinging and leave them laughing.")

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
by Barbara K
Fix-it guru Barbara Kavovit's first book is an easy-to-follow handbook on household tasks, including
fixing faucets and wiring lamps. Combine the book with Kavovit's 30-piece Do It Yourself toolkit (right) with equipment designed especially for women's hands. Ladies, grab your slip-joint pliers.

what do moms want?

FRESH COOKBOOKS

The Instant Cook
Australia's answer to Martha Stewart, cookbook author and magazine editor Donna Hay serves up recipes for quick meals that look as gorgeous as they taste. Even non-cooks will love browsing through this volume.

Serena, Food & Stories: feeding Friends Every Hour of the day
Chic Brit Serena Bass, now a Manhattan caterer, dishes about her adventures in party-throwing and offers up chatty recipes for homey fare like Sausage Rolls and Pork Fillet with Juniper and Prunes in her cookbook-cum-memoir. A great read for a long Sunday afternoon.

Bittman Takes On America's Chefs
The latest from the author of 1998's How to Cook Everything, this one's based on Mark Bittman's new PBS series. In each episode he "battles" a top toque by turning out a more accessible rendition of one of the chef's signature dishes for the home cook. The book features both versions, so readers can get fancy or keep it simple.

In Mother's Kitchen: Celebrated Women Chefs Share Beloved Family Recipes
by Ann Cooper and Lisa Holmes. Culinary stars who pay tribute to their moms with vivid anecdotes and recipes include Edna Lewis, Alice Waters and Lidia Bastianich.

CRAVE: THE FEAST OF THE FIVE SENSES
In his first cookbook, French chef Ludo Lefebvre talks of food in its "naked" state and of diners being "seduced visually." His food is sensual too—zucchini and acacia blossom beignets, for example. Bon appetit, Maman.

what do moms want?
ROMANCE

Finding Neverland
Johnny Depp soars as author J.M. Barrie, whose connection with Kate Winslet and her brood inspires Peter Pan.

House of Flying Daggers
Even the most brilliant spring colors pale beside the jaw-dropping palette on display in this dazzling adventure about a blind female warrior and the man who falls for her.

After the Sunset
Thou shalt not steal? Don't tell that to retired jewel thief Pierce Brosnan, who mulls one last heist with girlfriend Salma Hayek. Bonuses include a fun blooper reel.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Plump, plucky heroine Bridget Jones (Renée Zellweger) is again torn betwixt and between the upstanding Colin Firth and louche charmer Hugh Grant. DVD extras include a cute alternate opening.

The Phantom of the Opera
Fans of the Broadway musical will enjoy this lush film version, which stars Scottish hunk Gerard Butler behind the mask. Bonus: Footage tracing Phantom's history on the page, stage and screen.

Tony Bennett, The Art of Romance
Bennett, with a slightly throaty baritone that has weathered many an aching love song, sings about romantic regrets on many of these standards. At 78, he's still the make-out man.

Rosa Passos, Amorosa
Passos and passion go hand in well-manicured hand on this seductive set by the Brazilian star. Drawing from bossa nova and samba traditions, she gets right to the heart of the matter.

Kenny G, At Last...The Duets Album
On his latest CD, mega-selling saxophonist Kenny G makes beautiful music with everyone from Chaka Khan to Barbra Streisand.

Sting, Bring On the Night
Sting's jazz-pop is showcased on a remastered reissue of his 1986 concert disc partly recorded in romantic Paris.

Michael Bublé, It's Time
In the spirit of Sinatra, this crooner delivers more stylish songs for swingin' lovers.

Mambo Mixers by Arlen Gargagliano
Perfect for setting the mood: a stylish book with recipes for 50 Latin-inspired cocktails.

what do moms want?
RELAXATION

Linda Ronstadt, Hummin' to Myself
Ronstadt will have Mom humming with these moody cabaret-jazz-style interpretations from the great American songbook. Her expressive, understated delivery gives new meaning to old gems like "Cry Me a River."

Jack Johnson, In Between Dreams
This former pro surfer's chilled-out folk-pop is as soothing for the soul as an early-morning stroll on the beach. The Hawaii native's breezy acoustic guitar strumming and way mellow vocals are the next best thing to sending your mother away to Waikiki.

Billie Holiday, The Ultimate Collection
Take a holiday from it all with Lady Day, who would have turned 90 in April and, as this three-disc set shows, is still the ultimate jazz chanteuse. Two CDs include signature tunes like "God Bless the Child" and "Good Morning Heartache," and a DVD features rare footage.

Ben Lee, Awake Is the New Sleep
From the Tommy Petty-like opener "Whatever It Is" to the peaceful closer "I'm Willing," this singer-songwriter's dreamy alt-pop is the perfect accompaniment to kicking back after a long day.

Josh Rouse, Nashville
Rouse brings a gentle, unassuming touch to his melody-rich guitar-pop that is equal parts alt-country and alt-rock. His comforting sounds make Nashville a calm and cool place to visit.

Living with Flowers by Nico De Swert
Paging through this volume of floral designs created by De Swert and photographed by Wendell T. Webber is like spending time in an art gallery; there's pleasure here for the eye and sustenance for the spirit.

The Woman's Comfort Book, by Jennifer Louden
An update of a popular self-help guide from lecturer Louden, this is a great resource for women who need to learn to slow down—or permission to just act like a goofball now and then.

Yoga in Bed: 20 Asanas to Do in Pajamas by Edward Vilga
Not even a beginner could be intimidated by this cheerful spiral-bound volume featuring gentle poses that can be done before drifting off to dreamland or rolling out of bed in the morning. Goddess stretch, anyone?

what do moms want?
A LITTLE FUN

Miss Congeniality Deluxe Edition Gift Set
Tomboy FBI agent Sandra Bullock goes uncomfortably undercover as a beauty pageant contestant. Plus, there's a free ticket to see Miss Congeniality 2.

Being Julia
Viva la diva! Annette Bening is a scream in this comedy as an aging movie star who romances a younger man.

Dynasty: The Complete First Season
Big hair, big shoulders, big fights! John Forsythe and Linda Evans star in the ultimate '80s soap.

The Bob Newhart Show: The Complete First Season
Newhart's current Desperate Housewives turn makes this look back at his 1972-73 debut as psychologist Bob Hartley that much sweeter.

Monk: Season Two
Call it The O.C.D.: Tony Shalhoub raises obsessive-compulsive behavior to an art form as a quirky detective who never met a phobia he didn't like.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Third Season
New Curb episodes are still MIA, but this set of Larry David's hilariously inappropriate antics will ease the wait.

French & Saunders Collection
Six discs showcase British TV comic duo Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French shredding pop culture. Material from their shows (1988-2003) includes the sketch that inspired Absolutely Fabulous.

LCD Soundsystem, LCD Soundsystem
Hipster moms will go for the eclectic indie sounds from this brainchild of producer James Murphy.

Selena, Live: The Last Concert
Dare Mom to stay off her feet with this CD/DVD reissue capturing the late Tejano sensation's rousing final concert.

Tina Turner, All the Best
One listen to this 33-track compilation leaves no doubt that funky mom of four Tina is simply the best.

A Portrait of Yo Mama As a Young Man
Humor writers Andrew Barlow and Kent Roberts serve up a "profile" of a matriarch inspired by a ghetto epithet. Edgy and hilarious.

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