Got a mom who loves home improvement projects? As Mother’s Day will be back next year, here are some great ideas for practical gifts she’s sure to appreciate.

barbara k! tools ( barbara k! offers a nice line of practical tools that are designed to be lighter and smaller without sacrificing anything in the way of quality or usefulness. In addition to individual tools such as hammers and staple guns, barbara k! offers two very nice cordless tools–a drill and a screwdriver–that have plenty of power without the bulk of traditional cordless drills.

There are also several very nice kits that include all the basic tools for home improvement applications. There’s a home survival kit to help with home emergencies such as power outages, and a dorm survival kit that’s also great for apartments. A particularly nice gift for Mom is the 30-Piece Toolkit ($39.99), which includes a six-in-one screwdriver, pliers, adjustable wrench, level, ergonomic 7-ounce claw hammer, and several other tools, plus a small collection of useful hardware and an 84-page booklet on simple home repairs, all in a fitted hard-shell case.

-Tomboy Tools ( Tomboy Tools is another conscientious company that offers a great line of quality tools that are ergonomically designed specifically for women. All of the tools in the line have smaller, non-slip, soft rubber handles that really grip well, and the tools all have a nice, solid feel to them that adds to both safety and confidence.

On the Tomboy Tools site you’ll find a great collection of tool kits that have everything needed to undertake a wide variety of household repair and remodeling tasks. There’s a Beginner’s Drywall Kit, full of drywall tools and materials; a Plumbing Kit, with tools to undertake a number of basic plumbing repairs; the Tomboy Traveler kit, with a nylon bag full of basic household tools; and several other practical tool kits. Mom might be especially interested in the Body Pockets kit ($39.95), which includes an 8-ounce hammer, multi-bit ratcheting screwdriver, 16-foot tape measure, pliers, utility knife and more, all in a canvas tool apron that doubles as tool storage.

–Skil iXO Cordless Screwdriver ( Skil’s new iXO ($39.99) is a really great little compact drill and screwdriver that fits comfortably in your palm and makes a perfect toolbox companion for a number of everyday drilling and driving tasks around the house. It has a 3.6-volt lithium-ion battery that holds its charge for up to 18 months with no battery memory, so it’s ready whenever Mom is. It weighs in at just 10 ounces, and recharges in its own storage/docking port. It has a single low speed (200 RPM) and enough torque for drilling holes for hanging curtains and pictures, and for assembling furniture and similar tasks.

Other features of the iXO include a lighted indicator on top that shows if the drill is set to forward or reverse (a very cool feature that hopefully will start showing up on other tools), a tool-less magnetic hex chuck that accepts any 1/4-inch hex accessory, a 34-piece bit set, and a cute little metal storage tin that will make Mom think she’s just getting some cookies!

Dremel Tools ( For a Mom who’s into household repairs, refinishing projects, or craft work, here are a couple of suggestions for high-quality Dremel Tools that are sure to be well received:

1. Dremel Stylus (Model 1100-01, $73.99). This lightweight, cordless rotary tool has a pistol-grip design that is small and comfortable in the hand, making it ideal for a wide variety of drilling, sanding, cutting, and repair tasks all around the home, in addition to being perfect for craft work. It’s variable speed–5,000 to 25,000 rpm–and features a tool-less chuck for easy bit changes. The lithium battery holds a charge for up to two years with no battery memory, and the tool stores and recharges in a docking port that also holds your bits and accessories. Includes a 25-piece assortment of accessories.

2. Dremel Contour Sander (Model 6000-01, around $55.00). This is a small, easy-to-hold corded finishing sander that’s specifically designed for sanding both flat and contoured surfaces in painting, refinishing, woodworking, craft, and other applications. It’s a lightweight, variable-speed tool with a quick-change head, and comes with 10 interchangeable contour sanding heads in different shapes, one detail sanding pad, three sanding tubes, sandpaper, and a nice, nylon carrying bag.

–ExtraOrdinary Home Ideas ( Mom looking more for ideas then she is for tools? You might want to consider one of the many offerings from ExtraOrdinary Homes ($9.95 to $54.95). These color-illustrated binders, CDs, and PDF downloads offer a wealth of practical ideas for improving your existing home or designing a new one. For example, their ExtraOrdinary Home Ideas for Busy Households has over 150 ideas for affordable built-ins that will definitely improve how you use and enjoy your home. Check out their Web site for a complete listing of available titles.

Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at

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