Thursday, December 22, 2011

a handmade gift bow

Every now and then I notice again how hip crafting has become and am washed over with regret that my mom didn't live to see this day. I had a mom who made things all the time—partly from frugality, it's true, but also because she had a busy mind and liked to do things. She led our Bluebird and Camp Fire clubs and thus, coached numerous kids through years of creative projects. She made our clothes until we grew old enough to object. And she always had some type of handwork project going. She would have loved the explosion of handmaking that has developed with the web.

I feel this even more acutely at this time of year because I've inherited many of Mom's homemade ornaments and Christmas decor. This pinecone and nut wreath is one of my favorites, as I can remember her making it—not with a glue gun, but with grey linoleum paste slapped on with a trowel. (She would have loved glue guns!)
Mom also made her own gift bows. She had some kind of a jig that one threaded ribbon through. My clumsy child hands never mastered it, but I do remember the principle and put it to use this year.

Most of the seasonal advertising inserts are printed on glossy paper with predominantly red ink. So I cut them into 1" strips (with a $10 paper cutter—Mom would have loved paper cutters!) and taped them together as needed.
Start by turning the paper around like a little cone. You can tape it in place if you like.
Make another cone in the exact same way (flipping the paper strip under, not over). The points will not be exactly opposite each other, but will be slightly offset. This allows you to continue the pattern around, much like drawing with a Spirograph.
Continue around until you have created a full rotation, then staple the piece in the center and cut off any excess. This bow is made with five points, but you may have more or less, depending on how big your bow is and how sharply you wrap.
Make your second piece slightly smaller and place it at a slight rotation to the first. Staple it all together and cut a third strip to make the center loop. For my 4" diameter bow, I cut a 3" long strip.
Tape the loop in the center, and stick the bow to your package with another piece of tape. This is the package wrapped in the previous post. Not too fancy, but it was quick and used nothing but the contents of this morning's delivery.


  1. Not sure if my tears are about your mom, your recent posts, or ??? but :' )

  2. That is simply perfect! You are so brilliant! How sad indeed that your mom couldn't see all the neat handicrafts you do. She must have instilled this love into you at a young age, since you've grown into a maker yourself.

    I feel a little sheepish now that I was complaining about how much my own mother annoys me.

  3. I am certain my mom is rolling over in her grave, as I was not considered particularly promising in the crafts arena as a child.

  4. Love this - the memory and the post. Thank you!

  5. Happy New Year! I’ve nom­i­nated you for an award over on my blog. Sarah


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