Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Art of Productive Avoidance

It's been one of those days. The sky kept hugging the tops of the hills outside of town and the thunder kept rumbly-rumbling and it sprinkled every now and then just for kicks and giggles. I had a whole big To Do list to work my way through and I was really, really gonna do it. Really. I was. But somehow I managed to zig when I should have zagged.

I'm not sure how it happened, actually. I went online to check my mail and catch up on the general news scene and somewhere in there I ran across a reference for making flowers out of ribbons. And I thought, hey! A few years ago, in a fit of dubious creativity, I bought myself one of those gadgets that is supposed to make it Incredibly Easy to make Incredibly Gorgeous bows for packages. Along with the gadget, I grabbed a few spools of pretty ribbon. That turned out to be a bad idea. Never could figure out how to work the gadget and the only Incredible produced was the ensuing mess. I ended up giving the gadget away but the ribbon has been safely stashed, presumably for the next bout of dubious creativity to strike.

Which was today. What made it all work for me was the fact that three of the four spools of ribbon were the type with wire along the edges. Well, one of them actually had wire. Another had lightweight nylon fishing line and the third one I'm pretty sure just had a thicker thread along the edge.

See, what you do is, you cut off a length of ribbon and tease out the wire from one edge. That's the hardest part but once you get that little sucker out where you can grab it, you're in 'em. You get a good grip on the wire and then carefully, slowly, scoot the ribbon along the wire, gathering it up toward the center -- or the other end -- just as tight as you can squeeze it. I found it worked well if I went from both ends toward the middle.

The ribbon will spiral like a son-of-a-gun and when you have it about as bunched up as you're gonna get it, you tie off the wire and pooch and poke and fluff and shape until you're happy with the result. Some folks sew or glue fancy buttons in the center but I just took another length of ribbon and folded it in the middle, then poked the middle up from the bottom. The fold forms the center of the flower and the rest of the ribbon makes those nice dangly tails.

I should mention the little sorta-rose flower was done slightly different. Tied a knot at one end and gathered the ribbon down to that end, then spiraled it in and tied it off at the knot.

The big red and white flower? That was the easiest of all. Five sheets of Kleenex stacked together, pleated accordian style, then belted tight in the middle with a twist-tie. Then each layer is VERY gently teased out and fluffed up. It looked so plain, I had at it with a felt tip marker. I think that was a valid improvement. (The original instructions were for making that flower with squares of toilet tissue but, uhmmm ... no.)

If I've inspired you to give this project a shot, you won't be stuck if you don't happen to have ribbon with wire edges. Just run a line of gathering stiches along one edge with needle and strong thread for the same effect. It really is a lot of fun. Really. I would not lie.

I don't have any links for you because I grazed in many different pastures and the instructions sort of all digested together. Just Google something like "how to make ribbon flowers" and then start clicking different links.

So. Now you know how I managed to avoid dealing with my To Do list today. Didn't get any of it done. On the other hand, next time I wrap a present, I will be SO ready.


Bonnie said...

They are gorgeous Dee! Perhaps I should mail you the little bit of ribbon I have hanging around for your next play time. Well no that would be silly as mine is that paper kind of ribbon. :-)

That reminds me, why am I hanging on all of that stuff I don't use?

Jo said...

Very pretty. You have many talents, my good woman, :-).

The Old Guy said...

I notice you've featured a blue ribbon prominently in the picture. An appropriate reward for your creativity and precise documentation of your methodology, I think.

JLee said...

Those bows are absolutely gorgeous!

Dee said...

Thanks, everyone, for the compliments. I just need to point out that this particular method is so easy that even a klutz like me can do it so there's hope for everybody else. (grin)

Bill, I think you're right -- that does look a bit like a downhome county fair kind of blue ribbon, doesn't it. Hmmmm ...