Monday, December 23, 2013

Brown Paper Packages with Big Fluffy Bows

With only a couple of days left before Christmas, you may be busy wrapping packages today.  I love to wrap gifts and my mother used to give me boxes to wrap and "ribbon up" to help her get everything done in time for Christmas (sometimes I even wrapped my own presents - without knowing they were for me!).   My favorite topper used to be curling ribbon - it was always a thrill to see the flat ribbon turned into a pretty curl.

One of the challenges of having your first Christmas in a new home is figuring out where to put all of your holiday decorations.  I've been helping my husband's parents with some of their decorations and I suggested that their tree should be put up on a table to take advantage of the double height ceiling in the living room.  It really helped to break up the line between the doorway and the large armoire but we needed to skirt the table (actually an old desk and a plywood circle) and to stabilize the tree with some weights.

If you look closely, you can see some bricks on the base of the tree.  These work fine when the tree is on the ground with a blanket or other cover around the base of the tree.  I had some tablecloths to use but I didn't want to cut the topper to make it into a tree skirt.  So we decided to put the bricks in some odd boxes and wrap them up as "presents".

The boxes sit on the tree base on top of the tablecloth.  When I tied up the bows, my sister-in-law suggested that I post photos to show how I made the bows.  It isn't complicated but there are a couple of important tips to share.

 First, I tied a long piece of ribbon around the package by putting the center of the ribbon on the top of the box, pulling the ribbon down the sides and crossing the tails on the bottom to come up on the other two sides of the box and tying them together at the intersection on the top.  I use wire edged ribbon that you can usually find at a good price at warehouse stores like Costco, Sam's and BJ's.

Next, I wind ribbon off the spool and accordion fold it at a length about as long as the package top - usually I make four or five folds.

I do the same thing with a second length of ribbon, making this section shorter to create the center of the bow.

The next step is the most important - you need to cut a notch into the ribbon on either side of the center.  The center section that remains should be about half the original width of the ribbon.  Be sure you have scissors sharp enough to cut smoothly through the ribbon and the thin wire in the edge.

Then, place the two sections of ribbon on top of the package with the notches at the center where the tails have been tied.

Use the two tails to tie the folded ribbon to the package, pulling it tight.

Starting with the center loops, twist and turn each ribbon section and pull them around the anchoring ribbon to create a nice fluffy center.  The notches in the ribbon allow you to make these loops sit prettily since the bulk is reduced by half.

Keep twisting and turning the loops until they are all in position.  You can shape them by putting your fingers inside the loop and adjusting the size and angle.

Here is the box with all of the center loops fluffed.

Then do the same with the lower set of loops that will form the outer edges of the bow.  There is no right or wrong - just twist and fluff until the bow looks pretty to you.  In the photo above, the right side is finished and there are just the four loops on the left to pull into place.

Here is the finished bow on the package.  You can keep adjusting it until it looks just right.  I give the long tail ends a little bit of a crinkle by looping them over my fingers.

When all three boxes were wrapped and ribboned, they completely concealed the base of the tree.  They look pretty but anyone who opened one of these presents would probably be disappointed with the contents (!)  The boxes can be stored away with the other decorations and used for several years to anchor the tree.  With the wire-edged ribbon you can always reshape the bows if they get a little crushed in storage.

The most important thing to remember is to cut the notches in the folded ribbon before you tie it on and start to fluff the bow.

Here is the tree with the tablecloth, round topper and packages - now it looks finished!

Last Minute Gift Idea...

If you still need a gift for a crafty friend (or want to treat yourself!) the classes from True Scrap 5 are available individually now and at the special price of $9.99 until Christmas!  Click HERE to see all of the class descriptions.

The True Scrap 5 classes included classes by all of these great instructors -

 Heidi Swapp
Noell Hyman
Nichol Magouirk
Layle Koncar
Bev Gray
Monica Bradford
Jennifer Gallacher
Stephanie Ackerman
Katrina Kennedy
Doris Sander
Traci Reed
Tracy Banks
Stephenie Hamen
Windy Robinson
Tammy Tutterow

You can read the descriptions for all of the classes HERE.

Free Scrapinar for December

Are you thinking about attempting a "photo a day" type of project in the new year?  If you are, the December free Scrapinar from Layout a Day will be a great help for starting off the year on the right foot.  Professional photographer, Katrina Kennedy (founder of will share tips, ideas and strategies to make your project both manageable and rewarding.

The free Scrapinar for December is on December 30th.  You must register in advance for this event.  If you can't attend live, a replay will be made available for a short time but only to those who register in advance.  Click HERE to register.

Don't forget to pick up the 12 Days of Christmas freebies at Lettering Delights  and the Silhouette Online Store.

Good luck with all of your last minute preparations - the days went so quickly after the late Thanksgiving this year! 

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  1. Your in-laws are so lucky to have such a talented daughter-in-law. The tree and packages are just beautiful. Happy holidays Diane.

  2. Thanks so much....I always need help with my bows.


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