When you assume your husband can help you sew DIY Christmas bows.
take the full holiday house tour here!
My original idea for how to make this bow was a simple piece of red ribbon… Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Ribbon– a product that you can buy at the store that you do not need to craft in your workshop of craftiness?
But since I’m me, I decided to make my own! So I could give the bow contrasting red stripes! Fun! Like a Christmas tuxedo! It’s harder this way!
If something will take me 57 times longer, but be 1% nicer, I am all for it.
Besides, why do something quickly that you can actually finish– if you have the option of getting involved in a project that will spiral out of control?
On top of my self-assigned task of winning Christmas, I was scheduled to have surgery… Nothing serious, but definitely inconvenient and I wanted to get this stuff done beforehand because I was not sure how much I would be able to use my arm.
So I casually mentioned to my mother that I was planning a few simple Christmas decorating projects… With total awareness that she would come over and help me keep my brain inside my head rather than exploding out all over the place.
Paul said he would help too, which surprised me in the best possible way… until later, when that surprise turned out to be warranted for different reasons.
I used duckcloth for the bows— it’s the same material I used for the pillow covers. It’s not exactly a fabric you think of for festive home decor, but I wanted the bows to feel comfortable and homey and not fussy.
And then, because I lied about not wanting it to be fussy, I used red satin for the trim.
The sashes I made are 4 yards long. (No, that is not a typo) and 6.5 inches wide. However, I only bought one yard of red satin. My (fatally flawed) plan was to cut three-inch-wide strips and sew them end-to-end until they were 4 yards long.
If you’re wondering why I did not just use red ribbon, that is an excellent question.
At the time, I thought the answer was because I found the perfect-color red fabric… But now, I can say for sure that the answer is because I am an idiot.
As I planned the Christmas assembly line, I assigned Paul the task of cutting the strips of red fabric. I figured he would be excellent at this because he is so precise. But I was wrong.
I was BEYOND wrong.
It turns out that Paul cuts fabric like a meth-addled chimpanzee: not straight.
I haven’ t had enough time to process this yet, so I cannot even take a stab at explaining it… If I didn’t know better, I might think he was not invested in the end product.
I’m sure you’ll think that I hacked at the fabric extra, to emphasize Paul’s “work,” but no. These are totally untouched. Exactly the way they were delivered to me.
When I said – Gaaahrrrgghh!
Paul said, with no remorse at all – well, it was my first time doing this.
Then he went and started making a snack.
Let me tell you, this is an excellent strategic move because it leaves the wronged-party with zero options. They cannot screech at you – what are you doing? are you making a snack? now is not the time for snacks!
What kind of crazy person would object to you eating when you are hungry?
Furthermore, I had to experience my outrage alone, because I have never once gotten my mother to see any flaw in Paul… in fact, I am pretty sure that he could light me on fire and then dance around fanning the flames and singing, and she would think he was trying to keep me warm.
So I had to wait to have my fabric-rage vindicated in print… I gritted my teeth and said – you will read about this on the blog. I am going to tell them everything.
Paul said – good. Be sure you lead with the part about 4 yards of fabric.
I said – guess what? They already know. And they think it’s fine.
At this point, faced with a pile of chewed-looking, unusable scrap, and the bafflement of how my husband could slaughter an entire yard of fabric without once stopping to think – this does not look like what Victoria is expecting.
The obvious choice was walking away.
But since my mom was there, instead of setting fire to this plague of Christmas decorating that I had brought upon myself, we went to get more fabric. To do it again.
It’s a Barnes specialty: perfect solutions, requiring only the small compromise of giving up your will to live.
When we got to the fabric store, they only had half a yard– rather than the full yard I needed. And I am not sure if it will surprise you that I did not like any of the other red fabric that they had.
I was standing numbly at the cutting counter, wondering why all the reds were so hideous, but also why I am so derailed and paralyzed by three degrees of too-much-orange-not-enough-blue. When my mother said – you know, we could sew together two of Paul’s unusable strips to make one usable strip… then the half-yard will be enough to do the other bow.
If this sounds sensible, allow me to translate: each sash for each bow is 4 yards long. If you need a piece of trim on either side, that is 8 yards of trim, per sash. If you have to sew two pieces of hacked-up trim together to form one useable piece, that is what? 16 yards of fabric. Which means sewing together 48 feet of fabric. For just one bow.
Writing this out makes me love my mom so much. But also – what is wrong with her?
When we got home with our new, half-yard of fabric, and our mutual agreement to continue steering directly into the iceberg, Paul said – did you get what you needed?
As though my mother and I simply enjoy touring local fabric stores, and this entire debacle had nothing to do with him.
Plus, since he had so convincingly persuaded me that he was incapable of assisting in the bow-making assembly-line, his services were no longer required and he was permitted to go and do something not-miserable.
But he didn’t.
Instead, he stood in the doorway and performed a stand-up routine about Christmas in North Korea. He started saluting me and calling me Supreme Leader and saying things like – who knew Kim Jong-il was so into Christmas decorating?
He also noted that I had given my mother the significantly-crummier-task of sewing together his meth-chimpanzee strips and had taken for myself, the new and unmolested fabric.
So he made my mom a badge to identify her as “The People’s Worker.”
Then he said – where is Elvis? I need to identify her as “The People’s Cat”
In case you think I’m kidding:
take the full holiday house tour!
index of all holiday posts.
how to make a perfect holiday bow
PS! I’m reading and LOVING A Little Love Story: A Novel… I randomly checked it out of the library, and it’s GOOD!
Ann Marie @ Twice Lovely
December 18, 2013 @ 10:11 am
There was an episode of That 70’s Show where Eric and Donna are registering for gifts for their wedding and Eric is finding the task tedious and horrible, so he decides he’s just going to purposefully do it badly, register for horrible things, so Donna will take over. He says “I guess I’m just bad at it.” with a shrug. I think Paul is that kind of evil genius. 😉
December 18, 2013 @ 10:11 am
Your mother loves your husband as much as my mom loves my husband. A woman always wants her mother to love her husband, but it starts to feel a little bit wrong when it starts feeling like mom might love hubby more than she loves her own daughter. 😉
Your bows are completely lovely. The red satin is really the most perfect red. Your post makes it worth the head ache for the rest of us. I hope it makes it worth it for you too.
Sandy @ You May Be Wandering
December 18, 2013 @ 10:14 am
Absolutely hilarious post – and truly gorgeous bows! You made my day!
December 18, 2013 @ 10:16 am
I come to you and you alone for a good laugh….please don’t ever stop
December 18, 2013 @ 10:23 am
Oh, I love Ted talks! And I love this blog….everyone needs to laugh, and often. Tell that to MY husband 🙂
December 18, 2013 @ 10:24 am
E, Everything looks perfect EXCEPT those People’s Party Armbands.
Paul, Another shoddy job. You cannot win. You know we are ALL on her side.
December 18, 2013 @ 10:25 am
the pillows and ribbon look so very beautiful, congratulations on your beautiful work
my desk however needed (1) immediate cleaning and (2) an emergency blow-dry to my keyboard as I read your new title of Supreme Dear Leader and more when I saw Dear Mom’s Patch, hahahahaha… but wait… there’s more
don’t hate me… but I LOVE that Dear Supreme Leader Husband indulges your every want in his own special way… so I concur with Dear Mumsy that he’s very nice
Happy Holidays… may I please have the 3 asian dolls… I love them
My Crappy House
December 18, 2013 @ 10:26 am
This post was ridiculously chaotic. I LOVED it! 😀
Babzy the Elder
December 18, 2013 @ 10:31 am
Once again, hysterical – but the outcome is beautiful and classy. When my kids were still very young, we lived in an historical house – country, not Victorian, and I was really into decorating for the holiday. Garlands around the fireplaces. Homemade holiday table runners with coordinated napkins, etc. That year we were hosting our entire family on Christmas Day, but I wasn’t deterred from staying up Christmas Eve until 4 in the morning, because at the last minute I got it in my head that for the already decorated tree to be perfect I needed to sew ribbons out of holiday fabric to wrap around our tree. Thankfully, it didn’t occur to me to do two-color ribbon. Never mind that the excited kids would be up bright and early. Well, I have to say that the tree looked spectacular when I finished. Me? Less than spectacular. No amount of makeup was able to conceal those circles under my eyes. But hey – guests weren’t supposed to be looking at me, right? They were supposed to be distracted by my awesome decorations. I can still remember the exhaustion and saying to myself, please, just let the company arrive so I can stop all this preparation madness, and get back to obsessing over those other projects I’d been neglecting.
Thanks, once again, for your great post, and making me laugh. Have a wonderful, wonderful Christmas.
Carole @ Rustic Artistry
December 18, 2013 @ 10:42 am
We are all so grateful that your brain works the way it does. Or doesn’t.
December 18, 2013 @ 10:47 am
I know I said this the last comment I made, but I LOVE Paul. I would start a Paul Fan Club but I am too busy with my own over reaching ideas of what should happen for Christmas.
The bows are stunning and worth all the effort especially when it is SO entertaining for all of us, your adoring fans, to read about. I, too, would rather make something I could easily buy because the made one always looks 100 times nicer. I am also very fussy about color. I love color and see about a million more shades than the average person.
Love your blog SO much.
December 18, 2013 @ 10:49 am
Love that you are wearing gorgeous sparkly earrings, pretty lipgloss and pajama pants. 🙂
December 18, 2013 @ 10:52 am
Great post! Still wiping tears out of my eyes from laughing so hard. Hey, I see in you new picture with Don Draper that you are wearing one of your bows! By the way, thats the first time I’ve ever approved of the use of hashtags. Obviously you can do no wrong in our eyes.
December 18, 2013 @ 11:01 am
No better way to start the day than looking inside your beautiful brain.
December 18, 2013 @ 11:06 am
As a guy who happens to be named Guy and the only guy that appears to be adding a comment, I’d like to say something in Paul’s defense. He showed up ! (Note to Paul: I love you man but you gave me very little to work with in this particular situation. Stay strong ! )
December 18, 2013 @ 11:08 am
You are amazing. I have followed in others footsteps and decided I will have to comment on every post that makes me start the day laughing and crying! LOVE LOVE LOVE the bows and I also have a mission that my house be the Christmassiest at least of my family and friends but do not worry, I am not in a class that could qualify as your competition!! I can’t wait to get home and start the bows…in other words “the next project to prove to my family that I irreversibly insane!”
December 18, 2013 @ 11:17 am
You always make me laugh, and so does Paul even though he isn’t trying! No store bought ribbon could ever compare…it was totally worth it!
December 18, 2013 @ 11:26 am
INSANELy funny….love your bows and best wishes for a quick recovery from your surgery. Make sure you have a bell handy to call Paul when you need anything during your recovery period. xox
December 18, 2013 @ 11:34 am
Oh, I am crying from laughing so hard! And then I read this post to my husband, who replied with, “Is this woman your long-lost sister?”
Hilarious, he is. Hilarious.
December 18, 2013 @ 11:36 am
Earlier this year I saw one of your posts somewhere, probably from another’s blog, and immediately subscribed to your blog. When I got your email notice this morning about a new post, along with those few words in the email to tease me with, I clicked on the link to see the entire post because I was sure it would be filled to the brim with some wonderful last minute decorating technique that I would just have to fit into my already filled schedule.
About the same time I was waiting for your page to load, I received an email from our administrator that our internet is down for the time being. WWHHAAATTTT??? I asked to be excused from the office so I could go home to read the post but they felt it more important that I stay here and find some busy work until the network came back. What an agonizing two hours I spent perusing an 800 name christmas card list for one of my bosses, weeding out old names and adding new.
Finally, the time arrived and I was able to read your post with very few interruptions (which were met with the stink eye and the questioner promptly slinking back to his office to wait for me to finish).
As usual, you didn’t fail to amuse! Thank you Victoria Elizabeth Barnes for showing us that you are human, have an equally human husband and an extraordinary mother. And, I forgive you for not showing us those wonderful step by step instructions because I’m sure I don’t have the time to complete this beautiful project and could never measure up to your expertise anyway.
What I do enjoy most about your posts is your honesty and ability to show us your errors in judgment – you know, not using ribbon in the first place AND trusting your husband to cut fabric (come on, Victoria, really?).
I hope you recover quickly from your minor surgery and have a most wonderful Christmas!