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!
December 23, 2013 @ 5:26 pm
So I just found your blog via Hometalk and I’m in love! Off to explore 😉
Jamie @ somuchbetterwithage.com
December 25, 2013 @ 12:09 am
Officially my new favourite post. I’ll have you know my eyes almost popped out from the pressure of trying to stifle my laughter the entire time I was reading this (I’m at work…).
Also, nice bows.
December 29, 2013 @ 12:06 pm
They look gorgeous! Totally worth the drama!
December 29, 2013 @ 5:38 pm
Where did this ottoman come from? I LOVE it.
The post was amazing as always, but I am distracted by the shiny, perfect for my space ottoman 🙂
Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
December 30, 2013 @ 10:16 am
Craigslist (duh), but it’s from RH… there’s a link somewhere in this post:
Be warned– it’s extra giant! It’s really too big for my living room, but I LOVE it.
December 31, 2013 @ 3:49 pm
As always, eloquently hilarious. At least the bows look nice for the next 2 days or so until it’s time to start decorating for another occasion!
January 1, 2014 @ 12:53 am
I’ll have to come back later and look at the pics again. Right now, tears are streaming and my sides are aching from laughing so hard. What a wit you are and Paul’s response was pure perfection!
January 1, 2014 @ 5:53 pm
January 4, 2014 @ 12:13 pm
Victoria, too funny! Okay, I was laughing so hard again with your poor hubby calling you a dictator! Now your mother is part of your sweatshop… 🙂 But, sage woman that she is she understands. :)))
Be kind to Mr. Paul, after all you married him for his wonderful good looks, personality, ability to fix all kinds of things — just not his cutting-with-scissors-skills. 🙂 This comes after being married to my wonderful but irritatingly-human husband of over 26 years now, and me being the head-biting-off perfectionist that I am and Charles giving me crap back like Mr. Paul. Remember the best parts of marriage and say, “I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me.” These three simple phrases would save a lot more marriages. 🙂 And, besides… Who would get the house?!
Loving your posts, as usual,
January 4, 2014 @ 12:15 pm
OH!!!! I had another thought! You can use these pillows/bows over through Valentine’s Day! Why not?
Happy New Year’s (posted Jan. 4th),
December 3, 2014 @ 12:00 pm
Oh my goodness, that’s HILARIOUS! I’m crying. Thank you for a much needed laugh. How do I not remember this post from before?
That said, the bows are GORGEOUS.
December 17, 2014 @ 4:28 pm
Got a laugh out of me since my husband learned early to screw up a new requested task (doing my laundry) so that he’ll never be asked again. Fortunately for his life and my blood pressure he does not remain nearby to create badges for others. Also, when she was alive, my mother adored him and thought he could do know wrong (except for perhaps choosing me as his wife!). Kuddos that you all manage together, somehow.
December 18, 2014 @ 3:02 pm
I love the pillows and bows, especially your fabric choice, but what is that white thing you seem to be using to attach the ribbon to the fabric? Is it a new type of glue machine? I think I want one!
January 21, 2015 @ 3:27 pm
Just stumbled on this blog, and can’t stop reading posts. This one made me laugh out loud. You seem to do a lot of sewing/crafting, so in the best interest of your marriage, I will give you a simple suggestion, in two words:
Okay, that was four words, but those four words will save you all sorts of frustration in the future. Keep up the posts, I can always use a good laugh. (And the tons of decorating inspiration is great too!)
July 25, 2015 @ 11:40 am
Wow, I stumbled across your post on Pinterest (of which I’m obsessed) and now I fear I have transferred this obsession onto your blog. This is the part were I validate you….YOU are awesome! and I will enjoy reading more!
December 12, 2015 @ 10:19 am
I.AM.DYING. On a related note, I’m using this post to teach my 7th and 8th grade Language Arts students the concept of writing with voice. THANKS! love all your posts, but this one is the absolute pinnacle!
December 12, 2015 @ 10:38 am
Hey VB. Love your bows, love you and love Paul and your mom is great also. Have to tell you when I saw the “ta da” picture of the sofa with the pillows (next to last pic) my eye was immediately drawn to the round object on the floor to the right of the settee. I though – Don’t tell me she has had Paul but a drain in the floor! It does look like a drain, yes? What is that? Vikki in VA (another VB)
December 22, 2015 @ 12:49 pm
This post is one of my favorites. Read it at least 3 times. Merry Christmas, Kim Jong-il.
July 16, 2016 @ 11:43 am
I am dying laughing at this story! ???
November 23, 2016 @ 10:24 am
This was brilliant.
I once asked my husband to help me with mailing out our wedding invitations. He had one job. To seal up the large envelopes that held our invitation and smaller rsvp card and envelope. He finished rather quickly- looked at me with a huge smile and said, “I’m done!” Yeah. He sealed all of the rsvp envelopes as well. WITH the cards in them. All 150 of them.
November 25, 2016 @ 3:13 pm
Your pillows are beautiful! I was amazed and horrified at the slaughter of your fabric. Fantastic recovery! I also thought you might like to know about how quilters cut their binding fabric….as I think that is just what you did! The first link is about how you cut the fabric to have one continuous piece of fabric….the second is the math to held determine the size of the fabric you need for cutting.
Hope the surgery goes well! Happy Holidays!