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My Blog

Bow Making in the Good Old Days

Good morning to everyone.  Monday again.  Wow...the weekends just fly.  Well, I have already gone and returned home.  We helped a friend with a simple fix it job and now it is off to the work table to paint. I will post some pictures of a few of the items that I was able to get painted yesterday under the wonderful wizard of art sometime later today.
And today's blog is about making bows.  It brings back a childhood memory of mine for sure!  Christmas time especially.  I remember when I was young, my mother worked at Woolworths.  She was the manager in the food department and had many employees under her...along with many other friends and associates in the store.  At Christmas time, my mother all made sure there was a gift for everyone and I always played a big part in that tradition.  You see, even as a young girl, I was quite the crafter.  I learned to crochet at the age of 5.  I could stitch and embroider...wrap presents and make BOWS.  Now this may not seem like such a big deal to some, but when you made bows back when I first learned...it was quite the ordeal.  My mother would not have considered the stick on bows...nor the tie like a shoe lace bow...we had to make the big fluffy ones.  I can remember bolts and bolts of ribbons sitting in boxes in the living room and a large box next to it for the completed bows. 
When I grew up and married and of course got into groups and such...it was an amazement to me how many people didn't know how to make a bow.  Not even the simple kind. 
Well, I can remember that it depended on the size of bow needed..you would need a different size piece of cardboard of just your hand.  I began by winding the ribbon around the piece of cardboard and had to count it out so that each bow had the same amount of winds....and they had to be complete winds.  If they weren't complete...you would have an odd number of strands to pull out .  Next, I carefully removed the wound ribbon off of the cardboard and then carefully folded it in half...back then, it was just to see the placement...more or less.  Scissors were not that sharp to cut through all the layers (48) by then.  I would then make a sideways v cut on both sides of the center.  I had a thin strip of ribbon already cut and prepared to tie around the center where the cuts were.  It would get knotted and the ends were left long enough to draw under the ribbons on the present in the center to attach the bow.  The next job was to carefully pull out the loops turning each loop to the opposite side.  When both sides were done...all that was left was fluffing.
I must have made 100 or so bows for mom every year.  Seems like a lot of work and it was!  But it made the present so beautiful!  For many years as an adult I made bags of bows to place on the top of my children's Christmas presents...but I must say, they never really cared one way or the other...all they ever cared about was what was in the box itself. 
It was hard to give up that tradition.  Now with bows available everywhere and now with gift bags, there is really no reason for such an extravagance.  I remember when I was younger, how we saved the bows.  At showers there were such things as bow bags and paper plates with a whole cut in the center and a bridesmaid would take each bow and draw the ribbons through the hole, creating a bouquet for the bride to be to hold for picture sake. 
6 wrapping papers and a selection of bows.  I worked at Weibolt's Department Store,  and their wrapping department even had a ribbon winder.  That was an awesome machine.  It made bows tie split seconds. 
As I look back in time...it seems that those extra touches seemed to be just as important as the gift.  Today...everything is through the fast lanes.  I suppose bows are no longer a necessity and would be considered an extravagance.  To me...a bow almost had it's own language.  It spoke about how much extra care went into the gift. 
When I listen to old radio programs, you hear from time to time a routine where the characters are in a department store and they are asked about wrapping their purchase and inserting gift cards.  There are still a few choice stores that still offer that service....but they are few and far in between. 

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