Nick

Gone are the days when a length of pretty ribbon made an acceptable christmas present, which is  a terrible shame as there is nothing more lovely than a length of ribbon in a gorgeous colour. ( VV Rouleaux makes me want to keel over in ecstacy at the sheer prettiness of it. ) Life, you see, should be lovely, and a length of ribbon is a little strand of loveliness, sent, methinks, from heaven above…

Collecting ribbon is a scrumptiously puttery task- once you are on the trail you will come across lengths of loveliness in the most unlikely places, and very soon you will have a drawer full of tangled bits and bobs just asking to be put to more scrumptious use…

In my experience spools  of truly vintage ribbon (as opposed to relics from the 1980’s) are hard to come by at a reasonable price (particuarly in the UK), but spool ends and sewing box collections are available in abundance, as are trimmings and ribbons from vintage cast offs: however limiting yourself to vintage ribbon, means you exclude some of the newest prettiest ribbons around, and will make you blind to ribbony opportunities as you go about your day…

The first thing to do is to gather all the ribbon you already have. I bet there is more than you think around the house. Choose a pretty fabric lined box  or basket (old fashioned quilted sewing boxes are kind of scrumptious!) or a gorgeous big glass jar (Look out for clear glass apocatherapy jars) and decide how you want to store your ribbon: loose, wrapped around card spools or rolled?  I go for rolled and except for truly precious lengths, (there aren’t many, I don’t do precious!) pin them with a pretty pearly headed pin and then store in a big glass jar: it looks decorative and is easy to see into. Then you have an abundance of ribbon for all manner of deliciously puttery things to do (but do tread the borders of good taste carefully, some so called "ribbon art" is scarily ugly…)

1. Loop short lengths together to make a ribbon chain and drape it up your bannister, or decorate a basket by weaving a ribbon border.

2. Unpick an ugly lampshade and then thread ribbon round and the bare frame to re-invent it.

3. Sew onto the edges of pillowcases or handtowels.

4. Thread charms onto a few lengths then either wear around your neck or dangle from your headboard for good luck.

5. Use as drawer pulls. (Unscrew existing fittings, feed ribbon through holes and tie in a knot on the inside of drawer)

6. Add loops of pretty ribbon to tea-towels to hang them up.

7. Create ribbon "clothes-lines"  across windows and use to peg your kids drawings up.

8. Plait together and use as tiebacks: or find the finest ribbon you can to do the same thing to girly fragile effect…

9. Use to hang keys off wardobes or on peg rails, or as a keyring in your bag (long as you like!)

10. Thread loops and loops of ribbon off a chandelier to soften it. Add twinkly crystals to some…

11. Add ribbon loops to utalitarian objects like dustpan’s and brooms..

12. Tie around the pages of a book to mark your place, or stiffen and use to frame a picture.

13. Make ribbon rosettes or gorgeous ribbon roses ( be very careful and use sparingly: too much and your home will reek reminiscently of peaches and cream and ruched curtains.)

14. Award yourself a ribbon rosette.

15. Make a ritual out of tying your old love letters together, bundling your childrens first drawings or making pretty piles of scrap fabric prettily wrapped.

16. Use a marker pen to write your dearest wish on to a length of ribbon and tie it somewhere meaningful, or wrap it around a special book (Romancing the Ordinary anyone?)

17. Let the kids tie a welcome home ribbon on to a door wreath each evening.

18. Use short lengths as napkin rings.

19. Criss cross inside your larder door and use as your housekeeping bulletin board (Hang your HouseKeepers Creed there!)

20. Wrap around your wrist in the spirit of the charity bands currently popular and use to quietly, and privately, commemorate the memory of a loved one or remind you of a personal goal or promise….

21. Thread an old watch face onto a piece of grosgrain ribbon and wear around your wrist, dangle a pocket watch from a long pretty piece of ribbon, or wrap a decorative ribbon around your waist.

22. Punch holes into photographs and hang individually from lengths of ribbon.

23. Thread loops through little use teacups and hang in your kitchen.

For more fabulous inspiration visit The Ribbon Jar, VV.Rouleaux, or Preppy Ribbon. Find vintage ribbon at Florilegium, Dolls and Lace, and Rose Cottage Textiles,  then go swoon at Nicholas Kniel.

Now go tie yourself a bow.