Ribbon Organizer

After more time spent winding ribbon than I expected it to take, I have this to show:

ribbon closeup

Much as I love ribbon, for years I’ve done a lousy job of storing those leftover pieces or strips of lovely ribbon off of packages of some sort.  Tired of sorting through this:

disorganized ribbon

I went on a walk through my house to see if I could find something better to keep it in.  I saw an awesome ribbon organizer back at Christmas time in a local craft store, but I didn’t want to spend any money and I don’t have room in my studio for some big thing.  Then I remembered this:

vintage 7-up crate

This old 7-up crate hung on the wall in my kitchen at our old house.  I kept little jars in each compartment and it served as my spice rack.  It didn’t work in my new kitchen when we moved, so it’s been waiting in the basement for a new use.  Well, it just found it.

I measured the size of the compartments and cut several pieces of aqua cardstock to fit.  Then, using a bit of masking tape to secure the ends, I started wrapping.

And I kept wrapping.

Did I mention that I spent some time wrapping?

Little matter.  It took many more 5 minute segments of stolen time than I anticipated, but it’s finally done and I’m happy with it.

wood crate ribbon organizer

Wide ribbons were given a card to themselves, and narrow ones were grouped together on a card.  Organized by color (somewhat), I can now see at a glace what I’ve got, which means that I’ll actually use it!  I’m a big fan of being able to see what’s available, which is also why I opted to prop my new organizer on a little shelf in my studio.

ribbon organizer on shelf

The shelf is a vintage piece for holding handkerchiefs.  It belonged to my great grandmother.  My parents gave it to me for my birthday a couple of years ago, and it’s been hanging in a corner of my studio ever since.  It means a lot to me to have it.  I had another decoration on it which I removed to make room for the ribbon.  Below it I have framed another piece of linen from my Marghab collection, which is a post for another day.

I added my wish, hug and kiss tickets to the top and a little bird on the corner and we’re set.  I like how this corner of my studio is now bright with color.

ribbon organizer corner

I have to say that the current trend for re-purposing is fabulous to me.  It’s become a little contest I have with myself all the time, walking around my house in search of something I can use differently to meet a new need.   It costs nothing, but forces me to think more creatively, to focus on line, size, shape and color in new ways.  It saves money, helps us use what we have more efficiently, and the challenge brings me joy.  As it has become more mainstream, I’ve really enjoyed seeing pictures of what others are doing.

So here’s my question for you:  What have you re-purposed lately?

And if you feel like you haven’t done it at all, my challenge is to take a walk around your house and find some small way in which you can use something differently, in a new way that makes you happy.

And please, tell me about it!

Baby Feet Valentine

I have been completely ga-ga over my baby’s feet since she was born.  It should be no surprise, therefore, that I used her feet to make a valentine celebrating her first 6 months of life.

baby feet valentine

I glued the ribbon around the edge of the footprints to help create the image of a heart.  Nothing fancy, but a special little first valentine for my baby on her first Valentine’s day.

Zero cost, and only a few minutes out of my day.  A precious little reminder of how sweet and small she is.

Valentine Ribbon Pillow

My project for the May Arts Valentines challenge is completed!

ribbon embellished pillow

This project was fun to do, and I may have found a new favorite ribbon in the process.

The ribbons I used are all manufactured by May Arts.  Here’s how I did it.

I began by cutting a piece of unbleached cotton to the size of my pillow for the pillow top.  The pillow I made is 16 inches high by 24 inches long.  I liked this cotton because of it’s natural color, and because the fibers create a sense of texture that sort of offset the ribbon.  It looks a lot like linen, but was much less expensive.

blank cotton fabric

Next I laid the ribbon out on the fabric until I’d arranged it in a design I was happy with.  I was going for some fun stripes.  Then I pinned the ribbons in place.

ribbon pinned to fabric

I like this shot of the ribbons with ruffles on them.  This particular ribbon was SO fun to work with.  It’s 1.5 inches wide, and the center is a faux suede.  It’s really beautiful, and I loved using it.  It could be my new favorite.

ribbon pinned to fabric 2

Setting my sewing machine on it’s slowest speed, I carefully sewed each ribbon into place, changing threads as necessary to have them coordinate with the ribbon.  These ribbons were fairly wide, so I sewed down both edges of them.

Soon they were all sewn on, and it’s looking cute!

ribbons sewn to fabric

Next I went for a second layer of ribbon on top of the suede stripes.  I opted for the red velvet ric rac down the center of the white stripes.

Although I’d never tried it before, I cut a length of the white leaves ribbon and decided to see if I could successfully sew it on, too.

A bit tricky, but it worked!  I love it!

leaves ribbon on pillow

Now the pillow looked like this:

ribbon pillow

I felt like it needed something to help break up the stripes just a bit, so I toyed with several different shapes and decided at last to sketch a little bird (since I’m really loving bird images and a Valentine pillow could certainly have a little love bird on it, right?!).  I grabbed my favorite Valentines quilting fabric and went to work.

bird sketch

I added a single length of white velvet ric rac for the bird to sit on, but decided that I needed something more.  Then my eyes happened to fall on the length of suede leaves ribbon that I’d received in the mail, and I wondered if I could use some of it.  Isn’t it pretty?

suede leaves ribbon

I cut three individual leaves off and arranged them on the pillow.  Then I sewed across the tops of them, leaving the rest of the leaf free so that it adds some dimension.  ***Easter/Spring pillow idea bells start ringing in my brain at this time!  I also realized how versatile this suede leaves ribbon would be in so many altered art projects.  It’s neat stuff!

leaves on pillow

I traced my bird pattern on some interfacing and ironed it to the back of my fabric.  After cutting it out, I was ready to peel the backing off and iron the bird to my pillow.

After ironing it in place, I carefully stitched around the edge of the bird for stability.

I like the end result.

bird on pillow

It was time for the backing.  I chose to piece my back with a zipper near the bottom of it because I prefer to use my pillow inserts year round with different looks.   Lay the pieces with right sides together and carefully line them up.

Pin around the edges and sew it together!  If you choose to stuff your pillow, be sure to leave a hole to do it, and if you use a zipper, be sure you open it a little so you have a way to turn the pillow right side out.

pillow pinned together

After sewing around the edges, I trimmed the excess ribbon and also trimmed a bit at the corners.  Turn it right side out, and ta da!

ribbon pillow cover

I quickly grabbed my feather and down insert and stuffed it inside.  Finished!

valentine ribbon pillow

It looks great on the guest bed in my studio.

ribbon pillow on bed

I’m liking my little pillow.  This was a super fun project!  The possibilities for embellishment with ribbon are endless.  I enjoyed tinkering around with these.  Thanks May Arts!

Ribbon pillow with bird

1 2 3 4