At some point prior to Christmas, I must’ve tripped, fallen and hit my head. Because I decided to make three gifts. Making my bed is about the only thing I usually manage, so why I decided to craft presents, I don’t know.
I think it was due to struggling for inspiration, but the idea definitely had “panic” written all over it. I went through various ideas in my head and only really settled on what I was making as I was making them (which was the last in a long list of problems I faced).
It all started when I got seduced by some silver charms at Spirit of Christmas. I spent ages fishing through trays of charms on Linda Jackson’s stand before coming away with three: one each for my auntie, mum and grandma. My initial idea was to make them a bracelet each, using ribbons and hanging the charms on them, so I headed to a few fabric shops to search out some interesting ribbons. I selected three printed ribbons in co-ordinating colours, bought some other supplies I thought I’d need and promptly shied away from my task.
Crunch time was approaching, and I changed my mind about what I’d conjure up when my head was turned (spotting a theme?) by an accessories page in a magazine: I spotted a brooch made of ribbon, with a big gem in the middle. My brain interpreted the image with the ingredients I had, and the idea for the brooches was born. So I returned the bracelet fastenings I’d bought, purchased brooch pins instead and away I went.
Here’s how they turned out! Predictably, my first attempt was far messier than the others, and it took some trial, error and swearing before I finished. And I wouldn’t necessarily offer these for sale with a 20 year guarantee but… as a person who barely makes toast, I’m pretty happy with how these ended up.
In a nutshell, here’s what I did:
- Tied the ribbons into bows, making sure they looked as neat as possible. This was quite tricky as they’re printed, so they’re very stiff
- I stitched the brooch fastenings onto the back, using the stitches to secure the bows into place at the same time (the stitches go through all layers of the bow, so that the bow doesn’t unravel – I hope!)
- Hung the charm on jewellery wire, which I looped around the bow and fixed in place with a wish and a prayer… meaning I bent the wire but haven’t sealed it with any heat
- I trimmed the ends of the ribbons and sealed them with clear nail varnish (did I mention this is a bodge job? I think five-year-old me made these)
The reaction? Well, two out of three ain’t bad, as the song goes. One recipient was typically blunt and… didn’t dislike their gift, but contested my definition of “brooch”. Apparently it looks more like a badge. Hmm.
And one recipient has been getting age-inappropriate questions regarding whether they may or may not be expecting a baby… So all in all, I don’t think my endeavour has gone particularly well! I’m glad I tried, and this was definitely a case of “it’s the thought that counts”, but I think I’ll stick to my real strengths in future: shopping for amazing gifts, paying for the privilege of someone else producing them!