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Tag Archives | Ribbon

Posi-Bendr Bow-Easy

Reported by Suzy Haghighi

The Posi-Bendr Bow-Easy is a simple yet handy invention for tying the perfect bow quickly and easily. Before I get into my review of the Bow-Easy, allow me the indulgence of a bit of reminiscing about the woman behind this tool. After all, the crafting industry is a personal one; paper and glue bond more than our cards together.

Valera Scott has been in the crafting industry for 40 years and has shaped the industry in amazing ways. She has so many wonderful stories to tell. In a brief e-mail interview she mused about the early days of crafting: “The first trade show we had shown the Bow-Easy at was the HIA (now CHA) show in Chicago in about 1982. They had a one day consumer show the Saturday prior to the Trade Show opening on Sunday. That HIA show was also the first show to introduce the use of using embossing powders with ink and rubber stamps. I remember it was extremely hard to get Ranger (then the predominant embossing powder house in the country) to even sell to us. They had no idea what this “Craft Industry” thing was and really were not interested in participating. As with many of our inventions, we were about a decade too early. Needless to say, we could not get the “craft stores” interested. It was just too different at that time.”

The invention of the Bow-Easy came about in 1980 when Valera was only 10 years old and crafting with her mother Betty Scott. As they sat making hundreds of very small bows for a charity project, the invention of the Bow-Easy dawned upon Betty.

Stamp by Toodles & Binks

How It Works
The Bow-Easy is a flat, plastic slotted tool about 4.5×4.5 inches square. It goes beyond dowel and fingers to not only be an extra hand for you as you loop ribbon into a bow, but also to help shape the bow into a perfect pretty little thing.


The original Bow-Easy, which retails for $6 US, can make seven sizes of bows: 3/4 inch, 1 inch, 1 1/4, 1 3/8, 1 3/4, 2 3/8, and 2 3/4 using widths of ribbon from super thin cord style to 3/4 inch wide ribbon.

I admit I had quite the time figuring the instructions out. I am a visual learner and the 2D illustrations and written instructions got me quite confused. I was ready to give up but then I saw Jerri Jimenez’s Video Tutorial, and Sharon Johnson’s wonderful Picture Tutorial. When you realize that each “leg” is a loop of your bow, and the middle slot is where the knot will be, it is a lot easier to understand. You are looping around the whole leg (both sets) then dividing the large loop into a bow by running a tail of ribbon through the center slot. As I make bows “rabbit ears” style, which starts with two loops, this concept was hard for me to grasp at first.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous Bows – even teeny tiny ones look perfect!
  • Double and triple loop bows
  • Inexpensive
  • Made of sturdy plastic that will last

Cons:

  • Legs not marked for size
  • Written instructions were difficult for me to follow

I do recommend practicing on some cheap ribbon that you do not mind ruining until you get the hang of it. Once I figured out how to use it, I fell in love with the Bow-Easy. I admit to being a previously bow-challenged kind of crafter. No longer do I need to tinker and pull and twist forever to make a bow look pretty. Yay! While the instructions say that you are limited to up to 3/4 width ribbon, I found that one set of legs allowed for 1 1/2 inch wide ribbon or even wider if you scrunch it temporarily. Posi-Bendr now makes a larger Bow-Easy that will make larger flat bows in 4, 5, 6 and 8 inch sizes.

The original Bow-Easy retails for $6; the larger Bow-Easy #2 retails for $10.

Making Memories Tag Curler

Reported by: Deborah Locklear

Tag Curler??!? What is that?!?? That is exactly what I said to myself when I first heard of this product, the Making Memories Tag Curler. After I heard of it, I decided to find out what it does. After a little research, I found out. It curls tags. Hmmm. I still didn’t know what it did. Therefore, I did what any curious paper crafter would do–I bought it.

The tag curler comes with a handy little black storage bag (to keep the dust off of it, which you’ll need!) and all the tags come in a little container. The little container is made of acetate, it’s difficult to get open, and it’s a pain to retrieve the tags. I played with the curler for a while before I figured out how to use it AND before I realized there is a video demonstration on the Making Memories website. When I first opened the package, I followed the simple instructions just to see it in action. My questions of “how does it curl a tag?” was answered and I was surprised at how it curled the tag. Okay, onto the directions:

1. Unlock the curler by pulling the lever at the bottom of the tool.
2. Place the tag in the curler by pushing the spring-loaded metal base down and inserting the tag with the triangle (with teeth) facing up.


3. Place a piece of ribbon across the triangle teeth.

4. While holding the ribbon in place from the back, squeeze the curler until the tag is curled.



5. Release the curler and pull out your curled tag!
back of curled tag
This is a very easy tool to use and it only does this one thing. If you are looking to invest in something that you will have great diversity, this is not the tool. That said, this tool does provide a unique embellishment, no matter how absurd another tool would be in your and my collection! I do not reach for this tool very often, thus its nice to have the dust-proof bag. Due to the limitations of diversity of what can be done with this tool, I came up with a few ideas to share with you:
You can use a tag over the knot part of a bow by placing the bow directly in the curler.

You can bend the metal tag, as it’s fairly thin metal, to create a curved tag.

You can use wide ribbon to have a more “gathered” effect around the tag.

Lastly, there are some tags with open shapes punched in them and you can alter these to coordinate with your card. Here, I backed the tag with a tiny piece of dp that coordinated with the other dp in the card.

Studio G stamps, SU Bella Rose dp
The tags come with a plethora of words, including traditional “thanks,” “thank you,” “create,” “believe,” etc. There are also epoxy tags that add a little color to the tags. I’m convinced that someone experienced with the Making Memories acrylic paints can alter the metal tags. You can find the curler at Michaels and some other large retailers. Since this is not a “must have” it may be difficult to come by, depending on the store. I have seen them on ebay and save-on-crafts. The MSRP is $25.99, though it can be found for less.
Pros:
  • Unique embellishment
  • Inexpensive
  • A little black bag comes with the curler for easy storage
  • It doesn’t take up a lot of room, it’s small
  • Variety of tag styles/options

Cons:

  • The tags can be difficult to find
  • It only has one function, limited capabilities
  • The plastic container for the tags is annoying, you’ll probably want to seek other storage for these little guys
I cannot think of one Making Memory product that I do not like. This is by no means my favorite, but because I love their products and tools, I like this. Have you tried it? Did you think of other possibilities with tag? Is this on your “to get” list? Do you like this product or the idea of a tool like this? We would love to hear from you!
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Berwick Offray Ribbon

Reported by Heather Strenzwilk

If you have purchased “store brand” ribbon or holiday bows from Target, Walmart or JoAnn’s, chances are they made by Berwick Offray. In 2002 Berwick industries bought out Offray and continues to produce ribbon under several names. Offray ribbon has held Olympic medals, wrapped Godiva chocolates and Williams-Sonoma cookware and blue ribbons. The company also produces Cleo brand gift packaging products as well.

Recently, I relocated to the Hagerstown, MD area and I learned that there was a processing plant and an adjoining outlet store. Before my move, I owned about 20 rolls of ribbon (coincidentally many of them were Offray ribbon.) The prices in the outlet store are excellent and I quickly acquired 300 rolls of ribbon. I am not the only “local” with ribbonitis- local resellers, florists, crafters and scrapbookers are frequent visitors, too. As you can see, I am extremely partial to polka dots!


Adding ribbon has been a simple and cost effective way to recycle clothing. I recently decorated my daughter’s plain white cotton shirt with flowers made with polka dot grosgrain ribbon and I added satin ribbon for the stems and trim around the sleeves. The project required a small amount of hand sewing to attach the flowers and trim. To prevent the ribbon from unraveling, I lightly dabbed the cut ends with clean nail polish. I have washed the shirt by hand without any problems.

Highlights of a visit to the Berwick Offray ribbon outlet in Hagerstown include:

  • Large bins containing 10-cent rolls of ribbon– Rolls can contain anywhere from a few feet to 12 yards. These bins contain overruns, discontinued, defective or private label ribbon. For example I recently purchased rolls of Halloween ribbon labeled for the defunct Rag Shop. The selection varies from visit to visit and if you needed a large quantity of a particular ribbon it might not be available.
  • Multiple tables of ribbon priced by the roll– The ribbon is roughly sorted by type- holiday, wire edged, organzas, velvets, etc. Great way to save money on shower or wedding favors or other large projects.
  • Grab bags of pre-cut ribbon– Value priced and always a generous quantity of 2-3 styles. Prices range from 35 cents to $1.29 for the “stuff a bag full of ribbon remnants” option.
  • Large bins of pre-made package bows– If you visit the store with children let them pick and choose their own bows to fill a plastic grocery size bag. For 25 cents per bag this is a very cost effective way to entertain kids while you shop.
  • Large bins of scrapbooking embellishments– Cute bows, printed ribbon, flags and much more are priced from 50 cents to one dollar. Plan to spend some time “digging” into the pile.

You might wonder- do the extremely low outlet prices for ribbon speak for its quality? Many E-Bay resellers refuse to sell “Offray outlet ribbon”. I consider myself a careful shopper because I inspect things before I purchase them. The Hagerstown facility doesn’t manufacture the ribbon but rather it dyes and prints on it (12 million yards per week). Thus, I have seen very small lots of ribbon with misspelled words, misaligned polka dots and inconsistent color and it is priced accordingly. The inconsistent color might appear as variations between dye lots or satin ribbon that is darker along one edge than the other (I actually like some of those rolls!) For the most part, the ribbon appears defect free.


Several people have asked me how I organize my ribbon. I am in the process of removing it from the rolls and storing it in an Iris chest sorted by color. I have grand dreams of creating a master swatchbook which includes samples, color names and item numbers. For now swatches of some of my favorite ribbon adorns the spirals of the book.

Probably my biggest issue with ribbon in general (not just Offray) is that sometimes I don’t have the right color for my project. I have used various online tutorial and have custom dyed ribbon with reinkers and inkpads. Both satin and grosgrain ribbon from Offray take color extremely well and I am partial to the 3/8 inch white satin ribbon for many projects.

Pros:

  • Diverse product line- wide variety of colors and widths
  • High quality product/ great value for the price
  • Widely available in major chain craft stores
  • 2 outlet stores with discount pricing

Cons:

  • Very traditional styles- nothing very “trendy”
  • No coordinating paper line

I have used Offray ribbon for many years and I have been very happy with their consistent quality and reliability. Offray ribbon is available at most major chain discount and craft stores, outlet stores in Berwick, PA and Hagerstown, MD and online at RibbonDeals.com. Before moving to Hagerstown I rated Offray: 8/10. Now that I have discovered their outlet store, I rate them 9.25/10.

Have you used this brand of ribbon for many years like me? Let us know what you think!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!