things I didn’t know I hated: ribbon edition

Isn’t it funny to think that there is a whole world of things to hate out there that you don’t even know about? (Or, if you’re so inclined—as I am so tragically not—to love.)

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I’ve spent the evening researching ribbon.

I bought a lot of vintage beautiful ribbon at the Hudson Valley Materials Exchange (whose website could so deliciously be read as HV Material Sex Change! Let’s call it that from now on, shall we?) that I’ve been using to tie the pyramid boxes. It’s nice, honest, strong, lovely, unused yet maybe 40-years-old reclaimed ribbon, but it’s a giant pain to thread it through the tiny holes of the boxes. Half of the time it rips the box, the other half if gets loose at the last minute and the box doesn’t close tightly. It’s not slippery enough, it frays too easily, and it’s too thick.

So the ribbon search begins.

Do you know anything about ribbon? I’ve been a devoted Martha Stewart Living reader for about ten years now (did I just let that slip? Oh god.), and Martha is really into ribbon, so you would think I would have picked up something along the way. I can tell lovely grosgrain from trashy curling ribbon, beautiful velvet from icky satin, but apart from that I don’t know shit about ribbon.

Everyone says I should just use cord, preferably an easy-to-thread satin cord, but I just realized that I hate cord. Who knew, right? I don’t think I’ve given cord more than two minutes of thought my entire life, but suddenly I have a visceral hatred of cord. Tying the boxes with cord seems like tying them with a shoelace. Cord is dead to me.

So the search continues. While wading through ribbon site after ribbon site (and of course trying to find eco-friendly ribbon too, which of course makes everything exponentially harder), I discovered that I absolutely loathe all ribbon except grosgrain and velvet.

Sadly, grosgrain is absolutely the wrong kind of ribbon to use for the boxes—its very name means fat! Even worse, I suspect that the neato recycled ribbon I reclaimed at the Materials Exchange is silk grosgrain—which I have no problems with since it’s not new, but which I refuse to buy. And of course velvet is completely wrong for the boxes too —too thick and way, way too expensive.

Megan and Sarah sell a nice biodegradable ribbon that I will soon be using as gift wrapping ribbon, but it’s way too thick for the pyramid boxes. A search on “thin ribbon” has led me to the discovery that the military totally owns that search term for their various medals for killing babies or whatever the fuck the military gives out ribbons for. I found some very nice “eco-grosgrain” ribbon at made-in-china.com. Sigh.

But! Look at this! It starts out thin, then you can untwist it and it gets fluffy and fat! And it all hippie eco-friendly and all that. It’s of course too expensive and will fuck with my profit margins, but it will be the dry-aged steak in the steakhouse, and I will trust that there will be enough vegans coming to dinner to offset the costs.* Anyway, I ordered it. We’ll see. If it’s good, I’ll see if I can get it wholesale.

I’m blown away by having such strong preferences I never knew existed before tonight, but I’m also totally up for the challenge of finding that perfect thin, pretty, hopefully non-planet-rape-y ribbon. It might seem a little silly, but these little bricks are what a meaningful life is made of, in my mind. Caring about every little thing, and learning about every little thing. So what if I just spent two hours researching ribbon? Now I know all about ribbon. And I know that it will mean the difference between looking at the boxes and constantly thinking: “Hot damn, that box is gorgeous,” and “well, I sure saved a lot of money by buying that uglyass curling ribbon.” Who wants to think that for the rest of their life? Ugh, curling ribbon is truly the trailer park of ribbon, is it not?

Vive le grosgrain! And the Eco-Twist? We’ll see.

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*Does anyone outside of the restaurant industry understand that analogy? When you—not you, my pretties, you do not go to steakhouses, I know that—go to a steakhouse and order a green salad and baked potato, you are paying exponentially more than your icky friend who dragged you to the steakhouse who ordered a super expensive dry-aged steak. His steak is more expensive on the bill, but proportionally you are paying much more, because the restaurant is charging you ten times more than they paid for your food to offset the fact that they are charging your friend only twice as much. This is why vegans should eat at vegan restaurants!

15 Responses to “things I didn’t know I hated: ribbon edition”

  1. brittany

    as you probably could guess, i, too, spend countless hours pondering things like ribbon and have quite an ample collection that i refuse to use for anything in case i might ever REALLY need 4 inch neon pink tulle ribbon.

    so i am obligated to comment. first of all, this might be helpful in determining what would actually fit in your holes (heehee). http://www.offray.com/prod2.html#anchor3

    I don’t have a coconut box in front of me, but you should be able to use 1/16″-3/16″ ribbon in it without a problem.

    As for the type of ribbon, I love the silk but understand your reservations. What about a copper or green organdy or organza ribbon? It’s sheer and will lend a nice texture; while oraganza is usually silk, they also have a synthetic polyester version and organdy is usually cotton and you can also get polyester.

    You could also try a biodegradable cotton or paper ribbon, although they might not be strong enough and the bows aren’t as graceful (they have a tendency to split and are a little like raffia in many ways when it comes time to actually use them). Stop into Rambling Rose and have a look at their ribbon and you’ll see what I mean (ask for Rachel or Kate and tell em I sent ya!).

    I’m sure you can find some that is made in the USA; I know you can for the bio cotton and paper. I’m pretty sure something is going to exist for the organza or organdy, they’re pretty standard.

    also, http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7039332 . OMFG love.

    Reply
  2. brittany

    I’ll try this again in case the first one disappeared into internetland.

    I AM OBSESSED WITH RIBBON. It’s sick. We can do a ribbon collection show and tell someday. :)

    First, http://www.offray.com/prod2.html#anchor3. I don’t have a coconut box in front of me, but i think 1/16″-3/16″ should fit your holes. (heehee)

    For ribbon, I suggest an organdy or organza ribbon in iridescent copper or green. organdy is usually cotton but also comes in polyester. organza is traditionally silk, but you can also get it in synthetic blends and polyester. They’re sheer and would give a really nice texture to the overall packaging.

    You could also try a biodegradable cotton or paper ribbon, although they might not be strong enough and the bows aren’t as graceful (they have a tendency to split and are a little like raffia in many ways when it comes time to actually use them). Stop into Rambling Rose and have a look at their ribbon and you’ll see what I mean (ask for Rachel or Kate and tell em I sent ya!).

    I’m sure you can find some that is made in the USA; I know you can for the bio cotton and paper. I’m pretty sure something is going to exist for the organza or organdy, they’re pretty standard.

    also, http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7039332 . OMFG love.

    Reply
  3. brittany

    is this some kind of cruel joke?!?! i am baited by a posting about RIBBON, of all things(!!!), yet cannot actually reply to said posting with comments about ribbon????
    ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    Reply
  4. orlande

    funny enough, i was JUST thinking about the re-ribboning of your coconut pyramid box last night as i reassembled it for the fifth time (savor them coconut pyramids!). i thought about how difficult it probably was for you to do many, many of these without the holes tearing because i have basically ruined all the holes at this point :)

    THEN i thought about a needle threader… and how it might take an extra second but it could be really useful in delicately pulling the ribbon through those little holes. http://tinyurl.com/needlethreader ?

    Reply
  5. lagusta

    Your comment went to my spam filter! All fixed.

    Um, when I kept saying that various ribbons were “too thick” I think I meant “too wide.”

    Orlande, needle threader = great idea! I actually have a bunch I inherited from my grandma, I will try it out!

    And Britt! Yay! A part of me knew you would know all about ribbon. OK, that etsy ribbon is KILLING me. I’m going to swoop in and order all of it.

    And the weird thing is that last night after I had posted this and was laying in bed thinking about it more, I decided that I like organza ribbon too. So Anne of Green Gables-y. So since I probably go to bed when you are waking up, you were probably psychically sending me organza thoughts.

    Yes, I am worried that the eco-twist will be a bit too raffia-like. I forgot to mention in the post that I also hate loathe despise raffia. Die raffia, die die!

    Organza! Organdy! Woo.

    I cannot stop in Rambling Rose to look at the ribbon though. In the past two weeks they have had three dresses in their windows that I know I will snatch up if I even peek my nose in. Looking at ribbon would surely only be an overture to buying all three of them. Why do they have such pretty dresses? And they have a cute little cap I want too–I don’t even wear caps!

    Bringing any businessey issues to my blog to be solved by smart and unpaid blog readers = best idea ever!

    Another thing: order coconut boxes! Because when I sell all 2000 of them I will reorder with holes that are slightly bigger and thus I can use more expensive, wider ribbon that will be worse on my profit margins. Yay!

    Reply
  6. Jordan

    Perhaps if u start a mens line of chocolates you could use twine. I love twine seems so organic and simple. Your hate for cord is understandable. You hate cord like I hate glitter. I’m also waiting for my tax returns so that I can buy my chocolates!

    Reply
  7. danielle

    Anne of Green Gables-y: yesssss!
    I love ribbon even, dare I confess, satin ribbon (tho it never stays tied!).

    Great point about only eating at vegan restaurants…i’m trying to apply that one to my life, but so. so. difficult when you live w/ a meat eater. So sad really!

    Reply
  8. lagusta

    Yo dudes!!! So, at 1:52 AM on a Friday night (when most of my epiphanies arrive) as I was surrounded by a sea of pyramid boxes, I thought of the perfect solution: use a hole puncher to make the holes slightly bigger. Brilliant!!

    Reply
  9. brittany

    oh. yeah, that kinda makes sense.

    but shopping for new ribbion is way funner than coming up with ways to deal with the hole problem.

    Reply
  10. Leanne

    hi!! I am a new vegan designer and in my quest to find vegan eco ribbon to hang our hang tags with onto our coats, I found this post! It is fabulous, and then I saw vegan and I thought- wow even more fabulous! (Great steakhouse analogy….!) I too found eco-grosgrain ribbon (http://www.jkmribbon.com/offray/satin-grosgrain-ribbon/eco-grosgrain/eco-grosgrain.html) but it is also too wide for our tiny hang tag holes. sigh.

    I loved reading through your friends’ comments! yay for your friends! I may find an alternative here. just wanted to say thanks, so, thanks!

    xo Leanne

    Reply
    • lagusta

      Oh my gosh this is the cutest comment ever!! Your website, first of all, is AMAZING.

      I also have had hard luck finding thin eco-friendly ribbon, as you can see–my best bet so far is vintage ribbon, which you can sometimes find whole lots of on eBay!

      I can’t WAIT to snag one of your coats–coats are a constant issue for me. If you want to do a partial trade for any chocolates, let me know!!!!!

      Reply
  11. lagusta

    So weird, but: 1 year later I just wanted to say: that eco-twist stuff stinks. It pulls apart if you pull too hard! Maybe it’s nice for wrapping presents or something though.

    Reply

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