The Bow Maker

After you buy the Christmas presents, you need to wrap them.  And the hardest part can be topping it off with a bow. But "The Bow Maker" may be able to help you.
"Oh my word!" Amy Jacquin mumbles as she opens the package. "I was afraid you'd have to be crafty!" 
Amy was a little overwhelmed when she first saw the directions for the $10 Bow Maker. So she starts with the "simple bow."  The concept is this -- you use pins to wrap and measure the ribbon, so ideally you get a uniform bow every time. This first bow turns out nice... but very tiny.
Amy feels confident enough to move up to the next level. "Let's try a double bow, and I'll use a bigger ribbon this time," she explains.  She first has to adjust the pins, for a bigger bow.
Directions stress always crossing the ribbon from left to right, to make a stronger bow. But the thick white ribbon is too papery and stiff to make a pretty bow. So Amy tries it again, with a more flexible ribbon. 
"I don't think I would have been able to do that on my own," she says, looking at the bow.  
Each level of bows adds more loops, and gets a little fancier. But Amy makes a mistake on her next try.  She wraps the ribbon around both rows of pins, instead of individual rows.
"See how the small loop is on the outside, but mine is on the inside and you don't see it in there," she explains. So she tries it again, and makes sure to circle each row of pins individually. And that works.
"I've never been able to make a pretty bow like that before," muses Amy.
The next level has so many loops, it requires wire to wrap the ribbon... and two separate pieces of ribbon. You have to stack the loops on top of each other, then tie them with a wire, and shape the loops. But look at the pictures included in the directions... It's not easy to make out the details.
"The language in the instructions is very confusing," says Amy. "And it's figuring that out the first time that's the hard part. Once you do that, it's repeating the same things over and over again, and I think you could become good at it."
So after some guess-work and trial-and-error, Amy finally has a lopsided bow. "It's kind of oblong!" Amy laughs.  "I obviosly didn't measure too well."
By her final try, Amy is feeling more comfortable with the bow maker.
"When it says face up... You have to fold it to get it in there, so you fold it with the face up to you," Amy deciphers.  She measures more carefully, and folds the ribbon back and forth on itself. This helps give it a more uniform look. "
It's still not perfect, but I prefer hand-made over factory formed," summarizes Amy.
Just be prepared to practice before it looks perfect. With that in mind, the $10 bow maker earns a solid 'B'.