Fluffs and Scrubbies
My grandmother is a great seamstress. She is now 95 years old and can no longer sew, but she has passed along decorative fluffs- a great gift idea that I like to keep alive.
These festive fluffs can be used for holiday decor on trees, in doorways and in wreaths. And when your guests have stuffed themselves to stupefaction, they can be used to scrub the dishes.
15 Minutes to Fluffs
I am always so amazed at how thorough my Grandma Mary is. When she stopped sewing, she made sure that someone in the family (me) had her fluff making supplies in a basket, complete with instructions that were dated December 22, 1985 and typed. As in on a typewriter. She also cited. Her Aunt Marion from Madison, Wisconsin was the original source of these instructions. What a document!
It is now my duty to carry on (and pass on) the fluff-making tradition.
Grandma would make two fluffs per adult offspring every holiday and present them, along with a much-coveted homemade coffee cake, to each family on our celebratory day together. This is no small feat, considering the adult offspring grew in number as she herself aged. I never got the hang of making the coffee cake recipe. By default, I am the Family Fluffmeister.
Grandma’s instructional document had tidy little nuances of ‘pressing’ and folding things just so. I try to carry on the tradition to the ‘T’, but I encounter difficulty in ironing plastic, which is what they started making tulle and every other fabric out of in 1965.
Ironing tulle is a bit like ironing your sisters panty hose. Did you ever iron your sister’s panty hose? Well I did (they were so wadded up and wrinkly), and she blamed me for the melted toe holes (which, as a 7 year old, of course I denied) and being late for her 8th grade violin concert.
So feel free to press that tulle, but my recommendation is a low heat iron setting. Or use a towel between the tulle and the iron. Or just crease it (especially if you only have 15 minutes, for criminy sake).
You don’t think this will take you 15 minutes, but it is so easy that it does.
Here is what you need:
- A spool of tulle fabric,
- a big needle and
- matching thick thread (or whatever you have lying around)
Start with two separate yards of course nylon netting (Tulle is what I used). Its
fun to use contrasting colors, but not necessary. Lay the two strips of together with all edges even and fold them in half length-wise (remember the ‘hot dog fold’ from kindergarten? Do that). You may need to use some pins to make sure the edges stay in line. You can iron them on low heat, or just ‘crease’ them if an iron is unavailable or you are too lazy like me.
Use either thick thread or a double strand to tie a knot at one end of the fabric. Grandma’s directions say to do some sort of pleating with small stitches so the thread doesn’t pull through the holes of the mesh. Making a knot works too. I use my needle to thread back through a hole to make a knot in the thread.
Hand sew along the folded line in long sweeping 1/2 inch stitches. Gather as you go (i.e. pull the thread tight and push the fabric along so it bunches up).
Pull the gathers tight, leaving a hole about the size of your little finger. Fasten and tie securely with a knot several times. Again, I use my needle to make a knot.
Separate the four layers and fluff out. This is the fun part! To make a hanging fluff, simply leave the thread attached and make it into a loop.
- Grandma’s Scrub Fluffs make great holiday decor. AND they do dishes. Give them as gifts!
- Don’t even think about ironing panty hose.
- What are some of your wacky family traditions? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
Don’t forget to give Santa your Holiday Wish List for ideas on a variety of mouth-watering colors and supplies to keep you inspired and stocked for taking creative breaks with me.
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