This month's Southern Living arrived in the mailbox today--it has the best idea for outdoor Christmas bows I think I've ever seen. Instead of ribbon, you can use a roll of thin metal plumbing strapping ($2). The result is a 3D metal bow with lots of loops and spirals, spraypainted in a glossy red and guaranteed not to get soggy or crushed in storage. Southernliving.com doesn't have a photo, so you'll just have to check out the article in the checkout line. On second thought, this might one of the issues worth owning; other articles include making a cold frame using old windows, reusing sentimental clothing and quilts to make life-size Santa figures, and too many good holiday ideas to list.
I've never been adept at bow-making (though the 59 cent bowmaker may change all that). I do like fabric ribbons, raffia, or twine on my packages. Martha Stewart often substituted rayon seam binding for her ribbon. Since finding a big green roll secondhand, I'm a convert. I love the way seam binding ties so crisply. Above is a photo from a recent package. Still trying to use those pinecones...good thing I found a 25 cent roll of pine-themed paper!