Category Archives: Re-Purpose

Wine Box Ribbon Dispenser

Somewhere in early history of Martha Stewart I saw Ribbon Management ideas.  Martha demonstrated how to turn an ordinary shoe box into a ribbon holder, the tips of the ribbon perkily poking out from grommets or slits on the side of the box and the ribbon reels neatly contained inside, hidden from sight.  Martha later went on to sell this product through her sorely missed Martha Stewart Living Catalog but happily now sells new versions at Michaels.

Browse through any home/living magazine or surf the internet and you’ll find lots of other ideas to contain the unruly, tangly mess of ribbon.  One popular idea (another Good Thing by Martha) has been to store ribbon on a dowel, mounted in a closet or the back of a cabinet wall.  This was the method I adopted, installing a long dowel in front of a shelf in a large closet.

But if you’re a true crafter, you’ll know that this isn’t the best solution.  Spools of ribbon defy Newton’s first law of motion which states “An object at rest stays at rest”.  Anyone who has ever stored ribbon this way knows that ribbon has a mind of its own and that the 2nd part of Newton’s law “an object in motion stays in motion” takes over.  That damn ribbon will start spinning itself off the reel.  Then you have the fun and time consuming job of winding it back up and figuring out some way to secure it.  I’ve also seen chicken feeders or rain gutters used to store the ribbon but those storage method depend on the box always being stored vertically.

Tired of fighting the ongoing ribbon rebellion, it was time to upgrade to the newest method of ribbon management.  Basically – a simple box with a dowel across the front to prevent the ribbons from rolling out.

You can easily build a simple wooden box but thanks to Dr. Malibu and his passion for Pinot I already had something fabulous that I could use.   Very awesome wine comes in wine boxes – the better the wine, the better the box.  Dr. Malibu gave me a particularly nice wine box and it had just been sitting around as a junk box for various craft items.   It never really worked well for that application and I always felt it had a higher calling.  Transforming the wine box into a ribbon holder seemed the perfect solution.  And it easily only took 10 minutes to do.


It followed me home… I had to keep it.

I love a good estate sale. A REAL estate sale – the kind where someone lived in that house for 40+ years and has moved on to better places.  I recently stumbled upon a doozy.  It was the estate of costume designer Grady Hunt.  His house was filled with grand furniture and  silver and artwork and SEWING SUPPLIES!  I hit the mother load!  Zippers, beads, sequins, fabric – oh my.  I walked out of there with a giant box of fabulous for $20 bucks.

Well, I tried to walk out of there…. But there was this charming little desk… (did I say charming – I meant CHARMING)  It was darling!  I already have a fabulous vintage desk in my living room.  I REALLY didn’t need, have room for, or desire another vintage desk.   But I thought with it’s wonderful condition and the feminine shape I could sell it on Craigslist?  “I could double my money!” I rationalized.

“Let’s just offer less than what they’re asking and see what they say.  If they won’t take $25 less then we’ll walk away.  It wasn’t meant to be.”  And since they were already asking a rock bottom price… what were the odds….


They were very nice when they helped me load it into my car.

Mr. Malibu grudgingly helped me move it into my entryway to await it’s fate.   But it couldn’t stay there for long.  My dad was coming to stay, and the likelihood of Thing 1 running into was high.  So somehow, magically, it found it’s way into my bedroom… damn it.

And it looks really cute there.

I was going to sell it, really….

but I think it likes me.

Mermaid Costume

Every year I make Thing 2’s Halloween costume… except the one year she wanted to buy a princess costume but when someone else showed up in the same outfit, we went back to making our own. She has been a dead cheerleader, a rock n roller, a pirate and a zombie girl. This year… she wanted to be a mermaid… (technically it’s her fourth time as a mermaid) The first mermaid costume was worn until it was literally in shreds. So since we’ve done this a few times, I printed off some images of mermaid costumes to use as inspiration to see what direction she wanted to go.  Now someone else has already done a bang up job explaining how they did it (Ms. Mod Mischief) so the full credit and instructions are here. I did mine differently but you use what you got and that’s what I did.  The concept and basic construction is the same.
Here’s Things 2 costume – which was completed down to the wire.  She was involved in making all the various parts and it turned out (if I don’t say so myself) pretty darn good. I think she’s the cutest mermaid caught by a Pirate/Fisherman I ever did see!
We attended the PALLOWEEN Halloween event at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. Dr. Malibu said it was evident she was going to win.  Thing 2 was stopped every few steps by people gushing over her costume.  And she did win– 1st prize for her age division, but she won my heart a long time ago!

ahem…. a little credit maybe….

This is not the first time I’ve  had a good idea go into mass production…..