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Serpentine Dresser Reveal

The Serpentine dresser was finished quite awhile ago.  I cleaned out my garage (where it lived while I was refinishing it) and was able to park the car in there (which lasted until I pulled out all the Christmas decorations).

Since the Serpentine Dresser has 9 drawers I wanted to utilized the space really well (I’m really geeky like that).  I envisioned that it would be able to house my dainties just like you see at Victoria Secrets.   And now the vision has come to fruition!  No more crammed lingerie.  No more socks tangled with the bathing suites.   Everything has it’s own place.

2 drawers dedicated to brassieres – Victoria Secret style (love)

1 drawer for panties – I have a system of folding them so they all fit neatly in one drawer (geeky)

1 drawer for socks

1 drawer for camisoles

1 drawer for bathing suites

1 drawer for T-shirts

1 drawer for work out gear/yoga pants

Here’s the final image of the dresser in my tiny bedroom.  The dresser works so much better since its around the same height of my bed.   It’s a large piece yet it doesn’t overwhelm the tiny space.  The drawers glide smoothly, everything is accessible and I’m loving, loving, loving it!
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Serpentine Dixie Dresser

I occasionally suffer from furniture envy.  My friend Kat once had a tall serpentine dresser that looked like it had been painted over about 10 times.  It had this cool aged patina that was mottled with different colors showing through the top coat.  The drawers bowed outward so it had a lovely curvy figure.

I admired that dresser of hers.  She sold it long ago (the multiple colors probably messed with her OCD) but I’ve been on the lookout for my own.  I scoured thrift stores, estate sales but never seemed to find the right one.  Came close once – and for $35 bucks in pristine condition –it was a steal.  But it was too long and it never would have fit in the apartment bedroom.

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Early into moving into the bungalow I found this one.  I knew it was the right one.  Not too big – not too small.  Just the right height – (slightly higher than my bed foot board)  A pretty curve to the front.  Nothing too crazy on the woodwork.  Perfect.  Except… the finish.  And that can be fixed.

Buying the dresser soon after I moved in had its challenges.  I had just cleared the garage of boxes only to now store this sizable piece in there.  My car would have to wait – the dresser has to live there until I can finish sanding it and painting it.  It’s also been hot as hell this summer.  106 in the shade…   The only time I’ve had to work on this piece is early weekend mornings.

Here it’s sanded– the bare wood almost ready to accept a first coat of white primer.
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The dresser came missing one pull – it will need a replacement or maybe find new ones.  One of the bigger drawers was coming apart – easily fixed with a little wood glue.

But painting process has been painstaking slow.  Essentially, I’ve been painting one thin layer on a Saturday morning, one thin layer on Sunday, and using a fine sand paper grit in between.   I started with thin coats of Kilz primer as I like the way it coats and hides the areas that resisted sanding.

I love white furniture but felt this piece needed a little something (not “bling” not “pop” please stop using those words, they are over used, tired and need break).  Just a little hint of color and sparkle.  I’ve been using a Benjamin Moore pearlescent glaze called simplicity (pink), applying one coat at a time.  Frustrated with the heat and the lack of progress I brought the drawers inside.  They needed to be cleaned from the original sanding and dirt anyway.  I discovered that someone had used this dresser or arts and crafts or sewing storage.  I loved that there were sewing pins stuck in the cracks and flecks of crayon and paint.  A generous coat of wood wax was applied to the sides of the drawers –  protecting the unpainted part of the drawer and giving it a nice, buttery finish.  Lastly – I’ve been spraying thin coats of clear lacquer to protect it and give it a super shiny finish.  It’s almost done!

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.

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Wine Cork Christmas Tree with Beaded Twisted Wire Garland Tutorial

Christmas is a big holiday for my friends over at the Barker Ranch.  Every holiday is celebrated and the house is decorated from floor to ceiling – especially Christmas.   (Or Christmas Hell depending on who you’re talking too)  Every nook and cranny is stuffed with festive décor and it’s a wonder to behold.   I’m not exactly sure how it happens – it’s seems almost magical, even though I’ve been at the start of “Christmas Hell” .

Another well known fact about the Barker Ranch is that they’ve collected quite a few wine corks over the holidays.  Yes, the Barker Ranch heartily supports the California Wine Industry.  It was inevitable that the Wine Cork Christmas Tree was made.

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Wine Cork Tree Tutorial:

You will need:

  • You need cardboard paper cone form – easily found at your local craft store.  Don’t buy the foam kind – foam and hot glue are natural enemies.
  • Glue Gun
  • 15 – 20 hot glue sticks (depending on your glue gun and your glue gun skills)
  • Friends who drink wine… a lot of wine… (Caution: this project requires approximately 90 – 100 corks I do not recommend drinking all the wine in one sitting.)
  • Fine gauge wire (approx. 15 – 20 feet)
  • Decorative Beads that fit the width of the wire.


Start at the bottom of your cone form, gluing each cork and pressing it to the form.  The trick is to butt one cork right up against the other – you don’t want to see any gaps.

When you get to the end of the row – you might find yourself with a gap.  Skip it for now (we’ll come back, I promise) and start the next row – over lapping where two corks meet below.  (If you’re anxious over the missing cork portion – I recommend you open another bottle of wine)

Rinse and Repeat, continuing to the top.

When you’re ready to fill in the gaps – take a cork and eyeball where you will need to cut it.  It needs to fit the size of the gap.  Corks are really easy to cut with a sharp knife.  Place the cork on a cutting board and position your knife.  Press the knife and roll the cork, (with your knife) cutting as you go.  This will make an even cut.  Now you can go back and and glue the smaller pieces to fill in the gaps.  I use the blank corks (with out writing) to fill in the gaps.

At the top of the wine tree, you have a choice.  You can either glue wine corks all the way to the top, but if you also drink Champagne, you can easily drill out the bottom of a Champagne cork to fit over the last bit of cone.

Make the Beaded Twisted Wire Garland.

Even a wine cork tree needs a little holiday bling. (Especially if it graces the Barker Ranch).  I saw a lovely beaded garland at my girlfriends charming shop – Mulberry Row – during her holiday open house.  It was so gorgeous I had to buy it.  It seemed perfect for the wine cork tree I made for the Barker Ranch.  But after being commissioned to make 3 more wine cork tree’s, I realized I had to make my own beaded garland.

Luckily, it’s a snap to make!

Measure a length of the wire by loosely wrapping it around and around your wine cork tree.  Bend the wire to mark your spot. Double the length and cut your wire.

Thread all your beads onto the wire.  Move one bead to the middle position.

Twist the wire around the bottom of the bead to secure it.

Move another bead about an 1 inch or 1 1/2 inches from the first bead.  Twist in the opposite direction that you twisted the first bead.  If you twist in the same direction, the first bead will untwist.  I found it easier to grip the bead and twist it around the wire.

Repeat until you have the wire completed beaded.

I left a long tail which I used to attach to the top of the cone form.  Then I hot glued the corks over it, to secure the wire in place.  After wrapping the beaded garland around the cork tree, I secured the other end by using a staple, pushing it into one of the corks on the end.

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