{DIY Chalkboard Using an Old Frame}

DIY Chalkboard Using an Old Frame at One Cozy NestHello friends and lovers of all things painted. In today’s post, I’ll take you through a step-by-step tutorial for making your very own chalkboard, from scratch, out of an old frame. So grab a cozy seat and relax!

If you recall, a recent trash pickin’ session yielded a great looking old frame. Since the glass or mirror was missing, I immediately knew what I’d do with it. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to things lying around your house with no particular plan, and then all of a sudden it hits you. It could be weeks, months, or even years! Well, I was happy to have an instant vision with this piece. I’ve been seeing so many wonderful chalkboard art projects on Pinterest lately and I’ve been dying to try my hand at one.

This chalkboard piece was all about firsts. For starters, the day I nabbed the frame out of the trash was my son’s first trash picking experience. It was my first time making a chalkboard from scratch. It was my first time using my jig saw AND it was my first time testing out my brand new nail gun, which I ended up not using because the nails I had were too long for this application. Still, I got some practice and some confidence to use it on another project. I have a small bookcase that I want to transform into a dollhouse for my daughter, like this one over at Bliss Images.  Lastly, it was my first time using milk paint.  I’ve used latex and chalk before, but never milk.  So I figured I’d give it a try to see what all the hype is about!  The nice folks over at General Finishes sent me these products to try:

General Finishes Waterbased Milk Paint at One Cozy Nest

{Tutorial:  DIY Chalkboard Using an Old Frame}

The only material that I had to buy off of the supply list was the plywood for the chalkboard. I already had the rest of the materials at home, so essentially, this project cost me less than $4. I realize some of you don’t have a basement full of craft supplies, but these items can be purchased inexpensively at your local craft (use your 50% off coupons!) or hardware store…or borrowed from your father-in-law or neighbor. No need to go buying a whole box of nails when there’s a workshop full of things down the street at your disposal! Take advantage and save $$ where you can.

Supply List:

  • Old frame
  • 2’X2’ ¼” thick hardwood plywood (get the smoothest one you can find)
  • Chalkboard paint (not to be confused with chalk paint)
  • Sponge brushes (you could get away with using one if you clean it out really well between colors)
  • 2” wide paint brush if you prefer over the sponge variety
  • Dark base color paint, light top color paint, and a clear top coat to protect/seal the piece
  • Sandpaper (fine grit and medium grit)
  • Wood glue
  • Finish nails
  • ChalkDIY Chalkboard Using an Old Frame at One Cozy Nest

1. Prep your piece.  Grab an old frame that you love the look of, but aren’t totally in love with what’s inside. It could be a frame that you found on trash day like I did, or a picture that’s been sitting in your garage or attic for years. Get it out and give it a good wiping with a soft cloth and warm soapy water. Don’t get it too wet, just use a damp cloth. Let it dry completely before painting. Sand down any rough edges or paint drips or bird poop or dead crusty dried up worms. True story. Hey, don’t judge. It happens. That’s why they invented rubber gloves…and antibacterial soap.DIY Chalkboard Using an Old Frame at One Cozy Nest

General Finishes Milk Paint in Dark Chocolate

  1. Paint your base coat(s). Stir your paint well (do not shake) and use your sponge brush topaint one light coat of your base color. For this multi-layered paint look, I used a dark base coat that was the color of dark chocolate. Is it weird that my mouth watered a little bit when I opened the can? It’s from the General Finishes line of Waterbased Milk Paint and the color is called….wait for it…..Dark Chocolate. I immediately craved a tall glass of ice cold chocolate milk. General Finishes Dark Chocolate Milk Paint at One Cozy Nest

{Painting Tips}

  • Don’t saturate your brush, just get it wet enough. This prevents lots of messy drips.
  • Brush in the same direction as the grain of the wood. This frame had wood going in two directions.
  • Put the first coat on lightly and go heavier on subsequent coats.
  • Don’t’ forget about the sides! Also, some people l like to paint the backs of their pieces (especially furniture) with one light coat of paint to tie it all together, but since this is definitely going against a wall, I opted not to paint the back. No need to waste paint.
  • Allow each coat to dry according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Place a fan near your painted pieces to speed the drying time up a little.

multi-tasking at One Cozy NestMy middle name is multi-task, so I frequently catch up on laundry or dishes, or help with homework in between coats of paint. Sometimes….er…most of the time, my projects sit unfinished for days or weeks if I can’t find enough solid blocks of time. Let’s face it. I’m a working mom of two so it is RARE that I get solid blocks of time. I don’t put too much pressure on myself. I just get it done when I can.  Here is my Right Hand Girl in action…always willing to help with chores in her own special way.  One day this area will look like one of those Pinterest-worthy laundry room makeovers.  Oh, come on!  A girl can dream, RIGHT?!

  1. Paint your top coat(s). I painted two top coats using General Finished Waterbased Milk Paint in Linen the same way I painted the base coat in the previous step. Don’t worry about totally covering up that lovely dark chocolate color. You’ll be strategically sanding the white away to reveal it in all the right places.

distressed edges at One Cozy NestCarved detail on mirror frame at One Cozy Nest

  1. Age your piece. After you are sure your piece is totally dry, it’s not time to age it to give it that vintage, time-worn look, as seen above . When I do this, I try to imagine how the piece wasused, where people would touch it frequently, rub against it or past it, etc. Obviously the corners and around the edges of the wood should get special attention. You also want to accentuate any special details in your frame. This piece has the cute little cut-out at the top, but you may be working with a frame that has beautiful carved details. You’ll want to sand there to bring out the darker base coat and highlight the beauty of the frame.DIY Chalkboard Using an Old Frame at One Cozy NestDIY Chalkboard Using an Old Frame at One Cozy Nest

Don’t go berserk with the sandpaper here. You don’t want to totally remove your top AND base coat! Just sand until you see the dark peeking through. You can always go back and sand some more after you’ve stepped back and take a good look at it. It’s much more difficult to re-paint it and start over! I first tried to sand with a fine grit but noticed it wasn’t doing the job. With chalk paint, fine grit usually works, but with this milk paint, I needed something more rough.  So, I moved on up to a medium grit and I got a much better result.DIY Chalkboard Using an Old Frame at One Cozy Nest

  1. WALK AWAY. Look at your piece from afar.Assess your first go-round of distressing. Does it look too intentional? Does the paint job look too “new” and even still? Sand some more, being sure you get the edges and details without making it look like you’re trying too hard to make it look old. I have seen too many pieces online where people distress in a pretty obvious pattern. This is a technique that you’ll get better at the more you do it. I’m no expert by any means, but the more practice you have, the more you just know when to stop and walk away from the piece.  Save your top coat for the very last step, after you have inserted the chalkboard.DIY Chalkboard Using an Old Frame at One Cozy Nest
  1. Measure & cut your wood. Measure the opening where the wood will sit…NOT the opening of the front of the frame. Turn your frame over and measure the inside opening on the back. There should be a little ledge that prevents the glass/mirror/chalkboard from falling through to the front.  Measure twice, cut once! Use a jig saw or a circular saw to cut your board down to size.

jig saw

{Tool Tip}

When first starting out on DIY projects, your best bet is to borrow tools from family, neighbors, or friends. Eventually, if you find that you absolutely need your own, yard sales are excellent sources. I nabbed a miter box and this jig saw, complete with the original box and instructions for a whopping $3 last year at my local city-wide yard sale. Once I turn professional blogger/DIYer/Home Improvement Show host (wink wink), I’ll go ahead and buy my own heavy duty, top o’ the line tools. For now, though, my father-in-law’s garage and shed are my playground!  I just load my project into my 31 Bag and carry it down the street (my in-laws live 5 houses down).31 Bag for Toting Craft Projects at One Cozy NestIMG_9197

  1. Prep your chalkboard. Wipe it clean of any saw dust. If you need to, fill in any knots or blemishes with wood filler. This board came already filled in. This one knot looks like a cute little bear head, doesn’t it?! wood knot bear or foxThe next time I make a chalkboard, I will likely use a man-made board toavoid this step and to avoid seeing the wood grain in the finished product. No big deal though, just a minor irritation. I’m a perfectionist even when trying to make something look imperfect! I have issues, I know.IMG_9191
  1. Paint your chalkboard. Going with the grain of the wood, paint one light coat of black chalkboard paint. Not chalk paint, actual chalkboard paint made for chalkboards. IMG_9189IMG_9182I bought an inexpensive kind at the craft store, but they sell more high-end brands at your hardware store. I’m sure there are Pinterest tutorials on how to make your own! Let dry. Add more coats as desired. I painted this with three coats. If you want and happen to have it on hand, a primer could be painted on first, then the chalkboard paint.

{Tool Tip}

Always keep a roll of plastic wrap in your workspace.  Wrap up your brushes tightly in between coats so they don’t dry out.  This trick works overnight too!wrap paint brushes up with plastic wrap in between coats at One Cozy Nest

  1. Assemble your chalkboard. Lay a small bead of wood glue around the edges of the inside ledge of the frame. wood glueThis is just an “extra” so the chalkboard doesn’t move or wiggle in the frame when you’re writing on it. Then using small finish nails, secure the board in the frame by nailing them as close to the board as possible. IMG_9228Do not hammer them in all the way.You want the nails to act as stoppers. I placed the frame, face side down on a piece of clean cardboard, then loaded up the back with some heavy stuff from around the garage to make sure the wood glue had good contact with the chalkboard. Makesure no wood glue blobs came out on the other side onto your chalkboard. Placing a small bead will avoid this….so don’t go nuts with that either. I left this overnight.
  1. Paint your topcoat. The next day I used blue painters tape to protect the chalkboard and I painted two coats of General Finishes Waterbased High Performance Top Coat to protect the piece and seal all that vintage-y goodness in. Let dry.
  1. Season your chalkboard. Have you ever seasoned an iron skillet or a wood chopping block? Well, if you don’t season a brand new chalkboard, the first thing you write on it will be “burned” into the paint and will be hard to erase. IMG_9265Chalkboard paint is porous, so you need to fill in all the tiny nooks and crannies with chalk dust. To do this, take a stick of chalk, lay it flat, and cover the entire board in one direction. Then the other direction. I went a step further and colored it in diagonally and scribbled into any spots that looked like it wasn’t accepting the chalk well.  Wipe the chalkboard free of all chalk, using a dry cloth or chalkboard eraser and you’re ready to start expressing your deep thoughts to the world…or telling your husband that you need milk and bread.IMG_9109
  2. This piece already had screws in the back for hanging but I need to add some wire. An alternative hanging method that I love is using removable strips that won’t damage your walls if you decide to move the chalkboard to a different location.DIY_Chalkboard4
  3. Use bakers twine, cotton string, or jute string to tie a fresh piece of chalk to your chalkboard so it’s always on hand. You never know when an inspirational quote like this one will hit you.DIY Chalkboard Using an Old Frame ~ One Cozy Nest ~ Chalkboard Art


 As Always, Stay Cozy,



{Telephone Table Turned Charging Station}

telephone_tableI just finished this lovely little piece.  I transformed it into a convenient charging station by simply adding a 1″-diameter hole in the back.  The previous owner painted the table a pea-green and in some areas that were lightly distressed, you can see it peeking through.  It was coated in natural wax and buffed to a nice sheen.  It’s listed for sale in my Etsy shop, One Cozy Nest Vintage.

Here, you can see the details:

IMG_8669 IMG_8668 copy IMG_8666 IMG_8664 IMG_8663 copy IMG_8658 copy IMG_8656 copy

{On the workbench at One Cozy Nest}

beforeTonight’s project is something I picked up months ago at a local barn sale that my husband and I frequent.  It’s a small green accent table that was used as a little message center…back when telephone books needed a place to live besides your recycling bin.  Well, at least that’s where mine lives!  I have a little obsession with telephone tables.  I bought one in 1999 at a roadside yard sale for my very first apartment.  It was the kind that had the bench attached, though.  It was symbolic, in a way, as it was my first purchase towards independent living…flying the coop.  It was very useful for a while, but I ended up letting it go after I moved into my first house and began my “grown-up” decorating.  After I placed it on the curb outside my home, I hoped someone would snatch it up.  Well, later that day, I saw it on the side of a neighbor’s garage.  I hope it found a good loving home!

The green on the table was not exactly eye-catching, so I wanted to turn up the color dial a little….well, a lot.  So I decided to give it a nice coating of CeCe Caldwell’s Emerald Isle green chalk paint.  Wow!  Holy cow, is that bold.  I like it.  I’ll add some glaze or wax to add some dimension to the piece, but for now, I wanted to show you the first stages.  I drilled a One Cozy Nest uses CeCe Caldwell's Emerald Isle green chalk and clay paintnice one-inch hole in the back so that I can market it for use as a charging station and message center.  No one uses phone books anymore, do they?  So the little shelf is perfect for all those new-fangled devices us young whipper-snappers are using these days! I’ll be sure to update you on the progress complete with before and after photos and techniques.

As always, stay cozy!


{Back in Busy-ness}

 It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do anything crafty.  But my upcoming wedding has the wheels turning a bit.  

Here, I turned some ho-hum Ball jars that I bought at a yard sale early this summer into a rustic, vintage style vase to hold flowers for my wedding.  I already had lots of lace scraps, so all I needed was a hot glue gun, a roll of burlap from the craft store, and some vintage (or store-bought) keys.

I’ve also been collecting nature-themed books, especially anything about birds, and any that are aqua blue or orange, my colors of choice!

I also decorated my front porch with pumpkins, mums, and a hay bail.  I gave my two urn planters a makeover because they were looking a little too shabby.  So, I took a can of Rustoleum oil rubbed bronze spray paint, and went to town.

Here’s a side by side.  What a difference two coats of spray paint can do!  While I spray painted, I tied up the flowers with a bungee cord because I’m not ready to part with these lovely pink and purple blooms just yet.  HOWEVER, their days are numbered…I plan on putting these white pumpkin topiaries in them.

Here is how I made them:

I bought foam pumpkins at the craft store when they were 50% off.  Two of each size in large, medium, and small sizes.

Then I used a hacksaw to saw the stems off of all but the smallest pumpkins…..they go on top, so they need to keep their stem.

Then I used a utility knife to cut holes in the top and bottom of the medium and large pumpkins, but only the bottom of the baby pumpkin.
I then fed a 3/4″ wood dowel into all of them, feeding them onto the pole like giant marshmallows!!  Yummy!  I had to trim the dowel to fit inside my urn planters.  Last step is to put them in the urns and add some foliage and lights.
Photos of the final project coming soon!
As Always, Stay Cozy!

{Weekend Makeover ~ Chippy Toy Chest Turned End Table}

One of my Shupp’s Grove picks this year, during my annual Sister’s Getaway Weekend, was this awesome aqua blue (my favorite color) side table, made out of reclaimed wood.  The vendor told me it came from her uncle’s house and that they used it as a toy box when they were kids.  The top is hinged and opens to reveal a roomy spot to put lots of stuff into….I’ve got 2 kids so the possibilities are endless!

I love how you can see the wear and tear on the legs and the top (not pictured), where the tiny little hands flipped it open over and over again.  What’s also interesting is all of the different kinds of bolts, nails, and screws that were used to put it together.  No leg is attached in the same manner, but it’s a sturdy little piece!  One sunny weekend, my son helped me wash the dirt and grime off of it.  Then I sanded it down using a palm sander on another very windy day.   Thank goodness for the wind because it made me feel better about the possibility of the paint containing lead.  The huge gusts of wind whisked it all away!  

I wanted it to go in this spot…where an old stationery cabinet used to sit. That piece was purchased at a local barn sale.  The drawers don’t come out too easily, but they work well enough to store seasonal items in it like sunscreen, sunglasses, and odds and ends like cell phone chargers and stuff like that.

I am contemplating repainting the front of my chippy aqua blue toy chest because some funky drip marks did not sand out like I thought they would.  I doubt I’ll find an exact match to the paint, but I can sure try.  I’m considering using my new supply of CeCe Caldwell Chalk and Clay paint.  I’ll post about that project if I ever get around to it.  Then, I’ll apply a coat of finishing wax to seal in the paint completely and protect it.  

So, here it now sits in my family room.  I’m still deciding if I like it there.  It’s quite a bit smaller than I imagined it to be.  

Now, my West Elm hack owl lamp has a new home where he can be seen a little better than in his last home, all tucked into the corner on the opposite side of our grey sectional couch.  I bought an ugly semi-realistic looking owl lamp complete with creepy, bright yellow eyes.  I spray painted it bright white.  It cost about $35 as opposed to the very costly brand new one at West Elm.  
Well, I hope you enjoyed hearing about some of my projects.  
As always, stay cozy!

{Curbside Rescue ~ Oak Parlor Table}

Hi there!  I am proud to say that I am finished with my very first chalk paint project.  I started with a solid oak parlor table with cast metal ball & claw feet that my sister rescued from someone’s trash pile in her neighborhood.

I purchased CeCe Caldwell clay and chalk paints from Foxy Finds at the Bucks County Antique Gallery in Chalfont, PA as well as online at Glitterfarm.com.  Not only is this paint earth friendly, it has no odor.  No harmful VOCs that are bad for your health, safe for pets and kids.  Perfect for this tree-huggin’ mama.

It got two coats of Santa Fe Turquoise and then I distressed it lightly using a damp cloth.  That’s the beauty of this paint…so little effort is needed to distress your pieces in just the right areas.  You can also use a fine grit sand paper, but a cloth works just as nice.

Next, I cleaned up the glass ball feet and the cast metal claws got a good scrubbing with a microfiber cloth soaked in warm water and TSP.  After they dried, I used some antique gold Rub ‘n Buff on the metal and they came out so gorgeous!

I wanted to tone down the brightness of the turquoise color of the table.  It’s my favorite color, but it was almost too vibrant for this piece.  So, I figured a glaze was a good option.  I mixed up a few batches of tinted glaze using a smidgeon of some of the colors I bought from Glitter Farm, dropped into cups of clear glaze.  I then tested each of them on a long wooden stake that I painted turquoise, just to see which effect I liked the most.  The winner was Virginia Chestnut.  Just a touch of paint gets added to the glaze if you want a subtle glaze…more gets added if you want to be more dramatic.  I really liked experimenting with these.  That’s the scientist in me, I guess!  The light colored stain was perfect to tone down the turquoise, but allow enough to show through.  
Here you can see the glaze on top of the turquoise color.  It gave a really nice aged look to it.  
The final stages happened on my kitchen table one night after the kids went to bed.  Jeff was in the office/playroom next door listening to some awful political talk show and I just wanted to shoot myself.  I love the man to pieces, but his taste in entertainment sometimes makes me cringe.  Next time I decide to do a project within earshot of said political talk show, my iPod is comin’ out.  Jeff and I are complete opposites on a couple of very important issues (politics & religion), but somehow we make it work.  Definitely makes for some interesting discussions, most of which I try to avoid altogether.  🙂    

Just a side note…..see those chairs and table in the photo above?  My next project is painting those in CeCe Caldwell’s Vintage White and recovering the seat pads with red & white gingham oil cloth that is totally and completely wipeable!  Who’s idea was it to cover kitchen chairs in fabric???  I scored the whole set, solid wood with a durable formica top, 6 padded ladder back chairs, and two leaves.  All for $150.  Not too bad, huh?  The set will replace our old counter-height set seen here:

See that light fixture with the one light bulb blown out?  It’s going as well.  I ordered a vintage looking porcelain enamel pendant light from Barn Light Electric in jade green to go over the table as well as one for over our sink.  I cannot wait until I have the time to install those babies!

Okay, back to my table project.  The final steps were coating the table top and lower shelf in four coats of Endurance finish to protect the surface from scratches, etc.  It’s extremely durable.  The legs got 2 coats of Satin finish.  There you have it, my friends!  My first furniture painting experience.  I think it was quite the success, don’t you?  It will be available for sale at Home Fine Art at the Mill Race Village in Historic Mt. Holly, NJ where my lovely talented sister is a member and also sells her artwork.  Take a trip and check it out.  There are lots of other shops there too.  

{Home Baked Goodness}

What’s better than a warm batch of homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies?  If you even bother answering anything other than “Nothing.”, remove yourself from this blog immediately!  All kidding aside, I’d take these with me on a desert island if it was the only thing I could eat.
 While I’d end up being too fat to even be rescued from said island, I’d still choose these over any other food item.  The recipe is actually a “secret” one that was sort of handed down to me by my roommate from college and her husband.  Kim would go home from school every weekend and her parents would often send her home with a round tin of the most delicious chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever tasted.  They were heaven.  I’d never tasted anything like it.   
Oval Yellow Tin, 1950s {$14.24}
After college, I tried to recreate them to no avail.  Any time I asked about the recipe, she’d say “Oh, it’s just the recipe from the Nestle’s chocolate chip bag.”  I don’t think so!!  They never came out right.  Kim continued to make these for me and my family any time we came up to her house to visit.  Still, the same thing…just the recipe from the bag.  It went on like this for several years until they finally CRACKED!!  Although the recipe is, in fact, based on the one printed on the bag, there are a few minor details that make a major difference in texture and taste.  I like a chewy, yet subtly crispy chocolate chip cookie.  These are exactly that.
Vintage Aluminum Measuring Cups {$7.99}

If you’re wondering, no I’m not going to give up the secrets!  Kim’s father, John, passed away very suddenly this past October and every time I have made these cookies since, I think of him.  Her parents were like my own anytime I came to visit.  They made me feel so comfortable in their home and these cookies represent that feeling.  I will always remember him as a very kind man, his smile, and how he always treated me like one of his own.

{Vintage Fabric & Button Rosettes}

My sister holds a monthly Craft Night at her home for some lady friends and these beauties were this month’s project.  They’re made by twisting and winding vintage strips of fabric and attaching it to a round of felt.  Add a cute vintage button to the center and voila!  You have an adorable way to showcase your stash of favorite vintage fabrics and buttons.  Some ladies attached theirs to headbands, others to barrettes and pins.  I am going to make some decorative throw pillows for my cozy guest bed!

Here’s a link to a wonderful video tutorial by a woman named Erin Bassett.  We used hot glue for our Craft Night but she uses fabric glue so you can wash it if you happen to put it on a garment. 
As Always, Stay Cozy!

{Snow Days}

I don’t know about you, but I adore snow days.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s dangerous to drive in, but I’m a homebody and don’t care to leave my house more than I have to, so it works out pretty nicely for me.  My son is with his Daddy this weekend and I did the laundry during the week, so I have some time to just sit around the house in my slippers and house sweater, as I like to call it.  Sounds more fashion-forward and less old lady-esque than “housecoat”.  Look at her….she’s so happy in hers.

Vintage Sweater Pattern by {DiamondsAndPurlsUK

My dissatisfaction with sitting in an office all day long has inspired me to get blogging again.  I do love to write and my day job doesn’t really allow me to express any creativity whatsoever.  In addition, my sister the artist found a great newsletter interface called Mail Chimp that we are both going to use to connect to our friends and followers.

In celebration of my future 1st Monthly Newsletter, I’m giving away a $25 Shopping Spree at my vintage shop, One Cozy Nest Vintage.  How it’s going to work is after I get a decent amount of new subscribers, I will compose the first monthly newsletter announcing the winner.  I’ll give that person a discount code to use when they make a purchase.  So, if you’re feeling lucky or just want to stay informed about new One Cozy Nest Vintage updates and get special discounts, sign up below.

Plaid Wool Lap Blanket with Fringe {$23.99}

I woke up early to the sound of the icy mix tapping on my windows and I hopped out of bed…okay, I groggily slumped out of bed….to look out the window at the stark whiteness.  I love it.  I made myself a cup of hot tea and watched the poor birds try to scavenge on what remained of the birdseed.  I felt badly for them, so I donned my new snow boots and trudged out there to freshen up the feeder.

Little Birdie Wall Plaque with Hooks {$9.74}

I also sprinkled a fair share of seed on the ground for the mourning doves.  Hopefully Mr. Hawk will give them some peace today because I don’t want to find tender bits of my birdies on the snow later.  I know, gross.  Here are a few more things that fit with the theme of the day – {KEEPING WARM!}

Travel Coffee Set – Electric Pot, 2 Cups {$10.49}
Metal Advertising Wall Thermometer {$22.99}

Until next time, stay cozy!

One Cozy Nest

{My School Days}

I remember how excited I used to get when September rolled around and my mother would let us pick out new clothes from the JC Penney catalog. I remember plaid shirts and dresses with thick tights underneath and koolats in purple, my favorite color at the time. I also remember the awful feeling of the seams of my socks against my toes.  These shoes remind me of that feeling:

Child’s Maryjane Shoes $7.49

Oh how I hated that feeling! I used to wear my Whinnie the Poo fur-lined boots with bare feet in the dead of summer. Now that Uggs are all the rage…I like to think that I started the trend and it just took a really long time to really take off.

My favorite subject in grade school and on up through college was science and biology. I will never forget my first frog dissection. The smell was awful!   The nerd in me has started to collect small microscopes and display them in my home:

1919 Biology Lab Book $24.99

Then there was my Benji lunchbox with matching thermos made by the Aladdin company.  I think it was the plastic variety, not the metal, but still just as cool.  This one is very old school and made of metal by Thermos:

Metal Thermos Brand Lunchbox $11.49

Was anyone else a master of covering heir text books with brown paper bags like I was?

High School Crest Sign $24.99

How about writing your name in cursive next to the name of your latest crush? Yup. Note folding? Pro. My son is only 4 but next year will be his first year in kindergarten. I hope he will have fond memories of his school days too!