{Tutorial: How to Make a BMO Adventure Time Costume}

BMO_CoverIMG_0254Okay, this adorable little thing is BMO, pronounced “Beemo”.  If you’re not familiar, he’s from the cartoon called Adventure Time.  Ever heard of it?  My son is 8 and decided at the last minute that he didn’t want to be a devil for Halloween anymore because all of the costumes that we looked at online were either too scary or too babyish for him.  So, with the school Halloween dance only 2 days away, we started brain storming.

I have no idea how we came to this decision, but he just had to be BMO.  I don’t even like my son to watch the show because I find it sort of weird in a trippy kind of way.  But he sneaks it sometimes.  Besides, I was not in a position to argue with the kid since I had next to no time to prepare.  And to think that this year I’d be able to get away with a store bought costume.  BUT NOOOOOOOO!

I really didn’t mind though because I was in desperate need of a creative release and this was just the ticket.  Do you ever get like that?  All stuffed up and frustrated with ideas and creativity but no time to release all of that wonderful energy?  It makes me cranky.  So you can imagine how sitting behind a desk all day long can have an impact.  That’s why it is SO important for me to have an outlet.

My son and I headed down to the basement to look around for some supplies.  We lucked out and found the perfect box.  I had to empty all of our air filters out of it, but we NEEDED that box!

IMG_5059

I had leftover white primer and aqua blue spray paint from my summer patio set project:
IMG_4517
IMG_5061 
I had plenty of craft paint to work with, but to save myself some time I used a 40% off coupon at the craft store to buy a pack of 40 multi-colored sticky back foam sheets.  These things proved to be a God send!  I was able to make several of BMO’s details out of them instead of using paint and there are a ton left over for future projects.  The sticky side is surprisingly sticky!   
IMG_5071

IMG_5060

Also, I sorted through my bag full of plastic caps and pulled a few out to use as the cool little knobs and buttons on BMO’s front.  If you’re wondering why I have a bag full of plastic caps…I started collecting them after I saw a gorgeous wall mural made out of nothing but paint and different colored plastic caps at my yoga studio.  One day I’d like to do a smaller scale version of it with my kids. IMG_5073

Okay, so let’s get down to the step-by-step of this project!

{STEP 1} Use a pencil and trace where you want the screen and arm holes to be.  Note that BMO’s arms come out from the middle of the “O” in his name.  Cut out the holes very carefully using a box cutter or exactoknife.

IMG_5063

IMG_5065

{STEP 2}  Prime with a coat of white primer to cover the dark lettering and logos on the box.  I knew I didn’t have much blue paint so I didn’t want to risk these dark spots showing through, so I mostly focused on those areas.  IMG_5066

IMG_5067

{STEP 3}  Use a small angled paint brush and black craft paint to outline the screen and arm hole openings.  Allow to dry thoroughly and add a second coat if you think it’s necessary.

IMG_5069

{STEP 4} Use a round sponge brush to stamp circles on each side of BMO where his speaker areas are.  An easy way to configure the dots was to do the center dot first, then one to the left and one to the right of it.  So you have a straight line of three dots.  Then, the bottom two dots and top two dots are placed half way between the dots from the middle row.  Does that make sense?  This way you aren’t trying to free hand a circle of dots.  Allow to dry thoroughly and add a second coat if you think it’s necessary.

IMG_5070

{STEP 5}  Using a hot glue gun, adhere your plastic caps to the front of the box, using an image of BMO as a reference.  He’s got one big round button, a smaller green one, and another black knob under the screen.  I cut the blue triangular button and the yellow cross shaped button out of the sticky back foam.  Again, this stuff is really sticky!  Love it!

 

 

IMG_5072

IMG_5078

{STEP 6}  Cut out one long skinny oval and two shorter ovals out of sticky back foam for the “slots” on BMO’s front.  Then cut out 5 more skinny ovals for the vents on BMO’s back.  Cut out 4 small circles, and a bunch of strips to configure the two “hatches” that house BMO’s batteries and other stuff.  In one episode they showed the inside and it contained a bunch of stuff that made reference to The Wizard of Oz.

IMG_5075

 

IMG_5082

{STEP 7} I free handed the letters by drawing on the reverse of the sticky back foam sheets and then cut them out.  However, if you don’t want to be that daring, print out some block letters in a large font, cut them out, and use them as a template to trace around.  Stick those babies on and you’re just about done!

{STEP 8} Use a black sharpie marker to outline all of the knobs and buttons to make them POP!  This step really makes everything stand out and gives it dimension.

IMG_5077

{STEP 9}  I used duct tape to tape a square of very sheer light blue organza fabric to the inside of the box to simulate BMO’s screen.  If you don’t want to do this step, having your adorable face in the screen is just fine!  Keep in mind that if you’re going to be out at night trick-or-treating with a little one in this costume, think about skipping this step.  My son’s school dance was indoors and I didn’t think his safety was too much of a concern, but come Halloween night, I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do.  I might remove the screen altogether or I might cut a hole in the top so his head peeks out of that instead.

IMG_5081

{Step 10}  This is also an optional step, but BMO has quite a personality and many fascinating expressions.  So if you want to add some personality, get creative!  My son saw this mischievous looking mustache face and insisted on it.  The sticky back foam stuck right to the fabric perfectly.  I had to make that darn mustache three times!  The first time, my daughter grabbed it when the sharpie marker outline hadn’t completely dried and smudged the hell out of it.  Then, a couple days later she pulled half of the new one right off of the costume!

IMG_1098

Here is my son, in all his glory, trying it on at home and then at the school dance!  NAILED IT!

IMG_1097

BMO Costume DIY

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

signature

 

 

{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,

Mandy

xxxooo

{Mommy, This is Crazy}

One night, the family and I were on our way to a good friend’s house for dinner. It happened to be….the eve of trash day. We rounded a corner and my headlights caught the outline of what appeared to be a dresser. IMG_8641My head spun to the right and I pointed it out to my husband at the same time his head was spinning to the left pointing something else out to ME. I promptly turned the car around, nearly Nascar-style, surprising both kids in the back seat. I pulled up to the first pile of trash and stepped out of the car. My 7-year-old nervously called out the window, “Mommy, what are you doing?! I don’t think they want you to do that!” To which I responded, “It’s okay, bud, it’s called trash picking. They don’t want it!” Clearly this was his first time and he probably felt like we were stealing. I quickly surveyed a vanity and noticed it was missing 2 out of 3 drawers. It had nice lines though, and wasn’t completely wrecked, so I popped the trunk and shoved it in, thinking that I could build shelves inside the nooks where the drawers once were. My husband told me to also nab a IMG_9103pretty shabby looking empty frame. Good eye, hubs. Since I had the stroller in the back, the trunk wouldn’t close all the way, which added to my son’s anxiety over the whole situation. He says, “Mommy this is crazy!” I said, “This isn’t crazy, it’s FREE!”

The next pile we pulled up to had the lovely dresser that caught my eye. It wasn’t exactly my personal taste, but it looked like it was in great shape…and it was. Not a knick or scratch, and it was pretty clean to boot. It was a natural-colored pencil rattan piece with 6 drawers and a matching mirror. I pulled out all of the drawers to make sure they were all on track. I’m not experienced with furniture repair yet, so right now I need my pieces to be in pretty decent working order from the start. I’m sure I’ll learn some new tricks along the way though.

Obviously, with the trunk of my 4-door Honda already flapping open, we couldn’t load anything of that size even if we wanted to. But the friend whose house we were headed to owns a pickup truck. I’ll just ask him! Unfortunately, he flat out said no when I asked. Apparently he shares the same opinion of “crazy” with my son. What good is a friend with a truck if he won’t let you use it to pick through his neighbor’s trash? The nerve. So, I gave up on the dresser idea and was content with the vanity and frame. IMG_8590However on the drive home, we passed it again, looking all lonely on the curb. I called my father-in-law as soon as we got home and asked, “Are you busy right now? Wanna go for a drive?” His response sums up exactly why I love him so much. “Sure, where to?” 20 minutes later, we had that baby and its matching mirror in the back of his truck and were headed home to put it in my garage.

Over the next few weeks, walking past it over and over again, it started growing on me. Sure, it wasn’t immediately my personal taste, but then again, I don’t think I have a narrowed-down style. I describe it as vintage eclectic. I fill my home with things that make me happy and colors that I love so naturally, it’s not going to look like I ordered it straight out of a catalog.

So while I decided what color to paint it, I brought it into the house and put it in its spot to see how it felt. I like it even more now. I think I’m going to go with a nice bright yellow to compliment some of my existing family room accessories and to tie the room together with the adjacent office/playroom.IMG_4249

It’s the perfect height to rest a cup of coffee while lounging on the recliner. It’s also a nice home to my vintage aqua blue radio.  I’ll decorate it more thoughtfully with my eclectic little happy things once it’s all complete.  I’ll have to decide whether to paint the existing mirror to match or to swap it out for the one I picked out of the trash. However, putting the two together might look too matchy-matchy for my liking. For now, it looks great where it is. I have big plans for those drawers too. IMG_8601With little kiddos in the house and small closets, drawers are this mom’s best friend. One of them will definitely be housing my husband’s growing collection of Yankee Candles…his guilty pleasure. You’d never think a 6’3” man who drives a snow plow in the Winter would have such a soft side. He’s my big softy.

Stay tuned for the reveal of the dresser! That will get it’s own step-by-step post filled with lots of photos. By subscribing to my blog and connecting with me on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter, you won’t miss a thing!

What “crazy” things have you done in the name of creativity? What have you done that made your kids have mini panic attacks or cover their faces in shame? Visions of two legs sticking up out of a dumpster come to mind…leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about your experiences!

As Always, Stay Cozy!

Mandy

xxxooo

{Cloth Diaper Laundering}

MANDY B.’S
CLOTH DIAPER LAUNDERING
CHEAT SHEET 2.0

I wrote the first version of these instructions for my friend Genevieve and have since revised it, thinking I might post it online to the masses. Just to warn you, it’s a bit wordy b/c that’s just a habit of mine. But, trust me, when you break it down, it’s really simple. If you’re reading this, the hard part about cloth diapering is over. I found that the research, purchasing, and stripping of my new diapers was the most difficult part. Washing (and using) your diapers is the easy stuff. So here we go…


1. After changing baby, remove any inserts/doublers from the diaper. Then shake off or use the mini sprayer to remove solids, if any, from the diaper. It’s not necessary to get them 100% clean with the sprayer. Let your machine do most of the work. This is just to get the chunky stuff off. You want to remove the inserts/doublers before using the sprayer b/c you don’t want a really sopping wet diaper to have to transfer from the toilet area to the diaper pail. I happen to keep my diaper pail in the bathroom so whenever I’m doing the spraying, I have the diaper pail right next to the toilet to help avoid dripping.


2. Place diaper and insert/doubler into your diaper pail lined with a wet bag. Be sure to fasten any Velcro strips together before doing so because during washing and drying, they’ll all stick together and make for a very long chain of diapers…not fun! Some diapers have special Velcro tabs just for this purpose. Diaper makers call these “laundry tabs”.


3. When all your diapers are dirty, place the mouth of wet bag into the washer, and then push all the dirty diapers into the washer while at the same time turning your wet bag inside out. This way, you don’t have to actually touch any of the dirty diapers and your wet bag will get nice and clean since the dirty side will now be facing out!


4. Pre-wash the diapers on cold/cold (to avoid setting any stains) with NO detergent. If your washer doesn’t have a pre-wash cycle, a short cycle would be fine. This step removes any solids you missed when using the sprayer and loosens everything up for the next steps.

5. Run a normal cycle or heavy cycle set to warm wash/cold rinse, using 1 scoop of Charlie’s Soap and one scoop of Oxy Clean (optional). I also select extra rinse on my machine because it’s important to rinse away any and all detergent residues*.


*Residue is your enemy when it comes to cloth diapers…it makes them less absorbent. This is why I use only Charlie’s Soap. It’s a white powder and you only need one (1) tablespoon to wash an entire load. No perfumes, no harsh chemicals, no harm to the environment. I even use it to wash all of my family’s clothes. I highly recommend this soap for newborn’s clothes instead of the Dreft that is commonly used.

6. Dry the diapers on medium or high only for as long as they need…test it out by setting dryer for 20 minutes, checking, then 30, checking, then 40 to get just the right amount of time. This will lengthen the life of your diapers in the long run. The diapers I use are designed to last from birth to potty training for multiple children. So you can imagine just how many times you run them through this routine!

TIPS & TRICKS

If diapers/liners seem to smell of ammonia even after washing/drying, a cup or so of white vinegar during the rinse cycle will do the trick. Sometimes I even put it in right with the Charlie’s Soap at the beginning of the wash cycle and it seems to work great.

Sunning cloth diapers and their liners on a clothes line or sunny deck is great for removing tough stains and also whitens them unbelievably! There’s nothing cuter than a row of colorful cloth diapers on my clothes line on a breezy day. That’s why I do it every chance I get on the weekends. This saves energy too b/c you’re not running your dryer.


Every now and then, you might want to “strip” your diapers if you find that they are holding onto smells/stains or if they seem to be leaking. Just wash AND dry them completely about 3 times in a row to strip away any residues that may have built up over time.

My experience shows that the use of some diaper creams such as Desitin causes the diapers to smell and hold onto stains. I use Bordeaux’s Butt Paste as well as A&D Ointment and haven’t had that problem. If you have this problem, wash the diapers as you normally would, then use a scrub brush and Charlie’s Soap to scrub out the stain, then wash them again normally. A drop or two of dish detergent might also help break up the oils in the diaper cream and help lift it out of the fibers.


When on the go, keep a zippered wet bag in your diaper bag. I just ball up the dirty diaper (including the dirty wipes), and then just deal with the mess when I get home. When you’ve got a baby on the changing table, you don’t want to be leaving it unattended to dump the poop. The zippered wet bag keeps the smells at bay, so don’t worry about it too much. My daycare provider does this for us and it is really no problem at all to just do all the spraying at one time at the end of the evening. It only takes me about 2 minutes.