{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!

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I had leftover white primer and aqua blue spray paint from my summer patio set project:
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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!   
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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.

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{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

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{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.

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{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.

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{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!

 

 

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{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.

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{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.

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{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.

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{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!

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

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BMO Costume DIY

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

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{From Dingy & Dirty to Fun & Flirty ~ Yellow Dresser Reveal}

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Today, I’ll reveal to you how I turned a very dingy and dirty curbside find into a stunningly fun and flirty storage dresser for my family room!  You can read about my trash picking adventure here, but how I acquired this gem is not nearly as exciting as how I transformed it with just a can of paint and some new hardware.

  1.  Clean & Prep

The dresser sat in my garage for a while until I found the time to clean it thoroughly.  Notice my supplies included my daughter’s video monitor.  Gotta love nap time.  IMG_8600I first removed the drawer pulls and tossed them because I knew I wanted to replace them with something stylish and fun.  Then, I vacuumed the loose dirt out of the tiny grooves with my hand-held vacuum.  Finally, I wiped it down really well using some microfiber cloths dampened with a solution of very warm water mixed with a couple cap-fulls of TSP.  It’s a great product to remove dirt, grime, and stuck on grease or goo that sometimes gets caked onto furniture.  I use TSP any time I want to paint furniture since it removes anything that might prevent paint from adhering to the piece.  Another tip is to always use gloves when handling a chemical. Your skin is like a sponge, so treat it accordingly.  Let the piece dry thoroughly before painting.  I usually wait at least a few hours or the next day.

2.  Paint

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I took advantage of a nice sunny day and painted each of the drawers with 2 to 3 coats of CeCe Caldwell’s Carolina Sun Yellow, purchased online from Glitter Farm.  Chalk paint dries very quickly, so on this warm breezy day, I finished all of the coats in no time at all.  Just look how bright and cheerful this yellow is!  I admit, this color is definitely not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I love that it’s the first thing I see when I walk into my house.  It’s one of my happy colors for sure! IMG_4500

IMG_0185I had to wait for another afternoon to paint the body of the dresser, but I did so in the same exact manner.  Nothin’ to it.  Note that I did not paint the inside of the drawers and I also skipped painting the inside of the dresser.  Eventually, I’d like to add some contact paper with a graphic design or some decoupage paper to the inside of the drawers, but that’s a whole other project and an entirely different post!

3.   New Hardware

After I was done with the paint job, I didn’t want to keep it in the garage anymore.  It was too pretty and I didn’t want it getting dusty again, nor did I want to risk bicycle handles or recycling bins being scraped against it.  So, I brought it inside to finish the next couple of steps.

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I went to the craft & hobby store and picked out some new hardware.  I normally would never have spent $10/pull, but since I dug this baby out of the trash, I felt that I could splurge on exactly what I wanted for the hardware.  That’s the beauty of these kinds of projects!  If you don’t want to shell out that much dough for hardware, the thrift store and flea markets are terrific resources for finding bags of old hardware removed from furniture.  There are so many ways to update old metal hardware.  Pinterest is a great resource for ideas on that topic.

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Unfortunately, when I got the new drawer pulls home, the holes in the drawers
didn’t line up.  So I measured and broke out my trusty cordless drill and made pilot holes exactly where I needed them.  Then, I simply screwed on the little bolts that came with the hardware, stood back, and admired the new look!  yellow painted dresser
4.  Seal

The last step…and I actually should have done this BEFORE I put the hardware on…was to seal my lemony yellow masterpiece with a topcoat of some kind.  I am loving CeCe Caldwell’s clear wax these days.  I’ve sealed and buffed the top and the drawer fronts, but I haven’t gotten around to doing the sides yet.  Most of the projects around my home are usually not 100% complete.  What can I say?  It’ll nag at me long enough and I’ll eventually get around to it.

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5.  Wax the Drawers

This last step was sort of unexpected. You see, after painting the drawer sides, the drawers didn’t slide in and out very smoothly due to friction.  They were hard to pull open and it got pretty annoying really quick.  So, I grabbed a regular white wax candle stick and rubbed it on the sides of the drawers and on the runners inside the dresser.  Perfecto!  This is a trick that you can use for sticky wooden windows too.

 

Now, my husband has somewhere to store his growing Yankee Candle collection!  Yes, he has one.  Don’t ask questions.  I love that he has a feminine side.  I highly doubt any of his friends read my blog, so I think his secret’s safe.  I use the other drawers to store the kids’ sunscreen, sunglasses, and bug spray for easy access when running out of the door, and extra lap blankets for movie nights.

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{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.

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{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

{Ten Embarrassing Things About Me}

Today’s post is a list of things about me that, for some reason, I’m compelled to let my readers know.  I think it’s only fair, if we’re going to build a relationship together, that I’m open and honest with all of you. So, I’m just gonna throw them right out there into cyber-world…full well knowing that once they’re out there, they might haunt me later in life when I run for President.

Goofy Mandy Gendek

  1. This picture.  No words necessary.
  2. Last night, I cut my 1 year old daughter’s bangs and made her look like Jim Carey in the movie Dumb and Dumber. She has a little gap in her front teeth too, so all the more horrifying.
  3. I still sleep with the Pound Puppy that I got for Christmas…30 years ago. Can you say dust mites?
  4. I cannot be around an open can of Coke without having a sip. I don’t think my husband has had a full can to himself since he met me. This goes for his fountain sodas too. I don’t discriminate.
  5. I just realized that I misspelled the word “embarrassing” in the title of this post. Thank you, spell-check!
  6. I suck at math. I really, really do. I break out in cold sweats whenever I’m expected to do simple math in my head.
  7. I once left my back screen door open a little bit for my dogs while making a call to Human Resources about my maternity leave…only to discover that my infant son had escaped and was eating pine cones and twigs while sitting on the top step of the deck stairs. Someone call DYFS.
  8. I sent a not-so-nice email to someone by accident a long time ago. It should have gone to my friend, but it went directly to the person I was talking about. Damn reply all
    button….why are you so conveniently placed???
  9. I sometimes extend my bathroom breaks at home just to get a few extra minutes of peace and quiet. Most of the time though, they find me. If I’m not within their sight for more than 2 minutes they start wondering where I’ve disappeared to. “Mommy? Mommyyyyyy? Mommy, where are youuuuuu?”
  10. I cut my OWN bangs in college and made myself look like Jim Carey in the movie Dumb and Dumber. When will I learn? See No. 2 of this list.

There you have it, friends. Ten embarrassing things (I just spelled it wrong, AGAIN!) about me. This list makes me seem really “out there”, but the truth is I’m an intelligent woman who makes mistakes and has a few flaws.  This woman also has a sense of humor.

So, what embarrassing things about yourself have you shot into cyber-space? Please tell me I’m not the only new mom who let their baby escape through the open screen door! My life’s lessons from this list can be summed up as follows: spell-check is your friend, but “reply all” is not; always keep your calculator app handy; keep your back doors closed; and for the love of all things good…. step away from the scissors. Step. Away.

As Always, Stay Cozy,

Mandy

XXX OOO

{Tutorial: How To Make Chocolate Mustache Lollipops}

One Cozy Nest ~ Mustache Lollipop Tutorial“I Really Mustache You a Question…..Will you be my Valentine?”

This tutorial will show you (and your kids!) how to make these yummy and silly Valentine’s Day treats to hand out during their class party. The first time I made these lollipops a few years ago, I actually made them for adults and let me tell you…they were a huge hit! I made them for my husband’s 30th birthday party, which had a mustache theme…a Mustachio Bashio, if you will. All the guys grew out their mustaches (as well as they could, anyway) and the girls all donned fake ones that I cut out of black and brown felt. It was quite the sight seeing all the girls with facial hair.

Since mustaches are still all the rage years later, especially with the kiddos, I thought I’d make these tasty treats for my son to give out to his 1st grade class for Valentine’s Day last year.  These, or any chocolate candy lollipops, are easy to make and are spectacular to use as party favors, gifts, and stocking stuffers!

Supplies Needed:

  • Mustache lollipop candy molds (Michaels and Amazon.com are great sources)
  • Color printer and white printer paper (card stock is preferred though)
  • Red cardstock paper or construction paper if you don’t have white cardstock
  • Hole punch
  • Ribbon and/or twist ties
  • Clear plastic cellophane bags (usually come with the twist ties)
  • Dark chocolate or milk chocolate melting wafers (I used Wilton brand)
  • Microwave safe bowl (large)
  • Large stirring spoon
  • Long white lollipop sticks

One Cozy Nest ~ Chocolate Mustache LollipopsI always choose to buy the dark chocolate as opposed to the milk chocolate flavor when using these wafers because I think it tastes better. The milk chocolate has a strange “fake chocolate” taste to me.  Are these wafers gourmet chocolate? No. However, they are easy to use and great for these types of projects. I’m sure there are fantastic recipes out there for homemade chocolate, but for my busy mom life, these are A-OK for me!

One Cozy Nest ~ kid cutting bag

  1. Involve your kids as much as you can, always with safety in mind.  My son used his safety scissors to open the bags of candy melts and poured them into the microwavable safe bowl.  I love my Pyrex bowl!One Cozy Nest ~ melting chocolate wafers for chocolate mustache lollipops
  2. Melt your wafers in the microwave according to instructions.  You can also use a double boiler on the stove-top if you have one.  Always make sure water cannot get into the bowl of chocolate because that ruins the consistency completely.  Be careful you don’t burn the chocolate. I melt them in stages. I heat them up for a minute or so, then stir, another minute, stir, another, stir. That way, I know I won’t burn them. The stirring part is another step where your kids can help you out.  My son loves stirring things. He’s 7 now, so he’s now able to do more “grown-up chores” like measure and pour things while I’m baking/cooking. I have found that stirring is something even my 1 year old daughter is able to do, with supervision of course.  It makes them feel accomplished and teaches them great skills.
  3. While you’re checking on the chocolate, get your kids to set out the lollipop molds on a flat surface and also get the sticks out of the package so they’re ready to go.chocolatesqueezebottle
  4. If you have a chocolate squeeze bottle like I do, then great. If not, don’t worry about it. Using a spoon to get the chocolate into the molds works just as well, but tends to be a tad messier. Fill your squeeze bottle with warm gooey, melty, chocolate and fill up each mustache so that it’s level with the surface of the rest of the mold.squirting_chocolate
  5. Have the kids gently place the stick into mustache, give the stick a little twist to coat the entire end of the stick in chocolate, then rest the remainder of the stick into the space provided.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each mustache.
  7. I like to speed up the process by putting the entire mold in the freezer or refrigerator to allow the chocolate to set nicely. I’d say a ½ hour is great.
  8. After you are sure the chocolate has set, gently lift the lollipops out of the molds and set them onto a sheet of tin foil or parchment paper to await their plastic bags.IMG_4872
  9. The kids can help you put each lollipop into a bag that gets secured with a twist tie. The bags usually come with twist ties, but you could also secure them with pretty decorative ribbon.pasting_on_cardstock
  10. Visit Anders Ruff Design (a two-mom design team), and print out their FREE mustache Valentine printable onto white cardstock paper. Regular printer paper could work as well, but I found that the cards were too flimsy, so I chose to paste them onto pieces of red cardstock that were cut a little larger than the cards.  Make sure you print out enough for all the kids in class, including the teacher and any aids!  If your kids are school-age, have them use their safety scissors to cut the cards out.
  1. I had my son fill out the names and sign his own, then he punched a hole into the corner.
  2. String them onto the lollipops and secure using either the twist tie or a nice decorative ribbon.  I used red and white bakers twine that I already had on hand.
  3. Enjoy!

finished_product

{One Cozy Snow Day ~ Valentine’s Day Burlap Banner}

tutorial_burlapvalentinebannerI love snow days.  I really do.  For as long as I can remember, I have loved seeing those first few flakes flutter down with the hopes of getting snowed in.  Most of my friends hate the stuff, but I don’t.  Aside from the dangers of driving in it and the hassle of shoveling it, there’s really nothing I have to complain about.  I admit…I’m pretty lucky.  I work for the government and today, the Governor called a state of emergency and closed all offices.  We were supposed to get a “crippling blizzard” named Juno, but what actually arrived were about 5 or 6″.  No biggie.  My husband does the shoveling, and my father-in-law owns a snow blower and lives a few houses down, so I never have to do any of the hard labor.  I get to play in the snow with my kids, make hot chocolate for them, and bake cookies.

My son and I went to a hill at the end of our street this morning and had loads of fun literally throwing ourselves onto our sled.  A few times he was actually on my back.  I think I pulled a few muscles and I am certain that I’ll feel it in the morning.  I’m getting too old for these kinds of shenanigans.  They say kids keep you young.  I say kids make you blatantly aware of just how old you are.

Anyway, snow days mean I also get to craft!  This is the best part because it’s rare for me to have spare time to break out a bunch of craft supplies and cover my entire kitchen table.  So here’s how I made this cute banner, just in time for Valentine’s Day:

One Cozy Nest ~ Burlap Valentine's Day Banner

One Cozy Nest ~ Burlap Valentine’s Day Banner

You will need:

  • straight edge and cutting mat
  • burlap fabric or garland
  • scissors and rotary cutter if you have one
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • twine
  • acrylic paint (white & red)
  • glitter (red)
  • glitter glue (gold)
  • red felt tip pen or marker
  • small piece of card stock or cardboard
  • wide paint brush
  • narrow paint brush
  • paper plates

    wide brush, narrow artist's brush, and a round sponge brush for making polka dots

    wide brush, narrow artist’s brush, and a round sponge brush for making polka dots

  1. Use your scissors or your rotary cutter and straight edge to cut the burlap into 3.5″ X 5″ sections.  Always cut an odd number of pieces.  I made a couple different lengths of banners, some had 5 flags and some had 7.  I used burlap garland that came in a roll from my local Michaels craft store.  It was hemmed on both long edges already, so it’s perfect for this project because there’s less fraying of the burlap.
    Ashland brand burlap garland

    Ashland brand Burlap Garland, from Michaels. 5″ wide, hemmed on both edges.

    rotary cutter, straight edge, cutting mat

    rotary cutter, straight edge, cutting mat

    IMG_8766

    burlap pieces, measuring 3.5″ X 5″

     

    hemmed edge of garland

    see how the edge is hemmed so nicely?

    2.  Use your wide bristled paint brush to white wash the strips of burlap.  I squirt little puddles of paint onto paper plates for easy clean up.   I first tried using a wide sponge brush, but it resulted in too many thick globs of paint.  The look you want to achieve is s light white wash.  Dab your brush into the white paint and then get most of it off by dabbing it onto the paper plate in another area.  Then drag your brush along the surface of the burlap in one direction, over and over.  Repeat on all of the pieces of burlap and allow to dry.  You can use a blow dryer on the warm setting to speed it up, but since you’re only applying a little bit of paint, it will dry pretty quickly…about 10 minutes or so.

    white wash the burlap

    white wash the burlap using a wide paintbrush and white acrylic paint

    3.  Draw a tiny dot about an inch from the bottom edge of the burlap in the center.  Use your scissors to cut a notch, starting from one corner and ending at the dot.  Repeat on the other side.  You’ll have a nice triangle shape notch at the bottom of your burlap.

cut a notch into the bottoms

cut a notch into the bottoms of your white-washed burlap pieces

4.  Cut out a heart shape from a piece of card stock or cardboard.  Using a red felt tip pen or marker, center the heart onto each piece of burlap and trace it all the way around.

IMG_8777

trace a heart shape onto each flag using a red pen or marker

5.  Using your narrow paint brush, fill in each heart with red paint.  You can brush it on lightly, as we did with the white paint, or you can fill it in completely, like I have.

IMG_8772

fill in each heart shape using your narrow paint brush and red acrylic paint

6.  Before the paint dries, carefully sprinkle your red glitter onto the heart.  Use your finger to spread it around and press it into the paint.  The wet paint will act as a sort of glue to hold the glitter on.  An alternate technique could be allowing the red paint to dry, then brushing the red heart with glitter glue (I like Martha Stewart’s brand), then sprinkling the glitter on that.  My technique was just easier and quicker.  Allow the glittered hearts to dry for about an hour or so.  You may want to give them an extra shake once they dry to make sure you get all of the excess glitter off.

IMG_8778

carefully sprinkle glitter onto the wet red paint, spread it around with your finger

 

IMG_8779

shake the excess glitter off onto a paper plate

7.  Optional:  Use gold glitter glue to draw an arrow through your heart.  Allow to dry for several hours.  It goes on puffy, but will dry flat.  Whenever I use this stuff, I let my project dry overnight.  For this particular project, I assembled the banner completely, then added the gold arrow and set it aside for the night.

IMG_8809

allow glitter glue to dry for several hours or overnight

8.  Now you’re ready to assemble your Valentine’s Day banner!  Heat up your glue gun and get your twine ready.  You’ll need 2″ of space between each flag plus several inches on each end of the banner to tie to whatever you want it to hang from.  I simply taped mine to a little shelf I have in my kitchen, but you could also attach it to a door frame, a window frame, flower box, wall, mantle, etc.  My example banner is 7 flags long so I cut my twine about 75″ long.  For a 5-flag banner, you’ll need 60″ of twine.

8.  Find the middle of your twine.  This is where you want to glue your middle flag.  If your middle flag has a gold arrow on it, use this one.  Lay your flag face down and lay down a bead of hot glue all the way across the top edge.  Then, holding the twine taught with your two hands, press it down into the line of glue, holding it there for several seconds.

lay the twine down on top of the hot glue strip

lay the twine down on top of the hot glue strip

9.  Leave 2″ of space between each flag, making sure you glue one flag on each side of your middle one, continuing in this manner so your banner is balanced.

leave 2" between each flag

leave 2″ between each flag

10.  You can make different variations to this banner by using a small round sponge brush to make polka dots.

One Cozy Nest ~ Burlap Valentine's Day Banner

One Cozy Nest ~ Burlap Valentine’s Day Banner

you can use a small round sponge brush to create polka-dotted flags as well

you can use a small round sponge brush to create polka-dotted flags as well

These banners will be available for sale in my Etsy shop, One Cozy Nest and at Church Street Art & Craft in Mt. Holly, NJ.  Drop me a line and let me know what you think of my tutorial.  Happy Snow Day!

As Always, Stay Cozy!

Mandy

{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:

telephone_table_charging_station
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!

Mandy

{Zippered Doodle Pouch Tutorial}

This tutorial is in the works, and will be updated shortly.  My sister is an artist and I am a seamstress.  I always feel funny about calling myself a seamstress because it’s not actually my profession, just a hobby, really.  But my sister most definitely is an artist.  A very good one, I’d like to add.  For this tutorial, we decided that we are going to collaborate.  My sister will be using permanent fabric pens to doodle on the pattern pieces before I sew the zippered pouches up.  fabric markersThe artwork is optional, though.  Instead, just cut the pattern pieces out of regular fabric instead of the white fabric that we used.  If you can use a pair of scissors and sew a straight line, this is the project for you!