Sunday, January 29, 2012

Distressed Letter Signs

I found the cutest DIY “eat” sign on a fellow crafters blog and decided to give it a shot. I modified mine a bit, so it could be set atop our kitchen cabinets.

First I cut the wood and sanded the edges a bit. Then I gathered my supplies, and picked the colors I wanted. I didn’t really fuss over to colors too much.
Then I painted on a different color onto each wood block. I let the first color dry, then I sanded it with my hand sander. I did this once more using different colors.

I then printed out my letters on paper and cut them out (this was before I had my cricut) I then laid the letters on the wood and simply painted over them. I was careful to keep them in the same spot, but it was pretty easy.
Peel the letters off, let the paint dry and sand again.

Our eat sign is still lonely above our cabinets, but we are in the works for a kitchen remodel…

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chocolate Covered Oranges

It’s about time for a cooking post, don’t you think? Although chocolate covered oranges don’t really involve cooking I thought I would share them any ways.
The school my son attends still allows homemade snacks, and knowing how rare that is these days I thought I would take advantage of that and whip up something with some TLC.
I try to serve healthy snacks, but I know that can be hard with young kids (you have to get creative sometimes). My grand idea- I dressed up some orange slices with chocolate and sprinkles! Will the kids know they are getting a healthy snack, or think they are eating candy? (sneaky sneaky)

What you will need:
Oranges- I used Cuties brand, because they are easy to peel, sweet and seedless.
Chocolate Chips
Vegetable Shortening- for thinning out the chocolate
Wax Paper
Cookie Sheet

How to make Chocolate Covered Oranges:
·        Peel and separate the oranges

·        Melt your chocolate
You can melt your chocolate in the microwave. I used my fondue pot.
You may need to add some vegetable shortening to think out the chocolate.  

·        Line your cookie sheet with wax paper
·        Dip your oranges in the chocolate then set them on the wax paper
·        Sprinkle with sprinkles

·        Let harden in the refrigerator
·        Enjoy : )

Monday, January 23, 2012

How to build a Coffee Table

After we got our "new to us" living room set, we started looking at coffee tables, but whoa were they pricy. So of course I looked on craigs list, but nothing was striking my fancy- well the antique factory carts but remember we are on a budget! So I found Ana Whites web site. Like I said before, I am in LOVE! We picked a coffee table we liked, and got to work.
First we measured the living room, and decided on a 3ft x 3.5 ft table. Then we headed out to the garage to take inventory of our lumber. Because we are using the lumber we salvaged from our garage demo, all we needed was a 4x4. (Turns out we actually HAD a 4x4, oh well save it for our next project) We headed to the local lumber yard, got our 4x4 and some poly for the top of the table. Our total was about $12.
After we gathered all the supplies we started to cut the lumber, remember to measure twice and cut once! ; )

We then laid out our table top to see what it looked like, and we were pleased with it so we continued on.

Ana’s instructions were really easy to follow, and the entire project went very smooth! Just remember to take the extra time to pre drill your holes, so you don’t split the wood.
Assemble the table, fill your holes and sand. Be sure to use a wood filler that can be painted or stained, depending on your plans.

We decided to paint the bottom of our table white, rather than stain it. I used Kilz primer, with a tad of Glidden Golden bronze added to it, for an antique white color. After it dried, I used my sanding block to distress the edges of the legs to give it an old and worn look. After I did that I used some stain we already had, on the distressed edges. It really made the wood pop with the white.

Last but not least is to seal and protect the top of the table! We used Min Wax Polycrylic. All you do is make sure your surface is clean and dry, then paint on. We ended up doing 3 coats on our table.  It was so easy to apply, a snap to clean up and it looks great!

This table took me one day to make and paint. I let it dry over night and finished it the next day after church. I am so happy with how it turned out!

Gift Card Giveaway

Want a chance to win a $20 Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or Jo Ann Craft Store gift card? All you need to do is follow my blog and you will be entered in a drawing for the gift card. If you win the drawing, you will get to choose which of the three stores the gift card is for. The drawing will be held March 1st 2012.
Welcome to All With A Manicure, and Good Luck!
~Melissa Jean~

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Coupon Craze

Coupon Craze

I have had a few friends ask me how I coupon, and how they might get started using coupons. The first thing I tell them is that I am no expert but I am happy to share my “madness” haha!
First let me say that coupons should be used in the correct way, following the rules and restrictions of the coupon and or store etc… Also I should mention that I am not brand specific, in other words I do not prefer one brand overt the other, and most times I buy generic.

There are a few things I recommend to people who ask me how I coupon:
1. Generate a List.
               The first thing I recommend is to generate a list of things you commonly purchase. After you have this list, take some time to price check your local stores, and get the “normal” prices for your commonly purchased items. Make sure you note the size of the item as well. Nothing is worse than thinking you have found an item on sale, only to stop into the next store to find a better deal.
On my list I included stores such as Walmart, Homeland, Walgreens, The dollar Tree, and Family Dollar. 
You should also ask about the stores coupon policy, and note it on your list as well. For example, I know that my Homeland store will double coupons up to a dollar and that Walgreens has a monthly and weekly coupon flyer/booklet (more about that later)

2. Where to get Coupons.
               Now that you have your list of stores and prices, you know where to get the best deals on the items you regularly purchase.  Time to bring in the coupons!
I find coupons all over the place :D here is a list of where I get my coupons
               *Sunday paper inserts
               * Store weekly/monthly  flyers/coupon books
               * Online
               *facebook and twitter
               *Inside products/on product packaging
After I find the coupons, I always clip the ones I am interested in, but I keep the rest in a separate pile just in case I see a sale on those items.
I store the coupons I plan to use in a coupon folder, which you can find in the office section of most stores.

3. How I use Coupons.
I gather the pile of coupons I am planning on using, I scan the weekly sales flyers for my local stores (mine are Walgreens and Homeland)  to see if I can match a current stores sale with a coupon I have.  In other words, say I clipped a manufactures coupon for .55 off one deodorant stick brand X. I also found a sale on brand X deodorant stick at Walgreens for 1.99. GREAT! Now my deodorant stick will only be 1.44! But I need to remember to check my list of my commonly purchased items, because I can get my brand X deodorant stick at my local dollar store. (just be sure to check the sizes of the products remember)

I know this seems like a lot to do to save 44 cents BUT if you are over paying for every product you purchase, over the course of a month or a YEAR think of how much you could save just by checking prices.  Besides after you do this once or twice you will start to remember where you can get the best deal on the items you normally purchase, and when a coupon will actually save you money.

4. Stacking and Doubling Coupons.
*Stacking Coupons
“Stacking” refers to using more than one coupon applied to one item. In my experience this can only happen when you have a manufacture coupon and an in store specific coupon. (I am sure there are other ways, but in my little town this is all I have come up with)
Example: Walgreens has a weekly flyer with “walgreens coupons”, these are often referred to as “in store coupons”. These coupons are valid only at Walgreens, or the store offering them. In other words the store is offering the coupon, not the manufacture.  How to tell? Don’t worry, the coupon will say right on it manufacture coupon or Walgreens coupon.
Some stores will allow you to stack coupons, and some stores will not. Be sure to ask about coupon policies at different stores. In addition some coupons will read “cannot be combined with any other coupon or discount” Be sure to read your fine print.

*Doubling Coupons
Some stores will double the value of your coupon, up to a certain amount. My local Homeland store will double coupons up to $1. So If I walk in with a coupon for $1 off brand X cereal, they will give me an additional $1 off the cereal, for a total of $2 off brand X cereal. However, be sure to read your coupons fine print, as some coupons cannot be doubled.

5. Rain Checks
One more thing worth mentioning when using coupons, rain checks. Often times sale items that have a current coupon issued may be out of stock at your local store, but not to worry just ask for a rain check! Example:  Say your local store is having a great sale on bread, and lucky you because you have a coupon for it too! However, when you get to the store they are all out of the bread, and the sale ends today. You may not be out of luck. Ask the service desk if they can issue a rain check for the bread. What this will do for you is it will give you an extension of the sale price of that bread, allowing you to purchase it “on sale” when they get more in stock, even after the sale has ended. Pair the rain check sale price with your coupon and you have saved!

Couponing can save you money, and who doesn’t like to save money! I am sure I have over looked a few things, so if you would like to leave helpful tips or pointers in the comments please feel free!
Happy couponing!

Craigs List Living Room

Hi Y'all! After I re-did our dining room I really wanted to redo our living room. However, like most people, we are on a budget, so we couldn’t just run out and buy a new living room “get up” (as much as I would have liked to do that).  So I did what I always do, I looked on Craigs list. I love Craigs list by the way! It’s like the garage sale for our generation HA!  Because the room is still a work in progress, for right now I will just show you a few things I have been working on for the living room, mainly furniture, but as soon as it is all put together I will post pics of the entire room- promise!
To start off the living room make over I found two cute side tables on CL. I bought the pair for only $10. I popped them into my spray booth, mixed up a “custom” off white color (consisting of Kilz primer and small amount Glidden, Golden Bronze) , and then after they were dry I distressed them a bit.  They turned out great! I had intended to turn around and re-sell them, and even though I had an offer or two, they look so darn good in my living room I think I just might hang onto them for a while. Here they are…

My next obstacles were my sofa and love seat which we had previously bought from CL- told you I love CL! They were just not the right color or size for our living room. In fact the sleeper sofa was almost 9 ft long and over 3 ft deep, it was HUGE. Any ways, we sold that set and bought a more neutral color, smaller set. We now have a smaller sleeper sofa and a chair. My husband has claimed the chair, well when the cat “allows it” he he he.  

I have had my eye on one of those old factory cart coffee tables for a long time now, but honestly they are just WAY out of our price range. (big sad face) However I did find a few GREAT tutorials on how to build your own coffee table. I have just recently discovered Ana White, and of course am in LOVE! So I chose one of her plans for a knock off of a Pottery Barn coffee table.  You can find the instructions we (mostly) used here. Thanks Ana!
We recently tore down a small half wall in our garage, and my amazing  husband so lovingly saved all the UBER cool wood for me :D He even took the time to remove all the nails from each board, such a great man he is! So any ways, we ended up using the wood from the garage for the table top. This was not only a great way to reuse the wood (reduce reuse recycle right!) but we will forever have a piece of our first home… or the garage!
Here are the pictures of the coffee table…

Be sure to check out the post on how I made the coffee table, found here. (coming soon!)

Also be sure to check back SOON to see the finished living room!!! It's almost done, YAY!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Color Change

Hello every one!
I hope your holiday season went well! I know ours did! We have been so very busy, but I am back and ready to continue working on my blog.

Wondering what is new here in "the south"? Well the color of our dining room sure is!

We have been in our house for about 9 months now, and although I do like the traditional colors in our very traditional style home, I really love the look of the relaxed or shabby chic inspired style. The very bold colors in our house don't tie in real well with that style so I decided to paint our dining room. Why the dining room you ask, good question I am not really sure what inspired this random act of crazyness, haha, but here we are none the less.
 As you can see in the previous post, Birthday Party in the Fast Lane, our dining room use to be red. We liked the red, my husband liked the red a lot actually, but after some persuasion he agreed to let me paint it. I did tell him if he really didnt like the color I would paint it back red, but lucky for me he doesn't mind the new color.

We ended up painting it "relaxed navy" found at Lowes, and this is what it looks like now...

Well what do you think? I really like it...but... the rest of the house is still painted in a very traditional color palette. Oh well I guess I will need to paint the rest of the house! ha ha ha. 

Do you remember the table and chairs that are now in the dining room? They were the ones in the posting "weekend project". Oh yes, those are the ones! I think they turned out just great, and I am pleased to show them off. Of course now I will need new fabric for the seats, but oh well.

I would say I am about half way done with our dining room. I plan to get new window treatments, and also a rug for under the table perhaps? I also want to find some botanical prints for the east wall, it is a bit naked at the moment; and you know me, it will be a DIY project. I am thinking about hunting down an old botanical calendar, and framing some of the pictures. 

Overall, we are happy with the dining onto the next room right ;)