Bridal Shower and Wedding Decor

If you’ve been following my blog posts the last few months you’ll know that I got engaged and have been planning a wedding. You can read about the planning process thus far in my posts Wedding Planning on a Budget Part I and Wedding Planning on a Budget Part II. In this post, I will be sharing how my mom and I have been using doilies, paint, scrapbook paper, ribbons, “K” stickers, picture corners, string, and old farm windows to make some really personal touches for both the bridal shower and the wedding.

Our world has looked something like this the last few weeks…

13244820_10209249192091963_495318408609654642_n.jpg

First, I LOVE being Irish and this was maginified after my trip to Ireland/Northern Ireland 2 years ago. Our wedding is ironically SO traditional that people think we’re being UNtraditional! One of the traditions that I fell in love with is hand tying or handfasting.

The Handfasting Ceremony is an ancient Celtic tradition symbolizing the joining of two people in marriage. There are many versions of this gesture illustrating the union of husband and wife and is the origin of the phrase “tying the knot.”

In the Celtic tradition, the Handfasting Ceremony includes 13 ribbons, each with its own meaning.

Hand fasting is an ancient Roman and Celtic wedding tradition which involves tying the bride and Groom’s hands together to symbolize coming together and remaining together. During the Roman Empire, the couple’s hands were tied together with grape vines and rope which explains the origination of the phrase “tying the knot.”

Handfasting was also later used as a form of marriage in the British Isles during the early Christian era. The couple’s hands were tied together with a cord in front of friends and family and were then considered legally married. They would have a formal wedding ceremony later when a priest was available to officiate.

Colors

Red – will, love, strength, fertility, courage, health, vigor, passion

Orange – encouragement, adaptability, stimulation, attraction, plenty, kindness.

Yellow – attraction, charm, confidence, balance, harmony

Green – fertility, luck, prosperity, nurturing, beauty, health, love

Dark Blue -for a safe journey, longevity & strength

Light Blue – tranquility, understanding, patience, health

Purple – healing, health, strength, power, progress

Black – strength, empowerment, wisdom/vision, success, pure love

White – spiritual purity, truth, peace, serenity and devotion

Gray – balance, neutrality

Pink – love, unity, honor, truth, romance, happiness

Brown – for healing , skills & talent, nurturing, home & hearth, the earth.

To begin, I got 12 rolls of 1 inch satin ribbon. I made 4, 3 strand braids.

  1. Dark blue, light blue, gray.
  2. Orange, red, yellow
  3. Pink, purple, green
  4. Black, white, brown

 

13515279_10209549592601788_395540280_n.jpg

From those 4 braids, I braided them all together in a 4 strand braid. This is the pattern I followed, which was much easier than I thought it would be. dd2a85afe3973c777e6a755377a77cd3.jpg

It took about 10ft of each ribbon to make this strand. After braiding it all together, I took it all apart. The ribbons will be laid out to have well wishes, blessings, and love, written on them by women who attend the bridal shower. Their love will literally be braided into our vows.

I love old farm house windows. I like old things in general more often than not. We had a few at our house, my future MIL had some, and she found a few on the side of the road from people redoing their house. Each mom made a window with pictures of Ethan and I, and a window of us through the years.

13530290_10209549592881795_668376984_n.jpg

13521076_10209549593321806_2025742826_n.jpg

13535880_10209549592681790_1549668933_n.jpg

13530281_10209549592801793_1841575917_n.jpg

We used the windows, pictures, acrylic paints, clear picture corners, and window/chalk markers. They will be used to decorate both the shower and the wedding.

Other windows will be used for the hot chocolate bar at the wedding, favors/guest book, a memorial window, and one with a saying on it that we just like.

13530739_10209549592841794_736689053_n.jpg

My mom wanted to have something to string across the front of some tables, and on the wall to create a little backdrop while I open gifts. We were really struggling to find something pre-made that we liked. The shower is pastel colors, I’m not really into gold or rose gold, so finding something to go with our theme was non-existent. Using doilies we got at Michaels, rainbow twine, and some square scrapbook paper, my ma made this really cute swags. All she did was fold the doilies and paper over the rainbow twine and secure them closed with a single piece of double-sided sticky tape. BOOM! Quick and easy AND they match the shower stuff perfectly! Each doilie pack came with 40, so we have more than enough to give each guest a doilie for their tea cup at each place setting as well.

You can see they made a great little addition and cute place to snap some photos!

Each guest is getting a jar of homemade strawberry jam, a honey stick from a local bee keeper, and 2 tea bags. I am all about the personal touches. I found these great “K” stickers at Michaels for a little more than $1. Each jar got a “K” just to add some personalization.

13391068_619444768222711_1486803677_n.jpg

On each bag there is a folded doilie. On the doilie I wrote their name, their table name, and “How Sweet of You to Come!” We got basic white doilies, ribbon in a few different colors, and paper bags in a few pretty colors.

I’ve been to so many beautiful wedding and bridal showers that are just impersonal. You could remove the bride and groom and be at anyone’s wedding or shower. The personal touches are what make a wedding or shower, whether our own initials/monograms, or our guests. It is so easy to make your guests feel special and make your day YOURS.

Stay tuned as more decorations are completed over the next few months! Follow me on instagram@brunetteswithbrains to keep up with the latest posts and news!

Wedding Planning on a Budget Part II

In my first part of this “series” I went over our basic wedding decisions. I discussed venue, some decorations, stationary and stamps. You can find all the good stuff HERE. I’m going to share a few more things that have come up and expenses that creep in.

DJ:

I love music. Ethan loves music. I sing. I dance. I wiggle. He hums. And kinda has rhythm. And plays a few instruments. I would have a dance party in the corner if I needed too. But a DJ does more than just play music at a wedding, at least, a good one does more than that. We started our search for a DJ, and it’s not easy. You start out with recommendations from others. “The DJ at my cousin’s nephew’s wedding was great! They rave about him. Let me get you their number!” You smile, grin, take the number and stuff it in the back of your wedding planner. You look online. And you find people that are $2,000+, they seem fun, but well…you can tell they just won’t really “work.” And then, your mom goes “hey, we know a guy DUH!” Not only do we know him, but after having done work for the school I attended, I know he’s good. I knew he was REALLY good when I got on his website and he had a questionnaire with really, really, good questions. Everything from who is in our wedding party, special dances and what songs we’d like, what kind of music we want played, what we absolutely do NOT want played, the list goes on. He is a DJ but also an MC. WINNING! And on top of that, he is AFFORDABLE! It’s in the name Affordable Music DJs.

Photography:

This may be one of the most important elements of your wedding. Seriously, you are going to be stuck looking at these pictures for all eternity. Nothing is worse than paying a boat load of money for bad pictures, poorly edited pictures, or a photographer who doesn’t get any of the shots you wanted them too. Photography is not cheap. Your friend might have a camera and say they are a “photographer,” but, call me a snob (maybe it’s because I’m a teacher), I put stock in an education, and I am THRILLED that our photographer not only has a degree in digital media/photography or that she is budget conscious/friendly, but that she is also a friend and did our engagement pictures. You can take a look at some of those HERE. I have no fear that she will do an amazing job because she already knocked it out of the park for those, and she knows what we want.

*Side note idea* Create a private Pinterest board just for you and your photographer if they’re into that kind of thing. I went through and found pictures and poses that I would like to do for our wedding. Giving them a visual and idea to go off of other than “um…you’ve done this before, I trust you,” will help give them a legitimate direction and make sure that you have an idea of what you are looking for as well.Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 9.08.14 AM.pngFood:

I feel like this is one of the more stressful ordeals to go through when planning a wedding. I’ve been to a number of weddings, and there always seem to be fads over the years as well. I tend to have a bit of a selfish mind frame. This is our wedding. You are our guests, and we’re glad that you can come, but at the end of the day, it’s ours. Not yours. I’m not going to kill myself to have 18 different options because you may not be in the “mood” for chicken, allergic to everything under the sun, or have a billion food allergies (unless it’s serious like you start flopping on the floor if you get near a peanut).

We are having an early ceremony and lunch reception for a number of reasons. Everything from we have people traveling from out of town and I don’t want them to have to NEED to stay the night, to I want to not be dead and enjoy my wedding night. There are 3. food positives to this scenario.

1. It’s lunch so there’s not as much pressure to have a fancy sit-down dinner or something.

2. No alcohol. I have nothing against it, I’m not a staunch alcohol is the worst thing ever, but really. If you can’t have fun at a wedding without it, you shouldn’t be there; and if you REALLY want to drink at 1 in the afternoon before driving home there are bigger issues. It’s just something that due to the time of day, we are easily able to skip….and save hundreds of dollars in the process by doing.

3. Lunch food in general tends to be a bit lighter and more fun. So we are doing pizza. Yes. You read that right. Pizza. We are having a pizza lunch reception. We are offering 3 varieties- Pepperoni, Hawaiian, and Margarita (fancy cheese pizza).  When people RSVP they will be able to chose their flavor so that we have an idea of how many of each we’ll need. We are also having salad and some sides. My parents are not 100% on the pizza band wagon so they will have some small/extra “options” for their own sanity. But it will be less than $500 to have pizza for about 150 people.

Drinks will be water, soda, and a hot chocolate/coffee table. We will make the giant pot things of coffee, and put the hot chocolate in crock pots. Marshmallows, chocolate dipped spoons, mini candy canes, whipped cream, sauces, 3 basic cream flavors, mini chocolate chips, and coconut will be provided to add to the hot drinks. We found awesome disposable mugs from Sam’s Club for a very reasonable price.0009838260822_A.jpgAgain, something super fun that will cost under $200 to do for our guests.

The Restaurant Store is AMAZING! I’m sorry if you don’t have one near you, or you’ve never heard of it. Because it’s the bomb.com. The items we can’t get from SAMs club, we are getting from here, like nice, disposable plates that we can buy by the case for under $100. Buying in bulk is a great, quick, easy way to save money and have plenty of what you need!

 

Favors:

Originally my mother and I thought of this brilliant idea to do jars of jam. But we don’t buy jam, we make it ourselves. And then we started thinking about the fact that we’d have to get about 150 little jam jars. If you haven’t ever made jam yourself let me tell you….it takes a LOT of fruit to make it happen. I mean, a TON! Even with having a strawberry patch in our backyard, there’s no way in the world we’d grow enough. Oh yeah, and it takes a TON of sugar. The logistics and reality of that cute favor hit us pretty quickly. We decided to make it the bridal shower favor instead and start from scratch for the wedding.

We found heart and snowflake shaped cookie cutters from Oriental trade. I love to bake. Everyone knows it. I have a particular affinity for sugar cookies. The cutters come on a card, have a sugar cookie recipe on the inside, and a personalization spot on the front. They’re about $9 a dozen.

They’re cute, but they’re a bit plain. My plan is to use blue water color on the left and right edges to make them a bit more personal and pretty. They come out to cost just a bit more than $1 each.

Hand-Me-Downs:

Weddings are beautiful. Weddings hopefully, only happen once for you. You have one day to make this happen. ONE DAY. Which is why spending an astronomical amount just makes my skin crawl. The average wedding is about $20k. That’s a down payment on a house. That’s a car. That’s a really really really nice vacation to Europe for like a month. It makes my head spin. And at the end of the day, it is only ONE day. The most important part of that day is marrying your best friend and love of your life. Who cares if you use hand me down goodies from other friends or even strangers who used them before you?

My future sister-in-law got married last September. They bought good quality white table cloths and cloth napkins. We have to pick up a few extra but that is a large chunk of money we are saving by borrowing them. The center pieces will pop on the white. We’re using blue ribbon and jingle bells to tie the napkins, that will later be used for our jingle bell send-off.

I was in a wedding in Nebraska last weekend. Her mother spent good money and got a very nice quality isle runner. She sold it to me for $30. There are a few faint step marks that I’ll wipe off with a damp cloth. I’m getting paint markers and am going to write/calligraphy on a Bible verse Ethan and I picked out.

My mother and I have been collecting blue glass for years. We pick them up at Goodwill, yard sales, or even get them as gifts when friends and family see them at yard sales and Goodwill. We’ve spent anywhere for $5 to $0.50 on vases and glasses (with the exception of the blue wine bottles because we had to drink the wine first). Each center piece with the flowers, pine cones, jingle bells, and blue glass will easily cost less than $5 a table.

In Conclusion:

As an English teacher, that ending makes my skin crawl, but it works here. You’ll notice throughout the post that most of the products I’m using, I’m getting through people I know. This does not mean that I am getting discounts. I’m paying the same amount other people would pay for the same services and goods. But it does two things. I can rest assured knowing that the people I am relying on to make our day special will make it happen. I trust them. I would also much rather give my business and money to local people who I know and trust. I spent a lot of time shopping around and looking for decent quality, good prices, and coupons. I’m buying “plain” items and making them personal and our own. Personalization is key. Adding a monogram, adding a picture, adding an aspect that is obviously hand crafted/done, instantly makes things seem more expensive and nicer than something just bought off of a shelf and given.

Cleaning Box Bridal Shower Gift

I have been back on the bridal shower gift buying wagon. Refer to my Pantry Stocker Gift Basket post for a more thorough understanding. This time, it was for my friend Liv (who has been featured for a number of reasons on the blog).

13023199_1110987265588882_952858806_n.jpg

For once, I’m not the shortest one in the picture! Liv with 3/4 bridesmaids  

She is actually from Nebraska and had a major bridal shower out there over spring break. Her Pennsylvania shower was for friends and family that obviously did not attend the NE shower. Her future MIL and I decided to make it a pantry stocking shower. She had gotten the vast majority of her registry of “stuff” at the first shower. She and her fiance have a place out in NE, where he is already residing, but it still needs filled.

For this particular shower, his mother created a gift list to “stock her pantry.” These items included everything from cooking stuff like spices and pastas, to medicine cabinet stuff like cotton balls and q-tips. I went a slightly different route and did cleaning supplies. This gift is double hilarious because Liv and I are both known to be….well….not the neatest people in the world.

Here is my list:

Comet (Spray and powder)

Bleach

Lysol

Windex

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Baking Soda

Sponges

Vinegar

Clorox Wipes

TileX

Pledge All Purpose Spray

I may be missing one or two things, and I’m sure you could come up with another 50 products you also swear by. I made a pit stop at JoAnn Fabrics where they had collapsable ottomans (about 24x24X24). I made that the vessel of my gift, along with pink and white tissue paper to match the Kate Spade themed bridal shower. I simply put layers of tissue paper and made it look pretty and covered each item in the box. She also got a word document of my favorite ways to use the above products. You can find it below.

How to Clean (almost) Anything

What you’ll need: vinegar, baking soda, dawn dish soap, and lemon juice.

Greasy stove? Use baking soda and dawn to create a paste.

Clean your bathtub and bathroom? Baking soda and vinegar. You can mix it as a paste or sprinkle baking soda in the tub and spray/pour vinegar on top. Add in some lemon juice to help get rid of stains, disinfect, and for added smell bonus.

Cleaning your carpets? Sprinkle baking soda on and let sit for at least 15 minutes before vacuuming to help absorb smells and pick up pet hair.

Carpet stain? If the carpet is a color other than white, tan, or a light shade, avoid the baking soda and lemon juice, they can pull color. Stick to vinegar and dawn. They’ll lift most stains out of carpet. Remember to DAB not scrub. Add vinegar to carpet shampooers for the same affect. The above are also perfect for pet stains/accidents.

Hard water deposits? Mix vinegar and lemon juice. They will dissolve most deposits with just a bit of soaking. For heavy deposits, you might need to scrub with a toothbrush and grab the baking soda for added scrub.

Laundry? Vinegar is great to add to any load of clothes. It’s especially good to add to blankets, towels, and pillows to help reduce mildew smell and freshen things up. Lemon is another great additive and has the added bonus of a clean smell. Dawn will remove numerous stains from clothes including: grease, blood, grass, grape juice, spaghetti sauce…you get the drift.

 

Some Other Helpful Hints:

Use the magic eraser to scrub off scuffs and keep shoes clean and sparkling!

Comet is the bees-knees when it comes to bathroom cleaning! It’s great for around the drain, or to sprinkle in your toilet since it has a bit more grit to it!

TileX is essentially bleach, and can be used to spray your shower curtain to help keep mildew away as well as keep your tiles clean!

 

What would you include in a cleaning box? Are there any tricks you swear by? Share them below!

Wedding Planning on a Budget Part I

Planning a wedding can be the most joyous and stressful days, weeks, months, (and for some even years) of your life. Though I’ve spent years watching Say Yes to the Dress, Four Weddings, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and loving all things bridal, I knew that I would not be one of those brides spending $10,000+ on their wedding. At the end of the day, as long as I get to marry my best friend, that’s all that matters. I set a budget and in my mind said that I did not want to go over $5,000. For one day, any more than that is just ridiculous. With just under 250 days til “I do!” this is what we’ve managed to do so far.

Location:

My fiancé and I live an hour apart. However, we met at the University of Valley Forge. The campus sits on what was a military hospital complex. The hospital’s chapel is one of my favorite buildings on campus. It is on the small side and intimate. It has beautiful stained glass and wood pews. With the two of us being students, we got a bit of a “break” on the cost of using the facility of under $200.

campuslife-nearbychurches.jpg

Apparently fire halls are a “Pennsylvania thing,” but I don’t mind. With our relative closeness to Philadelphia, the cost of going renting a ballroom or something is astronomical. The majority of places STARTED at $2,500 just to rent. Another had a $10,000 minimum….yeah. Not about it. One of our local fire departments has a really nice hall. They gutted and renovated within the last 2 years. There is a great wall of windows with plenty of natural light, a gorgeous kitchen, large, nice bathrooms, and a room large enough to eat and dance! The cost…under $600. On top of that, we will be able to get into the facility the afternoon before to set up at no extra cost.

Decorations:

I love flowers. I have found a great joy in gardening in the last few years. When picking flowers for the wedding, I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted- carnations. I love carnations. I especially love clusters of white carnations. They smell nice, they are hardy and last, and they dry beautifully. The cost of all of our bouquets, corsages, boutonnières, wristlets, and extra flowers for the ceremony and reception…under $600.

39658495537a3205c0a37be5e4d6743a.jpg

Though we are having a December wedding, I have been trying to avoid Christmas, snowflakes, and super stereotypical stuff. Our colors are blues and grays. Not silver. Gray. My mother and I have been collecting blue glass for years and one of my bridesmaids hit a mother load of dirt-cheap small vases. We will use the collections for the flowers. At the end of the Christmas season last year, I was able to stock up on pinecones with the help of my bridesmaids. They are even the cinnamon scented ones! I will be stringing these and using them for both the ceremony and as table décor to go around the blue vases.

5587b60e6f8d0240726419302f6fc642.jpg

I am guilty of being a Pinaholic. I found a great idea on Pinterest to use larger jingle bells to slip the place-cards into the criss-cross of the bell. Oriental Trade has large quantities of jingle bells in a multitude of sizes. They will be used for both the cards and general decoration. Again, thus far, decorations have been less than $250.

cf89a5b05153a79138a2751a404816bc.jpg

Stationary:

I have an addiction. Between Target One Spot and Michael’s dollar section, I have a serious collection of “Thank Yous,” and general note cards. Instead of ordering one set of thank you cards, I have been collecting them from Target and Michaels. I like variety. I want to be able to give our guests more personal and individual cards. Most come in packs of 6 or 8 and are under $1.50. I’ve spent less than $25 on my thank you cards.

Vista Print is also AMAZING! True story. Their cost is AMAZING because they are a printing company, not necessarily a “stationary,” or “wedding company.” They have a large selection of invites, save the dates, programs, etc. What I really like about them is that they have “sets.” If you find an invite that you like, there is a really good chance that there are save-the-dates, RSVP cards, thank you cards, and other goodies that match your stationary. Along with all of the options, you have the ability to change, add, take away, and personalize just about everything. I was able to create my save-the-dates and bridal shower invites to be a post cards. After using a discount code, for bridal shower invites, save-the-dates, invitations, and a few RSVP cards, we paid less than $150; and that includes tax and shipping. *Information such as names, dates, locations, wedding website have been white-out for safety purposes, but they are included!*

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 9.00.14 AMScreen Shot 2016-03-30 at 9.04.56 AM

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 4.21.54 PM.png

Another money saving tip is to purchase a self-inking address stamp. Vistaprint gives you the option of having your return address added to the back flap of your envelopes, at an additional fee. For our 80 invitations, it would have been an additional $35 to add this feature. Instead, we paid $12 for a stamp that we’ll be able to use well beyond the wedding. Invites, save-the-dates, and shower invites all came with basic, white, envelopes at no extra cost.

Stamps:

When making my budget and decisions, I didn’t even think about stamps until my mother reminded me that in order to mail things, you usually have to put a stamp on them! The cost of stamps was more than all of our stationary combined. This fact alone led to a few other decisions. Regular stamps are .49 each. Postcard stamps are .35 each. To save a few cents, we decided to send our save-the-dates and bridal shower invites as postcards. I literally just Googled “stamps,” and came across the website Zazzle.com. They have a ton of great products, but I LOVED their stamps. They have very cute, love/wedding themed stamps OR you can personalize them. Our engagement photos were amazing, so of COURSE I had to use them. Our post card stamps have one picture, and our invitation stamps have another. There was NO EXTRA COST for having our picture added to the stamp. Stamps come in sheets of 20, so we have a few extra of each, but I’m really not upset. I love that we have them to do fun craft things with later…. Zazzle does also offer coupons and discounts. I believe I was able to get 17.68% off of my order (I only know because it very specifically told me), and paid less than $180 for 200 PERSONALIZED stamps.

Thus far, we have stayed well within our budget. There is still plenty of time to use it, and I’m sure after we finalize food, a larger chunk will be eaten. DIY and cost effective don’t have to look cheap. By adding personalization, little details, and thought, you can find great products to make your day special.

Stay tuned for future posts and wedding DIYs. Follow me on instagram @brunetteswithbrains to keep up with the latest posts and news!

Pantry Stocker Bridal Shower Basket

I graduated from a Christian college. Cue the looks, laughs, jokes, and eye rolling.

Miraculously, I made it all of the way through 4 ½ years of Christian college without going to a single wedding. True story. This also means that now everyone is finally getting married and that also means bridal shower gifts.

As per usual, the dishes, the linens, the crock pots, the door mats, the silver ware, and cups all go on the registry. Couples sign up for all of the stuff to stock their homes and it’s lovely. But then they actually get their homes. They move in. And there’s nothing to put on those beautiful new plates. And, the bathroom needs cleaned before anyone will use it. Heaven forbid someone cuts a finger and you have to rummage through boxes, hoping SOMEWHERE there is a band-aide.

First shopping trips are expensive. On top of regular groceries, you have to stock your cabinets. There’s the medicine cabinet, the pantry, the cleaning shelf…..It doesn’t seem like a lot but it adds up very quickly. More often than not, families get a lot of the stuff. It’s useful; don’t get me wrong. When I have my shower one day, I will love those pots and pans like there’s no tomorrow. The “stuff” is needed and practical. But so often, things are double bought, or you realize after you get something that it’s not as needed as you once thought and you end up exchanging, returning, or regifting. It happens to everyone.

In recent months, my friends and I have had conversations with statements like:

“Can someone buy my pantry? I love everything on my registry, but really, I don’t need 6 sets of sheets. That grocery bill is going to be killer.”

“Why do people not buy things like Advil for bridal showers? They do it at baby showers. That should be a thing.”

My friend Liv and I went in together to help stock our friend Katie’s pantry for her bridal shower.

What we got:

Flour

Granulated sugar

Brown Sugar

Powdered Sugar

Cookie Mix

Brownie Mix

Bisquick

Minute Rice

Mac n Cheese

Pronto Pasta

Baking Soda

Baking Powder

Salt

Pepper

Peanut Butter

Jelly

Cooking Spray

Vegetable Oil

Chocolate chips

Basket

Using LOTS of coupons, we were able to make this super useful basket for under $50. We got the groceries from Target (we have a problem, we openly admit it), and the basket from JoAnn Fabrics. I had a wicked good coupon. Using LOTS of coupons, we were able to make basket for under $50. I simply wrapped each piece with tissue paper and stuffed a few extra in to help cover some tops and give it some style.

IMG_5028.jpeg

IMG_7914.JPG.jpeg

“I Do” to the Erin Condren Wedding Planner

Now that I have the bling, I had to get the planner. Before we move on, in case you haven’t read “I Got Distracted…

IMG_7744.JPG.jpeg

Anyway, shocking, I didn’t just get any old planner, I got myself an Erin Condren Wedding Planner! Ok, so I may have gotten it MONTHS ago with the HOPE that I’d be marrying this man. I kept it hidden away and forgotten in its little box, waiting patiently to be used. Obviously I’m super excited to now have the chance to use it! My teacher planner and Life Planner have been AMAZING, and I’ve gotten wedding planners for other friends; so finally getting to use it for myself is double fun! For ease of life, I am just using my wedding planner as my life planner for the next year as well- why not!? I use the month view more than anything and I have plenty of stickers left from my life planner this past year! It works!

IMG_7745.JPG.jpegIMG_7746.JPG.jpeg

Front and Back

The front portion of the planner has month views for which ever month span you chose. After each month view is a notes page, similar to the teacher planner. I write my work schedule, birthdays, meetings, and obviously, when to get wedding things like sending save-the-dates out!

IMG_7754.JPG.jpegIMG_7755.JPG.jpeg

The second portion of the planner is like a wedding planning guide. There is space for a guest list, bridal party, reception stuff, wedding tips, a time line, a budget checklist, music, photography, flowers, cake and food tastings, and vendor contact list. We have excel spread sheets for our guest list and budget, but I also hand-wrote our budget in so that when we are having conversations with vendors I have that info with me!

IMG_7756.JPG.jpegIMG_7757.JPG.jpegIMG_7758.JPG.jpegIMG_7759.JPG.jpegIMG_7763.JPG.jpegIMG_7766.JPG.jpegIMG_7760.JPG.jpegIMG_7761.JPG.jpegIMG_7762.JPG.jpegIMG_7767.JPG.jpegIMG_7765.JPG.jpegIMG_7764.JPG.jpeg

PS our photographer is the always lovely Kate Serbin of Freckled Perspective. She’s amazing!

ENTIRE last section of the planner has blank pages and lined pages for doodles, writing notes, ideas, and lists.

IMG_7748.JPG.jpegIMG_7747.JPG.jpeg

There is also the usual clear pocket pouch in the back that is GREAT for keeping business cards! It comes stuffed with EC Compliment Cards, coil clip, do-it-all dots, and referral cards to hand out to friends who love your EC.

IMG_7753.JPG.jpeg

The stickers in the back are specific to the wedding planner. They say things like: register, caterer, photographer, bridesmaids, mani-pedi, hair appt, book honeymoon, shower, bachelorette, bachelor, favors, programs, big day, get license, limo/shuttle, save the dates, book hotels, website, officiant, music, bride gifts, groom gifts, buy invites, bakery, buy rings, party!, dress shop, fitting, and blanks. There is a sheet of varying shades of purple and a sheet of varying shades of blue. The last 2 sticker sheets are completely blank in the basic rainbow of colors. I had left over stickers from my 2015 Life Planner that I cut out and slid into the back pocket of my wedding planner.

IMG_7749.JPG.jpeg

I have already started taking notes, and getting stuff from my pinterest and writing them down in my planner. We are definitely in full wedding planning swing! How is it that even though the wedding is almost a year away, it feels like everything gets done in the first 6 months! :O

This is the perfect gift to give to any newly engaged Bride or get for your own wedding organization! Use this referral link to receive a $10 coupon to get your own Erin Condren Wedding Planner, Life Planner, or one of her other AWESOME products!

Easy Homespun Garland

Have some time on a Saturday? Want to get in the holiday spirit? Make something that will last for years? Then THIS is for you! All it takes is time, twine, some homespun fabrics and pinking shears.

Supplies:

Spool/roll of twine- as much as you’ll need to stretch as far as you need

1  yards of three DIFFERENT homespun fabrics. We got ours at JoAnns. You may do any variation of fabrics as long as you total about 3 yards of fabric total. This may vary if you are doing more than 1 spool of twine.

Pinking Shears

  1. Using your pinking shears, cut 1inch by 6 inch strips of your fabric. This a wee bit time consuming. If you have friends or children that are very good at cutting in the lines, this is a good time to get them involved.
  2. Measure out lengths of twine. Make sure it spans the width you need, plus a few extra inches for “swag.” Cut them to length.

163095_1777228955627_3083677_n

  1. Taking all of your strips, simply double knot them onto the twine. One can very easily come undone over the years of packing and unpacking. You can do a pattern or random- what ever floats your boat.
  2. When you’re done, knot the ends.

We used clothes pins to pin the garland to our valances. Mom embellished with some old mittens and cute ornaments. This also looks really pretty on a Christmas tree. We did not do that this year, but have in previous years. Decorate til your little heart’s content. You could easily use this same process to make garland for other holidays throughout the year. With a little time, this craft is a simple, lasting project you can enjoy for years to come!

12380066_10208054320500920_1058330602_n12399220_10208054320220913_1043414300_n 12380022_10208054320260914_376190149_n12399006_10208054320820928_230648434_n 12395076_10208054320980932_366887750_n

 

Flannel Blanket Scarf

Hi. My name is Anna and I have an addiction. I am addicted to scarves.

Last fall, the phenomenon of the “blanket scarf” occurred. The American Eagle blanket scarves were selling for upwards of $30. From my research, $20 seems to be about the average cost of a blanket scarf. Funny enough, you can make one yourself, for less than $10 if you use your coupons right.

What you’ll need:

1 1/2- 2 yards flannel (preferably plaid) fabric

Scissors

Seam Ripper

  1. Go to a fabric store, like JoAnn’s and get your fabric. I used a flannel from JoAnn’s Plaiditude line. The fabric was on sale for $5.99/yd and I had a coupon for 25% off my entire purchase. For 1 1/2 yes of fabric I spent less than $7.
  2. Trim your fabric so that it is even- AKA follow the plaid lines
  3. On the raw edges, the edges that aren’t “finished” and will fray, pull the horizontal threads to create the frays. I used the point of a seam ripper to help pick out the threads. I only went in about 1/4 of an inch or so, I didn’t want long dramatic frays. Totally up to you though.
  4. WEAR!

Literally took me 45 minutes INCLUDING travel time to my local JoAnn’s and back. So, really, it took me about 15 minutes to trim and pull the frays. The colors of the plaid I used will make mixing and matching a breeze this winter. I can not wait for the weather to cool off enough for me to actually wear/use it. It’s so easy to wear and is comfy and professional.

This would make an AWESOME, inexpensive, and greatly appreciated Christmas gift.

Quick Christmas Gift-Checkbook Cover

Sometimes, when Christmas rolls around, friends and family have very specific wishes. Sometimes, that makes everyone’s life VERY easy. You know EXACTLY what to get. Other times, it makes life very hard because that item is no longer around.

Grandma asked for a Vera Bradley checkbook cover. I thought that this would be an easy no brainer. My own mother has one. When I worked there, we had bins of them. JUST KIDDING. I went to the outlet, retail store, and a few independent retailers- NOTHING. I refuse to support the bulk buyers on eBay. So what was my alternative- MAKE ONE! I mean, look at who we’re talking about here. In less than an hour I was able to make my own version of the checkbook cover!

Supplies:

Thread/bobbin that match your fabric

1 fabric fat quarter- pattern of your choice

Ruler

Good Scissors

Pencil

  1. Using the Vera Bradley checkbook cover that I had, I used that as a template and made 2,  7 1/2 x 7 5/8 rectangles. This gave me about 1/4 inch seam allowance all of the way around. I then made 2, 7 5/8 x 3 1/4 rectangles. These would be the flaps that hold the checkbook covers. Again, this allowed for a seam allowance. I cut them all out.
IMG_7523

One flap sewn, back side, unsown flap, Vera template

  1. I first did a seam across the top of what would be, the 2 inner flaps. It would be near impossible to do once you sew everything else together, so do NOT skip this step.
  2. With one of the larger rectangles, I sewed the flaps along 3 sides. BOTH were PATTERN side up, this is important.
  3. Now that both of my inner flaps were attached, I place the outer, second large rectangle on top so that the pattern side was facing the pattern side of the inside. I sewed around 3 3/4s of the whole thing. This left me with a hole to turn it right-side out.
  4. I very carefully hand-sewed the last 2 inches to seal it.

    IMG_7524

    Outside

    IMG_7525

    Inside with both flaps, turned right-side out

    IMG_7529

    Compared to the Vera Checkbook Cover

    What I would do next time: I would get some interfacing to give it a little more heft. It’s fine as it is, and adding cardboard would definitely be way too much, but a little interfacing to give it some more structure would be great! Due to the size of the project, I can’t imagine needing anymore than 1/4 of a yard.

Darling Disney Bridal Shower

Christian college kid problems- everyone gets married. I made it almost 4 and one half whole years before finally being invited to a wedding from school. One of the perks, or downfalls, of being a commuter; depending on how you look at it. This, is a feat, matched by few in the world of CCKs. Not only was I finally invited to a wedding, but I was asked to be IN the wedding! This meant helping to plan a bridal shower. When the bride’s MOH contacted us, she shared that she was thinking of a Disney Princess theme. The bride LOVES Disney. I was asked what I would like to be in charge of: food, decorations, games etc. I couldn’t help myself, I HAD to pick decorations.

Then came the realization- how do I plan a Disney Princess themed bridal shower and NOT make it look like a 5 years olds birthday party. Well. I love Disney. I work at a craft store. Pinterest is my best friend. And I have an inability to not over plan things. It was actually relatively easy to come up with ideas that were more allusions to the theme than “HI I’M A DISNEY PRINCESS PARTY!”

The Bride’s favorite princess is Belle. Her grandmother collects tea cups and tea pots, so this was a no brainer. 11998796_10207471794378131_676422762_n

I used a yellow table-cloth, red tulle, and a tea-pot. I happen to own a copy of “The Story of King Arthur and His Knights,” the book Belle reads to Beast in the movie. I also own 2 sets of Beauty and the Beast figurines from when I was Belle in our school musical. The rose is a tall, skinny, glass hurricane with a single silk rose petal and silk rose, submerged in water; to look like the enchanted rose from Beauty and the Beast.

11994241_10207471794978146_1664202490_n

I gave each table a theme, and this one was Jasmine. I tried to stick with the more “classic” princesses since they were more well-known. I cut blue tulle into diamonds and layered them into a star. I also had small sticker jewels that I placed around as well. The other bridesmaids/family had the jars that I used in the center.

12000117_10207471794778141_1272943396_n

Originally I was going to buy a fake white pumpkin and glitter it myself, but I found this super cute silver sequins one. You can’t have a Cinderella table without one! I used a light blue table cloth and light blue tulle. I again used the sticker jewels as well as sticker pearls. I picked up the blue crown at JoAnns. Coincidentally, the shower favors were little plastic “glass slippers” with baggies of mints. I couldn’t have planned that any better with this table.

11998151_10207471794298129_1587771389_n

I’m not going to lie, I kinda think this might have been my favorite table. The purple table-cloth and green tulle sea shell lend itself to none other than the Little Mermaid. I used a smaller glass bowl and filled it with decorative blue/green stones, sea shells and water. I placed a few around the bowl along with “thingamabobs,” AKA- forks.

12000100_10207471795058148_4631554_n

Hi ho! Hi ho! Snow White was too much fun. A blue table-cloth and yellow tulle were my base. I pulled apples from the bride’s back yard and simply glittered them with red glitter. I got an unfinished little bird house for under $1 and painted it to match Snow White’s colors. I had the Doc sitting on a shelf in my room. There was no way to do this table scape without mirrors, so small mirrors were placed around the center as well.

I had been at a bridal shower earlier in the summer and loved the idea of giving guests the opportunity to write notes of well wishes, date ideas, advice, etc for the bride and groom. This table was the first idea I had when planning the shower. 11998437_10207471795178151_886444668_nThis was the well wishes table. It was just a small round table with a blue table-cloth with a lace overlay. I got a 18×18 canvas and painted on “A dream is a wish your heart makes.” I then used a clear glitter paint over the entire thing to add some sparkle and whimsy. Guests wrote down their notes on index cards and placed them in the vase.

11996935_10207471793698114_48365802_n

For the gift table, the mother of the bride had bought a picture frame as a gift, we used a blue expo marker to write “gifts,” and covered the table in a white table-cloth. This table didn’t need much more decoration than that- the gifts took care of decorating.

BONUS- I made the punch, and it was SO super easy. I’m sorry, I don’t have a picture to go with it.

Ingredients:

1 bottle Sprite

1 bottle of raspberry lemonade

105

 

 

 

 

 

1 pint fresh raspberries frozen, or 2 cups frozen raspberries

  1. Chill all ingredients before mixing
  2. Pour sprite/lemonade in a bowl
  3. Add frozen raspberries

That’s it. Super easy. Super yummy. Everyone loved it and thought it had been some super complicated recipe….NOPE!