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).

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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!

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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.

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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.
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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.

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    Outside

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    Inside with both flaps, turned right-side out

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    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.

Planner Bag and Sticker Storage with Taylor

This video was done by my planner friend Taylor! It combines two of my favorite things- Erin Condren planners AND Vera Bradley. I actually worked at Vera Bradley for a little over a year and have so much it’s crazy!

The Vera Travel Organizer is one of my favorite pieces. It usually sits on a shelf with the rest of my Vera, under-used because it’s a travel item. When I do travel and want to bring my planner stuff, it is a full Vera Tote of stuff all on its own. I like that each section has its own purpose and really keeps it organized instead of it all getting thrown together. I currently have a cute Target One Spot felt envelope that I keep my planner in. I see changing that in the near future! My planner fits perfectly and I have room on the sides to stash pencils/pens.

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I couldn’t have come up with better a better sticker storage idea if I tried! I currently have 3 Target One Spot accordion folders for my sticker collection.

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One small one holds my Erin Condren personalized stickers that come with planners/notebooks (top). My first medium-sized one holds stickers topically- animals, food, birthday, quotes, school etc. My second medium folder has stickers organized by month/holiday, February/Valentines Day, July/Fourth of July….you get the picture. It can be kind of a pain when I’m trying to plan. In my infinite wisdom I got matching folders to be cute…and I always grab the wrong one! By putting them in a binder like Taylor, that eliminates a lot of the problem because there is simply more room. I can put them all in one spot and have them labeled with tabs! Staples and Michaels constantly have binders like that for sale. One more project to add to the organizing list!

If you enjoyed her video, you can follower her YouTube account Ask Me About My Planner. To see more of her massive sticker collection and general cool planner things, follow her on Instagram @AskMeAboutMyPlanner!

Don’t forget to follow Brunetteswithbrains on Instagram for blog posts and other random fun, Pinterest and right here on WordPress!

Where can you find a planner to use all of these adorable additions!? Here is a referral link for $10 off of a purchase of an Erin Condren planner for yourself! After you create an account you will receive an email with the code. 2015 planners are currently 40% off and you can use the additional $10 off making planners $20! 2015-2016 planners will be rolling out in June! HAPPY PLANNING!

EC Life Planner Surprise!

A friend of mine at school mentioned that she liked my planner. I have a teacher planner and she is not going to be a teacher, so it would have been a bit much. I love converting people into Erin Condren fans….so I got her a life planner for her birthday next month! With the coupon that came along with the planner….I GOT MYSELF A LIFE PLANNER TOO! YAY!

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I absolutely LOVE Erin Condren boxes. They look as happy as the fun stuff on the inside! Because this is a gift, I covered up the name! This particular planner is “Scales” and I LOVE it!

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Each month there is a full view with a quote, holidays already marked and a notes section down the side.

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Every week has a full two-page spread! Every day has a “Morning” “Day” and “Night” section. This is going to be PERFECT for her to keep track of classes, practices and homework assignments! There is a section for Goals/Notes on the left hand side, and lines on the bottom to mark workouts, food, to-dos, etc.

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After the calendars and weeks are done there are lined pages and blank pages for notes, lists, to-dos-what ever you want to use them for!

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As with all EC planners, there are stickers in the back! There is one whole page of birthday stickers. Being that we are still in school PLUS family, we do have a lot of birthdays to keep track of! The second page stickers say “game!” “day off!” “hair appt @____” “dentist appt@____” “sale!” “doc appt @____” “concert!” “mani/pedi” “party!” and “vacation!” There are also two whole sheets of blank stickers to personalize as needed.

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The two-sided Keep It Together pockets also came with a “forget me not” calendar and contacts booklet! SWEET!

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The back clear zip pouch, as with all EC planners, came with personalized stickers. The bottom 3 are general and the top 3 match the planner and have her name printed on the bottom. Since this is a gift I hid her name. I LOVE these stickers and have a whole pile of my own. They really are great for gift giving and they are just so fun.

I can’t wait to give this functional, cute little gift! If you have a friend that would like some help organizing their life, this is the perfect gift. It’s not too bad as a gift to yourself either…ya know…Christmas gift to yourself, help you keep track of those New Year’s resolutions you keep saying you want to do….

Here is a referral link for $10 off of a purchase of a planner for yourself! After you create an account you will receive an email with the code. HAPPY PLANNING!