Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Sitting With Grandmother Willow | Erin of My Fantasy Bands

As part of our on-going series, Sitting with Grandmother Willow, I am happy to introduce Erin of My Fantasy Bands. This series of blog posts highlights artists and bloggers of all stripes with one thing in common: a passion for Disney!

Erin sells high quality, water-safe, vinyl decals for your MagicBands in a whole host of themes! Whatever your Disney passion, she has something that will make you squee! Our family and friends (and my travel clients) have been using these for over a year and we just love them! They are durable and adorable. I hope you will enjoy getting to know Erin as much as I have. A big thanks to her for taking the time to interview with us and offering a special coupon code exclusively for my readers! And be sure to visit her shop for a great selection of Disney themed decals for your MagicBands.

Disney By The Numbers (with apologies to Harper's)

# of trips you have made:  As an adult, four   I lived in Orlando for about 3 years as a child, and had a few day trips during that time.
Date of first trip:   February 2007, The Husband Unit and I were 28 and I was pregnant with our first daughter.  
Date of next trip:  Undecided, sometime in 2017 I hope!  
# of Resorts stayed in:  Five  (Pop, Art of Animation, All Star Music, French Quarter, Caribbean Beach ... my top 3 of these are AoA, French Quarter, and Pop)
Usual # in your travel party:  4 or 5, we had a neighbor friend who has come with us twice, but we have moved away from her now.  :(
Pairs of mouse ears in your cottage:  3 headband ears, 4 or 5 ear hats.

WDW or Disneyland (or other)?  I have never been to Disneyland  :(
How do you usually travel to Disney? We have driven twice and flown twice.  I prefer to fly!
Do you have any tips for trips?  Don't try to plan every moment of your trip.  Sometimes the best memories are ones that happen spontaneously.
Do you have a favorite place to eat while in Disney?  I love the Rose and Crown at Epcot, and Wolfgang Puck's Express at Disney Springs.  There are many table dining locations we have not experienced yet.  We usually have the Quick Service dining plan.  
What is your absolute DON'T MISS attraction?   Magic Kingdom is my favorite park, so all my favorites just happen to be there.  My top 3 rides are Peter Pan's Flight, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and oddly enough, the People Mover.  I could ride the People Mover all day. Some people think it's boring, but I find it relaxing and enjoy the vantage point of the park from the elevated track.  

My don't miss attractions for other parks:  In Epcot I love Test Track and SOARIN (although I have not experienced the new revamped SOARIN), and I enjoy the hydroponic tour ride at Living with the Land.  At Hollywood Studios I enjoy Toy Story Mania, and the Rockin Roller Coaster, and the Little Mermaid show.  At Animal Kingdom I love the Kilimanjaro Safaris, the Finding Nemo show, and the Kali River Rapids.  

Stage shows, yes or no?  
Parades, yes or no?  For both of these, it depends on crowds and weather.  If we are able get to a parade or stage show early with a good vantage point, we will.  We really play it by ear.  If the parks are crowded or the weather is hot, we avoid parades and try to stay on the move and hit more ride attractions.    Indoor stage shows are a great way to escape the heat. If crowds are lighter and weather is mild, we might slow down to watch a parade or outdoor stage show. We try to attend a fireworks show at least twice during our vacation, often more.  

Best Fast Pass to get:  SOARIN, Mine Train, Toy Story Mania.   
Favorite park:  Magic Kingdom!
One piece of advice you'd give a novice about WDW/DL:  Don't try to see and do EVERYTHING, it's impossible.  Make a list of your must-do attractions, and prioritize.  Also, be prepared for the unexpected, and try not to be too bummed at the end of your trip if something didn't happen.  Remember that you were at DISNEY WORLD and your trip was probably pretty amazing even if you didn't see that one show or ride that one ride.  
How do you create extra magic for your family:  I casually shop around for months ahead of time gathering little Disney-themed trinkets from clearance sales and dollar stores.  I pack them in a secret bag to give my girls gifts throughout our vacation, and also have left "Mickey Mail" in our resort room for them to find.  This saves on spending big bucks on park souvenirs.  Each family member has a gift card to spend on a few special items in the parks.  

How can we connect with you?  Email or Instagram!



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Doc Terminus's Magical Potion Bottle | DIY Disney Halloween


I have been holding on to this idea for a while and I FINALLY had the time to sit down and hammer it out! And I am so glad to be able to share this downloadable with you too!

My regular readers will know that I have a love for all things Pete's Dragon. (The original Pete's Dragon - the jury is still out for us on the remake.) I grew up watching the original from the 70s as well as the Main Street Electrical Parade. It just isn't the MSEP until I see Elliot and Pete come lumbering down Main Street all aglow! This movie and its characters hold a special place in my heart. I've already posted two Pete's Dragon t-shirt designs here. You can sport your Passamaquoddy Tavern shirt or your love of Elliot design instead. And remember, as I always say, these designs come on several different products - not just Ts! I love my Be Brazzle Dazzle pencil case! It's so versatile.

One of my favorite characters in the original movie is Doc terminus, the snake oil salesman who comes breezing into Passamaquoddy in his crazy land-boat and even though he has duped these townspeople time and again, he plows forth and sells them his snake oil once again!

I was inspired by this great bottle (and empty Uncle Val's Botanical Gin bottle - which I HIGHLY recommend!) to make an homage to Doc Terminus to add to our very Disney Halloween Decor! If you would like to have this bottle label for you very own, you can download it for FREE by clicking here. If you use it, I would love to see how! Tag me on IG @merryweatherscottage or here on the blog! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Customizing Your MagicBands with My Fantasy Bands

If you have been to Walt Disney World lately you will notice that the DIY and customized Disney experience is at an all time high! LOADS of us are sporting our special shirts, hats, bags and now MagicBands. Of course, we at the cottage are TOTALLY into that!

Today I wanted to introduce you to one of my favorite products for customizing your MagicBand: My Fantasy Bands. These decals are professionally printed and can withstand the abuse of my family! We are still using these same magic bands a year later. And they have all been in the pool and the shower/bath and remain on the bands with no peeling. I am really impressed with the quality of these decals. In fact, if you have booked a trip with me in the last few months, you may have received a surprise package of these for your very own MagicBands!

These decals were really easy to apply, and they come with instructions on how to make them last. Plus she has ALL SORTS of great themes, some seasonal, some Disney related, some just for fun! I can't recommend these highly enough. And if you are on Instagram, you can see lots of her designs modeled by actual guests by following @myfantasybands. Have fun perusing Erin's site! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Chapeau | DIY Sleeping Beauty's Fairy Merryweather's Hat

In honor of Felt Hat Day (which is today for those of you unawares), I am rerunning this post about making my favorite fairy's fascinator! I hope you enjoy it!

I am in love with the hat shop on Main Street USA: The Chapeau. It's the place to find any hat your heart desires; as long as Disney makes it! I realize there are those who would never be caught dead in a Disney hat, and those of us who think they are AWESOME. If you fit into that latter category, then this post is for you!

I have an affinity with Merryweather, naturally, but she's not the easiest character to find in the parks. And neither is a Merryweather themed hat. So I put my DIY skills to use and created my very own Merryweather fascinator. This is my very first foray into the world of millinery, so I did a little research on hat making via YouTube. Just search for "how to make a fascinator" and you'll get plenty of videos to choose from! If you too are new to the hat making world, you'll want to become familiar with a product called sinamay. It's what the structure of the hat is made from. It helps it hold it's shape and gives it the body you need for it to stand up on it's own. The link will take you to several resources for purchasing sinamay.

I first created a pattern using scrapbooking paper (as it was large enough to experiment with, and I have TONS of it), a compass, and scotch tape. Once I had my basic shape together (which took several tries), I took it all apart and cut the pieces from the sinamay. I used a double layer of sinamay because I wasn't sure a single layer would hold the shape as well as I wanted it to. After all, that hat had to make it all the way to Florida without getting crushed!

After I had the sinamay cut out, I cut out felt about a 1/4" larger than the sinamay and machine stitched it to the sinamay. I then shaped the hat into it's 3-dimentional form and pinned it together. I hand sewed the hat together trying to hide my stitches where I could. Once it was together I realized it needed the organza on it to really make it work. What a difference that made! It went from ok, to cool. The devil is always in the details!

My hair is quite fine, so a comb was not going to work for me to wear this all day in the park. I decided to attach it to a thin, ribbon-covered headband I found at JoAnn's. It worked like a dream! The headband is small enough that it doesn't fight with my glasses for room behind my ears, is fairly well hidden in my hair, and comfortable enough to wear all day. For a first project, I couldn't be happier! I'd love to see any hats you may have altered or made for your trips to the Happiest Place On Earth.

Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

DIY Disney's Haunted Mansion Halloween Decor | Madame Leota Candle

As I have mentioned many a time, we like to use the Haunted Mansion as our inspiration for Halloween decor. And since we leave for Disney in just a couple weeks (yes, again!), it certainly puts us in the mood! I created a candle for my favorite spider candle holder (which it appears, PartyLite no longer makes.) This candle has Madame Leota's incantation printed on it. For those of you who may not be as steeped in Disney tradition as we are in the cottage, Madame Leota is the talking head in the crystal ball in the seance room of the Haunted Mansion, just before the ballroom in the attraction. What you may not also realize, is that Madame Leota was modeled after a long-time Disney Imagineer, Leota Toombs Thomas. You can read a little more about her over at Magical School House, in a wonderful interview with her sister-in-law.

Making this candle was easier that I expected. In fact, this decorative candle tutorial from Heidi Swapp was incredibly easy to follow! I love the endless possibilities it offers! So first, here's the tutorial:



Secondly, here's the print for my candle. You can download my Madame Leota's Candle jpg for free if you'd like to use it. It's made for a 4.5" tall candle with a 9" diameter. This is what it looks like flat:


I could go a little crazy with this! So many great things could be done. I love the idea of three different sized candles, each with a hitchhiking ghost! I'll let you know if I try any more. And please let us know if you try this too! We'd love to see what you come up with. Remember to tag us on Instagram, or leave us a comment below. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Another Great DIY Disney Luggage Tag!

Thursday's post has inspired me to create another cute DIY felt luggage tag for our family's upcoming Fall Break Trip!

I give you Donald Duck. I was a little worried about sewing around a shape with a lot more definition than the simple three circles of the Mickey head in the last post. But it was not as difficult as I first thought. As long as I went slow it was fine! Here's the trick, I like to make the stitches in the zig-zag closer together. So if your machine can shorten the distance between stitches, I would recommend it. It looks a bit more uniform in the end. I also love how the yellow felt pops on the blue background. You will DEFINITELY be able to spot your luggage on that carousel!

If you want the full description on the how-to, check out my original post DIY Disney Felt Luggage Tags. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

DIY Disney Felt Luggage Tags

Are you headed to a Disney Destination for Fall Break this year? If so, this is the perfect little project to get you in the Disney spirit!

You know how excited you are to get to Disney, and then you get to the airport and everyone's bag looks pretty much the same? Even with those snazzy Disney luggage tags they send you, your bag still looks like everyone else's, because they got the same tags you did!

September is National Sewing Month and as such, I thought it would be fun to share this easy Disney luggage tag. You can make it in any color your choose, but it will make your bag stand out as your own. That's a particularly good thing when you have antsy, anxious children pulling your pant leg, ready to get to Disney!

You could hand stitch this project or machine stitch it. I chose to use the machine simply for the sake of time. I was able to whip this up in half an hour. That's well within our nap-time window here at the cottage!

I first did a Google search for a Mickey Mouse silhouette, printed it, and used it as a template for this tag. I then cut out my Mickey from black felt, used it to determine the size for the background and cut out two rectangles of felt. (I chose yellow for the other side of this tag because that's what I had, but get creative and let your tag be entirely yours.)

I then took the red felt, pinned the Mickey silhouette to that and used a zigzag stitch to appliqué it to the background. I then pinned the yellow felt to the back of the red felt and used the overlock stitch to sew them together. You could also play around with the decorative stitches on your machine for sewing the two rectangles together. I love using felt for this project, because even if you use a strait stitch to finish this project, your edges will look good.

I'd love to get several of these together for our next trip, each one themed to our favorite characters. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hitchhiking Ghosts Products on Redbubble

 Since we just revisited these lovable ghosts on the DIY side of things, I thought it would be a good time to remind you that if you are overwhelmed with life right now (back to school is STILL a factor here in the cottage!), you can still get really cute T-shirts, dresses, leggings and bags over on my Rebubble site!

There are so many styles to choose from there. And you can see all my other designs there too! If you're headed to Walt Disney World this fall, or attending one of the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Parties, this could be exactly what you need to declare your love of all things Haunted Mansion!

Be sure to leave some love if you check out this design. Until next time, may all your days be filled wit fairy dust!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

DIY Disney's Haunted Mansion Halloween Decor | Hitchhiking Ghost Windows


It's officially time to start thinking about Halloween Decor! I am running one of my favorite Halloween posts today! Enjoy!

 When it comes to Halloween, I like the tamer side of things. I think that's why I gravitate to Disney's Haunted Mansion. It's spooky and fun without traveling into horror in any way. That's my idea of Halloween. And so we tend to be the Haunted Mansion house in our neighborhood, in that we play a CD of the area music, have a fog machine, carve our pumpkins to resemble the hitchhiking ghosts, and now, we will have the same hitchhikers in our windows!

I created these Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts PNG files using photoshop. If you would like to purchase them for your own uses (scrapbooking or otherwise) you can find them in my Etsy shop. For this project, I simply imported the shapes to my Silhouette Studio software. I traced them using the trace tool and cut them out of adhesive vinyl. Remember when you are cutting out anything with words, think about reversing the image before you cut it. It depends on whether you want them to be legible to those in the house, or those on the street.


Once they are cut use the transfer paper to adhere them to the windows. I did not and wound up tearing off the middle hitchhiker's arm at the elbow. I just pieced it together again, but it was disconcerting! Now you're done! You have recreated the ghosts in the graveyard scene from the Haunted Mansion attraction! For a sharp silhouette, pull the blinds or the sheer curtains and turn on all the lights in the room so the light shines through, but the rest of the room is obscured from view. I can't wait to see how many trick-or-treaters (or their parents) recognize our grim grinning ghosts!

Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!