Thursday, March 5, 2015

Forgotten Disney | DIY Spoodles Crispy Polenta with Greens and Mushrooms

File this under Forgotten Disney. So much at Walt Disney World (and Disney in general) has come and gone, or undergone change and rehab since I was little. Periodically we will revisit some of the forgotten places and things from Walt Disney World, starting today.

One of the restaurants Mr. Photos From The Parks and I used to love was Spoodles at Disney's Boardwalk Resort. For my money, they had the best breakfast around. (I now proudly support the buffeteria at the Trail's End in Fort Wilderness as the best kept breakfast secret on property.) I stumbled across this recipe in my Delicious Disney book and all those wonderful memories came flooding back!

This recipe was really quite easy to make. The Balsamic Vinaigrette was the hardest part. I used prepackaged polenta from Trader Joe's so all the prep work for that was unnecessary. I just opened the package and sliced it. Everything else is just a sauté. And since I've been making a conscious effort to eat more veggies through the day (my one thing I can do right now to be healthier), this seemed like a no brainer. I added a bit of sweet onion to my mushrooms, and a slice of smoked provolone atop my polenta, and served it with the polenta slices on the bottom, but otherwise, it's the same recipe.

Enjoy this entrée from Spoodles, and until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Crispy Polenta with Mushrooms, Wilted Greens and Balsamic Vinaigrette

from Delicious Disney

Serves 4

2 C warm cooked polenta
5 T butter, divided
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 C red wine
1 C vegetable stock
4 T olive oil
1 C shiitake mushrooms (or sub what you have)
1 C cremini mushrooms
2 C Swiss chard or large leaf spinach
2 C arugula
2 T water
Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together cooked polenta with 4 T butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Pour polenta into 1/2" thickness in an 8" square pan. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

3. While polenta is cooling, make Balsamic Vinaigrette. Set aside.

4. In a sauté pan, whisk together wine and vegetable stock; cook until reduced by half. Remove from pan and set aside.

5. In the same pan, heat 2 T oil and sauté the mushrooms.

6. Add the wine and stock reduction to the mushrooms; cook 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and keep warm until ready to serve.

7. In the same pan, melt the remaining T butter. Add greens and water and cook just until greens are wilted. Keep warm.

8. Remove polenta from refrigerator and cut into 8 squares.

9. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 T oil and cook the polenta until crispy, turning once.

10. Place wilted greens on serving plates, top each with 2 squares of warm polenta, then spoon mushrooms over the top. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 shallot, minced
3T balsamic vinegar
1/2 t fresh thyme, basil or other favorite herb
5 T olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. In food processor or blender, mix together shallots, vinegar, and herbs.

2. Drizzle in olive oil with machine running.

3. Season with salt and paper to taste.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Celebrating National Crochet Month Disney Style

If you don't crochet, you may not know that March is National Crochet Month. As such, I thought it would be fun to do a round up of all the Disney crochet projects I've done on the blog over the last two years! To get the story on how I made them and a link to the patterns, click on the caption. It will take you to the original post.

I hope you enjoy them, and may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tangled Passie Clip

Disney Dress Up Crowns

Amigurumi Squirt

Adult Sized Mickey Beanie

Princess Wrap

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Disney's Tangled Inspired Corona Flower Hand-Knit Mittens

I love these new Corona Flower mittens I knit as an homage to Tangled! At the very beginning of film, there is the story of Mother Gothel and how she finds the magic flower born of the sun. It sets the whole story in motion. When I saw this beautiful pattern, Lilyfiled Mittens, by Jennifer Coleman, I was immediately reminded of that scene and I knew they would be my next project.

The color choice was obvious, the flower needed to "glow" and purple is Rapunzel's color after all. I have become a huge fan of fair isle (or stranded) knitting in the last several years. I find it sort of magical! You simply follow a chart, knit each little square accordingly, and suddenly, this beautiful picture emerges on your fabric! And I have to say, this pattern was one of the most enjoyable to follow. EVERYTHING worked as it was supposed to. That never happens to me. I got gauge (barely, with US 0 needles), my tension was just right, none of the stitches require enormous floats, the cuff detail just happened on the first try, and the size is actually right! My hands are small, so this seems incredible to me. It's the magic of the Corona Flower. It has to be. Or Jennifer Coleman tested the heck out of the pattern before she published it (which seems most likely). Either way, I'm grateful.

And the timing of these lovely knits could not be better. I just lost one of my first hand-knit mittens last month, before the weather became incredibly cold! I needed a new pair pronto! And here they are, as lovely as a flower. And much more lovely than that first pair! I can't promise they will keep you young, but I can promise they'll get you noticed! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

From Belle's Library | Home by Julie Andrews

Let me start by saying, I think Julie Andrews has been remarkable in everything she's done. I love her acting and singing and wish I could have seen her perform on stage. So right away, this book, Home, by Julie Andrews, was going to appeal to me.

This is an autobiography, read by the author -- which I love -- about her early life. It takes the reader right up to her moving to LA to do Mary Poppins with Walt Disney. I didn't have any expectations about this book going into it, and I'm glad. It's a rather quiet story about a young, very talented girl with a very tumultuous childhood. I didn't realize there was so much upheaval in her early life. She seems such a staid and even person!

It was interesting to hear about her early years performing in the vaudeville circuit, her amazing voice coach and her early romance. I always wonder about the stories behind the personalities we've come to know and love. It's always more complicated than we think. As one would expect, this is a very upbeat story, highlighting the best memories and even finding the silver lining to a rough childhood. It was a wonderful read. If you have fans of Julie Andrews in your life, or of the musical theater, I am certain they would find this book appealing. To the average Disney fan, it may fall a little flat.

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Tangled "I Don't Do Backstory" RedBubble Design

It's been a while since I added a new design to the RedBubble shop! This design occurred to me as we were watching Tangled on one of our snow days this past week.

I have to confess, Flynn Rider is my favorite Prince! A little cocky, a  little rogue, a lot hunky, plenty of wit, and absolutely transparent to Rapunzel! I love that guy! And his insistence that he doesn't do backstory is just too funny. I had to make a t-shirt.

And for those of you who haven't been to the RedBubble shop in a while there are all sorts of ways to sport this design! The most recent is leggings! I have to admit, I love them. And I have updated my shop to include leggings, travel mugs, and cases for all my designs. Hop on over and do a little mid-winter shopping, or stock up for your next Disney trip! And until midnight tonight, you can use this code, TOPLESS20, to get 20% off all tops for men and women! It's a great deal! Remember you can customize the color and size of your t-shirt or hoodie to suit your personal style, but the other products' colors are locked in.

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

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Toy Story DIY Birthday Party Report

We had a rootin' tootin' good time at our party! I had a blast creating this party for Little Chef! There were so many amazing ideas on Pinterest (my party idea pinboard can be seen here)! Little Chef and I took some time looking at all the ideas and he told me what he wanted to do and I filled in the rest with my ideas. Here's what we did:

The Photo Booth

I love the fun photo booths I see at special events! I'm a big time picture taker and its a way to dress up and have fun without everyone looking at you like your crazy! This one was super easy to construct. I found an empty wall, covered it with light blue wrapping paper and taped it down with painters tape. I then cut out the toy story cloud with my Silhouette. I cut 5 of the small and 5 of the large clouds and adhered them with scotch tape. I then used a couple of hats I found through Amazon, and these adorable (and free!) cut-outs from Merriment Design for the props. Easy and lots of fun!


Little ones don't need a lot of snacks during the party if you schedule it before lunch. We went with cheese crunches (ala Al in Toy Story 2) and "snakes in a boot" - my own idea. I used plastic boot shot glasses and organic gummy worms. Two worms fit exactly in one boot! And they were the hit of the party! I loved hearing kids and adults alike say they needed another snake in their boot!


This was so easy. I used the barrel of monkeys design from the Silhouette shop and cut dozens of them from primary colored card stock scraps. And since I used to be a paper scrapbooker, I had a whole bunch of Memory Makers snaps to use up. I just attached the hand of one monkey to the other with the snaps and it was done. You could easily use brads, but the backs might show.

Little Chef also fell in love with some directional arrows to all the fictional places in the Toy Story movies that we had seen on Pinterest. I just downloaded some images I found on the internet and cut arrows from them. The arrow shape was already in my Silhouette library! I used painters tape to adhere them to the wall for the party.

And you've already seen the Luxo Ball Boxes that held all the goodies! To this I added loads of balloons. I bought a helium tank at the party store and in 30 minutes I had 40 balloons blown up and tied down all over the house. They made everything just a little more festive. And of course, we set up our Toy Story toys around the house as well, ready for a play date with destiny!


I cut out these rocket shapes from card stock using my Silhouette. I gathered up some craft supplies in the dollar bins from the local craft store, put out the glue and crayons and let the kids go for it! It was really fun. And then they played in the photo booth and with the toys we already had out and the ones we unwrapped. It was just enough for these 4 year olds.

I can't say enough how much fun this was to put together and how much fun the kids had! I'd love to see what you do for your Toy Story party! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

DIY Disney Pixar Toy Story Birthday | Luxo Ball Party Favor Boxes

I had a hard time deciding what we would do for goody bags for the Toy Story birthday party. I thought about making lunch sacks with the Pizza Planet logo on them, but that wasn't really what I had in mind. Pinterest is chock full of ideas, but they just weren't as exciting as I hoped. Then, I stumbled upon this 3D bowling ball box in the Silhouette design store and I had a great idea! I wanted to turn it into the famous Luxo ball from Pixar!

How did I do it? Here's the skinny:

1. I downloaded the 3D Bowling Ball Box shape ID 57679, and used a generic star shape that was already in my library.

2. Once opened in Silhouette software I resized the box to be as big as my Portrait will allow, 16.5" x 25.15" on the full design. Then I separated (or ungrouped) the pieces of the design in order to cut them out in different colors of card stock, base blue and lid yellow.

3. I sized the star shape to the lid (4.865"x4.635") and cut it out of red card stock.

4. I created the names on each one by using the Gill Sans Ultra Bold font and adjusting the kerning (or character spacing) until I had the look I wanted. I then used the offset function to create the red background for each name. Each name was approximately 1" tall.

That's it! It was easy to assemble, although time consuming. I spent one day's nap-time cutting and another day's nap-time assembling. And it used a fair amount of paper! I needed 3, 8.5"x11" sheets of card stock for each lid and each base. And it was TOTALLY worth it! I love the look of these and it's not just another goody bag like every other birthday party!

Most of my readers will probably know that the short film, Luxo Jr., was one of the two shorts that really catapulted Pixar into computer animation leadership, in as much as it relates to animated films. Here it is:

This Luxo ball shows up in all the Toy Story films and shorts and many other Pixar films. It's exactly the sort of thing Pixar likes to do. So when I realized I could use it at the party, I knew I needed to! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Colonel Hathi's Elephant March Hat

I love this Rose & Lily hat pattern. I am all about the fair isle knitting and this pattern was just screaming out to be knit. The first time I saw it, it reminded me of Colonel Hathi's march in the Jungle Book movie.

I already had the sock yarn for this, so it was easy to pick it up and get started. I knit this one in the adult large size using one size larger than the pattern suggested and using the directions for the slouchy hat. I tried to get Doc to model this one for me, but he said it was a little too hipster for him. Best compliment ever! This is definitely staying in my winter wardrobe. I love it!

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

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Simple Paperman Inspired Valentine

Happy Valentines Day Disney lovers! If you have never seen the short film, Paperman, by Walt Disney Studios, it's absolutely worth a moment of your time. It won two Oscars and absolutely makes you want to believe in love. It's perfect for this Valentines Day (or any other Valentines Day).

And this Paperman inspired valentine has to be the easiest valentine ever. Seriously. I know I say that a lot, but this is truly so simple. All you need is some sort of official looking paper (I used an old Analysis Pad), some bright red lipstick and you are set! Fold your paper into an airplane, give it a kiss and viola! A super quick and easy valentine for your favorite Disney lover.

Of course, if you have the time, you could go crazy and make a whole flock of them. Be inspired! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!