Tuesday, June 28, 2016

DIY Disney's Frozen Arendelle Notebooks

Here is another great use for the Frozen Travel Posters available at the Disney Movie Rewards site. (I swear, I'm not getting paid to promote them; I just love that they have all this stuff available for free!)

While we do have a younger set of kids traveling with us to Disney this fall, we also have an older set. This means that the coloring pages and activity sheets just aren't going to cut it for them. They needed something a little more grown up. And I really like how these are not gender specific. I think these could easily go to a boy or a girl.

I decided to make notepads for them from some of the old paper we have lying about. (Do you have all sorts of unused school supplies that come home too?!) I put in regular lined paper, but I also included some graph paper and some 3-D drawing paper too. I made sure to cut it down to about 1/4" smaller than the covers. I printed the covers out on card stock as a booklet in Adobe Reader. If you are looking for a source for the heavy book boards for the covers, check with a local photographer. Sometimes they have it for free! You can also search for "book board" on Etsy or Ebay for suppliers. And of course, you could recycle some from existing composition books and notebooks around the house!

I loved to doodle and journal as a kid (well, as an adult too!), so I'm hoping these will be just the thing for the older kids in our travel party. And of course, they could be used as autograph books too should the need arise!

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

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Victoria & Alberts Mushroom Ragout

It's Pescetarian June in the cottage and I couldn't let the opportunity go by without posting a fabulous Disney recipe. First off, pescetarian means eating fish along with a vegetarian diet. I was vegetarian for 7 years before having Doc. (That pregnancy was ALL about red meat!) So this summer we decided for health reasons and being more responsible to the earth, we would spend the month eating pescetarian. I think it's been eye-opening for all of us, each in his or her own way.

Secondly, I have a thing for Victoria and Albert's. We are definitely foodies here in the cottage (especially Doc!) and from the beginning have loved V&A's. Mr. Photos from the Parks and I have been three times, each was outstanding! This is a six course meal with wine pairings if you so desire. It is not to be rushed, everything is elegant, perfectly portioned, and sublime. (The costumed waitstaff is a touch over the top, but hey, it's Disney.) Guests are required to dress up and I love that too. It's one of those special experiences that stays with you. And the coffee "show" at the end of the meal is worth waiting for!

When I saw the abundance of mushrooms in our refrigerator and then ran across this Victoria and Albert's mushroom ragout, I knew it was kismet. I substituted dried thyme for the fresh and used vegetable stock for the beef. Everything else was exactly as written, and it was lovely! We served it over mushroom ravioli. I loved it! Not only was the flavor wonderful, the memories of Victoria and Albert's while I was making it were wonderful to have too.

Give this recipe a try if you are a fan of mushrooms - it's worth the little time it took to put it all together. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

DIY Disney Mickey Mouse Sippy Cup Leash

Mickey Mouse Sippy Cup Leash
This is one of those things that makes a huge difference with little effort. The last time we were in Walt Disney World, our 2-year-old loved throwing his sippy cup down when he was done with it. Chasing those rolling cups in the parks was not fun, and not a thought I relished doing again. But never fear, Make It & Love It has a tutorial that will save the day! I love that this little sippy cup leash is extremely lightweight and won't take up any extra room in the storage compartment when you are done with it. So, so smart.

This tutorial is so easy that I was able to bang it out in less than 20 minutes. THAT'S a project I can love! I scored this ribbon at Walmart, prepackaged in 3 yard increments. Unfortunately, I don't remember the cost, but I'd be surprised if it was more than $5.00. I've since seen it at JoAnn's too. I've also had luck with Etsy and Ebay for deals on Disney ribbon, some really rare, some not so much. Shop around; I assure you, you'll find more than you bargained for!

I already had my elastic on hand, so this project was well under $5.00. I consider that a great deal! You could use this in the car on a road trip as well as on the stroller or backpack in the parks. We've tried it on a number of different sippy cups, and all of them seem to work well. These Nuby ones are Happy's favorites, so I made sure it would hold these easily. We'll be taking several with us again this October! If you see our decked out stroller, stop and say hi! We love to hear from our readers.

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

DIY Disney Stroller Cup Holder

Who doesn't need another water bottle holder at Disney? I know we never seem to have enough places to store everything when we are in the parks, and I love the idea of having the stroller do most of the work for us. This is one solution I just had to try.

I used this tutorial from Sew Can Do to create my cup holder. I love that it's large enough to hold my aluminum water bottle and this combo snack/sipper cup I found through Zulily!

I did tweak this pattern a bit. Instead of using oil cloth, I used quilting cotton. To give it a little more heft, I inserted a piece of scrap canvas (you could use a bit of denim from an old pair of jeans as well) between the two sides, and one in the bottom; and I used pellon interfacing on all the cotton pieces. Pellon is an iron-on interfacing and I use it for a LOT of sewing projects. If you can't find it in your local fabric shop, ask at the cutting desk. They will know exactly what you are looking for. I loved the stiffness and absorbency of the fabric when it was all done. I hate sweaty drinking glasses and bottles.

I also made an extension piece for our stroller handlebar. I thought about making the entire piece bigger, but I like the idea of having the size option. The only caveat to that is with the extension, the holder swung around a bit, and Mr. Photos From The Parks says it hits him in the navel whenever he uses the stroller. I'm a bit shorter and it doesn't seem to do that for me. You may want to make some adjustments according to your own stature.

A note about water in Disney:
I think the water in Disney (well, in Orlando) is a bit skunky. I am usually a fan of filling my own water bottle at the drinking fountain wherever we are - or at least out of the tap. But in Disney, that just won't cut it for me. I need the filtered water to get the odd smell out. If you are opposed to paying "Disney prices" for water, there is another solution. Almost every Disney Resort room has a mini fridge. Stop and get a case of water before you arrive on property. This is obviously easy if you drive, but even if you fly (as we often do), it's not as complicated as it might seem. Tiffany Towncar - a company we HIGHLY recommend - will make a 30 min. grocery stop as part of their ground transportation service. If you would rather take the Magical Express, you can always have Garden Grocer deliver groceries right to your room. In either case, you have water at your disposal and much cheaper than if you would buy it in the parks.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

DIY Disney Beer Flight Set | The Snuggly Duckling - Tangled

This is one of my favorite Father's Day ideas from 2013. I hope you enjoy it!

I've been wanting to do some of these for a long time now. When I saw these beer flight sets in the Target dollar bins, I knew I had a project! I've mentioned before that it can be tough to find creative gifts for men. This is something many of the men in my life could use and I see several Disney variations coming. We are very into our beer in these parts! This one, however, is from the movie Tangled.

I am a big fan of Tangled. It appeals to me in so many ways: a creative princess who doesn't act like a princess (is in fact, rather clueless), a fabulous pub scene, a hero realizing he needs to be himself, a romp through the kingdom and a villain who gets what she deserves. What's not to love? And that pub scene - hilarious! I absolutely adore it. Haven't seen it? You must. Here it is:

Am I right? It's just so funny. And the perfect inspiration for these beer sampler glasses. While you don't see the pub sign in this clip, they are at The Snuggly Duckling. I decided to take that "logo" and make what would be a beer sampler from their pub. The actual glass etching was very quick. I'd never etched glass before, so if it seems intimidating to you, don't let it be! It was as easy as following the directions, and there are several YouTube videos out there if you need to see how it's done before you attempt it yourself. For this project, I used Armor Etching Cream.

I used my Silhouette machine to create the Snuggly Duckling logo. I used Echo Park Duck Icon (design #40686) and then created my own cattail. I used font LD Pirate from scrapNfonts.com. There are other free fonts out there, I just happened to have this one in my library. If you are interested in downloading my silhouette design, you can access it here. (It is a .studio file which is only compatible with the Silhouette machine.) Once I had the design, I simply cut it out and adhered it to the glass. You have to do a little massaging of the decal over the curvy glass, but it worked with a little patience. I only had one tiny mistake out of all four glasses.

Overall, I am very pleased with the design! The Silhouette did a great job of getting clean lines even with such a small and detailed stencil. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Hand Knit DIY Disney Inspired Frozen Poncho

So this spring I needed a stash busting project for all these gorgeous sample yarns I purchased. I had originally thought about making a boatload of socks, because I really wanted a small airplane-worthy project; but this yarn is 100% wool and with my laundry habits, it was sure to produce some felted socks by the end of the year! So I opted for a poncho instead. (I tend to be much better about hand washing the sweaters. They don't hide in the laundry basket the same way the socks do!) It was kind of a bulky project for the airplane, but I was committed to it by the time my flights were upon me!

I found this lovely free pattern by DROPS designs at Garn Studio. I altered the color scheme of my poncho to fit my Frozen-inspired color palette. And the pattern has a different design around the neck, but I just couldn't make it work properly around my neck. So at last I ripped out the scarf-like neck and just did a simple K1, P1 rib for a mock turtle neck instead. I much prefer the look of it!

You can see all the details about this poncho on my Ravelry page if you want to make one yourself or for your Frozen obsessed friend! With so much flight time, I was able to complete it in just about a month. And, I have enough stash yarn left to make some of the matching wrist warmers! It's the perfect "chill is in the air" set that will look lovely in the fall. I can't wait until it's cool enough to use it! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Flag Day DIY inspired by Disney's Animal Kingdom

DIY Tibetan Prayer Flags Inspired by Disney's Animal Kingdom
Flag Day is intended as a celebration of the adoption of the American Flag - it is always celebrated on June 14th. As it happens, the US Army's "birthday" is also on this day. If you are interested in more history on Flag Day, you can check out this Wikipedia article. But for Flag Day this year, I decided to take a more non-traditional track.

I have always loved the themeing in the Animal Kingdom of Walt Disney World. Even as a new park (when it was not very fun for our family - and SUPER hot) the themed areas seemed superior to much of the rest of the Disney Resort. I have especially become a fan of the Tibetan prayer flags near Expedition Everest. I've always been a spiritual person, and drawn to these flags and their purpose wherever I see them. They are meant to be torn and impermanent items. If you want a little more information about them, you should check out The Peace Flag Project. I think they are just beautiful. So when I found this tutorial for making miniature prayer flags from Small World Land, I knew I had found a project for me.

For this project, I used the printable document supplied in the tutorial. I sized it to 150% and printed it directly only my fabric. If you've never printed on fabric, it's a very simple process. I used these instructions from Instructables. I didn't have any freezer paper, so I used Silhouette's Sewable Heat Transfer Fabric Interfacing. I'm glad I did. I was able to print on it with no problems. I was even able to iron two small strips of flags together to make them double sided. I then just cut them apart and strung them on button-hole thread. (It's thicker thread than what you usually sew with.) And I love the result! I have my own little string of prayers hanging in my studio. They are a lovely reminder of the prayers I wish to offer up to the universe.

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

Saturday, June 11, 2016

DIY Amagarumi Squirt from Finding Nemo

With the release of Finding Dory on the horizon, I thought it would be fun to revisit this post. Enjoy!

If you like amagarumi and you are not familiar with Roxycraft and Tammie O., let me introduce you. These patterns are very well written and easy to follow and she has quite a selection to choose from. I loved doing this Big Poke as a version of Squirt, from Finding Nemo.

I haven't really worked much with amagarumi. I've dabbled a little for my nieces and Doc, but nothing that I really had a vision for how it should turn out. This project was different. I really wanted it to look like Squirt when I was all done. I'm happy with the end result, but as with most first-time projects, I learned a lot about amagarumi along the way. Here are a few tips I wish I had known before I started:
  1. don't go up a hook size; next time if I don't have the hook I am looking for I will go down a size or buy the hook(s) I need. I don't love how open the stitching is.
  2. Safety Eyes and Suncatcher Eyes are totally the way to go! If you need some, look no further than The Tiny Garden on Etsy. Leslie had a great selection and wonderful customer service. Plus they were really easy to use.
  3. follow the directions; I over stuffed the head and little Squirt won't stand up without a little help - also, the up-a-hook-size thing may have made this more of a problem.
  4. cotton yarn is soft and lovely, but it doesn't fill in the way the acrylic blend does. (I would assume wool would fill in better too.) I'll try a different yarn the next time.
But having said all that, I like this little character. He definitely reminds me of Squirt! Here's what I did to alter the pattern:

I used 30mm Suncatcher Eyes instead of the 18mm recommended in the pattern. I used Scrapbook & Cards today's tutorial to create the crocheted flowers. And obviously I used a different color assortment for the yarn. 

I hope you'll take some time to check out Roxycraft for yourself. And if you make up one of her patterns, we'd love to see it! Tag us on Instagram (@merryweatherscottage) or post a picture here in the comments. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

DIY Mickey's Kitchen Pot Holders

Some of us are a little more "out" with our Disney obsession than others. We have great friends with a Mickey themed kitchen. There are all sorts of gadgets and cookware that can give your kitchen a Disney feel. In fact, Disney has an entire store in Downtown Disney devoted to such things. And for those of us who can't get to said brick and mortar store, Disney has conveniently provided a virtual store for our every shopping need. Check it out here.

Today we feature a project that would be perfect for the Mickey's Kitchen devotees: pot holders. I love the size of these. They are perfect for holding a hot mug of soup or a bowl that's been zapped in the microwave. It's also the ideally sized for the tea kettle handle. And it's easy enough that older kids can help with this project.

You could customize this project for any Disney character's color scheme (red, white, blue & yellow for Donald; green, blue, orange & black for Goofy; etc.) - but since most of the Disney kitchen accessories are in a Mickey color scheme, we chose to stick with red, black, yellow & white.

If you don't already have a potholder loom, they are fairly inexpensive and easy to come by. I found mine at the local JoAnn's, but they are available online as well. Check out Amazon for a wide selection, or just google potholder loom & use the shopping link. I have had good luck finding the loops in the kid's crafting area of any major craft or education store. But if you are finding it difficult to locate some (or get out of the house!), you can purchase them here.

Experiment with color and pattern. Doc helped me weave these two patterns and we loved the way they turned out. After completing these two, we had a few helpful hints to pass along:

1. The last couple rows of weaving are tricky, as the loops will want to pop off the loom. Go slowly.
2. To finish edges we used an H crochet hook started in the top right hand corner. Pull first loop off and leave on your hook; pull the second loop off and single crochet. Continue around the entire loom, pulling the last loop all the way through so it sticks out.
3. The last edge of the potholder wanted to pull off the loom; try to prevent that by using your left hand to hold it down while you finish the edge (assuming you are right handed).

And that's it! We were able to make 2 of these in an hour. If it's your first attempt at using the loom, give yourself a bit more time. And most importantly have fun! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!