Thursday, April 16, 2015

Scrapping WDW | My Favorite Apps for iPhone Photos

Five years ago I would never have believed you if you told me I wouldn't be carrying my DSLR to Walt Disney World anymore. I mean, I am the queen of snapping vacation photos! I love to catch every moment - many times! And I actually scrapbook. Photos are a major part of my vacation experience anywhere I go.

But I have, in fact, been photographing my family exclusively with my iPhone for last several years. It may be because I now have two toddlers who keep me on my toes! Or it may just be the fact that I feel like my entire life is on my iPhone. Whatever caused the switch, I am quite happy with it. Let's face it; the iPhone is smaller, easier to pop out to catch that photo with, and always with me!

I'm guessing I'm not the only one who is experiencing this change in photography habits. So here are some of my favorite apps. They both help me post great pictures on the fly (to Instagram and Photos) and get them ready for the scrapbook! In full disclosure I use an iPhone 6 and have only tried these with the iPhone.

1. Snapseed - This is my go to app for any of the photo editing basics like brightness, contrast, and tone; it also has the ability to add some fancier features for filters, grain, etc. This app is free.
Edited completely in Snapseed

2. PicFrame - easy to use collage app that allows you to change the shape of just one photo. App price is $0.99
PicFrame was used to create this collage

3. Big Lens - my newest favorite! With this app you can create the effect of changing your aperture on a DSLR. Essentially you can get your subject to stay in focus and blur the background after you've taken the photo. App price is $0.99
Edited in Big Lens and Instagram

4. Squaready - can edit any photo to fit a square frame. Very easy to use and uploads directly to IG if you wish. It has several other functions, but I don't use them. This app is free.

5. Over - gives you the ability to put text and or art work on your photos. It's interface is super easy and allows for the basics. App price is $0.99
Over was used to caption this photo Doors Of Dublin

6. Rhonna Designs - this is for lots of artwork options and text. I use it sparingly, but it has lots of options for design. And there are tons of preloaded phrases and goodies so you don't have to come up with them yourself, all for an additional cost. App price is $1.99

7. RealBokeh - allows you to add bokeh to your photos after you've taken them. You can choose where to put it and what shape you want. There is also a Mickey mouse shape perfect for your Disney photos! App price is $1.99

And there you have it! The apps I use to edit my iPhone photos. Once you have the hang of it, it's easy to do while waiting in line or for your ADR! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Edna Mode Inspired Design Now In RedBubble Shop!

After a long spring break hiatus I am finally back to the blog! Ireland was amazing, but it's time to think Disney again!

I love just the Incredibles and Edna Mode is inspired! No one but Brad Bird could pull of such a great character voice. Pixar is just full of surprises! This is perhaps Edna's best known quote, "I never look back darling; it distracts from the now!" And now you can wear it with pride!

Remember, you can customize size and color for all my designs. Head on over to my RedBubble shop and take a better look. And be sure to check out all the other great items with this design, including tote bags, hoodies and mugs!

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Off To Ireland!

Dear readers, I will be gone until April 12. I am traveling to Dublin Ireland with my niece so we can write and see castles! (Maybe even the Disney castle??)

We plan on soaking up all the local culture we can, eating in the pubs, listening to the music, wandering the museums and picnicking on the greens, so I will be away from the blog until our return.

I hope all of your Spring Break travels will be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

WALL-E Design Now Available In My RedBubble Shop!

I'm on a roll with new RedBubble designs this month! WALL-E is such a lovable little robot. If you've never seen this movie (which I would find highly suspect!) you must add it to your watch list immediately. The message is wonderful, and timely,  and I love it every time my kids choose this one. (And there's the added bonus of not making me weep!)

I've been fascinated by the eyes of my favorite Disney characters lately and this seems to be influencing my designs lately. WALL-E's eyes are the most expressive part about him and I cannot get enough. He's so curious and generous. And he makes others open their eyes to what is around them as well.

This design can be seen in my RedBubble shop on T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, bags and all sorts of other great products. Hop on over and take a look. There is something for everyone over there! And until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Elastigirl Design Now in RedBubble Shop!

We are all about the Incredibles around here. We like to think we can relate to their family. You know, family squabbles that involve disappearing kids, running like mad around the house and reaching as far as you can to grab that last wiggly kid. If I could have one superpower, I might just choose being as flexible as Elastigirl! I've always had a soft spot for her, and I especially love her quote in the opening sequence of the Incredibles. They are filming a documentary and Elastigirl says, "Leave saving the world to the men? I don't think so." Preach it sister!

In honor of all the Helen Parr's out there (Elastigirl's secret identity), I have designed an Elastigirl T-shirt for you to wear on those days you need a little reminder of just how super you are. Wouldn't this be an awesome Mother's Day gift? (Hint, hint, Mr. Photos From The Parks.) And as always, if you'd rather find this design on mugs, tech cases, leggins or home decor, those products are there for you as well!

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

King Brian of the Little People St. Patrick's Day Photo Bomb

Happy St. Patrick's Day readers! I've mentioned before that we love celebrating this Irish-American holiday here in the cottage. Several birthdays surround the holiday for our family and we are already in a very celebratory mood! Whats a little more Guinness? And as an added bonus, I will be traveling to Ireland with my niece at the end of the month!! I am so excited.

And as is our tradition here in the cottage, we will be watching Darby O'Gill and the Little People. The movie was made in the live-action heyday of Disney studios and is a quirky little gem. If you're REALLY a Disney geek, or grew up renting these tapes from the video store, then you know exactly what I mean, and you've probably watched this one yourself a couple of times. This movie is not your standard Disney fare of today. But the bonus material on the DVD almost makes watching it worth it - even if you do groan all the way through the movie.

One of the central characters of Darby O'Gill and the Little People is King Brian, King of the Leprechauns - although that term is a bit pejorative for the Little People. He's a wee devil and only shows himself to Darby. I thought it would be fun to make him into a little png file and have him photo bomb our family for St. Patrick's Day! I had way too much fun doing this! He should also come in handy for some of those Ireland pictures that are to come!

If you are interested in this King Brian png file too, help yourself. It's for personal use ONLY as I created it from copyrighted materials. Enjoy using it today to photobomb you favorite people. And if you do, use #KingBrian on Instagram so I can enjoy it with you! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

From Mrs. Potts' Cupboard | Esmerelda's Gypsy Blend

The littles recently unearthed our copy of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I eagerly put it in the DVD player and then shortly there-after remembered this is not such a happy story! Lots of bad behavior before justice rights the scales. But while we were watching I realized that Esmerelda was the perfect character for a new tea blend I've been working on.

I like a tea with some weight behind it. Herbal teas just aren't my think. So I tend to use a lot of black tea as the base for my blends. This tea is a little unpredictable, a little spicy and very full bodied (ahem). You might be surprised by what's in it. Just like Esmerelda. It's the sort of tea you might drink in a gypsy wagon and then have the tea leaves read to you. It's a blend of black tea and peppermint with a hint of fennel and black pepper. It's bright and smooth and very aromatic. I'm absolutely in love with it right now. I hope you enjoy it too.

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

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Surviving Spring Break at Walt Disney World

Spring Break travel is upon us and we know that Walt Disney World and Disneyland are very popular destinations! Here are my six best tips to help you be prepared for and actually enjoy your Disney vacation:

1. Use My Disney Experience (MDE) Now- even if you missed some of the big things, even if it's the morning before you go in the parks, make your Fastpass reservations now. Also, if you plan on having a table service meal, make your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) now. You can use the MDE app for that too. Having a plan for the day will help you navigate the crowds and assure that you get to do some of the fun things you've been looking forward to doing.

2. Use My Disney Experience in the Parks - know your wait times, check to see when the next show is in your "land", use it to book last minute dining reservations. This is your biggest tool to help you navigate through the parks on a busy day. I use it while I'm waiting in line. I check the wait times for the next thing we want to do and for any nearby meet and greets, shows, experiences that we may want to hit on our way to the next thing. If you don't have an ADR you can see if there is anything available on the app and make the reservation right there!

3. Be Flexible - realize that during busy times, you won't get to do everything you'd like to do. Too many other people are trying to do that too. If you have planned for your Fastpasses and ADRs use these as benchmarks for your day. You know you can do those things, you have a reserved spot. Enjoy the journey to the next thing. You may run into an experience you haven't had yet, or something you might never had considered. There is plenty to do in Disney. Find the magic.

4. Consider a Resort Day - crowds will be heavy at the parks, this is a known fact. Consider spending a day at your resort; all resorts have a recreation line telling you what there is to do while you're there. In the past our family has spent time at the mini golf courses, using the arcades and pools at our resort, planning our own cocktail tour, even eating at resort restaurants we haven't tried yet. All the transportation on property is free. Consider taking a boat from Downtown Disney to Port Orleans for a pleasant stroll, or riding the boat from the Boardwalk or the Yacht Club round trip, or taking a monorail tour. If you are staying on property, none of this will cost you a dime.

5. Hydrate and Use Sunscreen - I cannot emphasize this enough. Even this veteran Disney traveler (with 40+ trips under her belt) finds herself in a spot every trip realizing we don't have allergy-friendly snacks, or another water bottle, or forgot the sunscreen for myself! You can usually find these things wherever you are, but the frustration can seem insurmountable. Find a cast member if you need help locating something. Also, set an alarm on your phone, or have your significant other double check you before you leave the room. These are the things that make happy Disney people into bloody stumps of human beings. Protect yourself.

6. Enjoy your family - I know it can be hard when everyone seems to be needy at the same time. I hate seeing people upset with their families in Disney. (Like, maybe, shouting at your husband on the bridge to Be Our Guest; guilty!) I try to say yes as much as possible when in Disney, and try to remember that this trip is making memories for me and my family. I want to make them good ones. Although that's not always possible. As my therapist likes to say, it's either a great trip or a great story!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sitting with Grandmother Willow | Lauren Tanner of Crafting to Disney

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

Lauren and I are both Disney Certified Travel Planners for Wishdrawals. She also has a passion for Disney DIY so we connected immediately! I'm so glad she could join us on the blog this month!

Disney By The Numbers (with apologies to Harpers)

# of trips you have made: only 5 :(

Date of first trip: I'm not sure of the exact date. I was maybe 4 so sometime around 1986? I went with my Mom and Dad and older sister. I remember my brother staying home with my grandmother because he was still too young. I feel like he was a baby. My mom sold Tupperware and they had a confrence every year in Orlando. We extended the work trip to include a Disney Vacation.

Date of next trip: 9/18/15 CAN'T STINKIN WAIT!

# of Resorts stayed in: Two. I tend to be a creature of habbit.

Usual # in your travel party: My family of 4. My grumpy husband and my two boys- ages 10 and 4.

Pairs of mouse ears in your cottage: 5, but I have learned how to make Minne headbands so that number is growing!

WDW or Disneyland (or other)? WDW. We live in Georgia, so it's an easy drive. I can't wait to make it to Disneyland though!

How do you usually travel to Disney? Driving. It's an easy 6 hours.

Do you have any tips for trips? Plan, plan, plan. My 4 year old has special needs and planning ahead of time has been key to our success in the parks.

Do you have a favorite place to eat while in Disney? we LOVE Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom and Tusker House in Animal Kingdom.

What is your absolute DON'T MISS attraction? Pirates of the Caribbean. I love that it is such a classic- I remember it from childhood! My boys love anything Captaian Jack Sparrow, so it's a win win!

Stage shows, yes or no? Nah, my youngest can't sit through them.

Parades, yes or no? Nope again. Same as before. We can't keep him still long enough to get a good spot to watch them from.

Best Fast Pass to get: For my family, one that we can all use is Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Peter Pan's Flight. The big rides are great, but my little guy is still too young so we have to do rider swap.

Favorite park: ALL OF THEM! I can't pick one, they are each perfect in thier own way!

One piece of advice you'd give a novice about WDW/DL: Look at a map before you go. It's nice to know what to expect before you walk into the massive parks!

How do you create extra magic for your family? I make t-shirts for the kids to wear, decorate our resort window, bring things like Disney Pez Despensers to put in my park backpack, trade pins with them... The list could go on for a while!

How can we connect with you?