Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Quick New Year's Eve Disney Printables

Spoonful's Mickey Glitter Ball Printable
Can you believe it's New Year's Eve already? We have a local celebration for the kids at noon today, so the party for them will end well before midnight. But I wanted to offer a few fun activities for them while the grown ups get ready for our annual hors d'ouvers and TV viewing celebration.

Spoonful to the rescue! If you've never visited, Spoonful is Disney's DIY blog with tons of fun and clever ideas. For tonight's celebration they have some cute and quick printables to make your evening fun! I love the Mickey's New Year Wishlist. We don't do resolutions around here, but we do set intentions and I love how this would work right into that. And the Mickey Mouse Glitter Ball Mobile is too cute! I can see that dangling from the light over our dining table. Perfect for the kids. There's a lot more on the Spoonful website, including all manner of hats and crowns, a celebration banner and even some recipe ideas. And all the decorations can be printed right from home! Easy for a last minute party.

Happy New Year, Mousekateers! Until next time, may your new year be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Disney Parks Gingerbread Cookies DIY

I know Christmas has come and gone, but we celebrate all the way through New Years. And I wanted to share this incredible gingerbread recipe for all you Disney lovers out there. This comes from our vintage Disney cookbook, Mickey's Gourmet Cookbook. It's the same thing you'll find at the Monorail Cafe in the Disneyland Hotel (is that place still around? -- I'm no expert on Disneyland!), and the Candy Cauldron in Downtown Disney.

If you've never made gingerbread cookies, I will start by saying, this is a process! The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to a week. And this dough is stiff. It takes some real muscle to roll it out! But the payoff is TOTALLY worth it. Here is the recipe for the cookies and the icing. They are good without the icing; they are incredible with it! And if you don't have a pastry bag and tip for the icing, don't fret. Just put it in a ziplock bag and snip a hole in the corner of the bag as demonstrated here.

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

Gingerbread Mickey
yield: approx. 3 dozen cookies

1/4 C unsalted butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C dark molasses
3 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 C water

In a lage mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add dark molasses and blend until completely absorbed.
Sift all dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture in thirds, alternating with water. Blend completely. (I added at least 2 tablespoons more of water and I think I could have even added more. the dough did not want to hold together.)
Store dough, wrapped in plastic, in refrigerator until well chilled.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease cookie sheet (or use Silpat mats)
Roll dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into desired shapes.
Bake on cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes, depending on size. Cool on a wire rack.
Cookies can be decorated before baking with nuts and candies, or when cool with royal icing.

Royal Icing

1 pinch (1/8 tsp) cream of tartar
2 egg whites
3 1/2 C powdered sugar, sifted

Add cream of tarter to egg whites. Beat egg whites in a small bowl with electric mixer at high speed until whites hold a soft peak. Reduce speed and gradually add sifted powdered sugar. Continue to whip frosting until a smooth, spreadable consistency is reached.
At this point, frosting can be separated into small bowls and colored with food coloring, as desired. Frosting will become very hard when dry.

Note: before preparation of frosting, make sure all utensils are free of any grease or oil and egg whites are free of any yolk. Egg whites will not whip if mixed with any type of oil or fat.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

From all of us here at Merryweather's Cottage, we wish you peace and joy this holiday season! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Bouillabaisse from Epcot's France Pavilion For Your Christmas Dinner Menu

Bouillabaisse from Disney's Bistro de Paris
I love a good Disney meal. And Bouillabaisse is one of my favorite dishes! It's been cold here in central Indiana, as it tends to be this time of year. This stew is a perfect warm and hearty meal to sit down to. And it's elegant enough to serve at your Christmas table.

On our most recent trip to Walt Disney World, I was in search of a new Disney cookbook. We've had Mickey's Gourmet Cookbook for years, and I still reference it regularly. But I was ready for a new collection of recipes. I came home with this wonderful book: Delicious Disney. I couldn't be happier. It has a wide variety of recipes and although this one seems extravagant, it was really simple to put together. I did this for a week night meal. I purchased seafood stock instead of making my own and used canned tomatoes since the fresh ones we get in winter are not worth eating. The bouillabaisse got rave reviews from everyone but the kids (which I expected). Here's the recipe:

Bouillabaisse Provençale
serves 8

2 cloves garlic
1 shallot, sliced
1 bay leaf
2 cups peeled fresh tomatoes (I used canned)
2 cups fish stock (I used packaged seafood stock)
1 cup dry white wine (I used a pinot grigio)
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/8 tsp saffron
1 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 T chopped parsley
2 raw lobster tails, without the shell, cut in 4 pieces
1 lb cod, cut in 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 lb sea bass, cut in 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 lb snapper, cut in 1 1/2 inch pieces
12 medium shrimp
8 clams
8 mussels
loaf of crusty bread

1. Heal oil in large stockpot over medium-high heat. dd garlic and shallot, and cook until shallots are tender.

2. Add bay lear, tomatoes, fish stock, wine, fennel seeds, saffron, salt, pepper, and parsley; bring to a boil, reduce heart, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Ten minutes before serving, add lobster, cod, sea bass, and snapper, and cook 5 minutes. Add shellfish and cook 5 more minutes, or until shells open.

4. Ladle into wide serving bowls, and serve with crusty bread.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Until next time, may all your holidays be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Disney Christmas Wrapping Papers & Protecting The Tree

Disney Wrapping Paper
Here's a head's up for all your Disney fanatics out there: Target has a wide selection of adorable Disney wrapping paper and tags this season! I'm usually not a big fan of the licensed papers; they are too much about the characters and not enough about the feeling of the season. But this year I think Disney has done a marvelous job of creating papers with a muted color pallet and a warm cozy feeling that I just couldn't resist! If you haven't done your wrapping, you might want to check this out. (I'm not paid to say this, I just really like this selection this year!)

Plus, we need a LOT of wrapping paper, as we use giant boxes to bar the kids from ransacking the Christmas tree. We used this technique for Doc when he was a toddler; one of my former co-workers told me about it and it worked like a charm! And it's is working well for Little Chef and Minnie too. I don't put anything in the boxes, and I didn't put bows on them this year either - last year they were pulled off repeatedly! But if you need a little weight in the bottom of each box, a couple of heavy books (which we have a LOT of) work well for us. I like how it doesn't take away from the Christmasy look of our tree but still does the job of keeping them at arms length, especially with Minnie pulling up on everything right now!

I hope you are getting a little time to slow down and enjoy the holiday season. Until next time, may all your holidays be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

DIY Disney 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments | From Toys to Ornaments

 You've probably seen this idea on Pinterest, at least some version of it. It's so simple, yet I love the idea, especially if you do a kid tree. Especially if you've collected a bunch of random Disney toys. Especially if you live in a household where it's so hard to throw anything away!

I thought I would paint all the toys, but as I was looking at Rexie from Toy Story, I realized he's much more recognizable without the paint. So I left him alone. Donald was already discolored and having a little trouble, so he was the perfect candidate to be gilded! I am certain that spray paint would have been a much easier choice, but I didn't have any gold spray paint on hand and didn't want to buy an entire can of it just for this little toy. I'm all about trying to use what I already have. So I decided to give brush painting a try. And I'm quite pleased with the result! He looks much better than he did, and as I've said before, I love a sparkly Christmas tree!

This was extremely easy to do. I used 3/16" Screw Eye Rings to attach the hanger. I would recommend finding a smaller size if possible; these are just a little too big for my taste. Perhaps these 12mm ones would be better, although I haven't used them. You can tie thread to the eyes, or use traditional ornament hooks to hang them from the tree (or anywhere else you may have in mind!). I think these would be darling attached to a gift for a child, as well.

And that brings our 12 Days of DIY Disney Ornaments to a close! I've had so much fun putting this together this holiday season. I hope to bring you another 12 Days of Disney Christmas next year. Until next time, may all your holidays be filled with fairy dust!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hello Podcast!

I have recorded my first podcast! If you love adding a little extra pixie dust to your trips then be sure to catch today's podcast over at Capturing Magic! (You can also subscribe to Capturing Magic through your Podcast App on your iPhone; simply search "Capturing Magic.") You'll learn about all sorts of ways to sprinkle that magical dust on your next vacation. Thanks so much to Steph for the opportunity!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DIY Disney 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments | Park Map Pomander

I saw this map ornament tutorial from A Living Space on Pinterest and I knew there was another great Disney ornament waiting to be created! After all, who doesn't bring home a handful of park maps from their Disney vacation?

If you are already a scrapbooker or paper crafter, then you probably have everything you need to create this ornament. I was able to create this one for under $2.00. That's budget friendly! (And possibly a beautiful, inexpensive, handmade gift for that Disney-loving friend!)

To create this ornament, I used:

  • a 1" circle punch
  • 2 Magic Kingdom maps
  • a paper maché ball ornament (but you could use any ornament you have on hand)
  • my tape runner for adhesive 
I knew the tape runner would be fine as I was adhering paper to paper. If you ever wonder which adhesive to use for your project, This To That is a great resource. I use it all the time. You simply put in the materials you want to adhere, and it supplies you with a glue that will accommodate your project.

This ornament was really easy to make too! The park map paper didn't always punch out smoothly, but I was able to clean up any circles that didn't punch out perfectly with my scissors. I made this ornament within 30 minutes. That's a project I can handle! Until next time, may all your holidays be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

DIY Disney 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments | Felt Cookie Cutter Ornaments

This is something I did way back in high school, and yes, it still hangs on my tree. It's faded and the sequins have lost a little of their sparkle, but seeing it every year is almost as important as the star on top of the tree for me. I've mentioned before that my family was a Fort Wilderness family. Whenever we went to Disney, we camped. And we almost always travelled with two other families who also camped. Our sites were right next to each other. I was the oldest kid and when I found out we were going to be in Disney for Christmas I was beyond excited! I knew there would be a tree at one of our three campsites that we could use as a Christmas tree, so I rounded up the other kids (there were at least 8 of us) and got busy organizing Operation Xmas Decor. We collected whatever old decorations our parents would give us, strung popcorn for garland and made some ornaments to decorate what was sure to be the coolest tree in the campgrounds.

Upon arrival, I realized, incredibly, that there was not a single usable pine tree among all three lots. Crushing! But not to be deterred, we found a small deciduous tree and decked it out to the hilt! It was the perfect thing for us to do with the adults got the campers situated. (There was always a lot of tension in getting the campers in just so. I think ours had to be cursed at just right before it would cooperate.)

Well let me be the first to admit, that tree was ugly! In that sort of hard-to-look-at ugly Christmas sweater way. But man were we proud of it! I wish someone had taken a picture. The one drawback was that every morning when the trash collection came around they would always slow down as they passed that tree, as if they were contemplating how it came to be and if they should just put it out of it's misery. I took to waking up with mom or dad to make the coffee so I could be outside and protect our ugly-tree from certain demise.

And this, dear friends, is the last remaining vestige of that awesome and glorified tree: my felt Mickey. It's completely hand sewn and kinda lumpy, but it has lived to tell a great tale.

To make this ornament, I folded a piece of white felt and traced around a cookie cutter. I then cut out two pieces. I hand stitched them together, leaving a small opening at the bottom. I turned him inside out, and stuffed him with fiberfil. I then closed up the opening and stitched on the sequins for embellishment. And I have to admit, that this is one of my more cherished ornaments on our tree! Simple and easy and chalk full of great memories.

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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

DIY Disney 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments | Rose Pomanders for Belle & Alice

These rose ornaments struck me the moment I saw them on Pinterest! I immediately thought of Belle and knew I wanted to make yellow roses, reminiscent of her fancy ball gown. And when our Poppins suggested a "Painting the Roses Red" pomander, I was sold! The whole time I was putting that one together, I was humming along in my head! And truthfully, you won't believe how easy these are to do.

To make these I simply followed the tutorial over at Under The Table and Dreaming. She recommends using hot glue, but I found that tacky glue worked well for me. And instead of gluing the roses together as I made them, I formed the spiral tissue, spread glue all over the ball, and then formed the rosettes on the ball. I found it easier that way. I also used an egg carton to hold the ornaments steady as I was working on them, the same way I did with the Monster's Inc. Pomanders. Lastly, instead of gluing on embellishments, I used the same pearlized straight pins from the Monster's Inc. ornaments, in the centers of these roses. I liked how it looked and felt that it gave it that extra bit of security.

These were so quick to do, I made both of these from start to finish in an hour. And the cost was minimal. I had everything I needed at home with the exception of the styrofoam balls. And they look so elegant. No one will believe that they are just tissue paper and straight pins! Until next time, may all your holidays be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sitting With Grandmother Willow | Hannah from Judy & Park

Judy & Park Bows
As part of our on-going series, Sitting with Grandmother Willow, I am happy to introduce Hannah, of Judy & Park, a beautiful Disney bow maker. This series of blog posts highlights artists and bloggers of all stripes with one thing in common: a passion for Disney! I hope you will enjoy getting to know Hannah as much as I have. And be sure to visit her shop for a host of unique Disney bows!

Disney by the numbers (with apologies to Harpers):

# of trips you have made: 30+
Date of first trip: Too young to remember. Maybe 1988
Date of next trip: Summer 2014 
# of Resorts stayed in: Disneyland resort multiple times. 
Usual # in your travel party: 2-4
Pairs of mouse ears in your cottage: 0! But a ton of disney bows. 

WDW or Disneyland (or other)? Disneyland. 

How do you usually travel to Disney? Sometimes road trip. Sometimes fly. 

Do you have any tips for trips? Don't overplan everything, have downtime, talk to people, make new friends. 

Do you have a favorite place to eat while in Disney? Blue bayou, it's always where we stop to make a reservation after riding our first ride (pirates of the Caribbean everytime)

What is your absolute DON'T MISS attraction? Pirates of the Caribbean, just the smell stirs up a sense of emotion. 

Stage shows, yes or no? Yes! It's a great time to rest those tired feet! While still having a great time. 

Parades, yes or no? I take advantage of parade crowds and jump on the popular rides while the main st is overcrowded. 

Best Fast Pass to get: Indiana jones and space mountain. 

Favorite park: Disneyland! I love the old storybook rides. 

One piece of advice you'd give a novice about WDW/DL: wear comfortable shoes, and try new things! 

How do you create extra magic for your family: I plan all of our vacations for my husband and I. I save the money and all he has to do is show up. I feel like I'm doing something special for him because he works so hard for us. I also like to secretly plan with his family, so he can see people he doesn't see regularly. 

How can we connect with you?
IG: @Judyandpark or @urfriendhannah

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Scrapping Disney | Dumbo's Storybook Circus

I've been wanting to start a Project Life style scrapbook for a while now, and a new year seems like a great time to start.  I'm a digital scrapbooker, as most of you know, so I wanted some Disney specific cards and elements for scrapping our latest trip.  Brittney at britt-ish designs, and Sahlin Studio have a collaboration that is exactly what I was looking for! Their Project Mouse: FANTASY edition is really amazing. Not only is it themed for Storybook Circus, but also for everything else you can find in Fantasyland, old and new! All our favorites are represented: It's A Small World, Mad Hatter's Tea Cups, Peter Pan, even Be Our Guest! And the design is very modern and fresh.

I am really in love with how easy the product is to use and the layout went together in a snap! I think as I get more familiar with using the Project Life system, I will find it even faster than this one was. I hope so! Who knows, I might even find myself getting caught up on my scrapbooking in the near future! (Hey, a girl can dream.) For the template on this layout, I used the Digital Pocket Page Protector collection from Scrap Girls, another company I have loved for digital scrapbooking supplies. If you are a digital scrapper you really should check out all the Project Mouse products. I'm not getting paid to say so, I simply love the design!

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

DIY Disney 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments | Mad Hatter's Top Hat

I found this little gem on Pinterest and immediately knew that I wanted to make it the Mad Hatter's top hat! I used the pattern, but lost the instructions. So I punted in making this. I actually used the sewing machine to put it together. I would NOT do that again! I would strongly recommend following the instructions provided by Angel. It would be so much easier than trying to sew it together!

Other than that, here are the variations on my little Mad Hatter's hat:

  • Instead of using fleece, as the pattern calls for, I used felt; specifically, felt from The Purl Bee. I love the quality of it. 
  • To decorate mine, I used a strip of contrasting felt and a ribbon slide I had in my scrapbooking stash. I created the 10/6 tag from a bit of card stock. 
  • I used tacky glue to adhere my embellishments. It worked very well.
  • I used super glue to adhere the alligator clip to the brim (because I was too lazy to get out the glue gun!). I would recommend the glue gun for a stronger hold. I had to reapply the super glue, but second time's a charm. It was quite stable after the second application.
So this wasn't the easiest ornament to put together - mostly because I was too disorganized to do it right! But I do love the end result, and I must say, so does Little Chef. He wore it for hours!

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

Thursday, December 5, 2013

DIY Disney 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments | Sequined Monsters Inc. Pomanders

These pomander ornaments are reminiscent of the ornaments my grandma would make with beads, sequins and straight pins. Her's were much more elaborate than mine and I've always admired them. They were the inspiration to create these Mike and Sully themed ornaments. I am so happy with their sparkly nature! And while these ornaments were easy enough to make, they were very time consuming. I needing a place to make a good mess and leave it out for a while. But with that, they were fun to put together!

What you will need:
2  3" styrofoam balls
a package of mixed sequins
1 googly eye
3 packages of straight pins with pearl heads
thread for hanging

I was surprised at how many pins this project took! I needed 1 1/2 packages for each pomander. And because I layered the sequins on each pin 2 or 3 at a time, these are fairly heavy ornaments.

For the Mike Wazowski ball, I started with the googly eye. I then started layering sequins on straight pins and pushing them directly into the ball. One thing I love about this project is that it requires no glue! I had fun layering these sequins this way and that, all around the ball. I did the same thing for the Sully themed ornament without using the googly eye. I decided to make the sequins tighter around the Sully ornament, as the white from the styrofoam was more obvious with the darker colors. I didn't mind the gaps between the sequins as much on the Mike Wazowski ball.

To hang, I made a loop of thread, tied it around one of the pins (and under a sequin or two) and pushed it in. That's it. They've been hanging for a week now with no evidence that it will pull the pin out, despite the weight of the ornaments.

And that's it! Shiny happy Christmas ornaments reminding you that laughter is the best medicine, what could be better? Until next time, may all your holidays be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Disney DIY 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments | It's A Small World Cross Stitch Ornament

We all know I love Mary Blair and It's A Small World -- a lot. So I'm sure it's no surprise that I had to figure out a Small World themed Christmas ornament for this series! And if you've been following the blog for a while, you might remember these plastic canvas blocks I made for the kiddos. As it turns out, the same pattern works quite well for a small cross stitched ornament! So here's the skinny on what I did:

I found a kit for a cross stitched ornament in the clearance bin at JoAnn's. It was less than a dollar. It was for a beach chair, but that didn't really matter, as all I wanted was the canvas and frame.

I then used my own It's A Small World boy pattern to stitch the image of the little boy on the canvas. I decided to have him holding a green pine spring instead of the white sheet music from the other image. He wasn't quite big enough to fill the frame alone, so I created a small border around him and voila! It was done! If you want the pattern, simply click on the photo to enlarge it. It should be big enough to copy.

I followed the directions in the kit for how to assemble it, which entailed cutting out the canvas, adhering the backing and then adhering the canvas to the frame. In all I was able to stitch the design during nap time (45 minutes) and put together in about 20 minutes, including drying time. If you already have the floss colors you need, and the super glue to adhere it, then you have a handmade ornament for under a dollar! Not bad for such a unique gift.

I hope you are finding some time to enjoy the holidays, and until next time, may all your holidays be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Disney DIY 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments | Wishing Star Ornament

Welcome back to our 12 Days of DIY Christmas Ornaments series! This ornament was so easy I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner!

About a year ago we had breakfast with the Princesses at Cinderella's Royal Table. We were even lucky enough to get seating before park opening, so we had some awesome opportunities for photos with just our family in them! Definitely something to think about when making your ADRs. There are lots of special little things that happen, and one of them is that you get a special plastic "wishing star" with your place setting. We are the sort of people who take all the little trinkets and freebies with us. It was cute, but it didn't really have a purpose and that gnaws at me a little. I like things to be meaningful and serve a purpose. So when I was thinking about my 12 days of Christmas project it dawned on me that we have 2 of these little cuties and they would be perfect on the Christmas tree!

The ornament itself was super simple. I cut a length of ribbon about 8", and stuck it in between the two stars while I superglued them together. That's it! So simple and a fun reminder of that morning at dinner. Of course, I could write the date and place on it with a Sharpie so the kids will know why it's on the tree when I am old and can't remember. But our tree is like that. It's a great big memory-keeper. And I love that.

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

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Disney DIY 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments | Park Maps Star

Today we have a very budget friendly ornament for your Christmas tree. I spent all of $1.00 to create it. And even better, this ornament is quite simple. I think anyone could make this for their own family or as an inspired gift. I like how this star shape references Disney's Hollywood Studios, but you could conceivably use any shape that suited your particular park map. (A castle for the Magic Kingdom, an animal shape for the Animal Kingdom, etc.)

I started with a paper mache star from the $1 bin at Michaels, and a map from Disney's Hollywood Studios. I traced the star onto the map making sure the parts of the map I wanted (i.e. The Sorcerer's Hat and Star Tours) would be visible. I then used Gel Medium to adhere the map to the star. If you don't have that, Mod Podge would work equally as well. I made sure to give it a good two coats and dried it thoroughly between each one. When it was dry, I went over the edges of the star with gold craft paint. It seemed to fit the glamor of Hollywood. As I have mentioned, I also love sparkly ornaments on the tree! And that's it! Once it was dry it was ready for display. You could further embellish this with a date from a family trip, or glitter and sequins. It's really all up to your creative whims!

I love the holidays, and I hope this project inspires you to  infuse a bit of Disney magic into your holiday season. Until next time, may your holidays be filled with fairy dust!

Monday, November 25, 2013

DIY Disney 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments | Silhouette Mickey Paper Ornament

Welcome back to our next 12 Days of Christmas project! You are going to love this ornament project; it was so easy! And if you have the supplies already, it might even be free! I didn't have the paper I wanted, so I went to my local JoAnn's and purchased this Disney themed paper for $1 a sheet. That felt expensive, until I realized I could make 9 ornaments from my 5 sheets of paper. That makes these ornaments 55¢ each. Not too shabby for trimming your tree on a budget! (Or for giving inexpensive gifts, or as a special embellishment for your gifts....)

To create this ornament I used the 3D Traditional Christmas Tree Ornament shape by Lori Whitlock (design ID 34926) for my Silhouette SD. I used the 7 setting on the blade for both the Disney paper, which seemed thicker than other scrapbooking paper, and the glitter card stock. It worked like a dream. I used bakers twine to create the hanger, but you could use any other ribbon or string you have on hand. I simply made a loop and taped it to the inside of the ornament. I used my tape runner to adhere the sides together and that was it! This is most certainly a nap time friendly craft. It took me under 15 minutes to make this from start to finish.

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

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Disney DIY 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments | Geodesic Ornament

Today we look at a beautiful geodesic orb ornament. And if cost-cutting is your objective this Christmas, you are gonna love this ornament! I was able to make if from completely free supplies and embellish it with objects I already owned. Nothing says "budget friendly" like "FREE!"

Here's the nitty gritty details:

I started with this tutorial from Balzer Designs.

My materials were all the same as those listed with the exception of scrapbooking papers; I used paint chip samples instead. I love them because the are nice and stiff and best of all, free! I used the larger ones, as I knew I would need to get a circle with a 1.75" diameter out of them. I also added a few supplies:
a bead for the end of the ribbon (from my mom's stash), a castle punch for embellishing (which I picked up at the parks years ago), a sharpie for personalizing the ornament, and glitter glue for the edges (both of which I already had on hand).

I followed the tutorial exactly. I wasn't too concerned about getting an exact match for the folds of the triangles. Because of this, my edges were a little uneven in some places. I solved this problem by adding the glitter glue to the edges. It worked like a charm. I also decided to add some writing to commemorate the trip we took in 2012. If you decide to do this too, write on the pieces BEFORE you adhere them to one another. It's much easier!

The entire project took me about an hour, with the exception of the glitter glue which takes a while to dry. One could easily make several of these over the course of two nap times. All in all, not a bad way to add beautiful ornaments to your tree for free!

I used colors that were inspired by Cinderella and her castle, but you could easily alter this to reflect your favorite Disney character, park, resort, ship, etc. I hope you enjoy creating your own unique Disney ornament. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

From Belle's Library | Creating Magic by Lee Cockerell

This month's book selection is Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney, by Lee Cockerell. I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. I loved it. Mr. Cockerell sets out to share his 10 guiding principles from a life of management inside and outside Disney. At first I wasn't sure I would really like this book, because I am a stay at home mom and blogger. My world is my kids and my craft room. I mean really, what can a book on management strategies have to offer me? As it turns out, a lot.

As the title says, these are common sense strategies and I found that I was able to apply several Disney principles to managing my family. I especially loved Chapter 9 entitled, "Burn the Free Fuel," the free fuel being admiration and recognition of your employees (or family members). As Lee says, this is a renewable resource. In fact, the more you do it, the more of it you have to burn. And there are some great stories about how Disney Cast Members are recognized in ways we, the guests, would never see. I'm a huge fan of Disney and I know working for the mouse has not always been lauded as wonderful, but knowing these stories, and there are lots of great stories, confirms for me that what I love about Disney is prevalent throughout the company, not just isolated to the guest experience. I almost makes me proud.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone. Not just the obvious managers, but to teachers and administrators, stay at home moms, nurses and caregivers, anyone who has to juggle the schedules of others and themselves. It's the sort of advice that can apply to everyone. And the sort of advice it's easy to forget in the daily hum of life. Thanks for the reminder, Lee.

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Disney DIY 12 Days of Christmas Ornaments | Egg Carton Ornament Tutorial

I'm a huge fan of the holidays! So this year for our inaugural celebration on the blog, we are going to do 12 day of Christmas with handmade tree ornaments. From now until Christmas you will see tutorials for 12 different ways to bring a little Disney magic to your Christmas celebrations! It's not the same as being at the parks, but for those of us who can't be there, this will be a way to remember the magic at this magical time of the year.

When my mom and dad were just starting out, they were strapped for money (as most of us are). They didn't have a lot of money for decorating the Christmas tree, so they got creative. I guess making ornaments out of egg cartons was popular in the 70s. My folks made these ornaments for their very first Christmas tree. Even though we can all afford a bit more, these are actually some of my favorite ornaments on our tree. We still put them up every year. And of course, I wanted to make some Disney themed ones, so let me show you exactly how I made them.

Materials you will need:

  • empty paper egg carton
  • paint (red & white)
  • thread or baker's twine (to hang)
  • card stock (black)
  • Disney punch (I used Mickey)
  • glitter glue
  • a button or bead

1. Cut Out and Prep Egg Carton
I used the pointy part of the egg carton instead of the shallow cups the eggs sit in. I cut out two of these and painted the insides of them white. I used two coats of paint as the egg carton material really soaked up the paint!

2. Punch Out Mickey and Prep for Hanging
I used a Mickey Mouse punch and punched him out of black card stock. I trimmed the card stock corners so it would fit in the space inside the completed ornament. I used my awl and poked a hole in the top of the Mickey paper and strung some thread through it, tying it into a loop; this will be the ornament hanger, so make sure it's long enough to loop over a branch.

3. Insert Mickey
I wanted my Mickey embellishment to dangle freely inside, so I tied a button to the thread about a half inch above the Mickey. This served as a positive stop for the thread and left room for Mickey to dangle inside the ornament. I then threaded the loop through the top of the egg carton piece. Mine already had a hole in the top; if yours doesn't, then simply use an awl to punch a hole through the pointed side of the egg carton piece and thread your loop of thread through it.

4. Glue Egg Carton Pieces Together
I used Gel Medium/Mod Podge to glue my egg carton pieces together, but Elmer's glue, Perfect Paper Adhesive or even Super Glue would work. To keep them in place, I used small hardware clamps. You could also use bulldog clips if you have them. I set this aside for about an hour to let it fully dry. Once it's dry you should have something that resembles an ornament. You just need to decorate it!

5. Paint the Ornament
I used red craft paint to cover the outside of my ornament. It only needed one coat of the red, but make sure you don't have any missed spots. I found that the egg carton paper made it difficult to get all the spots without a little touching up.

6. Glitter the edges
I like my tree (and my Christmas!) to sparkle. So I decided to use some glitter glue around the edges of the ornament to give it some pizzazz. I think it also helped to cover up some of the unevenness of the egg carton paper. Let it dry and you have your very own unique Disney-themed Christmas ornament! And for me, it was completely free. I had all the materials I needed at home! And wouldn't Jiminy Cricket be so proud of us?

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

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thanksgiving Prep the Disney Way

Thanksgiving is a big deal holiday in our family; on par and sometimes even bigger than Christmas in terms of getting together and preparing. We have even done Thanksgiving in Disney a time or two, the most fantastic was definitely when my Aunt and Uncle reserved a Grand Villa at the Boardwalk and prepared our traditional Thanksgiving feast for the entire family. What fantastic memories we have!

One of the things we always do is create a schedule for cooking. Mr. Photos from the Parks is a sensational cook and always in charge of our meals. (Sometimes we have two feasts, one with our traditional menu and one with a less traditional menu. This is usually our "friendsgiving" meal.) I am usual in charge of the baking. We have a couple resources that we like to use.

The first is this adorable Disney Planner. You can download it here.

The second is this handy chart that King Arthur had in one on its magazines last year. It's extremely helpful in timesaving for this busy mom! It gives a break down of everything that can be prepared up to 5 weeks in advance and how to freeze and reheat. Life altering.

I hope this eases your holiday cooking burden and makes it at least a little more fun! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

DIY Disney Incredible Superhero Cuffs

Happy has been very into playing dress up lately; especially pretending he has super powers! It's something Doc never really liked. So we are a little sparse in the costume/superhero department. When I started scouring the inter-webs for some quick and dirty costumes and accessories, I found these incredibly easy (pardon the pun!) superhero cuffs from Kate's Creative Space. How could I say no?

When I say easy, I mean it. This fits well into the department of nap-time friendly crafts. Kate has the tutorial and the printables all on her blog. All you need is a couple of empty toilet paper tubes and some glue, and you're all set. She shows you how to embellish them a bit too, if you're so inclined. I just love how these turned out. And talk about budget friendly too! I don't care what Happy decides to do with them. I didn't invest much time and they didn't cost me a dime. It's hard to beat that kind of Disney magic. It might even make you feel a little Super.

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Getting Fit With Disney

We have made a commitment to a healthy lifestyle here at the cottage. Having kids late in life can do that! And true to my passion for Disney, I have infused a little Disney magic into my workouts. Now if I were a runner, there would be no doubt that I would register for any number of runDisney events. But my old knees have been battered enough and running just doesn't do it for me. Too bad, as that would be a serious motivation for me! But instead I use an exercise bike, walk the neighborhood with the kids (or the dog), and go to yoga and bootcamp classes at a local fitness center.

The easiest way to get a little Disney in my workout is though music. I especially like Mouse House (which we bought at DTD in 1996!) and the Millennium Celebration Album. Lucky for you, both albums are available; Mouse House can be downloaded through iTunes, and the Millennium Celebration can be purchased though Amazon.  I also like a little Mickey Mouse Disco thrown in here and there! If you grew up in the late 70s and 80s, you know exactly what I'm talking about! You can also get this album through iTunes.

When I am working hard on the bike, there is nothing better for me than the Millennium Celebration album. I also have a map of Epcot hanging where I can see it. One lap around World Showcase is 1.1 mile. I can currently do 6 laps in 30 minutes! I love imagining which countries I'm passing as I cruise around the lagoon. Anything to make that time go by just a little faster, right?

When I'm walking, I like to listen to podcasts. It's s little easier to concentrate when I'm not pushing myself as hard as I do on the bike. Even the little ones like to listen. If you are new to Disney podcasts, let me recommend my three favorites: WDW RadioCommunicore Weekly, and Wedway Radio. All of these podcasts offer their take on Disney related "stuff" from music to film to books and events. These guys know their stuff! You're guaranteed to learn something new, and if you're a a Disney buff, there's plenty to spark those great memories. (And if you are road tripping to the happiest place on earth, these are a great way to pass the time too!)

Enjoy infusing a bit of Disney into your workouts or family life this week. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sitting With Grandmother Willow | Meet Steph of Capturing Magic

As part of our on-going series, Sitting with Grandmother Willow, I am happy to introduce Steph, of Capturing Magic, a fabulous resource for creating and keeping those wonderful Disney memories. This series of blog posts highlights artists and bloggers of all stripes with one thing in common: a passion for Disney! I hope you will enjoy getting to know Steph as much as I have. And be sure to visit her website for a host of unique Disney memory ideas!

Disney by the Numbers (with apologies to Harper's):

# of trips you have made: WDW 6; DL 13 (I think)
Date of first trip: May 1983
Date of next trip: November 2013 I will be doing Disneyland and Disney World within the same week. I'm hoping to hit all 6 parks within 24 hours. We will see if I can make it or not!
# of Resorts stayed in: onsite at WDW 3; this next trip we will hit 3 different resorts.
Usual # in your travel party:  it varies widely from 1 all of the way to huge groups of Disney friends
Pairs of mouse ears in your cottage: 5

WDW or Disneyland (or other)? 
I love them both for different reasons and I'm not sure I could pick one over the other. There is a distinct feeling in each park and though different, both are equally magical!  I love WDW because it's so affordable to stay onsite compared to DL; I love all of the resorts. I love WDW because of the size and vast amount of things to do. I love DL because of the rich history. I also LOVE Radiator Springs and World of Color (my favorite nighttime show out of all 6 parks). I love how excited Cast Members get at DL when the realize I travelled more than just an hour or two to come to the park. 

How do you usually travel to Disney? 
FLY. I would need to move to live close enough to drive to either DL or WDW...which would be fine with me! ;) 

Do you have any tips for trips? Oh my! Sooooo many tips that I share on my site and podcast.  Probably my number one tip is to always PLAN! The people that I talk to that don't like Disney are also the ones that didn't have a good plan in place (they are also the people that went to WDW during Spring Break and DL during the summer). Take the time to figure out what parks will have the lowest crowds on what days and how you will tour them. Do this before leaving home and it will not be time wasted!  My other tip is to pre-order PhotoPass. It will save you a lot of money and knowing ahead of time that you have already paid for the photos, you will stop more to get photos, and the photographers will take more photos if you let them know that you will be getting the downloads. If you will be riding rides that have photos, GET PHOTOPASS+!!

Do you have a favorite place to eat while in Disney? 
Disneyland: Almost everything! My sisters and I joked on our last girls trip that we ate our way around the park. On that trip, we got to eat at Club 33 for the first time. The food was really great!  I love Carthay Circle, Bengal Tiger, Carnation Cafe, Jolly Holliday...the list is long.

What is your absolute DON'T MISS attraction?
DL: Radiator Racers and Toy Story Mania; WDW Toy Story Mania

Stage shows, yes or no?
I love Mickey and the Magical Map at Disneyland and I can't miss "World of Color".

Parades, yes or no?
yes! I love them! "Mickey's Boo To You" parade during the "Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween" party at WDW is my favorite parade from all of the parks.

Best Fast Pass to get:
Disneyland: Radiator Racers; WDW: Toy Story Mania

Best fireworks:
Halloween Scream during Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland is my favorite fireworks show out of all of the parks.

Favorite park:
At WDW it would have to be Magic Kingdom (although I love them all); Disneyland...I'm going to say that now, it is California Adventure. I spend more time there usually than DL because of the overhaul and Radiator Springs.

One piece of advice you'd give a novice about WDW/DL:
You can't do Disneyland in one day!
You need at least a week to see WDW!

How do you create extra magic for your family?
On my last trip with just my sisters, I made them each a shirt with my Silhouette that had either their favorite character or a favorite quote on it.  I also gave them each some little Disney related gifts that weren't expensive, but they were thrilled with the unexpected magic. 

How can we connect with you?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

DIY Disney Road Trip Plastic Bag Dispenser

Disney Themed Plastic Bag Dispenser from Lysol Wipes Canister
This may be the first thing I ever pinned on Pinterest. I thought it was BRILLIANT! Seriously. We are always looking for a trash bag, a puke bag, a doggie pick-up-the-mess bag, a toss the diaper bag,  you name it. Traveling with the family can be messy! And now that I have an empty Lysol wipes can it's time to get to work!

If you have young ones in the house and are as Disney-crazed as we are, chances are you know all about the Handy Helpers. If not, let me fill you in. Disney Jr. made a genius decision when it started running The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Finally a way to connect a younger audience with the classic characters. It's fun, educational (as much as these things can be), and pleasant to listen to (unlike certain other Nick Jr. explorers). In the clubhouse, Mickey's Handy Helpers do everything from answering the door, to getting the mail, to finding Goofy's stinky shoes. A sort of butler system. So naturally, I thought of the Handy Helpers when I was creating this Road Trip Bag Dispenser.

To get the how to on rolling the bags to fit the canister, check out this tutorial from Tatertots and Jello. It's really easy. Don't worry if you have air bubbles as you roll the bags. It didn't have an adverse effect on ours in any way.

And of course I used my Silhouette SD to cut out the vinyl for the canister. I created a png of the hand from some clip art I found on line. And I used the font Minnie to create the lettering. Once I cut it out and removed the excess vinyl, I used the transfer tape to adhere it to the canister. Realizing this canister is going to be rolling around on the floor of our van for the rest of it's life, I decided to keep the transfer tape on it to help keep the vinyl on and legible! And that's all there is to it! Quick, easy and very handy.

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

DIY Disney Princess Candies

I've been wanting to try my hand at making hard candy for a while now. Last Easter we were living in our nut-free, dye-free world and I decided to make all our Easter candy from scratch. I was really floored by how easy some candy making can be. And I remember long ago in my childhood making hard candies - it was either a women's circle project at church, or a 4-H project. I can't exactly remember; except I do remember feeling like the process was magical. There were only a few ingredients and at the end of the day, they transformed into something truly beautiful. The same thing happened this time too.

Our local JoAnn's recently started carrying LorAnn candy making supplies and I decided it was time to give it a try. We don't do artificial colors and try to steer clear of artificial flavors so I went with the Lemon Oil. The recipe on the back of the box makes a lot more candy than I was prepared for! I had one lollipop tray and one hard candy tray ready to go. As it turned out, I could have used twice that. So I quickly pulled out some additional candy making molds (stars and lego men) to use up what I could. Next time I'll be prepared with more candy trays than I think I'll need. I was also pleased to learn that my Wilton candy making trays worked just as well as the LorAnn trays even though they look like they are made from different material. I lightly oiled the Wilton trays and poured in the candy syrup with the same great results as the LorAnn trays.

If you try this I highly recommend a good candy thermometer. Ours has been used so much that the numbers have scrubbed off and is no longer good for showing temperatures. The old school way of dropping syrup in cold water worked for me, but I couldn't get a good hard crack in the syrup, hence my candy is a bit stickier than I would have liked.  I dusted them in confectioners sugar to keep them from growing too sticky. Nevertheless the candy is very tasty and looks very appropriate for a Disney princess, like glass. The roses reminded me of Belle and the hard candy are shaped like gems. Wouldn't these be adorable at a princess tea party? I'm delighted with how well the first batch came out!

If you are looking for a unique Tinkerbell Treasure, these would certainly fit the bill - and your friends will think you are simply amazing to create something so difficult as candy! No one else has to know how easy it really is. I won't tell them if you don't! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

DIY Disney Boxer Briefs from Tshirts

Ok, I could hardly wait to share this project with you! I think it is A-DOR-A-BLE! I made these underpants from some Tshirts our travel group purchased a few years back. We were all mousekateers for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. (If you've never been to this special event, you really must go. The parade and fireworks alone are worth the price of admission!) These mousekateers are just the kiddos; the adults were in on the fun too! And because I know someone will ask, we ordered the Ts from Zazzle. It was easy for each family to get just what they wanted (and spell all the names correctly!)

And from those fabulous Ts, comes these fabulous unders!

I was shocked at how easy it really was to create these. I plan on making several pair for the potty training days ahead! I used this tutorial from Sew A Straight Line. I used the no-fly version since this was my first attempt at sewing with jersey. I highly recommend reading through her tips on sewing with jersey too. It was extremely helpful for me. (And just as an aside, if you are not familiar with the Celebrate the Boy event hosted by Made By Rae and Made, you really need to be. Such great stuff!)

I used regular elastic for the waistband on these boxer briefs and the ringer edge from the cuffs and collar of the shirts for the leg edges. I cannot tell you how much I love these! And such a great way to reuse shirts that were too small to wear anymore. Jiminy Cricket would be so proud!

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DIY Meeko the Raccoon Sleep Mask

Meeko Sleeping Mask
I enjoy following Imagine Gnats on Instagram. Her blog is pretty amazing too. So when I saw this wonderful idea, posted by Jane of Buzzmills, I knew that it would be a project I would Disney-fy. I have to start by saying I love Disney's Pocahontas story. I know it's not historically accurate, but as far as a story and a princess go, I think it's fantastic. Strong willed and adventurous, Pocahontas is my kind of girl! And her side-kicks are fabulous. Especially Meeko the raccoon. I love his antics. And this eye mask is just calling his name! FYI, these were also part of the Wilderness Welcome Baskets I did for our fall break trip this year.

Altering the pattern was easy. I just googled images of Meeko and changed the eye and nose shapes to mimic his. After that I simply followed the instructions on Imagine Gnats blog page. Viola! We now have a Disney themed eye mask for dress up, or for nap time. And certainly a wonderful idea for Tinkerbell Treasures - light weight and easy to pack! I couldn't be happier with the result!

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

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mary Blair Birthday Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Greg G on winning the magnet set! I'll be sending it out on Monday! Thanks to everyone who participated; it was a lot of fun. We'll have to do it again sometime.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

DIY Disney's Up Themed Tinkerbell Treasures

I have a tendency to go big. You know, go big or go home? Well I tend to go big. Especially at Disney. This idea began when I saw these amazingly cute and super affordable aviator hats at Oriental Trading Co. I mean really? They screamed  Carl and Ellie from Up. I knew I had to have them for the kids. Then they arrived and were even better in person than I thought they would be. Next thing you know, I've ordered them for the adults too, and have plans to have them arrive with balloons. Now that would have been enough, right? Of course it would have, but then I got inspired to make these T-shirts that were from Paradise Falls, and then I saw these perfect grape soda pins from My Hoard over at Etsy, and, well, an entire package was born. This does not fall under the budget-friendly category, as I was purchasing for a group of 16. But if you were in the market for one or two people, you would find this entire package cheaper than a sweatshirt at the Emporium! Not too shabby for a super cool and completely unique Disney themed gift!

The good news is that you too can create this entire Up package for someone you love. Because these Paradise Falls shirts are now on sale through RedBubble. They come in adult and youth sizes! And because we don't want to leave out the littles, there's some baby gear available too!

If you're not familiar with RedBubble, get ready to lose an hour or two of your life. So many terrific artists have unique Disney themed goodies available for purchase. It's one of the first places I look for gifts for my favorite Disney nerd, Mr. Photos From The Parks. I have a few other designs available there too, so feel free to look around! I also love that these T-shirts and pins support individual artisans. That's always a plus in my book.

But the best part of this gift package was the looks on the faces of everyone when they received their gifts. It's why I do all of this in the first place! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

From Belle's Library | My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir, by Dick Van Dyke

Who would have guessed that I found a kindred spirit in Dick Van Dyke? We both have a heart for social justice, love Mary Tyler Moore (platonically), found Mary Poppins to be magical, and want to parent our kids to be grounded and loving. Needless to say, I found this autobiography, My Lucky Live In and Out of Show Business, nothing short of wonderful.

I love how positive Mr. Van Dyke is as he looks back on his life. He admits his struggles and failures, relates some truly horrible experiences, and some amazing times. And all the while I sensed that he was looking back at the entire picture with mild surprise at his good fortune and genuine joy.

As usual, I listened to this book. It was wonderful to hear Dick Van Dyke read it; I can't imagine listening to someone else voice what happened to this man, knowing his voice so well. It was especially fun to hear him reminisce about working with Walt Disney and the Sherman Brothers, and the making of not only Mary Poppins, but also Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. Even THIS Disney girl hasn't seen that movie. Don't worry, I'll be remedying that situation soon!

This book was a truly wonderful read. I would recommend it as a Father's Day or Christmas gift for anyone who has a fondness for the Dick Van Dyke Show, or Mary Poppins. We all know shopping for men can be tricky. Of course, I would also recommend this for the females in your life! If you have read this book, I'd be interested to hear what you thought of it as well.

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

Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Mary Blair!

In honor of Mary Blair's birthday, we are going to have a little give away! As most of you know, Mary Blair is my favorite Disney artist and the woman behind It's A Small World. I can't get enough of her. And today is her birthday!

So while we were recently in Walt Disney World, I picked up this fun little magnet set including the poster for It's A Small World and a fun Poppins Penguins Catering Co. magnet, and I am passing it along to one of my loyal readers! Entering is easy. Simply use the Rafflecopter form below for six chances to win!

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway