Saturday, August 31, 2013

Disney Line Waiting Games

As our trip approaches, I am brushing up on those things that make waiting in line that much better. While many queues are becoming interactive (and we are more than grateful!), there are still those that require a waiting game or two (or five!) to get through. Here are a few I've found that engage our crew's imagination.

The first two, How's Yours and Pits & Cherries are care of More Than Mommies. Great, Good, Gross  I picked up from reading another Disney blog, but for the life of me I can't remember which one! Maybe from one of the Magical Blogorail Loops. If it's yours, please let me know and I'll happily credit you here. You Be The Imagineer is one we play all the time, evolved from our many Disney vacations through the years.

How's Yours?

How's Yours is best played in a group of at least four people. One person leaves the group and those left agree on an item...let's say "toothbrush"--The guesser returns and takes turns asking each person "how's yours?" the players give a word or short phrase to answer the question. I say "Bristly." Child one says "soggy." Child two says "green." Child three says "chewed." The guesser shouts out the answer as soon as she thinks of it and if she guesses on your word than you become the next guesser.

Disney Pits & Cherries

This is fairly simple, as it requires each person to say what was the best part of their day (the cherries) and what was the worst part of their day (the pits). You can change this up a bit and talk about the cherry & pit of the park you are in; or the cherry and pit of the transportation system; or the cherry and pit of resorts on property.

Great, Good, Gross

In this game you say what is GREAT in the park you are in (what still works and you wouldn't change), what is GOOD, but needs a refurbishment, and what's GROSS and need to go away. Again you can make this work for Resorts, Transportation, Restaurants, Movies, etc. Sky's the limit!

You Be The Imagineer

You get to create an attraction based on any Disney movie you like. However, it must not be a current attraction. You must also say how you would "plus the magic" - a term Walt would use to give it that extra Disney magic. Finally, which park and/or land would it go in? Bonus points go to those who choose a movie not already in use. For example: I would make a flume ride based on Pocahontas, the plus would be Flit or Meeko popping out of the canoe floor and riding with me. I think it belongs in Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom. Our crew can go all day with this!

Hopefully having these under your belt will be handy on your next Disney vacation! I know I'll be holding on to them for our crew. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

DIY Disney Mousekeeping Envelopes

For those of you Disney newbies, Mousekeeping is the Disney version of housekeeping. These are the people who make your room look like new when you walk in. They even make some fun shapes with towels and play funny games with your stuffed animals. Tip them well. They work very hard.

Side note, if you are staying in one of the DVC villas, you should note that housekeeping does not come every day unless you request them to. We find the standard service to be enough. Others in our Disney family do not. It's something to consider as you plan your next stay at the Disney Resorts. If you do wish to have addition Mousekeeping services, remember to request them at check-in, or press the mousekeeping button on your room phone.

And on that note, WDW Prep School has some terrific Disney themed Mousekeeping envelopes free to download! There are several designs to choose from, so have some fun printing these out. It helps Mousekeeping know that the money is for them, and it keeps my little guys from trying to give it back to me! (Or pocketing it for themselves!)

Be sure to check out Shannon's entire site for all sorts of really helpful Disney planning tips, especially if you are just starting out. As my dear friend Fauna says, it feels you need a B.A. in Disney Planning, and a minor in Disney Dining to make your first trip successful! WDW Prep School can take some of the edge off of that for you.

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

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

DIY It's A Small World Kids Room: Mary Blair Inspired Hot Air Balloon

Instead of a traditional mobile for the kids' room, I opted for a hot air balloon made from a paper lantern. It seemed to fit the It's A Small World theme quite well, and since I had waited 6 months (cough, cough) to move Minnie into her and Happy's room, I thought it was a little more age appropriate for the both of them.

This was a really easy project, especially if you have done any kind of origami before. I had purchased these lanterns for Happy's birthday (from Zulily) and loved them so much we left them hanging in our downstairs living/dining area for the better part of two years! But alas, it was time to change them out. (By the way, if you have not checked out Zulily, you really need to. They often have Disney merchandise for a steal.)

To create this hot air balloon, I used One Dog Woof's tutorial. It was easy enough to follow and this took me all of 30 minutes from start to finish (not including interruptions). I hung it from the ceiling using a clear command hook. I had to scrape a bit of the popcorn off to create a smooth spot, but it's not at all noticeable. I like how it looks next to the mural. It reminds me of the ride - so many wonderful things from floor to ceiling!

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

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Disney's It's A Small World Plastic Canvas Block Pattern | Boys Choir 1

It is well documented here that I have a slight obsession with Mary Blair and her wonderful concept art for Disney. I am an avid fan of It's A Small World. To that end, I have published my second plastic canvas block pattern to my Etsy store!

You can create this adorable block all on your own! It would be the perfect gift for a Disney loving new mom and her new little mousekateer. Or the perfect thing to keep your craft-loving 10-year-old occupied on the long trip to Disney! Our Minnie and Happy are big fans of these little blocks.  They are tons of fun to stack up and knock down again! The one seen here is the first block I ever created. Each boy motif is 3"x3" to make a 3" cube when it's all put together. It's very simple sewing. If you can cross stitch, you can do this!

As always, I hope you enjoy this pattern. If you try it, we'd love to see it here in the comments, or by tagging us (@merryweatherscottage) on Instagram. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Disney's Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts T-shirts on Redbubble

New to my Redbubble collection is this fantastic Hitchhiking Ghost silhouette T-shirt! So excited to get these out there in time for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and those fall break trips!

The thing that impresses me most about Redbubble is the variety of options they provide. So when you purchase your shirt, it can be the fit you want, and the color you want. If you like organic cotton, they have it. If you want a retro baseball T, they have it. Like long sleeves, V-necks, girly fits? They have it. And they offer hoodies as well. Seriously, you can customize so much. I am really proud to have my designs on Redbubble. Oh, and if you are looking for a little something for your iPad, check out these awesome cases! You know you need one, right?

And if your really like the image, but have other plans for it, remember the PNG files are offered for personal use in my Etsy shop for a mere $3.00. That's a steal! Get ready to scrap those Disney memories, or get that spooky Halloween decor ready. These grim grinning ghosts would be happy to oblige.

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From Belle's Library | Kingdom Keepers II: Disney at Dawn

This month's installment of From Belle's Library revisits the Kingdom Keepers series by Ridley Pearson. This month we look at Disney at Dawn. This is one of the first books I have read/listened to that was Whispersync enabled. As and audiobook listener, I really loved using this technology. It will definitely inform my book purchases in the future.

I am usually a huge fan of the first book in a series, feel it lags in the second book and then picks up again for me in book three. At least I felt that way about Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and The Chronicles of Narnia. But I have to admit that this series surprised me. I actually thought the second book was better, smoother and all around more interesting to read than the first. And that's saying a lot, as this book takes place in my least favorite park: Disney's Animal Kingdom. Actually, the park is growing on me. I like it, it'll just never be Epcot or The Magic Kingdom. It just wasn't Disney enough when it first opened. First impressions last a long time, apparently.

As far as Kingdom Keepers goes, I liked the way the characters seemed to be more fully developed in this book, not as one-dimensional as in Disney After Dark. And perhaps with the first story under our belts, there was less explaining and more doing in this one. Always a plus if you have a reluctant reader. Also, the narrator for the audio book changed. I like the interpretation that this narrator, Christopher Lane, gives the characters, especially Wayne, the mysterious old imagineer that helps the kids on their expeditions. It was easier to listen to, to become immersed in. Finally, the story was totally believable, or at least for those of us who can believe in the Disney villains coming to life and trying to take over the parks. Not a far stretch if you ask me!

Overall, Disney at Dawn was a surprising improvement for me, a nice surprise. I will be excited to see what comes next for these precocious middle schoolers know as the DHIs or the Kingdom Keepers. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Disney Fan Art T-shirts Now Available on Redbubble

It was bound to happen; I love to design T-shirts for the kids. I love to have family T-shirts while we are in Disney. And I've had a few (or more!) requests for them. We'll now you too can enjoy the T-shirts, and hoodies, and onesies designed by Merryweather's Cottage! I have these three designs currently in the Redbubble Shop and I certainly plan to add more. Note, these design can be printed on the front or the back of all these shirts. This is simply the way I see them in my mind's eye.

The top design is my Space Mountain silhouette. I adore this shirt and we wear ours all the time at the cottage. All shirts come in a variety of colors and fits, so if you like it with a navy (or green, or pink, or yellow...) background, go for it. I even have them available for the littlest tykes! Onesies and toddler shirts, short and long sleeve styles are all ready for your little Disney addict. I think we will be getting some hoodies soon, too.

The second design is a little more obscure, but if you grew up with Disney the way I did, I'll bet it rings a bell! (That's a little Pete's Dragon humor for you.) In Pete's Dragon, Lampy, the lighthouse keeper likes to frequent the Passamaquoddy Tavern. In fact, he does a whole song and dance rountine in there with Norah, his daughter. If you haven't seen the movie in a while I strongly recommend it. It's a Brazzle-Dazzle kind of film! And so is this fun T-shirt representing the local place. Can you tell we are a beer-drinking (and brewing!) family? Mr. Photos From The Parks will be adding this to his brewing attire.

And finally, we have the Roz T-shirt. I can't help it; I love Roz. I am certain I am channeling her some days with my kiddos! And her relationship with Mike Wazowski is priceless! Just a reminder that his design can be printed on a number of background colors, so if you're not in love with the yellow, change it up!

If there is something you've seen here that you'd like to see offered on Redbubble, speak up in the comments section below! I can't promise I'll have them immediately available, but if I can, I certainly will. And until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

DIY Disney PJs for the Entire Family

This is a great idea for ALL members of your travel party. It can be tricky to come up with ideas that boys and men can appreciate, and pajama bottoms work for just about everyone. I love the "Pajama Pants for Everyone" pattern in Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing.  She provides multiple sizes and easy to follow instructions. This makes is very easy to navigate sewing 5 pair! Getting the sizes right for those not in your family can get a little dicey, but I leave it to you to sort that out. Usually a mom or nanny can fill you in.

I also love this project because you could make these for every Disney day of the week and still find a wide variety of fabrics and prints. I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: you can find lots of fabric that echoes Disney without it having licensed characters. There is a lot out there right now in the way of pirates (...of the Caribbean or Jake) and cowboys (Jessie and Woody), and I've been able to find circus elephants (Dumbo),  outer space (Buzz Lightyear) and sharks and fish (Nemo) to boot. Using non-licensed fabric can save you some money, so try and get creative with your fabric choices if your watching your bottom line. Sometimes just browsing the fabric aisles sparks an idea for me. That is, when I don't have Happy and Minnie in tow!

I used a Where's Perry print for Doc's pjs. He's a real fan of Phineas and Ferb these days and I have to admit, I find them pretty awesome myself. It's a nice light weight flannel. Doc has a thing for comfy, cozy clothes. I was able to whip these up in a couple hours from cutting them out to sewing the last seam. Not bad for a great pair of jams! Since our next trip is in October, and it's still pretty warm in Orlando at that time, the next round of pjs will be cotton.

Enjoy your Disney pajama parties and send us pics if try this one out! We love to see what our readers do. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

DIY Disney's Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghost Crafts

I love vintage Disney, there's no denying it. So the Haunted Mansion is always a must do for me. And despite my disbelief, the Halloween and fall decor is already showing up in the craft stores! So I figure it's not too early to introduce a new product in my Etsy shop: Three Hitchhiking Ghosts PNG files.

What I love about these is that you can do just about anything you want with them - except sell them. You can create your own digital scrapbook pages, you could print them for your Project Life pages, you could print them and make cards, you can convert them to digital brushes, you could import them into your Silhouette software and make vinyl shapes, etched glass, gift tags, you name it! And you have plenty of time before Halloween is here to make your ideas a reality!

You will receive 4 digital files, each ghost separately and one image of all three of them together. I figure you just never know what you might need until you start crafting. These grim grinning ghosts are for personal use only, but please do share with us what you create with them! We love to see what our readers come up with. Tag us on Instagram (@MerryweathersCottage) or post here in the comments. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sitting With Grandmother Willow: Amy Atkins

As part of our on-going series, Sitting with Grandmother Willow, I am happy to introduce Amy Atkins, of Adorkable Me, an Etsy shop. 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 Amy as much as I have. And be sure to visit her Etsy store for some unique Disney themed items!

Disney by the numbers (with apologies to Harpers):
# of trips have you made: I average twice a month. Slacker status, I know.
Date of first trip: 1988. Around 2 years old.
Date of next trip: Today's trip will be the last of June, but I've got a few planned for July.
# of Resorts stayed in: Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier- next month I can cross The Grand Californian off my bucket list!
Usual # in your travel party: By myself or with my best friend Cassie.
Pairs of mouse ears in your cottage: None actually. Peter Pan's hat is always sold out, which is the one I want. Also the headbands hurt my head. My thing is Disneybound bows, I try to wear a different one every time I go. Oh wait, do the mini ear hats count? Those are just too cute to resist. 

WDW or Disneyland (or other)? Disneyland. One day when I win the lottery, I'll finally make it out to WDW for the first time and stay at the Little Mermaid wing at the Art of Animation Resort for sure!

How do you usually travel to Disney? By car, I live in Hollywood which is less then an hour away.

Do you have any tips for trips? Use the single rider lines, or Child Swap if with kids. Go on your E-ticket rides that dont have fast pass first thing in the morning, before the lines in the afternoon. Also, bring a baggie of something to munch on that fits in your bag, cause I guarantee you're going to wish you had it when you're waiting in line.

Do you have a favorite place to eat while in Disney? My plan is to eat somewhere different each trip. But Cafe Orleans might be my fav, amazing cajun food and they usually have a band playing. But on my way out, I always stop for a raspberry mojito from Tortilla Jo's in Downtown Disney.

What is your absolute DON'T MISS attraction? Tower of Terror in DCA and Big Thunder Mountain in DL

Stage shows, yes or no? Yes! Perfect opportunity to sit and enjoy the a/c for a bit. Does Fantasmic count? Because besides giving birth to your children, that show will be the most magical experience of your life.

Parades, yes or no? Yes! Unless you really have left Neverland and grown up. I feel just like the screaming kids next to me when a character waves at me. You just can't help dancing  along with them!

Best Fast Pass to get: In DL- Indiana Jones and Star Tours. In DCA- Tower of Terror and Soarin' Over California.

Favorite park: I've asking myself this for awhile, and I don't think I have an answer. I love them both in different ways but the same, maybe Disneyland just because it's the original.

One piece of advice you'd give a novice about WDW/DL: Bring a refillable water bottle! You can get free water refills at food locations.

Tell us about your Etsy store:
Last January 1st, I made my very first new years resolution to open a etsy shop and Adorkable Me was created the next day. I craft chotskies, home decor, and accessories for your inner geek. Not just Disney themed, but Harry Potter, Star Wars and many others as well. I am addicted to this shop, I love all of it. I have more ideas then I have time to craft. This year my new years resolution is to do my first craft fair. Lots of prep and research to do, but I'm excited for whats ahead. 

How can we connect with you?
Instagram: @adorkableamy #adorkableme

Thursday, August 8, 2013

DIY Disney Themed Paper Take-out Sacks | Back to School

I think one of the best things that Disney (and especially Pixar) does is create an entire world you can believe exists. I love the detail that goes into these movies. And one of my particular obsessions is Disney's fictional brands: Lightyear Tires, BnL, Dinoco, etc. So for this particular project I thought it would be fun to make take-out sacks for those lunches that require disposable packaging. (Our field trip days are always like that!)

These are two of my favorite fictional restaurants, Tiana's Palace, from The Princess and the Frog, and Gusteau's from Ratatouille. I created a couple of PDFs using some custom shapes and Adobe creative suite. The font for Tiana's Palace is Edwardian Script. You probably already have it on your computer. The font for Gusteau's is Futura. It's one of my favorites. If you would like to download these free PDFs, you are welcome to use them! You can find Gusteau's here, and Tiana's Palace here.

To print, simply load the bag into the left side of the printer bottom down, bottom fold facing away from you. Don't worry about it looking upside down, it should be. Also, ignore any cropping warnings you get. It should print out properly, but I would recommend running a test copy on paper before putting your bag through. And if you need more visual instructions for printing the bags, check out Geeky Paper Ideas. There was a small learning curve with loading the bags for me. One went in flawlessly, the other was eaten. Ah well. Not everything is sprinkled with fairy dust!

I'd like to design a few more of these in the future, but until then, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Easy DIY Disney Park Map Binder | Back to School

This is one of those fantastically easy projects that makes me think, "Why didn't I think of that?" But alas, I did not. This idea comes from a good friend, The Blue Fairy, who has the Disney Bug almost as bad as me! Thanks sister!

I really like the way this turned out. I'm all about recycling last year's school supplies if possible, and this is an easy trick to do just that. You could even change it out throughout the year. It requires two park maps (the same or not) and some adhesive vinyl (or really big stickers). I cut each map (in this case Animal Kingdom) to 9" wide. The spine is the remainder of the map (in this case Expedition Everest), cut to a width of 1.25". At this width they slid in easily with no bunching up. I used dark red Silhouette adhesive vinyl and the free font Waltograph to create the name on this binder. I sized the name to 8.675" wide. I adhered the stickers to the outside of the binder so I could easily change out the maps if I wanted to later in the year.

This project took me all of 20 minutes from start to finish. That's a project anyone can do. And Jiminy Cricket would certainly give this one his seal of environmentality. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

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

Saturday, August 3, 2013

DIY Disney Lunch Box Notes | Back to School

It's back to school time and those first few weeks can be rough getting back into the routine! If you have a student (or frankly, a teacher) in your life you know how hard it can be. These sweet lunch box notes are a perfect mid-day pick-me-up. There are lots of these out there but these are my favorites. Add a little magic to your loved one's lunch.

Disney Family has a cute selection, both boy and girl themed. These are the boy selection.
Disney Stationery has lots of great notes including these wonderful Wall-E notes. Check out the link for more from Mickey and the gang, your favorite princesses, a pirate and a few dwarfs.

And finally, if your kids are a bit older and enjoy trivia from the parks (*cough*, Doc, *cough*), then here are 6 from the cottage. We hope you enjoy them. Simply click here to download them for yourself. Special thanks to Disney Trivia for the questions and answers!

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

Thursday, August 1, 2013

DIY First Day of School Mickey Breakfast | Back to School

For Doc, school is nothing to celebrate. Although he loves hanging out with his friends, getting an education stopped being a celebration the first day of Kindergarten when he reported, "You know what they want you to do first thing?? WORK!" Welcome to the world baby boy! Nevertheless, we try and put as positive a spin on things as we can. Here are some ideas for a fun breakfast for that first day of school:

Mickey Egg Sandwiches (from Alexis Jellison) - All you need is a cookie cutter and you're golden.

Mickey pancakes (from Deacon Dance) - just pour three circles on the griddle.

Mickey Waffles - just like in Disney World! Yup, you can make these at home for as little as $30.00.

And consider serving your masterpieces on Disney dishes, or even having your OJ out of a Disney mug for a change. I hope your school years are off to a magical start! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!