Saturday, September 28, 2013

DIY Disney Pressed Penny Jewelry from EPBOT

I love my pressed pennies. I've mentioned this before. And I love to find ways to show them off. I stumbled across this tutorial on Pinterest that blew my mind! Such gorgeous jewelry from simple supplies. You'd be amazed. Before I send you over to EPBOT let me tempt you with a little eye candy (all pictures are copyright EPBOT):

I hope to show off some of my own jewelry inspired by Jen's gorgeous creations. But until then, I hope you enjoy her amazing ideas. May all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Uncle Scrooge's Money Saving Tips | Make Your Own Meals at Disney

My family has gone to Walt Disney World in just about every situation imaginable. We camped in tents; we camped in RVs; we've stayed in every level of resort, on and off property. We've been flush, and we've been scraping by. One of the best ways we have found to save money in Disney is to eat your big meal of the day back at the ranch. This can crimp your park style a bit, but if you need to save your pennies (and let's face it, we all have those trips that require a bit more creative budgeting!), this helps - especially if you have other families in your group you can share meals with!

Growing up, we always stayed in the Big Bear Little Bear loop in Fort Wilderness. (One Hundred Loop, anyone?) This was in the days when River Country was THE water park and Magic Kingdom was the only place to play. I can remember the three moms in our travel party planning meals together. We usually had burgers and hot dogs or a bit pot of spaghetti and meat sauce at our campsites each night. And someone always brought the wine! It was fabulous. We always had camp sites next to one another and we tried to pull all three picnic tables and camp chairs around a common area. Those were some of the most enjoyable times in Disney for me. I always loved the laughter and the stories that were told at dinner. Everyone was so happy.

We've also made some of our own meals in the Villas around the Disney property. In fact, one Thanksgiving my Aunt and Uncle made an entire Thanksgiving feast, turkey and all, at one of the Grand Villas at the Boardwalk! Although we tend to cook on a smaller scale most of the time.

If you are planning to make your meals at Disney, here are some easy ideas that can mean less time prepping and cooking, and more time with the family.

1. Get groceries and frozen meals ready to bake. If you drive to the resort, stop at a Publix along the way and get your water bottles, sunscreen and a couple of frozen dinners. This is easy to bake in your villa and requires no prep time at all. It's also far cheaper than purchasing it at the Marketplace at your resort. We also like to pick up the microwavable bags of frozen veggies. But be sure and buy or take your own seasonings, as we have found some of the meals to be a bit bland.

2. Crockpot meals made simple. This is a great idea if you drive to Disney. There are a lot of resources on Pinterest for make ahead crockpot meals. You simply put all your ingredients in a ziplock bag and freeze it. The night before you want to eat it, put the bag in the refrigerator to thaw and in the morning dump it in the crock pot and go. This is an excellent plan for Disney as all the prep work is done before you even get there. About a week (or up to a month) before your trip, make up as many meals as you'll need (don't forget breakfast!) and freeze them. They day you leave for Disney, pack them in a cooler and away you go! If your meals start to thaw in the cooler, don't sweat it. You'll be eating them within the week, so they should be fine as long as they are kept cool/refrigerated. You do, however, need to pack your own crockpot if you are staying on property, as they don't stock them at the villas.

3. Eat breakfast in the room. Breakfast on property is usually the least bang for your buck. Most families can easily swing cereal and milk, pop tarts, cereal bars, bagels and peanut butter (or wow butter in our case), or bananas in any room on property. Fuel up before you leave your room. (Ok, it's not about your big meal, but it can help save some money!)

Enjoy your next trip to Disney and think outside the box a bit when it comes to meals on property. You could save a little bit! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

DIY Disney's Mary Poppins Spoonful of Sugar Chore Chart

Mary Poppins' Spoonful of Sugar Chore Chart
I know there are many of us out there who love the Disney Classics. Mary Poppins most certainly qualifies on that score! I can remember going to the drive-in as a little girl with my best friend, both of us propped up on Charles Chips cans in the back seat watching Mary Poppins and Burt traipse across the rooftops of London. It was magical! (I'm certain I am aging myself here: Drive-in? Charles Chips?!)

As I was rummaging around in my craft supplies recently, I ran across these adorable spoons from 7Gypsies (hard to find now, but available here; Ebay might be a good place to search too). I had been playing around with the idea of a Disney themed chore chart and immediately had the inspiration that these "spoonfuls" would be perfect on a chore chart featuring everyone's favorite nanny!

I wanted to make this simple for Happy - he's only 2, so we are working on a morning and evening routine right now. I designed this Mary Poppins printable chart which I am happy to share with you for free! All you need to do is print it on regular paper - not cardstock - and adhere it to some pretty Poppins-themed scrapbook paper. I pulled this out of the bottom of the stack, but I liked how the butterflies reminded me of Mary's bouquet of flowers/butterflies on her Jolly Holiday with Burt. You remember that, right?

To create the spoon magnets, I used some magnet strip I had on hand. I adhered it to the bowl of the spoon, and the handle end. I first tried some magnetic dots, but they were not strong enough to hold the spoon through 2 pieces of paper (this is why I recommend using regular paper when printing the chart).   I also curled the handle of the spoon just a little to get the handle end to touch the paper and adhere to the fridge. Of course, you could always just make some paper spoon magnets, or use other magnets altogether. (What about those pressed pennies?) You could even cover it with contact paper and make it a write-on, wipe-off board! Make it your own.

Let me know if you use this idea at your cottage. And until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

From Belle's Library | DeWitched: The Untold Story of the Evil Queen

This month's selection from Belle's Library left me feeling a little blasé about this book. DeWitched, by E.L. Sarnoff, is a fun story, don't get me wrong, but it has the unfortunate timing to coexist with Once Upon A Time - which has excellent storytelling wrapped up in ongoing mystery. (Seriously, if you haven't watched, you really should.)

I like the premiss of this book. It's all about the Evil Queen going through rehab for her evil addiction. The idea is smart and the potential is enormous. And it even stars a spunky little fairy named Fairyweather, who bears a striking resemblance to Merryweather. But the execution was disappointing.

I read the Kindle book. I don't know if this has something to do with all the editorial mistakes, but as a former English teacher and somewhat of a perfectionist, this REALLY bugged me. Where was the editing? And further, the voice was somewhat sophomoric. I'm not sure exactly what made it feel that way, but the characters needed more finessing. And the play-on-words names, Shrinkerbell, Lady Germaine, Fanta, Flossie, Fairyweather, seemed off-putting. Especially when the more traditional characters' names were used (Hook, Cinderella, Snow White). The plot was best at Faraway, the rehab castle, where we really got to understand the reasons behind the patients evil addictions. Perhaps this was the most creative part of the book; and even there, the writing seemed choppy and abrupt. I also appreciate how the Queen, Jane, struggles with her addiction once she is out of rehab.

For the most part, this was a story I could have conceived and ill-written at that. And while I won't give away the ending, the climax did have a surprise or two. That's always enjoyable. But in the end, I'm not sure this is a book I would recommend. It seems to me it would be best read on the beach. Something you wouldn't mind getting sand in and leaving on the plane or on the porch of the nearest library for the next person to read.

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

Thursday, September 19, 2013

DIY Princess Tiana Get Well Card Recipe

I recently had occasion to create a little princess get well card. In truth, it was for my card club, and I'm still getting the feel of who these ladies are. So while I didn't want to go all out with a Disney themed card, I did want to do a card that was inspired by Disney. I used Tiana from The Princess and the Frog as my inspiration.

I used some bright pink paper for the background. I then cut a 1.25" strip of yellow and edged it will a pretty lace border I found in the Silhouette store. The border reminded be of princess crowns. I used a 1" circle punch to make the embellishments on the front of the card. I then used the Petite Pairs stamp set from Stampin' Up for the "sending a KISS to make it Better" sentiment. I used pop dots to make them stick out from the card just a bit. Finally, I found some lips confetti I had left over from valentine's day. I used one piece of confetti for just a little bit of bling. I'm really pleased with the result. If you wanted to give it more of a Tiana feel, perhaps a kissing frog or two would really do the trick.

Feel free to use this card recipe in your next project. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

DIY Ice Cube Painting | Colors Of The Wind Paints

Ice cube painting is another idea that comes from Pinterest. It's summer and not always easy to find something fun to do with out allergy-prone toddler when an Indiana heat wave hits. This idea was fun and easy and something we could do in the shade or in the house, depending on the air quality! It was also free, and I love a free activity that inspires creativity.

We followed the directions for Ice Cube Painting found here, with the exception of using clothespins for handles. I just broke some popsicle sticks in half and propped them up in the trays instead. I might try the clothespins idea next time. It would provide a much bigger, more stable handle. I also had non-chemical food dyes (with the exception of the red) so our colors were perhaps a bit more muted than they might have been. We did have some red chemical dye from a science project that was left over. It was perfect for this activity! Despite having to prepare it ahead of time (which took all of 10 minutes!) it was very simple to do.

All in all, Happy seemed to really like it. He's not one for messy games and activities, but this one was a winner. I think it would be a great idea for a Pocahontas themed party: painting with the colors of the wind! Let us know if you give it a try. Here's a sample of our work:

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

Saturday, September 14, 2013

DIY Nut Allergy Stroller Sign for Walt Disney World

If you have been following this blog at all, you will know that Happy, our 2-year-old, has severe nut allergies. This coming trip will be our first trip having to deal with this new development. I am usually very much in the Free-Range-Parenting camp, but on this particular aspect, I am quickly becoming a helicopter mom. (Hopefully over the next several years I can be less helicopter as he matures. We'll see.)

We are going to have two littles this trip and that means two strollers. We like having our City Mini with us and most likely will be renting another from Kingdom Strollers for the duration of our trip. Because of his allergies, I am making this sign for our strollers (both of them). If you see these in October, you'll know you found us! I like the tongue-and-cheek quality. In fact, I may put this on a shirt for Happy. I'll let you know if that happens!

And I have realized as we deal with this allergy, that many non-allergy families don't understand the anxiety that comes with having a child who deals with this condition. It's incredible to me how many times I see people tossing nuts on the ground (at the pool, or the park) without a second thought. I feel like shouting, "That's poison! You can't leave that there!" In reality, that was me not too long ago. When you have a kid with allergies (& and EpiPen), you are suddenly living in a very different world. Hopefully this sign will help other families remember that their favorite snacks (peanut butter crackers, granola bars, etc.) need to be confined to their own space; especially in those stroller parking areas. After all, knowledge is power.

If you would like a copy of this sign for your own stroller, leave me a message in the comments and I will gladly forward a pdf to you! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

DIY Disney Dinner | Catfish and Grits from the Coral Reef

I think one of the best kept secrets for Disney Dining is the Coral Reef at Epcot's Living Seas. If you have never taken the opportunity to dine there and you even remotely like seafood, you are missing out! Book an ADR for your next trip. You'll be glad you did. Not only is the menu outstanding, the atmosphere is complete unique from any other restaurant on property. Where else can you dine inside a living coral reef? And they even give you souvenir guides so you know what fishes you are looking at. (Don't forget to spot that hidden Mickey on the ocean floor!)

This recipe is from Magical Recipes, a truly great resource for Disney recipes from around the "World." If you are looking for something specific, I would search there first. Although I'd stay away from the Crystal Palace Lemon Bars. Just saying.

Mr. Photos from the Parks is an amazing chef and his spin on this recipe was simply delicious. Although I'm not sure I would recommend this wine for this meal, as we both felt it was more like a Pinot Grigio than a Chardonnay; we would go with Francis Coppola's Diamond Collection Chardonnay instead. It's one of my standbys. (And if you even get the chance to visit that winery I HIGHLY recommend it!)

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

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sitting With Grandmother Willow: Jody Rice

As part of our on-going series, Sitting with Grandmother Willow, I am happy to introduce Jody Rice, of Satsuma Street, 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 Jody as much as I have. We definitely share a common love for Mary Blair! And be sure to visit her Etsy store for some unique It's A Small World/Mary Blair inspired items!

Disney by the numbers (with apologies to Harpers):
# of trips you have made: Too many to remember!  Probably at least 25 trips.

Date of first trip: I believe I was 3 years old.

Date of next trip: I'm planning on running in the Tinkerbell Half-Marathon in DL next year, so that will probably be the next time I get to the park.

# of Resorts stayed in: Just Disneyland! (and California Adventure)

Usual # in your travel party: Usually just me and two or three friends.

Pairs of mouse ears in your cottage: None!  I don't look good in hats. :(

WDW or Disneyland (or other): Disneyland

How do you usually travel to Disney? I live in Southern California, so always by car.

Do you have any tips for trips? Don't wait till the end of the night to do your gift shopping, the lines are always the worst then.

Do you have a favorite place to eat while in Disney? I love the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney, and I never miss a chance to get some Dole Whip at the Tiki Room!

What is your absolute DON'T MISS attraction? I have to ride the Haunted Mansion, the Jungle Cruise, and Pirates of the Caribbean every time.

Stage shows, yes or no? Not usually, though I love the Golden Horseshoe Revue.

Parades, yes or no? Yes!

Best Fast Pass to get: Space Mountain, because that line is so boring.

Favorite park: Disneyland!

One piece of advice you'd give a novice about WDW/DL: Don't spend all your time running from one line to another.  Give yourself some time to sit on Main Street with an ice cream and just enjoy the atmosphere.

How do you crate extra magic for your family? We do a lot of singing and dancing in the kitchen.  Whistle while you work!

Tell us about your Etsy shop: My etsy shop is SatsumaStreet, and I sell modern and colorful counted cross stitch patterns.  Many of my designs are influenced by the great Disney concept artist, Mary Blair.  I love Mary Blair's work because it still looks modern and fresh today, and appeals to people of all ages.  I try to capture that same quality in my designs, and offer patterns that stitchers will still want to display in their homes many years from now.  I call my designs "Cross Stitch for Happy People", because I think crafting should be a happy experience and bring people joy when they're done!

How can we connect with you?


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Directional T-shirt for Fictional Disney Locales Now On Redbubble

This is one of my favorite T-shirt designs. I've made this available for purchase through Redbubble this month. It reminds me of Fantasyland and childhood and all that makes Disney so magical: belief in what might be, in the fantastical and in the pure of heart. One day, I will make a real sign like this for the garden. Until then, I'll have to settle on the T-shirt. Not a bad compromise if you ask me!

This design too, is available for babies and toddlers in T-shirts and onesies. After all, it speaks to the wonder of imagination! And who has that in spades? The toddler set! Also, remember it's not just the T-shirts pictured here that are offered at Redbubble. They offer long sleeves, V-necks, girly fit, baseball Ts, and two styles of hoodies. Lots and lots to choose from! And because this design lends itself so well to it, it is being offered as a poster and a greeting card too.

Pin it, post it and share it, because you won't find this design anywhere else! It's available exclusively through RedBubble. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

DIY Disney Felt Luggage Tags

You know how excited you are to get to Disney, and then you get to the airport and everyone's bag looks pretty much the same? Even with those snazzy Disney luggage tags they send you, your bag still looks like everyone else's, because they got the same tags you did!

September is National Sewing Month and as such, I thought it would be fun to share this easy Disney luggage tag. You can make it in any color your choose, but it will make your bag stand out as your own. That's a particularly good thing when you have antsy, anxious children pulling your pant leg, ready to get to Disney!

You could hand stitch this project or machine stitch it. I chose to use the machine simply for the sake of time. I was able to whip this up in half an hour. That's well within our nap-time window here at the cottage!

I first did a Google search for a Mickey Mouse silhouette, printed it, and used it as a template for this tag. I then cut out my Mickey from black felt, used it to determine the size for the background and cut out two rectangles of felt. (I chose yellow for the other side of this tag because that's what I had, but get creative and let your tag be entirely yours.)

I then took the red felt, pinned the Mickey silhouette to that and used a zigzag stitch to appliqué it to the background. I then pinned the yellow felt to the back of the red felt and used the overlock stitch to sew them together. You could also play around with the decorative stitches on your machine for sewing the two rectangles together. I love using felt for this project, because even if you use a strait stitch to finish this project, your edges will look good.

I'd love to get several of these together for our next trip, each one themed to our favorite characters. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

DIY Disney Vacation Fun - Instagram Hashtag

So I saw this idea on Pinterest (because what don't you see on Pinterest?) to make a sign sharing a custom hashtag at a wedding, and it dawned on me that we need a hashtag for our upcoming trip! We all use Instagram, even the older kids in the group, so I thought it would be cool to have a way to pull up all those photos at once.

I made this little collage and sent it to our party. By sending it to them in a message I was able to explain what it was all about. And of course, anticipation is half the fun, so it also gave me a way to pump up the excitement factor just a little bit.

A fun idea for you Instagrammers from the cottage! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!