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!