Thursday, January 30, 2014

DIY Disney's Wonderland Caterpillar Socks

There is no denying it's been a VERY chilly winter, and let's face it; many of us have been spending an inordinate amount of time indoors due to the inhospitable temperatures outside. Due to such unexpected circumstances, I have been spending a great deal of time knitting. And my favorite sort of knitting is socks. One can never have too many pairs of hand-knit socks. If you have never tried a pair, you are sorely missing out! They are simply divine. And I love having socks that actually fit my oddly shaped feet.

These fun little circle socks by Anne Campbell reminded me instantly of the Caterpillar in Alice and Wonderland. I knew they would be next on my list. I'm a fan of self-striping yarn; in fact, I have oodles of it. But it's hard to see intricate patterns on it once it's knit up. I really like how this pattern stands out on the stripes. When I first saw it, I thought it might be hard to memorize, but boy was I wrong! These socks came together within two weeks, and that's with limited knitting time with the two littles! 

The other wonderful thing about these socks is that there is no grafted toe. I am terrible at grafting - it may have something to do with the fact that I am constantly needing to put down my knitting in the middle of grafting. No matter the reason, I was delighted to try this star toe. I may have found my new favorite bind off! If you are on Ravelry you can find my project details here. And if you are not, and you do any sort of knitting or crochet, well you should be. Take a moment and look around. I promise you'll be hooked! (See what I did there?)

Until next time, stay warm! And my all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Freezer Full of Mickey Waffles

If you've ever had the opportunity to breakfast in one of the Disney Resorts, you know how magical those Mickey waffles can be. There is something so delightful about sitting down to breakfast and seeing Mickey right there on your plate. You know the day is going to be a good one.

Here in the cottage, the days just got happier. We now have a Mickey Waffle Iron! The whole family is excited about it. In fact, Little Chef couldn't WAIT to get his hands on it. It helps that we love waffles any way you make them. So starting our days with a Mickey waffle seems like a bonus!

We also make our own freezer waffles; with our allergy issues, we make a lot of things at home. Plus it's SO much cheaper to make them ourselves and freeze them. It's really easy. We just make the waffles a little underdone, let them cool, and put them into gallon size ziplock bags. I like to put a piece of waxed paper between each waffle as it goes into the bag. It's just makes getting them out a lot easier. When it's breakfast time, we simply pop them into to the toaster to heat them up. Easy as can be. And now we will have Mickey waffles to make our mornings that much better.

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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

From Belle's Library | Peter and the Starcatchers

It's been a while since we've reviewed any Disney books - the holidays can do that to a reading schedule! But now it's the new year and we are ready to share our love of Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (of the Kingdom Keepers series). As many of you know, I am a fan of audiobooks. I'm not sure I'd get anything read if it weren't for listening to them with the kids! And here's where the first little delights comes in.

I must confess, I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter books (we're not talking about the movies here); I read them all as they were released, and then listened to ALL of them again on our various road trips. I think Jim Dale must have envisioned the same thing I did when reading these books, as his voices and cadence were perfect. I was DELIGHTED to hear the familiar narration of Jim Dale again as he read Peter and the Starcatchers! What a treat. His voice is one of my very favorites for audiobooks.

And the story delighted me as well. If you've ever wondered how Peter Pan and the lost boys, Captain Hook and Tinkerbell came to be, this story will tickle your imagination! I throughly enjoyed the twists and turns, the adventure and the magic of this first book in a series of (what I imagine will be) fantastic books. I do love young adult fiction (especially fantasy and adventure), and while reading the Kingdom Keepers I was recommended this Peter and the Starcatchers series by an Instagram friend, Kaifers. I am so very glad I took the recommendation to heart! And I hope you will too. This is a marvelous series; I highly recommend it! I think it's perfect for both boys and girls (and certain young-at-heart adults!).

If you have a book that is (if loosely) related to Disney in some way, I would love to know about it. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress T-shirt and Greeting Cards now on RedBubble

I am so excited to offer this brand new design through RedBubble! As always, this design is available on a number of shirt colors in a wide range of sizes and styles, including those for kids and babies!

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress is one of our don't-miss attractions when we are in the Magic Kingdom. It's just not the same if we miss it. As an original, it still works. You can catch us singing "It's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" in the parks or just hanging out in the cottage.

If you are a fan of vintage Disney, then this design is perfect for you. It's also available as a card, poster, canvas or sticker, just incase the mood strikes you. I am hoping to offer it for iPad and iPhone cases too in the very near future. I'll let you know when that happens!

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Disney Park Map Candle

Here's another idea for all you Disney Park Map collectors out there! This one would be a great project for gifting to Disney lovers as well!

I started with Mod Podge, a map of the Magic Kingdom, and a 2.5" x 5" pillar candle. I trimmed the map so that just a bit of Splash Mountain was cut off and just a bit of Space Mountain was cut off. I also cut off the bottom part of the map just below the hub. You could, of course, trim the map so it showcases whatever you'd like. I wanted to be sure to get all of Fantasyland on mine. I then tore the top edge of the map to give it some interest. After I had the map just as I wanted it, I sanded the back side of it with fine grit sandpaper, just to rough it up and make sure the Mod Podge would soak into it a bit.

I put Mod Podge on the back of the map and slowly smoothed it onto the candle. This was tricky and I had several areas with wrinkles. I did the best I could to smooth them out, but a few remained. If you need it to be really smooth, you will need to have more than just a few minutes to make that happen. (Let the record show that I did not have more than 5 minutes!) And I might recommend starting with the area you want to have facing out, and working toward the edges of the map as you smooth it down. At least the main area you want showing will be nice and smooth. Still, I am quite happy with the resulting project. It will look lovely on the mantle.

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

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Scrapping Disney | Dumbo and Storybook Circus

I've been a digital scrapbooker for many years now, and I love it. I love how little mess there is to clean up; I love how you can stop right in the middle of something and pick it up where you left off with no problem; and I love how flexible the cropping and changing of digital element can be. It makes it so much easier for this busy mom to actually get any scrapbooking done!

I've been wanting to start a Project Life style scrapbook for a while now. It looks so simple and easy - exactly what I need in this stage of my life! And I found the perfect designers for my Disney pages! This layout was completed using Project Mouse (FANTASY edition) - a collaboration of Britt at britt-ish designs and sahlin studio. I love how fresh and modern the design is and how it captures all our favorite rides in Fantasyland - both new and old: It's a Small World, The Mad Hatter's Tea Party, Peter Pan's Flight, even Be Our Guest! If you are a Disney scrapbooker, I highly recommend checking out Project Mouse. I don't get paid to recommend these products, I just really like them! And for those who are curious about the template, I used the Digi Pocket Page Protectors from Scrap Girls, another digital scrapbook supplier I am very fond of.

I think I'm really going to love this Project Life scrapbooking; I might even find myself caught up by the end of 2014! (Ok, maybe not; but a girl can dream!) Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

From Mrs. Potts' Cupboard | Mulan's Campfire Brew

Today I am pleased to introduce a project I have been working on for months! I am a serious tea drinker. Serious, in that I drink a lot of it, and I know how I like my tea. I would not go so far as to say that I am snobby about my tea; I love a steaming cup of Constant Comment from Bigelow, or Lady Grey from Twinings, as much as I love my French Spice Quartet from Teavana. But I would say this, Starbucks, you have a lot to learn about tea. It is NOT coffee.

As a tea connoisseur, I have been blending my own flavored teas for a while. I still purchase my favorite blends; there is no match for Disney's Mad Tea Party Blend. I always get compliments on it when I serve it at sorority meetings, so I stock up whenever we are in the parks! But I think Disney could do more with princess tea parties and tea blends specific to the princesses. After all, they've done a marvelous job with their cosmetics lines.

So in an effort to accomplish that very task, I've begun blending teas and flavors for my very own teas dedicated to the Disney Princesses. And today we start with Mulan to help celebrate the coming Chinese New Year! If you've never tried Lapsang Souchoung tea, it can be rather surprising. It's a smoked tea and there is no doubt about it. In fact, I had to ask Mr. Photos from the Parks to please store it in the garage while I was pregnant with our last baby! The aroma can be quite strong. But when I'm not pregnant, I love the smoky aroma of the tea. It certainly evokes the feeling of sitting around the campfire. I think it's best when prepared more like a chai. If you've never tried it, I suggest taking a gamble and giving it a go. It's not for everyone, but if you like it, it can be a welcome change in the tea rotation. And if you happen to be in the Animal Kingdom, stop by my favorite Tea Kiosk in Asia: The Royal Anandapur Tea Company and see if they are serving it; I know I've had it on occasion there.

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mulan Chinese New Year Viewing Party

Chinese New Year is about to begin (January 31st) and it's the Year of the Horse! What better way to ring in the new year than with a Mulan viewing party? Thanks to Pinterest, I had no trouble putting together a Year of the Horse snack bar for our viewing pleasure. Because a good movie deserves good snacks!

We started with these Khan horse cookies, using a new chocolate sugar cookie recipe that I love! The dough was really messy to work with; Little Chef and I had chocolate everywhere! Still, they are well worth the effort. I used my Silhouette portrait to cut out these adorable take out boxes. I used regular scrapbooking paper that I already had on hand to make them, not card stock. I was a little tentative about how sturdy they would be, but they held up really well.

I then cut out these popcorn boxes on the silhouette. I sized them so they were as big as the portrait could take, about 6" wide per side. I had some old China themed Jolee's embellishments that I used to decorate the boxes, but you could always use a horse or lantern cut from the silhouette too.

We rounded out the snack bar with these awesome horseshoe donuts (which we made from scratch using this wonderful recipe; and substituting our left over egg nog for the buttermilk), and "tea" which was really apple juice. I just love this tea pot my sister found while antiquing! So perfect for our party (not to mention my It's A Small World obsession)!

And for those of you looking for a comfy way to enjoy Mulan, check out these adorable cozy socks and satin robe from Hot Topic:

We had a great time watching Mulan and kickstarting the New Year. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Make Your Own Vintage Disney Cocktails | Monorail Yellow

Growing up Disney meant that I watched the adults head off on their "Monorail Tour" many a time wish, longing to go with them. For you new readers, the adults in our travel party always took one night and did a traditional tour of the bars on the monorail: The Tambu Lounge at the Polynesian, and The Top Of The World at the Contemporary (neither of which exist as such anymore). Disney in the 70's was a simpler place! And I remember the first year I was able to go with the adults! It was better than turning 21 (at that time, you could be 18 and get into bars in Florida). I knew I had arrived!

One of the signature drinks back then was the Monorail Yellow. You can still find bar tenders who know how to make it, and it's worth asking. I LOVE this drink. It's rum based and definitely tropical in flavor. And this is when it pays to have a vintage cookbook - we have the recipe! At our latest get together with our former traveling buddies, we busted out the pitcher of Monorail Yellows to great cheers. We just can't help ourselves!

And just for you, dear readers, I have included the recipe here. Enjoy it! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Monorail Yellow Cocktail

1.5 oz Rum
3 oz Orange Juice (We have also used an Orange Banana Juice)
2.5 oz Pineapple Juice
.75 oz Coconut Cream
3/4 C Crushed Ice
Maraschino Cherry

Combine rum, oj, pineapple juice, coconut cream and ice in blender. Blend thoroughly until there are no ice chunks. Pour into tall glasses and garnish with maraschino cherry.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sitting with Grandmother Willow | Meet Maria of Mar Has That Bow

As part of our on-going series, Sitting with Grandmother Willow, I am happy to introduce Maria of Mar Has That Bow, a wonderful 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 Maria as much as I have. And be sure to visit her shops for a host of unique Disney bows!

Disney by the numbers (with apologies to Harpers):
# of trips you have made:
Wow ok, I have made too many trips to remember exactly how many, but I became an annual pass holder this year (yay!) and since then I have been at least 2-3 times a month

Date of first trip:
My first ever trip was when I was in my mothers belly! That counts as a first trip right?

Date of next trip:
Hopefully within the next 2 weeks! I miss Disney too much so I have to go soon. Luckily I live in Florida so I can go a at least 1 time per month and I already went this month to Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival; which was amazing! If you haven’t been you have to go, it is a must.

# of Resorts stayed in:
I think probably 1 or 2 when I was younger. Every time we went to Disney we stayed in other hotels and now I have family who live close to Disney, so I haven’t stayed in any of the Resorts for years L Hopefully I will soon, it will make the trip so much more magical

Usual # in your travel party:
I always travel with one other person. I wish I could go with my family but they all live around the world

Pairs of mouse ears in your cottage: 
I mainly wear my Disney Bows when I visit the parks so I only own 2 pairs of mouse ears. My first one was the classic Black (with sequins of course) Minnie ears and on my last trip I bought the limited edition Queen of Hearts ears which I am completely in love with! I don’t want to take them off ever! I will probably wear them in many trips to come.

WDW or Disneyland (or other)?
I haven’t been to Disneyland in California, but I have been to Disneyland Paris (when I used to live in Europe) it was actually a very special trip because it was my sisters 15th birthday and I decided to give her a trip to Paris as her birthday present.  She knew about the trip to Paris, but going to Disneyland was a complete surprise for her; the look on her face was priceless. 
Although I liked Disneyland Paris, WDW is home for me I could never replace it.

How do you usually travel to Disney?
We always drive to WDW, it is a 3 or 4-hour drive from where we live so it is the easiest way.

Do you have any tips for trips?
My biggest tip for any trip at WDW is to buy a portable fan! I cannot stress this enough- I am not a big fan of the heat so buying a portable fan for my Disney trips was the best thing I ‘ve ever done, I cannot go to WDW without it. Also the ponchos – I have a love and hate relationship with them, as they make me look ridiculous, but they come so handy on rainy days!

Do you have a favorite place to eat while in Disney?
I absolutely love the Sci-fi Dine-in at Hollywood Studios, I feel in love with it the first time I went and I could have stayed there the whole night just watching the funny movie clips, it really does make you feel like your in the 50s. 

What is your absolute DON'T MISS attraction?
Oh my God so many! But my favourite has to be Mickey’s PhilharMagic.

Stage shows, yes or no?
Yes!! I loveee the Beauty & the Beast stage show at Hollywood Studios, I can’t help but sing along every time

Parades, yes or no?
Yes and no – I love the parades but most of the times I only watch them during fall or winter, I can’t stand in the heat watching the parades during summer (not even with the portable fan lol)

Best Fast Pass to get:
Toy story Mania, definitely! If you don’t get a fast pass for this ride be prepared to wait for at least an hour.

Favorite Park:.
Epcot has always been my favourite park, but I’ve probably been to Magic Kingdom more times

One piece of advice you'd give a novice about WDW/DL:
Just enjoy your trip! Seriously I’ve seen a few people who get frustrated on their first trip because of the lines or little things, but it is a magical place for everyone. Just look around you and enjoy every minute of it with your family or whomever you’re with. There is no place happier than WDW!   

How do you create extra magic for your family?
Since my family lives abroad I will hopefully be able to create extra magic for them by bringing them to WDW, I hope sometime next year. 

How can we connect with you?
You can always email me also through my websites:
Instagram: @marhasthatbow 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

DIY Disney Character Party Cups with Temporary Tattoos

Disney Princess Cups
You may have seen this idea on Pinterest: take a temporary tattoo and adhere it to a plastic cup. I know I've seen it several times. And I've wondered if it works. So when we had our annual get together at the beginning of the new year I decided I would give it a try. After all, we are all big Disney buffs. If it did work, I knew people would be charmed by it.

Winnie the Pooh Cups
These little gems were a hit! Believe me, they worked. And were so simple to do. I had three packages of tattoos: Princesses, Winnie the Pooh, and Cars. The kids we usually travel with share our sensitivity to synthetic dyes, so these were right out as their traditional use. But they were perfect for this! I could totally see using them for a party setting! I simply followed the directions on the back of the package to adhere them to the plastic. I did nothing special to them and they lasted quite well through the party. None of them came off on anyone's hands and they even rinsed out well when we wanted to change up drinks.

I would definitely try this again. And even with 20 some cups, it only took me about 10-15 minutes to do them all. Tune in Saturday to find out what vintage cocktail recipe we used to fill these up! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Mickey Mouse Fair Isle Sock Pattern & Chart

It's definitely been a cold winter for most of us so far. And I for one, like to battle that cold with hot tea, a warm fire and a toasty pair of warm wool socks, handmade socks if I can get them. In fact, sock knitting is one of my obsessions (when I don't have tiny people pulling on my yarn). I love a small project that I can take on the road. And these sweet socks were started on our last Disney vacation! The perfect sort of knitting for that road trip.

This is my original pattern and chart, available for personal use only. You can download a copy of my Mickey Mouse Sock Pattern if you'd like one. Fair warning though, I wrote the pattern for my own personal reference and I am the only one who has knit from it. It has not been "tested" so to speak and the details for kitting up the toe and several other small details seem to be off, but honestly, I don't have time to figure it out. Knit at your own risk!

It's a simple fair isle pattern and I like how the pattern is only at the top of the sock, so your toes don't have to battle the strings when you slip your foot into the rest of the sock. For those interested parties, I used Knit Pick's stroll in Barn and Black to complete this project. I'm hoping these little warm fuzzies will get me through to seed ordering time, when Spring becomes a reality and life abundant is not too far away.

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

Thursday, January 2, 2014

DIY Back To School Mickey Mouse Rice Krispie Treats

Mickey Mouse Rice Krispie Treats
I am a fan of sweets, especially those sweets you find in Walt Disney World. And for my money, they shops in Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Starring Rolls Cafe are the best places on property to get those Disney themed treats. (If you are looking for the best bakery on property, however, it is without a doubt Le Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie, in the French pavilion in Epcot -- in my humble opinion.)

When we are at home, however, and the sweets from WDW are far, far away, we make do with our own version of Rice Krispie Treats. We follow the recipe on the Rice Krispie box with one exception: we put caramel bits into ours. You can find them in most stores next to the chocolate chips. You won't believe the difference these make!

Now if you've ever made Rice Krispie Treats, you will know that there is a reason they are cut into squares. They are incredibly sticky! In order to cut them into Mickey's I used cooking oil, lots of cooking oil! I slicked up the cookie cutter with it, and my hands so that I would get the shapes to come off of the cutter as easily as it went in. You have to work at it a bit, but the end result is so worth it! You could also take a Disney twist on them and frost them or dip the ears in chocolate. So much fun for lunches as school starts back up.

Enjoy these sweet treats, and until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!