Saturday, August 30, 2014

DIY Disney's Olaf Hawaiian Shirt

It's been such a long time since I have been able to get to my sewing machine! I have loads of projects ready to go, but our little Minnie has been her typical toddler self, into everything and destroying most of it! This does not make me anxious to get out the sewing machine! But I finally, finally found some time to create this adorable little Olaf shirt for Little Chef! It's crazy cute and as intimidated as I was about putting in that collar, it was far easier than I ever imagined.

Both of the littles have had an obsession with Frozen from the moment the DVD arrived. They sing along at every song and even repeat some of their favorite dialogue. When I saw this fabric at JoAnn's I knew it was coming home with me! And since we managed to get a meet and greet with Anna and Elsa for our next visit to WDW (squee!) I know exactly what Little Chef is going to be wearing!

To make this adorable little button up shirt, I used the Kai's Shirt pattern from Heather Ross's book, Weekend Sewing. I love every pattern I have used from this book. They are very easy to follow and the step by step directions make things like sewing a collar and putting in sleeves easy. I even used my button hole presser foot to create button holes, and my button foot to sew on the buttons! I felt quite good about myself.

I have other projects in the works, including a little something for Minnie in this same fabric if I can find the time for it in the near future! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Welcome to the EAC Disney Inspired Hand Knit Socks

Welcome to the EAC, Dude! I've been hanging on the this sock yarn for longer than I'd like to admit. I often see beautiful hand painted yarn, snap it up, and then wonder how I can use it. It doesn't show off intricate patterns too well, so you have to be somewhat picky in the choice of socks you are going to knit. This is true of self-striping yarn as well, although that's the beauty of the self-striping stuff. You can knit a plain old vanilla sock and get something that looks amazing.

I finally found a pattern that fits this beautiful hand painted yarn. It reminds me of the scene in Finding Nemo where Crush welcomes Marlin and Dory to the EAC! The pattern sort of swirls around the legs a bit without distorting or pooling the colors. And oh how I LOVE these colors!

I also fell in love with this pattern for two reasons. The first is that this was a very easy pattern to memorize. This is wonderful for knitting on the go. The second is that I was able to alter this pattern very easily to accommodate my very curvy calves. The pattern comes in four sizes and the chart was very easy to modify going from the larger size for my calves, to the smaller size for the rest of the sock. If you are into those sorts of details, you can find them all on my Ravelry page. There's even a link to the pattern.

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

DIY Mickey Mouse Serving Tray

I think this tray is one of the funniest and delightful things I've done in a long time! I love walking by it on the command center and seeing our ADRs for our next trip. Mickey just makes be smile every time. The ridiculousness is part of the charm! And for under $10 and a little time, it's totally worth it for me to have this fun little Maitre d, er, Mousetre D, at my next Disney themed event!

The last time we were in Walt Disney World, I stumbled upon these plastic, movable Mickey toys at the International Gateway Gift Shop in Epcot. This shop is right at the World Showcase entrance to the park. You may have walked right by it many times and never really noticed it if you haven't had occasion to use it, but it is where the boats dock from the Epcot resorts and Hollywood Studios, tucked in between the UK and France pavilions. It's one of my favorite little shops to check out.

When I saw these plastic Mickey toys for $7 each I decided to pick up two of them. Not only were they good bath toys for the little ones on that trip (which I never seem to remember to bring), it seemed to me they were perfect for some yet unthought of craft. And so they were.

This Mickey already separates at the waist, so all I had to do was pull him apart. I made sure both halves of him were level and would fit seamlessly on the tray. I found this lightweight silver tray at the dollar store in the party goods area. It was exactly the right size for this project. After that, I simply used gorilla glue to adhere both sides of Mickey to the tray. He was hollow inside, so I put a few marbles in his bottom half to weight him down. And since I used gorilla glue, I don't think I would use this for food unless I put a doily around it first or the food was individually wrapped, like candy or cupcakes. I think it's the perfect think for party favors or information though! I used this tutorial as an inspiration for this craft.

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

Saturday, August 23, 2014

DIY Disney Trip Command Center for WDW

When we decided to go to Hilton Head for our Spring Break trip back in April, we created a command center for the trip. A place for the entire family to see our vacation plans and get excited for the trip. You can read about that trip here. (It was one of our top 10 for sure!) The command center worked so well for the last trip, I decided to do the same thing for this fall's excursion to Walt Disney World!

Here's the breakdown of what I included:

Map of Resort
We are staying at Kidani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge this trip. I was able to find a print this map of the resort area simply by doing a google image search for Animal Kingdom Lodge Map. I also added a few animal masks to the lamp to try and make it more festive. You can see the gorilla mask, warthog mask, and leopard mask in the Silhouette online store.

Height Chart
I used the Silhouette to cut out the height chart using the shape growth chart. I cut out the numbers and then backed them with a patterned paper. I tried to tie in the papers to the Animal Kingdom, but I also wanted to use what I had on hand. I then used the height chart from PreschoolEars to mark the heights that the kids needed to reach to be able to ride certain attractions.

I printed out this FREE countdown sheet from one of my favorite bloggers and IG friends: Designs by Nicolina. It's perfect for watching the days get closer to Disney!

ADRs & Fastpass+ 
I wanted to remind the kids (the older ones) of all the fun things we had planned, including the ADRs and Fastpass+ reservations. So I printed out this FREE fastpass+ planning sheet from Lovely Commotion. If you are into the planning thing, you really need to check her out. She has LOTS of Disney planning resources available on her blog!

And who could resist this adorable serving tray with Mickey announcing our Advanced Dining Reservations! I am really excited to take our own Little Chef to Chefs de France, Epcot in hopes of meeting Remy. It is Food & Wine Festival time, so I am hopeful we will see him. I will definitely report back if we do!

Since we have a quick service dining plan, this is our only table service reservation. We have never had a bad meal at Chefs de France and I (the unabashed francophile!) am certainly looking forward to it! Stay tuned for a later post on how I made this really fun Mickey tray for less than $10!

Disney World Subway Art
I love eighteen25 for the subway art alone. I downloaded this from their website and stuck it in a frame. Instant Disney magic!

My go to planner for any Disney trip is the PassPorter. My friends call it my Franklin Planner for Disney. If you don't have one and you have never been to Disney, this is the guidebook for you! I left it out on our command center for quick and easy reference.

We are clearly getting excited for our next big family trip this fall! Do you have a command center? If so, I'd love to know what you put in yours! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

From Belle's Library | How To Be Like Walt

This was, perhaps, the first book I've attempted to read about Walt Disney that I just couldn't get through. That's right, I didn't even get past chapter 4 of How To Be Like Walt. I will say that the narration for the audio book is lovely and the prologue was probably the best part of this book - at least the best part that I read. But for me, the fatal flaw here was that it reads exactly like a self-help book. I know; I know; it's supposed to. The title screams, "I want to change!" But I just can't keep listening to a book tell me how, if I just do this or that, I too can be like Walt. I'd hoped for something a little more along the lines of inspiration, and not so much instruction. I have enough to keep track of in my life without a longer list of "think this," "do that," and "you're doing it wrong." It just seemed like work and Disney should NOT feel like work!

For me, this was a poor choice and I can't say I would recommend it to anyone. If you are looking for a good biography, there are plenty other choices out there. Leave this one on the shelves. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Disney Inspired Bedknobs and Broomsticks Design on RedBubble!

Bedknobs and Broomsticks is, perhaps, one of the lesser known Disney staples, but when I was growing up and VCRs were all the rage (ahem!), this video was a go to for our family movie nights. It was magical, had cheeky kids and a really nice (NOT green) witch, incorporated a little history and a lot of fun music to dance to; what's not to love?

Those of us who grew up watching this Disney classic will no doubt remember Mrs. Price and her famous incantation for Substitutiary Locomotion! And now you can show your Disney side with this fun design printed on LOTS of fantastic goodies, including t-shirts and hoodies, but also tote bags and pillows! You'll definitely find your people when you wear this. Not everyone will get it when they see it, but those to will, will instantly understand. Enjoy this new design. Perhaps it will inspire you to watch Bedknobs and Broomsticks again.

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

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Robin Williams

It's already been all over social media, but I believe it still bears mentioning that we lost a great comedic talent this week. I've always been inspired by Robin Williams' history as a student, at least the story I was told at a teaching conference many moons ago. He was certifiably a genius and in many ways a typically brilliant student: bored and willing to take on the argument, always ready for the laugh. He was kicked out of several schools along the way, but still kept his own light burning. And as I heard that story (which I have never bothered to verify,) I knew that's a role model I wanted to share with my exceptionally bright kid. It's hard to be brilliant. Don't let the world, the system, or the authorities tell you who you are. You be who you are. And burn brightly. I think that's exactly what Robin Williams did.

He stared in several Disney movies and all of them are delightful, but by far his most remembered Disney role was as the genie in Aladdin. If you have time (or a DVR) you can still catch two more showings of Aladdin this Sunday at 6pm, or Monday at 11 am on Disney Junior. And since Aladdin is currently still in the Disney vault, it may be the only chance to view it for a while.

Genie, you are free.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Walt Disney World 101 | 10 Of Our Favorite Touring Tips

It's been 100% crazy here in the cottage this week with school starting, family visits and the ubiquitous potty alarm! (I am so hoping that the potty training will sink in soon!) But I still wanted to get a post out for today, so I thought I would share 10 WDW Touring Tips with you.

These are tried and true and used on every Walt Disney World vacation we take. Some are obvious, some are not. Some have taken us a while to realize, some have been with us from the very beginning (and I do mean from the VERY beginning!). I can still hear my dad shouting, "Left side, Amy!" I hope you enjoy them and they come in useful for you and your touring party too.

  1. Stay To The Left. This may be the single most important tip we have. Our American tendency is to stay to the right. And most tourists will choose the line or the attraction that is to their right. As we've continued to travel to WDW this rule has morphed somewhat into, take the path farthest from the door (or humanity). You'd be surprised how much faster you can get your burger and fries if you just move to the farthest line.
  2. Wait To Leave The Parks. It sounds a little nutty, but if you don't have toddlers having historic melt downs, then stay a bit after the fireworks and linger in the shops or buy one last sweet treat. Let the transportation crush happen without you. Waiting to leave the park (especially the Magic Kingdom) can make everyone's night much better.
  3. Arrive Early. If you can't manage the late nights, consider arriving for rope drop. The MK has a fun celebration prior to opening and all parks are clean and sparkling early in the morning; often you can get some nice photos with just your family in them.
  4. Make A Dining Reservation For The Hour Before Park Opening. Some character meals allow for early entry to the parks. You must have a reservation and all the members of your party before you can go in, but you can eat in the park before it is officially open. This has two advantages; obviously you can maximize your time in that first line or two and you can get some really great photos without the crush of humanity.
  5. Get A Haircut At The Harmony Barber Shop. This is strictly a Magic Kingdom experience, but I love doing this! Our first kid had the privilege of having his first haircut there. I HIGHLY recommend this! There was all sorts of kitsch and celebration and they are excellent with a wiggly kid.
  6. Watch The Parade From Frontierland. Again, this is specific to the Magic Kingdom, but we have had excellent luck finding a good spot for viewing the parade and it's usually much less hectic. This is not the best plan if you want to see the fireworks after the parade. And as an added bonus, we can hit the Pirates of the Caribbean on the way out!
  7. Hit Your Favorite Rides During the Evening Entertainment. If you are not watching the parade, the fireworks, or Illuminations, this is an excellent time to ride your favorite (usually crowded) rides. E-ticket rides were the most expensive and usually most desired rides when Disneyland and Walt Disney World opened. We still have a tendency to refer to them as such around the cottage.
  8. Use The Single Rider Lines. If you are not opposed to riding next to someone you don't know, the single rider line can be a great time saver. Usually Mr. Photos From The Parks and Doc can ride the same coaster, or consecutive coasters and come out beaming. 
  9. Grab A Button At Guest Relations. Especially if you are celebrating a birthday, first visit, or anniversary, get a button! The cast members are wonderful at making a little extra magic happen. You can even request a birthday phone call at your resort when checking in! 
  10. Talk To Cast Members. They are incredibly willing to help, share Disney trivia, tell jokes, trade pins, hand out stickers and trading cards, and just in general make your trip enjoyable. One of my favorite interactions was with a street sweeper in Animal Kingdom who kept my kids entertained with jokes as we were all headed to the exit together. 
Remember to try and stay positive while you're touring and enjoy the time you have, even in the small moments. It's the happiest place on Earth, and you deserve a great vacation! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DIY Disney Scrapbook Inspiration | Project Mouse & Walt Disney World, Installment 3

Some of my favorite memories have been made in Walt Disney World. This vacation was no exception. And so while everyone is busy with summer plans, vacations, and school starting up (gulp!), I thought this would be a great time to showcase a few more Project Life style pages that I completed from our 2012 trip. I keep saying how much I love using the Project Mouse kits by Sahlin Studios and Britt-ish Designs, but it's the best product out there for my money. 

For these pages I used Project Mouse Bundles 1, 2, & 4, plus the Days & Washi Tape Bundle, the Halloween Bundle, and the Fantasy Bundle. I also used the Stuffed with Fluff kit from Britt-ish Designs, and the Now Showing Mini Kit from Tickled Pink Studios. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sitting With Grandmother Willow | Sylvia of Sylvia Loves Pink

As part of our on-going series, Sitting with Grandmother Willow, I am happy to introduce Sylvia of Sylvia Loves Pink, a hoot of an Etsy shop! This series of blog posts highlights artists and bloggers of all stripes with one thing in common: a passion for Disney! 

Sylvia designs owls, zipper pouches, and bags, many with a Disney twist! Her owls have completely stolen my heart. I always love it when a new design pops up on my Instagram feed! I hope you will enjoy getting to know Sylvia as much as I have. A big thank you to her for taking the time to interview with us! Be sure to visit her shop for a great selection of Disney themed owl plushies and bags! And remember, she welcomes custom orders, so don't be shy about giving that special someone an unique gift they'll treasure! It's never too early to think about Holiday shopping!

Disney By The Numbers (with apologies to Harper's)

# of trips you’ve taken: One to Disney World / Florida
date of first trip:
# of mouse ears in your cottage: 1
# of disney themed pillows you’ve created: around 50
# of disney movies you’ve seen: too many to count!
Are you a DL or WDW fan (or cruise line, or other): Disneyland, I live in California
What is your absolute don’t miss attraction? Pirates of the Caribbean
Do you have a favorite place to eat while in Disney? Redd Rockett's Pizza Port
You favorite disney park is... Disneyland
Three things your dream disney vacation would include: A cruise, Aulani Disney Resort, my hubby :)
The best time to visit disney (in your opinion): during the summer

Your favorite Disney memory: My very first trip to Disneyland as a child. I was beyond excited to share that experience with my parents, siblings and other family members. It was like a dream come true! I still have the Tinkerbell charm bracelet that one of my uncles purchased for me that day.

How did you start your Etsy store? In January of 2013, I was laid off from my job and knew that the job market would be challenging. So, I decided to teach myself how to sew. I discovered that I loved it and decided to open an Etsy shop in order to bring in a bit of income.

Why owls?  started off making zipper pouches, tote bags and tooth fairy pillows. I love owls and thought it might be fun to make a Spiderman inspired owl for my nephew. Everyone loved it so much and they encouraged me to make more! From there, customers started requesting owls inspired by many different characters. They challenge me every day and I love it!

How can we connect?
Instagram: SylviaLovesPink

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Disney Roadtrip 101 | DIY Lunchables

Here in the cottage we are at the stage in our lives that when the kids sleep, we let them go as long as possible. Sleep seems like the magic elixir! And on the road, it's even more true. You can make very good time while the kids are sleeping. But sometimes, when we are road tripping, that means the kids fall asleep and we end up driving right through lunch. That does not work well for this mama.

So on our last road trip, I decided to pack sandwiches for the cooler. The littles, however, don't really do sandwiches; they sort of shred them. And in an attempt to make things less of a mess in the car (always worth the struggle), I made up my own Lunchables. My friend Flora always says, toddlers will eat anything if you cut it up for them. And that holds true for our toddlers.

This was really simple and easy to prepare, and when I pulled them out of the cooler for the littles, they were delighted! I started with a disposable, square, plastic container. You can find them in the paper goods and food storage aisle at any grocery store. I wanted it to be disposable so we could toss it at the next rest stop. I then put cupcake papers in the bottom of each container to hold each food item seperately. (I also discovered that cutting off and using the bottom of a Solo cup worked for this as well!) This technique is specially helpful if you have a kid who hates for his food to touch! After that it was as easy as finding what they would eat, cutting it up and putting it in their boxes. Done and done!

If you have food allergies in your house, you know how hard it can be to find healthy foods on the road that are also safe for the whole family. This will definitely be one of our solutions to that problem. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Wilderness Explorer Tribe 54 Products Now On RedBubble!

During our last round of road trips this summer, Pixar's Up became one of the favored videos. It's funny what you pick up when you are just listening to the videos in the car (in the front seats). Mr. Photos From The Parks and I began to recite Russell's introduction to Carl each time it came on. And this idea for a T-shirt materialized right there on I-70!

I seriously love how simple this is and how only the true Disney geeks will get it. It would be PERFECT for wearing in the parks!

Head on over to my RedBubble store and check out all the awesome products you can find there. And they are selling duvet covers now too! How fun is that? Have fun checking out all the Disney related items, and until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Easy Disney Themed Back To School Dinner

Let's face it. The last thing we want to think about during the first weeks of school is getting dinner on the table. Ok, the last thing I want to face is getting dinner on the table! And that's true most nights. I just plain run out of energy by then. So when we tried this recipe and it got rave reviews, I knew it would be in the queue for our back to school meals this week.

This Shrimp and Prosciutto Pasta recipe from the Grand Floridian Cafe can be found over at Magical Recipes; just follow the link above.  I love the site and have found several great recipes there for our family meals. And one of the best things about this meal is that it took me under 30 minutes from start to finish. It was simple and still full of flavor. And at this time of year, you can get most of the ingredients locally (especially if you live in an area where shrimp are prevalent!). Even better, the whole family liked it! Any time we can get a little Disney magic to the table in under 30 minutes, I'm all for it!

I hope your back to school preparations and activities are going smoothly these days. And for those of you who still have time with your kids this summer, remember those of us who have already sent them back! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!