Thursday, October 30, 2014

DIY Disney Scrapbook Inspiration | Project Mouse and WDW

Today I give you some more scrapbook pages from our 2013 trip. I have to admit, I love scrapping Disney! And as usual, I have made liberal use of my favorite Disney scrapbook kits: Project Mouse. What can I say? They speak to me. And I have also discovered What a great way to find Disney inspiration and scrapbooking kits! If you haven't checked them out, it's worth a stop.

I hope these pages will inspire your layouts. If they do, I'd love to see them! Leave me a comment or tag me on Instagram. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

From Belle's Library | Creativity, Inc.

Creativity by Ed Catmull is one of the best reads of the year for me. I adored this book. If you are creative in any way, or work with creative people, this should be required reading. I think Ed Catmull has a unique experience finding a way to manage creative people without stifling their creativity. That has to be one of the toughest jobs around! I'm glad he took the time to put pen to paper on this one. We need more managers (of work, and of life) reading this book and thinking about their own management style/work ethic with this scaffolding. Heck, I'm thinking about it in the way I manage my own family.

I think Creativity, Inc. is a little like The Artists Way, by Julia Cameron. There is a lot to chew on when it comes to fostering creative forces. Catmull's perspective on creating an atmosphere of candor and enrichment, not fearing the inevitability of failure, and knowing when a change in leadership is needed, all still have me pondering. It's a refreshing take on meshing management and creativity so that it is not only successful, but enjoyable too.

And then there's the chapter on Steve Jobs and how, at least in Catmull's opinion, there has not been enough written about the other sides of the Pixar executive. In all honesty, I love my Apple products and now I would jump at the chance to work at Pixar, so I know I come to this biased; but Catmull paints a touching portrait of Steve Jobs and does share a different side to him than that which has been prevalent in the mainstream media. It was nice to read; I even found myself tearing up.

This book resonated with me and I can't recommend it highly enough. It would be an excellent Christmas gift to anyone you know who has an affinity for Disney or Pixar, a creative streak, or is now or soon to become a creative professional. You can't go wrong.

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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

DIY Cheesy Grits and Bacon from The Wave at The Contemporary Resort

So first you should know that this is an improvised recipe. I didn't think to ask for the card while we were at The Wave, but I happen to live with an amazing cook, Mr. Photos From The Parks. And he already makes a similar recipe for shrimp and grits. So I with his guidance, I made my own version of this recipe and I love it!

*The Wave is one of my favorite places to eat breakfast in Walt Disney World. It's on the first floor of the Contemporary Resort and their breakfast buffet is sophisticated and delicious! If you haven't been, you really need to try it!

Here's what I did to recreate these grits:

1. I used Alton Brown's Cheese Grits recipe as a start.

2. When the recipe calls for cheese, I also added 4 strips of bacon, cooked and finely chopped.

That's it. Simple enough for me to make it and delicious. My friend who doesn't even like grits loves these. You should give it a try! Enjoy them for breakfast or for dinner. And until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Gone to Disney (again)!

We are off on another magical Disney Vacation! Follow me on Instagram to see all the great things we are up to. I'll be back October 25th with some more great Disney DIYs; until then, I hope all your days are filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

DIY Disney's Haunted Mansion Halloween Decor | Madame Leota Candle (repeat post)

As I mentioned before, we like to use the Haunted Mansion as our inspiration for Halloween decor. And since we leave for Disney in just a couple weeks, it certainly puts us in the mood! I created a candle for my favorite spider candle holder (which it appears, PartyLite no longer makes.) This candle has Madame Leota's incantation printed on it. For those of you who may not be as steeped in Disney tradition as we are in the cottage, Madame Leota is the talking head in the crystal ball in the seance room of the Haunted Mansion, just before the ballroom in the attraction. What you may not also realize, is that Madame Leota was modeled after a long-time Disney Imagineer, Leota Toombs Thomas. You can read a little more about her over at Magical School House, in a wonderful interview with her sister-in-law.

Making this candle was easier that I expected. In fact, this decorative candle tutorial from Heidi Swapp was incredibly easy to follow! I love the endless possibilities it offers! So first, here's the tutorial:

Secondly, here's the print for my candle. You can download my Madame Leota's Candle jpg for free if you'd like to use it. It's made for a 4.5" tall candle with a 9" diameter. This is what it looks like flat:

I could go a little crazy with this! So many great things could be done. I love the idea of three different sized candles, each with a hitchhiking ghost! I'll let you know if I try any more. And please let us know if you try this too! We'd love to see what you come up with. Remember to tag us on Instagram, or leave us a comment below. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

From Mrs. Pott's Cupboard | Cinderella's Pumpkin Tea

It's that time of year when everything pumpkin starts appearing in the stores - one of my favorite times of the year! I can't get enough of it and my Trader Joe's runs have become increasingly more orange. So what better princess tea to introduce this month than Cinderella's Pumpkin Tea?! For this one, you may not have all the ingredients on hand, and if not, they are fairly easy to come by, especially right now.

I have mentioned this before, but I do love shopping at Home Goods. They have a terrific baking area with lots of interesting flavorings. That's where I found my pumpkin pie flavoring. You can always purchase yours through Amazon. We are committed to using as much all-natural product in the cottage as we can, and I can vouch for this as being a quality product. If you are in need of Mulling Spices, I highly recommend Penzey's as a great place to purchase them. And they are wonderful to have on hand at this time of year. You can add them to a small pot of boiling water on your stove for an instant shot of autumn.

After tinkering with this blend several times, I realized that this tea really needs a mellowing ingredient. Don't skip the tarragon! It seems weird, I know. But it really helps the entire recipe blend together into a smooth cup. This is certainly one of my favorite tea recipes. I hope you enjoy this princess tea as much as I have. And until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

DIY Disney's Haunted Mansion Halloween Decor | Hitchhiking Ghosts Window Decals

Today I am re-running my favorite Halloween decor idea for you! Enjoy!

When it comes to Halloween, I like the tamer side of things. I think that's why I gravitate to Disney's Haunted Mansion. It's spooky and fun without traveling into horror in any way. That's my idea of Halloween. And so we tend to be the Haunted Mansion house in our neighborhood, in that we play a CD of the area music, have a fog machine, carve our pumpkins to resemble the hitchhiking ghosts, and now, we will have the same hitchhikers in our windows!

I created these Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts PNG files using photoshop. If you would like to purchase them for your own uses (scrapbooking or otherwise) you can find them in my Etsy shop. For this project, I simply imported the shapes to my Silhouette Studio software. I traced them using the trace tool and cut them out of adhesive vinyl. Remember when you are cutting out anything with words, think about reversing the image before you cut it. It depends on whether you want them to be legible to those in the house, or those on the street.

Once they are cut use the transfer paper to adhere them to the windows. I did not and wound up tearing off the middle hitchhiker's arm at the elbow. I just pieced it together again, but it was disconcerting! Now you're done! You have recreated the ghosts in the graveyard scene from the Haunted Mansion attraction! For a sharp silhouette, pull the blinds or the sheer curtains and turn on all the lights in the room so the light shines through, but the rest of the room is obscured from view. I can't wait to see how many trick-or-treaters (or their parents) recognize our grim grinning ghosts!

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

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sitting With Grandmother Willow | Patchwork by Carol

As part of our on-going series, Sitting with Grandmother Willow, I am happy to introduce Stacey and Carol, of Patchwork by Carol, a lovely Etsy shop. This series of blog posts highlights artists and bloggers of all stripes with one thing in common: a passion for Disney!

Patchwork by Carol carries handmade totes, tablet cases, t-shirts and more. I hope you will enjoy getting to know them as much as I have. A big thanks to Stacey and Carol for taking the time to interview with us! And be sure to visit their shop for a great selection of Disney themed gifts and goodies!

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

# of trips you have made: We could not begin to count, for the last 12 months we aim to go at least once a month to Disneyland and before that at least 100 times.

Date of first trip: Disneyland - too young to remember, but there was a ticket book involved. WDW – January 2012 for 2 weeks

Date of next trip: Disneyland end of March, WDW January 2015 for 2 weeks YAY.

# of Resorts stayed in: All three in Disneyland and so far 1 (AK) in WDW. We have Disney Vacation Club.

Usual # in your travel party: Anywhere from 2-12 at any given time. When it’s just the 2 of us we like to take it slow and take in the magic that was meant for this fabulous place. When there are more we like to host a picture scavenger hunt…we make it hard. J

Pairs of mouse ears in your cottage: Only 2, one of them for Christmas

WDW or Disneyland (or other)? Disneyland is our home, it has a special place in our heart.

How do you usually travel to Disney? We live in San Diego so we drive to Disneyland. WDW we will always try to get a direct flight.

Do you have any tips for trips? Use the fast pass system, do a little something different that you haven’t done before and check out the children’s faces, it will renew the magic every time for you.

Do you have a favorite place to eat while in Disney? Disneyland-Plaza & Storytellers Café, WDW – Le Cellier hands down

What is your absolute DON'T MISS attraction? The Haunted Mansion in its original state. (Purist)

Stage shows, yes or no? Love the stage shows. Aladdin in Disney’s California’s Adventure is phenomenal.

Parades, yes or no? The fondest memory of Disney is the Electrical Parade. When the music begins to play it touches the child in me. Very happy that it isn’t gone for good and we can still see it at WDW

Best Fast Pass to get: Radiator Springs Racers first thing

Favorite park: Out of the 6 that I’ve been to, it will always be Disneyland

One piece of advice you'd give a novice about WDW/DL: Plan ahead, use the apps and whatever you do, take it all in and have a good time. Don’t let yourself stress or get angry.

How do you create extra magic for your family We tend to bring extra pins with us so that if there is a child that is starting out and possibly a little shy to walk up to someone to trade, we will give them a great pin for trading.

How can we connect with you?
Instagram: patchworkbycarol

Facebook: Patchwork Carol

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

DIY Disney Popcorn Bucket Makeover

We are savers; I admit it. I love all things Disney and I hate to toss even the smallest items. I'm always convinced I can find a way to use them all! And I love all the different designs that come on those souvenir popcorn buckets in the Disney Parks. And since we are constantly in need of snacks, we tend to collect a LOT of buckets.

So what do you do with all those popcorn buckets after all the popcorn has been eaten in the parks? Here's our list of top 10 ideas for reusing your bucket that would make Jiminy Cricket (and his environmentality campaign) proud:

  1. Disney Movie Night! Why not reuse those buckets for the same purpose they were intended for? Fill them with your favorite popcorn and pop in your favorite Disney movie and remember the magic!
  2. Bath Time! While we are at the parks we find these to be the best bath toy. Even at home we like to use them for washing the kids, and washing the dog. 
  3. Picnic Buckets: We like to fill each bucket with an individual picnic for the park or field trip days. With food allergies, it's better to be safe so we always pack our own food.
  4. Airplane Snack Buckets: I like to use all our leftover snack credits from the dining plan to fill up these buckets with Disney treats to have on the way home. There's nothing better than a little Disney magic to soften the blow of leaving The Happiest Place On Earth.
  5. Berry Picking Pails: We love to pick our own berries in the strawberry and raspberry fields all summer. These are the perfect size for small hands and clean up easily too.
  6. Sand Toys! We have been known to take these with us to Lake Michigan to build sandcastles and dig giant sand pits. The handles make it easy to tote water too! And when you are going back and forth it keeps your sunscreen separate from the other items in your beach bag. No spills!
  7. Backseat Trash Cans: Our road trips to Disney have been long and the car seems to get trashed in no time! One line of defense against this is making sure they have a place to put all their trash. These buckets can attach to the headrest in front and they hold a lot!
  8. Trick or Treat Bucket: Obviously the halloween themed buckets would be perfect for this!
  9. Play Kitchen Utensil Holder: With Little Chef in our cottage, we have a fairly extensive collection of things in the play kitchen. We use one of these popcorn buckets to corral all the utensils meant for the kids.
  10. Lego Bin: This bucket is the right size to carry a whole lego project and it's instructions for a road trip or even just a quick trip to Grandma's house.
There you have it! Ten ways to reuse those Disney popcorn buckets once you get home. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Becoming a Certified Disney Travel Planner

I am pleased to announce that I have just started a new job as a certified Disney Travel Planner! I've always been the go-to person in my various circles of friends on how to plan a trip to Walt Disney World and how to make the most of your time there. When this job with Wishdrawals just sort of fell into my lap, I knew it was the perfect fit for me!

Wishdrawals is a Certified Disney Travel Planning company owned by two enthusiastic Disney-loving families. We have been trained by Disney and have an incredible wealth of personal Disney travel experience. And since we only book Disney related travel, we are familiar with even the smallest details of making your Disney travel enjoyable! I am really impressed by the other travel planners on the team and their willingness to help all of us help our clients create trips of a lifetime! We can help you plan a trip ANYWHERE Disney goes, with Disney Cruise Lines, any of the Disney Resorts, even Adventures with Disney. And the best news is that it's at no additional cost to you our clients! Disney pays our commission, not our clients. So our expertise is free to you! And with so many agents on board with expertise in so many various parts of the Disney experience, you really can't go wrong.

If you are planning a trip to one of the Disney properties in the near future (or know someone who is), consider using Wishdrawals to make all your arrangements. We can be as involved in the planning or as hands-off as you want us to be. We can help advise you on which hotel is right for your family and your budget, help you decide if the dining plan is right for you, even make dining and special event arrangements for you. I'll be posting once or twice a month about deals and promotions that may be available in the Disney Resorts, and a few trip reports so you can get some insider information you won't find anywhere else! You can also find information on my Pinterest board Wish With Amy. And finally, you can search #wishwithamy on Instagram to see pictures of what's happening in the Disney Parks and Resorts and see information on the current promotions at Disney.

There's a lot of excitement in the cottage with all this change. But do not fear. We will still be highlighting Disney DIY projects, introducing you to new Disney artisans, and reviewing Disney-related books here on the blog. This is just an added bonus.

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

Thursday, October 2, 2014

DIY Disney Scrapbook Inspiration | Project Mouse and WDW

I find myself almost perpetually 18 months back in my scrapbooking. This in not really something that concerns me, but more like a matter of fact. It's fine. But when I looked at the calendar recently and realized that I had TWO(!) trips to Walt Disney World scheduled this fall, I realized I needed to get 2013 in the books! There's nothing worse than trying to sort our multiple trip memories and anecdotes for this tired mama! So today I give you some scrapbook pages from our 2013 trip. I have to admit, I love the title page! And as usual, I have made liberal use of my favorite Disney scrapbook kits: Project Mouse. What can I say? They speak to me.

I hope these pages will inspire your layouts. If they do, I'd love to see them! Leave me a comment or tag me on Instagram. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!