Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Off To Ireland!

Dear readers, I will be gone until April 12. I am traveling to Dublin Ireland with my niece so we can write and see castles! (Maybe even the Disney castle??)

We plan on soaking up all the local culture we can, eating in the pubs, listening to the music, wandering the museums and picnicking on the greens, so I will be away from the blog until our return.

I hope all of your Spring Break travels will be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

WALL-E Design Now Available In My RedBubble Shop!

I'm on a roll with new RedBubble designs this month! WALL-E is such a lovable little robot. If you've never seen this movie (which I would find highly suspect!) you must add it to your watch list immediately. The message is wonderful, and timely,  and I love it every time my kids choose this one. (And there's the added bonus of not making me weep!)

I've been fascinated by the eyes of my favorite Disney characters lately and this seems to be influencing my designs lately. WALL-E's eyes are the most expressive part about him and I cannot get enough. He's so curious and generous. And he makes others open their eyes to what is around them as well.

This design can be seen in my RedBubble shop on T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, bags and all sorts of other great products. Hop on over and take a look. There is something for everyone over there! And until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Elastigirl Design Now in RedBubble Shop!

We are all about the Incredibles around here. We like to think we can relate to their family. You know, family squabbles that involve disappearing kids, running like mad around the house and reaching as far as you can to grab that last wiggly kid. If I could have one superpower, I might just choose being as flexible as Elastigirl! I've always had a soft spot for her, and I especially love her quote in the opening sequence of the Incredibles. They are filming a documentary and Elastigirl says, "Leave saving the world to the men? I don't think so." Preach it sister!

In honor of all the Helen Parr's out there (Elastigirl's secret identity), I have designed an Elastigirl T-shirt for you to wear on those days you need a little reminder of just how super you are. Wouldn't this be an awesome Mother's Day gift? (Hint, hint, Mr. Photos From The Parks.) And as always, if you'd rather find this design on mugs, tech cases, leggins or home decor, those products are there for you as well!

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

King Brian of the Little People St. Patrick's Day Photo Bomb

Happy St. Patrick's Day readers! I've mentioned before that we love celebrating this Irish-American holiday here in the cottage. Several birthdays surround the holiday for our family and we are already in a very celebratory mood! Whats a little more Guinness? And as an added bonus, I will be traveling to Ireland with my niece at the end of the month!! I am so excited.

And as is our tradition here in the cottage, we will be watching Darby O'Gill and the Little People. The movie was made in the live-action heyday of Disney studios and is a quirky little gem. If you're REALLY a Disney geek, or grew up renting these tapes from the video store, then you know exactly what I mean, and you've probably watched this one yourself a couple of times. This movie is not your standard Disney fare of today. But the bonus material on the DVD almost makes watching it worth it - even if you do groan all the way through the movie.

One of the central characters of Darby O'Gill and the Little People is King Brian, King of the Leprechauns - although that term is a bit pejorative for the Little People. He's a wee devil and only shows himself to Darby. I thought it would be fun to make him into a little png file and have him photo bomb our family for St. Patrick's Day! I had way too much fun doing this! He should also come in handy for some of those Ireland pictures that are to come!

If you are interested in this King Brian png file too, help yourself. It's for personal use ONLY as I created it from copyrighted materials. Enjoy using it today to photobomb you favorite people. And if you do, use #KingBrian on Instagram so I can enjoy it with you! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

From Mrs. Potts' Cupboard | Esmerelda's Gypsy Blend

The littles recently unearthed our copy of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I eagerly put it in the DVD player and then shortly there-after remembered this is not such a happy story! Lots of bad behavior before justice rights the scales. But while we were watching I realized that Esmerelda was the perfect character for a new tea blend I've been working on.

I like a tea with some weight behind it. Herbal teas just aren't my think. So I tend to use a lot of black tea as the base for my blends. This tea is a little unpredictable, a little spicy and very full bodied (ahem). You might be surprised by what's in it. Just like Esmerelda. It's the sort of tea you might drink in a gypsy wagon and then have the tea leaves read to you. It's a blend of black tea and peppermint with a hint of fennel and black pepper. It's bright and smooth and very aromatic. I'm absolutely in love with it right now. I hope you enjoy it too.

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

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Surviving Spring Break at Walt Disney World

Spring Break travel is upon us and we know that Walt Disney World and Disneyland are very popular destinations! Here are my six best tips to help you be prepared for and actually enjoy your Disney vacation:

1. Use My Disney Experience (MDE) Now- even if you missed some of the big things, even if it's the morning before you go in the parks, make your Fastpass reservations now. Also, if you plan on having a table service meal, make your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) now. You can use the MDE app for that too. Having a plan for the day will help you navigate the crowds and assure that you get to do some of the fun things you've been looking forward to doing.

2. Use My Disney Experience in the Parks - know your wait times, check to see when the next show is in your "land", use it to book last minute dining reservations. This is your biggest tool to help you navigate through the parks on a busy day. I use it while I'm waiting in line. I check the wait times for the next thing we want to do and for any nearby meet and greets, shows, experiences that we may want to hit on our way to the next thing. If you don't have an ADR you can see if there is anything available on the app and make the reservation right there!

3. Be Flexible - realize that during busy times, you won't get to do everything you'd like to do. Too many other people are trying to do that too. If you have planned for your Fastpasses and ADRs use these as benchmarks for your day. You know you can do those things, you have a reserved spot. Enjoy the journey to the next thing. You may run into an experience you haven't had yet, or something you might never had considered. There is plenty to do in Disney. Find the magic.

4. Consider a Resort Day - crowds will be heavy at the parks, this is a known fact. Consider spending a day at your resort; all resorts have a recreation line telling you what there is to do while you're there. In the past our family has spent time at the mini golf courses, using the arcades and pools at our resort, planning our own cocktail tour, even eating at resort restaurants we haven't tried yet. All the transportation on property is free. Consider taking a boat from Downtown Disney to Port Orleans for a pleasant stroll, or riding the boat from the Boardwalk or the Yacht Club round trip, or taking a monorail tour. If you are staying on property, none of this will cost you a dime.

5. Hydrate and Use Sunscreen - I cannot emphasize this enough. Even this veteran Disney traveler (with 40+ trips under her belt) finds herself in a spot every trip realizing we don't have allergy-friendly snacks, or another water bottle, or forgot the sunscreen for myself! You can usually find these things wherever you are, but the frustration can seem insurmountable. Find a cast member if you need help locating something. Also, set an alarm on your phone, or have your significant other double check you before you leave the room. These are the things that make happy Disney people into bloody stumps of human beings. Protect yourself.

6. Enjoy your family - I know it can be hard when everyone seems to be needy at the same time. I hate seeing people upset with their families in Disney. (Like, maybe, shouting at your husband on the bridge to Be Our Guest; guilty!) I try to say yes as much as possible when in Disney, and try to remember that this trip is making memories for me and my family. I want to make them good ones. Although that's not always possible. As my therapist likes to say, it's either a great trip or a great story!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sitting with Grandmother Willow | Lauren Tanner of Crafting to Disney

As part of our on-going series, Sitting with Grandmother Willow, I am happy to introduce you to Lauren of Crafting to Disney! This series of blog posts highlights artists and fellow bloggers of all stripes with one thing in common: a passion for Disney!

Lauren and I are both Disney Certified Travel Planners for Wishdrawals. She also has a passion for Disney DIY so we connected immediately! I'm so glad she could join us on the blog this month!

Disney By The Numbers (with apologies to Harpers)

# of trips you have made: only 5 :(

Date of first trip: I'm not sure of the exact date. I was maybe 4 so sometime around 1986? I went with my Mom and Dad and older sister. I remember my brother staying home with my grandmother because he was still too young. I feel like he was a baby. My mom sold Tupperware and they had a confrence every year in Orlando. We extended the work trip to include a Disney Vacation.

Date of next trip: 9/18/15 CAN'T STINKIN WAIT!

# of Resorts stayed in: Two. I tend to be a creature of habbit.

Usual # in your travel party: My family of 4. My grumpy husband and my two boys- ages 10 and 4.

Pairs of mouse ears in your cottage: 5, but I have learned how to make Minne headbands so that number is growing!

WDW or Disneyland (or other)? WDW. We live in Georgia, so it's an easy drive. I can't wait to make it to Disneyland though!

How do you usually travel to Disney? Driving. It's an easy 6 hours.

Do you have any tips for trips? Plan, plan, plan. My 4 year old has special needs and planning ahead of time has been key to our success in the parks.

Do you have a favorite place to eat while in Disney? we LOVE Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom and Tusker House in Animal Kingdom.

What is your absolute DON'T MISS attraction? Pirates of the Caribbean. I love that it is such a classic- I remember it from childhood! My boys love anything Captaian Jack Sparrow, so it's a win win!

Stage shows, yes or no? Nah, my youngest can't sit through them.

Parades, yes or no? Nope again. Same as before. We can't keep him still long enough to get a good spot to watch them from.

Best Fast Pass to get: For my family, one that we can all use is Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Peter Pan's Flight. The big rides are great, but my little guy is still too young so we have to do rider swap.

Favorite park: ALL OF THEM! I can't pick one, they are each perfect in thier own way!

One piece of advice you'd give a novice about WDW/DL: Look at a map before you go. It's nice to know what to expect before you walk into the massive parks!

How do you create extra magic for your family? I make t-shirts for the kids to wear, decorate our resort window, bring things like Disney Pez Despensers to put in my park backpack, trade pins with them... The list could go on for a while!

How can we connect with you?
email: craftingtodisney@gmail.com

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Code 2319! DIY Monsters Inc. George Sanderson Hat

I love Pixar. No one tells a story the way Pixar does. And the running gag in Monsters Inc. when George Sanderson is constantly getting detoxed (at the panicked cry of his partner no less!) cracks us up every time. We are constantly hopeful that one day we will be in a Walt Disney World Resort room 2319. I'll keep you posted.

And the fact that my dad and granddad both worked in environments where radiation was a real risk means we've heard stories from them about the detox process. Seems to me that Pixar got it right. If you haven't seen the movie, here's a clip of the first time George is the subject of a 2319:

Poor George. In his honor, and to celebrate National Crochet Month, I whipped up this Code 2319 hat using a free pattern for a Unicorn Hat from Cre8tion Crochet. I followed the directions for the beanie using this Yarn Bee yarn I purchased ages ago from Hobby Lobby. I lost the label (I'm sure the littles had a hand in that!) so I can't tell you the exact name. But any faux fur would do the trick!

I think I've mentioned this before, but when using faux fur to crochet, I like to hold a sock yarn along with it so I can see the stitches more clearly. For this, I used some yellow scrap I had left over from making those Tangled Socks. It practically disappears as long as you use a color similar to what's in your faux fur.

I also modified the horn pattern to make it a little thicker that the unicorn one in the pattern. I simply repeated the increase row each time until it was long enough, and followed the directions for attaching to horn to the hat. If I were a runner, I would consider this for a RunDisney event costume!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Forgotten Disney | DIY Spoodles Crispy Polenta with Greens and Mushrooms

File this under Forgotten Disney. So much at Walt Disney World (and Disney in general) has come and gone, or undergone change and rehab since I was little. Periodically we will revisit some of the forgotten places and things from Walt Disney World, starting today.

One of the restaurants Mr. Photos From The Parks and I used to love was Spoodles at Disney's Boardwalk Resort. For my money, they had the best breakfast around. (I now proudly support the buffeteria at the Trail's End in Fort Wilderness as the best kept breakfast secret on property.) I stumbled across this recipe in my Delicious Disney book and all those wonderful memories came flooding back!

This recipe was really quite easy to make. The Balsamic Vinaigrette was the hardest part. I used prepackaged polenta from Trader Joe's so all the prep work for that was unnecessary. I just opened the package and sliced it. Everything else is just a sauté. And since I've been making a conscious effort to eat more veggies through the day (my one thing I can do right now to be healthier), this seemed like a no brainer. I added a bit of sweet onion to my mushrooms, and a slice of smoked provolone atop my polenta, and served it with the polenta slices on the bottom, but otherwise, it's the same recipe.

Enjoy this entrée from Spoodles, and until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Crispy Polenta with Mushrooms, Wilted Greens and Balsamic Vinaigrette

from Delicious Disney

Serves 4

2 C warm cooked polenta
5 T butter, divided
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 C red wine
1 C vegetable stock
4 T olive oil
1 C shiitake mushrooms (or sub what you have)
1 C cremini mushrooms
2 C Swiss chard or large leaf spinach
2 C arugula
2 T water
Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together cooked polenta with 4 T butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Pour polenta into 1/2" thickness in an 8" square pan. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

3. While polenta is cooling, make Balsamic Vinaigrette. Set aside.

4. In a sauté pan, whisk together wine and vegetable stock; cook until reduced by half. Remove from pan and set aside.

5. In the same pan, heat 2 T oil and sauté the mushrooms.

6. Add the wine and stock reduction to the mushrooms; cook 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and keep warm until ready to serve.

7. In the same pan, melt the remaining T butter. Add greens and water and cook just until greens are wilted. Keep warm.

8. Remove polenta from refrigerator and cut into 8 squares.

9. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 T oil and cook the polenta until crispy, turning once.

10. Place wilted greens on serving plates, top each with 2 squares of warm polenta, then spoon mushrooms over the top. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 shallot, minced
3T balsamic vinegar
1/2 t fresh thyme, basil or other favorite herb
5 T olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. In food processor or blender, mix together shallots, vinegar, and herbs.

2. Drizzle in olive oil with machine running.

3. Season with salt and paper to taste.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Celebrating National Crochet Month Disney Style

If you don't crochet, you may not know that March is National Crochet Month. As such, I thought it would be fun to do a round up of all the Disney crochet projects I've done on the blog over the last two years! To get the story on how I made them and a link to the patterns, click on the caption. It will take you to the original post.

I hope you enjoy them, and may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tangled Passie Clip

Disney Dress Up Crowns

Amigurumi Squirt

Adult Sized Mickey Beanie

Princess Wrap