Thursday, July 30, 2015

Epcot's Food & Wine Festival Recipe: Banoffee Pie

Those of you who follow the blog may remember that my niece and I took a trip to Ireland last spring. It was one of the best vacations I have ever had. We did a lot of new things there, but one of our favorite memories includes having Banoffee Pie, something neither of us had ever encountered before. We sat and analyzed the pie, what we tasted, what it must be made from, and decided right there that we needed to make it for our family at home. And when I got home I realized how very simple it actually was to make!

It is, as the name would suggest, mostly bananas and toffee. Our first attempt at making it here was, well, overzealous and quintessentially American. Since it was for a party we decided to make an extra large pie. This is not a recipe that needs to be extra-large in any way. It would be like making a giant treacle tart. Who could eat that? It was overly sweet and sticky, but in the end, still quite delicious. Everyone at the table agreed.

We used a recipe from The Disney Food Blog, which is my first choice when it comes to finding out anything about food at Walt Disney World. Apparently this was part of the 2013 Food and Wine Festival in Epcot. We didn't use a chocolate crust, because we didn't have one in Ireland. We just used a ready made graham cracker crust. But everything else was the same. It turned out well for us, but as I mentioned, we'll use a much smaller crust and filling in the future.

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Winds of The Caspian Sea Hand-Knit Cardigan

Let me start by saying how much I love this cardigan! I love it. And apparently, so did the judge at our county fair! It won a blue ribbon and was considered for champion!

This cardigan is the perfect weight for a summer sweater looks great with a tunic or a t-shirt, and best of all, the pattern was very easy to follow. I don't usually like to knit lace because it takes such a long time and I wind up pulling or snagging it; but this sweater is durable enough even for me, a person who regularly wreaks havoc on nice things.

I fell in love with this yarn, Gloss Fingering from Knit Picks when I made the Corona Flower Mittens. It's a blend of merino wool and silk and has just enough heft as well as a subtle, smooth shine. I love the way it looks and feels when it is knit up. This particular color way is Kenai and it reminded me of the sea. (Although some Disney geeks will recognize Kenai as the name of the main character in Brother Bear, I chose to go with the ocean theme instead. It was a tough call.)

I named this cardigan the Winds of The Caspian Sea cardigan because I love the motion it has when I wear it. I floats and flutters in the way the waves ripple and roll in The Little Mermaid. And the color of course, speaks for itself. I also like the way this cardi can be so versatile, living in two worlds so to speak, a little like Ariel.

You can get the full details on my Ravelry page if you are so inclined. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Last Hurrah of Summer!

Merryweather's Cottage will be taking a break this week for our last hurrah of summer! We are on a balanced school schedule in these parts and school starts up July 30th! (I can hear some of you shrieking. Is that jealousy or disbelief??)

So we are off on a family vacation. We will see you all again next week with more great Disney related posts. Until then, may all your summer days be filled with fairy dust!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

From Belle's Library | I Must Say: My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short

Martin Short is one of my favorite comedians. He's smart and funny and has been in several Disney productions. He has worked as a voice actor (B.E.N. in Treasure Planet), under the Miramax label in both Father of The Bride movies, but perhaps best of all he can be seen in one of my favorite Circle Vision Films, Oh Canada in Epcot.

I Must Say: My Life As A Humble Comedy Legend by Martin Short was and especially great audio book, as it was read by the author. He performed many of his characters and does spot on impressions. It's definitely worth listening to. It was a very fun read (as you might expect) as well as enlightening. I loved hearing about his start with so many amazing comedians in Toronto and how he has tried to live an authentic life in the midst of fame.

Not really knowing much about his background I found all of it fascinating. I love that he is friends with so many people we have come to know and love and he tells about his unique relationships with them. And you'll definitely want to find out more about his regularly scheduled Colonoscopy Sleepover Party with Tom Hanks and Steve Martin, his Annual Christmas Party and what it was like to grow up in Toronto.

This book is much more life-affirming than I ever would have expected and still very down-to-earth and humble, just as the title proclaims. I am surprised by how much I like this one. I highly recommend it as a great summer read. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Back To School | Unique Disney Notebooks/Journals

I have to admit I am a sucker for school supplies. I love to restock my own studio with new school supplies  when we go shopping for the kids. (And that time is now, here in the midwest. Our first day of school for the district is July 30th. I know some of you on the east coast just finished school and can't imagine going back now!)Oh how I wish I could have had access to THESE notebooks for school when I was a kid! Classes would have been even better.

Now that RedBubble is selling notebooks, all these designs (and more!) are available for you back to school shopping! And you don't even have to leave your house to do it!

You can find my RedBubble profile here, with all my designs. Simply click on the design you like and scroll down the page to find the product you are looking for! And don't forget there are tote bags and drawstring bags and studio pouched too! Enjoy your back to school shopping; until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The GREATEST Good Design Now On RedBubble

There are a few Disney movie lines that our family comes back to over and over again. This line from the Incredibles is one of them. I absolutely love it every time! If you are unfamiliar with it, I have provided a clip at the end of this post for your viewing pleasure. My husband and I love the domestic struggles of these superhero families! The folks at Pixar absolutely nail it. You know this is the stuff that goes down in their houses all the time. It certainly is the stuff that goes down around the cottage!

This design is featured here on a brand new RedBubble product, the drawstring bag! This is a perfect pack for you park days, or, if like us you are already gearing up for going back to school, this would be ideal for that too! Think sports clubs, after school activities and the like. Of course, this fabulous tribute to Mrs. Frozone, Honey, is also available on t-shirts, tote bags, tech cases and now spiral notebooks too. Another great back to school item!

Have fun with this new design and don't forget the browse the other ones in the RedBubble shop too. Here's that clip I promised you:

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

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Disney DIY Hot/Cold Packs

Our kids have been all about the ice for the ouchies these days and have been making me wild with the amount of mess the melted ice makes all over the house. So I decided that I needed to get an alternative. I had seen these little bags used as hand warmers/hot packs, and I wondered if I would be able to use them as cold packs. As it turns out, you can!

I found the instructions for these easy packs at Bee In My Bonnet, using rice. I then wondered if the buckwheat groats I had on hand would work as well. I found The Momma Stuff blog with a similar pack and a she used buckwheat! You can find that information here.

I whipped these up using the scraps from other projects on the blog. Knowing I wanted to use them for ice packs, I used the Where's Perry flannel. It seemed like the best choice for insulating the cold against the skin. And I also decided to try some with just one layer of cotton and a smaller size for the Tigger bags. Both seem to work very well and the kids like the Disney characters! These are so practical that I think I will make many more and stash them in the freezer at the grandparents houses and in my travel medical kit.

These are so simple and easy to make anyone with a sewing machine could do it. And they are a quick project too. Win-win. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

DIY Disney Beach Sand-off Bags

We do a lot of summer travel. This summer we will have climbed sand dunes, visited several Lake Michigan beaches, as well as the Chesapeake Bay. And we have another blissful trip scheduled for Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort this fall. In every one of these scenarios we will be covered from head to toe in sand. Last year I found a deal for these powder pouches and bought them for our summer travel. We loved them and used them often. The concept is simple: the talc dries the water causing the sand to fall off your body. It works brilliantly!

Of course this summer, I can't find those pouches anywhere! But I reasoned that they couldn't be too hard to make for myself. A quick search through Pinterest brought me to this super easy tutorial for these talc filled bags. Mission accomplished!

If you are in the straight line sewing club, you can do this. If you happen to have two 4" square scraps of fabric, a small bit of ribbon and some talc laying around the house, then you could actually make this for free! And they didn't take long to make either. I whipped up these three in less than 30 minutes. (You may recognize these fabric scraps from the cute toddler pants I made several years ago for the littles.) We simply keep these talc pouches in a plastic bag in the back of the van (although if you have a dedicated beach bag, that would be awesome too) so they are ready for all our sandy adventures!

If you are planning to stay at any of the resorts in Disney that have a sandy beach, these would be a great little item to have packed in your suitcase! Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Scrapping Disney | Ratatouille Birthday Party

Sometimes there is the perfect scrapbooking kit for you pages, and sometimes what you want is so obscure you just have to figure it out for yourself! This was one such moment when I found myself in need of some Ratatouille themed Project Life cards. Well. Good luck! I knew it was going to be a hard sell. So instead, I purchased some PNG files from Pinky Katie over on Etsy and made my own! You can click on each layout to enlarge it for further detail.

The key to creating you own filler cards, is to stick with a color palette and not over embellish. These rules, simple as they are, can be tricky for me! I did my best. I played around a lot with my styles and patterns and I really love the way it looks! And I'm not so big on journaling right now. I'm just too tired by the time I get around to actually scrapping the photos. The pictures tell most of the story. However, if you want to read all about it, you can check out this blog post to get all the details on the "how to."

I mentioned it before, but if you have never made your own marshmallows, it is SO worth it. They are entirely different than what you will get in the store!

It was so much fun to relive this party through scrapping it. I think that's part of the reason we scrapbookers do it, to be reminded of all the good stuff. Until next time, may all your days be filled with fairy dust!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Summer Reading From Belle's Library | Peter and the Starcatchers

This summer I thought I'd rerun some of my favorite Disney related book titles for summer reading recommendations. I know I am always looking for another good book for summer travel! This book captivated me and I think it would be perfect as a summer read: lighthearted and eternally young!

Today we want 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!