Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fun Find: Snowblade Creations

I've decided to start doing a feature on some of the Disney things that I've stumbled across on Etsy and other websites.  I thought it would be a fun way to share some of the things that I've come across with all of you!

As a designer myself, it's important to me to purchase handmade items when I can.  I feel like they're more personal, and it gives me great satisfaction to treasure something that someone else took time to create.  I'm also a huge fan of making items myself.  I make accessories, jewelry, paintings, scrapbooks- pretty much anything that I can get my hands on.  So it's nice to support other crafters!

Both my husband and I have Etsy stores.  Ok… so I actually "own" the names of at least 6 or 7 shops.  (I'm slowly working on opening them- stay tuned for some awesome Disney related items from some of them!)  For those of you who aren't familiar with Etsy, it's an online store that sells handmade and vintage items as well as crafting supplies.  Each seller has their own shop name and site where they can sell their goods.  I think it's safe to say that it's addicting!

To start off my featured shop reviews, I figured that I'd give my handsome hubby the spotlight!

Eliot runs a store called Snowblade Creations.  He started his Etsy store when he realized that his addiction to collecting Disney pins left him with a lot of pins that he didn't really want.  One day, he was talking to his younger sister, and the idea struck him that he could turn the pins into jewelry.  Snowblade Creations was born.

Valentine's Day Ear Icon Pendant

Eliot turns Disney pins into pendants that can be worn on rubber necklaces that he includes with the purchase of a pin, or with any other necklace.  He opened his shop on April 30, 2011.  The pendants are the perfect way to show off your favorite Disney character.  My favorite favorites are the holiday pins so I love having the ability to have a different necklace for every holiday! 

Jack Skellington Ear Icon Pendant

After making necklaces, Eliot decided that he wanted to get into soap making.  We experimented with different types of glycerin soap and many different molds.

Vinylmation Soap

One of Eliot's most popular soap designs is his Vinylmation soap.  Eliot created a special mold for a 3" soap that is the exact same size as Disney's Vinylmation characters.  He's had a few brides contact him to order them for bridal shower and wedding favors.

Vinylmation Soaps

Eliot also makes silhouette Mickey Mouse soaps.  We actually used this exact mold to make pink and lime soaps as our wedding favors!  Our guests loved them and they're great because it's something that they could all use when they got home.

Bright Mickey Mouse Silhouette Soaps

He also just added some new rhinestone Mickey Mouse post earrings that are really cute.  I bought a ton of them for some projects that I'm working on, so I thought that I'd be a good wife and share.

Mickey Mouse rhinestone colors for post earrings

Eliot's working on adding a lot more pendants to his shop soon.  We traded a TON of pins when we were at Disney World in March for our honeymoon.  I'm also trying to convince him to work on a few rings and earring designs for me.  So he might be adding those to the shop soon as well.  He also takes custom orders if you have a pin that you'd like to convert to a necklace.

Pastel Mickey Mouse Silhouette Soaps

Check his shop out!  You can also visit his fan page on Facebook where he (or myself) occasionally post discount codes!  °o°

Minnie Ghost Pendant

Note: I believe in honesty, so if I'm ever writing a post in the future where I'm getting paid to do a review, or if I receive free merchandise in exchange for a review on my blog, I'll let you know!  Honesty is always the best policy.  °o°

Vinylmation Soaps next to a Stitch Vinylmation figure

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Virtual Runs: Beastly Challenge

I want to share one of the virtual races that I’ve signed up for.  The final medal proofs were just released the other day on the Virtual Runs group page and I’m super excited for it!  They came out great!

The second virtual race that I signed up for is called Be Our Guest Run for Give Kids The World.  It is a challenge of a 5K and a half marathon.  If you complete both of the distances and run 18.2 miles, you get a third special medal for completing the “Beastly Challenge.”  The medal for the 5K is Belle and half marathon is the Beast.  If you complete the Beastly Challenge you'll get the Rose medal!  Yay!

The race is benefiting Give Kids the World Village in Orlando, Florida.  Give Kids the World Village is a 70-acre resort located right near Central Florida's world famous theme parks.  It is a place where children with life threatening illnesses and their family members can go for a weeklong, cost-free dream vacation.  This is a great cause and it makes me happy to know that I'm helping kids dreams come true.  For more information, check out the GKTWV website here.

I also received my race bibs in my email inbox the other day!  I’m super excited for this race!  

The facebook event page will have a few contests for people signed up for the race.  We can also post pictures after our race with our bibs and medals!  There might also be a prize for the best dressed/best picture.  I think that I need to wear something Beauty and the Beast inspired for the race.  You can run the half marathon in segments for this run, so I’ll probably try to do the 18.2 miles in one week.

If you'd like to sign up, here is the link for the registration.  The Facebook event page is where we'll all be posting our race photos!  I'll make sure to post my results and photos here too.  Now I need to figure out what to wear!  °o°

Monday, July 22, 2013

Movie Review: Monsters University

Today I went to go see Monsters University with my brother.  Jeremy hadn’t seen it yet, so I decided that we needed to remedy the situation.  Eliot and I saw it back in June on its release date.  That was in the middle of our crazy busy month so I never wrote about it.

When we got to the theater, there was a giant Monsters University cardboard background.  I just had to get a picture with it!  I even wore a cobalt blue shirt that matched MU’s school colors!  (Also, my custom Mickey Mouse bag is pretty cool too!)

Along the way, I also had to get pictures of the other Disney movies that are going to be released later on this year.  There were posters for both Planes (August) and Frozen (November).  We also saw the trailers for both of them!  I can’t wait for Frozen and Planes looks like it will be fun too.

I absolutely loved the Pixar short before Monsters University the first time and I fell in love all over again this time.  “The Blue Umbrella” is an adorable story that reminded me of another one of my favorite Pixar shorts: “Paperman.”  It makes me want to go out and buy a blue and red umbrella for Eliot and I to use every time it rains.

The main feature, Monsters University, does not disappoint either.  I actually enjoyed it more than the original Monsters Inc.  I thought that the story line was well thought out, and it was fun to see how Mike decided to become a scarer from a small age.  The character development and friendship between Mike and Sulley was fun to watch as it blossomed into the monsters that we all know and love.  You can’t help but root for the underdogs throughout the film.

I won’t spoil it for those of you that haven’t watched it, but I have to say that I love the character Art.  His line where he says, “I want to touch it,” makes me laugh every time.  This time, I also caught him say, “I can't go back to jail!” when they’re escaping.  He’s too funny.  There is a lot of great humor in this movie.

On another funny note, I decided that I wanted to make Mac and Cheese for dinner tonight and I’d forgotten that I had a Monsters University themed pack.  So I thought it might be appropriate to have that one for dinner.  The box even had student ID cards on the back!

Anyways, it was a fun movie to go see again and I’m glad that I got to see it with my brother.  I will be eagerly awaiting its DVD release.   °o°

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Mickey Calendars

I’ve been meaning to make some fun calendars for our kitchen for quite a while now.  Eliot printed some simple Google calendars for us to keep track of when our bills are due and once we’ve paid them.  (I pretty much have the due dates memorized, but a nice visual reminder doesn’t hurt.)  However, I wanted something that wasn’t quite so boring.  I don’t blame him for the boring factor.  I was actually going to print some Google ones myself, but the point is that I had every intention to make some “designed” calendars that would look fun in our kitchen.

The other day, I decided that I’d take the time to make some!  It’s been ridiculously hot here in the Northeast and we’re not accustomed to 93° weather that feels like 100° or more.  So I planted my butt under our living room ceiling fan and went to work.

I hopped on over to Etsy for some design inspiration, and nothing really popped out at me.  I decided to dive in headfirst and to trust my instincts.  After setting up guidelines for the calendar, I decided that a calendar with the dates in boxes was still kind of boring and expected.  Of course the next thing on my mind was Mickey Mouse, so the next thing I know, I’m putting Mickey head silhouettes in the guideline boxes.  

I decided that I liked the font that I used on the weekly newsletters I sent my bridesmaids while planning our wedding.  (It’s also the font, coach logo and colors we used for our wedding… but more on that later.)  Next, I imported the title, Cinderella Coach and Mickey Pixie Dust that I used for the heading of the newsletters and I was in business.

I played around with the calendar heading and the sizes of the Mouse ears until it fit the page correctly.  Then I added a template for the dates and our bills.  Finally, I made a calendar for July and August by filling in the correct days and due dates.  And then I turned the text to pink, for good measure.   J

After admiring my work, I decided that I’d use this template for the workout calendars I also wanted to make to track our progress training for our half marathon in January.  I made myself a calendar with this same template.

I changed the header on Eliot’s to something a little less girly looking.  While I’m perfectly content with our wedding colors and Cinderella’s Coach, I thought that he might want something with Mickey and Donald running instead.  I found some clip art and switched the text to Waltograph.  After a few other small adjustments, his template was also done!

I really like this idea of more personalized calendars.  The possibilities are endless and I love playing around using InDesign.  I’m pretty excited that I can also easily change the headers and text colors for different holidays and seasons.  I’m even planning to add small numbers on the other ear to countdown our trip to Walt Disney World once we get a little closer to January!  J

What do you think of our new calendars?  ºoº

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Happy Birthday to Disney's Wedding Pavilion!

Here is a rendering of the Wedding Pavilion before it opened.
Happy 18th
 Birthday to Disney’s Wedding Pavilion!  This week marks the first time it officially opened its doors back in 1995.

The Wedding Pavilion after it first opened.  It has the old arch that was replaced by the hedge archway.
Disney's Wedding Pavilion is on a private island in the Seven Seas Lagoon at Walt Disney World.  It is considered part of the Grand Floridian Resort property.  The pavilion is a non-denominational chapel with space for up to 300 guests and an aisle that is 75 feet long.  

The Wedding Pavilion looks great with our custom aisle runner! 
The Disney Imagineers designed the site so that Cinderella Castle is framed in two views: through a window behind the indoor altar and through a hedge arch outside the chapel.

The Wedding Pavilion got some TLC in the summer of 2012, in between our wedding planning session and our wedding day.  Disney added new stained glass windows, carpet and also reupholstered the pews.  It was cool to see it before and after.  I love the new stained glass windows with Cinderella’s Coach designed on them!

The Wedding Pavilion holds a very special place in my heart since it’s where Eliot and I got married 10 months ago today!  I cannot imagine a more perfect place to get married.  The location is incredible.  We chose it for is beauty, privacy and most importantly: the view of Cinderella Castle behind the altar!!!  J

Melissa and Eliot- September 20, 2012

Disney wrote a fun article about the Wedding Pavilion on their blog this week as well!  Check it out hereºoº

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Whole New World: Virtual Runs

Well, I have officially discovered another way to work towards our runDisney Half Marathon goal: virtual runs.  I first stumbled across a Facebook group page for Virtual Runs at the end of June when a friend from college posted a picture of some Disney Princess medals on my Facebook wall.  She knew how much I love Disney, how Eliot and I are planning to run next January, and she thought that I might be interested.  After a little bit of exploring, I found the Virtual Runs! Facebook group.  I was intrigued.

The first thing I asked myself was what the heck is a virtual run?  After scouring the page for information I discovered that a virtual run is a “race” that has been organized by an individual or an organization (otherwise known as race directors).  Runners register to do the run on their own time, whenever and wherever they wish.  It’s the perfect way to participate in something with others from all over the country and sometimes the world, from the comfort of your own treadmill, track, trail, road or sidewalk.  Runners are encouraged to report their times back to the group event page, but it’s not usually a requirement.

Signing up is pretty simple.  You find the race you want to participate in, go to the sign up page and register.  Some race directors use for their registrations, others use their own PayPal accounts.  After you sign up, you might receive an email or Facebook message from the race director.  (I have signed up for 3 races so far and have gotten personal correspondence in some form from all 3.)  One of the race directors even emailed me my race bibs!

Once the race directors get the medals, you’ll receive a medal in the mail, which you in turn “earn” when you go out to do your run.  Usually there are different distances that you can sign up for.  The most common ones are 5K, 10K and 13.1 miles, but there are some 1 mile runs for kids, as well as a few 26.2 full marathons.  The race directors encourage you to set your own goals.  A lot of people will try to run 26.2 miles in a week if they can’t do the whole marathon in one day.  Most people do the entire 5K or 10K in one outing, but they don’t necessarily run it.  Runners are encouraged to run, jog, walk, skip, bike or swim their chosen distance.  It really is an honor system that you’re doing the actual miles for the race.  I mean, who wants to get a medal without actually earning it?

The best part is that all of the money that isn’t going to the cost of the medal and shipping is going to a great charity.  Each race director chooses a charity that is important to them to give the proceeds to.  A lot of the race directors are training for a runDisney event as well and they’re running for a charity.  Putting on these races helps them to achieve their fundraising goals for their runDisney event.  So not only do you earn a cool medal, but you help other people (and animals) in the process.

The Facebook group is very supportive of each other and everyone’s events.  The races aren’t really considered a “race” either.  It’s really a supportive group that encourages everyone to try their best without putting the focus on who ran the “race” the fastest.  (That’s why the group is called Virtual Runs instead of virtual races.)  I think that this supportive group of people will really help me stay motivated on my not so good training days.

And the medals that some of the race directors have designed are incredible!  I feel like my wallet is not going to be a big fan of virtual races.  There are a ton of Disney fans on the page.  I’ve seen medals for so many characters: Princesses, Princes, Villians, etc.  (There have also been designs for my other loves: Harry Potter and Hunger Games… insert wallet crying.)  I really would love to do them all, but I promise I’ll behave myself… maybe, possibly, perhaps?  J

Anyways, this sounded like the perfect solution to keep my motivation up leading up to our big race in January!  Eliot thinks it’s a cool idea too.  We’ve also had a few ideas for our own medal designs, so who knows?  We might put on our own virtual race someday!  J

Sunday, July 14, 2013

DIY Project: Painted Flowerpots

Terra Cotta Flowerpots (any size you’d like, I used 6" diameter pots)
Terra Cotta Saucers for Pots (optional)
Acrylic Paints
Paint Brushes
Wax Paper or Newspaper (to cover your work area)
Clear Sealant Spray (I used Matte, but Glossy works too!)
Stencils (optional)
Scotch Tape (optional)

Sketch Your Ideas

First, I sketched out a loose idea of what I wanted my flowerpots to look like. When I made the sketches, I was quickly jotting down ideas and I forgot that you could also get the little saucer for underneath!  When I bought my flowerpots I decided to get those as well, so I had I adjust my designs slightly.  But I liked them better in the end!

My quick flowerpot sketches.

Base Coats

Paint your flowerpots in the base color.  The base color will be whatever color is most prominent on your flowerpot.  For example, Mickey and Minnie are red, Pluto is yellow and Donald is blue.  I decided to try to include more colors of each character by painting the lip of the flowerpot a different color than the bottom part of it.  I also used the saucer to incorporate the colors of some of the characters feet!  The sky is the limit!

Working on the base coats.

Touch Ups

After you’ve applied a few base coats and you are satisfied with the paint coverage, you can go back and touch up anywhere that you accidentally overlapped colors, had paint splatters or had any other mistakes.

My work area before starting on the details.

Design the Details

Now you can draw the details in pencil over your base coat.  I hand drew the lines for Pluto’s green color.  I also hand drew the ovals for Mickey’s buttons.  I used my circle stencils to draw Minnie’s polka dots since I wanted to make sure that they were more uniform throughout the whole flowerpot. 

For Donald’s collar details, I used Scotch tape to tape off the area that I wanted to paint yellow.  I knew that I’d need quite a few coats to make it show up over the blue so I decided that would be the best way to keep the paint consistent.  I also used this method for the line between Goofy’s orange “shirt” and his blue “pants.”  Make sure that you put the tape everywhere that you need to cover and press down hard on it to make sure that it’s adhered to the pot.  Otherwise, paint will creep into the crevices and you’ll have to do lots of touch ups.

Note: If you’re using the tape to separate two areas that are horizontal like Goofy’s shirt and pants, you will need to use small sections of tape to ensure that the line you’re creating will be as straight as possible.  The outside of the flowerpot is tapered so using one long piece of tape will not line up correctly.  I had a hard time doing this for Pluto’s collar so I decided I’d put my interior design drawing skills to use and I freehand drew the collar lines.

Drawing and taping out the design of the details.

Paint the Details

If you’re painting freehand, slowly paint along the lines that you’ve drawn.  I found that it’s easiest to paint along the outside lines and then fill in the outline with color.  If you’re freehand painting a line, slowly rotate the flowerpot keeping your brush level.  (I freehand painted the black line of Goofy’s hat since it was an afterthought.)

If you’re using the tape method, paint within your taped area or along the line of tape.  Once the paint is thoroughly dry, take the tape off and you should have a straight line.  Make sure that the paint is fully dry.  I’d recommend letting it dry overnight.  If you take it off too soon, some wet paint might sneak through the crevices in the paint and mess your lines up.

Painting the details using both methods.

Touch Ups

After you’ve painted all of your details, you can go back and fix any mistakes.  I had to fix a few places where my hand went a little crazy on freehand painting Goofy’s hat.  I also found out that part of my Donald base coat of blue paint peeled off when I pulled the Scotch tape off of it.  I had to go back and carefully re-paint around Donald’s collar details.  Luckily, his bow hid a lot of the peeled part.

Peeled paint on Donald and paint that snuck through the tape on Goofy.

Spray with Sealant

Once you are absolutely sure that you’re satisfied with your paint job, it’s time to go outside and seal the paint!  Acrylic paint is water based so you’re going to need to seal it to make sure that the elements and watering your plants won’t mess up your hard work!

Make sure that you are outside or in a well-ventilated area since sealant is toxic and pretty smelly.  I sprayed my pots out in our driveway.  Follow the directions on your sealant.  Most sealants will have you spray 2-3 thin coats.  Make sure that you cover the inside and outside of the pot, as well as your saucers if you painted those.

Sealing the acrylic paint in with sealant spray.

Admire All of Your Hard Work

Once your sealant is dry, you’re all done with your flowerpots!  Now go get some flowers for your new flowerpots!  J

I hope that you enjoyed my tutorial!  If you decide to make some flowerpots of your own, please feel free to share pictures!  J

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Painted Flowerpots

I’ve been dying to show you my latest crafty project!  I wanted something that was Disney inspired for our front porch steps.  I thought making Fab Five painted flowerpots would be fun!  However, I’m a little OCD and I had to make sure the steps were even so I added Daisy.  Poor Daisy always gets left behind!  I had to include her.

I’ve been slowly working on these the past few weeks.  (Since we’ve been so busy the past month, they’ve been mostly abandoned on our dining room table.) 

I finally picked up where I left off this week!  After a few touch ups, and adding the details, they’re finally done!   J

So… what do you think?

Check back tomorrow for a tutorial on how I made them!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

6 Months Until My First Disney ½ Marathon

Wow!  There are only 6 more months until the 2014 Walt Disney World Half Marathon!  Yikes!  It’s time to crank up the training!

We’ve been working more towards our 1/2 marathon goal.  Last weekend, Eliot and I took a few walks on the carriage paths in Acadia National Park with my Dad.  We kept a steady quick paced walk for the 3 miles of trail.  We also went on a hike around Jordan Pond with my best friend Katie.  It had a few dips, hills and areas to climb over rocks, so it was good for a little cross training.

Witch Hole Pond in Acadia National Park, ME

However, I’m starting to feel like the race is creeping up on me.  I decided that I need to work harder to make my knee stronger, so this week I’ve started to go running while Eliot is at work.  I’m happy with my progress.  I’m working on alternating between fast paced walking and jogging to build up my endurance.  Yesterday, I cut about a minute off of my average time, so that’s an improvement!  And today I jogged even more, and I cut my average pace by another whole minute!!!  J

The Eastern Trail in Biddeford, ME

I've still got a long way to go, but I'm determined to finish the race!  

After all, "if you can dream it, you can do it," right?  J

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

4th of July Weekend

Hello everyone!  I’m sorry that I haven’t posted in over a month!  The past few weeks have been incredibly busy with a few birthdays, a bachelorette party, a wedding, a festival, and 4th of July weekend!  I’m finally home and able to collect my thoughts!

Last weekend, my husband and I went home to visit my parents for 4th of July weekend.  It’s always a big deal in my hometown of Bar Harbor and the town has a pretty long parade for a small town.

Earlier this summer, I bought Eliot and myself new shirts for the 4th of July.  Of course I caved when I saw the Mickey and Minnie shirts in the Disney Store.  They were pretty cute and I was super excited to wear them together!

We enjoyed the 4th of July parade, although after you’ve seen a Disney parade, nothing really compares to it.  There were plenty of local organizations and businesses represented.  We even got a visit from Buzz Lightyear, who showed his American spirit by waving his flag to infinity and beyond.

The fireworks were very good this year.  There was a live band to accompany the display over the pier.  It still wasn’t a Disney spectacular, but hey, at least we had some smiley face fireworks!  I’m contemplating playing “Wishes” on my iPod next year during the show…

Finally, we spent the rest of the holiday weekend playing tourist and visiting some of the sites in Acadia National Park.  One of my favorites was Sand Beach.  And I even spotted a familiar face!  ;-)

Overall, it was a great long weekend.  Although, I’m super glad to spend next weekend at home catching up with some projects!  I’ve got one that I’m dying to show you all!  :-)