Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Happily Ever Hatter is Open!

After many months (actually 2+ years) of researching, designing and dreaming... 

Happily Ever Hatter is officially OPEN!!!  Yay!!!

Ok, so it's officially been "open" on Etsy for over a month at this point.  I decided to open the store on January 15th, which was National Hat Day.  (Perfect timing for a store "birthday" right?)  I had it in vacation mode for awhile so I could work on getting item descriptions and photos together.  But, this past Friday, I finally listed what I know everyone was waiting for: my Anna and Elsa custom ear hat designs!

I'm working on another version of both Anna and Elsa.  I want to see what Anna would look like with smaller pom poms.  I think the bodice design would stand out more.  As for Elsa, I bought another fabric a few weeks ago that resembles her skirt better!

I also have a very special friend whose birthday is coming up!  (You know who you are!) I've been making a few sketches of the design.  I'm really excited about that too!  It was supposed to be a surprise, but nothing gets past him.  No sneak peeksies yet though.  I can't ruin the surprise of the hat reveal for him!

Easter is also on it's way.  I've been scouring the local craft stores for supplies and inspiration.  I've got a few things up my sleeve that you'll see soon!  I'm looking forward to working with spring colors!

I'm so excited about the response I've gotten thus far.  This whole adventure simply started out as a means to make wedding ear hats for Eliot's and my Disney wedding.  I couldn't find something that was more personalized than the standard bride and groom ears, so I decided to make my own!  Then the ideas kept piling up for more hat designs: characters, rides, etc.  I knew then and there that I had to make it happen!

And my sketchbook is full of more ideas.  As soon as I can hunt down and gather the supplies I'll need, without breaking the bank, I'll be working on more designs!  Yay!!!  °o°

Saturday, February 22, 2014

DIY Project: Mickey Mouse Medals

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been in the Olympic spirit the past few weeks.  I wanted to make something crafty to celebrate, especially since I had absolutely no ideas for a Valentine's Day craft.  I thought about making party decorations, but not everyone throws an Olympics party.  (Eliot and I didn't.  But maybe I'll plan ahead for the summer games in Rio!)  Eventually, I decided on making Mickey Medals!

Mickey Medals are Olympic related, but you could make them for all sorts of occasions. If your kids are athletic, then you can make them as prizes.  They could also be favors at a birthday party.  Or you could even make them for the winner of family game night! Here's how I made mine:

Air Dry Clay (or Fimo/Sculpy polymer clay, homemade salt dough, etc.)
Cookie Cutters, Jar Lids, Cups, etc (to cookie cut medals)
Things to Decorate medals (bottle caps, toothpicks, etc.)
Acrylic Paint or Spray Paint (in Gold, Silver and/or Bronze)
Sealant (optional)

Steps to Make Mickey Mouse Medals:

1.) Prepare Clay
Take the air dry clay out of the package and knead it.  I used the generic Creatology brand from Michael's but Crayola also makes air dry clay.  I found that the longer I played with it and rolled it around, the smoother it became.  Roll your clay into a ball and flatten it with the palm of your hand or a rolling pin.  (I used the palm of my hand so my medals are a little uneven in thickness.)  I would recommend making them at least 1/8" to 1/4" thick. My medals got a little thin in some places.  If you're planning on using them regularly, like for a weekly family game night, definitely make them thicker so they'll be sturdier!

2.) Cut out medals
Use something to help "cut" out your design like a cookie cutter.  (I used a Mickey egg ring for mine.)  You can use jar lids, cups, or anything that will make the shape you want. Most people choose something circular, but you could always make your medal another shape!  Don't fret if you don't have something Mickey Mouse shaped to use to cut the medal out.  You can always add a Mickey shape in the decorations! 
3.) Decorate Medals
This is the fun part!  You can do anything with the decorations!  On my first medal, I used a bottle cap to make circular shapes on it.  I left the second one blank.  The third medal I used a toothpick to create hash marks on the ears and I wrote 2014 on the center with the toothpick.  The final medal, I used a straw to make circles everywhere, then I added more marks with the toothpick.  I had some extra clay that was prepared, so I decided to make some swirls by rolling a thin strip of clay and making "snakes" with it.  I lightly pressed them onto the medal.  I also went back and added a cursive "M" to the first medal since I didn't like how it looked.  (It's still pretty bumpy since I didn't work the clay enough when I made it.)

4.) Make Hole for Ribbon
Before you're done, make sure to make a hole to put your ribbon through!  I wanted to keep the large medals Mickey shaped, so I decided to make a hole using a straw.  Press the straw into the clay and wiggle it so it's all the way through.  When you pull it back up, the clay should come right out in the straw.  Then, pinch the straw to get the clay out and keep doing this for each medal.  The best part is that you can cut the end off the straw and then use it again for another craft project!  If you're making smaller medals for a furry friend or doll, you can also use the toothpick to make a hole in the clay.

(A variation of this project is to skip this step and glue the ribbon to the back of the medals at the end instead.  It's up to you!)

5.) Let Dry Overnight
Follow the directions on your clay package.  Mine said that it would take 72 hours to "fully" harden, but that it would be ok to move around after setting it out overnight.  (If you use another type of clay like Fimo or homemade salt dough, you can speed this process up by baking the clay.)  

I found that the waxed paper I used to line my cookie sheet folded up overnight so the medals were a little bit bent.  (See photo above.)  The back was also still "bendy" and not dried since it hadn't been able to dry in the air.  I took away the waxed paper and flipped them over for a few hours so the backs would also harden up.  (See photo below.)

6.) Paint Medals
Once your medals are dry, they are ready to paint!  I used acrylic paint, but spray paint would also work.  (Make sure you are in a well ventilated area if using spray paint!)  It will probably take a few coats of paint for them to be covered completely.  If you weren't able to make Mickey shaped medals, you can paint a Mickey shape on them at this step!  You can also paint your name, the year or anything else.  Don't forget that you can also customize the back of the medal!  Once you're done painting, let medals dry throughly.

7.) Measure and Cut Ribbon
Measure your ribbons so you'll know how long they need to be.  They should fall somewhere between your chest and belly button.  I used myself as a model for the large medals.  Then, I measured the ribbon sizes for Duffy and Eeyore.  I added a little bit extra length so I'd have room to tie it in a knot.  Here's how the sizes for my medals turned out:
  • Me/Adult Medal- 46 inch long ribbon
  • Eeyore Medal- 22 inch long ribbon
  • Mini Duffy Medal- 9 inch long ribbon

You can use any color or width of ribbon for the medals.  I wanted to use red, white and blue to represent the USA.  The width of ribbon also depends on who, or what, you're making your medal for.  You might want different sized ribbons if you're making a medal for your child and a matching one for their toys.  (For example, the ribbon width that fits your child will not correctly and proportionally fit Barbie.)

Here's how I figured out the sizes for mine:
  • Before going to Michael's, I found 1/8" ribbon that I already had.  It was the perfect size for mini Duffy.  It would also be the right width for Barbie sized dolls.
  • I got 5/8" ribbon for Eeyore; and that size would also work for most plush, Build-A-Bears, and full size Duffy bears.
  • Finally, I grabbed the last roll of 1 and 1/2" red, white and blue ribbon at Michael's to make a full size medal.  (It seems like I'm not the only one working on Olympics crafts!)

8.) Seal Medals (optional)
Seal your medals if you'd like to use an acrylic sealant so your medals will last.  If you plan on getting them wet, this is a good idea.  (Acrylic paint runs if it gets wet.)  Again, make sure that you're in a well ventilated area when using spray sealant.

9.) Attach Ribbon
String your ribbon through the hole you made with the straw, and then tie a knot at the end of it.  If you really want to get fancy, you can also sew up the ends of it!  If you'd like to hide the knot, you can tuck it behind your medal.

10.) Enjoy your new Mickey Mouse Medals!
Now that you're done with this project, enjoy your accomplishment!  Wear that medal and be proud!  If you want, play the Mickey Mouse Club March and raise a Mickey flag while you stand on a podium!  Or pretend your walking into the closing ceremonies.  Don't forget to "hold your banner high" while you march around the living room!  ;-)

I hope you have fun making your own Mickey Medals!  °o°

Friday, February 21, 2014

2014 Winter Olympics

I absolutely love the Olympics.  I've had so much fun watching all of the winter sports over the past few weeks!  I love athletes overcoming adversity and watching them shine.

And when else would I watch curling, luge, skiing, snowboarding and all of the other events?  The only Olympic winter sports I usually keep track of on non-Olympic years are hockey and sometimes women's figure skating.

Photo Credit: Oh My Disney
I've held of on typing this post because I've been enjoying the Olympics so much that I kept putting it off.  But, with the 2014 Winter Olympics coming to an end this weekend, I thought it was time to sit down and write it!

Photo Credit: Oh My Disney
Now, I know there has been a lot of controversy leading up to (and during) these games. A lot of people have boycotted watching them; but I'm not one of those people.  No, I'm not jazzed about the poor construction conditions in Sochi, or the killing of all of the stray dogs, or the resettlement of so many people to build the venues.  As for Russia's anti-gay policy, I'm not one to push my thoughts, opinions or ideas on others, and this is not the place to do so.  But can't we all agree that this world filled with enough hatred and could use a little more love?  Besides, the Olympics are supposed to be a way of bringing the world together, not trying to tear it apart more.

Photo Credit: Oh My Disney
Anyways... I love what the Olympics should stand for: amazing athletes that come together from all over the world to celebrate the human spirit.  I support our athletes who have trained so hard to achieve their dreams.  After my half marathon experience, I understand now more than ever the dedication that they have to have to make it to the Olympic stage.  Plus, in true Disney spirit, I'm all for peoples' dreams coming true!

Photo Credit: Oh My Disney
This year, Disney even got in on the Olympic fun and they featured some fun pictures of the characters from Frozen competing in winter Olympic sports.  They featured a post with them on their Oh My Disney blog.  (I've included some of those photos on this post.)

Photo Credit: Pinterest (Original Pin)
Another fun way that Disney has been incorporated into these winter games, are the figure skating costumes.  It wasn't on purpose, but there are a few similarities.  I stumbled across both of these pictures while browsing on Pinterest.  I was always a huge "Disney On Ice" fan growing up, so I thought these were fun!

Photo Credit: Bustle
In the spirit of the games, I created a fun design to celebrate featuring the Fab 5.  I thought it was fitting that the Olympic rings all had similar colors: blue/Donald, black/Mickey, red/Minnie, yellow/Pluto and green/Goofy's hat.  I've actually had the design on my laptop for a while now.  I should have shared it sooner so we could use it to cheer the Olympians on!  But, better late then never!

Here are the files if you'd like to use them for a project or scrapbook:

Disney Olympics

Disney Olympics- Go USA

Finally, I also decided to make some Olympic medals.  Eliot and I thought about buying a Build-A-Bear medal to put on Eeyore.  (He's been wearing his blue Patriots jersey and silver pants the entire Olympics and Duffy has a red scarf- red, white and blue.)  Instead, I decided to make some medals for them.  But the same technique can be used to make medals for kids, Build-A-Bears, other plush, or dolls.

Photo Credit: Oh My Disney
Check back tomorrow for a tutorial so you can make your own medals just in time for the closing ceremonies Sunday night!  °o°

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Never Ending Winter

Well, here we are with yet another winter storm.  (Surprise, surprise!)  We're supposed to get another 4-8 inches?!?!?!  Where on earth are we going to put it with the foot and a half that we've already accumulated in the last week and a half?

Photo Source: Pinterest (Original Pin)
With all of this talk about the weather and the continuous impending doom, it's reminded me of another February storm from last year.  Nemo!

Photo Source: Pinterest (Original Pin)
I think we've all dubbed this year the winter of Elsa.  I mean, it's basically been freezing across the entire country for weeks now.  And we keep getting pelted with snow.  Who else could it be right?

Photo Source: Pinterest (Original Pin)
Note: When I told Elsa about this theory at Disney, she told me she didn't think it was her. But she didn't remember freezing over her own kingdom either.  Anyways... whether or not she remembers doing it, I think I know who I'm going to blame.

Photo Source: Pinterest (Original Pin)
I guess the positive to all of this snow and cold weather is that I'm pretty reluctant to even leave the house.  I've been able to get a lot of cleaning, crafting and organizing done these past few weeks.  Other than going out to get more materials, I've pretty much enjoyed the interior of our home!

Photo Source: Pinterest (Original Pin)
Another plus for you guys is that once I get these projects finished, you will be able to enjoy the fruit of my labor through some tutorials and printables.  (And some cool pictures of our very Disney-fied house.)

Photo Source: Pinterest (Original Pin)
So, to celebrate the never-ending-winter of Elsa, here are some Disney weather humor pictures for your enjoyment!  

Photo Source: Pinterest (Original Pin)
I have to admit that I find it amusing how people can put a little Disney spin into pretty much anything and everything.

Photo Source: Pinterest (Original Pin)
On a side note, a lot of these pictures were probably originally shared on Facebook and Tumblr.  I saved a ton of photos that I came across from winter storm Nemo last year before I started blogging.  

Instead of posting a bunch of photos with no sources, I hunted these down on Pinterest. Thus, all of the Pinterest links as sources.  Not the most credible photo source, but it worked for the simple amusement factor of this post.

Photo Source: Pinterest (Original Pin)
And, in all seriousness, winter storms aren't really funny.  People get injured (or worse) in them all the time.  I'm a Maine girl, so we usually laugh off winter and snow because we're used to it.  It kind of comes with the whole "Mainer" territory.

Photo Source: Pinterest (Original Pin)
It's not so funny when people who aren't used to it, or whose cities are not prepared for it, get a huge winter storm.  (Love to my friends down south!  Stay safe!!!)

Photo Source: Pinterest (Original Pin)
I could go on and on about global warming... but this post is supposed to be about finding the light heartedness of life through Disney fun.

Photo Source: Pinterest (Original Pin)
And has anybody else noticed that Walt Disney World and Disneyland seem immune to the snow and cold... yeah, that's what I thought!  Good planning ahead Disney!  ;-)

Stay warm and safe Disney friends!!!  °o°

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you get to spend it with the people you love!

Eliot and I have a low-key evening planned.  We figured that all of the local restaurants would probably be a zoo since it's Valentine's Day and a Friday.  Plus, we have another snow storm coming tomorrow, so if people are planning to go out to celebrate, it's going to be tonight!  Instead, we opted for a quiet night at home watching movies and the Olympics on our DVR!

Photo Source: Walt Disney World Facebook Page
We exchanged our cards earlier and decided to skip the gift giving this year.  We've already eaten enough candy hearts in the last month.  Seriously, I probably ate at least 2 pounds of them.  I love fresh flowers, but they'll eventually die.

Photo Source: Disneyland Facebook Page
Honestly, we'd much rather save our money for another trip to Disney!  Registration for WDW Marathon Weekend 2015 is in April!  Yikes!  Save those pennies!  Anyways... 

Photo Source: Walt Disney World Facebook Page
Earlier today, I had way too much fun posting Valentine's Day cards on all of our friends Facebook walls.  Walt Disney World and Disneyland both released a few pictures to "share" on your Valentine's wall.  If you haven't seen them, check them out!  I've posted a few here as a preview!  They're pretty cute!  (And it's quick and free to send if you forgot a gift for that special someone in your life!)

Have a great night everyone!  Don't eat too much candy!   °o°

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fun Find: Festival of Fantasy Sneak Peek

Hey Disney Friends!

I'm sorry that I disappeared on you again!  I've had a busy few days.  I suppose... life happens.  I've been trying to get caught up on all sorts of things.  Plus, the Olympics have totally distracted my focus and usual routine.  Then yesterday, I majorly caught the cleaning bug out of nowhere.  I went to Wal-mart to get some of those space bags that you vacuum the air out of.  Since then, I've gone completely nut-so reorganizing our extra sheets, towels, old t-shirts and sweatshirts.  (I confess; I even went back to buy more space bags last night!)  I've heard of spring cleaning... but winter cleaning?  I think all of the snow and cold weather Elsa keeps sending us is making me a little stir crazy.  


Photo Sources: AllEars.Net and Disney Parks Blog
I've been wracking my brain to try to think of a Valentine's Day related tutorial, but I've gotten absolutely no where with inspiration.  So, I'm just going to skip it this year!  I've got so many other ideas that I'm already gathering materials for; I'll just focus on getting those ready for all of you instead!

I did stumble across something this morning that I had to share with you.  (It was a must do!)  Those of you who follow my Facebook fan page may have already seen it.  It's almost 17 minutes of amazing and awesomeness.

Disney did a Fashion Show with the costumes for the new Festival of Fantasy Parade that debuts at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World next month!  I discovered this video from Inside the Magic's Facebook page earlier today.

Photo Source: AllEars.Net
A few days ago, I'd discovered a sneak peek of two of the costume sketches.  Of course, I completely geeked out.  But nothing could have prepared me for the fashion show: or for the pictures of the actual floats!

Photo Source: AllEars.Net
The general concept for the parade is of course to feature some of our favorite Disney characters and movies, but to also incorporate the New Fantasyland.  One of my favorite parts of Disney is the design of their costumes and parade floats.  After seeing the costumes and the floats, I think that this will definitely be a must do at Walt Disney World!

The parade starts off with the Princess Garden Unit which has a 54 foot long float featuring: Belle and the Beast, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Tiana and Naveen and they even added Elsa and Anna!

Photo Source: Orlando Theme Park News
They will also be accompanied by the Swan Court Couples.  Their costumes are beautiful and are supposed to resemble swans on water.

Photo Source: Disney Geek
The next section of the parade is the Tangled unit with a float that is 29 feet tall and 35 feet in length!  It also has swinging pendulums on the float. 

Photo Source: Inside the Magic
Rapunzel and Flynn will be on the float, and they will also be accompanied by some of the thugs from the Snuggly Duckling.

Photo Source: Orlando Theme Park News
The Tangled section also features the Floral Maiden Dancers.  Their costumes are so bright and fun!  I want one!

Photo Source: Orlando Theme Park News
After Tangled comes Ariel and the Under the Sea unit.

Photo Source: Inside the Magic
Ariel is accompanied by a Lion Fish in a one of a kind costume.

Photo Source: Orlando Theme Park News
Ariel will be sitting at the top of the float on clam shell.

Photo Source: Inside the Magic
I think my favorite of all of the new costumes is Sea Shell Girl.

Photo Source: Disney Parks Blog
There will also be Sea Horse Performers.

Photo Source: Inside the Magic
Here's a closer look at the sea horses that even spin!

Photo Source: Inside the Magic
The next section takes us to Neverland with Peter Pan, Captain Hook and the lost boys.  

Photo Source: Inside the Magic
The Jolly Roger sits on top of the giant rainbow.  The float also features Skull Rock and Tinker Bell on the back.  Captain Hook will swing on the giant anchor.

Photo Source: Orlando Theme Park News
The Lost Boys costumes all include something in the design to mimic the design of the rainbow from the Peter Pan float.

Photo Source: Disney Parks Blog
The next unit is Brave featuring Merida on a giant bagpipe float.  

Photo Source: Inside the Magic
She is accompanied by Highland Dancers. 

Photo Source: Inside the Magic
Each couple will have a different kilt color.

Photo Source: Inside the Magic
The next unit is Sleeping Beauty and it features a giant Maleficent dragon float.

Photo Source: Disney Parks Blog
The steampunk style dragon is over 26 feet tall and 53 feet long!  

Photo Source: Disney Parks Blog
The unit also has a Thorn Stilt Walker.

Photo Source: Inside the Magic
There are also Raven dancers that have a 12 foot wingspan when they extend them!

Photo Source: Disney Parks Blog
The Finale Unit consists of three floats that are over 90 feet in length.

Photo Source: Inside the Magic
The performers include Bubbles Girl who has hair that was inspired by cotton candy.

Photo Source: Inside the Magic
The back of her costume has an awesome giant bow along with lots of bubbles!

Photo Source: Inside the Magic
She is also joined by Cha Cha Girl.  The design of her skirt mimics a circus tent, while her top was inspired by Pinocchio!

Photo Source: Orlando Theme Park News
They will be accompanied by many of our favorite Disney characters.  The Fab 5 will also be in this section, wearing all new Festival of Fantasy costumes!

Photo Source: Disney Parks Blog
Of course, there will also be new parade music!  I wonder if the music played at the beginning of the fashion show was also a sneak peek of the music?  I guess we'll find out in about a month!

What do you think of the costumes and floats?  I personally can't wait to see it!   °o°