Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2014 Goal Update- August

It's time for another Disney goal update!  I originally planned to do an update monthly, but it would get really boring since there isn't that much to update monthly.  

For those of you who are new here, I made some Blog and Disney Goals for 2014.  The best way to achieve my goals is to review them.  Here's a short version of the list:

How am I doing so far with achieving the goals I set for myself?

1.)  Go to Walt Disney World
2.)  Participate in the WDW Half Marathon
As you know from my January Goal Update, I've been to Walt Disney World and participated in the Half Marathon.  Goals #1 and #2 are good!  I'm also going back to the World again for KeyCon, so goal number 1 is definitely achieved!

Photo Source: RunDisney

3.)  Make Disney Décor for the Holidays
I've done ok with this- not as well as I planned to, but ok.  I made an Easter Wreath this past spring.  I have big plans for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I'll probably feel more accomplished once I get a few of those projects done.

4.)  Do at Least One Tutorial Each Month

I'm seriously lacking in this department.  These take up a lot of time and it's kind of fallen off my radar.  Sure, I've done a few tutorials, but the whole "once a month" thing has completely fallen through.  However, I'm determined to get in at least twelve for the year.  I really do enjoy sharing projects I've done!  I just need to get ahead of them!  Stay tuned for plenty of them over the holidays!

5.)  Design an Imagineering Project
I've changed design ideas again.  (Oie!)  But, I think I've finally found one that will be fun and simple to complete between now and the end of the year.  I'm planning to start small with a fun design exercise.  Then, we'll go from there!

6.)  Write 150 Blog Entries for the Year
In order to achieve this, I calculated that I needed to post about 12-13 times a month.  I'm still on target for this goal!  I've already got 100 entries for the year with just over four months to go!  (In fact, this is my 101st entry!)

7.)  Have a Few Friends as Guest Bloggers
One of my friends, BJ, was generous enough to tell us about celebrating his birthday at Disneyland!  I'm also working on having a few more posts in the coming months!  

8.)  Have a Disney Themed Party
As most of you know, Eliot and I had a Show Your Disney Side BBQ back in June.  It was a lot of fun and we can't wait to have another one next summer!

9.)  Blog About One Fun Find a Month
This is also lacking.  I've done better the past few months; but I need to get ahead of this too.  I think it's time to make a calendar just for my blog... 

10.)  Take an Online Storyboard Class
I haven't had a chance to do this... yet.  I am still planning to take the visual storytelling class that is offered from Skillshare.  It's taught by an animator from the Walt Disney Animation Studios!  I stumbled across another storyboard class on udemy yesterday.  If the first class goes well, maybe I'll do this one next year to get even better at it!

11.)  Make Disney Accessories
As you know, my Etsy store Happily Ever Hatter is open and things are going great!  I've had over 25 sales since I officially opened in February.  I just hit a sales goal that I had for my business.  I've recently had a lot more requests for custom orders and I'm busy working on new designs.  My sketchbook is full of new ideas but I consider this goal met!

12.)  Paint Disney Wedding Art for our Dining Room

Elissa and I didn't make time to paint much this summer.  I had big plans to get a bunch of artwork done for our dining room but those plans didn't pan out.  I've been working on a few other projects, and I still have plans for some artwork in our dining room.

13.)  Finish Our Mickey and Minnie Bathroom

The bathroom is still a work in progress, but we're making strides.  Nana's going to make the curtains this fall.  Eliot and I are also working on a few other projects.  I keep adding to the idea list, which makes it harder to actually finish the bathroom!

14.)  Make Disney Sweets
We didn't get to make sweets for the Disney Side party like I'd planned.  However, all is not lost. I've got other events (holidays, birthdays, etc.) coming up to make sweets for!

I'm feeling fairly good about my goals so far.  I've made a little progress since I last looked at them in April.  Although, I'm not as far along as I'd hoped.  Time to kick it into high gear so I can cross a few more off between now and my next update!  Time is ticking and 2015 is slowly creeping up on me!  Ahh!!!  °o°

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Countdown Calendar

As you guys know, I love to design things in Adobe InDesign.  One of my all time favorite designs is my Mickey and Minnie monthly calendar printables.  I know how much you all appreciate me sharing them with you!

Recently, I've had a few more requests from followers: to make a portrait layout calendar and to make a bigger countdown calendar.  I decided to combine those thoughts and I've come up with a few new designs!

I started with the portrait layout calendar.  I adjusted the spacing between the dates so it would fit better on the page.  I also enlarged the header with the designs.  I added a red background to the calendar.  (It reminds me of Minnie's polka dots and Mickey's buttons.) Right now, I've only done blank calendars, but when I have more time, I'll try to see if I can convert each of the calendar months into the portrait format as well.  Then, I'll be able to include them with my monthly calendar posts at the beginning of each month!

Click here to download the Portrait Layout Blank Calendar

The second is a design for a longer countdown calendar.  One follower was looking for one that had 60 days.  I converted the portrait calendar into a larger countdown format since I could fit more days (Mickey heads) on the portrait layout.  The result is a one sheet blank "countdown calendar".  Since everyone's Disney trip countdown is different, you'll have to fill in the calendar and countdown for your trip!  (See example below.)

Click here to download the Extended Countdown Calendar

There's nothing I love more than being one day closer to a Disney trip!  (Except for being there in person!)  Now that I know when I'm going on my next Disney trip, I'll actually be able to use my own countdown calendars!  Here's the countdown calendar I designed myself for my upcoming trip to WDW for KeyCon in October!  (Only 45 more days!!!)

I used my software to fill in the calendar dates going backwards from the Thursday I'm leaving.  Then, I changed the colors of the Mickey shapes to correspond with each month.  Next, I added the countdown numbers in the center of each Mickey.  The single digit countdown days are larger than the rest!  (I love when I get to single digits!!!!)  I added a little note on the day I'm leaving.  Finally, I finished the calendar with a few Mickey Mouse fireworks on the extra two days of the calendar.  I wanted something a little different for the days that I'd be at Walt Disney World!

And there you have it!  I hope you enjoy this new portrait layout calendar and larger format Disney Trip countdown!  Please feel free to share this link so that others can join our Disney countdown fun!  Enjoy Disney friends!!!  °o°

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Isaac's Mickey Themed 1st Birthday Party

Ahh!  It's been almost 10 days since I last posted!  It's been another busy work week with hat orders.  This weekend Eliot and I cleaned the house, got some more supplies for Happily Ever Hatter and went to Splashtown to enjoy the last of the summer weather!

We were out of town last weekend for my cousin Isaac's Mickey Mouse themed first birthday party.  Eliot and I helped my cousin Kaitlin throw the party, and we have kept ourselves busy the past few weeks with all of the party preparations.  (The party was a week ago today, so I figured it was time to get a post written for it!)

The party was so much fun!  I know Isaac enjoyed it.  Plus, the other kids had a blast! After months of planning, it all worked out.  Well, we probably could have done without the rain showers that showed up uninvited, but other than that it was perfect!

Eliot and I went to Kaitlin and David's house early so we could help out with the food and decorating.  I helped Kaitlin and my Aunt Sherrie with the remainder of the food prep (they had most of it done already) and we were ready to decorate!

We set up balloons on a few of the tables.  I twisted the paper streamers, but they ended up getting damp from the rain and started to droop.  Boo!  (Luckily, Mom and Dad arrived early so Daddy could help me tuck them up higher.)  We had another table for favors with Eliot's and my Mickey and Minnie plush, the signs I made, the Mickey party hats Kaitlin made, and the soap favors.  Finally, we all brought the food out a few minutes before everyone arrived.  We placed the food signs out and we were ready to party!

Isaac looked adorable in his Mickey birthday outfit and Happily Ever Hatter Birthday Party Ear Hat!  Everyone took plenty of pictures of him.  I'm so glad it was a success! (He wore the hat a lot longer than I thought he would!  So that's always good!)

The Mickey Bean Bag Toss Eliot made for our Disney Side Party was a great addition. At first, I don't think the kids knew what it was and that they could play with it.  But after we ate, Mom and I went over to play a few games.  After that, the kids were all over it!

The Mickey piñata I made was a big "hit"!  (Ha ha, I made a funny.)  We kept in inside until we were ready so it wouldn't get ruined by the rain.  (Also, so the kids wouldn't attack it before it was time.)  I've never made a piñata before, but it was really easy.  I'm really very proud of it!  The only downside, I did such a good job that the kids couldn't break into it.  We helped them open it up after they all got a few tries at it.  Next time, we'll use thinner cardboard (like a cereal box) instead of the thicker stuff!

Eliot's Mickey parts soaps from Snowblade Creations were also a big success!  The kids were excited to bring them home and we had enough for them all to get at least 2 packs. One of the little girls loves to wash her hands and she couldn't wait to get home to try them out.  I'm glad they liked them!

The only fail was that I completely forgot about the birthday sign I had made as a surprise for Isaac's party!  In the rush to get everything together, it completely slipped my mind! It's probably just as well since it rained.  I'm not sure where we would have attached it anyways.  If it had been sunny, it would have looked cute on the entrance to the tent, but it's ok.  I gave it to Kaitlin so she'll have it for a keepsake!

It was a great day and a wonderful celebration of Isaac turning one!  °o°

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fun Find: Frozen Frenzy

It's time for another Fun Find Friday!  As you know, I loved Frozen.  (A lot of people did!) We're all aware of the Frozen Frenzy that's going on at the moment with merchandise.  It sells out within minutes.  (The re-sale frenzy on eBay is even more insane.  $1500 for a kids' size Elsa dress?  Wait, what?!?)

I admit, I'm definitely a part of the craze.  The movie was great.  I loved the music, storyline, characters, designs and details, the ice castle, rose-mailing, etc.  In fact, I loved it so much that I completely geeked out when we were at Walt Disney World this past January.  I even wrote a post about all of our Frozen Experiences while there.

And it didn't end there; I've been getting sucked deeper into the Frozen phenomenon. Once Upon a Time including Frozen characters this season? Can't wait.  Soundtrack? My go to shower playlist.  Merchandise... ummm... is it too late to plead the 5th?

Here are my confessions of a few ways that I've contributed to the Frozen Frenzy:

Scrapbook Supplies-  Ok, so it started out fairly innocent.  As you may remember, I got my photo taken with Anna and Elsa when Eliot and I visited Epcot in January.  Naturally, I wanted some supplies to scrapbook the occasion.  I found supplies on Scrap Your Trip.  I got the Anna and Elsa paper/die cut sets, a Frozen die cut, as well as this awesome ice castle paper.  (The ice castle paper was obviously a must!)

Stickers-  I found these stickers at Wal-Mart.  Ok, so maybe I've seen them a few times and bought one (or two) packs each time.  I can stop myself any time I want to.  (FYI: The glittery set was in the greeting card section.  The square stickers were with the party supplies.  Finally, the big pack of stickers were next to the posters.)

Poster-  Which leads me to another Frozen purchase, this new poster.  In my defense, I've been looking for artwork for my office.  I figured that a poster from one of my favorite movies would be appropriate.  I love how it has all of the characters.  I eventually chose this particular poster because it also included the ice castle and Arendelle.

Photo Source: Hot Topic
Coloring Book-  We love to color and Eliot and I have a huge collection of coloring books and crayons.  (In fact, we each have our own set.)  I saw this jumbo coloring book in Wal-Mart and it was begging to come home with me.  Bonus: more stickers!

Back to School Supplies- No, neither Eliot nor I are going "back to school" this fall.  But that doesn't mean we don't use folders, pencil cases or notebooks!  We found the Frozen items at Toys R Us, Wal-Mart and Target and brought a few things home from each store.  (Ok, maybe "a few" is a stretch...)  

My favorite thing from this adventure?  The adorable Olaf thumb drive. We got the last one from our Target.  Thankfully my family found a few at the Target near my brother. Otherwise, Eliot and I would have had to fight it out over who got to use it.  I'm glad we both have one now.  (Although, I was winning- he's already got three thumb drives!)

Lithograph from Comic Con-  My Dad and brother Jeremy went to Comic Con in San Diego a few weeks ago.  This is the third time they've gone, and they always come home with awesome presents for me.  In the past, I've gotten Harry Potter limited edition Tonner Dolls, and a Hogwarts Castle Lego set!  This year, Dad and Jeremy got me this awesome limited edition Frozen print by Amy Mebberson!  It's so cute!  I love it and I can't wait to get a frame for it so I can hang it above my desk!

Photo Source: Dark Ink Art
Hot Topic Order- This is arguably my biggest contribution to the Frozen hype.  I've been eyeing the Frozen items on Hot Topic most of this summer.  About a month ago, they had a really good deal to cash in on Hot Cash, and Elissa had a ton she wasn't going to use. (Eliot and I made sure her coupons didn't go to waste!)

Photo Source: Hot Topic
I caved and got the three tanks I'd been watching all summer.  (Why did I get three?  I simply could not pick between Elsa, Olaf and the adorable stained glass design.)  Eliot had to have the Olaf belt, which he's worn basically every single workday since it arrived. (So much for me attempting to "borrow" it.)  I also got the Frozen socks since I was just shy of the amount needed to use the coupon.  No regrets, they're super cute!

Photo Source: Hot Topic
My favorite thing from Hot Topic was the Frozen Fair Isle Skater Dress.  This dress is amazing.  It fits well, is stretchy and comfortable.  The pattern is stunning.  The details make it a great piece.  Not only does it have silhouettes of both Anna and Elsa, but it includes beautiful rose-mailing designs and Elsa's tiara.  I can't wait to wear it!

Photo Source Top Left: Hot Topic
Olaf Charms- I found these cute Olaf charms online and I had to order some.  I'm planning to use them for some craft fair projects.  But I'm probably going to make myself a necklace or bracelet with them too.  (There are some adorable Olaf earrings at Wal-Mart these would go nicely with...)

Eliot's Soaps-  Eliot recently got some molds to make Frozen soaps for his Etsy shop Snowblade Creations.  So far, he's only released Olaf, but there's definitely more to come.  I've helped him with photographs and came up with the slogan "I don't know why, but I've always loved the idea of bubbles, and soap, and all things sudsy..."  Pretty creative use of Olaf's quote about summer, huh?  ;-)

Happily Ever Hatter-  Finally, you guys know all about my Frozen inspired accessories from Happily Ever Hatter!  I've made Anna and Elsa hats, snowflake hair clips, and an Anna ear headband.  I'm currently working on an Elsa headband design, as well as a few other top secret designs!  (Stay tuned for those!)

I'm sure this isn't the last of the Frozen stuff.  I'll get (or make) more merchandise to show my love of all things Frozen!  My birthday and Christmas are right around the corner... ;-)

All in all, I guess we're not too bad.  It could be worse right?  I haven't run anyone over in my attempt to get Frozen merchandise faster than someone else.  And I'm not buying it in bulk to re-sell on eBay for profit.  I'm an adult who loves the movie, characters, songs and storyline- and that's ok.  If you don't like it, go thaw your Frozen heart!  (He he.)  °o°

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Party Preparations

Hi Friends!  My past two posts have been pretty heavy so I thought that I'd lighten things up a bit today.  I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'm helping my cousin Kaitlin plan her son's first birthday party!  The party is this weekend and I've been keeping myself busy this week with projects for it!

Isaac's birthday party theme is Mickey Mouse!  We added a little bit from the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse since that's how all of the kids will know the characters.  I was so excited when Kaitlin approached me last spring and asked me to help plan the party.  (I'm known as the resident Disney expert and fanatic.)  When Kaitlin visited us a few weeks ago, we started making the piñata and Isaac's birthday outfit.  Here's how the party preparations have progressed:

Party Invitation
Before I got too involved with other projects, I designed a quick digital invitation for Isaac's party.  We decided it would be easier to invite everyone online.  The Facebook event has the same details as the invitation, but I still volunteered to make one.  I love using Illustrator and InDesign to design things!  And I already had the Mickey parts designed from my calendars and our Disney Side BBQ Party invitations.  It didn't take me any time at all to make this invitation photo for the event page!

Mickey Piñata
I've never made a piñata before.  However, after reading a few posts on Pinterest about it, I figured it was something I could do.  It's not quite finished yet but this piñata has turned out way better than I could have hoped for!  I'm really very proud of it!  (I'll probably end up writing a tutorial for you so you can make your own!)

Isaac's Birthday Outfit
Kaitlin approached me with this idea of a onesie with suspenders and a tie.  She sent me the top center photo and I found the top right as another example.  After examining the photos, I thought we could make something similar.  She took care of the shorts. Meanwhile, I bought ribbon for the suspenders, made the "1" and Mickey Mouse shapes, and cut the tie out.  I gave her the pieces last weekend and she sent me the bottom right picture in a text message of the completed outfit!  It turned out really cute!

Top Center: ChicCoutureBoutique Top Right: ShopAntsyPants
Signage- Food, Party Hats and Favors
Kaitlin wanted signs for the food and favors and I volunteered to make those too.  I knew making signs for Isaac's party would be really easy for me.  It didn't take any time at all since I used the same Mickey parts designs as the invitation.  Kaitlin and I used Pinterest to get ideas for the names of the food.  I love the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse inspiration!

Birthday Sign
I decided to make a birthday sign as a surprise for Isaac's party!  (Kaitlin doesn't even know about it yet!  Shh!!!)  I designed the letters in InDesign and added a few Mickeys. It's so cute! Originally, I wanted to cut it out on my Cricut machine.  Instead, I opted for the scissor option since we're running out of time.  (Eliot knows how to work our Cricut but he's been busy making the party favors.  I figured I could handle using scissors; they haven't failed me yet!)

Soap Favors
When Kaitlin first approached me with the party theme, I suggested Eliot and I make soaps for party favors.  We've sold a lot of soaps as birthday and wedding favors and they're really practical.  (Kaitlin wanted something the kids could go home and use- not a bunch of candy and cheap toys that might end up breaking.)  Eliot's been working on these this week and our house smells amazing.  I'm sure the kids will love these bubblegum Mickey parts soaps from Snowblade Creations!

Birthday Party Hat
Of course, no party is complete without a Happily Ever Hatter designed Birthday Party Ear Hat!  Kaitlin's made Mickey Mouse ear party hats for the rest of the kids, but Isaac is getting his very own party hat custom made by yours truly!  (I still have to make Isacc's hat but this is one I made for another little boy celebrating his first birthday last weekend!)

We've still got a few more loose ends to tie up, but we're almost done with all of the projects!  I don't know about you, but I think it's going to be a great party!  °o°

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

You Ain't Never Had Friend Like Me

I'm sure by now you've all heard the news about Robin Williams.  It's always sad to hear news of a celebrity's passing, but this one hurts more than others.  Like so many, I grew up watching Robin and he was part of my childhood.  

Photo Source:
Aladdin was my favorite Disney movie growing up.  I loved the original, the movie sequels and the television show.  If you asked 10 year old me, I'd tell you that my favorite Disney princess was Jasmine.  My favorite Disney song was "A Whole New World" and I'm pretty sure Rajah is where my love of tigers came from.

Photo Source: Key to the World Travel Facebook Page
Jeremy and I loved Aladdin.  We'd watch it over and over again.  Jeremy had the Aladdin action figures and we'd play with them for hours.  We used to do performances with our cousins on my Mom's side and Aladdin was our go to favorite.  (We performed it at least 3 different times.)  The Genie was one of Jeremy's favorites.  While doing our skits, he always insisted he play the Genie.  Somewhere, I have a picture of him in his Genie shirt while he acted as the Genie.  (I've looked all afternoon and I can't find it.)

Photo Source: Doctor Disney Facebook Page
Genie was the character who made a lasting impression.  He was the one who stole the show, who you remembered quotes from.  I remember us running around the house saying, "Phenomenal cosmic powers!  Itty bitty living space" all the time.  Another one of our favorites was "Jafar, Jafar, he's our man; if he can't do it, great!"  To this day, I can still come up with Genie quotes.  In fact, I'm honestly not sure that I can quote any Disney character as well as I could Genie. 

Photo Source: Pinterest
Robin Williams was the man who always made me laugh.  I was incredibly saddened to find out that while he was making all of us laugh, he was fighting a battle on his own.  So many people looked to him for laughter and a means of escape from daily life.  I only wish that we could have returned the favor.  

Photo Source: The Disney Princess Tumblr
If any good comes of this, I hope it will make people realize depression is real.  This isn't something I take lightly.  I've helped two friends struggling with suicidal thoughts.  I called the police when one of them overdosed and had to be rushed to the hospital to have their stomach pumped.  I hope this will start some conversations that need to be had.  

Yesterday, the world lost one of the greats.  Rest in peace Robin.  We'll never have another friend like you.  °o°

Monday, August 11, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge

Eliot and I have been tagged to do the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS Awareness that's sweeping our nation via social media.  (Ironically, we were actually discussing this over the weekend, and guessing which of our friends would be the first to challenge us.)  Eliot and I have decided that we're not going to participate in the challenge.  Now, before you start judging us and why we're not going to join in, this is our reasoning.

Although it seems to be the current thing to do, we're taking a different stance.  I've seen tons of my Facebook friends, television morning hosts and famous celebrities who are all doing it.  However, my mother taught me not to jump off a bridge just because everyone else was doing it.  I'm not knocking those of you who have participated.  Actually, it's quite the opposite; I applaud you.  I'm glad that social media has the power to do something to enrich our lives and make the world a better place for all of us to live.

I've heard that you have to dump the ice, or make a $100 donation instead.  In my understanding, the people who are getting soaked in ice water are not donating to ALS. (In fact, donating seems to be the less popular option according to my Newsfeed.)  Don't get me wrong, the ice bucket challenge did intrigue me when I saw everyone getting soaked in ice.  I even contemplated doing it while wearing one of my mouse ear hats to change it up a bit.  But honestly, I don't know how me dumping a bucket of ice water over my head will help someone fighting a horrible disease.  While I'm sure it would probably be entertaining to watch, that's not supposed to be the point of the challenge.  The point is to raise awareness about ALS.

ALS is short for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and it's often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease."  According to the ALS Association, ALS is "a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death."  It's a horrible disease.  As the motor neurons die, patients may become totally paralyzed in the later stages of the disease.  (To learn more, visit the ALS Association.)

Before the challenge, I didn't know that much about ALS.  Now I've learned more about the disease and how it affects people who have it.  And I think that's the great part of social media.  But, I can't help wondering: where are the challenges to help stop gun violence?  To stand up for equality for men and women?  This challenge reminds me that there are still a lot of things we can do to help the world become a better place.

Over the past year or so, Eliot and I have done a lot of things to make a small difference in our world.  We've taken donations for and participated in the Walk for Wishes through the Make a Wish Foundation.  We've donated a box of Mickey Mouse soaps to a little boy named Konnor going to Walt Disney World through Make a Wish.

This summer, I donated an afternoon of my time helping clean the cat areas at the Hancock County SPCA.  (My family got our dog Lucky from the SPCA and he was a wonderful companion to us for almost 15 years.)

I have also donated hundreds of dollars to countless charities through the Virtual Runs I've participated in.  One of my favorites is Give Kids the World which is a 70-acre resort located right near Central Florida's world famous theme parks: Disney World, Universal, Sea World, etc.  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's near and dear to my heart since I've been blessed with so many opportunities to go to Walt Disney World.  It warms my heart to know I'm helping other kids' dreams come true.

In reality, there are many people that need a voice: the homeless, the hungry, veterans, domestic abuse victims, sexual abuse victims, people with other severe illnesses and more.  And there are many causes that need donations: disaster relief funds, animal welfare groups, environmental organizations, humanitarian organizations, etc.

Therefore, instead of participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge, we challenge everyone to donate your time, voice, or money to a cause that's near and dear to your heart.  In the meantime, I'll be finding another virtual run to sign up for to make a small difference.  °o°