Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Fall 2022 Sewing Recap

Wow!!!  These past few weeks have flown right by!  It's hard to believe that nine weeks ago, I was just starting my fall 2022 sewing class.  Now, it's ended and it's already been a week since I last sat in my familiar classroom... and I also already miss it.

I have to admit, I think this is the most productive class I've ever had other than the original ones when I first was learning how to sew.  I got so many projects done this session!  And as promised, I'm back now with a recap of how it went!

Back on October 4th, I started the class strong by finishing the skirt that I'd started back in the spring.  That was a great way to start this session because I was really pumped about how it came out and I was super motivated to finish more projects!

The following week, on October 11th, I finished the second rainbow placemat.  These are such a pain in the butt and super time consuming... but they're really pretty!

On October 18th, I worked on making two pillowcases for Nana's small pillows that we got her last Christmas.  She uses them to pad her elbows on her wheelchair and I've wanted to make her some pillowcases out of Cinderella Fairy Godmother fabric to make them a little more personalized and fun!  I made up the pattern based on the size of her pillows.  Thankfully, they fit and they came out really cute!

At my October 25th class, I started the full sized pillowcase that I'd selected fabrics out for last Christmas.  We showed Nana the fabrics and told her about my plans to make her some stuff at Christmas, but I hadn't gotten a chance to make the pillowcase.  I had planned to make it last spring, but we started the skirt instead.  This was one of my main goals for this session and I was actually able to do 90% of it during this one class!

On November 1st, I finished the rest of Nana's full sized pillowcase.  The Cinderella print pattern of the fabric ended up being sideways to how she'd have it on the bed, but it was really cute and took up less fabric that way. I am 100% obsessed with how good the fabrics look together.  And most importantly, Nana absolutely loved it!

November 8th, I finished Nana's valences that matched her new pillowcase!  (I had cut those and started them on the 1st.)  I gave her those over Thanksgiving along with her new full size pillowcase.  She loved these and they definitely helped brighten her room!

On November 15th, I switched gears to looking at what other projects I've started but haven't gotten to finish.  I spent a good portion of class taking out the fabrics that I had already cut to make more tote bags.  I also took photos of everything so I'd have a quick reference point when I was buying the coordinating fabrics.  (There are a lot...)

Then, I spent the second part of class cutting out fabric for my Disney Hanukkah bag.

Finally, at my last class on November 22nd, I picked up working on a few of the other tote bags that I started years ago.  I reminded myself of where I was in the process of each, and I was surprised at how close I was to getting them finished!  Hopefully, I'll find time this winter to finish them, but if not, these will be a top priority next spring!

And speaking of the spring... I've saved the best news for last.  I've been upset that they haven't been running the afternoon class because I used to get so much done at both of the classes.  They aren't bringing the afternoon class back, but instead... 

They're running a new nighttime class in the spring!!!

I was so excited when Lori officially told me the news!  I'd already put the bee in Eliot's bonnet... but once it was official, I told him to keep his Tuesday nights clear for those 8 weeks.  I'm signing both of us up for the evening class!  I'm so excited.  Eliot doesn't know how to sew, and we have been talking about getting an embroidery machine at some point.  I figure that this is the perfect way to get him used to using a sewing machine, threading needles and winding and changing bobbins.

And best of all, I'll have more time to work on projects now that I'll be taking both the morning and evening classes!  I'm not sure what my projects will be, but I'll definitely be spending some time this winter planning out what I'm going to be working on!  

As you can see, I had a wonderful fall sewing session with lots of finished projects... and now I'm even more excited about both of the spring 2023 sessions!!!  °o°

Friday, November 25, 2022

Aladdin 30th Anniversary

For thirty years, the movie Aladdin has enchanted me.  From the very first animated view of Agrabah, I've been completely hooked on all of the adventures and magic. 

When the movie was originally released back on November 25th, 1992, I was in the second grade and my brother Jeremy was in kindergarten.  We were both already big fans of Disney, and this movie blew us away.  I remember us learning the words and singing the songs all the time.  (In fact, Aladdin was most likely the first soundtrack that I memorized the lyrics to all of the songs.)  Our parents probably got tired of hearing "Friend Like Me" for the millionth time, but they never complained.

Back then, A Whole New World was just about the most magical and romantic thing I had ever seen.  I was obsessed with that scene of the movie.  And that's probably the first time I ever saw most of the wonders of the world and wanted to visit them.

Jasmine's outfits were everything to me, so when it came time to dress up as a Disney character for our elementary school's spring Disney concert, I had to have a Jasmine outfit.  Both Mom and Nana thought her aqua outfit was a little much for a K-5th grade school concert, so they convinced me to wear her purple dress that covered her midriff.

Of course, back then you couldn't just go out and buy a princess dress like you can nowadays.  Instead, Nana made my purple dress.  I vaguely remember going up to Joann Fabric with her and Mom to pick out the fabric... light purple for the main dress with a shimmery hot pink organza for the overskirt part.  Nana also found some old costume jewelry or buttons to use as the giant gems for her jewels.  I absolutely loved it and to this day that's the first thing I think of when I see Jasmine in purple.  (I don't have any pictures of the dress here at our house, but I'm sure Mom has got some hidden away somewhere; I'll update this post if I can find them!)

I also have fond memories of all the skits Jeremy and I did with our cousins when we were kids.  We used to do skits at all of our family get togethers with our cousins on Mom's side of the family.  Of all the plays we did, Aladdin was our favorite and I can remember we did it on three separate occasions.  I was always Jasmine and Kaitlin was Rajah.  Jeremy insisted on always being the Genie.  Luke and Matt switched back and forth between playing Aladdin, Jafar and the palace guards.  We were obsessed.

Through the years, Aladdin has held a special place in my heart.  I think it's because it was the first Disney movie that I really remembering sharing the experience with Jeremy.  We played with his Aladdin action figures all the time.  We did all of those skits with our cousins.  We spent many hours singing songs and reciting the speaking parts while watching the movie.  To this day, I can still recite most of it while watching!

Of course, I was devastated when the world lost Robin Williams.  He was such a light and he created our beloved Genie with such magic... we will never have another friend quite like him.  Anytime I see or hear the Genie, I always think of Robin and what an amazing legacy he left all of us with.  He's still making me smile.

I always love seeing Aladdin stuff in the theme parks.  The Broadway style musical show at Disney's California Adventure was a favorite before they got rid of it.  I love seeing Agrabah whenever I ride on the Storybook Land Canal boats.  Eliot and I have also had our pictures taken with some of the characters from Aladdin during different Halloween parties at the Magic Kingdom.

In October of 2018, Eliot and I went to see Aladdin on Broadway during my birthday trip to New York City.  My parents had got me tickets to the Sharks game against the New Jersey Devils and Eliot's parents paid for our tickets to see Aladdin the other day we were in the city.  Eliot and I had so much fun at the show and it was incredible!

The following year, in May of 2019, the live action movie was released.  I couldn't wait to go see it.  The stars aligned and I was able to go see it with Eliot, Jeremy and my parents and Nana.  Aladdin was such a big part of my childhood that it was extra magical to experience it for the first time with them.  I absolutely loved the story, the costumes, the bright colors... everything about it.  I even saw it two more times on the big screen: with Eliot's Dad and Elissa in Nashville and one more time at the drive in.

With the live action movie, also came new merchandise.  And let's just say that I took full advantage of the fact that Disney was releasing a bunch of stuff in conjunction with the new movie.  It was around that same time that I decided the theme for Eliot's and my larger guest bedroom was going to be Aladdin.  I found a beautiful comforter set, and the room was already painted teal to coordinate with the original rust and orange stuff that Eliot and I had used in our master bedroom in Woburn.  Modifying the theme to Aladdin was a simple change, so I started to collect items for it.  Eliot and I haven't made the switch over yet, but I have plenty of decor, plushies, wall art, and other items ready to go once I have some time to make the change!

Aladdin has had a pretty big impact on my life, both as a child and an adult.  This is definitely one of my all time favorite Disney animated movies, and I can't believe that it's already been thirty years since it first debuted and made its way into my heart.

Happy 30th Birthday Aladdin!!!  °o°

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving 2022

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope that you're having a wonderful turkey day filled with gratitude, love, friends, family and lots of yummy food!

Eliot and I are up in Trenton at my parents' house enjoying our Thanksgiving with Mom, Dad, Jeremy and Nana.  We don't have any big plans.  We all actually slept in this morning and then watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  We're having our big turkey dinner sometime mid-afternoon.  Then, later this evening we'll tuck in to watch the New England Patriots game tonight at 8:20 pm.

However you're celebrating, I hope that you have an amazing day!

HappThanksgiving!!!  °o° 

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Melissa's 38th Birthday

Happy Birthday to me!!!  Happy Birthday to me!  Today, I'm 38 and feeling great!

Much like last year, having my birthday fall on a weekend tempted me into taking the weekend off for a quick getaway.  I went through a few different ideas (New York City, Springfield MA, San Jose for a few Sharks games, etc.), but with Eliot's and my supersized Walt Disney World trip coming up in 40 days, it really didn't make sense.

My family was going to meet up with us in August like we did last year, but since we'll be going up to Trenton on Wednesday for Thanksgiving, I said it wasn't necessary.  It was a lot of travel for everyone to only have a meal together.  I've got a few things up my sleeve that Eliot and I can do anyways!  Nothing is 100% set in stone, but we have a direction to head in.  Whatever we end up doing, I'm sure it will be a great day!

ChEars to 38 being another wonderful year!  °o°

Friday, November 18, 2022

Fun Find: Mickey- The Story of a Mouse Trailer Video

94 years ago, Steamboat Willie premiered and with it came the screen debut of our favorite mouse.  In recent years, the Walt Disney company has declared November 18th "Mickey's Birthday" and has celebrated the day in various ways.  Today, they released a new documentary exclusively on Disney+ that tells the story of Mickey.

I honestly didn't even realize this was being released until I popped into our Disney+ account this morning to find something to watch while I was eating my breakfast.  I took a peek at the new releases knowing that Disenchanted came out today... then I saw the link for the Mickey documentary.  I had to know more so I found this trailer.

Eliot and I have learned a lot about Mickey and how he came to be.  There's a great exhibit about Mickey at the Walt Disney Family museum and we really enjoyed delving into the story of how Walt created him.  I love Disney's documentaries and I think this is the perfect way to celebrate Mickey's birthday today!  I'm not sure what time Eliot will finally be home from work, but I've found what we're watching tonight before bed!

If you're looking for something to watch this weekend, you can find Mickey: The Story of a Mouse now streaming over on Disney+.  I hope you enjoy this fun find!

HappBirthdaMickey!!! (and Minnie!!!)  °o°

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Welcome to Crazy Town...

Hello!  Welcome to Crazy Town, Population 2.

Life is getting interesting around here, and if the past few days are any indication, it's going to be a wild ride the next month or so!  I think the holiday rush has arrived, even though it still feels a bit early.  Things have certainly heated up at the very least... 

This month, Eliot and I have had a lot of orders streaming in.  Things are still kind of hit or miss with mouse ear sales on Etsy, but we continue to stay way ahead of last year's numbers at this point so that's been really encouraging to me!  Desk accessory sales have exploded in the past few weeks.  We don't even know where it's come from, but we're assuming it's holiday orders since many of them appear to be marked as gifts.

Of course, with lots of orders there's lots of income, followed by a lot of hard work.  But it's been nice to see the fruits of our labors.  Both of our Etsy shops have had great deposits the past few weeks and Snowblade Creations had a really great deposit this week!  On Sunday, Eliot and I accepted a large special order from our best Happily Ever Hatter customer.  Both of his invoices generated a larger sum of money.  Plus, I also just got the travel agent check from our Disneyland trip in September, so that was a nice addition.  It's nice to see the hard work pay off in our bank account.

But like I said, there's a lot of late nights and hard work that follow those deposits.  And I have been pushing extra hard knowing the holiday rush would arrive at some point.

I have to admit, our hard work and my relentless charging ahead on printing products has us way ahead on orders.  Eliot probably considers me a tyrant, but we currently have 24 orders in our Snowblade Creations "prep" folder- which means the bases of the items are all printed and everything just needs to be assembled.  I've been trying to assemble most of it while he's at work and today I got a good percentage of those 24 orders completed to mail out later this week.  (Tomorrow, I tackle the rest!)

Eliot and I are also in pretty good shape with mouse ear orders.  Happily Ever Hatter's production time always takes longer since there's a lot more to assemble.  We don't have as many outstanding orders for that since we pushed really hard a few weeks ago.  But there are a few bases we still need to print and orders we have to finish printing pieces before assembling.  Then, there's that huge order we just accepted.  It has a pretty quick turnaround in the scheme of things, so staying on our print schedule and being disciplined will be critical over the next two weeks!

On an exciting note, Eliot and I have a few new products that we've quietly finished in the background when we've had time.  I'm trying to find some time (and good daylight) to take product photos so I can list those in both of our shops sooner than later.  I've also still got that giant pile of mouse ear samples to keep working on.

Speaking of ears, I took some time on Monday to make a pipe dream list of mouse ears to take to Florida with us in January.  I'm sure that we won't be able to make all of them, but we might be able to make a good dent on them if we plan ahead.  Eliot and I haven't been to Walt Disney World in almost three years, so it's been a long time since we took product photos there.  I'd love to get a bunch of photos taken- especially since we'll be there for the holiday season, Festival of the Arts and race weekend.  It's the perfect opportunity to take photos during all of these special events!

On top of all that, I'm trying to get the house cleaned up a little.  Things are only going to get busier as we creep towards the December 17th holiday shipping deadline.  I'm hoping that if I can get a few things put away or organized, I'll feel a little better about the state of the house.  Every holiday season, it ends up looking like Santa's elves had a tornado in their workshop.  Obviously, getting orders out the door is our top priority, but I'd like to attempt to have an ounce of order this time around.  A girl can dream... 

Finally, if all that wasn't enough, Eliot and I have been spending some time this week finalizing plans for our January Walt Disney World trip.  Eliot and I have got so much planned for the 15 days we're down there.  Right now, we're finalizing the plan for each day- which parks and what other activities we're going to do.  We have also added a few activities that we hadn't originally planned on doing, so now we're checking on ticket prices and trying to figure out semantics around the rest of his family's plans.

Thus, with all of this going on behind the scenes, I've gotten behind on blogging.  As of right now, I have six posts from the end of October through now that I haven't been able to finish.  But I'm still planning to finish writing and post them when I'm able to... I'm just not sure what that will actually be!  But I'm determined to get them finished!

I guess what I'm trying to say is that things are a bit hectic here, as to be expected this time of year... but they're good.  Really good actually.  I just felt compelled to check in while I had a moment to let you all know that Eliot and I are both doing well and that I'm trying to pop in to post here on my blog whenever I have time.

If my blog posts for the remainder of this year are posting out of order, a few days late, or suddenly show up out of nowhere... just know that behind the scenes is a woman juggling many balls and trying not to drop any of them.  Overall, I'm feeling good about where we're at, and I'm not at all stressed about being behind on blog posts- probably because we're in good shape with the businesses.  It's a fluid situation, but I feel ready.

So bring it holiday rush... the mayor of Crazy Town is in.  °o°

Saturday, November 12, 2022

I've Created a Monster

I wasn't planning to pop in today, but after what transpired, I knew that I had to.  I've created a bit of a monster... but he's a happy festive one.  I got a bit of a surprise this afternoon... and I thought it would be fun to share it with you.  Plus, it's been a while since I've been able to blog in real time.  The past few weeks, it feels like I've either been writing things ahead of time, or playing catch up.  So it's refreshing to have two days in a row where I've been writing in the moment!  Now, about that monster...

I've often joked that Daddy and I created a holiday monster with Eliot.  I used to be the one doing all of our holiday decorating when we lived together in Woburn.  I started out decorating my first apartment, in Marlborough where I lived alone.  I'd decorate my tree and get all of my holiday stuff set up.  I even bought some lights to string around the railing on my small balcony.  Then, when Eliot and I moved in together in Woburn, I was still the one getting everything decorated for all of the holidays.

And I come by it naturally.  Mom decorates the entire house inside, and Daddy goes above and beyond outside.  For years, his collection of twinkling lights, pathway markers, blow molds and inflatables has grown.  It's become such a big display that one year when he was busy and he hadn't gotten much out, people in my small hometown literally thought he was sick or something was drastically wrong.

The first Christmas Eliot and I spent together was the one after our wedding back in 2012.  That was the first time he truly saw the depths at which my family decorated for Christmas.  And I think that was the year that everything changed... 

At one point before that, I vividly remember having a conversation with Eliot and his sisters about people putting their lights up Thanksgiving weekend.  At that moment in time, Eliot thought it was too early to do it.  I had to explain to him that some families do Thanksgiving and Christmas at the same time since it's harder to travel during the holidays.  He said it made sense, but I could tell he still thought it was early.

My how times have changed.  It didn't take too long before Eliot wanted to make his own Christmas light display second to none.  He never put them up when he was a kid since his family is Jewish.  But he's fully embraced these traditions of my family, and we both figure it works since Hanukkah is also the festival of lights. 

As our own Christmas decor collection has grown through the years, Eliot has been itching to go outside earlier and earlier to decorate.  The past few years, he's wanted to go out in October when it's still warm out.  I've kept him in check since we have quite a bit of Halloween decorations to put out too, but the second that Halloween is over, watch out.  He's ready to rock and roll full speed ahead.  And I completely agree that it makes sense to do it when it's still warmer, even if it feels early.

Hence, the reason for this post.  Eliot came home from his weekly Saturday trip to the post office and told me that he was going outside to "do some work".  I assumed that he was going to be using our leaf mulcher to chop up some leaves.  It was a gorgeous day here in Maine with the temperatures in the mid-70°s.

About an hour after he went outside, he popped in and told me to come out when I had a minute.  I was bouncing between housework and computer work, but I went outside a few minutes later once I gathered that he was anxious to show me something.

I walked out into a Christmas wonderland.  Eliot had put up garland around the posts on our front porch.  They wound down the railing of the front steps.  I stepped out onto our Christmas doormat.  Then, I noticed that he'd also put out four of our smaller inflatables and the blue net lights that we put on the ground to make a "pond" display.

It looked great and we had fun walking around and admiring his hard work.  I went back inside to work on a few more things, but he spent another hour or so adding more to the display.  He strung more garland on the porch and experimented with some lights.  (We're going to change those around since he ran out of lights.)  He also added another blinking set to one of the larger trees near our driveway.  Finally, he ran a cord up to the end of our driveway so he could put lights on our mailbox.

This is only a very small fraction of the stuff that we have, but it's a start.  I hate how it gets dark so early this time of year, but I also love this time of year because you can see everyone's Christmas lights twinkling at night.  It's all how you look at things.

I like to joke that I've created a monster... but I'm more thankful than anything.  I'm glad that Eliot has fully embraced all of the fun and joy that decorating for the holidays brings.  He's my festive holiday monster and I wouldn't have it any other way!  °o°

Friday, November 11, 2022

Fun Find: U.S. Thunderbirds Magic Kingdom Flyover Video 2022

Happy Friday Friends!  Today is Veterans Day so I thought that I'd pop in for a quick visit in honor of the holiday.  Ever since I wrote my latest Disney news post, I've been wanting to post a video and today seemed like the perfect day to do it!

As I told you, a few weeks ago, the Magic Kingdom kicked off of National Veterans and Military Families Month with a special event of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds air team performing a flyover demonstration soaring 500 feet over Cinderella Castle and Main Street USA.  That day, I saw a few videos of it online and it looked amazing.

Today, I wanted to share this video with you.  It has a great story about one of the pilots and how he grew up going to Walt Disney World.  That must have been an incredible experience for him.  I'm sure it was a spectacular thing to experience in person!  Just check out how cool it is to see them flying over Cinderella Castle!

I'm thankful for all of our veterans.  We're the home of the free, because of the brave.

Thank you for your service.  °o°

Monday, November 7, 2022

Magical Merchandise: Department 56 Christmas 2022

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!  I love this time of the year when everyone is starting to transform their houses for the holidays.  My Facebook feed is full of festive photos (I'm in a few Disney Home groups) and I love seeing how people decorate! 

One of my personal favorites are the figurines that you can display anywhere.  I've shared about how special my Nana's Christmas village is to myself and my family.  I am always drawn to village pieces, as well as some other figures that I've recently discovered over the years.  Department 56 makes many of those pieces.  Today, I thought I'd share some of my favorite additions to their collection from this year!

Let's start with a few of the newer village pieces.  I'm not 100% sure when they are released, but these were a few new designs that I found this year.  First up, we have Mickey's Ski and Skate Shop.  Eliot would love this since he enjoys skiing!

Next is Minnie's Dance Academy.  This is so cute with the little Minnie ballerina figure!

I absolutely love this Mickey's Tree Lot building.  I wish this was a real place; I'd love to pick up a cup of hot chocolate while wandering through Christmas trees. 

Finally, I think Eliot and I saw this Mickey's Balloon Shop building last fall when we were at the Yankee Candle Village, but I noticed that I never included it in my post from last year's holiday merchandise.  But it's so cute that I had to share it now!

Next, we're taking a peek at the new Jim Shore pieces.  Eliot and I have been a fan of Jim Shore's designs for at least a decade.  I think the first one we ever got was our Winnie the Pooh snowman figure that I shared in my 2011 Winter Decor post.  I am always excited to see the new holiday designs each year.

First, we have this cute Mickey Mouse figure.

Then this Minnie Mouse figure matches Mickey perfectly.  They're so cute!

I love this fun design of the Fab 5 decorating a Christmas tree.

This Beauty and the Beast design is fun too.  I love Belle's burgundy holiday dress!

This stacked figure of Mickey and Friends is really cute and festive!

Oh my gosh... Eeyore wearing reindeer antlers is adorable!!!

And of course you can't forget Tigger dressed up as an elf!

I really love this little figure of Lucky from 101 Dalmatians.

This Tinker Bell figure would be a great way to add some festive decor to my vanity.

Eliot would love this Stitch wrapped in Christmas lights design.

The Mickey and Minnie Mouse ice skating figure is great for the holidays and winter.

Ok, so I'm not sure if this is a new one, but I had to share this adorable Mickey Mouse Snowman design.  Isn't he adorable?  And he'd be perfect to display all winter too!

Another great holiday and winter design are these three figures of Mickey and Friends sledding.  The pieces are separate, but they can be displayed next to each other to create a fun image of Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Donald sledding down a hill.

Finally, the Red Truck with Mickey and Friends is my favorite new piece this year!  It sold out from a lot of the shops, but if you're lucky you might still find it.  I always love red truck designs (probably due to one too many Hallmark holiday movies) and this one is super cute!  Eliot and I might need to add this one to our collection!

Last but not least, we're taking a look at the new Possible Dreams figures.  This Minnie and Mickey's Christmas Eve design was released as an exclusive last year, but now it seems to be available at a bunch of small shops this year.  It's so cute!

I absolutely love this Santa Creating Magical Mickey Snowman figure.  I have a thing for Mickey snowmen and this also has an adorable Santa and Christmas lights!  I most definitely have this Possible Dreams figure on my radar!

Finally, we're wrapping up our post with the Fresh Baked for Santa figure.  I literally gasped when I first saw this new design.  Mickey, Minnie, presents, and Cookies for Santa... what more could you ask for?!?!  Plus, the cookies are Mickey shaped!!!

Aren't all of these pieces a dream?  I love the new Disney village pieces.  Eliot and I might have to start our own little village at this point... because I want them all!  I'm also a fan of the Jim Shore pieces and his unique style.  Finally, I know I'll be adding a few new Possible Dreams figures to my collection.  I've already dropped Santa a few hints and sent my brother an email about one that I just discovered a few days ago... 

Now I just have to wait to find out what's under the tree Christmas morning!!!  °o°