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postheadericon Disney Cruise Line Gift Exchange

I’ve mentioned before that we are big Disney dorks, right? Well, in March we took our very first Disney Cruise, and we were hooked! We completed our second cruise in August, and are already planning two more cruises in the next year (what can I say? They really are THAT amazing).

One of the super fun things we did on our cruise was participate in a gift exchange. I belong to a Disney fan website, called the Disboards. They have meetup group threads for each cruise date, where you can connect with other Disboard members who are going on the same date. It’s a really fun way to get excited for your cruise and have a few friends on the boat before you even get there. Not only that, but you can sign up for something called a Fish Extender Exchange, or FEE for short. It’s basically a gift exchange among a few of the folks from your meetup group.

In short, everyone makes some kind of hanging pocket that they place outside their room. It hangs on the fish hook that your mail comes in every day (this is where the name of the exchange comes in – it extends your fish hook). Each participant brings enough little gifts and trinkets for everyone in the group, and delivers them one of the days you’re on the ship! We had 15 or so participants in each of our cruises, and it was so much fun to come back to the room after dinner, or a show, or the pool, and find little fun treats in our pockets!

Here is the fish extender that I made for our trip. You can see the fish hook outside the door, and our pockets are hanging from that hook. We also made lots of magnets and decorations for our cabin door, just for more fun! I whipped up a quick little tutorial for those of you who would like to sew your own fish extender. You can find it here:

Many people make and give crafty/creative things, lots of people give Disney items from the dollar store, some do candy, some give trinkets from their hometown (we got saltwater taffy from someone’s hometown that was amazing!). There is a huge variation in what folks give, but it’s all fun! I’d like to share with you some of the things that we gave…

I decided to separate my gifts by age and gender. That means all the adult women received something different from the men, from the teen girls, from the kids, etc. This is what I made for the adult women:

These are shrinky dink charm bracelets and earrings. I used the tutorial from Just Something I Made, although I opted to coat my charms in UTEE and finish them off with an embossing heat tool. It just made them a bit shinier. I was thrilled with the way these turned out! So fun. I wore mine the whole cruise.

For the men, I bought little rum bottles and finished them off with a cute tag:

For the overall cabin gift, I designed postcards for our cruise in photoshop and then had them printed at Vista Print, along with some pens. Each cabin got 10 postcards.

For the little kids, I made disney pillowcases. I tried as best I could to match their favorite characters to each child. My amazing disney travel agent made pillowcases for my kids, and included this adorable poem with them. I liked it so much I used it for our gifts.

The teen girls got a handmade zipper pouches in this adorable fabric I found. They also got a set of shrinky dink earrings and some earphones that I found in bulk on ebay (so cute!).

The teen boys were my hardest! I ended up just getting them some LED finger toys (amazon), some candy, and the same earbuds from ebay:

I had so much fun creating all these gifts, and I really hope my recipients loved and appreciated them. I am already thinking about what to do for our April cruise!!

postheadericon What a giveaway!

Wow, Laura of Laura Winslow Photography has a major giveaway up her sleeve. Check it out:Giveaway!

postheadericon Griffin & Mickey

This is day four of Kids Clothes Week and I’ve finished one of Griffin’s outfits for Disney! I love the way this turned out. It’s so cute. I lined it with Mickey fabric and modified the pattern a bit to enclose the seams, so I can roll them up and show the Mickey lining if I want. Super cute. Also, this is my first time using snaps!! OMG it was so easy with the Kam Snaps Pliers I have. So easy! I will be using them more often now.

Patterns are as follows:

Romper: You Can Make This
Hat: Also from You Can Make This
Shoes are a free tutorial: Family-Centered

postheadericon Mickey Mouse Rag Quilt

I’m finished with my first project for Kids Sewing Week – a rag quilt! I found some super cute flannel Mickey fabric at JoAnn’s, and thought I’d make a stroller blanket for Griffin for Disneyland. Initially I was just going to make a simple two sided baby quilt, something like the free pattern over at You Can Make This, but the more I got to thinking about it, the more I decided I would like to make a rag quilt.

I found this tutorial by Connie over at Green Apple Orchard, which looked like the perfect little tutorial for me. It was super easy to follow! The only part that really sucked was cutting the fringe when I was completely done. That took a really long time and my hand was absolutely killing me! The other thing that wasn’t so good is that washing it actually blocked the drain in our washing machine and my husband had to do some handy-work. He wasn’t so pleased. :)

In the end, I’m not totally thrilled how it came out. The flannel I bought to match has pilled after just 5 washings, and it just looks old. Also, I kind of really liked that Mickey Pattern, and cutting it up into squares takes away from the awesomeness of it. So I might be making a simple blanket after all.

postheadericon Kids clothes week

I am SO playing this game this week. In the works are:

1. A rag quilt

2. Several Disneyland Outfits:
-A general Mickey one for Griffin, including matching hat & shoes
-A coordinating Pooh one for both kids. I think I am going to tackle a Feliz dress for Abby and a little jumper for Griffin. Including matching hat.
-A Jessie outfit for Abby and a Woody one for Griffin. I am waiting on Fabric for those, though.

3. Felt Playthings for Abby’s new travel felt board

Time to get sewing!

postheadericon Hooray!

This is the first year I’ve really felt like a “mom”. I don’t know if it’s because I am getting older, or if it’s because I now have two kids, but a mom I definitely am! I hope everyone had as lovely a day as myself.

postheadericon Felt Board Fun

I’ve been brainstorming fun toys for our upcoming trip and a friend mentioned a felt board. I wasn’t entirely sure what that was, but when I got home I googled it and then had fond memories of kindergarten activities with our felt board. I couldn’t find a great tutorial online for making a travel one, so I just decided to kind of make something up. And then I decided, why not share it with the seven people who read my blog?

Soo without further ado: The Travel Felt Board!

You can download the full tutorial here:

Felt boards are so fun! There are so many things you can do with them. You can play with felt letters, shapes, numbers, sets of your favorite stories or songs, animals and bugs… there are so many ideas! You can make your own playsets or buy them on etsy. If you make your own, there are a few sites that have some great ideas:

DLTK’s Felt Board Page
Billy Bear for Kids

postheadericon You can learn a lot of things…

from the flowers, for especially in the month of June.
There’s a wealth of happiness and romance,
all in the golden afternoon.

Meet Alice!

We are Disney people. You know, the dorks that perpetuate the commercialism that is Disney, and who fill their children up with the nonsense and often terrible stories of princes rescuing princesses. I say that with love, but it’s true. I love Disneyland. It’s magical for me. We go a couple of times a year to visit the mouse, and in the past five years we’ve gone three times to Disneyworld, as well. I’m very lucky to be able to travel there as much as we do.

Since having kids, another thing that has added to the magic is being able to make custom Disney outfits. I just love them! You can see some of the outfits I made for our last trip here, including this Alice dress. It is so fun to be able to have custom outfits for everyone.

We’re heading to Disneyland again in six weeks, this time with another couple and their baby. It will be the first time we’ve gone anywhere with two kids, the first time we’ve traveled with a baby, and I am sure will be very interesting. But before we go it’s time for me to create some more pieces. Hooray!

This Alice dress is made using the Precious Dress pattern from The Scientific Seamstress. The pantaloons are made using Easy Fit Pants. I love this little dress, and so does Abby. She wants to wear it every day!

And I can’t leave you without a photo of my little guy, as well. He is getting so big already!

postheadericon Ugh, techie stuff.

I just spent the last week designing a brand new site using blogger templates, so I could migrate from using WordPress to Blogger….. only to find out that the hosting service that I purchased my domain through doesn’t allow me to change my nameservers to point to blogger. That’s probably a lot of gobbledygook to most of you, so what it boils down to is HOURS and HOURS of wasted time. :(

I will be back later with more crafty goodness once I am not so peeved.

postheadericon A Picture is worth a thousand words

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”

I’ve loved photography for as long as I can remember. I admire it as an art form, and I cherish it as an heirloom. Every photograph tells a story, holds a memory, and captures a moment in time that can never be recreated. Photographs tell the stories of our lives. I say this to my clients on my photography website, and though it may sound like a sales spiel, I truly do believe it.

This is my living room:

All of the photographs you see are handed down from my grandma, and are all photos of my family. Some are professional, some are just snapshots, but all are treasures.

One day my grandma handed me a box and said, “Hey, do you want these? I am going through old stuff and getting rid of things”. When I looked in the box, I just about strangled her. Good thing I like her too much to do that! :) I couldn’t believe she was about to get rid of the photos of her history. It baffled me! She said most of these were repeats or things she didn’t want or need, but I still couldn’t let her throw them out. So I took them home, and when I started looking through them, my heart swelled as I thought about all those little moments that each photograph represented: My grandparent’s wedding day; how excited they must have been, how proud my grandfather was to have such a pretty bride, how nervous my grandmother must have been for the future, knowing she was already three months pregnant (Gasp!). School photos of my grandfather; how proud his mom must have been to see her son go to school. Snapshots of my mom, aunt & uncle growing up; what a happy little family they were, how sweet they looked as children.

It thrills me to have my family’s history on my wall. One of my favorite photos is of my grandma as a baby. She turned 80 years young this past Monday, but doesn’t she still look great?

Would you like a fantastic traditional photo wall as well? Here’s how to do it, and make it look great.

1. Pick photos that you love – I think this is a given!
2. Make your photos look cohesive. I think this is probably the most important rule when creating a photo wall. How do you make them look cohesive?
a. Use the same color frames for all of your photos. I love getting my frames at Aaron Brothers Art & Framing, as they have every size you need and you can almost always get in on a 50% off sale. I’ve found they are cheaper than even Ikea when you get them on sale.
b. Try to choose photos that are in the same color family, or turn them black and white in a photo program so they look cohesive.

Here is a wall in my hallway upstairs that is all color, but I chose photographs from the same photo shoot, as well as others that complimented them, so it doesn’t look like a bunch of photos thrown together.

The last thing is to have a great design. I’ll share with you a little secret that I use – it’s my inspire guide from my photography business. You can take a look at it here (please ignore the really old pricing in the beginning): Inspire Guide. If you don’t want to have to buy your frames separately, or figure out how to arrange them, you can cheat by using The Picture Wall Company.

Of course, rules are meant to be broken, and often this can make for the most interesting photo walls! For example, this wallpaper made by Graham & Brown is called Frames. Can you imagine the awesome things you could do with this? An accent wall in your living room? Your bathroom? This could be really cool.

I love hanging photos from wire, too. This tutorial from Curbly is a really fun idea for snapshots.

There are thousands of ideas out there. I’d love to see yours!