Books · Craft · Disney Layouts · Scrapbooking · Vacations

Autograph Books for Disney Trip

2015-06-05 10.35.08For our trip to Disney World (we’re doing 3 character meals), I made autograph books for the little ones. I usually buy them at the parks, but I wanted them to have one that was a little unique. I chose some chipboard covers that were similar in size to the autograph books sold at Disney. I had originally planned on using a larger size but figured they’d be bulky to carry, and maybe the characters had a harder time holding square shaped books as the ones I’ve seen were always rectangle.

After I settled on the size, I went to planning the design. I saw a lot of examples that I loved on Pinterest and pinned a few. I loved the designs where multiple colors and patterns of paper were used to decorate the front. I gave it a try at this and for some reason couldn’t get my papers…even though they were from the same line…to coordinate in the Disney style I wanted. I was starting to get frustrated then thought I’d use my collection of Disney washi tape.2015-06-05 11.24.33 I love Disney. I love washi tape. Why not used the beloved tape on the covers of the books? I love washi tape so much I even gave the product a starring roll in my novel Designed to Death.

The first book I made was going to be for a little boy and have his favorite character, Sully, on the front. I chose to use different tapes for the strips with the Disney word tape in the middle and at both ends. I wanted to make sure the inside of the back and front of the covers were decorated so added a die cut Boo and Mike to those pages. 2015-06-05 10.40.05The step that took the longest was cutting out the autograph pages as I wanted them to match the shape of the book.

I traced the cover on a heavy weight cardstock, folded it in half, then cut the pages out. Each book has 20 pages…enough pages for 40 signatures if each character uses a separate page. I used rings to hold the pages together because it would be easy to add more pages if needed. The pages looked a little2015-06-05 10.35.34 plain (and I couldn’t erase all the pencil marks off), so I inked the edges.


For the two girl books, I decided to go with alternating the tape designs and using the Disney word tape as the starting point by putting it in the middle of the book. For these books, I used Elsa and Anna as the cover character and then a word phrase and Olaf on the ‘inside’ back cover.2015-06-05 10.36.15 2015-06-05 10.40.10


Earlier I mentioned making the pages took the longest amount of time with this project and that’s because I have a box of die cuts. I find using the Cameo and Cricut relaxing so the days where I want to craft but not make scrapbook pages (and I’ll even do this at retreats), I cut out characters and phrases and put them in my box for later.2015-06-05 11.25.44 Sometimes, I’ll use them on pages or another project, and there have even been a few times I’ve let the little ones play with the ‘paper people’. Like me, they love Disney so prefer the Disney characters over the other ones in the box. It’s probably why my box is mainly filled with Disney themed die cuts…and the fact that last few times we’ve taken large family vacations they’ve been Disney related.

I can’t wait to get to Disney and our first character meal and give the little ones they’re autograph books. I kind of wish I made one for me.

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Disney Layouts · Scrapbooking · Vacations

Disney Cruise Layouts

One of the first crafting projects I finished in 2015 was our Disney Cruise album. I had been working on the scrapbook(s) since the beginning of 2013. It took quite a few cropping sessions at home, and even more at some weekend scrapbooking retreats to complete the albums. And yes the ‘s’ and the end of scrapbooks was the biggest reason it took so long. Our one week Disney cruise resulted in hundreds of pictures and 3 full albums. 2015-03-08 19.31.17

I knew I needed two albums for all the layouts but was shocked when the scrapbook turned into a trilogy. I sorted the pictures into three separate sections: cruise activities, character and portrait pics, and then Castaway
Cay day.

cruise 2012 cartooniss
Animator’s Palate…draw your own cartoon character.

I wanted to add in our memorabilia throughout the scrapbooks and designed some pages taking that into account. On the We’re Cartoonists page, I added in the dinner rotation tickets that we’re given on the first day. On another page, I added a Fish Extender gift as a frame for the excursion tickets. (FE gifts are like Secret Santa gifts that a group of cruisers drop off at the cabins by placing in totes/bag/FE extenders that are hung on the fishes by the cabin doors. Cruisers sign up through FB or websites dedicated to Disney traveling.)

cruise 2012 costa excursion ticket cruise 2012 costa maya

One of my favorite parts of the cruise was the character pictures. Now, not everyone in the family found standing in line for the pictures was as fun as I did, so one night I decided to go ahead and get character pictures taken with just me. At first I felt a little weird without having anyone else in the family, but I got over my reservations and had fun. I figured there was no reason I shouldn’t take part in one of the events I enjoyed most…who knew when I’d get another chance. cruise 2012 toy story

The last day of the cruise was spent on Castaway Cay. One of favorite layouts was from pictures taken by a lovely woman on the same parasailing excursion as my teens. Only those parasailing were allowed on the boat so I was happy someone took photos for us with our underwater camera. cruise 2012 up For the Up layouts, I used embellishments (paper and dimensional sticker) to help create movement on the page.

Here are a couple of some of my other favorite layouts. For Animator’s Palate, I used some photo pockets to create additional space to display more pictures. (yes, we took a lot of food pictures)

cruise 2012 animator palate
cruise 2012 ap

cruise 2012 megan port

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Self-Rescue Princess Review: Maleficent

Disclaimer: The reviews I post on The Self Rescue Princess won’t be the usual style of book review that talks about all the points and elements of a novel. My intention is to focus on heroines that I believe exemplify the spirit and character of a self-rescuing princess or are on their way to achieving that status.

maleficentThis review is even more out of the norm as instead of a book, I’m going to talk about the villain/heroine Maleficent from the movie with the same title. I’ve never reviewed a heroine from a movie, or actually a movie, but this character has stuck with me since I saw the film yesterday. I’m going to do my best not to give out spoilers while explaining how the heroine in this movie had me leaving the theater with a lot to think about.

The story line does veer away from Disney’s animated movie Sleeping Beauty. For one, the main character/story to be told is Maleficent’s and not Aurora’s. And in Maleficent, we’re shown what drove her to become evil and curse the princess. Most of the time, evil character are just evil. In Maleficent, we see how a person’s character is shaped — and changed — by those around them and how they are treated.

I’ll admit I was apprehensive when I went to see the film and debated for weeks if I would go see it. I love all things Disney, and to even contemplate not seeing a Disney movie was strange. But, I had grown concerned about the trend of anti-heroes and  criminals being portrayed as “heroes” in fiction (whether movies, TV shows, or books). Criminals are elevated to hero-worship status and their actions are often excused and usually blamed on the people or circumstances they find themselves. There evilness is portrayed as something noble and admirable.

As I love Disney movies, I decided to put my bias of these type of stories aside and go see it before I judged. As weird as it sounds, I “trusted” Disney to use the villain/anti-hero in way where true evil wasn’t shown as “good”, justifiable, and the preferred way to become.

And I was right. Evil was shown as revenge. Hatred. Not something to be proud of. Not noble. Though we saw why the evil came to be. Evil at its essence was heartbreak and not an ultimate strength. But, there was still some hope. Evil wasn’t an either or state. Evil wasn’t all there was to a person, and all they would ever be.

Maleficent was changed by the circumstances that happened to her. I felt her pain, her rage, her hurt, and the deep betrayal. I wanted to weep for her, and also fight alongside her. Yet, when her anger turned into a bitterness that evolved into evil directing her life and actions, I found myself pulling away from Maleficent. I was torn. I wanted to root for her, but couldn’t condone other people being hurt in order for her to seek revenge. But, interestingly, when her evil was its darkest point, there was still hope in Maleficent. Something else beside pure evil. There was more to her. It shone through in her humor and some of her actions. I saw that she wanted more than even she herself thought she could be.

Maleficent is a self-rescue princess not because she was all good, pure, never made a mistake, or fought for the downtrodden, but because she struggled with herself — her need to live for one horrific moment in her life — and decided to grow from that moment than stay there. Maleficent reminded me that not only can circumstances make a person who they are, but so does how others treat them. Sometimes those actions change people from good to evil, but that doesn’t mean that is their destiny forever. 

The ending statement in the movie was perfect, summed it up brilliantly, but I don’t want to include it as it was one that touched me deeply, and I don’t want to take away that moment from another viewer.

This is the first movie I’ve ever wanted to go see again in a theater. And to think it was one I wanted to skip altogether.


Craft · Disney Layouts · Scrapbooking · Vacations

Meeting Jack Sparrow at Castaway Cay

Here is one of my favorite pages, and not just because of the Jack Sparrow lookalike standing by me–I mean by me and my husband. At the Heavenly Scrapbook Retreat, they were doing a challenge using a kit a Bo Bunny line. I usually steer clear of challenges as I intimidated by it.

When I went to put a ticket into a prize basket up front, I noticed there was one kit left for the challenge. The kit looked like it was more for Fourth of July pages, and as I was doing Disney Cruise felt it wouldn’t work for me even if I wanted to try. I returned to my table where my table mate –and new friend Cyndie– encouraged me to give it a go. See, I realized the colors of the kit would work with the Jack Sparrow page. Wouldn’t it be cool to use something not pirate for the pages, something a little out of the box. And wasn’t it even more out of the box for me to compete in a challenge. Since I write about scrapbooking and book two of my series (Designed to Death) deals with designs and contests, I should give it a try.

So I did. I am so happy I stepped out of my comfort zone. I’m usually a linear, simple scrapper. But as the challenge was to showcase the product, I arranged and rearranged some of the embellishments and paper on the page until I got just the look I wanted. I also discovered I do like layering on embellishments, I just never gave myself the opportunity to give it a try.

Here it is my challenge page: Running into Jack Sparrow at Castaway CayBorder layering

This last picture is a close up of the border I made. I used Kiwi Lane Design templates (love them) to make the three pieces of the border. Actually one of the “waves” was a discard piece from another layout I made using pieces from the challenge kit. I noticed it fit great on this layout. To create more dimension and some shadows,  I used pop dots to lift the piece of the second and third layer of the borders.

Craft · Disney Layouts · Scrapbooking

Arrr! Layouts from Pirate Night

Today, I’ll be sharing some of the scrapbook layouts I made at the Heavenly Scrapbook Retreats in Flatwoods, WV. These are some pirate pages from Pirate Night on the Disney Fantasy. (We went on the cruise in November.) I’m going to start off with one of my “simpler” pages. This is a Pirate family portrait.

Pirate Family Portrait The Mickey die cut I used as an embellishment came from a postcard left in our stateroom inviting us to attend a Disney Vacation Club presentation. I cut Mickey from the card using a sharp-tip pair of scissors, taking quite a bit of time to cut around the bandanna. When it comes to Disney items, I’m a collector/hoarder so I brought home pretty much everything left in our stateroom, and what I found around the ship that I was allowed to take. (ex. money thrown during the Aladdin show and Mickey head confetti pieces)

This next page, is from the pirate show. Jack Sparrow showed up to save the Fantasy, and all of us guests, from the “evil” pirates who tried to take over the ship. This was the second pirate show I’d seen (the first one on the Magic in Dec 2010) and I have to say I liked this one better though I missed seeing Mickey coming to the rescue.

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The Fantasy is a larger ship, so I think that’s why people on the main deck toward the front of the stage were asked to sit rather than stand. It made it so much easier for those in the back to see. And, I could claim I sat down only because “ordered to” and not that my feet and the heels of my gray pirate boots weren’t getting along.

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In my title, I had Mickey swinging down to save the day even though he didn’t in the actual show. The letters I cut on my Cricut with the Alphalicious font and then used a distressing block on each individual letter before placing them on a blue shadow. Instead of using the small cut circles to dot the “i”, I used a blue pearl gem…because as all know Pirates like treasure.

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Craft · Scrapbooking · Vacations

Celebrating at Disney and on the Disney Cruise

Our Disney CruiseI’m loving crops again. I’ve been wanting to get this album done for two years now but never could “find the time”. I’d get a page done then put the project to the side while I got work and house related items done. I just couldn’t concentrate at home. My to-do list just kept calling to me. Life gets so busy. My days seem to fill up as soon as I start jotting down my to-do list and events we have planned. I noticed I was waiting to find a time … rather than making time … to enjoy my hobby. I’m fortunate that I have a large space to craft in so I have a ready-made space to spread out and that’s why I hadn’t really tried finding crops to attend.

Over the last few month, I’ve rediscovered how inspiring cropping with a group or even just one friend, can be. I’m glad I decided to allow cropping to once again also be a “group” activity rather than just a “solo” pursuit.


IMG_1935My Disney album (one of 3 more I have planned) is finished! It’s nice to have everything in a book that we can look at. What I loved most was reliving some of the experiences as I placed the pictures and then added some journaling. I also loved (and lost track of time) reading our Navigators (the newsletter Disney places on your bed of the activities for the next day). I wanted to keep the color scheme simple so I used black, white and red with a little blue and yellow added on occasion. I do like the “uniformed” look of the album but for our next cruise album, I’m going to mix it up a bit.

Scrapbook Pics for Blog 052That mouse

Craft · Scrapbooking · Vacations

Fish Extender Gifts

Okay, I know the first question my awesome readers are asking is what is a fish extender, followed by…and why does it need a gift? A fish extender is a term used in Disney Cruise circles referring to a pocket type bag (or a tote) hung from the fish beside the cabin door. The fish was designed for CM (cast members) to put notes in for guests regarding confirmation of classes and such. Guests turned those fishes into a way to hang ‘extenders’ from to have a little extra fun by doing secret pal gift exchange. It’s not quite so secret as members sign up before hand (usually arranged on a message board dedicated to Disney vacationing), and participators are given the cabin numbers of the other people joining in on the fun. Some people list their room on the gifts they buy/make and others just drop off the gift without letting others know who it is from.

The family (and I) will be going on a Disney Cruise in a few weeks and I decided we’ll be participating in the Fish Extender gifting extravaganza. And I do mean I decided.  I thought it would be so fun to get the little gifts, just an added enjoyment of the cruise, and everyone was willing to go along with me. It probably helped the only requirement from the other family members is to hang up the fish extender outside their door and one member of each cabin (we’re split into 3 rooms) help deliver the gifts. All the putting together of packages and making of items is being done by me, so they are all game. Who doesn’t like surprises and presents left outside their door.

I’ve been working on our gifts (between editing and writing a novel) and wanted a place to show them off. Now, I can’t do it on the FB page or on the message board, because someone on the cruise might also be on that group and they’ll see the gift ahead of time. I decided a good place to show off what I’ve been working on is here. There is something about crafting that makes it not finished until there has been a little oohing and aahing over it.

Everyday Life · Holiday

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2010

A little over a year ago, my husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary by embarking on a two-week trip. We were both in the Army when we got married and with Desert Shield/Desert Storm going on at that time, no honeymoon for us. As a belated honeymoon, and to celebrate 20 years together, we decided to go on a magical vacation to Orlando then take a week cruise. Okay, the whole Disney portion of the trip (included the week-long Disney cruise) was my idea. Fortunately, my husband was willing to fulfill my desire of witnessing Disney Holiday Magic and added it to our trip.

I love Disney and Christmas decorations so going to Disney to see all the holiday splendor was a match made just for me. That required delaying our trip a few weeks so the Christmas decorations would be up at Disney World. I figured we might as well wait two weeks so we could see the Christmas decorations and attend the parade. What could be better than Christmas-time at Disney World! Well, besides having the family with us, but I’m not keen on taking teens out of school. And, my teens weren’t too interested in holiday magic Disney style so they were okay (happy) to skip a trip to watch a Mickey Mouse parade and stay at home with Grandma.

For me, there is something magical about Disney and Christmas time.  Disney World is the one place where I find that my concerns and anxieties about everyday life melt away and I feel like a child. And it might be said I act like I am a child, as I get so excited and giddy when I see the big overhead sign letting everyone know they have arrived to the happiest place on Earth. I clap and even bounce in the seat a little. There’s just something about Disney that warms my heart and makes me feel younger, carefree, and … I guess in way … protected from being judged. It’s a time and place where it’s ‘right’ for adults to allow some of their child-like spirit out and to not have to focus solely on being the grown-up. It’s okay to be excited and overjoyed at being in a fairy tale setting, seeing characters, going on rides and having fun just having fun.

We had went to Disney World in mid-December when our children were younger and the one thing I regretted not doing was Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas parade. The first time we went, our youngest was 2 1/2 years old and staying out that late didn’t seem like a wise choice but I always wished we had gone. So, this time around we attended the party. Yup, just the husband and I … well, and hundreds of other guests. I had an awesome time and my husband had fun too. I don’t know if he’d say it was awesome, but I know he had a great time and enjoyed it. It was a perfect night, not too hot or cold, ate a wonderful dinner at Tony’s, and found a great spot to watch the parade.

My husband took the photographs as he’s a foot taller than I am and it’s easier for him to get better shots. I’ve added a few of our favorite pictures. When we saw this picture with Santa, my husband and were I little baffled. We were very well-behaved that night, so I don’t know why Santa thought a little ‘call  out’ in our direction was in order. It must have been the people besides us.

Quilting · Uncategorized

The Quilt

Between editing two books and helping my daughter plan a wedding (I’ve just been a tad bit busy), I’ve been making a princess quilt for my little princess. Sometimes I felt guilty working on the quilt, knowing that I had two books in the editing stages but found the ‘brain’ break was just what I needed. I needed that creative outlet where I was just creating, not fixing or obsessing about every word choice, I needed that time for free flow. So out came the quilt.

(front of quilt)

I’ve made quilts that had a more intricate design and required more concentration but for this one I went with something simple and found it was just what I needed. There was something about the steady hum of the sewing machine and the beat of the needle going up and down that created a calm in my spirit. I could feel the anxiety of completing two books and all the other ‘to do’s’ on my list leave. Watching the needle go up and down as I moved the fabric under the needle was hypnotizing and added to the soothing effect. I was glad that I decided to go with a more simple design.

The quilting turned into a way to help me relax and rejuvenate rather than taking a lot of focus and time. I was so thrilled to have a completed project and one that is so loved and enjoyed by the owner of the princess quilt.

(back of quilt)