Wednesday, November 29, 2017

This Moana Christmas Tree Already Won Christmas

YOU GUYS. Sorry to hit you with two Christmas trees in two posts (you did see my Phoenix, right?) but this is too awesome not to share.

Granted, Moana is one of my favorite Disney movies, so maybe I'm a little biased, but THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TREE OF ALL TIME:

Watch 'til the very end for the tree topper to top all toppers. And turn on the sound for the extra dramatic, makes-Jen-bawl-every-time reveal song.

This beautiful Shiny is the creation of Alfredo Majuri Vargas, who shared all the fabulous details over on his Facebook page:

... as well as LOTS more pictures and a build log for both Te Fiti and Teka. (Hat tip to the always hilarious Backstage Humor for sharing his video yesterday. You should follow them for Disney funnies.)

Now, can we count the ways this design is sheer brilliance? Starting with the underwater layer, complete with "waves" of tulle and special flickering lights? 

Grandma Tala's stingray! Is a Christmas tree supposed to make you cry?

And there's Maui & Heihei, riding the waves behind her!

There are more characters sprinkled around on top of other ornaments:

Including - could it be? - Tomatoa on the tree skirt?!

Monday, November 27, 2017

We Made A Phoenix Topper For Our Harry Potter Tree!

WARNING: There are scammer sites currently trying to sell our Phoenix topper using stolen photos from this post. John and I don't sell these, so please don't purchase from anyone claiming to make these online! Also if you see the ads on Facebook, please report them, and warn others in the comments.

Thanks, gang!


I still don't have the best pictures of this yet, but I just can't wait any longer to show you guys:

Our new Phoenix tree topper!


Would you believe we started this project almost two months ago? ARG. It's been a long road for a surprisingly simple DIY; we just had to find all the ways it wouldn't work first. Let me walk you through the process, then I'll show you the SUPER cool part at the end. (Spoiler: IT LIGHTS UP.)

I've been staring at this for too long, so you guys will have to tell me if it's blindingly obvious that we started with this:

The bird, I mean. Not Tonks.

That's a plastic eagle decoy, which you can get for about $22 online. It's hollow - so nice and light - with detachable wings.

Our first step was to cut around the feet with a Dremel tool, so we could get rid of the rock base:

We also glued the wings in place permanently and covered the screw holes with epoxy putty.
John built the perch from a scrap decorative rod and two finials. To hold the bird in place he later inserted two metal rods in the legs, which slot into pre-drilled holes in the perch. 

We used more epoxy putty to hold those metal rods in the legs, and also to fill out the toes and the backs of the hollow legs:

Next we used acetone to strip off as much of the body paint as we could:

Why strip the paint off instead of just painting over it? Well, see, we had this crazy idea...

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Disney's Dapper Day, Fall 2017 Part 2!

Let's dive back into my favorites from last weekend's Dapper Day with the park's tiniest Dreamfinder - and his mom, Figment:


Then I asked to take a picture of her shoes, because LOOK AT HER SHOES:


These two have a fun Marching Band Mickey vibe going:

I love her jacket and the little gold accents on her shoes! Plus her cape in the back is covered in music notes.

Let's see if you can guess these two:

You probably know the famous red head from Pirates, but did you guess Pink Boa lady? Here's a hint: look at her legs.

Did you get it now?

She's Teddi Berra from Country Bear Jamboree - you know, the one who descends from the ceiling on a swing?

A trio of stylish scoundrels:

Cruella, Ursula, and I believe that's Jafar on the right. (The feather is a great touch.) Ursula's shell purse is covered in a holographic purple glitter, btw, and hnnnnnng.

This family remembered me from when I took their photo at Dragon Con (the Donald in the middle was that awesome Junkrat) - so we ended up talking Overwatch for like 10 minutes, ha:
You can follow them at Avera Cosplay - all three have great costumes!

A sweet Honey Lemon & her mom Baymax, and Ariel & Snow White:

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Disney's Dapper Day, Fall 2017!

Twice a year most of the Disney parks have their own Dapper Day, a fan-run event that celebrates "refined style from yesterday and today." In a nutshell, you dress your best and come out to mingle with other Dappers. And last weekend was Orlando's turn!

Dapper Day actually lasts two days now, but Saturday at the Magic Kingdom is The Big One. Sunday at Epcot is the more relaxed, less-crowded option, but since I'm all about getting the most photos for you guys, John and I braved the Saturday crowds instead.

 Plus you just can't beat having Cinderella's castle as a backdrop!

 So many cute shoes! It only takes one Dapper Day to figure out comfortable footwear is a must; we saw at least one poor soul limping IN to the park in high heels, heading straight for the gift shop to buy some flip-flops. o.0

Of course "Fall" in Florida means it's still about 83 degrees and 83% humidity, so a moment of sympathy, please, for all the ladies in victory curls and fur stoles and gents in 3-piece suits. I'd also like to thank all the Dappers who squinted into the sun for me, and apologize now for all the dappled shade and harsh sunlight-spoiled-pics to follow. :D

Let me back up to our arrival at the TTC:

Disneybounding among Dappers is huge, but it's also been a point of contention among fans and officials alike, since the line between Disneybounding and outright cosplay has been blurred in past events. There have been a lot of rules and admonitions made, but in a nutshell, think fashion. Disneybounding is more subtle, more clever than cosplay. Mickey & Minnie up there are a perfect example, as are almost all of what I'll show you here on the site. 

 Oh! And not all 'bounds have to be Disney: look at that adorable little Pee Wee Herman! And I'm crushing on Snow White's yellow chucks. (Granted, I want to wear Chucks with every dress.)

I love the visual puzzle of Disneybounds; figuring out who everyone's character inspiration is more than half the fun. Let's see if you can guess these:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Best of Orlando's Festival Of Trees 2017, Pt 2!

It's time for more glittery holiday goodness, starting with:


I'm such a sucker for black and white checkers with classic red and green.

And here's whole tree of fuzzy white animals, which I would very much like to snuggle:

See that collar of icy branches under the topper? I like that. In fact, my favorite tree (which I'm saving for last, of course) has an interesting layered effect similar to that. I also like the little red berries sprinkled throughout.

If you ever have a container that's too big for your mini-tree, here's a neat solution:

I like how the designer off-set the tree and put that house beside it. You could also do this with a pretty wrapped gift or stuffed animal. (Because I'm not the only one who decorates with empty gift-wrapped boxes, right?)

Here comes the tree that was almost my top favorite:
Snowy pastel prettiness!

Just look at all these sweet details:

It was covered in gold forks, you guys. That's right: THEY USED THE FORKS. Plus pink and teal mixers and little cake crowns!

This is a girly baker's DREAM, right here - and all that fake snow is perfect with the colors!

On the opposite end of the spectrum, check out these green mossy place settings:

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Best Of Orlando's Festival Of Trees 2017

Nothing kicks off the season of twinkly lights and glitter-bombed greenery like the Festival of Trees, am I right? So earlier this week John and I made our annual trek to the Orlando Museum of Art to find some new decorating ideas to steal borrow.

Who's pumped??

 K, let's jump right in.

This year's lobby tree was SO SHINY:

Let's head into the exhibit itself for my first favorite, though, a sweet snowy scene:

The warm yellow lights shining through the tree almost look pink from a distance, and help break up all that white.

I like when designers theme the gifts, too; look at the furry present! Ahhh! Now I want all gift wrap to be fuzzy.

The best part may actually be the tree's sponsor, though: it was a teeth-whitening service.
Well played, guys. Well played.

Usually I break up wreaths and trees into separate posts, but I'm feeling willy-nilly today, so let's head straight down the Decked Hall:

It's about twice this long, and filled to the brim with wreaths (on full-size doors!) and mini trees galore.

 I'm a big fan of themes, so loving this little musical magnolia tree:
The trumpet topper with the blast of glittery sprigs is especially awesome - and the sheet music garland!

 This little owl wreath reminded me of the one at Diagon Alley:

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Potter Party Spoilers: Come See What We've Made So Far!

I mentioned this before, but John and I are throwing a Potter Christmas party again this year, this time with a Fantastic Beasts spin.

I've been gleefully sharing process shots of some of our many projects over on my Instagram Stories the last few weeks, but I thought I'd compile them all into one big progress post here, you know, for posterity. So let's see how many things you can guess we're making!

I plan to turn several of these into tutorials, btw, which I'll start sharing soon. There's just too much to share all at once after the party, plus I think it's fun to ramp up the antici....


So I hope you'll forgive the semi (and outright) spoilers.

First, some background silliness:

Learning is fun!

For those of you who judged me for having a tree up the day after Halloween: IT'S FOR WORK I PROMISE. Or at least for lots of experiments.

That's one of the best parts about starting prep so early; John and I've been trying a few things we've never seen anyone do before, so it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out WHY no one's ever done them before. You know, like piping a fog machine through your Christmas tree. [NOTE: DO NOT ATTEMPT.] [Although it was pretty fun 'til the smoke alarm went off.]

I really want to show you the videos I took documenting our attempts, but they include a pretty major spoiler. I promise I'll show you our hilarious smoking tree once the spoilery thing is revealed with its own tutorial, though.

Speaking of which, here are some obvious hints:

I painted these one at a time with simple craft paint and water. Tedious, but I like what a difference they made. If I were to do them again I'd go darker, though; as the feathers dried they lightened up much more than I expected.

I should mention here John is very against this post, and while proof-reading it he kept yelling out across the house: "You're showing them THAT? And this?! There won't be any surprises left!"

Oh yes, there will.

More silliness:

I haven't posted these next pics anywhere yet:

Monday, November 13, 2017

I Went To My First "Harry Potter Dapper Day!"

There's a small fan-run event here in Orlando (and also LA) called "Dressed To The 9 3/4s," held in the Wizarding World sections of Universal. It's essentially Dapper Day with a Harry Potter twist (um, YES PLEASE), so yesterday John and I went along with a few friends to check it out!

I really liked the low-key, friendly vibe of this event. Disney's Dapper Day (which is next weekend) has gotten SO big that Disney had to ban official group meet-ups, so it's more intimidating to strike up conversations and meet fellow Dappers, what with everyone going their own way.

Here at 9 3/4s, though, it was a small enough group to allow everyone to be together, chatting and mingling about, but large enough that you still felt part of a group. The outfits ranged from fun to fabulous, and to put a sparkly cherry on top, most of the new Christmas decorations are up now around both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley! So prepare for lots of outfit shots *and* magical scenery:

 (I've decided I need to embiggen all my Snitch ornaments now.)

The toothbrush! So wrong, so funny.

Here's the whole group all together:

Several more showed up later, but this gives you an idea of how many we had. And I'm sure it'll keep growing every year!

John and I even found some Huffley things in our own closets to wear, though I forgot to get a picture of us together. (Oops.) Here are the photos I shared over on Instagram:

I sewed the little felt badger face on my $10 Walmart purse late the night before, and both it and my wand holster were a big hit. 

And John's show-stopper shot: