Flower & Garden + Star Wars Rival Run Weekend - Disney 2019

It’s been a month since I got back from our most recent trip to Disney World. We went for both Flower and Garden festival and the Star Wars race weekend.

This trip was a bit different than what we’ve done in the past. There are rides we missed and things we did that we usually don’t and even two brand new rides we’d never done before! I also packed everything in carry-ons as a challenge to myself. This meant carefully planning out each outfit ahead of time. Plus I incorporated quite a few handmade pieces!

Day 1:

We flew in as early as possible to maximize our time! We checked in and I instantly ran off (pun intended) to the race expo to get my race swag. I even waited in line to visit with R2-D2 and Boba Fett! I hardly ever do character meet-and-greets! Then I rushed to Epcot for our dinner reservation at the Coral Reef. I decided to get to Epcot by taking a bus to one of the resorts close enough to walk to Epcot. The race expos don’t have buses directly to the parks, so this ended up being a great option. It makes me want to stay in that area of the parks sometime! We usually stay close to the Magic Kingdom, but the Boardwalk is lovely and I’d like to do more than rush through! We ended the evening with a few rides in Epcot. We watched Illuminations because it’s leaving soon! I’ll miss it but I am excited to see what comes next!

Food themed outfit details:

Ice cream bar ears - Donut Purse - Ice cream bar Alex and Ani Bracelet - Macaron Shirt - Make It Minnie Ice Cream Bar necklace - Kate Spade Keds - Donut Earrings by Gracie Makes Things

Day 2:

This rainy day started off in Universal! We took a Lyft from our hotel to Universal Studios, which, aside from realizing we should have requested it before we got to the lobby and our driver not remembering where the right drop off is, worked out pretty well. Cheaper than renting a car and paying for parking! My homemade touch was my Marauder’s Map skirt (and the Marauder’s Map top my sister is wearing) and I got lots of compliments on it! People often ask me if I sell my stuff after I say I’ve made it, which is a great compliment, but I have a full-time job and other hobbies, so I don’t have the time to make a business out of it!

The Universal parks closed at 6 that evening, so we went back to Disney and grabbed a drink at Trader Sam’s, then hit the Magic Kingdom for a couple hours.

Hogwarts outfit details:

Marauder’s Map Skirt - Radish Earrings by Gracie Makes Things - Spectrespecs - Wand - Hermione’s Bag - Crocs - Time Turner - Platform 9 ¾ Alex and Ani bracelet

Day 3:

10k day! I wore the Chewbacca shirt I bought at the expo and my Star Wars Aloha Ears! I love that these ears are 3d printed and interchangeable! Definitely check them out! I took this race pretty easy, and it felt GREAT. Best run I’d had in a while. BUT I made the mistake of chugging a Powerade right after and my body was not pleased. Not making that mistake ever again - luckily it didn’t mess with our day too much. I still made it to Epcot in my Flower and Garden inspired outfit. The Epcot ears are another set from Aloha Ears! I did add some ears to a “rose gold” fanny pack, so I still sort of had something handmade! We drank around the world (sharing drinks and hydrating is KEY), and tried some of the food from the special carts there for the festival - a fun way to try several things and not have to sit down for a whole meal! The topiaries they have this time of year are gorgeous, too! After Epcot we ate dinner at The Wave at the Contemporary, then we headed to the Magic Kingdom for the fireworks and a couple rides. 

10k outfit details:

Chewbacca Shirt (from expo, couldn’t find link) - Victoria’s Secret Leggings - Aloha Ears - Flip Belt - Brooks Adrenaline Shoes

Flower and Garden themed outfit details:

Madewell Shirt - Universal Threads Shorts from Target - Alice in Wonderland Shoes - Rose Gold Fanny Pack - Aloha Ears

Day 4:

Half Marathon morning! I actually made my top with amazing floral Star Wars swim fabric from Knitorious and the Deer + Doe Zephyr pattern (they’ve got dress styles and a crop/skirt option). The half ended up feeling pretty good, but my watch and the mile markers on the race were NOT the same. My watch said I went an extra 0.7 miles! If I trust my watch, I think I might have PR’d (not saying much because I’m slow 😉), but my official time was not a PR. Disney isn’t necessarily the right place to try for that anyway. Most of the courses seem to be longer than they’re supposed to be, and many people decide to stop for character photos. I only stopped for one photo, and it’s cute so I’m glad I did. Hubby met me at the end and he can vouch for this - I’ve NEVER been sweatier in my whole life. By the end of the race, it was almost 80 degrees and something like 95% humidity. I was sopping 😂

The only thing I don’t like about Disney races is how long you wait in your corral early in the morning. Otherwise they’re generally well-run, with lots of hydration stops, and lots of on-course entertainments. I mentioned the photo-ops above, but for this one, they also had huge screens with clips from the Star Wars movies playing. Around mile 2, they dimmed all the lights and had lasers coming from the trees on either side of the road and it felt like being in a Star Wars battle! Plus you get to run THROUGH DISNEY WORLD. There are definitely more runDisney races in my future.

After the race, I hopped in the pool for a couple minutes. Felt great on my body, plus I wanted some photos of the swimsuit I made from the same fabric I used for my running top! Oh, and I ate a donut bigger than my face.

Then we headed to the Magic Kingdom - I wore another version of the Deer + Doe Zephyr, this time both the crop and skirt from another color of the Knitorious floral Star Wars fabric. I made hubs take a bunch of pictures. None of them are as great as I want because of crowds, but they’re cute enough (and life isn’t all about Instagrammable moments, I need to keep reminding myself of this!). He’s such a trooper for putting up with me asking for pictures every five minutes.

We had dinner at the House of Blues in Disney Springs (a little nostalgic since it’s where we got “engaged”) and did a little shopping, then ended the day at the Magic Kingdom again.

I went over 50,000 steps that day! Hubs said he could feel the bed sheet moving because my feet were throbbing when we finally went to bed 😂

Both outfit details:

Deer + Doe Zephyr top (and top and skirt) using Knitorious fabric - Lululemon Leggings (similar) - Aloha Ears on a Dad Hat - Brooks Adrenaline Shoes - Goodr sunglasses - Band Buttons

Day 5: 

We started early at Animal Kingdom because we wanted to do the two Avatar rides! Nathaniel hadn’t ever done them, and we didn’t have fast passes, so this was the best way to do it! My sister and I wore matching mermaid tops that I whipped up with my new Cricut Maker cutting machine! I used iron-on glitter vinyl on plain white crop tees I got at Target, and they turned out super cute!

We ate at Yak and Yeti that day, which is always a good idea - we highly recommend it! Then we headed to the Magic Kingdom where I got stuck by the Festival of Fantasy Parade, but ended up having the best view I’ve ever had because of it! Nathaniel also discovered the Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom game which was great because he’d beaten the Pirate scavenger hunt game, and needed another game to play.

We had dinner at ‘Ohana then headed to Hollywood Studios (in the rain, typical!) where we got to go to the new Toy Story Land and ride the Alien Saucers. It was fine, but not something I’d wait in a huge line to do. Maybe if I were with a small child. We had FastPasses to Toy Story Midway Mania, and then tried to get in line for Slinky Dog right after (just before park close), but it ended up shutting down for the evening. They did give us FastPasses for the next day, though, which was a good consolation.

We again ended the evening in Magic Kingdom. We got there during the fireworks and WALKED onto the Seven Dwarves Mine Train. Never have I seen a line so short for it! My sister and I decided to go on Peter Pan as the wait wasn’t too crazy. They redid the queue to look like the Darling’s home, and there is an interactive game app to help pass the time now!

Mermaid outfit details:

White shirt from Target with iron-on’s made by me - Mermaid Leggings - Rainbow Ears - Make It Minnie Shell Necklace - Scrunchie

Day 6:

We started the day in Hollywood studios so we could go on Slinky Dog! I also got a Jack-Jack Num Num Cookie which is giant and delicious 😋 It was hot and humid that day, so wearing my Outdoor Voices polka dot workout dress was perfect. I had really wanted to see the Easter Eggs at the Grand Floridian, so we stopped there next. We finished up our trip by going to the Magic Kingdom for some shopping and some more game-playing for Nathaniel. And Mickey ice cream bars in the rain. We took the latest flight out we could, again to optimize our time in the parks

Outfit details:

Outdoor Voices Workout Dress - Rose Gold Ears (new version) - Goodr sunglasses - Make It Minnie cloud necklace

This trip was super packed and yet we still missed plenty of my favorite attractions (Voices of Liberty, Imagination, Pooh). I think the race weekend definitely played a part in that - it’s hard to do everything and have enough energy to run and stay upright! But we had such a great time and I’m already itching to go back again. And maybe next time I can have handmade items everyday!

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Holiday Cards on a Budget

I love getting mail any day, but I especially love getting holiday cards in the mail this time of year. My family never did it while I was growing up, so when Nathaniel and I moved in together, I decided to make it a tradition. The first few years we didn’t have that many people on our list, so I ordered them online. I could justify the price because we were only getting a few dozen cards.

2017 - Photo of us by Maddie Camilli. Photo of my fur babies just by me. I’m so glad I got this picture of them, as little Munch is no longer with us.

But as the years went by, our list got big. Especially after we got married. Last year we sent out 136. No joke! On average, the beautiful cards I see online tend to be a couple dollars a piece (with options for foil and borders which can drive it up, but they do usually include an envelope, which is great). But with a mortgage, a recent kitchen remodel, and trying to save money to do fun things, I just can’t justify spending $260+ dollars on cards. And that’s not even including postage.

2013 - Taken with a self timer. Can you find the hidden bunny?

I’ve also never splurged for a professional photographer. My sister, Maddie Camilli, is an amazing photographer, so I haven’t felt the need. I typically pay her back with a meal or baked goods. We’ve also just set up a tripod, and we’ve even just used fun photos from throughout the year before. Honestly my favorite was from 2016. We went on our belated honeymoon and I chose selfies from each country we visited in Europe and then put “Merry Christmas” in the native languages by each photo. No professional photos at all, and most of the pictures we chose were taken with our GoPro! I LOVE that thing.

If you don’t care much about text, you could always just do a photo, but I usually embellish at least a little. I use Photoshop, but if you don’t have access to that, you could probably use a word processor, or a free online photo editor. I like to find cute fonts (dafont.com has a ton of free ones), and sometimes I do Google image searches for free clipart, like holly leaves, stars, lights, menorahs, whatever! A tip, though, leave a little wiggle room at the edges - I’ve had text and snowflakes cut off because I put them too close to the edge and the printing process isn’t 100% perfect.

2014 - Combo of self-timer and adorable pet pics from the year

We (well, I) have found a good “hack” if you will these past few years. Rather than getting professional cards done, I design my own and get them printed as 4x6 photos. I’ve been going through Walgreens the past couple years because they have the lowest price I’ve found, and I can usually pick them up the same day I order them. So not only do I save on the cards themselves, but I don’t have to pay shipping! And last year I happened to order while they were having a sale for 10¢ prints, which meant I paid $14 + tax for the photos! I always order a couple extra just in case. Plus I want to keep one for myself!

I’ve toyed with the idea of getting our cards printed on card stock and sending them as post cards, but so far I have always decided to send them in envelopes instead. I figure they’re a bit more protected that way. I like to just get envelopes (size A6 for photos) at Staples, because we have one locally. This year I just walked in and bought three boxes of 50 white envelopes for $9 a box (plus tax). The downside is that you can’t get the exact number you need, but I’ve just used extras for other mail throughout the year, or used them the next year, sometimes mixing and matching colors of envelopes.

2015 - Photo: Maddie Camilli. Also, fun fact, it’s hard to get this doofy dog to pose normally. We had a lot of funny outtakes 😂 And do you spy the hidden bunny?

Honestly, the biggest expenditure is the stamp. I bought 140 forever stamps and one international stamp, which cost $69.75, but usually this time of year, you can choose a cute design, and if you have to buy a few extras, well, that’s not a bad thing to have lying around the house.

I usually hand-write addresses. I’ve printed out labels before, but because I do it so infrequently, I always forget the process and it seems to take just as much time researching the best way and formatting everything as it does to just write them out. I knocked all ours out in a couple hours. Just queue up a Christmas movie on Netflix and you’ll be fine. When we moved into our house I had a stamp made with our address, so that’s saved me some time these past couple years, but writing that out isn’t so bad either.

So last year all in all I spent:

  • Walgreens: $15.24 (11¢ a picture)

  • Staples: $27.72 (19¢ an envelope)

  • USPS: $69.75 (49¢ a stamp)

That’s a grand total of $112.71, INCLUDING tax and postage. If you break it down by card, that’s just 79¢ each, with a few extra envelopes, cards and stamps just in case. I’d say that’s a win. Another big benefit for me is that I didn’t have to wait to get anything shipped, which is super convenient! And if you don’t have a crazy long list like we do, you’ll save even more ;)

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year… Whatever you celebrate (or don’t), I hope you are well and get to enjoy some special time with the people you love!

2016 - Featuring selfies of our belated honeymoon, mostly taken with our GoPro, plus candids of the fur babies. This is by far my favorite card I’ve designed!!

PS: I actually applied this method to our wedding party invitations and thank you cards, too! Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE cards and if money were no object, I might go with some of those beautiful professionally designed cards for invitations and holiday cards. Especially those ones with foil accents… but at this point in our lives, it just doesn’t make sense to splurge on that.

DIY: Flaunt those Cuff Links with any Dress Shirt

When we went to our friends’ wedding earlier this month, I wasn’t the only one there with some DIY touches to their outfit! My husband was the best man, so he didn’t have much to decide about his outfit, but he asked the groom if he could wear cuff links, because he’d just gotten a beautiful pair (and matching tie clip) from our friend Davis Hatcher who had a tent at the Boulder Creek Festival this year. Hubs got an easy “yes” from his bestie, but the shirt the groomsmen all got had buttoned cuffs, and we weren’t allowed to change which shirt he was wearing, so we (I) had to get crafty!

Get rid of those buttons!

First, rip off those pesky buttons! Carefully, of course. I used a seam ripper.

Mark where the new buttonhole will go

Next, fold the cuff in half, and mark where the buttonhole should go based on where the existing buttonhole is. I did this with a pencil, because it had a nice fine tip, makes a light mark, would wash off, plus all the marking I did was on the inside of the sleeve and would be covered/cut by the buttonhole processes, and therefore wouldn’t be visible anyway. You’ll notice my mark has a small horizontal mark below (perpendicular to) the mark I made through the existing buttonhole. This is based on how my sewing machine’s buttonhole foot instructions detailed the process.

Then you make your buttonhole! My machine has a special buttonhole foot that you insert a button into to get the size right, so I used one of the buttons I ripped off earlier. I attached the buttonhole foot to my sewing machine, lined up my marks with the red and green marks on the foot, picked the proper stitch and started sewing. Other than gently holding the fabric in place, I didn’t do much - the machine does all the hard work. Depending on your machine, you may have to do things a bit more manually, so double check your instruction manual. I’d imagine most new-ish machines will have this ability, though.

The scariest part comes next - you have to actually cut the hole for the button (or, in this case, cuff link) to go through. I’ve seen that some people use scissors, but I prefer using the seam ripper again.

And there you have it! Another fun touch for this project is that, rather than using white thread to match the white shirt, I used the same color thread that I used on the culottes I made for this wedding, so we were subtly (ok, let’s be honest, completely unnoticeably) matching. 😉

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A Flirty Experiment with the Tania Culottes

The two other Tania Culottes I've sewn

I love twirly skirts. Stating the obvious, I know. But I also hate chafing, and I will probably never have a thigh gap (#strongnotskinny). When I found the Tania Culottes pattern from Megan Nielsen, I was instantly smitten, and whipped up a couple pairs - one for the Renaissance Festival and one for Disney World - both very fun, but hot, places.

We’ve got some good friends who had a fancy wedding last weekend, and, because I’m crazy, I decided to make something to wear. It’s funny, though - when you’re trying to figure out what to make for an event, especially something semi-formal, it can be daunting. It’s like when you go shopping and you’re not sure what you want, but you only need ONE THING, and you just can’t find that thing. Until it just kind of smacks you in the face.

Billiabong inspiration

At my last haircut another hairdresser at the salon had these awesome Billabong pants (called the Adventure Spirit Pants - looks like they’re out of stock now, though) that were long and flowy with giant slits up each side, and for some reason that just seemed like the right kind of piece to wear to this wedding. Given the right fabric, dressing them up would be no problem.

I brainstormed for a bit about what kind of fabric to get - do I do a stretchy jersey or something fancier? And what about the pattern? While I think I could have mostly winged it and made up my own pattern, if it's a fancy wedding, I wanted to make sure I looked as good as possible, too (especially since hubby was best man, so he looked amazing). I started by Googling around for wide-legged pants patterns, and then something popped up that reminded me of the culotte pattern I already bought, and then I had it! I would modify the Tania Culottes to make the leg pieces wider so they would overlap, leaving me with something that twirls beautifully, but still has the flirty slits up the leg.

You might have noticed that the longest this pattern is is a midi length, but I’m actually pretty happy with that. Since it was a summer wedding, it was warm. And I’m clumsy, so I didn’t want tripping to be an issue.

The fabric selection just kind of fell into place, too. I’ve been really intrigued by Rifle Paper Co.’s fabrics, but didn’t have a specific purpose for the fabric yet, so I didn’t want to splurge prematurely. But then a blog by Fancy Tiger Crafts popped up on my Facebook feed that had a shirt made out of some beautiful burgundy floral rayon (they still have a coral color) that I knew would be perfect. After checking with the bride to see what color her bridesmaids were wearing (to make sure burgundy was a safe choice - not that she would have really cared, though), and noticing that there were only 5 yards left in stock, I decided to get all 5 yards (it’s only 45” fabric, and I modified the pattern to be bigger and use more than the required 3.75 yards PLUS I made a matching headband). Plus the shop is just in Denver, so I opted to go pick it up myself, rather than pay for shipping. And then hubs and I had a date at the nearby Pinche Tacos to make the trip to Denver even more worthwhile.

Now for the fun part 😉

One of the best things about this pattern is how simple and straightforward it is. It’s really not that much more difficult than a circle skirt.

I only deviated from the pattern a few times:

  1. I extended the leg pieces by about 3 inches and rounded the bottom corners quite a bit.
  2. I didn’t sew up the sides so I could have the overlap and the leg slits. I did have to finish/hem a few inches of the top of each leg piece where it meets the waistband at the side BEFORE attaching it to the waistband, so I wouldn’t have any weird, non-hemmed places where the fabric pieces meet.
  3. I made the back waistband into two pieces, adding a 5/8 inch seam allowance.
  4. I moved the zipper from the side to the back of the garment since I left the legs open. This was a little tricky since there’s a box pleat in both front and back. I ended up sewing up the two pieces as if I weren’t putting a zipper there, pressing, and then taking out the seam. I then attached the zipper where I pressed the pleat on each side.

Sidenote: when I got this printed at the copy shop, I came home and started measuring, and I noticed that the two waistband pieces were different heights, by about ⅛ inch! I contacted the shop, but decided to go ahead with the project, lengthening a couple pieces just a hair. I just wanted to let you guys know! I had never used the copy shop or long version before, so I had never noticed! The support at Megan Nielsen’s was great, though, and they just released an updated version of the pattern (which has pockets!), so perhaps it’s less of an issue now.

When attaching the waistband, it says to enclose the raw edges, but didn’t say to make sure the raw edges were facing up toward the waistband when I put in the zipper, so I had to clip and I have the slightest bit of exposed raw edge (so little it’ll only be me who notices it). Also, I ended up breaking two invisible zippers trying to follow these instructions. The first time it was because the pattern didn’t say where to put the top of the zipper, and I ended up cutting off the small pieces that stop the zipper at the top. I had a small panic attack because I was temporarily stuck in these pants and didn’t want to destroy them. The second invisible zipper broke because getting it past where the waistband and leg pieces meet was INCREDIBLY difficult (I probably put the zipper just a tad too close for ease), and the zipper ended up splitting, and hubby had to pry me out of them (again). This second zipper fiasco was due to me doing *too* good of a job making the zipper invisible, not due to the pattern/instructions themselves, but I would recommend using a different zipper insertion method (and even waistband attachment, like this video shows). I find it to be a cleaner looking, simpler insertion.

The third zipper I used was just an all purpose zipper by Coats & Clark in Barberry Red, which perfectly matches the fabric, so it doesn’t actually look bad at all. It’s probably a blessing in disguise because the second zipper I could not zip or unzip by myself, which would have made going to the bathroom really annoying. I guess third time’s the charm, because this zipper works great 😉

Top is the My Way Bodysuit from Free People. Shoes are old Steve Maddens. Necklace and earrings are meteorite from Nature's Own

After putting a piece like this together, it’s a good idea to let it hang before you hem it. Because it’s so full, the fabric will settle since some of it hangs on the bias and some hangs with the grain. I also ended up shortening the culottes by about 5 inches, and taking in the front leg pieces on the side to make the slit just a little more flirty. They now hit just below the knee, and when I twirl you get a slight flash of leg. Getting the hem even was tougher than I anticipated, though. Because I’m self-taught, I don’t know many tricks to the trade that are probably no-brainers for those trained properly. I ended up laying the culottes on the floor (on my cutting mat) and lining up the pieces as best as I could, and, using my rotary cutter, chopping off those 5 inches I didn’t want. I tried them on again, found some small inconsistencies, and repeated the process. I also made the front panels slightly less wide at the bottom using this method. When laying out the culottes on the ground, I did so as carefully as possible. The box pleats make it so you can’t do it 100% perfectly (since the whole panels don’t lay flat), so I wanted to make any cut extremely deliberate.

Once I was happy with the length and the amount of leg I was flashing, it was time to hem! I did a rolled hem for the first time ever, and I am very happy with the results. However, be warned that it takes a while, especially for something as full as these culottes, which were almost like a circle skirt around each leg! That’s a lot to hem! There are such things as rolled hem feet for sewing machines, but I don’t have one, and couldn’t decide which one to buy, so I did it the long way. It’s not hard, though! Just LONG. Megan Nielsen has a good tutorial, which I will abbreviate, just to give you a sense of how time consuming it will be.

This is step 4 of the rolled hem

  1. Make a seam ¼” from the edge of the fabric. 
  2. Press along that seam. 
  3. Make a seam ⅛” from the press you just made.
  4. Cut off as much excess fabric next to that seam as you can.
  5. Press so the raw edge is enclosed.
  6. Sew through the center of the rolled hem. 

The result is lovely, though. I am honestly amazed at how much a finished hem changes a garment. It’s magical. This rolled hem was totally worth the time it took.

I’m so pleased with how these turned out, in spite of all the zipper trouble, and they worked perfectly for the fancy wedding we went to. 

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