What is Craftcation?

I'm still basking in the creative glow that was Craftcation 2016. I went with one purpose; to meet other makers and small business owners. And wow... did I find my people!! I left the weekend with a bucket full of memories and a group of fantastic makers that I can't wait to keep in touch with. We were already planning our experiences for Craftcation 2017!

For those of you wondering, what the heck is Craftcation, and is it right for me, here's a quick synopsis of what I got from Craftcation. But you should know, I only attended a fraction of the available courses (there are 8-10 class options during each time slot). The experience is similar to those books we all used to read, Choose Your Own Adventure, where you can decide what kind of experience you have. There are classes for crocheters, quilters, bloggers, e-commerce business owners, wholesalers, and "I just wanna learn some new crafts and have a good time"-ers. And that's still only scratching the surface! I wish I could describe how amazing Craftcation was, but that's kinda what makes it amazing. Craftcation is so many wonderful things for people that like to create, especially for those who have turned it into a business.


The best way I can think to summarize the weekend is to share the highlights. The moments that are sticking with me everyday as I move forward alone on my business journey.

  • Attending the welcome seminar and seeing how open the organizers of the event are, how willing they are to share their journey, hope and fears for their own business, and help others in their own journeys. They truly set the tone for an incredibly welcoming and warm environment.
  • Meeting a few fellow Craftcationers on Day 1 who were also attending the event alone, and becoming instant friends. From mai tais and leather tacos to wandering the halls of the Marriott to the Twilight Zone, I never expected to meet people so open to spending their Craftcation weekend with me.
  • Listening to one of my idols, Emily McDowell, speak on opening night about her crazy business adventure. Then talking to her about how she ended up started her own company after leaving the advertising world (just like me) while trying not to fan-girl too hard. The icing on the cake was nerding out with her head of sales, Charlie Wright, about musicals and guerilla marketing (I still think the ambulance is a good idea, for the record) and how there's no such thing as an overnight success. I will see you at the National Stationery Show one year!
  • Meeting Lela Barker and Shannon Miller from Lucky Break Consulting and laughing late into the night, every night, at the hotel bar. You ladies are my kind of people. Then I attended one of Lela's seminars on branding and holy moly was it an awakening! She took me to church with her passion and jam-packed knowledge sharing. She opened my eyes to a whole world of possibilities that I've never even considered. For anyone with questions about wholesale, pricing or branding, check out Lucky Break Consulting. They are the real deal!

I'm still only scratching the surface of my experience at Craftcation, but I can tell you it was truly life-changing. I rediscovered my fire, my reason for making. I discovered a whole new world of possibilities for my business, and that it's OK to make your own path that's right for you. If you're unsure if Craftcation is right for you, or if it's the right time for your business, I can assure you. Don't wait. Now is the right time. You won't regret it.

Finding Inspiration at the D23 Expo

Well, it's safe to say that D23 Expo 2015 was the biggest Disney fan gathering ever, outside of the Disney Parks of course. This year was the first time I was able to attend this amazing experience, and I'm excited to share my unique perspective as a graphic designer inspired by other Disney artists and Disney movies. Finding Inspiration at the D23 Expo 2015

Here are the highlights of my time at the three-day D23 Expo:

Lovely Ladies of Animation

I was completely entranced watching Lorelay Bove talk about how she found inspiration from women's fashion in Tokyo for Big Hero 6, and Brittney Lee describe how she studied rosemaling in Norwegian culture, then developed her own rosemaling "language" for Frozen. I had already read Brittney's blog post about designing for Frozen, but hearing her talk about it in person was such a thrill. I love how they create color schemes by painting while watching their favorite Disney movies (both love The Little Mermaid) and 50's films.

These women are a big part of the future at Disney Animation. Look for their work in the D23 announced new movie, Gigantic! With Gigantic being set in Spain, Lorelay's home country, and the director of Tangled taking the reins, I am very, very excited to see the artwork for this film!

Disney Visual Development artists

The Good Dinosaur

I knew the Disney/Pixar Animation panel hosted by John Lasseter was a must-do at D23 Expo, but I had no idea what was in-store for the incredibly lucky crowd of 7,500 people. The moment that has stuck with me the most wasn't seeing Ellen Degeneres or Ginnifer Goodwin (although I loved listening to her geek out about Disney).

The moment I keep coming back to is Peter Sohn's presentation for The Good Dinosaur. Of all the directors brought on stage, you could tell he was the most connected and emotionally attached to his film. He spoke about why he wanted to create Disney movies using sketch board images of his childhood. To avoid bursting out into tears (again) retelling his story, please read this summary by Disney Insider about this incredible filmmaker. Then mark your calendar for November 25, 2015 to see The Good Dinosaur in theaters (and bring the Kleenex!).

Disney movie

The Jungle Book

One of the surprise guest appearances during the Walt Disney Studios live action panel was Sir Ben Kingsley. Other than Emma Watson for Beauty and the Beast (who, sadly, could not make it), Sir Kingsley was one of the few people I was really hoping would be at the panel. He spoke briefly about watching Dumbo as a child and having something pop inside of him, inspiring him to become an actor. He also described how watching a young actor (Neel Sethi as Mowgli) become so immersed in his character was such an incredible experience for him.

The director of the movie spoke about how this film couldn't have been made before today due to the technology being used to create this film. Most importantly he spoke about how the technology was so good that is was unnoticeable, and how the movie came to life thanks to the incredible voice talents and Neel Sethi's performance.

My other favorite moments from The Jungle Book portion of the panel including seeing the movie poster with the jaguar Bagheera staring down at Mowgli, and watching Sir Kingsley, Lupita Nyong'o and especially Neel react to clips from the movie for the first time, then getting a standing ovation from a room full of 7,500 Disney fans who grew up with The Jungle Book. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep, but there were a lot of uncontrollable tears of emotion during this moment for me. To say I am excited for this movie is an understatement. The Jungle Book comes out in Spring 2016.

Disney Studios Live Action Panel

Disney Art

Walking through the galleries of Disney fine art and historical artifacts gave me goosebumps. There were SO many fine art pieces I wanted to pick up by new artists (like this Belle screenprint by Mark Englert), but I nearly passed out when I saw an original Mary Blair watercolor painting for sale by Van Eaton Galleries. Check out their auction if you'd like to own a piece of Disney history.

I did pick up some incredible notecards featuring artwork from the Walt Disney Archives, including production artwork and promotional materials. The notecards are stored in replicas of the storybooks seen in the films' opening sequences. I picked up the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella, but they also had Pinoccio and Fantasia. I inquired about other available collections; they said these were the first notecards released, but the hope to offer more in the future!

According to the flyer, these will be available in Enesco stores in Fall 2015. You can find the letterhead stationery now in their online popup store here! These pieces I know I will be referencing time and time again in my design work. They were a splurge, but totally worth every penny!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella

Disneyland: The Exhibit

By the time we got in the hour-long line for Disneyland: The Exhibit, I was pretty exhausted. It was Day 3 and I was running on little sleep and very sore muscles. But the second I stepped into the exhibit, I immediately came alive. With original concept sketches used as backdrops, the Disneyland exhibit featured artifacts from the Walt Disney Archives that tell the story of Disneyland from the original concept to the present day. Some of my favorite parts included learning about the Tahitian Terrace that hosted Polynesian shows in the current Aladdin's Oasis space, seeing ticket #000001 to Disneyland purchased by Roy O. Disney, and seeing details from the original Alice in Wonderland ride.

(click images below to enlarge)

Little Golden Books

The last stop we made at the D23 Expo was the Disney books booth. I had been eyeing the "out of the Disney vault" Little Golden Book Walt Disney's Little Man of Disneyland. After learning about this book in Disneyland: The Exhibit, to get Mouseketeers around the world exciting about the opening of Disneyland, I knew I had to pick it up. You can get your copy of Little Man of Disneyland here!

I also picked up a copy of Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Disney Little Golden Book because I am obsessed with all Disney Little Golden Books. Walt insisted that the artwork be done by Walt Disney Studios for each of the Little Golden Books, and the artwork is often closer to rough concept art sketches than the actual animation images. I love this particular book because it includes pages from most of the Disney Little Golden Books over the years.

Little Man of Disneyland

The biggest takeaway from my first D23 Expo was that there was so much to see and do, it was impossible to "do it all!". I was very happy with my first experience, and I hope this gives you a taste of all the wonderful inspiration I gathered from the expo. My favorite part was being surrounded by other Disney lovers who appreciated the art, music and storytelling that Disney is all about. I can't wait until D23 Expo 2017!

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Celebrating at Wine Country in Disney California Adventure

Welcome to World of Color Wednesday! For those of you unfamiliar, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color was a broadcast television series that showcased the new technology of color television. Today, Disney California Adventure plays tribute to that part of Disney history with a spectacular nighttime entertainment show featuring jets of water, lights, lasers and of course music. My own way to pay tribute to the show is by creating a color board every week, inspired by a different land from Disney Parks or character from Disney films. Join me every Wednesday in celebrating the Wonderful World of Color! There's many hidden areas in the Disneyland Resort to escape the crowds and enjoy some quiet time. Wine Country in Disney California Adventure is one of those areas that you would probably walk right by without knowing the hidden gems inside.

There are several dining areas within Wine Country including:

  • Wine Country Trattoria The full service (otherwise known as table service) restaurant offering a fine dining twist on Italian classics
  • Sonoma Terrace Offering a wide selection of beers as well as cold cuts, cheese and pretzels
  • Mendocino Terrace A small area to people-watch with a glass of wine
  • Alfresco Tasting Terrace Several flights are available from wineries associated with Disney Mood board color inspiration

My husband and I celebrated our 2 Year Wedding Anniversary at the Alfresco Tasting Terrace, and it was perfect! We each got the Tour of Napa Valley wine flights, which includes three small glasses from different wineries. For a light dinner, we ordered the Beef Tenderloin Sliders, Risotto Bites and Rustic Bruschetta. Everything was fantastic! For a great overview of the Alfresco Tasting Terrace, check out this review by a fellow Disney Etsy seller Imaginear!

Our service noticed our Anniversary buttons and surprised us with a free Mickey-shaped chocolate truffle dessert! It's those little things that remind me why my loyalty to Disney is so strong.

Wine Country Trattoria in Disney California AdventureTo complete our evening, we (almost) completed the Looking for Mickey Quest, then ended the night with a stroll along the Paradise Pier boardwalk (where I crushed him at the Games of the Boardwalk and won a little horse from Toy Story). It was the most special evening, and the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary!

The next time you need to relax after a long day, look no further than Wine Country in Disney California Adventure for a little "grown-up" relief!

My Disneyside

One of my favorite ways to get to know other Disney bloggers is to read about their Disneyside. Disneyside is a term coined by Disney about how people express their love of all things Disney. Inspired by PDX Prepster, Disney by Design and Kalia in Wonderland, and to celebrate Disneyland's 60th Anniversary, I'm excited to share with you my Disneyside! Visiting Pooh Corner in Critter Country

1. Favorite character is Winnie the Pooh because he always sees the best in people and stands by his friends through thick and thin.

2. Favorite movie is hands down Beauty and the Beast. Whenever I need a pick me up, this movie instantly sucks me away to a land of fantasy and possibility. I knew my husband was the one when he put this movie on to cheer me up on a bad day.

Character Meet and Greet at Disneyland

3. Dream job would be a Plaid (aka Guest Services). I love helping people have a magical experience, and I think giving the tours would be pretty rad too. Second choice would be hanging out with the animals in Big Thunder Ranch.

4. Favorite Disney food is the Mickey Beignets. Fluffly clouds of dough. In Mickey shape. Mmmmmmmm...

5. Favorite Disneyland memory is seeing the Main Street Electrical Parade with my grandparents & parents. Despite not seeing it in years, my eyes well up everytime I hear the opening tune. I was pretty much bawling when I saw Paint the Night for the first time and heard those all too familiar chords.

6. Favorite childhood memory about Disney movies was dressing in drag and doing the hula with my brother. For. Hours. We rewound that part on our Lion King VHS so much that is started to show static, not that we cared. We did the same thing to the forest scene in Robin Hood when they are break out dancing and playing music (bonus points if you remember this scene).

Disneyland in the 80's

7. Favorite Disney park is Disneyland. The first park I visited when I was one years old and the same park I've returned to year after year. It will always have a special place in my heart because it is filled with memories of my grandparents who made it possible for me to visit the park almost once a year growing up. I still remember arriving in the motorhome before opening and being some of the last guests in the park at the end of the day.

8. Favorite Disney songs are Almost There for when I need an entrepreneurial kick in the butt and Just Around the Riverbend for when I feel an adventure coming on.

9. Disney character you are most like would probably be Belle. I love how she could get lost in a world of fantasy and didn't care what everyone thought of her. She stood up for what she felt was right and did the right thing, even when it was the hardest thing possible. I strive to do the same.

10. Favorite Disney quote "All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them" - Walt Disney

I'd love to hear it... what's your Disneyside? Share in the comments below!

  1. Favorite Character
  2. Favorite Movie
  3. Dream Job
  4. Favorite Disney food
  5. Favorite Disneyland memory
  6. Favorite childhood memory about Disney
  7. Favorite Disney park
  8. Favorite Disney song(s)
  9. Disney character you are most like
  10. Favorite Disney quote

This post is a part of the Disney Throwback Thursday Blog Hop hosted by disneyisyourday.com!


Adventures Found in Sunriver Oregon

Welcome to World of Color Wednesday! For those of you unfamiliar, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color was a broadcast television series that showcased the new technology of color television. Today, Disney California Adventure plays tribute to that part of Disney history with a spectacular nighttime entertainment show featuring jets of water, lights, lasers and of course music. My own way to pay tribute to the show is by creating a color board every week, inspired by a different land from Disney Parks or character from Disney films. Join me every Wednesday in celebrating the Wonderful World of Color! My definition of adventure includes exploring new watering holes, making new furry friends and finding what's around the river bend. Sunriver near Bend, Oregon is the perfect place for a summertime adventure. It has been my other happy place from a young age.

I was lucky to spend the holiday weekend with my family in Sunriver Oregon. It was the perfect escape from our busy schedule, but we ended up staying very busy from the moment we arrived! Our vacation was filled with canoeing and biking along the Deschutes River, finding dog friendly breweries, being schooled in putt putt by my Dad and visiting my furry friends at the horse stables. We were lucky to spot several deer throughout our adventures, and the cutest family of ducks swam up to our canoe!

Inspiration board with photos from Sunriver Resort in Bend, Oregon

Watering Holes to Explore in Sunriver Oregon

We were pleasantly surprised by how many dog friendly restaurants there were in Bend, Oregon, which was named one of the most dog-friendly towns in America by Dog Fancy Magazine. We had lunch at 10 Barrel Brewing, then spent an afternoon staying cool on the large lawn area attached to GoodLife Brewing. Within the Sunriver Resort, we could take the pugs on all the patios around the lodge (and through the lobby for an AC break!).

A Sunriver vacation isn't complete without a trip to the Village. The Country Store has all your staples, and you must stop at Goody's for the sodas and delicious ice creams (I recommend the floats!). We tried two new watering holes; the Sunriver Brewing Company for a relaxing dinner to try even more beer, and Brewed Awakenings for our morning coffee (a nice stroll from our room at the Lodge).

Biking is our preferred mode of transportation around Sunriver, but this was my first time exploring with my dogs. I had seen dogs in bike trailers before, and hoped we could teach our girls to enjoy the ride. After lots of reassuring (and tightly strapping them in) the girls learned to love being transported via their own personal chariot. We also got to teach Maisy how to swim for the first time in the Deschutes River. The girls were just too much in their life vests, we couldn't stop laughing.

Summertime adventures in Sunriver Oregon, Pacific Northwest, Central Oregon

Also, if you are planning a canoe trip with your pugs (or other breathing challenged pet) bring life vests with handles for easy dunking, an umbrella for shade, a spray fan for misting (yep, it's from Disneyland) and lots of drinking water. You can see more snaps of the pugs on their PNW adventure on their Instagram.

The next time you are planning a summertime adventure, I highly recommend adding the Sunriver Resort in Bend, Oregon to your list!

What adventures do you have planned for this summer? I'd love to hear about them, past or future!