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As graduation season comes to an end and summer is in full swing, I wanted to say, “Congratulations” to everyone who graduated this year. From the pre-school stepping up ceremonies, to high school graduations and beyond, it’s an accomplishment of which everyone should be proud. 

Last month, after almost five years, I finally finished my Art Market Master’s program. A lot of stuff happened throughout those five years that made me wonder if I should just quit the program and stay put in a job I hated. I watched four separate groups of people finish the program in the normal two years. Each September, I met a new group of students and got close to them, only to watch them graduate while I was still finishing up part time. The bright side of this is, I made a lot of friends during my five years! 

Currently, I am still writing my thesis, The Value of Mickey Mouse: Appropriation, Copyright and The Walt Disney. While it is a lot of work, I love being able to combine my two favorite subjects: Disney and art. I’m hopeful that all this will lead me to a job with Disney or with artist that work for Disney. I stay positive, even as I got my rejection letter from the Walt Disney Family Museum as I walked into my graduation ceremony because I will never give up. Disney hires all ages, right? 
Of course I had to decorate my cap this way! 

My classmate Dana’s awesome Peter Pan inspired cap! 



Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust

Today marks the 62nd anniversary of the film release of Disney’s Peter Pan. The 14th Walt Disney Animated Classic film was based on the book of the same name written by J.M. Barrie. Peter Pan is one of Disney’s most beloved characters; maybe it is because everyone can relate to not wanting to grow up.


While I love Peter Pan, for me, Tinkerbell is the best. She is rebellious, and although she is bratty and jealous, she is feisty and fights for what matters to her. When Kid Congeniality told me that he was  Peter Pan for Halloween, I knew CJ needed a Tink costume, so we could have fun taking photos. CJ and Kid C are the best of friends, and just like Tinkerbell, CJ follows Kid C around on all of his adventures.



Just yesterday, a new interactive queue was unveiled at Peter Pan’s Flight. Now, while waiting in line for the ride, you can walk into the Darling’s house, thru the nursery and see Peter’s shadow flying around the room. Peter Pan’s Flight is one of  Walt Disney World’s original and most popular attractions and with its new update, it is bound to stay that way.  Happy Birthday, Peter Pan!

Friday Five: Favorite Etsy Shops

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I have always loved buying handmade items, but ever since CJ was born, it has become an obsession. I love having unique items for her that you can’t find in any random store and knowing that I am contributing to a small business rather than a chain makes me happy. Etsy is the go to place for all things handmade. Today’s Friday Five features some of our favorite Etsy shops. Make sure you check them out.

1: Mina Loves Bows – Anna, the owner of this shop is simply amazing. She’s the superwoman of Etsy and Instagram. Each month she hosts a bow swap so various Instagram users can pair up and swap handmade bows. She is also one of the most generous women out there, donating her items to charity auctions and giveaways. As if that wasn’t enough, this mother of four has her own Etsy shop where she offers gorgeous bows of various styles and custom orders. Anna is a Disney fan and it shows in her work. She just created a custom Alice in Wonderland themed leather bow set for a customer. Check out her shop here and her Instagram.


2: Megan Carrigan Fine Art/18th Century Shop- Some people have the talent to create things that take your breath away. Megan Carrigan is one of those people. Her paintings truly are works of art. Megan paints in oils, water colors and acrylics. Her miniature framed water colors are my absolute favorite. The colors are vibrant and she truly captures the spirit of every character she paints. Megan also takes commissions, so contact her to paint something wonderful for your home. Check out her Etsy shop and Instagram.


3: Wild Darlings Shop – Moccasins are all the rage in baby fashion, but with so many shops selling them, it’s hard to know where to make your purchase. Mackenzie, the woman behind Wild Darlings Shop has made it impossible to shop anywhere else with the release of her Neverland Collection. This limited edition collection of moccs celebrates one of my favorite movies of all time, Peter Pan, with four pairs of shoes: Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily and a Lost Boy. I am eagerly awaiting CJ’s Tinkerbell pair – coming all the way from Okinawa, Japan where her husband is stationed in the military. Hurry to her Etsy shop now and check her out on Instagram, as well.


4: Piece Love Paper- It is no secret that I adore the movie Up – My personal Instagram name is Elliefredricksen. Stephanie, the owner of Piece Love Paper, has a fondness for the film also, but that’s not why I love her shop. Stephanie’s Etsy store sells beautiful notecards and paper goods that anyone would love to receive. Stephanie donates a portion of each sale to the Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation, so anytime you make a purchase, you know that not only will you be getting something fun, but also giving to a good cause. Check out her Etsy shop and Instagram.


5: Sweet T Baby Boutique – Headbands, crowns and bows are mandatory for most baby girls. Tessa’s Etsy shop is filled with gorgeous, glittery and unique pieces that will compliment all your baby’s outfits. While all of Tessa’s items are gorgeous, her Disney crowns are simply perfect. Made from lace, they are painted and dipped in glitter. While I am partial to the Minnie Mouse crown, Tessa also makes Anna and Elsa for all of the Frozen fanatics Check out her Etsy shop and Instagram.


Have a great weekend!

Art Lessons: Savanna Rodriguez

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Savanna Rodriguez is the super talented 25 year old artist behind one of my favorite Instagram accounts @artsavanna. Just from stalking following her IG, I know we would be great friends. We already have so much in common. We are both married with one child. We love all Disney characters, but Tinkerbell holds a special place in our hearts. And we both want to work for Disney. Savanna aspires to work for them as an artist and with her talent, I definitely see it happening! Oh, and Savanna can sing.

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Savanna works primarily in small scale. It is amazing the attention to detail she has, even when painting tiny lockets and canvases. Savanna is a self taught artist. Although she took a few art classes in junior high school, Savanna has honed her craft on her own. Most of her paintings are of traditional Disney characters and scenes, but occasionally, Savanna will surprise you. Case in point: her reimagined Haunted Mansion stretching portraits. Savanna’s version is a crossover with characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I truly believe that Sally was meant to be the Girl on a Tightrope.

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Savanna has a large Instagram following, and unlike many artists, she has no problem with fans using her work as inspiration for their own. In fact, she frequently showcases the art that others have made based on her work. Savanna loves “knowing that others feel encouraged to try something new.” Her outlook is refreshing and one that other artists should adapt because it forges a sense of community and encouragement, rather than competition. Savanna does commissions, so if you are looking for a new piece of art or jewelry, check out her etsy store. For those of you on Instagram, follow her. You will not be disappointed.


The Never Girls

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Neverland is no longer just the home of the Lost Boys. Now there are Lost Girls – 4 girls to be exact. The Never Girls is a book series by Kiki Thorpe about four young girls who believe in magic and fairies. Their dreaming and believing in Neverland magically transports them there. The books follow the young girls, Kate, Mia, Lainey and Gabby, and their adventures with Tinkerbell and her fairy friends in Neverland. 


I am so excited to get these books for CJ, even though she is not old enough to read them yet (the books are recommended for 2-4 graders). Most fantasy and adventure books are geared to young boys. Now, there are female characters for young girls to read about – characters that they can relate to and and even admire. The books also teach decision making skills and the importance of friendship.  The Never Girls are the perfect books to transition readers from picture books and easy to read books to chapter books. There are currently 6 books in the series, but more are on the horizon. Check them out here. Happy Reading!