Sunday, July 6, 2014

What the Art Teacher Wore #105 and an Orlando Vacay

Photo Bomb Monday: Let's not even pretend that this cat is looking at something out the window. She knows when I'm about to snap a photo...and she also knows that she totally makes my photos better. I loved my Monday as it involved two of my favorite things: insane amounts of sushi and good-bye time with this girl. Send your good vibes Rebecca's way, she's heading out to Salt Lake City to teach art! dress: vintage, gift from a friend (thanks, Ann!); shoes: Anthro; hair bows and belt: H&M; daisy brooch: gift from a friend of moms-in-law (thanks, Dean!)
Hey, friends! I trust ya'll had a super fantastical Independence Day (aka just-another-Friday for those of ya'll outside of the states). We're currently in the final hours of our Orlando vacation and, ya'll, it's been incredible. We've done Disney, hiked some trails, visited with fam and, best of all, got to experience Diagon Alley, the newest addition to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. I gotta warn you, if you plan on going to Universal anytime soon, this post is a serious spoiler, so go no future. But the whole experience was just so amazing, I just can't help sharing exactly One Million Photos of the place. It's just that nutz.

But before I get to all that, the Artsy Book Club winner is (can I get a drum roll? No? How about a Tootsie Roll? Thanks): Printmaking Unleashed! Yay, I'm so excited, I've already purchased my copy! I do hope it's a good one and offers a lotta new ideas for us. Now, for those of ya'll that are new to the Artsy Book Club train, here's how it works: Next Monday-ish, we'll begin dipping our artsy toes into the book. Please post on the Artsy Book Club page any printmaking projects that you attempt based on ideas in the book. This way we can all share ideas and thoughts together. If you can't get your kitten mittens on the book, no worries! You can still join the fun and post what you create. Ya'll! I'm so excited.

But Wait, There's More!
(do you know how many years I've had the blog and wanted to use that line?! Yearz, people.)
Many of you voted for Dave Burgess' Teach like a Pirate...and I've been meaning to restart that book for a while. So! I propose that if you had your artsy-heart set on that book, read it! Just like Printmaking Unleashed, we'll start plowing through chapter one of Teach like a Pirate next Monday-ish. What ya'll think? Who's in and whatcha reading? Can't wait to hear your thoughts and see your creations over at the Artsy Book Club!

Now, without any further jibbery-jab, let's take a look at these endless vacay photos, shall we?

So the hubs and I arrived in Orlando last Thursday evening and zipped straight over to Disney World. Since it was close to closing time and there was a pretty ugly looking storm on the horizon, we thought for sure that the crowds would have died down and we'd be able to easily hope on some rides. 
Whut in the World we were even thinking, ya'll? It's Dis-natch for crying out loud, The Happiest (and most crowdedest) Place on Earth! We did managed to squeeze in some Space and Thunder Mountain time but the throngs of people were just so throngy. One eve was enough.
Sew Awesome Tuesday: A sweet sewing buddy of mine popped over Tuesday and after a lil lunch, we set to work chatting and stitching. She's working on the cutest apron ever and I'm in the midst of what I've dubbed the Fiesta Frock. Fingers crossed I finish it in time to share with ya'll next week. Sewing with a buddy -- such a fun way to spend a summer day. dress: vintage; sandals: Frye
On Friday, we headed over to Islands of Adventure for the real reason behind our trip: Diagon Alley. Now if ya'll've never been to Islands of Adventure (the sister park to Universal Studios), you really should check it out. The entrance to the park alone is pretty amazing and, as an art teacher, I find it super inspiring.
It's seriously been the inspiration behind the way I attempt to create the environment of my art room (I just read that sentence three times and it made no sense. Good luck to you, kind reader). I heard that Steven Spielberg himself helped in the design of the entrance and I can totally see that, can't you?
After a short walk through Seuss Landing and The Lost Continent, we entered the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and were super stoked to see that the Hogsmeade train station was open! The grand opening isn't for a coupla days so we got super lucky that the train was open and had a 10 minute wait time (just to give you an idea, they are expecting thousands of folks for the grand opening with wait times up to six hours!). We practically fell over each other boarding the train.
Now, I'm not so mean and rotten that I would ruin the train ride for you. If you are dying to know, I'm sure a short google search would land you video clips of the experience. However, lemme just say that Universal spared no expense and it went way beyond what I coulda imagined. And I'll just leave it at that.
Totally Botanical Wednesday: One thing that I loved about going all the way to NAEA in San Diego was that I made friends with art teachers that live in my own town! On Wednesday, I met up with one of those fellow art teachers and after lunch, we headed to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens for their Big Bugs exhibit as well as their Warhol. I was so thankful for the indoor exhibit as summer temps in Tennessee can become unbearable in a blink! dress: thrifted, vintage; shoes: DIY, go here
Our train ride delivered us to jolly ole England, chaps! Right in the heart of London to be exact. We strolled through this area taking in the sights and feeling a touch confused: Where in the world was Diagon Alley?! When we asked an employee, her response was perfect: "Diagon Alley? Hmm, I've never heard of it!" In the Harry Potter books, muggles (that'd be non-magical types) are unfamiliar with this magical place. In fact, there aren't even any signs on how to get there...but we managed to turn a corner and found it...
I know, right? We seriously just stood there with our jaws dropped. And then this happened... 

Ya'll. That dragon (sorry, Potter fans, I've not read the books much to the hubs' dismay, I'm unfamiliar with his name) is simply amazing. I do believe Mitch and I made about twelve video clips of him blowing fire between the two of us. 

You could feel some serious heat when he did. My favorite part was that after every blast, the crowd went completely insane clapping and cheering. 
Leavin' on a Jet Plane Thursday: This here's the day we took off to Orlandoland. And tomorrow (Monday) we return. Le sigh. dress and silver clogs: Anthro; belt: gift from a friend (thanks, Anna!)
Don't let the name Diagon Alley fool you, this place was huge! And every bit of it was so creative that you could spend days (and we did!) just walking around and taking in the sights. Every couple of paces, there was a place for you to wave your wand (given that you picked one at the wand shop...or it picked you, as the story goes) and something magical would happen: a fountain would squirt you, it would rain, lights would flicker and full bodies of armor would come to life. 
All this magicalness can make a magician seriously hungry and dining was super fun. The coupla restaurants have menus based on British fare which is great...unless you don't eat meat. However, they did offer a veg option in the form of a cheese plate that sounded delish...but we decided to test out the crazy ice cream flavors (Butter Beer Ice Cream, anyone?) instead.
One of the key draws to Diagon Alley is the Gringott's ride which wasn't open quite yet. We were bummed about that for sure...but honestly, with this part of the park being as amazing as it was, I didn't really feel like I was missing out. Although, I'll be excited to go back and ride it when we can.
I did warn you of the excessive amounts of photos in this post, riiiiight?
Fourth of July Friday: We managed to catch Universal's fireworks display which was pretty rad. dress: Anthropologie

 I know I should really stop posting photos but, doggone, this place just didn't stop, ya'll! In this area of the alley, you could craft your own drinks with a variety of elixirs, swap your money out at Gringott's Bank, catch puppet shows (and I'm not talkin' Lambchop stuff, ya'll) and 1940's style big bands. There was something at every step.
 This kind of thing ALWAYS inspires me as an art teacher. When I'm here or at Disney, I think: can I make my art room as magical as this place? Can I create a space that constantly has my students curious, engaged, entertained and enthralled (sorry for the Triple E's, ya'll). Seriously. I wish my art teachin' space were Just. Like. This. 
 After our adventures in Diagon Alley, we hopped the train back to Hogsmeade. The train ride is a totally different experience going the other way so when you go, be sure to ride it both ways. 
 Hubs decided to hop on the ride there while I opted to take in the scenery. I've done that ride before and while it's amazing, it's a touch too realistic for me. I've managed to get motion sick the last couple of times I've been on it.
 Saturday Hike: Proof we didn't spend every minute in a theme park! 
 The hikes in the Orlando area are pretty stinkin' flat but they do offer sights like these.
If you made it this far into this super Harry (Potter, people. Harry Potter) post, you are a true fan, my friend. 

Now! Got get yourself one of those (or both!) Artsy Book Club books and get to reading/creating. I can't wait for our bookish adventure!


  1. Thank you! That was fun. I am fairly confident you would love the Harry Potter books. They are the same magic as Disney. I am not an art teacher and I LOVE your blog . Entertaining and inspiring.

    1. Aw, thank you for reading and taking the time to leave a comment, I appreciate that. Well, after having gone to Diagon Alley, I'm convinced I must now read the books! You've got me convinced :)

  2. Anonymous7/07/2014

    I'm just finding your blog and I love it. Even though I don't teach right now, I loved being at art teacher. You're doing a wonderful job! I do want to let you in on a little secret to the very essential southern word you use often in your posts. The conjunction for you all is correctly spelled "y'all." It took me years to realize I spelled it wrong (ya'll). If you think about it, putting an apostrophe between the "a" and "l" doesn't really connect anything. They were already connected. The "y" and "a" are what need the connecting. Whatever you do, don't stop using the word (or believing because Journey will get mad).

    1. AH! BUSTED! I do believe I should have my self-appointed Southern license revoked! Only a Midwesterner would screw up y'all, amiright?! Thank you for the correction -- I wonder why no one else clued me in? Felt bad for the sorry Midwestern girl trying to play Southern Belle, I guess ;) Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Thank you for this post. I've been to Orlando and I love it.

    1. Well, it's just a touch like an inferno this time of year but it is always fun! Thanks for popping in and commenting!


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