The Walt Disney Family Museum and the World of Mary Blair Exhibit Trip Report

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This past weekend I got to experience the Walt Disney Family Museum—finally!

We made a trip up to San Francisco, just to make it in time to experience the Mary Blair exhibit at the museum. With only 2 hours in total to spend there, we started with Mary Blair as the thought was, the Walt Disney Family Museum will always be there and we can always come back.

So that’s how I ended up spending a whole hour in Mary Blair world and had to rush through the Walt Disney Family Museum at lightning speed. Yes, rush, as there are 11 galleries to experience and each one is pretty big and unique! I really didn’t get to read much but just get the overall impression of each gallery and move on… but I still walked away feeling inspired by both Walt and Mary and charged up to get to work and to follow my own dreams that I am so passionate about.

Between the two, my big take away was a continued encouragement to tackle your passion, your work, your dreams with your whole heart and give it all you got. Whether your passion is design and art or not, both Mary Blair and Walt Disney did not do anything halfway. Everything they did and everything they touched, was done 100%. If they ran into a problem, they researched, they dug deeper, they clung to it harder. They tried again and again and got it done. Beautifully and epically done.

Sidenote—Before I go on, you may even be wondering who Mary Blair even is…. she was a conceptual artist for Disney. So she created a lot of the ideas and overall feelings for the animators to base their final drawings on for movies like Peter Pan (my fave!), Alice in Wonderland, and Cinderella. She then left Disney for a time, but then came back to work on the attraction its a small world for the World’s Fair. That ride then came back to make its home at Disneyland—and is one of the few rides that are actually in every single Disney park.—end very long sidenote.

Recognize this scene from its a small world from Mary Blair's sketchbook—her rough sketches are as bad as mine!

Recognize this scene from its a small world from Mary Blair’s sketchbook—her rough sketches are as bad as mine!

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From Mary Blair, I loved seeing how her style so drastically changed from her trip to South America. There, she learned about color and reinvented the way she drew children. This getaway with her husband and the Disney crew—including Walt Disney himself—opened her eyes to the way color is used and gave her an entirely new perspective on her work. Her work drastically changed from that trip. So from that I take 2 things:

1. Take a vacation when you can. Even if its a working trip. Get out of your box and experience life.

2. It’s okay to totally reinvent yourself no matter your age. It’s okay to gain new interests, new perspectives, and a new style. (Sometimes I feel so behind in starting this Etsy shop of mine, it’s totally different than anything I’ve ever done and I’m getting “older”)

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Similarly, I had encouraging take-aways from Walt Disney as well but on a much grander and different scale.

I love how Walt would come up with some crazy new idea, and without having a means to get the idea done, he would then create the tool to get it done. One example of that would be the multi plane camera that enables their animations to have that layered quality… from the foreground to the background. Okay, I’m getting rather technical now… so back to the feelings part…. Walt had a vision, he had a dream… he actually had a lot of visions and a lot of dreams… so he made these teams of like-minded people and together they accomplished world changing creative endeavors. I think its amazing to see where he started… he taught himself how to draw, how to animate… and from that planted seed he grew a company and a brand that was then able to grow to such a giant scale of an amusement park. That road from A to B…. was marked with so many failures but then so many wins…. so many struggles and problems but then so many victories and solutions.

A bench from the park where Disney was first inspired to create his own amusement park: Disneyland.

A bench from the park where Disney was first inspired to create his own amusement park: Disneyland.

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Of course, while I love the animation and film side of Disney, my heart truly is captured by Disneyland. The museum kinda lacked in this area. However, it did have a “massive” minitature model of Disneyland. Not Disneyland of any certain year, but the Disneyland that Walt knew and loved. It showed all the rides that he had a hand in, whether or not they had opened before his death (like Haunted Mansion). To view this model, from above, was remarkable. To see the imagination it took to create this larger than life amusement park that was done in the quality it was down to the smallest detail. He left no stone unturned, seriously, even the ground slowly changes theme as you walk from land to land. Walt knew quality, and expected nothing less.

The earliest known drawing of Mickey Mouse.

The earliest known drawing of Mickey Mouse.

So to sum up… from Walt Disney I continued to learn:

1. You have to start somewhere, no matter how small. He started with a sketch of a mouse. “If you can dream it, you can do it” “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”

2. Once you get started, don’t let anything get in your way. “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible”

3. When you’re going after your dreams, go all the way—giving it your all. “When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.”

sam and walt disney family museumThank you Walt, for being such an inspiration to me… ever since I was a little girl, but more so since I grew up to be a big kid. A kid that wants to explore her creative boundaries and push the limits. To be inspired and to inspire. To have dreams and follow them through. A kid that wants to spark that light in others while continuing to burn my own creative juices. And to do everything I put my mind to with every ounce of strength I have.

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

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Friday Footnotes


1. Modern Art Museum Wedding: Kathleen + Allan

I’m still just so darn excited for my friend Kathleen that her wedding was featured on the wedding blog, Green Wedding Shoes. A site a post from frequently here and check on a regular basis! So amazing. If you missed my post about it earlier this week, please go check it out!

2. How to Draw an Ampersand

A few times now I’ve been requested to letter an ampersand (the “&” symbol) for a design in my Etsy shop. For being my favorite character out there, you’d think I would be an expert in crafting this little symbol… but it’s so much harder than it looks! I actually had to Google it this past week in an attempt to get it right! So in case you also struggle with this funny little character, here’s a great resource!

3. Mary Blair Style Sheets

I’ve loved Mary Blair’s work for so many years now (see previous posts) and I get so excited when others post about her work too! In such a fun collaboration, I saw Mary Blair featured in Style Sheets on the House That Lars Built blog!

Style Sheets is a monthly collaboration where Jessica Williams, a Brooklyn interior designer, illustrator Michelle Christensen, and I re-imagine the interior of one of our favorite icons.

4. It’s a Small World – The Animated Show

Oh and speaking of Mary Blair, there’s a new tv series coming to the Disney Channel that is heavily inspired and influenced by her style. Of course, this makes sense as the show is inspired by the Disneyland attraction its a small world, a ride that Blair had immense impact on. You can see 10 short episodes here. Thanks Rachel for showing this to me!

5. A Guide To American Football Video

And let’s end with another video shall we…. I have to say, I learned quite a lot watching this very well illustrated and animated video. Probably learned more in those few minutes than I ever have about football actually. So thanks Fraser Davidson! Found via DKNG Studios.

Once Upon a Time, Rachel’s Fairytale Baby Shower Invitations and Bookplate Stamp


Now that you’ve seen Rachel’s maternity photos, the next glimpse into the shower would be the baby shower invitations!

I drew inspiration from Mary Blair’s work on the credits from Cinderella and then applied Rachel’s nursery’s color palette with its pinks, peaches, and mint greens.

The “Once Upon A Time” mark was handwritten as well as Rachel’s name, then a combination of two other typefaces, a modern serif and a medieval display text completed the invite.

This really was a work of love, and definitely one of my favorite invitations yet!



In addition to the invitation, I created a bookmark with Rachel’s favorite verse, Jeremiah 29:11, as the shower favors. Along with a print to go along with it for the nursery as well.




All of these pieces of the invitation can be bought in my Etsy shop: Your New Friend Sam.


In addition to the invite pieces—and to go along with the storybook theme—I created a custom bookplate stamp for Amelia’s baby books.

Also available in my Etsy shop.



So many fun projects were created and designed for Rachel’s shower! I can not wait to show you rest of the photos from the day of… tomorrow!

A Year Spent at the Happiest Place on Earth / 2011

Here’s to another great season spent at the Happiest Place on Earth! To the memories and photographs, to the friends and laughter.

See my 2010 year at Disneyland.

January 28

First day of my new pass!

February 11

A full day with my grandma and sister!

February 23

March 11

Not only was this my first time taking pictures of Rachel at Disneyland, but we also saw my friends Lauren and Kellen along with Lauren’s nephews. And Lauren’s nephew Micah rapped. Good times were had by all!

April 8

Riding Dumbo!

May 15

Checking out the Art of Mary Blair exhibit at the Disney Gallery.

June 2

Girls trip!

June 6

First time riding Ariel’s Undersea Adventure!

June 12

A photo taken for our little friend Eli!

August 31

First time on Star Tours 2.0! More photos here.

September 9

A fun photo sess with Rachel in the Disneyland parking structure. More here.

September 14

Yummy gumbo bread bowls for dinner with Amie while watching the Mark Twain Riverboat.

October 17

A reunion of Elsinore High ladies at the Jazz Kitchen, Downtown Disney.

October 30

Oh that guy, my favorite during the Sounsational Parade.

November 4

A trip at sunset with an old coworker, Melanie.

December 12

A trip for Rachel’s 19th birthday, an unexpected rainy day. And when I say unexpected, I mean that neither of us had checked the weather beforehand. 😉

January 22

And now, as of this past Saturday, my pass has expired. But we did manage one last trip in before the ending date! Counting down the days until I renew it!!

The 44th Weekend: Friday at Disneyland

As I mentioned in yesterday’s, rather late, Evernotes Every, I was prescribed muscle relaxers to help with my headaches which have taken away the headache pain but induced never ending drowsiness. Since I was planning on having a night out on Friday, my husband asked me to see if taking the muscle relaxer every other day would help with my constant drowsiness. Well, unfortunately, I had a headache… all weekend! So this video doesn’t sum up my weekend, but my Friday night!

First off, I adventured around my favorite place: Disneyland! This time with my friend Melanie, who I used to work with at Central Creative. After getting on oh so many rides (thanks to the rain for scaring off the guests) we ended the night at the Art of Mary Blair exhibit on Main Street. Then I stopped by my friend Amie’s for a another visit with her brand new puppy. After the puppy fell asleep she started going through a memory box. It was so fun to see all the tidbits for mine and Andy’s relationship all at once! She had a wallet of our first pictures together in 2005 to our wedding save the date/invitation/program, etc! It was so cool to see it all at once: our whole relationship in paper form!

Anyway, enough blabbing, here’s the video.

Music provided by John Mark McMillian.

Evernotes Every Friday

1. Mary Blair’s Peter Pan

I just adore the unique illustrative style of Mary Blair, an artist who worked alongside Walt Disney. Her character drawings alone stand apart and are instantly recognizable but then the landscapes she creates are so fantastical that it makes me want to be able to enter this colorful world she has created! Last weekend, Rachel and I went and perused the Mary Blair exhibit at Disneyland. We had so much fun seeing how her ideas and concepts for Small World became a reality. Remember the Cinderella piece I showed you last week? That same blog also showcased a 6 part series on Mary Blair and I found this illustration done for Peter Pan. Anything Peter Pan grabs my attention, but if it’s done by Mary Blair too, then that’s just awesome. She has illustrated children’s books for Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and Cinderella. My best friend Amie has already been instructed to gift these to me and my baby shower (whenever that may come to pass).

2. Anthony Martinez’ Clermont Ferrand

With so much being said in one piece, Anthony Martinez, defined a hierarchy that leads the viewer throughout the piece, starting with the title “On the Road Again.” From the colors and textures to the strong diagonal lines and variety in typography, I love it all! Found via Graphic Exchange.

3. Jovan’s Crackers

A recent trend for the past few years in packaging is clean design with lots of white space to allow the product to stand apart from the “loudness” of the packaging that surrounds it on the shelf. This packaging for Jovan’s whole food crackers keeps things clean but uses a bright chartreuse green as its voice to set it apart from competitors. Plus, it allows you to view the actual products, something I always like to see. Found via the dieline.

4. DIY: Gift Bags from Newspaper

Quite simply, this is an inexpensive way of gifting with typography! I just love this and can’t wait to make one! It even beats the bags at the Dollar Tree! Found via Susan Jenkins on Pinterest.

5. From the Desk of Andrew Byrom

As I quickly scanned this article, found via idsgn, my jaw literally dropped when I saw the final piece. These new business cards are literally from Byrom’s desk! Each is a 3.5×2 cut out version from his old desk! Amazing! More images here.