We have had an AMAZING first year sharing whimsy with the world. We have learned so much. We’ve tried our hands at design, marketing, photography, accounting, building display pieces, and so much more. We’ve met other local business owners, bloggers, and supporters who have quickly become friends (and been thankful for many friends who have become supporters as well!). We have become pros at assembling mannequins and packing cars. We have lived, laughed, pinched fingers in tent frames, cried a little, laughed some more, and looked ever forward. When we sat down to discuss celebrating this milestone, we could think of nothing better than sharing our birthday wishes with some Minnesota families who could really use them.
We knew early on in The Whimsy Factory’s creation that we wanted to find a way to help organizations that make an impact on children in our community. We were privileged to be involved in Teagan’s Make-A-Wish reveal earlier this summer, and now we are pleased to announce that we are partnering with Wishes & More as the beneficiary of our Capes & Crowns event – a Superhero and Princess party fundraiser.
Wishes & More is a local charity serving ill children and their families across Minnesota. They bring a little light into what can otherwise be a pretty dark situation – basically, they spread whimsy. We are big fans of the amazing work they do, and urge you to read about some of the wishes and memorials they’ve made possible here. You may want to prepare with some Kleenex – I ugly cry each time I hear about these kids and families fighting so hard to persevere or overcome enormous obstacles. Wishes and More helps by granting wishes, providing a scholarship so that kids have something to look forward to and reach for beyond the wish experience, and also by providing memorials for children who enter the program but do not make it to see their wish fulfilled. If you are as moved by these actions as I am, you also might want to look into their volunteer positions and the annual Winter Ball, which I’ve had the pleasure of attending in the past.
On Sunday, October 18th Capes & Crowns attendees will be treated to games, crafts, refreshments, and other activities at the Shoreview Community Center. Special guest princesses and superheroes from the fantastic crew at Pretty Princess Parties will meet and interact with guests and pose for photos – be sure to bring your camera to capture the fun! Costumes, capes, & crowns are encouraged for the celebration. Follow our Facebook page and event group for exciting announcements, but be sure to get your tickets soon – at just $7 per person, with a minimum of $5 per ticket sold going directly to Wishes & More, we can’t guarantee how long they will last.
Whether your little one prefers capes, crowns, or both, we hope that we’ve helped add a little Whimsy to your lives this past year, and we’d love to see you at our first birthday party. Please join us in celebration and help to bring a little more whimsy to the world.
Don’t forget to play today! ~Heather
By royal proclamation, I hereby unveil The Whimsy Factory’s newest Adventure costumes! These durable dress ups are instant catalysts for creative play, appropriate and attractive to both boys & girls (and mixed groups, the best kind of play!), fit a wide range of sizes, are comfortable and non-itchy, and THEY ARE ALL MACHINE WASHABLE!!!!! Whoo hoo!
The Minnesota Renaissance Festival runs weekends, Labor Day, and one special “Festival Friday” from now through October 4th – and this year, The Whimsy Factory will be part of it! One weekend only, August 29th & 30th, our traveling boutique will be set up as part of Silk Road: Discover the Riches Fairy Festival celebration on The Shepherd’s Green – and we’re bringing LOTS of great options for RenFest dress up & beyond. Earlier this week we gave you some ideas for what to wear – and not wear/have your children wear. Now we’re back….WITH OUR NEW ADVENTURE LINE!!!! We are so excited to share these additions to the Whimsy family, which will be available for the first time (and in limited quantities) at our pop up shop this weekend at RenFest. Here’s what’s new:
Royal Cape & Crown – A costume fit for a King! (or Queen), this adorable 2 pc set is sized for kids 3-8 years. The puffy marshmallow hat adds a sense of whimsy to the regal cape, and the overall effect is delightful! Wear over all black for a fancy event, or over anything from shorts to jeans depending on RenFest weather. We love the bold colors & patterns, the stretchy band of the hat, and the ease of on and off with just a velcro tab at the chin. And, drumroll please…It’s machine washable!!! So let little Henry have another turkey leg, you can toss this practical combo in the wash when you get home. This little king would be a perfect option for all of the princess events around town, like Princess Wednesdays at Mall of America and Pretty Princess Parties’ AMAZING Fairy Tale Balls!
Knight – we were sad to see our previous knight costume go, but we are quite excited for our knew offerings! These 2 pc sets include the tunic and helmet, with one size fitting 3-8yrs. The tunics are lightweight and comfy, easy to layer over summer or winter clothing, and simply slip over the head like a t-shirt. They are machine washable, glitter and velcro free, and the crest on the “armor” matches our fun foam sword & shield sets, as shown above! With the variation in weather that can occur during RenFest time, we really love the versatility of this costume. Remember, it’s not convenient to run back to your car for anything – bring layers. And while the little wooden sword and shield sets sold on the festival grounds are cute…I carried one around all of last year, and I can tell you our foam sets are MUCH lighter (and less damaging to siblings, lamps, and store displays).
Dragon – Heather has been trying to track down this manufacturer for years, we are so happy to offer this amazing hooded dragon cape in our line! The shimmery “scales” flash and shine in the sun, the lightly quilted hood offers shape and support to the dragon’s head, and the tail trails all the way down the back. Horns, scales, plates, wings – this dragon has it all! We love how lightweight and floaty this dress up is, and yet there is room to layer even winter wear underneath – important if you trick-or-treat in Minnesota, like we do! It makes a HUGE impact but can be worn over regular street clothes for events like the Renaissance Festival, parties, or daily imaginative play. You won’t believe it, but this cape is also MACHINE WASHABLE! A dragon + a knight are excellent sibling duos
Hope to see you this weekend at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival!
Don’t forget to play today ~Heather
The Minnesota Renaissance Festival runs weekends, Labor Day, and one special “Festival Friday” from now through October 4th – and this year, The Whimsy Factory will be part of it! One weekend only, August 29th & 30th, our traveling boutique will be set up as part of Silk Road: Discover the Riches Fairy Festival festivities on The Shepard’s Green – and we’re bringing LOTS of great options for RenFest dress up & beyond. Not sure what your littles should wear? When in doubt, ALWAYS DRESS UP! While not a requirement, many of the patrons (and most of the workers) at Renfest will be costumed, and tiny Festies will love the fun and added attention of wearing something magical. Here are some suggestions:
I took two fanciful little fairies to fest last year, prior to the existence of The Whimsy Factory. While they looked adorable, I made all the wrong choices with their outfits. The #1 offense: LEOTARDS. I cannot explain the comedy of errors that was our time in the “privies.” Even in the double wide port-a-potties, it was a nightmare to take off basically everything they were wearing, and keep it all from touching the nasty surfaces or falling in. Lesson learned. A much better option for a little fairy:
Start with your favorite machine washable, comfortable, non-itchy princess dress – I think our Amulet Princess and Lily Pad Princess are great options for fairies. Add crowns, sparkly headbands, or our beautiful ribbon Fairy Halo + Wand set, and finish off with wings from The Dollar Tree. Yes, I said the Dollar Tree. Why am I not trying to sell you spendy wings from our own line? We don’t carry them. We’ve owned a lot of wings over the years, and they’re all somewhat disposable – regardless of how much we’ve paid for them. They get bent and ripped and the delicate fabric runs – so save the headache (and the funds) and just pay $1. You could even upcycle them with glitter and fabric glue, or apply gems to match the dress. But at just $1 you won’t feel required to carry them around if they are uncomfortable (which…they are), and if they get muddy or squashed life will go on.
Note in the photo above: My one WIN of last year’s costumes (besides the cuteness factor, which was extremely high) – tennis shoes! If you are new to RenFest, you should know…it’s a hot mess. Literally. Temperatures can swing from over 100 to the low 60’s during the Fest timeframe, and the grounds are either mud or dust, depending on the moisture. The event goes on rain or shine, and can be enjoyable in any weather – provided you are comfortable and not worried about delicate outfits. Miss P’s tights and Miss D’s dance costume were a big fail on this front – itchy, hot, and stained beyond help before we got out of the parking lot. Luckily we wore smart shoes, and they were able to flutter around the wide grounds and across mud/grass/woodchips without trouble (I’ve seen more than one flip flop lost to the muck!). Better costume options – we have just a few of our fun fancy pirates and buccaneers left, and pirates are BIG FUN out at the renaissance festival! Some of the wackiest RenFest characters we’ve met over the years have been on hiatus from the high seas. We love that with our costumes, the swords are included, but so is the little loop to carry it! (can you tell I’m a mom who is sick of being handed all the JUNK?) And of course, free of her tower Rapunzel is a perfect princess for the Renaissance Festival – her outfit embodies the late Renaissance/Regency era, but I always think it looks (to the layman, like myself) similar to productions of Camelot and Arthurian legend I’ve seen too. Rapunzel’s soft long sleeves are lightweight enough in even the warmest weather (and can provide a little sun coverage), or can be easily rolled for ventilation.
Did you know that in addition to the knights, royals, pirates, and fairies there are a host of other magical creatures to meet at the Renaissance Festival? One of Miss P’s favorites were the “real mermaids!” Kids can view mermaids swimming in ponds and aquariums, perched on rocks, and guarding treasures. The line can look a little intimidating, but it it worth it! Such magic!
Our comfortable 2-piece Mermaid outfit would be PERFECT for the Renaissance Festival! Miss P wears this out and about all the time, and I can attest it doesn’t slow her down a bit. The tail wears just like an elastic waist maxi skirt, which you can easily roll up to provide more ground clearance if necessary, and the loose fitting top is lightweight and shimmery.
A newer addition to the festivities is the Viking encampment. If I remember right there’s a ship, and all sorts of vikings and ruffians roaming about – so you know what that opens the door, for, right? FROST SISTERS! You know they will take ANY chance to wear those beloved “Frozen” dresses out, so let them. And get a photo with a Viking. And don’t correct my history, it’s close enough and it makes everyone happy 🙂 We currently carry an adorable Anna-esque Frost Sister dress, a gorgeous and glitter-free Frost Queen, and awesome soft crowns in silver and gold frost styles.
Other not to miss spots – according to Miss P -include the Fairy Forest, which is full of magical creatures (and photo ops), the juggler’s show, the swan swings and butterfly carousel (human-powered carnival rides), and of course – THE WHIMSY FACTORY! Come see us on the Shepard’s green between the jousting and the Viking Ship. Whatever you wear, we hope you’ll stop by and say “Hi!”. We’ll be stocked with all of these favorites and MORE – stay tuned for part II where we preview our new adventure dress ups, premiering at the Renaissance Festival!Don’t forget to play today! ~Heather
For many of us, eating is the main sport/attraction at the Minnesota State Fair. I already shared my top 3 picks for new fair food from the Great Minnesota Blog Together preview event, and you can bet I’m already making my list (literally – so I don’t miss anything!) for the 2015 Fair that is coming up quickly. But in between bites, the Fair actually has an awful lot of other sights and sounds for families to take in – here are my three favorite family-friendly non-food things coming to the Minnesota State Fair in 2015 :
I’m pretty pale, my husband is pale, and Miss P is too. I’ve had a few struggles with sun damage and it’s always on our mind – we’ve had to leave outdoor events after forgetting sunscreen or losing hats – and we have a LOT of sunhats. I’ve seen more than a few people get completely cooked at the Great Minnesota Get Together, so I’m SUPER excited and proud that the Minnesota State Fair will soon feature FREE sunscreen! I’m told there will be large pumps at every information station with sunscreen on demand. This is in no way meant to disuade you from wearing your own sunscreen (remember, most agree it’s more effective if you apply BEFORE you go out in the sun), but it’s pretty great to know you can easily re-apply or touch up missed spots throughout the fair. And FREE! No $15 gas station sunscreen needed.
#2: Giant Sandbox
I learned at the Great Minnesota Blog Together preview event that not all parents know this little gem exists – while I’ll admit, part of me is tempted to keep it all to myself, the amount of glee it has brought Miss P over the years (and my general magnanimous nature, of course) has led me to share. Tucked under some nice shady trees across from the Fine Arts building is a huge sandbox, ringed by picket fence on 3 sides and facing out on the 4th towards a little seating area for mom/dad/etc to relax and cool off while their littles dig and sculpt and sift in the cool sand.
Unlike so many “kid attractions”, this was clearly designed by someone who has actually taken kids out in the world – the sandbox is basically a stage, and the only “escape” is through the parent seating area, so even hover-y parents like myself can actually sit down and chill out a little. I suggest getting a snack on your way, since you might be there a very long while. One year we visited 12x. My only wish would be for even more seating – perhaps replace the tables with just row upon row of chairs, so all can partake? The sand toys do tend to disappear as the fair goes on, and occasionally you have to fish an old food container out of someone’s hand, but in general it’s a cool, calm, relaxing oasis for young kids unlike anything else at the fair. On some days there is even a piano player.
#3: Scare Crow Competition
I’ve participated in the fair in almost every way you can, and one of my favorites is as a competitor! Do you know how many competitions the Minnesota State Fair hosts?!?! There are books upon books of different things you can enter, and generally they do NOT require any previous entry at a local or county fair – a common misconception. Over the years I’ve entered baked goods (not my strength), scrapbook pages, wrapping paper designs, masks, and my favorite (and biggest winner) – a scarecrow! Found in the Ag-Hort-Bee premium booklet, it’s too late to enter this year’s competition (registration usually ends in early August) but you can view the 2015 entries in the Crop Art wing of the Hort building. The range of scarecrows is always fun to see, from modern/minimal/functional designs that actually frighten away birds, to colorful characters that seem more like friends to the fowl, it’s on my list every year. And you can get some inspiration for next year! Entering a scarecrow in the fair is an AWESOME thing to do as a family. There are divisions for youth alone, or “team”, as well as solo adults. My amazing premium ribbon scarecrow was an 8′ re-creation of Jafar, the villain from Aladdin, when I was a high schooler. Sadly, I’m not sure any photos exist, but the head stuck around my parent’s house for many years, and it was probably one of my most fun art projects ever.
So, these are the top 3 family-friendly non-food elements I’m looking forward to of the 2015 Minnesota State Fair. Big thanks to the fair and many of their vendors for taking the time to preview some of the 2015 offerings for myself and other bloggers – you can check out some other Minnesota voices discussing the 12 Best Days of Summer here, here, and here, and DEFINITELY check out Echo (Mad Mommy’s) post and HUGE STATE FAIR GIVEAWAY here!
Don’t forget to play today! ~Heather