Thursday, September 6, 2012

Turning Eleven - Harry Potter Style

What do we have here?

 Hogwarts seal. Awesome. Hmmmm . . .

Yep. My baby girl has turned eleven. She's returned from her Pokemon journey just in time to pack her bags for Hogwarts. An acceptance letter was delivered properly by owl on her actual birthday, which is a good thing as her birthday was on Labor Day, a day without normal mail service. My daughter's letter was obviously the true Hogwarts deal, however I hear this site does an amazing job if you would like your own letter. Fast shipping, high quality stuff and totally worth $12.

She was actually born on Labor Day, so it is cool that it fell on the holiday once again. My due date was labor day. My water broke the day before and I 'labored' for 24 hours so she could be born on the most fitting day of all. Life. It is art.

And here is how we celebrated the event! The obligatory wish making picture.

It was an epic day that I went all geekbusters on. Thanks in part to Pinterest feeding my obsessive personality and manic crafting habits. I could not help it. It just had to happen. It isn't like I'm trying to be mother of the year, it is more like I want to live at Hogwarts. Besides, I've been reading Harry Potter books to children since the first books were published. From my first round of kidlets to my current wee ones, I've witnessed the power of those books to turn children into hardcore readers. I am a bit of a fan. 

Now the first young boy that went on the initial journey to Hogwarts with me is a 21 year old man and just joined the army. He's been at basic training for 3 weeks now and I'm getting antsy to hear from him! Hold onto childhood folks, she whizzes by with the speed of a golden snitch.

Pre-party pictures. Banner idea blatantly copied from this amazing party at The Brilliant Crafty Type blog as were the ties I'll show later in the post. Alas, I don't have a Silhouette machine like she recommends, so I printed big letters onto sticker paper using these free Harry Potter themed fonts. Cut them out and stuck them on a piece of felt then pinned the letter banners to some cool ribbon. Oh, how I adore sticker paper. I almost love it as much as scrapbook paper. And yes, I buy it buy the 100 pack, because duh. Printing your own stickers rocks. Sometimes I even use it for actual stickers.

I also use sticker paper for labels and packaging, etc. I've even used it to organize my kids' playmobil bins with picture labels. I don't think I've even blogged that bit of ridiculousness. Still. Can't say enough about printable glossy sticker paper. (Has to be glossy, btw. I've bought the matte by mistake and it just doesn't bring the same level of joy.) Anyway, I used a lot of sticker paper to pull this party together.

Pre-party wizard duel.

Birthday girl!

Brother practicing his wand skillz in hopes to go to Hogwarts too.

Why, yes. We are all wearing HP robes. What? Standard stuff, right?

Does it help if I admit that we've had these? We went a little crazy a couple Halloweens back. Actually, my husband has a pretty kick butt Snape costume from Halloween last year. But it was hot, way too warm for hubby to get his Snape on, and we actually just threw on the robes for a bit fun before the party. We hung them in the entry before the party as decoration. Way too warm to wear in a room full of people.

Hogwarts Themed Entry

We raided a lot of our real stuff to decorate for the party. It cracks me up that the 'school' trunk in the picture is what we actually use for math and science models. The chinchilla in the cauldron was my husband's take on Hogwarts animals. As was the red panda. *shrugs* It's a group vision.

It helps that my son has a Hogwarts themed bedroom (which I realize now that I've never properly blogged about) that we could plunder. That's where the banner came from and countless other bits and bobs. Between our Halloween decorations, costumes, my son's room, the interent and just our general stuff-- I didn't have to buy much for the party. Which is awesome. That doesn't mean that we didn't spend some stupid money on this stuff over the years... But for the day, it was all just around for the gathering.

I did buy this. Because, duh. Wizards must be sorted.

Our hat had laryngitis so we had people reach into bags and pull out stones marked with animals that represented their chosen house. People could opt out and wear 'visting muggle' stickers. Not one person opted out which was so fun.

Treat table with wands, dragon wishing stones, house ties, noise makers and goodie bags. Fun stuff!

Close up of wand station, dragon and dragon stones. We used lots of led candles and wizardy looking stuff we gathered from around the house.

The kids and I made these dragon eye wishing stones which seemed to be a hit with everyone. My sister is going to make hers into magnets, an idea I plan to copy as soon as I get my hands on some strong magnets. These are a bit heavy for regular ones.

Close up.

We started with flat marbles and drew and colored eyes on the flat side with gel pens. The pens didn't set on their own, so we sealed it with clear nail polish top coat. This might be a problem over time because it does seem like a few of the colors are reacting to either the polish or polymer clay now. Not all of them, but some of them have turned really dark. So if you want to make some, I recommend not using gel pens. Maybe painting them with acrylic paint would work, or even mod-podging printed eyes to the stone might work. The gel pens made for some beautiful colors and combos, but I have my doubts as to how long they will last.

To cover the glass 'eye' with dragon skin, I rolled out polymer clay and cut a circle back like in the picture above. I cut the left over clay with the hole punched out in half and squished the circle edges flat. I draped them across the top and bottom of the eye to form lids and cut off the excess clay, smooshing it into a nice circle. Doesn't have to be perfect because I covered it in little smooshed circle scales, and lined the eyelid with rolls of clay and eyelashes. After baking I highlighted some areas on the scales and lids with metallic paint. Voila! Dragon eyes.

The paper with it says: Dragon Wishing Stone *No dragons harmed in creation.

Gift bag and noise maker corner. I used my fruit basket to hold the bags. :)

These were my awesome find of the event. A small local craft store was selling these on clearance. Needless to say, I bought enough for this party and likely enough for my son's eventual Hogwarts party when he turns eleven as well. But they ranged from .40 to .80 each and felt worth it to me with how cute they are. Not to mention I can use the left over bags for gifts throughout the year as well.

Inside the magical gift bags.

I got the dementor chocolate idea from this awesome party at Mammakaze. The  every flavor beans label was totally copied from a pic on the internet and printed onto sticker paper because I was completely out of time, people. Yes, that jars my graphic arts background soul, but desperate times and all that. The Honeydukes label was from here. Yep. Sticker paper again, as were the signs that I printed and stuck on scrapbook paper backings and spread around the various things on the table.

Yes, the beans are in teeny tiny jewelry bags because holy balls batman, Jelly Bellies are crazy expensive now. The candy was all from a nearby town's amazing candy store. That was probably the shopping trip with the biggest sticker shock. We went a little candy crazy. Did you know they make astro pops again? Remember when they used to be 25 cents? Yeah. They are $2.99 a piece now. Oy. But oh. That was a fun, fun shopping trip.

And of course Weaslys' Wizard Wheezes had to be represented, so that is the why of the finger handcuffs. They were a hit:
This look cracks me up every time I see it. He was so dumbfounded.

I had to include a close up of the tornado lava lamp fulfilling its true calling as a magical instrument. This lives in our son's room too. I really should blog an update about the room now that it has been finished for a couple years, huh?

House ties I mentioned earlier. Again from The Brilliant Crafty Type.

Once again I deviated from her instructions due to my lack of an awesome fancy machine that would have saved me from repetitive strain injuries and some dark marks for naughty word usage due to my using scissors and eyeballed it. And I also used hot glue because it is fast and furious and because I think fingerprints are overrated.

I also stuck a little copy of the signs onto the backs of the ties for those weird people who inevitably didn't know the HP story and needed reminders of what the houses were and what they represented. *sniff* Muggles.

Cauldron of wands. Sign from here. After guests were sorted they received their ties and chose their dragon stones and wands. Then the biggest hit of the party happened...

Wand personalization.

This was so random and last minute. I had initially planned to decorate the wands with yarn, string and charms myself, but ran out of time. I hated to waste the cool magical looking stuff, so I just piled it by the wand cauldron and made the sign. I got the charms for really cheap at the small local craft store, as well as the grab bags of yarn scraps. The guests LOVED this.

I have four brothers in law. Every single one of them got their crafty on, as did the teen boy at the party. The girls had no problem jumping into it, but I admit the male participation really surprised me, and made me very happy! It was hilarious to watch my giant firefighter BIL sorting through the little charms and choosing the accent yarns. It was awesome. Somehow I created a huge magical co-ed crafting party. Epic stuff. Truly magical.

Here's an example of a wand decorated with the yarn, though the pic failed to capture the charms hanging from the yarn. It really does look pretty cool all together. I took this photo when I was still entertaining the idea of doing it all myself.

Wands in progress.

I've made these wands with my kids for years. I LOVE making them. I used the same concept to make my son's Gandalf staff a few years back. I originally learned how to do it through purchased instructions from Dadcando. He now also offers the instructions for free on Instructables among other cool projects. Dadcando is an amazing, amazing site. I highly recommend it.

Over the years I've tweaked the wands my own way. I now make them with my beloved scrapbook paper. I top them with large stones and tip them with small stones or gems. I often add gems to the surface as I do the hot glue step. I then paint the hot glue black initially then cover with a metallic paint that fits the wand. I usually do a light coat of the metallic paint all over the wand as well, then mod podge the whole thing for a light seal.

They can last through some serious play, but I guess I must say they aren't toys. They are basically sticks with stones on the end, so you know, figure out who can be trusted with such tools before distributing. Right? Right. I admit, we did have a few close calls involving unforgivable curses and flinging wands getting a little too close to eyeballs for comfort. The wizarding world is a dangerous place.

Honeydukes! The rest of the expensive candy! Worth it!

Butterbeer punch station. I can't find the recipe I used. I'm not even sure that I used a recipe. I think I looked at every single BB recipe online and merged them into what I used. I basically split a jar of butterscotch syrup between two punch bowls, poured in cream soda and stirred it as much as I could. I added a goodly amount of half and half to each bowl and topped with vanilla ice cream dollops. Yeah, if I wasn't calling it Butterbeer, I could have called it sugar coma. Or beverage that tastes like marshmallows dipped in butterscotch. I had this instead of cake and it was enough.

Sign I made to prove that I also supplied water, because someone told me that there is such a thing as too much sugar. In case they are right, there was bottled water. The following day was the first day of school for our area. We homeschool, so you know, whatever. Sugar crash, smugar smash. I'm kidding! I totally warned the parents that I was sending home bags of sugar chasers with the kids after feeding them cake, ice cream, candy and sugar coma punch. I'm sure they had no problem with it. Hey! There was water available. Eek. I'm one of those parents, aren't I?

Cake decorated with, drumroll . . . Colored sugar!
Yikes. I'm one of those mothers for sure.

On a happier note, I love the decorations in this pic. My son's special box where he's kept his treasures for years. And his awesome friendly Minotaur, Ferdinand, that I bought from this wonderful Etsy seller. I was so excited when I found him. My son has always insisted that miniature friendly Minotaurs live in our basement. (Which I totally prefer to the monsters that I believe live in our basement, btw.) He has always insisted that Minotaurs were given a bad rap and were just misunderstood in the ancient myths. Finding a like-minded crafter was one of those amazing internet moments that make me so happy to be alive during this age of connection.

I just included this picture because it was sort of an epic aftermath photo. The wreckage of party plunder. I like how it has a mysterious shop feel to it or something. I almost hated to pick it all up and de-magic my house!

This shot shows the owls perched up by the banner that I failed to capture with any other shot. It also shows how all of our parties/holidays seem to end, with the building of new lego sets! Yeehaw! Side note: check out my dog to the right sitting on one of the wooden chairs. She was a bit traumatized with the house being all rearranged and with the crowd coming then leaving. Poor critter.

Here are the decorations and extras all boxed up and ready for my son's future Hogwarts themed party. Around here you don't get to choose the theme to your eleventh birthday. Much like a wand chooses a wizard, the eleventh birthday theme chooses you. He has no problem with that though. We are all looking forward to it! But a whole bunch of rest must come between then and now. Oh yes.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my rambling attempt to recreate my favorite party ever. Perhaps the indulgent length of this post can somewhat make up for my utter neglect of my blog? Perhaps not. I'm not quite sure where I belong with blogging anymore. I want to blog, but then I find myself caught up in doing things like making thirty magic wands, banners and dragon eyes. Sigh. We'll see. But for now, I am here. And here is a happy place, a sort of post-Harry Potter Party glowy world.

To any of the parents whose kid I OD'd on sugar before their first day of school that might stumble upon this post-- I so apologize. I had my head stuck in the sorting hat and just wasn't thinking straight! 

And thanks to anyone that read on until the end of this epic novel of a post. Hope your week is filled with magic and fun!


Lizzie said...

I just came across your blog browsing and the Harry Potter party is amazing! So much detail! Awesome job!

candyn said...

Thanks, Lizzie! We don't usually go so crazy for birthdays, but as a long time Harry Potter fan I've had a number of years to fantasize about an HP themed 11th birthday. I think it was as much for me as it was for her, but I don't think she minded. :)

Sara said...

Wow - that is amazing! Happy birthday to the lucky girl!

Critter's critters said...

The take home favors made me think it was MY birthday! Thank you for a very fun time!

Beth said...

Thank you for this post- I was searching for ideas on how to make dragon eyes, and came across this one.
I made a stuffed dragon and used your ideas as the basis for her eyes- her's a picture in case you'd like to see.

candyn said...

Beth - Your comment made my day. Thanks for sharing the picture. I love your dragon! My daughter is an enthusiastic dragon creator. She makes them out of clay and felt. So we love finding artists that also likes to make them. She especially thought it was cool that your dragon is into riding motorcycles. :)

melissa said...

i love,love your dragon stone.. how did you do it.. i tried and mine melted. im trying to make them for my son's skyrim party. any help would be much appreciated. He is obsessed with dragons.
Thanks for your time.

candyn said...

Sorry Melissa, I didn't see I had a comment until now. This post was from so long ago the comments automatically go to moderation and I haven't blogged in forever, I don't check in often. I hope you figured out your issue if your party already happened. If not, I can try to help.

What part melted? I used glass flat marbles and they withstand much higher heat than what I bake polymer clay at. I can see them cracking before they'd melt. I just used the flat backed glass marbles found at the dollar store, so nothing fancy, and they worked fine.

I used ink to color the eyes and then made sure to seal the ink. I can see the ink melting off if it isn't sealed. In fact, the ink wouldn't really set on mine after I colored it so I had to seal it quickly so it wouldn't smear. I used clear nail polish to seal it gently and quickly and then added another coat after the first dried. It has held up for a few years now on the stones I still have. No discoloration and the colors are still bright, so I don't hesitate using if I did this project again.

The clay I used was regular oven baked polymer clay which is made to harden in the oven and should just get hard when baked, not melt.

If you used anything other than these things, I'd guess that is where your problem was. If it was what you used to make the eye, whether paint, ink or whatever, then you just need to make sure you can seal whatever medium you choose really well before adding it to the clay 'eye'. Also, perhaps some mediums don't hold up to heating. If that is the case and you still want to use the same medium to make the eyes, then you could try to use air dry clay for the skin instead of baked clay.

Hope these tips help and hope your Skyrim party turns/turned out great! My daughter loves dragons and had a dragon themed b-day party this year. Your comment makes me wished I had blogged about it. Our main crafts were dragon horns that we handed out to everyone and a dragon foot cupcake holder. My pictures didn't turn out all that great though, which made me less enthusiastic about blogging it.