Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wand session

The first batch of wands for the trick or treaters got done last night.  Very simple with just a little attempt at design.  Also brought in a small fan which helped the process go much faster,  as most of the time spent is waiting for everything to dry enough to put down.  Once the fan was there,  they went MUCH quicker.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Chopsticks Arrive!

Chopsticks are here!  And they turned out much nicer than I had hoped.  They're not the ones you have to break apart (thus possibly losing several in the process), but already separated.  And after having taken them all out of their slips, only discovered 1 that had a crack in it.  Otherwise they're all perfect.  Might have to do a wee wand session tonight:)

Hogwarts Hallway

So after much discussion and thought I decided to switch from azkaban to a more simple hallway with the educational decrees all over.  It'll solve a lot of logistical problems,  including the room for pumpkins that the azkaban theme didn't have the room for.   It will also mean less worry about knocking things over or large installations.  Am thinking about adding (fake) flame torches though... And possibly a turret...just a small one...maybe...

Mom had a thought on the lights for this.  When cleaning out my Grandma's house, we were sent home with some funky gold hanging lamps.  They might function well as Hogwarts lamps.  And would solve the problem of how to do torch sconces.  Would have to see if they're bright enough, and may have to put some orange or red bulbs in them, but....might be able to repurpose them. *crosses fingers*

Mandrake Plush

Made a mandrake root plush modified from a cthulhu pattern.  Not sure I'll make another,  at least not with crochet.  I found some others that were done more simply with a panty house and some thread... Plus,  they looked more grouchy and whining. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dungeon Master!! (muahahaha!)

The scene setters have arrived!  Whoot!!!  I got an awesome deal on these for ~$5.50 (they're normally anywhere from $11-20 each), so I stocked up.  Because they're only about 4' tall, I need 2 for a full wall, but each one is also 20' long, so front to back, I'll need 4 panels to cover the porch.  I'm also considering doing a few accents (or possibly walls) inside, so all together I got 8 of them (cause really, they can easily be used again and again--my old ones have stood me in good stead for many a year)  At first glance (without having opened them yet) they appear to be all as promised, and cool enough to represent Hogwart's halls.

Plethora of Ping Pongs

Packages came today, one of which was the 2nd batch of ping pong balls I ordered, which brings the total up to 576 (or 4 gross), which surprisingly does not look as intimidating as it sounds.  There will have to be a bit of trial and error as to how quickly one can find the snitch given the number, container, and two people.  And depending on that, how much or little the ping pongs will be decorated.  Now I just need to find some willing Quidditch-playing guinea, testers.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Snitch Accessories

What are these you ask?  Could they be SNITCH EARRINGS Kendra MADE for me?!  Why yes, yes they are:)  Awesome little earrings she designed so the wings would stand properly at attention.  There was also an accompanying necklace, so I'll be utterly bedecked in snitches for Halloween:)

Wand Session 2

The wand making session with Sam has resulted in some gorgeous wands.  And all fairly easily done.  I pulled out all the available beads, set up the glue sticks, chopsticks and small wooden dowels, and we just started playing around with different more elaborate types of wands.

Some turned out a little more special than others, but it's a bit hard to tell what they'll finally look like until we get a coat of paint on them.  So some of them I'll reserve judgement on for a bit.

One of my favorites was one that well, may stay mine.  I built up the base and then did a layered droopy thing with the glue.  It turned out well enough that I (tried to) recreate it on the opposite side.

All in all, very pleased with them.  I've even been talked into handing out wands instead of candy this year.  Some of the simpler ones were incredibly easy to do and would ultimately be cheaper than candy (if more time consuming to make).  Found some disposable chopsticks online for ~$8, so we'll see if it's feasible to make some 200 wands by October.  Considering how fast they went, I'm not too worried, especially as Sam has joined in helping with them.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Quidditch Games

First draft of the ping pong/snitch part of the game.
So obviously you can't have a Harry Potter themed celebration without somehow representing Quidditch, right?  There are a whole range of ways to play the game, from hula hoops mounted on sticks and broomsticks, to Quidditch beer pong.  The hula hoops require far too much energy for my tastes, so I'm opting for the bean bag toss through the hoops version with a ping pong option for the snitch.

First draft of rules for our Quidditch Game: 
  • 2 Teams under a house (possibly with people who have already been sorted?)
  • Most team members throwing bean bags through 1 of 3 hoops (w/ possibly different point system for each hoop)
  • 1 seeker from each team (or possibly cycling through teammates so everyone gets a chance, idk) to paw through a bin of ping pong balls, one of which is decorated like a snitch.  
    • There is some contention on this point of HOW to paint them.  
      • We could paint them ALL gold, and then have just 1 with wings.  
      • We could paint various things on many of the balls--owls, brooms, house colors and emblems, etc.
      • We could do a combo of both--some gold, but no wings, some distracting elements from Harry Potter, then the one snitch with wings.  
And then there should be some kind of snitch trophy...or something...

Wands Away!

The wands after having put lots of glue and beads on them.
Have done my first project for this year's Halloween!  Yay!  I had found a tutorial on how to make up some wands using chopsticks and hot glue HERE.

It's basically just taking a chopstick and adding glue to the thicker end, slowly building up a base, or trying to add in design elements.

I was a little skeptical, but they were pretty easy to do.  Though for my next batch I'm going to switch to a low temp glue.  Much of what the time took was waiting for a layer of glue to dry so that I could use it as a base for the next layer--especially the spiraled ones.

I also put on a lot of various beads to add texture, structure, and bumps.  Worked out pretty well.  Next step is to paint them.  I think I'll be a bit cheap and spray paint them a basic solid color--some I'd like to see what they look like white or black.  Then I might think about a second coat of varnish.  They might look a little flat if I don't add a little something extra.  And possibly in between that, some extra paint for variation or if they look too boring.  I finished these ten in about 2 hours.  But again, a lot of trial and error, waiting for glue to dry, and first time uncertainty.  I think I could crank out quite a few more of these a lot quicker a second time.

Painted three of the wands to see what the final look would be.  I'm mostly pleased with how they turned out--but I'm curious about what the brown ones will look like.

Front Door Plans 2014

So Sam had an awesome idea for the front door which I'm very excited about, partly because it also solves the problem of what costume to do.  She suggested that I have the front door open, and set up a backdrop a few feet behind with a painting/drawing of a landscape, or villa, then dress up like the Fat Lady/Gryffindor entrance.  I'll also put a wood 'frame' of shelf paper, or faux wood paper around the edges of the screen door.  I'm also hoping to take the screen part of the screen door out, further making it look like a painting.

The difficulties will mostly be with creating the backdrop.  Talked it over with Sarah, and of our several options (paper, kinkos, drawing), the 3rd option will probably be the cheapest, if most time consuming.  But I can get a canvas drop cloth for pretty cheap, and I think if the scene is pretty basic, I can do stucco/bricks pretty easily.  We'll see.

I'd also like to get some gold chocolate coins and hand those out...from Gringott's Bank:)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Porch Plans 2014

So given the theme of this Halloween (Harry Potter) there were several different options about what I could do for the porch--the main focal point for Halloween.

Eventually I decided to go with Azkaban prison.  While I still believe in my golden rule to (try) not to scare the crap out of little kids, I have wanted to push that a bit in the last couple of years.  I'm hoping to get a few friends to dress up like dementors and 'guard' the prison/front lawn.  Also possibly dressing up as a prisoner and crawl in between the space between the porch and laundry rollers.

So the cells will be held up by those laundry rollers spaced a couple feet apart from each other.  I'm hoping this will be enough to hold everything up against the (inevitable) wind.

One of the other things I'd like to do on the driveway is to set up a little photo op around a wanted wizard poster.  I'll either use some baseboards, or another laundry roller.  I get a lot of parents who take pictures next to my props, but I thought it would be fun to set up something specifically designed for that.

I'm also considering adding another 1-2 photo ops.  Maybe a house elf, or an owl...or maybe even a scene catching a snitch.  But these would be a little more like face cut outs.  Just grab a piece of plywood, cut out a hole, nail some feet on it, paint it.  In theory.  It'll depend greatly on my laziness factor.

Something Potter this way comes

I was all set to do a Doctor Who Halloween this year.  I really was.  But then I took a trip, the last leg of which took me to Orlando and Universal Studios where I encountered Harry Potter World.

...and the rest I really could have guessed.

I was amazed by all the incredible detail that had gone into every aspect of the rides, the shops, hogsmeade.  And it reignited my Harry Potter fever.  I've technically done two Harry Potter parties already, though not nearly on the scale of the stuff I do now.  But having done it twice before, I do have a bit better idea of what's out there.

...and so the sketching has begun, and the madness that sets in at the time when every idea can be considered.  It's one of my favorite parts of the Halloween planning, made even more so as it's something I really truly love.

Even so, I've already nailed down a couple of the big projects I want to do, but this year will be made mostly by the little projects (which I've learned is my strong suit).  Yes, will have to begin early, but again, that's my wheelhouse.  So I anticipate a good time will be had this year. also means I get to have Harry Potter marathons with impunity.  :)

The last Harry Potter party (2007): 

Looking back at these I kind of have mixed feelings.  At the time, it was pretty cool, but having learned a lot of stuff, I know I can do better.  I pulled out the box of stuff I kept from then, and wanted to immediately chuck it--just a lot of it was so basic and not detail driven in the same way I do stuff now.  I'm kind of happy now to try again on this theme.  Still, we had fun, so that's really all that matters.

Great Hall w/floating candles
Weasley's Wizard shop 
Directions, and custom
made Marauder's Maps
Yes, I played Dobby,
yes the costume was handmade.

Potions class turned out pretty cool
The shop wasn't too bad either

My favorite were the 'Slytherin Sucks'

Behold: lack of drawing skill
hasn't improved over the years,
but knowing that I should use a
computer definitely has.
The Monster book