Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin Carving 2014

Got some good carving done tonight.  Had Kendra, Peter and Michael over and we knocked out some really cool patterns.  I've still got 2 more pumpkins to finish (3 in one night was about my limit), but I tried to do the more complicated patterns tonight to get them out of the way.  Plus, I had gutted mine the night before, so they're all ready to be carved.

Jess' Pumpkins
Mad Eye Moody

Harry Potter

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pumpkin time!

I very nearly didn't pick up pumpkins this year.  This year was very tiring and I was a wee bit fried after the party (not the event itself, but the buildup and setup was lots of stress and work).  But then I was at the grocery store and I had an "oh who are you kidding?" moment as I 'debated' getting pumpkins.  But I went light this year--only 5 pumpkins.  And I found my drill, so I went ahead and gutted 3 of them.  And see?  I'm taking a break before (possibly) doing the other 2.  I have found that the key to the pumpkins is to not try and gut and cut right after each other; my hand is way too tired by the time I need to make intricate cuts.  So tonight will be the gutting, then I'll attempt to carve over the next two days, leaving Halloween free (again, in theory).

Also took another shot of the graveyard (*sniff* it'll be coming down soonish) and noticed that (I presume) Sarah had brought some flowers to put on the Weasley's graves (or rather, 1 Weasley).  Aaand, cue the waterworks.

Oh, and also took a picture of the little teal pumpkin that Sam made me for the Teal Pumpkin Project, basically a way to let parents know that your house offers either no candy or a candy alternative to those kids who have food allergies.  I've given out glowsticks for years so apparently I've been participating all this time--just didn't know it was a thing.  So this pumpkin, along with a little sign, will go outside the porch.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Trunk Treasures

So when the guests arrived, they received a "trunk" (aka, a bag dressed up to look like a trunk...sort of), in it a Marauder's map of the house, a class schedule of all the activities and games available, a quill for writing, a vault number to get their money at Gringotts, their "Hunt for Horcruxes" scavenger hunt slip, and a slip of paper to enter into the Goble of Fire raffle.

Pre Party Photos

Just a few pics snapped before everybody came.

Halloween Party!

Phew!  Had a very windy day for the day of the party, but the temperature was at least not freezing cold, so all in all, it worked out okay.  Got a decent turn out and got to see a lot of people I haven't in quite awhile.  I think everybody had a good time, even those who weren't completely versed in the Harry Potter world.  And we got some really cute pictures:)

Sarah as Deputy Headmistress
sorting everyone.
Trelawney got
"Most Authentic costume"

Crystal dressed up as
"Rowena Ravenclaw"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A new prize

One of the prizes I had gotten was a plain canvas bag.  I looked at several different designs, but ended up with this one which was pretty simple.  I have a few other totes, but I really like how this one came out. 

Front Porch changes

Some updates to the porch--got a few more of the props up. Still need to finish the Fat Lady prop and pull out the screen door, and the papers and everything will go on the table, but other than that it's pretty much figured out. 

Graaaaves, glorious Graaaaaves!!!

Got all the plaques attached to the graves!  Yaaay!!  Technically (once they're dry) they're ALL DONE!!!  Woot!!!  Much happiness and stress gone.  Which is timely, cause now that that stress is gone, I'm starting to look around and getting serious hoarder itchiness.  Obviously, I'm not that bad, but it's amazing how dirty and cluttery everything starts to look with the knowledge that people will be entering your house.  And more so when there are too many people to hide things in too many places.  It has to be an actual cleaning, not a quick and dirty, booby-trap-the-closets kind of cleaning--which frankly, is more my wheelhouse.  But getting the porch all cleaned up yesterday was also a huge load of my mind--my Mom was so awesome to help with that:)

Sooo...onto the next project.  I'm kind of in cleaning mode, but I also want to pull out the (few) actual Halloween decorations I have that I'm going to use.  Maybe I'll pull those out first, then spend time packing away.  We'll see where the day takes me--might get stuck in the garage for a bit--those Halloween boxes tend to be a time sucker.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Awesome potter things

Mom scored big time on this find from a random yard sale she and a friend were passing.  An epic owl cage.  I scored big with the trunk at the thriftstore for 50% off.  And put together, they make excellent props for the front porch/orientation/welcome to Hogwarts:)

I also put up my own version of a howler being carried in by an owl.  There were much more elaborate ones online, but they got super complicated--I gave up after 20 minutes and just did this one.

Fat Lady Backdrop

Day 1: 

All's well that ends well... sort of. Sarah came over and we made a trip to joanns for paint and fabric that--maybe, perhaps--lasted longer than it should have. 

We came back and sketched out the back drop for the painting. Next we slowly blocked out some of the larger color blocks (vines/trees, sky, hills).

During a much needed break we concluded we were too tired for the concentration that the brick work and detailed work the rest required,  but that we could probably hammer out the "Weasley is our King" banner. It's not quite finished as the stencil needs to dry in order to flip it over and do a reverse image on the other side.  May also go over the lion with a sharpie around the edges. 

Polyjuice Potion Station

Part of the experience of this endeavor is to dress up in Hogwartsy costumes, but I know a lot of people don't have robes or other wizard wear laying about (silly muggles). So to help with this, I've spent some time getting together a collection of costumes.  Most are from past years Halloween, witch hats, random capes and such, but I did make a few things, as well as pick up a few things at the thriftstore.  They randomly had a whole bunch of graduation robes--which I swooped up.  And I made a bunch of house color scarves--partly for costume, and partly cause it'll be cold.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quidditch Beta Testing

Life tip: when needing to beta test for Quidditch, it is surprisingly easy to get people to come over and help play.  Some set up for the match was required.  I went ahead and got the Quidditch posters laminated--just in case of bad weather, and also so that I can put them up a few days beforehand and not be worried they'll get ruined if it does rain.  They turned out awesome.  I also hung up a sheet behind the garage because--as we found out after we got done with the hoops--the sound of a bean bag thrown against a garage door?  LOUD.  I put it at an angle, so the bean bags will slide down and collect at the bottom, which (bonus) should make it easier to collect them at the end of each game.

Also made the snitch with spray paint and some thicker acrylic paint.  Not sure if I've made it textured enough to find--but fortunately, that's what beta testing is for!

THIS is what trying to explain a Halloween idea is like.

Sorcerer's Stone

So in the midst of doing the Gringotts vault, we thought it would be funny if one of them was 713, and had the Sorcerer's stone in it--cannon!  Anyway, found these fish aquarium beads that I glued together to create a stone (a 'real' sorcerer's stone being prohibitively expensive) and voila--immortality!

Chocolate Frogs...and other stuff

Lots of projects that have been wrapped up, tweaked, or modified.  One of the important ones--finished both the Bertie Botts and the Chocolate frog boxes (cut out and assembled).  Waiting on the bags in order to fill the Bertie Botts, but the chocolate frogs are now ready as of this evening and just waiting to be put in and sealed into their boxes.  Also put together some Honeydukes shopping bags (aka, little white bags with the honeydukes label glued on).

The rest of the honeydukes displays are also going well--lollipop holder got set up with a few pieces of styrafoam glued together, and labels are (almost!) all done to put on the larger vases of loose candy.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Did some work on the Potions class.  I had previously been collecting various bottles and today was when I pulled them all out to see which ones would work.  I reused a lot of the ones I've had from previous 'witch kitchens' which was great because all the labels were totally different and gave it that more eccentric flair.  This is not going to be the final configuration, but a general idea of the setup.  It's coming along nicely.  I have a few more labels I need to make/print out, but mostly for the soda and ones that are more specific to the Harry Potter cannon.

2 Weeks....AAAAAAAACK!!

Mild panic day.  2 weeks...actually slightly less than that until the Halloween party.  There's quite a bit that has been put up...but still soooo much left to do.  Today was filled with lots of little random projects, tweakings, mostly organizing, cleaning, that kind of thing.  Started to get a little twitchy.  But Sam had a good thought.  She suggested writing down my "frogs" (aka, the tasks that are raising my blood pressure), including the ones she (and other friends) could help with.  Which helped.  And I have a bit of a better focus on how I want to spend the last two weeks and what needs to get done. I think part of the stress has been so many little projects rather than one big project that I could tackle.  It's now all the little details that I'd like to fix or adjust but that I haven't written down.  So I'm going to get better at writing them down so I don't feel like I'm forgetting something.  And remember that it really is enough time, most of the projects are done, they just have to go up.  Phew.  Hoping for a better stress level day tomorrow.

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Got to recycle my glued together gold pile
from last year's underwater pirate treasure.
Sam added another project to my list--but a good one that helps tie together a couple of others.  She pointed out that one of the things missing was some kind of representation of Gringotts. So we scrounged around and came up with this old chinese box of drawers she got ages ago, Mom donated some leftover bags, and I went to work with labels and sticker paper.  The result is a whole new system for how to obtain a wand, an owl, a newspaper, a treat from honeydukes.  Students will make a withdrawal from their vault, which will be a pouch with coins, then they have to figure out how they want to spend it throughout the various 'shops'.

Lots of pouches that go in the drawers.
Each has 3 Galleons, 3 Sickles, and 1 Knut.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Spent some time getting Honeydukes ready.  The craft room has traditionally been a bit of a dump site for miscellaneous items.  Thus it was an odd collection of mismatched stuff and many trips were taken to return things to their rightful place.  Also put up some of the scene setter to simulate the 'secret passage' from Hogwarts.  The way everything is set up will mostly likely not be the final setup, but at least it's a bit easier to catalog everything and start figuring out what kind of space I need.

The lights have been all put up, as well as the curtains and random decorations, so it's a bit more put together.  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Porch clean up

Lots of cleaning today.  Went over to Mom's and got her porch all put away, then she came over and helped get my porch ready--just blowing behind the furniture, moving it around a bit to make it work.  We also got the lawn mowed at a lower setting so it's ready to have the gravestones put on it as soon as they're ready.

What will eventually be potions table
Slightly better sitting arangement