Piñata Costume

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Last week, Husband and I went to a fundraiser with a ' fiesta' theme. Costumes were encouraged.

I wanted to dress in something fun and different, and saw some really cute piñata costumes on Pinterest. The only thing I didn't like about the costume tutorials I saw online was the fact that they were all made using crepe (or tissue) paper. I didn't want any areas to wear thin from sitting down, and with our rainy weather recently, I definitely didn't want it to start disintegrating on me.

I decided to instead use felt fabric. And being the neurotic crafter that I am, I didn't want to glue the costume together, but chose to sew it together instead. It took a lot longer than anticipated. It was around 50 layers of felt individually sewn into the dress.


12" each color x 6 colors of felt.
Dress - I used an old jersey maternity dress that I had in the back of my closet.
Sewing machine.


Cut the felt into strips. I made my strips approximately 2-1/2" wide (the felt colors I bought at Hobby Lobby weren't perfectly 12", so I couldn't make it a 3" strip).

'Fringe' the individual strips. Just eyeball the cuts to be evenly spaced and cut around halfway up the strips.

Start with the bottom strip, pin it to the dress, and sew it to to the dress. As my dress was jersey and I wanted to maintain some stretch, I used a widely spaced stitch - not quite a basting stitch, but close.

Subsequent strips are spaced to overlap the lower strip by about half. Pin, stitch, repeat.

Once I got to the neckline, I had some leftover pink strips and decided to add a little fringy detail. I sewed two strips together make a pink fringe and pinned and sewed it around the neck.

I took the leftover scraps and hot glued them to a dowel and added a Christmas bow to the top as the piñata stick.

Finally, I took a couple of disposable plastic cups and glued scraps to them. I cut some holes into them and laced them through a headband to make piñata ears.

Katniss Cowl

Friday, October 13, 2017

My Halloween project a few years ago was a Katniss Cowl. I loved the unique look of the cowl, and scoured the internet for an accurate pattern to make it. This week my pictures had popped up in my Facebook feed.

Most of the patterns deviated too much from the original design for my taste. I finally found a design that I liked... but it was more a tutorial than a pattern. Essentially, the design involved a crochet neckline and fishtail braids grafted together. The tutorial can be found here.

The key to giving it the final fitted look is to wear the cowl as you pin the individual braids onto the work-in-progress. I experimented with the number of strands per braid for the correct thickness of each row as well.

The down side to the fishtail braided cowl is that to give the braids the proper thickness, this beast is THICK. It can definitely get warm wearing it.

Deathly Hallow Hunt - Escape Room Style Party: Weekend Progress

Monday, September 18, 2017

This weekend I chipped away at a few more party projects. I am always super productive during football season. 😋

The Three Broomsticks sign is progressing, with the sign cut out. Priming and painting are next!

In addition to the sign, I've been working on a lot of digital files. While I have found lots of great content at the RPF, many props and paper goods need to be made specifically for the party. Photos will be posted post-party, to not give away any hints in advance to the attendees. 😉

Finally, I purchased an Enigma 37 from Creative Crafthouse 'for the party'... Okay, for fun. Because it is awesome. His shop has some fantastic wooden puzzles, games and toys, I highly recommend checking it out.  But here is the Enigma 37 machine below. 

And if you're curious how it works, he made a short YouTube video of how to use it, HERE.

Deathly Hallow Hunt - Escape Room Style Party... Planning in Progress... !

Monday, September 11, 2017

After the "Very Harry Birthday" this summer, we had several of our adult friends request that we invite *them* over to have Harry fun. Husband and I discussed throwing an adult-only Harry party, and how we could give it an adult 'slant' - I wasn't sure how many adults would be on board with a piñata and potions class. 😋

We have decided to throw a 'Deathly Hallow Hunt' Halloween party. Planning is underway, crafting an escape-room-style party- full of puzzles, blacklight hidden clues, and codes to break. We have been filling our evenings with crafting and planning, on top of the back-to-school schedule! ... SO... I'll be posting the periodic process sneak-peek photos, but full details won't be given until after the party!

Current project: Three Broomsticks Sign! 

We are making the downstairs bar into the Three Broomsticks for the party. I have sketched out the sign design onto a piece of foam, and will be cutting it out this weekend. I purchased a new foam cutting tool, so I'm excited to put it to use. No more Xacto blade cutting and jagged edges to even out! Painting and lettering to follow...

A Monster in Paris Party

Friday, August 25, 2017

Little Tomato became enamored by the French film "A Monster in Paris" before her eighth birthday. We initially intended the birthday party to be an outdoor movie, but it doesn't get dark early enough during the summer for an outdoor movie for kids that age.

Plan B was to set up the outdoor screen on the deck, where it could be dark enough to see the screen... but the stagnant heat of the week lead us to Plan C: Inside. 

If you haven't seen this movie with your kids, it is a fantastic film. It is a 3D-animated film set in Paris. The movie has been dubbed in English, and it was done very well with the originalVanessa Paradis singing and voicing her role in the English dub as well. It is set in 1910 Paris and a loosely interpreted Phantom of the Opera story. The music is spectacular. 

We held our movie night indoors, setting up the outdoor screen in the dining room, which *just* fit. We set up an inflatable pool and lined it with cushions and sheets for the girls to use as seating. It also had the added benefit of corralling rogue popcorn and sticky candy inside an easily wipeable container. 

This was the simplest party I've planned. With the movie, we set up a small table of candy and drinks and had the popcorn machine fired up. 

The movie has a few scenes with giant sunflowers, so we had Whisk & Measure make these fantastic sunflower cupcakes in place of a cake, which were easier to eat in a the pool than slices of cake. 😋

Finally, we made bracelets with Eiffel Tower charms for the girls as a memento of the movie that they could take home in a drawstring "Paris" bag. Little Tomato had a lot of fun choosing the colors (pink & purple) and making them for her friends. 

A Country Fair Party

Saturday, August 19, 2017

When Little Tomato started Kindergarten, we told her she could choose her own party theme for her birthday. This was the first year that she had classmates and transitioned from having a family party (with a couple of friends) to a 'friend party.'

I was really intrigued to hear what she would pick. I was fully expecting a trademarked (read: Disney) theme, but she REALLY surprised me when she told us that she wanted a Country Fair party.  Now... we live on a farm near Husband's family. Little Tomato has grown up taking combine rides with Papa in the fields, visiting the neighbor's baby calves, and riding Uncle Bob's horses. But she goes to school by Husband's office, which is 25 miles away in the city. So while she is a country girl at heart, all of her classmates have very little experience with a farm, which made it even more fun for the kids.

Country Fair Invitations:

 The invitation was wrapped with tickets to give it a little pizzaz.

A Beauty & The Beast "Be Our Guest" Tea Party

Monday, August 14, 2017

Beauty and the Beast was my favorite Disney movie when I was little. The book nerd in me connected with Belle, and I loved the music.

When we finally took Little Tomato to Disney, she was enamored with Belle. She asked for a Beauty and the Beast birthday party and so I put together a fun Belle themed tea party for the girls. 

The invitation was printed onto parchment paper and made into a scroll. This was hand delivered to each of the girls. It was rolled up and the ribbon was tied into a bow. I kept a copy to display at the party.

It reads, "Ma chere Mademoiselle, it is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure that we welcome you to Be Our Guest for Little Tomato's Birthday Tea Party."

The Very Harry Details: Miscellaneous Projects

Thursday, August 3, 2017

This is the final post for our Very Harry Birthday party. To see the complete party:

"Part 5: Honeydukes" can be found HERE.
"Part 4: Class Lessons & the Troll in the Dungeon" can be found HERE.
"Part 3: Great Hall Sorting Ceremony" can be found HERE
"Part 2: Diagon Alley" can be found HERE.
"Part 1: Invitations & the Entry to Platform 9-3/4" can be found HERE.

In addition to the Platform 9-3/4 brick wallBertie Botts display, signage, scarves, and wands, we did several other little miscellaneous craft projects throughout the year for our party. I have round them all up into this single post. 

Potion Bottles

Throughout the year, we solicited friends for any empty unique bottles and received several old liquor, perfume & bath bottles. I found a lot of great free printable labels online and printed out several on regular printer paper. 

We used matte Mod Podge to affix the labels to the bottles, and coated the whole bottle with the Mod Podge to give it a more cloudy, old & dirty look. This was a particular favorite project for Husband and Little Tomato.

Each bottle was filled with miscellaneous items, based on the label's ingredient. The box below holds the ingredients we used for our Growth Potion for our Potions Class. 

We made decorative potion bottles with labels and then included little jars & vials with the actual active ingredients the kids would use. 

As an example of bottle filler, we used the following:
Leech Juice: orange food coloring in water
Troll Bogeys: green slime  (white glue + liquid starch + green food coloring)
Bone Powder: confectioner's sugar
Warewolf Hair: We have dogs. So... I literally just grabbed a clump of hair from our vacuum cleaner canister. Yes, it is totally disgusting, but as the bottle is sealed and a dark brown glass, it looks quite authentic and no one is the wiser (you know, except that I just confessed what is in it...)
Dragon Blood: red food coloring in water

Course Books & Potion Class Experiment

For the Course Book I purchased the Standard Book of Spells PDF download from Geeks & Dragons on Etsy for the spell portion. I created my own Magical Drafts & Potions book, and made a cover to combine the two books into a single course book for the girls to take home. I printed the pages onto parchment paper, two pages to a sheet and printed front & back. I then assembled the books with electrical tape & clear duct tape to bind the edge. I wasn't about to hand-bind 13 books and I don't like how pages turn when using staples... I have some mild OCD tendencies... 😋

The front cover had an area to write in their names, which they were very eager to fill in and claim it as their own.

For the potion experiment that we performed during the party, I created a separate page, which we handed out to the girls as they walked into class. I assumed that the tables would get sticky and gross,  and didn't want their books to get ruined. It was a good call. 

The potions in the course book are completely fictional, with no actual ingredient 'key'. The Growth Potion we did in the class was an actual science experiment, and so each ingredient was either an active (ex. vinegar = leech juice) or inactive & fun (ex. clippings from faux fur fabric = wolf hair) ingredient.

Monster Book of Monsters

For this project, I purchased a 'scrap' of faux fur fabric from the craft store end-of-bolt bin. It was actually quite a good size for a scrap. I found a 'fake book box' in a clearance bin - the kind that is made of a decorative rigid cardboard-y material made to look like a book, but actually a box. They are typically used as decorations or maybe photo storage...? From there, I bought a bag of doll/craft eyes and set to work. 

Honestly, this was one of the faster projects I completed, which was finished in the length of a movie. I hot glued the fur fabric to the box, leaving a nice long excess fabric overhang. Then I stuffed some fiberfill into the top to give the 'face' some dimension, and hot glued around this lump to keep it's shape, so it wouldn't settle and flatten. I hot glued the eyes to the face, and trimmed up the overhang into the 'finger-y' face features. I used some oven-bake clay that we got for Christmas to mold the gums & teeth and then glued them to the face.


This was also oven bake clay. I used some floral wire to give the tiny frame some structure. Due to the long & thin structure of the bowtruckle, it was a nightmare to get the clay to not break or expose the wire. And getting it to hold a strong enough shape to lay down to bake in the oven was also a challenge. It turned out well enough. Once it was baked, I hot-glued some leaves to the head, and then lightly ran the hot glue gun down the body to give it some bark-like texture. 

Gringotts Gold Bags

I purchased some inexpensive burlap mini drawstring bags and used iron-on transfer paper to apply the Gringotts logo and filled them with plastic 'gold' coins. These bags were stuffed into the troll piñata, so each of the kids received a bag of gold when the troll was defeated. The bags of coins were returned to me at the end of the party when they 'purchased' their Honeydukes candy.

Diagon Alley Books 

For the books that were featured in Diagon Alley, I found the free downloads of the book covers on the RPF and Mod Podged them onto old books that a friend had donated to the cause.  The Gilderoy Lockhart photo was found online and printed onto cardstock and I threw it into a frame for the party. 

The feather quills that are shown below next to the course books were made with a white feather that is duct taped to a cheap ballpoint pen (with white duct tape). 

It is amazing how many projects we completed over the course of 10 months! Little Tomato is already excited to 'move on to book 2' and work on additional crafts. We already have baby mandrakes underway.... 

With all of these decorations on hand, I see many future parties in store. The great thing about the Harry Potter theme is that it will also make for great Halloween fun. 😊

Harry Signage Roundup

Friday, July 28, 2017

To see the complete party:

"Part 5: Honeydukes" can be found HERE.
"Part 4: Class Lessons & the Troll in the Dungeon" can be found HERE.
"Part 3: Great Hall Sorting Ceremony" can be found HERE
"Part 2: Diagon Alley" can be found HERE.
"Part 1: Invitations & the Entry to Platform 9-3/4" can be found HERE.

Most of the party signage was made on insulation foam. The only signage made in wood was the exterior signpost signage. Insulation foam is easier to cut, more cost effective, and more lightweight for the size. Different methods were used on each, so I'm including some process photos and details for several of the signs below...

How to Make A Bertie Botts Display

Friday, July 28, 2017

We have made it a point in recent years to make our family Christmas gifts more 'experiences' than things. So for Christmas last year we bought tickets to spend a weekend at Universal Studios in January.

At this point in the calendar, we had several of the Harry Potter crafts for the Very Harry Birthday underway. We had made wands, signs, potion bottles, and were midway into scarves.

I knew that I wanted to do something more visually fun for our "Honeydukes" than glass jars sitting on a table, so I made the large Honeydukes sign... but I still felt that it wasn't quite "there" yet.

When we walked into Honeydukes at the Wizarding World in January and I saw the Bertie Botts display shelf, I knew THAT was what I wanted to do.

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