How to: Baby Mandrakes

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A project for the upcoming Little Tomato "Chamber of Secrets" party.

Mandrake 'seedlings' are ready to be re-potted! For the party, we'll have the seedlings in a large pot, ready to be repotted into their own little mini pots. Now I'm brainstorming how to acquire 12 pairs of earmuffs... 😋

How to Make Baby Mandrakes:

Mini Plastic Babies - 'Baby Shower' party supplies - Example HERE
Craft Paint (and primer if you want to be thorough)
Faux Greens - floral section of craft supply store
Hot Glue Gun / Glue Sticks
Yarn / Twine Scraps

Use the hot glue gun to glue green leaves to the doll heads & yarn scraps to the doll feet. This doesn't need to be cleanly done, it can be as sloppy as you'd like. 

You can also drag the glue strings past the yarn to make it look more 'root-like'. 

Cover the doll body in hot glue to give them a more wrinkly lumpy look, just like the mandrake bodies in the movies.

Once the glue is dry, cover the bodies and yarn in primer, then brown paint.  

You can finish with a Mod Podge or top coat if desired. 

As they're just going to be stuck into planter's soil, I wasn't too concerned about making mine more finished.

Next up, molding a full sized Mandrake for the classroom prop!

Weasley Sweater Done!

Thursday, January 11, 2018


This has been on the needles for a while. I just had no motivation to finish it. 
And I've been plenty busy with a couple of parties that took a LOT of work. 😋
So I missed my June deadline.
Then my Christmas deadline.

BUT, at least I met my Universal Studios visit deadline! 
Now Little Tomato has a nice warm sweater to wear on any chilly nights at the Wizarding World. 😊 

I used the Caora Sweater pattern on Ravelry HERE.
I imagined that Molly would have added a few girly details to her only daughter's sweater, rather than the simple rolled neck sweater. If you like the classic, it can be found HERE.

I couldn't find any letter 'M' charts that I liked for the font, so I charted my own.
I didn't like how the starburst looked on the M, so I unraveled that part,
but I left it on the chart as an option.

Knitting Tip of the Day: Sachet

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

I've been knitting a 'Weasley Sweater' for Little Tomato for the better part of 2017. This is my first sweater, and I have decided that I am NOT a fan of knitting sweaters. It is counter to my attention span. I like smaller knitting projects: hats, scarves, cowls, knit toys... A full size adult sweater is just 'too much of the same' kind of project for me. But I'm powering through my lack of motivation as I want it to be finished.

Weasley Sweater - I know it isn't the plain stockinette of the movies,
but I had always imagined that Mrs. Weasley would have added some girly details
onto her only daughter's sweater anyway...
* I'll be duplicate stitching the letter onto the sweater when finished.
**I'm using the 'Caora Sweater Pattern' available on Ravelry: HERE.
For this project, I have my knitting in a small mobile bag that I will throw in the car when I think I may find an opportunity to knit. 

I received a lovely lavender sachet from my aunt this past Christmas. Since I already have sachets in my dresser drawers, and this was such a pretty heart sachet, I decided to put it into my knitting bag. Now every time I pull out my knitting, it has the lovely fragrance of lavender. And when you are tediously stitching the umpteenth knit of the umpteenth row of a stockinette sweater... lavender is a calming aroma. 😋

I'm definitely keeping a sachet in my knitting bag from now on.

And I may just add one or two to my yarn stash while I'm at it... 

And then the Sheep...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Little Tomato wanted to paint today too... so while she painted, I did another painting today!

I think this is my favorite. 😋

* Yes, I do acknowledge I'm a nerd... 


Sunday, December 31, 2017

I'm coming down with a cold and it is in the negative digits outside, so I decided to do a little mini painting while cloistered inside today.

I found an adorable series of "Zoo Portraits" on Pinterest by Yago Partal... and then fell down the rabbit hole onto the website, which is fabulous:

I adored the Ostrich and decided to practice my painting skills on painting an ostrich in the hat & sweater.

I'll probably fiddle with the sweater & shirt at some point, but it was a fun exercise for a frigid day inside.

Happy New Year!

Painting in Progress

Saturday, December 30, 2017

I'm diving into painting, and starting with acrylics.

I have no idea what I'm doing.

I've watched a YouTube video on the basics, and read a couple of articles that provide tips.

It is definitely a self-guided crash course in painting. But at least I'm having some fun doing it. 😋

'Girl with  a Glue Gun' in progress...

First Layer:

Second Layer:

I'm getting the feel for drying times... both frustrated that it dries so quickly while I'm working and not quickly enough when I'm ready to add layers.

I'm debating adding the power cord... and how to do it. 

I'm contemplating what layers to add next.

Third Layer to be continued...!

Taking a Stab at Something New...

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

I get antsy when I haven't been creative. It is an itch that just festers when I haven't gotten my creative outlet filled. This last month has been busy with holiday festivities, making treats, decorating for the holidays, and a cleaning/ organizing binge.. but I haven't MADE anything for a while.

And I'm getting itchy.

I've never been shy to try new media. I've delved into books, blogs, Pinterest, and YouTube videos and taught myself to sew, knit and crochet. While I obtained a foundation of basic art classes in school, I somehow completely missed painting classes. And now I'm itching to paint.

My mother is a painter. She paints every Saturday and has made several paintings which we have framed in our home. When she asked what I wanted for Christmas this year, I asked for painting supplies. I'm going to dive in. 😁

I have this picture in my head of a painting that I want for my craft room, which is really just the extra bedroom in our house. It's walls are lined with mismatched dressers and wire shelving, buckling and brimming with books and craft supplies piled high in cardboard boxes. Glue guns, dowels, paint... yarn, fabric, and spools of thread. It isn't pretty, by any stretch of the word. It certainly isn't a Pinterest-worthy space. Nonetheless, it is where I get crafty and it needs some wall art, dammit! 😋

SO. Today I bought a cheap canvas from Hobby Lobby and sketched an outline. After the holiday weekend, I'll throw on some YouTube tutorials and take a whack at painting! Wish me luck... 😳

'Girl with a Glue Gun' in progress...

Framing a Rabbit

Sunday, December 17, 2017

I bought this brass bunny hook ages ago. Easily two years or more. I adore bunnies and originally planned to put it in Little Tomato's room. When that idea went by the wayside, I couldn't bear to return it.

So it sat on a counter.

Then in a drawer.

Then on the counter again.

It migrated rooms for years, and was never hung. I knew that if I gave it enough time, the right place would present itself.

A month ago, I shifted a couple of things on my mudroom chalkboard wall to make room for Ewegenia (my sheep bust, get it EWEgenia?... but I digress...) and I finally found the perfect place for the bunny to be framed, front and center.

Bunny hanging with her buddy, EWEgenia.
Ewegenia is accessorizing a hand-knit wool crimson cowl this season. 

I have officially screwed holes into the gypsum and given the bunny a permanent home.

See... as I have gotten older, I have realized that to make a house feel like a home, we need to invest in things that we love. 

We are constantly inundated with advertisements and TV series that show us the latest trends. Our society is about collecting things, and disposing of them with the seasons. Disposable cups, clothing that wears thin and unravels in a season, and furniture that 'bottoms out' and falls apart in the lifespan of a goldfish. Buying 'on trend' is an expensive, vicious cycle of buying new.

In the past few years I have thinned out these things. I still sometimes forget my reusable bags and cups when I leave the house. I still catch myself walking out of Target with something ridiculous more often than I would like to admit. It is a process and takes time to break bad habits, but it helps to remind myself that if I don't love it, I don't need it.

My favorite things in my home are the ones that hold meaning. The apple bushel painting and vintage schoolhouse desk that were in my grandparent's home, the wood carvings that my grandfather carved, the paintings that my mother painted, the obnoxiously large dining room table that the whole family can fit around - these are the things that make my house a home.

And so... when I do come across something that I love, even if I don't know quite where it belongs yet, it may just find itself sitting on my counter... or in my drawer, or my Pinterest boards.

For sometimes two years or more.

Holiday Deliveries... Puppy Chow!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The holidays are always a whirlwind, but it seems Christmas is sneaking up on me faster than usual this year. Perhaps it is the unseasonably warm and windy winter this year?

Anyhow, our house is finally looking like a house again, after the Harry Potter parties of 2017 took over our home. We have Christmas decorations in full swing, presents wrapped and under the tree, and I have just completed my holiday client gift deliveries.

I am a holiday baker. I don't know where I get the impulse, I am a terrible cook, but I do enjoy baking. This year I combined efforts with some colleagues and we made a few varieties of puppy chow... or do you call it muddy buddies? It is astounding how many varieties of puppy chow are out there. I have tried several varieties, though my favorite is a dark chocolate twist on the original (substitute dark chocolate chips for the semi-sweet variety).

The recipes we made this year were Holiday Classic (adding red & green M&Ms to the mix for a pop of color), Chocolate Churro, & Cake Batter. They were all fantastic, but I have to admit that the Cake Batter is sinfully good.

 I have included the recipe links below:

Holiday Original

Cake Batter

Chocolate Churro

We made the deliveries dressed as SnowLadies! I found some great holiday hat headbands on Amazon, bought a yard of red fleece and made a few quick (no sew) red matching scarves, and bought felt adhesive circles for buttons. We all wore white sweaters & black pants to complete the ensemble. It was a great time delivering treats together. 😊

In other news... I'm trying to get back into the groove of knitting. I have a 'Weasley' sweater in-progress for Little Tomato. The initial idea was to have it done by Christmas. That is VERY unlikely. I am not nearly motivated enough to meet that goal. I've decided that I'm not a fan of knitting sweaters. My knitting is usually hats, scarves, cowls, and stuffed animals. And since I've seen the hack of just doing a duplicate stitch over an existing sweater for the letter... I'm kicking myself for putting all this effort into just knitting the SWEATER. Ah well.

What are your holiday projects?

Horcrux Hunt Escape Room Part 7: Hogsmeade, Peverell Ring

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

As noted in the overview post, our horcrux hunt party had (3) locations with (2) horcruxes per location. This allowed for the large number of guests to be broken down into smaller groups and rotate between locations.

Each group was given a clipboard with blank paper to take notes, and a blacklight flashlight.

For the party overview, see THIS post.

The Hogshead portion of the party was in our basement. It consisted of Honeydukes, the Owl Post, the Forbidden Forest, and our bar was the Three Broomsticks. The basement contained the Peverell Ring & Nagini horcruxes.

... and it, arguably, held the two most difficult challenges.

Peverell Ring: Math Challenge

The Peverell ring first made an appearance in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The ring was seen in Dumbledore's pensive, owned by Morvolo Riddle, a descendent of Salazar Slytherin. The ring had the Deathly Hallows symbol carved into the stone. 

We later learn, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, that the symbols of the Deathly Hallows was central to the 'Tale of the Three Brothers' in Tales of Beedle the Bard

In the 'Tale of the Three Brothers,' the Deathly Hallows symbol's central line symbolizes the Elder Wand, the circle symbolizes the resurrection stone, and the triangle symbolizes the invisibility cloak. Each of the brothers in the fable acquired their gift from Death himself, and the story was rumored to be a story of three real brothers, the Peverell brothers (the Peverell Ring stone was the fabled Resurrection stone).

We tied our Peverell Ring hunt to the Deathly Hallows and the 'Tale of the Three Brothers.'

The key to this particular horcrux hunt was the Three Broomsticks sign...

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