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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas Eve Dinner- napkin rings made easy!

So it isn't a secret that I love a pretty fussy table.  I love setting things formal and beautiful.  This year, I wanted to do a bit of a black tie feel.  I found the bow fold on pinterest and wanted to work with that.  
I got creative.  I HATE paying for napkin rings.  Talk about over priced.  So I used my little blonde brain to come up with something else!  
Yep I am officially one of those people!

I covered the toilet paper rolls with satin ribbon- (hot glue is my friend)  I found adorable gems in the jewelry section at Walmart.  I used them on the menus as well as the place cards. 

The bows are simply folded napkins (fabric of course) and tucked into the back.  It is super easy and super simple.
I hope this little spot on it is adorable!  I hope it helps.

Creating Birthday Magic- Harry Potter Magic that is!!

This year my daughter turned 11.  Yes already, my little girl is 11.  But the good news is, she is as much of a Harry Potter fan as I am so that means-  HOGWARTS  moved into my garage!!!

Now we are not over the top people, we have a huge party for her, including a ton of friends and family, but we don't spend thousands.  I do most of the decor myself (with help from my friends!)  and research a TON on line.  We do simple food, and keep costs as low as possible.  We try to teach her that birthdays are as much about the PEOPLE that come to celebrate with you, not just gifts they bring.

So without further delay:  I am sharing her party with you here.

Now very little of what I did was original-  Let's be honest-  it is all on the web, you just have to find it.  Hence-  the post.  It is now all here together.
Software I use for - well- everything - is Microsoft Publisher. I don't speak Apple.  If you are fluent in Apple, Go You!  But I am a basic ol' windows girl- and live in Office for everything.
I digress-
The Hogwarts world is so huge-  we needed to narrow down the most important (to me anyway) things that had to be included.

Important pieces that were GOING to happen for this party were:
Hogwarts letters
Chocolate Frogs
Wands (complete with Olivander boxes)
Every Flavor Beans
Pumpkin Juice
Butter Beer
and a restricted section

Other elements were included in this too, but these were the MUST haves.
 Letters were actually the easiest.  The one I stole copied is here.

   I copied a letter from the web, and used it as a photo.  Then inserted a text box in the letter area, (the body of the letter) and created my own message.  I knew I wanted to do a ticket for the train.  (They were too cool to not include) so I searched that as well.  

Print these on parchment paper, and get creative with the envelopes!  I found all kinds of free clip art and just printed them on my printer.

Fonts-  you will have to download a bunch.  Click here and rock on!

I used my wax seal on the back.  Added to the authentic feel of the letter.

Chocolate Frogs are here.  I did a blend of chocolate melts and dark chocolate.  I found them super simple to make, however the boxes were a bit more tricky! (every flavor beans are simply bulk jelly beans at Winco- and then the boxes are printed on card stock and cut.  I used heavy transparency  sheets for the windows and put them together with Elmers glue.  Tied the top with a ribbon. 
 I added a tremendous amount of posters.  I found all my favorites on a google, then uploaded them to and just did engineering prints.  This gave us a great feel on the cheep.  I put multiple sheets together to make them even cheaper and then cut them apart myself! (Use a yard stick and rip them to make the edges straight!)

I printed on photo paper house signs for the tables, and of course a Honeydukes sign, an Olivanders sign, and large house signs.  This gave the authentic feel I wanted.

I made labels for the bottles and filled them with colored water, oil and water, other fun science experiment stuff to make the bottles of spell work supplies fun and interesting!  (my nephew helped with this-he had a blast!)
I simply glued them with Elmers onto bottles-  easy to clean off and no damage to bottles.  (fyi- I collected these bottles from thrift stores and them simply printed the labels at home. 

I made some book covers (just like when we were in school with old brown paper grocery sacks?)  and glued spine prints on the edges.  I just covered either copies of Harry Series or other similar sized books.  These were excellent center pieces for tables (add the house signs on top in cheap dollar store frames)  This kept table clothes from flying away and added the feeling to each table.  Also, it was fun to watch where people sat!  They chose their own houses!!!

I added some of the other(covered) books to my restricted section/potions table. They were the same titles as the ones on the tables, but it didn't matter.
I printed book spines and added titles from the book series as well as other silly titles I created.  Topped all of this with a Restricted Section sign and - I had my super cool display.


 The food table was striped folded fabric.  I pinned the signs to the front and top then did the goodies at the end.
Every party needs a sorting hat, and then there is Harry's trunk.  My daughter was Hermione a few times for halloween so we had some easy props to fill the top of the trunk with.

Now we are going to do the hard parts!  The food parts.  I happen to have a great friend who does cakes.  She is kinda amazing!!!She free handed the map on the top.  She covered the cake in fondant and then painted the changes.

I had another friend who decorated the golden snitches.  I baked the cake pops using the  babycakes machine and then she did golden sugar and gold paint (edible!)  to decorate them.  I used this site for directions!   gum paste in a mold made adorable wings!

I drilled simple holes in a piece of 2x4 to hold them, stacked them in the back to make a stair step display.  I did basic chocolate ones for filler (the gold ones are harder, so the chocolate ones are simple and fast.)

I made wands.  These were super fun!!!  Since my daughter isn't 5- she needed longer wands than the pinterest idea of using chopsticks, so I used cake dowels.  Yes, these were slightly more expensive, however they were amazing!!!  I used the hot glue technique mentioned here .  I had the ends ground slightly, you could use a pencil sharpener, or my husband just used a grinding wheel.  We ordered white boxes and painted them black - then put a sticker on them which was amazing!  Inside the box we simply did a small piece of satin. 

All the wands were a bit different, but all the boxes were the same.
To prevent all my prettys getting destroyed before my eyes, everything cool went home with the kids.  So at the end of the party, the kids each got a wand, a frog and a box of means.  They didn't get to choose a wand, because after all- the wand chooses the wizard!  We simply did a white paper bag with honeydukes stickers-  easy easy easy!

The extras:

The sign for the platform was outside, on the sidewalk- leading into the garage.
The cups are simple cheap white paper cups-  we did cute labels and just stickered them.  Again- simple and cheap.

The signs on the drinks were also simply printed.  I tried several different recipes for butter beer and pumpkin juice.  They were all ok-  all with good and bad points- so honestly- choose your own.  I googled them- tried them ahead of time and just randomly picked one of each.

Other specific food was I did cockroach clusters (chocolate covered pretzels)  and rock cakes (flat cupcakes)  The rest of the food was basic desires of my daughter.  Costco hotdogs, baked beans, fruit and pasta salad.    Non of the main food was labeled cute-  I reserved that for the honeydukes shop.

Now, my cake friend (she is a great friend to have by the way!) also is HUGE in Halloween, so she just happens to have a dementor creature thing to hang in the corner. 

Don't mind the background-  we were still hanging stuff in this photo.

For background music, I had the movies running in the background through the stereo.  no TV, just audio.  It really helped set the mood.

Lastly, I did movie facts-  there are sooo many I couldn't  handle it, so I printed several of them through Walgreens.  I used a coupon and boom!  I had adorable facts that I could hang with clothes pins and have something for those Non Potter Heads (can you believe there are some?) to read and enjoy.

Now, my last little extra piece I did was I borrowed a button maker from the school (I paid for the supply stuff)  and we made buttons and magnets for guests to take home.  This was extra, totally not needed and - well a huge hit. (notice the magnets on the garage door)

I enjoyed this party more than any of the others-  and there have been some amazing ones.  (I have great plans of adding the Clue Party someday soon.)

If you have questions.  Please ask.  I will do the best I can to answer them and I hope this is helpful to you!