Wednesday, December 13, 2017

We Made A Life-Sized Thestral For Christmas, Because Of Course We Did

So possibly our biggest surprise at the Potter Party last weekend was Tiny Tim, the life-sized thestral in the back yard. Yes, thestral. You know, the undead skeleton horses that can only be seen after you witness someone dying? I mean, HOW FESTIVE DOES THAT SOUND.

via Pottermore

It's all Home Depot's fault, of course, since they were selling life-sized horse skeletons for Halloween. We weren't about to drop $200 for it, though, so we waited 'til November 1st, called every Home Depot in the greater Orlando area, and on try #17 finally found one for half off. Still pricey at a hundred bucks, of course, but John was positively GIDDY at the thought of making our own thestral.

So we did.

And since this WAS for a Christmas party, we added a wreath around his neck to make him more cheery:


After dark is when Tiny Tim gets his wow factor, though:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Come See Our Fantastic Beasts Harry Potter Party!

Want to see what John and I can accomplish when we quit Overwatch cold-turkey and spend two months crafting, plotting, and building things together?


Since I have just so much stuff to share, I'm going to follow suit from last year and do a video walk-through. Obviously I'm not great at this (I don't mean to sway like a drunken sailor, honest) but it's the best way to show you where everything is and, more importantly, let you see and hear some of our more dynamic effects. (Sound on, peeps!)

Right, 'nuff gab. Got about 8 minutes and a burning desire to see most of my house transformed into [SPOILER]? Think I can't make 8,000 people sea-sick at the same time? THEN HOLD MY GIGGLE WATER, and watch this:

How about that last thing? Eh? [eyebrow waggle] EH?

Stay tuned for plenty of photos, more details, and tutorials/build logs of a few of my favorite builds, starting with Tiny Tim in the backyard there, then the moving painting, the Giggle Water tree, and whatever else you guys want to know more about. (Sound off in the comments: anything here you'd like a closer look at?) I'll also be posting the FANTASTIC 1920s fashions all our friends were wearing (you guys, I was blown away) and some of the fun foods and silliness we got up to.

Happily John and I have family in town and are running ourselves ragged at the theme parks, but that also means you'll have to wait a little longer for the guided photo tour. Soon, though. SOOOOON.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Aaaand Now I'll Be Singing About Hippogriffs All Month

At the risk of making you guys sick of all things Harry Potter, I HAVE MORE UNIVERSAL CHRISTMAS GOODIES.

Firecracker garland in Wheasley's Wizard Wheezes.

I tried to resist posting all this since you're about to be inundated with Potter Party photos next week, BUT there's all this new merchandise, and we tried the Holiday Feast this week (NOMZ), and I have a few pretty pictures of the new castle show, AND I finally grabbed a complete video of my favorite Celestina song, which I think you're gonna love.

So let's get to it!

I'll start with the eye candy: the new Hogwarts projection show on the castle is STUNNING, and gives Disney's new fireworks show a run for its money, even without fireworks

 That's straight off my phone, no editing or filters.

A little clip of the magic in action:
A post shared by Jen Yates (@epbot) on

The show runs continuously after dusk, so you shouldn't have to wait more than 15 minutes or so. I recommend watching it twice. :)

Back over in Diagon Alley, here's a close-up of the WiseAcre's garland:

(You can see lots more Wizarding World decorations in my Dressed To The 9 3/4's post.)

The best new addition to the Alley, though, has to be Celestina Warbeck's new show, "Nothing Like A Holiday Spell."

She and the Banshees have fabulous new dresses!

This show has 5(?) new songs, which are all pretty great with two standouts. "Accio Christmas" is probably the catchiest with its Calypso beat (you can watch it here), and then there's MY FAVORITE, which I captured in its entirety just for you guys:

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Quick Craft: Make Your Own Furry Monster Christmas Tree!

It all started when John and I were browsing the Christmas decorations - like ya do - and I suddenly asked, "Who on EARTH would want a furry brown Christmas tree??"

Then, exactly 2 seconds later, I realized it was me. I WAS THE ONE ON EARTH WHO WANTED A FURRY BROWN CHRISTMAS TREE.

You know, to make this:


We figured it'd be OK if we invented a few of the fantastic beasts at our coming Potter party. :D

This is a ridiculously easy craft, plus there are sooo many ways you can customize your own tree monster. I kind of want to make a whole army of them now.

If you don't have any craft or home decor stores in your area with the kind of discerning taste it takes to sell furry trees, then you can always make your own: just roll some posterboard into a cone and glue on fun fur fabric. This tree was huge and like 60% off, though (yay coupons!), so I decided it was worth the ten bucks.

Next you'll need eyes. I grabbed this pack on the left:

 Again with a half-off coupon, booya!

You can also use fancy googly eyes (they have some great colorful styles now) or even paint eyes on the back of glass drops. Sky's the limit.

The last things you'll need are a little clay (I used paper clay), some craft paint, and hot glue.

I actually made my monster tree so fast I did the unthinkable: I didn't take process photos. I can tell you I just parted the hair and used hot glue to press in the eyes, though, then rolled a quick snake of clay for the bottom lip:

 ... which I painted reddish pink before aging with black. To glue on the lip I had to trim his mustache so the hair wouldn't overlap the teeth.

Playing with his hair is super fun, btw; brushing up the section around his eyes makes it look like he has eyebrows. :D

The teeth are more paper clay, painted white and then aged with yellow and brown.

I accidentally got a big hot glue splooge on the left there. I'm calling that drool. :D

Again, you can do all sorts of funny things with the teeth - or skip them all together and make giant lips, or just a nose, you name it.

To give our monster tree an extra ridiculous touch, John added the Santa hat. It's one of those little dollar hats from Bath & Body Works, which I recommend stocking up on, since they fit all KINDS of toys.

It really brings out his eyes.

And to give the monster tree more height, I stuck it on a big wooden candlestick. Candlesticks are fantastic with cone trees. Try pairing different sizes/styles, gives any tree an instant upgrade.

Our Monster Tree is on a tiny shelf in the guest bath, right next to the mirror.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Jen's Gems: Color-Changing Dresses, Haunted Mansion Ears, & Kawaii Food!

Time for more of my favorite finds around the web! And it's been a while, so I've got some doozies. :D

A long time ago a hoax video went viral showing a Sleeping Beauty (aka Princess Aurora) in a Disney parade with a dress that changed colors from pink to blue and back again. It was a photoshopped trick, but it fooled a loooooot of people. Anyway, that's what I first thought this next video was, BUT THIS ONE'S REAL:

[wordless screaming]
I first watched it on my phone, and so missed the subtle tells until someone in the comments explained how it was done and I watched it a few more times. Even knowing the secret, I'm super impressed with how smoothly it transitions!

Allsyuon Cosplayer posted the video, btw, but I don't think that's her on stage. Can anyone help ID these two cosplayers so I can credit them?


Jessica Danker of Recyl EARS strikes again with these FABULOUS Muppet Vision 3D ears:

Gonzo! And he has a 3D Waldo danging from overhead!

Jessica makes everything from felt and paints it by hand. Isn't it awesome?

Then there's Jessica's latest Haunted Mansion ears, which are a double-sided masterpiece. She's got a 3D Leota globe on this side:

And the stretching room gargoyle and portraits on the other!

Did I mention it has lights AND sound?

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Geekiest Christmas Art To Deck Your Halls!

I decided to push the November art roundup into December, just so I can feature all geeky holiday stuff! YASSSS. (Plus there's still time to deck your halls with some of these lovelies, if you shop fast!)

First up, Lena (aka Nokeek) of Illustore makes the BEST fandom Christmas cards:

Another commentor pointed out that Mycroft is visiting for the holidays; that's his umbrella against Sherlock's door. D'awwwwww. (I love Mycroft.)

 I can't pick a favorite. They're all too good!

You can buy these as 4x6 postcards for less than $3 each here at her RedBubble store, or the larger 5X7 greeting card for about $5 each. Of course, *I* wouldn't mail them; I'd frame them!

One more:

Lena has even more holiday fandoms at her shop: Gravity Falls, Wonderland, Star Trek! Go see the rest!


 For you mermaids out there, look at this gorgeousness by Jeff Granito:

 ::grabby hands::


Those are full size prints, and you have the choice of adding a pretty double mat.

Although if you want cards, Granito's got those, too:

Octopus tree! Seriously, the more I scroll through this shop, the more I want. Promise me you'll go see the rest, because HNNNNNGGG.


Maichan on Society 6 did the impossible: s/he managed to make Dart from Stranger Things... kind of cute?