Thursday, December 29, 2016

Harry Potter Christmas Recap: Final House Tour & Video!

It's been nearly 3 weeks since our Potter Christmas party, so I figured I should finally show you guys the GOOD pictures. Plus last time I missed all kinds of fun details I want you to see!

This will be a recap, so please forgive any repeats. I want to get all the party stuff in one place, and I'll be linking to relevant tutorials along the way. So if you see something you want more details on, just click the link!

Let's start in the front room again:

With bonus Lily. If you've never seen our Potter tree before (in it's own cauldron base, aw yeah) you can see lots more detail shots here. I'm hoping to change it up next year, though; after 3 years, I'm ready for something new! (Though it'll still be Potter-themed, of course.)

The view from the front door:
I really like this big open space first thing. Makes our little house seem huge! (Or, well, bigger.)

That's my refinished Wizard Chess set on the ottoman. John built the tray from scratch, so it fits exactly.

To the left, on our bedroom door, hangs this festive warning:

 This was necessary thanks to my Scavenger Hunt, which included all the other rooms of the house.

Past the bedroom door, to the buffet:

 I added wands, chocolate frogs, owls, and that fun color-changing potion bottle to our regular yearly decorations.

And back over by the red couches:

... a tiny Monster Book of Monsters and a witchy rat (clearly a friendly animagus) under glass:

If you head down that short hallway you'll find our House Elf sock wreath on the closet door:

And in the Room of Requirement, my soapy Myrtle Tree, which you've seen before:

Plus this setup on the cabinet across from it, which you haven't:

Next year I hope to have something a little more magical in the birdcage. What do you think, baby phoenix? [rubs hands gleefully]

Back out in the dining room, we used our apothecary niche for the smoking Pensieve Punch:

The giant owl was an $8 find at an antique fair ages ago, and I'm still planning to refinish it someday.

Here's something I forgot to mention last time: look closely at our dining room light:

It's hard to focus past the lights, but... see it?
It's a frozen Cornish Pixie! Hee!

This is just the plastic toy from the parks suspended with clear line, though I did age him to look more realistic. I meant to replace the wings with something better, too, but ran out of time. Next year!

Another overview shot, since I forgot to take one of just the dining room:
And here's a smaller version of the party table spread, which we recreated two weeks ago:

 Those are the Treacle Tarts on the left, next to the meat & savory pumpkin pasties in the middle, and Cauldron Cakes on the right (served in a plastic Halloween cauldron, aw yeah). I've already posted the recipe for the tarts, and I hope to have the pasties and cake ones up later. Still catching up!

On the antique radio behind the table I added a pair of Omnioculars, also from Universal:

John built the custom stand, and we kept the color-changing lens switched on by tying down the trigger with a hair band. 

 Now we're back around to our Diagon Alley archway, which - oh yes - is still up:

We'll take it down after the New Year. Maybe.
 This is where the floating candle magic happens, which was oh-so-hard to capture with our phones.

Check it out:
That's about 80 candles. With just these lit, they almost give the illusion of being underwater. Neat, right?

Here's the room with all the accent lights on:

And a closer look at the sofa table:

Steampunk and wizardly accoutrements have a delightful amount of overlap - so hopefully my steampunk decor looks enough like a wizard's office to pull it off.

To the side we set up a small table and chairs:

With the Triwizard Cup from ThinkGeek stacked on some Hogwarts textbooks.

I don't show this side of the room much, since usually my treadmill desk is back here:
The top of the bookshelf has all kinds of display goodies, including my Mandrake Baby Bouquet and collection of steampunk Mickey Ear ornaments.

Here's my HoneyDukes table again:

 Since we gave most of the Chocolate Frog ornaments away at the party, I've replaced the stack on the pedestal with this gorgeous plush owl a reader sent me all the way from Germany.

 And since I took this picture I've put a little Santa hat on the owl. Which is ADORABLE.

Going further into the room:

The garland below the TV has a crystal ball in it we found at HomeGoods:

 It catches all the lights and looks amazing.

I also used the ball in the Scavenger Hunt. The clue was, "It won't tell your future, but you should look into it." Those who knew to actually look into the ball found the answer, written underneath and magnified by the glass.

On the shelf above it:
Not too different from usual: I just swap out Songbird for a reindeer Prongs, then add garland. DONE.

The wreaths on the windows to either side are the same steampunk designs from last year, except I added a floating snitch in the middles:

 And down below those, in our light-up circle shelves:

Mostly my same displays, with a few added sprigs and sparkles:

 I like how the clock face is reflecting the tree lights here. And those are my custom "leather" Potter slipcovers, which someday - SOMEDAY - I'm going to show you guys how to make.

The back tree. You can kind of see how we made the candles around it "float" down, like they're landing on/in the branches.

Another vignette beneath our big airship. That's a cast iron owl under the dome.

Looking back toward the archway:
Those are the "stained glass" double doors that lead onto our deck - another area that was impossible to photograph the night of the party. Here's a later shot taken with the tripod:


Those are twinkle lights all over the ground, and flaming torches ringing the deck. John built the long wooden benches just for the party, and we had a table set up with Smores ingredients behind the camera, by the house. I can't begin to tell you how much I love this space at night. I want it to get cold enough to roast marshmallows again, and then I want all of you to come hang out with me back here. Ahhh.

Next year I'd like to ramp up the Forbidden Forest vibe a bit more, and I dream of adding lights or lanterns to our big tree.

If you missed it, you can check out my first party recap post to see all the great costumes our friends wore. They're the ones who really made the party amazing.

OK, one last look into the candle room, first with just the tree on:

...and now with the Edisons and shelves also lit:

Soon we'll begin the painful process of dismantling and packing it all up again 'til next year. But don't you worry, I'm already plotting more magical touches for next time. :)

And finally, after much debate, I think I *will* include one of the walk-through videos John took the night I did most of these photos. It's not perfect, but making it so would have driven us nuts! Anyway, hope you guys still get a kick out of it:


  1. love, love, love, love this.. all of it. Magic. Just magic.

  2. Love all of it! Thank you for taking the time and effort to share :) it's awesome that you're still enjoying the diagon alley entrance - I don't think I could take it down either! Who did the lovely artwork over the antique radio? Thank you

    1. That one's by Davin Arfel on DeviantArt. I ordered it through the site, and it's printed on this gorgeous, dead-flat paper, so it looks like velvet. HIGHLY recommended.

  3. I love your house. I would love to redesign mine, but my current theme is 2 year old toddler although we do have our geeky touches here and there.

  4. Wonderful!!! The details are incredible and I love that stuffed owl from Germany. :D I think you need to make a LotR/Hobbit "party tree" in your backyard out of your pretty tree!

  5. This is jaw-droppingly spectacular! You guys are so incredibly talented. Can you please come decorate my house?! =) Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm, geekery, struggles, and excitement with all of us!

  6. Your house is so pretty! I think I'd leave the Diagon Alley bit up all year long. ;)

  7. omg everything is so beautiful I wanna cry. I admire you for having the energy to do it all! <3

  8. Oh, guys.... this is amazing. I actually gave a little sigh when I saw the back room in all its candle-y glory. So beautiful. I hope you both got to rest and enjoy everything over Christmas. (Ear scruffles to Tonks and Lily!)

  9. WHEEE!!! It's all so cool! Thank you for sharing =)

    Oh, Ikea has some really great and inexpensive tea light lanterns. We've had a dozen of the white ones for the longest time to hang in the trees outside or on the porch (the other colors disappear into the darkness). They could use a new spray of paint now, after being left outside for over a decade, but otherwise are in really good condition.

  10. I am in awe of how magical and perfect you decorated and all the special touches. But I'm also seriously envious of your decorating skills over all. Extremely well done!!!

  11. How will you bear taking it all down? Its so magical I would be tempted to live with that decor all year!!

  12. Oh the tour!! It was really wonderful. Put everything in perspective of all the vignette photos you posted prior. I missed the sound of the boiling pensive bowl after a while. Your home is just lovely, and you made it sooo magical. Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing. :) I loved seeing Lily and Tonks too, they are such sweet babies.

  13. amazing, you two are so creative, love it!

  14. It looks absolutely stunning. I just want to move in with you more and more every year :) Great job and wonderful party!

  15. How big is that birdcage next to the seahorse candle in the Room of Requirement?

  16. I don't think I could stand to take it down. Especially Diagon Alley. That would just be part of my house now!

  17. So pretty! I can never manage to get everything so coordinated, I always end up buying stuff all over the place!

  18. Are the Harry Potter slip covers made in a similar way to the fake leather bracers (Craft foam + tinfoil?)

    1. No, these are more durable than that; it's actually a thick paper fiber made from a thin cardboard saturated with glycerin. There are one or two Youtube vids of scrapbook artists making something similar for small notebook covers, if you want to do a little Googling to see more.

    2. Ooh thanks! I will try my google-fu and track that down, I'd love to make myself a nice slip cover for my Labyrinth Novelization (To match the movie of course!)

  19. I agree! How could you take it all down? It's so magical! I want to party at your house! :)

  20. Oh my goodness, I'm just looking at all of these with my jaw agape. You're so creative and talented!!!

  21. Absolutely magic! SO. MUCH. MAGIC. I appreciate all the work you put into your house, and only wish I had one squillionth of your talent and vision

  22. So many good things happening in your house! Plus, bonus pics of Tonks and Lilly. Thanks for sharing these photos and your lives with us.

  23. Thanks for sharing! You and John did such a fabulous job of transforming your home!
    Maureen S

  24. This is all so awesome. And now I neeeeeeed a tutorial on those book covers, because they are GORGEOUS. You've given me some fantastic ideas for my next Potter party. Stellar as always!

  25. Incredible. Your house reminds me of the set of a movie with all the details you have in your decor!! You could have made money off of ticket sales for tours of your place. :) I absolutely love seeing your creative efforts on display - thanks for posting the video tour. Just awesome.

  26. Wonderful! I'm still wondering about details though. Did you say what the Diagon Alley brick archway was made of? And the menu! Was it just the three pastries for the mains? (I saw you had a few little signs?) Is that Pumpkin Juice I see back there? Did you make Butterbeer? I want to hear everything ^.^

  27. Amazing! I wish my house could be as pulled-together as yours; everything looks so professionally decorated. BTW, my daughter has the same "witchy rat" but has decided it's a mole. She's very proud of the name she gave it -- Professor Mole-gonigal!

  28. Absolutely amazing! One day when I'm super rich I'm going to fly you and John to Texas to decorate my home since I don't have your super powers. Lol! When I saw the pic that included the "leather bound" Potter books my first thought was "I wonder where she got those. I'd love to have them myself!" Then when I read that you actually MADE them I was over the moon! When you have time, please, please, pretty please show us how! I will love you forever! (Just kidding. I already love you! In a friendly, from-a-distance, non-stalker way. 😁)

  29. It's cold outside.. Can we come over for S'mores this weekend? We could enjoy the decor before you put it away.

    It's absolutely amazing what you both accomplished! My imagination for crafting stuff doesn't come close to what you are able to achieve! Thanks for sharing, Happy New Year!


  30. I love it all! You two are amazingly talented and I can't thank you enough for sharing all of this with us! I am totally up for roasting marshmallows with you! I don't care if I sweat while I'm doing it! Lol! So fun and magical! Thanks for sharing!!

  31. Your home just seems so peaceful. Is it weird that I just want to invite myself over to just sit and look at your book collection?

    -- Piper P from Washington State

  32. You both have such a gift. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  33. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Sooooooo much awesome.

  34. Jaw dropping. Any chance at a tutorial for the brick archway?

  35. Your house and the decorations are AMAZING!

  36. The creativity and attention to detail and LOVE that you and John poured into this just boggles my mind. I truly have no better words than WOW. :-D

  37. I can't begin to imagine how much time and energy it took for you two to put this together. It is absolutely awesome! Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

  38. Really magical and so festive too! The den room (Diagon Alley) reminds me of a hitherto unknown Hogwarts professor's office, decorated and ready for a Slughorn style Christmas fete.

  39. Wow! I wish I could channel some of your and John's creative energies! Your house is beautiful and your decor is amazing! Thank you for sharing your magical decor with us! I look forward to seeing your tutorials and trying my hand at making some of these lovelies!

  40. Jen, your house looks great as always! Where did you get your sofa and chair? It seems like you maybe had a post on it in the past but I'm not sure. Thanks for sharing all of yours and John's craftiness - I wish I had a quarter of your talent and creativity!

    1. If you mean the red leather set, we got that from a Rooms To Go scratch-and-dent outlet eons ago. (The inner frames were broken, so John had to repair them.) The teal chairs in the steampunk room (which we redid here)are from World Market, and the steampunk couches are from American Signature. Think that covers all the bases! :D

  41. I'm late to the party, but nonetheless SO AWESOME!!! I'm impressed by all the creativity and work that went into this.

  42. May I ask how you made the brick entrance to diagon alley?

  43. You have a beautiful home and excellent taste in decorating. This is giving me loads of inspiration for decorating my room this Christmas

  44. Hi! Can you PLEASE share how you did the diagon alley entrance way with the bricks and sign?! I need this now! It’s SO AWESOME! Can’t find anything like it online. I want to transform my house into this you Did such an amazing job.

    1. Hi Sarah! Thank you! There's not much to tell, really: the brick panels are from Lowe's, and come pre-finished, so we just cut out the jagged entry way and screwed them into the wall. The sign is painted foam board and craft foam, nothing fancy there, either!


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