Monday, December 18, 2017

My Fantastic Beasts Christmas Home Tour, Part 1

I hope you're not sick of our Potter party yet, because I still have SO MUCH to show you!

So now that you've seen the video of where everything is (right?), plus our life-sized thestral, let me walk you through everything inside and tell you how we built (or bought) the various things you guys have been asking about.

First, here's something I haven't shown you yet:
Our Halloween roof dragon was back, this time "helping" with some outside lights! :D

 When I told everyone to look for the dragon on the roof I think they thought I was joking. Foolish mortals. (Of course we'd hoped to skin it out so it wasn't just a skeleton, but ran out of time. Next year!)

Now let's head inside:

Here's a grainy panorama so you can see the layout. I love this big open space when you first come in; it makes our 1400 square foot house feel huge.

 That's my wizard chess set I refinished a few years ago on the ottoman.

Not much has changed out here from last year, except the Phoenix tree you've already seen:

(You can see how we made the cauldron base for the tree here and how we made the in-tree Hogwarts Express here.)

Oh, but did you notice our new visitor up there on the curtain rod?

"Hewoooooo there."


The Pensieve Punch alcove from last year is now a display for the Sorting Hat:

As I've said before, this is a $6 "Scarecrow Hat" from Spirit Halloween, which is PERFECT for turning into the Sorting Hat. I scrunched the face into shape with my hands, folding and pinching the loose fabric, then held the folds in place with a few well-placed stitches. After that I aged the whole thing with brown and black craft paint, which I also used to emphasize the shadows. To finish it up I stuffed it with poly fill and stuck it on a tall candlestick. One of my fastest projects for the whole party - and also one of my favorites! No way I'm packing him up after Christmas - this guy will be out somewhere year-round.

I had a lot of projects I didn't get to, including making my own Niffler. 'Til I can get to that this little plush from our friend Sharyn is filling in:

On the wall overhead is our old Steampunk wreath with something new in the middle:


The Hogwarts plaque is from ThinkGeek, and I *highly* recommend it. It's incredibly heavy, has a velvet lined back, looks just like real metal, and only costs $35!

(We actually drove across town to a ThinkGeek store to buy the Monster Book of Monsters... only to discover the Book is less impressive IRL, so I couldn't bring myself to spend $60 on it. Then we spotted this plaque in the case, and... sold!)

Back by the phoenix tree we've got our little mouse Animagus (under glass) and some pretty art that was a free give-away at Barnes & Noble for the Fantastic Beasts release:

(John wanted to cut a toe off the mouse and call it Peter Pettigrew. I wouldn't let him. :D)

The buffet table hasn't changed from last year; just a new table runner:

 The angel art is "Isabella" by James Christensen.

The color-changing potion lamp is also a ThinkGeek product (another gift from our Fairy Godsister Sharyn); I just added a Ravenclaw necklace to it.

Over on the antique radio I've got that incredible Howler ornament a fan made, next to a toy Ford I found at an antique fair and a pair of Omnoculars from the parks.

That gorgeous House pennant garland I linked to before was just long enough to cover the front two sides of the dining room table:

And above the table we have our immobilized Cornish Pixie floating in the light fixture again:

 (I didn't realize 'til later how well this shot frames the Sorting Hat, too!)

Over in the kitchen is my little Honeydukes shelf in the pass-through:

Most of this is always here; we just added the garland and candy boxes up front. I've been working on the right combination of apothecary jars and candy for over 6 months, gang, and lemme tell ya, the saga continues. Oof.

Let's detour over to the Room of Requirement, which got an upgrade with this fantastic carved wood sign:

The sign is by AllyBoo's Creations over on Etsy, and again, highly recommended. I keep this on the door all year, so I like having something more substantial than a framed piece of paper there now.

More fun with panoramas:

If only it were this big in real life.

We crammed as many Fantastic Beasts inside the bathroom as we could, then added a soundtrack on a hidden speaker with all kinds of animals sounds (purrs, calls, even a roar or two) and dripping water.

The frames overhead are print-outs of two of these Chinese promotional posters for Fantastic Beasts, which are SO stunning you should go ogle the rest immediately.

The cage is always in the bathroom; I just swapped out the flowers for a little occamy I made in a $3 thrift-store teapot:

I'm not thrilled with my sculpt (I used the wrong clay and it cracked all over), but luckily the occamy is mostly hidden inside the teapot. I added a few sprigs of greenery beside it to look like a nest, and John cut a large plastic Easter egg into pieces with the Dremel, then painted them bright silver for the occamy egg.

Funnily enough the thing you guys seem to love most in the bathroom is the faucet - and I can't blame you. I mean, LOOK AT IT:
You can buy this on Amazon for $55, and also on Ebay for around the same price, but be warned: the pictures don't quite match what you get. As cool as this looks, the one in all the listings is even nicer, and John I ordered from 3 different sellers chasing it - but no luck. We finally just installed what we have, but there IS a better sculpted version out there... somewhere. Gah.

Here's my cutie-pie Monster Tree again:

The phoenix art is by Alvia Alcedo, who's made it available to download for free here on DeviantArt!

On the toilet back a little bowtruckle has taken over Myrtle's Christmas tree - and you can see he's SUPER pleased with himself:

That little tongue sticking out! Ha!

The bowtruckle was another purchase, since I was too intimidated to try making my own. (I'm really not good at sculpting small.)  He's from this Venezuelan sculptor on Etsy and cost $27, which includes international shipping. Shipping does take a while, and there are a few cracks in the clay I wish weren't there, but overall I'm really happy with him - and of course he's not just a Christmas decoration; he's another thing we'll keep out year-round.

(I should mention John and I aren't buying Christmas gifts this year; all these fun Pottery things we bought and made ARE our gifts.)

Outside the bathroom and down the hall is our House Elf wreath, another repeat from last year:

Today John and I were at a Christmas-themed convention (more on that later!), and we got into the most beautiful debate with one of the artists over who the best Potter character is. She argued Hagrid (quite convincingly, I might add) and John laid out his case - once again - for his beloved Kreacher. You guys are going to laugh, but by the end I think all three of us were a little teary-eyed. I love that. I love skipping all the small talk and getting right into the gut-grabbing best bits of a fandom. We had this awesome - long! - discussion, then exchanged names at the end. Ha!

Ok, I've rambled on enough for one post. Hope you guys liked all the little details we've worked so hard on, and stay tuned for Part 2: The Drowsy Goblin Speakeasy!


  1. SO AWESOME! I've been waiting impatiently all year to see what you guys would come up with this time around, and as always you did not dissappoint! I always wonder...where do you guys store all your holiday decor during the off season? Do you just have giant tubs stacked in the garage or something? Are they meticulously labeled and organized? I bet I'm not the only one who would love a photo tour of that! :D

    1. Yep, it's all in big plastic bins stacked in a tiny closet in the garage. I have to purge every year to make room for new things - and of course this year will be especially challenging with the thestral! o.0 I'll try to snap a picture come January of it all stacked up again.

  2. Oh how much fun to have so many people to play and party with! :)

  3. Your decorations are beyond awesome, but I really want to hear John make the case for Kreacher as the best Potter character!

  4. I believe it is foolish muggles...not mortals.

  5. I love everything! I noticed that the tree in the bathroom doesn't have the faucet on top this year (not a critique, just a comment). You guys blow my mind multiple times each year!

  6. Your decorations are amazing! I think the little Monster Tree is still my favorite, though the occamy is close!

  7. I never get tired of these posts <3. One thing I've always wondered; do the cats leave the decorations alone?

  8. It's gorgeous. Good job on the Thestral... Dragon. I love it.

    Next year instead of the Father Christmas figure, swap it out for Dumbledore dressed at Father Christmas and see if anyone notices. :D

  9. What is the pink puff ball on top of the cage in the bathroom? Just can't figure that one out.

    1. I think it's Arnold, Ginny's pygmy puff.

  10. I love all the little details you put into your the snowflakes made out of Q-tips on the tree in the bathroom!

  11. Sick of your Potter party? Never! I always LOVE seeing what you come up with, you and John are so creative! Can't wait for part 2!

  12. Testing: Are these comments moderated? Because I'm not seeing them after I post. Just want to see if it's something on my end.

  13. The older comments are moderated right now, Panya; so anything more than a few days after the post goes up. Sorry it takes me a little while to get to those sometimes!

    1. No worries. I tried twice to use my WordPress account to comment here, and both times the 'your comment is awaiting moderation' thing I was expecting never came up, so I switched to my Google account and that comment above worked. I've been having trouble with various accounts recognising/logging me in lately -- it's some setting on my laptop I haven't figured out how to change yet.

      I just wanted to say re: gifts -- my wedding anniversary is in October and my husband and I aren't big on traditional gift-giving dates [we buy and give things to each other throughout the year whenever we see something the other will like], so in lieu of big anniversary gifts we go all out on Halloween. We spend money on decorations and cookies for the trick-or-treaters instead -- we give out 13-cookie sleeves of Oreos with handmade Happy Halloween sleeves [sleeves on sleeves!], and seeing the excitement those kids exude when they see what we're handing out is enough of a gift. :-)


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