Thursday, December 6, 2018

Final Potter Party Update: Witches Get Snitches, A Niffler Repaint, & Our Goblet of Fire

So last night John and I filled the whole house with grease smoke from the banger we were test cooking, this morning John's foot went through the outside deck from a rotten board, and just now the garage door spring snapped (AAAAA), locking us out.


It's times like these I most love being married to John; the man is unflappable. He's a rock. He's an unflappable married rock with a cute Superman curl. Calamity strikes, and John just tilts his head, says, "Huh," and then sets about fixing every thing.

So, we have a garage repairman coming tomorrow (even we don't miss around with garage springs; they can kill you), John's already replaced the rotten board (mercifully a fluke from a pile of wet dirt underneath; the rest of the deck is sound), and the house, well, it may smell a little like sausages on Saturday. But that's OK, because we're serving sausages.

Speaking of our sausages (heyooo), quick shout-out to Whole Foods, of all places, where this fabulous meat department guy named Mark custom-made gluten-free Bangers for us - on all the properly cleaned equipment and everything, AT NO EXTRA CHARGE. Wha whaaaaaaaaat? They taste amazing, too - probably even better when you eat them in a house NOT filled with grease smoke.

Now let me show you more party crafts! Our final Big Build is in the Puzzle Room, so that's staying under wraps for now, but I have a ton of small silly stuff to share:

The second I spotted these gold ornaments at Dollar Tree I knew exactly what they were:

Giant Snitches! They even have the swirly design! 

All I needed were some of those silver glittery leaves/feathers you see everywhere at Christmas... until you start LOOKING for them, at which point they evaporate into the ether. I finally gave up searching and cut some thrift store leaves instead, which John spray-painted silver. Drilled two small holes, a little hot glue, and bam:

Giant snitches!

I even had the perfect place to put my big balls. (Oh, like I wasn't going to use THAT joke):

 Right over the Kitty Quidditch Tower! Which you can see I decked out with a little garland wreath around the window. (And you get a bonus kitty action shot.)

Eva says hi.

I hope to have better photos for the official party post, btw; these are all phone pics taken at night.

I assumed the cats would try to destroy the snitch garland, but amazingly, not a single nibble. They're too busy eating every other piece of garland and greenery I have out.

I'll walk you through all the Puzzle Room builds in a separate post, since there are a lot and I don't want to spoil it for the guests, but here are two small things:

Remember my $3 thrift store cage? I suspended my Soot Sprite (by the amazing Monster Cafe, go follow them!) from a bit of fishing line inside, so it's floating. This made me unexpectedly and ridiculously happy. :D I think it'll be staying out year-round in the Game Room after this.

And a slightly more complex craft:

I made all these rune markers from rolled out clay, which I cut with a bottle top. I used a straw to poke holes for the leather cords, pressed the symbols in with a wooden stick, textured with a stiff paintbrush, then painted & dry-brushed with craft paint. I already had the clay, tools, and paint, so this was a freebie craft. Love those. Plus I think they turned out really looking like stone!

The runes are attached to various potion bottles around the room, and are part of my favorite puzzle. You'll see all of that later, promise.

Not my craft at all, but I think you'll like this:

"Beware the Nargles" mistletoe, hanging over the doorway to the deck! This was a gift from one of you readers a few years ago (I'm sorry I don't remember which one!), and I love having the perfect spot for it this year.

The weekend after Thanksgiving - when I was still so weak from being sick - my one and only outing was to stagger to Box Lunch with John to buy this Niffler game:
 It was $20, down from $30. Honestly it's barely worth that much, but it's a ridiculously easy game for parties (you stack coins 'til the plate tips) and super cute, so, SOLD.

All the plain plastic pieces were making my eye twitch, though:

So... plasticky.

You know the drill: I slapped a bunch of black paint on everything, then quickly wiped it off again. Annnd:

 Look what a difference! Aaaaaa, bliss.

The coins took a teensy bit longer (HA), because I aged both sides of all 64 coins, then Rub N' Buffed both sides of all 64 coins. My hands looked like they'd been tarred and gilded by the time I was done.

Now you can see the designs in the coins, though, which look surprisingly cool!

This is mostly a game of dexterity; it's VERY HARD to pick up the coins with the little wand shovels:

I also aged the base, but the Niffler didn't need anything; he's great as-is:

And I found the perfect plastic tray at Walmart for $2! This way I can move the whole game around while keeping the pieces together. (It'll be on the coffee table in the Common Room.) 

 I have so much more, you guys, but let me end with the one that's made us laugh the hardest:

A few weeks ago we found the most incredible urn/vase thing at a thrift store for $8:

The inner jewel thing is orange swirly resin. I didn't realize before this, but WOW does that look cool in photos! It's actually a little less impressive in real life, ha.

Anyway, at first I thought it would go in the Common Room, since it looks like a trophy, but I never found the right spot for it. Then, as John and I were brainstorming ways to give out some door prizes, a FLASH OF INSPIRATION.

(Brace yourselves.)

We are hilarious, you guys.

(When I texted this photo to John he reported back that half the aisle at Walmart now thought he was insane, he laughed so hard.)

I should mention John has a long-standing, much vocalized dislike for Michael Gambon's portrayal of Dumbledore (#NotMyDumbledore), so a lot of our friends have sent this meme his way, and love to bring up the famously "calm" Goblet of Fire scene. (If you're lost, a quick Google will give you all you need to know - plus some laughs.)

We've also determined that, during the drawing, John will wear a long fake beard and attempt to body-slam the winners into the wall. You know, for authenticity.

And on that note, I'm off to try to finish this baby:

We won't stop thinking of new things to make 'til the moment the party starts. It's a sickness. A beautiful, stressful sickness. :D

Stay tuned for so much more. Just... just so much.  

Love you guys. TTFN!


  1. Hey Jen and John;

    Professional event planner here. I can attest that no matter how meticulously an event is planned; Something Will Go Wrong

    I commend you two for shaking the nargles out of the dirigible plums 2 days before the guests arrive.

    Hopefully Murphy and his minions have now been appeased and you can finish the last of the prep without incident. 😁

  2. Jen, I just had the longest day and popped on the computer in hopes of something uplifting before going to bed. This made my day. Thanks for sharing! You and John have amazing gifts.

  3. TWICE I have had garage door springs spring and try to kill me. The first time it missed my head by inches and the second time, it dropped neatly at my feet. Now I hit the remote button on the wall of the garage and DUCK!

  4. I sent the mistletoe! Glad it will have a cool place to hang this year!! <3

  5. Love this! You guys are so fun. I’m with John, Richard Harris is the only Dumbledore!

  6. Michael Gambon is also #NotMyDumbledore!! Your crafts are, always, fabulous!

  7. I'm so happy to hear you've got a garage door tech coming out - it's very true those springs can & do kill people! My partner's family is in the business and I've heard some horror stories. And I'm totally loving everything you & John have done for this year's party, I'm definitely saving some of these for my new house - closing is Dec 21, just in time for Christmas! Derrick has no idea of the things I have planned for home decor, teehee...Much love & hugs to you & John, and scritches for the kittehs from KD, the Kat Diva (a thoroughly spoiled Manx)from Martha in Kansas City MO, where it's cold & a touch snowy

  8. I like Michael Gambon as an actor but after Richard contest. I understand the garage door spring frustration, that happened to my best friend after we had left in his car one day and we did not have the keys on use to get in the front door...LOL

  9. As I'm getting out from being under the weather as well, I am so not this productive! But I want to be! I am now inspired to do all the things this weekend. After I get my house in order for a showing on Saturday and spend the day "scrapbooking" which has turned into "catching up with my crafty peeps and doing any type of craft whatsoever". While my kid charms the pants off the ladies!

    I can't wait to see your final reveal of all the goodies. I'm thinking that once we (eventually) get our new house, and are hosting New Year's Day, I'd like to do something themed like this.

  10. I'm with John -- I laughed entirely too much at the Goblet of Fiya. Great job on everything, I love seeing your builds!! Even the small and easy stuff I never think of.

  11. Barring the Goblet of Fire mishap, I much preferred Gambon. Sorry! I felt like he had the slightly off-kilter, eccentric feeling of book Dumbledore,more than Richard Harris. He was way too reserved for me.

    How much do I wish I was in Florida and could see all this?!? It was -30°C with windchill here yesterday

    1. Thank goodness! I was beginning to think I was the only person who likes Michael Gambon's performance. I don't even mind the Goblet of Fire scene, he doesn't yell, he is just very intense and trying to get to Harry before all the rest of the hubbub begins. The scene of him at the end, in King's Cross, is so wonderful and warm, makes me cry every time.

      And Richard Harris, rest his soul, was too low key. You could tell he was just not feeling well the entire time.

    2. I'm a Gambon fan EXCEPT for that scene! Even Gambon's Dumbledore would've been chill in that scene and not all fanatically angry and weird. (But I also hate that the FINAL scene in Deathly Hallows 2...with the fate of the Elder Wand...just, no.) :)

      I'm going to have to start hitting Dollar Stores if I can get pre-etched Snitches. :)

  12. Will Suki and Eva be at your party? I hope they have fun.

  13. I so love looking at all your party prep! Those giant snitches are amazing. And I know exactly the giant glittery feather things you mean! Why is it that the perfect thing is never around when you need it?? Can't wait to see pics from the actual party, it is my favorite post of the year.

    (And I like Michael Gambon as Dumbledore! Never understood the hate....)

  14. "He's an unflappable married rock with a cute Superman curl."

    What a wonderful, wonderful sentence.

  15. Me wants da Niffler! I believe this is my spirit animal. Love the Urn and John's reaction.
    My step-dad & I got kicked out of Marshall's once for laughing at the "art work" they were selling. And yeah, you won the lottery with John, lucky girl!

  16. I am sooo sick this holiday season (with shingles ugh) and can hardly screw a 4 watt bulb into a plastic candlestick. That's yet another reason why reading about your preparations is so AWESOME! (squee) When I pull it together, I'll send you a pic of the giant Famous Witch or Wizard trading-card-picture frame I made for last year's Wizarding Weekend here in Ithaca NY. People posed in the frame, cosplayers or not (and we put many of them up on our Facebook page, The Ithaca Shakespeare Company). Anyway, you and John are the best!

  17. The items that you two have constructed and transformed for this party is astounding! I'm positive that your party is going to be unbelievable!

  18. I am never more in awe of your (you and John, both!) creativity and skill than when you show the details for your Harry Potter party. The smallest details are just what make this for me, because it's something you could easily pass over, but you don't. This Hufflepuff hopes you have the best party ever :)

  19. **sends good vibes for the party with as much Puff Pride as possible**

  20. I was shocked when I saw the Goblet of Fire movie and saw Dumbledore shouting and manhandling Harry. I was instantly turned off that actor's portrayal of him.

    Your party sounds amazing. You and John sound like amazing people. All the best for you special event!


  21. As a Brit, I suggest you roast your bangers!

  22. Better make sure everyone has a bathroom break before you announce your door prize winner, because having a big faux Dumbledore run at one lucky guest is bound to scare the pee out of them.

  23. The Niffler tray would be empty after a day around my cat - she loves stealing small objects and hiding them under a particular bureau. On a side note, Threadbanger on YouTube did a Slytherin recreation of the Quidditch cat tower. :D When the vid popped up in my subscriptions I thought it was you guys, but nope.

  24. Tangentially related: did you see that Threadbanger over on YouTube made your Quiddich cat tree, but in Slytherin colors? They did mention y'all specifically.


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