We’re in California visiting family, and we took a side detour to HARRY POTTER WORLD in Hollywood! (Yes, I realize it’s in Universal Studios and that there are OTHER things to see, but primarily, Potter World is our FAVORITE place on earth…)
Last December, we used some savings during a particularly rough time, and took a quick trip to Harry Potter World in Florida….But, as it was a rough time, we decided we needed a do-over. So our family trip to Universal Hollywood during a family trip is MUCH appreciated.
We already have wands from our last trip, but I remembered how Myla dropped hers and broke it (they were kind enough to repair it for free), so before we left, I thought it would be fun to make us some keychain wand holsters to carry our wands this time, like REAL wizards (the husband, incidentally, opted out for some reason, so the kid and I were the only mega-rad cool guys there. I know I was, with my giant sun hat to avoid sunlight at all cost).
There are some VERY cool wand holsters on etsy (yes, I said “very cool” and “wand holsters” in the same sentence, what?), but I wanted to try building my own wonky version myself.
First, I took some pleather-looking fabric I had, cut out a fairly small rectangle, and hemmed it over on three sides. Then, I wrapped it around Myla’s wand to gauge how tight it’d need to be to hold it in there firmly, and yet still make it easy to pull out. You know–should any wizard-situations arise.
Next, I took a thin strip, folded both sides to the center, and then folded it over and sewed it. This would become my keychain loop, which I slipped a keychain ring through, folded over, and stitched to the inside of the rectangle.
(Ultimately, I decided the d-ring wasn’t working, and the chain was too clunky and hung too low, so I removed it altogether, and replaced it with two keychain hoops, but in the photo above, I hadn’t figured that out yet…)
Once the loop was in place, I folded the rectangle over the wand again, and hand-stitched it together. (It’s quite wonky, but I am a sucker for that wonky-Weasley look, so I’ll just pretend that was the look I was going for all along…) I added a few charms I had–Myla loves Aragog, so I added a little spider and a tiny potions bottle.
I had initially thought I’d hang them from the bottom, but I didn’t want it to be too clunky and annoying.
And here it is: our keychain wand-holster!
As you can see, the chain is basically useless, since it hung the wand too low, but putting a keychain hoop directly through the loop band and connecting it to her beltloop (like in the photos above) hung it at just the right level. I eventually removed the chain and attached TWO keychain hoops, just to be sure it didn’t fall off or anything.
So there you go! Wands at the ready! EXPELLIARMUS!!! …Okay, now put that thing away, kid. You’ll shoot your eye out.
So here are Myla’s wand holster and mine, side by side. Mine has a couple of bug charms (because bugs are awesome), and my cicada is holding a little tiny potions bottle.
Since my wand (on the right) is basically straight, I had to curve mine a lot more, like an ice cream cone, and sew it all crooked. But I don’t mind–it held up pretty well. You can see the two keychain hoops on these without the chain, too.
Muggles, step aside–we’ve got some wizarding to do!
(I’d suggest wearing a belt, though–we didn’t, and the holster kept pulling Myla’s pants down…but otherwise, it worked great!)
Hey did I ever tell you about the time I turned my day planner (yes, I still use a really real paper book day planner) into the Monster book of Monsters? I’ve been meaning to show it to you for a while…
I was sorting through my day planner one day and decided, “you know what? I probably really need to turn this into that.” And I did. And it didn’t take very long! Its removable, and I can replace the day planner with a small sketchbook if I want.
It’s incredibly wonky and terribly made, but it works, and it makes me smile. I started by laying my book open flat on the fabric, cut a big rectangle to size, and sewed the little pockets to the ends, even adding a little side pocket for pens and post-its. After the pockets were sewn on and flipped, I sewed the fringed tentacles straight to it (thankfully, the stitches are fairly well-hidden because of the fur).
And see that piece of white cardboard on the left hand inside, in the photo above? I’ll explain that in a moment…
I sculpted lil teeth and gums from Sculpey, heated them up, and glued them straight on. I didn’t do a bottom set because I wanted it to still be functional, and that just wouldn’t work because I’m right-handed and those teeth would totally get in my way.
So that white piece of cardboard on the inside I mentioned earlier? That’s sort of the wonky key holding the top part of the “head” together. There are probably a dozen better ways to do this, but I just cut a curved section out of the top fur, added some stuffing, glued another piece of fabric that I attached some glass doll monster eyes to, and closed it all up on the underside with the cardboard. It’s wonky, but it works. The book slides on top of the wonky cardboard, and everything stays together (fingers crossed).
I sewed a quick little “tongue” bookmark, which holds my place on the calendar section.
And there you go! My favorite projects are not only fun, but FUNCTIONAL…so having something that I can actually use AND that makes me smile is pretty much a happy project for me, all around.
Technically, it should have the bottom teeth and a belt to close it, of course, but again–I needed it to be FUNCTIONAL, and anything that hinders the function isn’t gonna work.
Finally, I used gold paint on some pleather-like material, and cut it out around the letters, gluing it to the top. And BOOM! There’s my Monster book of Monsters day planner!
It reminded me of the homemade paper bag book covers I used to make for my textbooks ages ago (because that’s what we did a million years ago). But this was on a much fuzzier scale, of course… ❤
A friend and I were having a discussion about why I’ve been so wizard-obsessed lately. Yes, we recently went on our dream vacation to Harry Potter World in Orlando, Florida (we need a do-over, btw), and yes, I’ve been re-reading all of the books (on audio), and we’ve been flipping through the special edition illustrated book. And yes, Myla and I both LOVED Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. So perhaps all of those things happening at once is why I’ve been inspired artistically. But in talking with my friend, I think it might also be a lovely distraction from some difficult times we’ve been going through lately.
We got these lovely wands from Ollivander’s when we were at Harry Potter World…
(That’s mine on the left, which (according to Ollivander’s) represents “persistence and renewal…boundless energy…and a habit of burning the candle at both ends,” and Myla’s on the right, which is for someone who “delights in helping others…and uses their powerful imagination and resourceful nature to make their dreams come true…” which seemed to fit us both quite well.)
Recently, I drew a little wizard portrait of her, and she surrounded it with funny creatures and pranks from the Weasley twins…but she was most tickled that I included her skull wand…
In any case, I’m still wizarding-obsessed, and that’s OKAY. I mean, my birthday was the 5th and look what my sister’s gift card got me:
It’s Newt Scamander’s suitcase wallet/purse, from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them! I absolutely love it, and I just happened to have a tiny niffler keychain to go along with it, which makes me smile.
If you’re not familiar, the movie takes place in America, MANY years before Harry Potter. Newt Scamander is a wizard interested in the study of magical creatures, and has a suitcase sanctuary (MUCH bigger on the inside), where he keeps all of his creatures in their own little habitats.
Myla is such a fan of magical creatures, she added them to this drawing I did of Newt:
Would you believe that she even built her own suitcase full of magical beasts?
(The “MR,” she says, stands for “muggle ready”–a setting on the suitcase (according to the movie) that will allow humans to see just a plain suitcase inside with no beasties…)
This girl is a wiz with paper, and makes the most wonderful things, most of which don’t translate well to photos, as they’re so perfectly 3-d, and often require some sort of action to make them work. In this case, however, the suitcase is a little “tube” in which she stuffed all her magical beasts…
There’s a niffler, a murtlap, thunderbird, occamy, and sweeping evil. (If you’re not familiar, all you really need to know is that they’re unusual magical creatures…)
Her creativity is impressive, and quite a fantastic thing to be able to witness.
While the normal world goes round, I’ll remain in the deep end, up to my nose in wizarding things, surrounded by lovely beasties. It’s nice to have a place to step away to when the regular world gets you down….
So enjoy your happy place, and all the lovely things in it!
Yes, that’s a word I just made up: Dumblebroidery.
I swear I’m not strictly a Harry Potter blog, so I apologize if Potter’s not your thing….but I can’t say I haven’t been reignited in my love for all things wizarding by our trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter mid-December, as well as by the fact that I’m rereading all of the books from scratch by listening to them on Audible, so I can “read” while I craft.
I’ve done several hand- and machine-stitched portraits on paper, but “real” embroidery has often eluded me. I have been known to lack a great deal of patience, and swear under my breath a lot when my threads get tangled. But (as I frequently do), I still had a sudden urge to embroider a Dumbledore one day last week, and immediately set to work.
Thankfully, as I have dabbled in nearly every craft imaginable, I had some embroidery tools on hand from a forgotten project long ago.
First, I gathered some photos of Dumbledore from online. Although I was working mainly from movie Dumbledore #2 (Michael Gambon), I also wanted to include a hint of Dumbledore # 1 (Richard Harris), as well as the descriptions of the professor from the books.
I started with some plain muslin I had lying around, and did a very rough sketch with pen (I hear they make disappearing ink pens for such tasks, but I didn’t have one at the time, so I just did my thang), and started stitching with the threads I had.
Some people have described it as “painting with thread,” which seems fairly accurate, as I went about shading it as I would a sketched portrait.
One of my favorite things is to embellish with beads and metal jumpers, so I had a lot of fun adding those details to his beard as soon as I possibly could.
It soon became apparent that I didn’t have enough variations of colored thread to contour his face, so after a quick trip to the craft store, I was able to get a wider variety for shading and highlights.
I wasn’t going for realism, but a more illustrated approach. I wanted him to have lots of hands, one of them holding the Elder Wand, with some beads to accentuate the gnarled wood bumps in his wand.
I’m no pro with embroidery by any means, but whenever I start working with a new medium, I like to research it a little. People tell me this is called “crewel” thread? Just the simple thread from any old embroidery store (are their fancier threads? I’m sure there must be, and now I’m curious…), and each is made up of 6 threads, so I split them in half by hand (another process which causes some occasional swearing), and used 3 thread strands at a time.
A good tool to have on hand has been a laminated embroidery card with directions for a few basic fun stitches, which I found in the embroidery section of WalMart ages ago. So aside from a few basic stitches, I tried to pay attention to the direction of the thread to accentuate whatever part I was working on (like trying to keep the lines in his collar going in one direction to avoid attracting attention from elsewhere).
People reminded me about his half-moon glasses, which are mentioned in the book SEVERAL times when describing him (although Albus #2 rarely seemed to wear them in the movie). So I got a little metallic thread, and added his spectacles.
The “magic” above was a simple chain stitch, with a few clear and metal beads sewn in. Next was finishing his beard, and working on the second set of hands…
And finally, the finished Dumbledore! I’m still not sure I like the hands floating randomly like that (I may paint a background, or add some more “magic” lines around them). I think it’d work really well in a drawing, but in an embroidery piece, it doesn’t translate as well…
I wasn’t quite sure what to do with him next, though, and I got several great suggestions online, such as making a pillow, displaying him in an embroidery hoop, and turning him into a patch. But then someone suggested an embellished frame, and another posted a link to this:
…which I promptly picked up on Etsy for around $20 and it’s sized just perfectly for him. Woohoo! Another reader–a former framer–suggested pinning the piece to foam core before mounting it, and another suggested sculpting additions to the frame, BOTH of which I’m going to try, and you can be sure I’ll post it when I do!
For now, since Dumbledore’s done, I’ve started my next one: Luna Lovegood, which I plan on placing by our entryway, along with the phrase, “Weirdos Welcome.” I have a Snape in the works (in my mind), and even a Newt Scamander (from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) with his case. Maybe I’ll get to them all before running out of steam. For now, I’ll keep doing them for as long as they’re fun. I can’t wait!
So, last week, I told you more than you probably ever wanted to know about our family trip to Harry Potter World in Orlando, Florida. Naturally, I came home with a fierce desire for all things Potter, and got right away doing some related projects.
First project: The Dobby doll! My big souvenir from our trip was this wonky little Dobby. I knew he wasn’t the greatest looking thing…
He looked pretty purturbed, actually. Like he just ate something sour and is a bit miffed by it. But I figured I could do something with him.
He’s got a wire poseable frame, and is made of a foamy sort of material, so there’s no chance of changing the face sculpt at all. All I could do was try my best to give him a new paint job and brighten him up a bit.
I tried turning his wonky lips into a bit more of a smile, and made his eyes quite a bit bigger. I also took off the nylon fabric they had wrapped around him, and exchanged it for some paint-stained muslin scraps I had in my craft room. And I love him! Myla likes to make him hold his arm up and say, “You must not harm Myla Hendricks!!” which is good for a giggle. I suggested we replace the Elf on the Shelf (which I got suckered into last year) with Dobby, but she didn’t think that was funny.
For Christmas, I had gotten almost the ENTIRE Harry Potter Funko Pop set (I have a bit of a Funko Pop problem), which I happily painted with a bit more detail (because I have a bit of a Funko Pop problem)…
In a geeky facebook group I’m part of, one member told us she used her Ollivander’s wand boxes as display shelves. WHAT. Mind. Blown. So, along with a snitch and a couple of other knick-knacks, my Funko Pops are housed atop ours, and they sit on our wall, making me smile a bit each time I pass them.
As for the wands, my dad (being pretty crafty himself) said he’d be willing to make us a scroll display, but for now, I built a temporary one. I took an oval natural wooden plank, screwed in several cool-looking drawer pulls from the hobby shop, added some cup hooks, and a string to hold it up (the rusty star isn’t part of it–it’s a wall decoration we already had, but it fits well with everything). I bought the leather pull hoops at the bottom intending to have three, but when I got home, I realized I had only grabbed two…and then decided it was perfect for holding the map of wand spells that comes with each wand! It needs some work (never mind those holes I mislined), but I love the basic idea of how it turned out. It seems very homemade, put-together and “Weasley,” and I’m pretty happy with that.
Most likely, I’ll re-do it with a nice piece of wood (and balance the wands BEFORE I drill), but for now, this works.
And speaking of my dad, I thought I’d give you an update on his backyard garden train Hogwarts he built by hand. If you haven’t seen it, I wrote a whole post on it here, but for now, this photo shows you the basic idea:
And now he’s working on Diagon Alley!!! Look at the figure for the Weasley shop! I’m so excited to see it. He sort of went off the map for Diagon Alley, enjoying putting his own little shops in there, but it’ll have the main shops, including Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, and a Gringott’s with a dragon on top! I can’t wait to see it!
For Christmas, I made him a few signs he could hang from some of the storefronts he’s building…
Then I got a bit obsessed by making these tiny corked mandrake seedling bottle pendants!
I was inspired once again by a tutorial on one of my favorite blogs, Epbot, for building a large mandrake bouquet. These were SO much fun to make! I made teensy ones, and tried different versions that were a little more involved, and ultimately didn’t work out as well. But after a bit of trial and error, I came up with the more simple design above, and made so many that I put them up in my etsy shop. We couldn’t decide if we liked the moss or the dirt pebbles better, so I made several of each. Now I want to make other tiny things to put in necklace bottles! (But I get the feeling that’s been done for a long time by miniature sculptors much more coordinated than I….)
So there it is! Potter-brain for sure. Along with the Butterbeer lip gloss I found on Etsy, a couple of patches for our patch collection (this one and this one), I’m fairly sure we will never tire of wizarding things…<3
This week’s post won’t be so much crafty, but chock-full of Harry Potter goodness, as I take a LONG walk through the finer points of our magical trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida!
Well, it didn’t start out magical. Thanks to a ton of airline transfers, delays, cancellations, and all-out rude customer service (don’t get me started on my utter disappointment in American Air…), we ended up spending the night at a freezing cold Dallas airport, and spending the better part of ONE of our TWO park days of our first vacation in FIFTEEN YEARS waiting for stand-by flights to Orlando. But we made it, and once we FINALLY got there, it was AWESOME. I will tell you that we were not at all interested in Disney or any other part of Universal–just Harry Potter World…!
We arrived late on the first day (after stopping by our hotel to deposit our suitcases and freshen up after our terrible ordeal), late in the afternoon. Despite it being mid-December, it was surprisingly not that crowded at first, and we were able to see much of the park in that first day.
The first step was walking through the broken brick wall into Diagon Alley, which filled me with as much excitement as Harry must’ve felt seeing it for the first time (yes, I realize he’s a fictional character, but just go with it…). All the wonky buildings and wonderful signs, advertising, and storefronts made me giddy.
(There’s me and Myla, bottom right, her probably thinking, “dang, mom’s more excited than me.”)
The first thing we did was head straight to Ollivander’s for wands. Surprisingly, probably because of the lateness of the evening, there was no one in line, and while we didn’t get chosen for the little show (only one person gets picked per “show”), it was fun to watch, and afterward, we chose our own wands out in the shop section (if you don’t mind missing the show, you can skip the line by going straight into the store side). You can also get wands in another Ollivander’s on the Hogsmeade side, as well as Gregorovitch’s wand stand in Diagon Alley.
You can either choose an interactive wand (that “opens” little spells throughout the park) or a plain wand, and one of either a famous wizard from the series, or a unique one from the wall. They’re quite solidly made, heavy, seemingly out of some sort of thick resin. We chose our wands based on the writing on the wall, and each seemed to fit us quite well: Myla chose one of Rowan, which mentioned the bearer might use their “powerful imagination and resourceful nature to make their dreams come true.” Mine was Vine, which mentioned someone who is prone to “burn the candle at both ends.” And my husband’s was Ivy, which has the power to “easily overcome obstacles.” They each came with maps of all the “spell” spots throughout the park, and seemed to match us well! (I only wish they had these descriptions inside the wand boxes! We went back later to get a photo when I realized they weren’t inside the box…)
We set about doing “spells” throughout the park. The markers on the ground (as well as the map) tell you what spell to use, and what gesture to make (see the marker on the ground by the fountain, on the right, by Myla’s feet?), and there was nearly always a park wizard around to assist.
The dragon on top of Gringott’s went off quite often, blowing a quick burst of fire, which was awesome to see.
We stopped by Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, where Myla instantly squealed over a purple Pygmy Puff. A lovely witch at the register performed a “naming ceremony,” which she had her put it on her head, announcing that Myla was the new owner of a Pygmy Puff named “Puff,” who eats earwax and small spiders, which made Myla laugh. (Similarly, some of the cashiers would say things like, “Here’s your muggle plastic,” upon handing your credit card back.)
It was late the first night, and we took the Hogwart’s express to the Hogsmeade side (you have to have a park-to-park pass to be able to go to both sides). The train personnel on the muggle side ACT like muggles, and react as if you’re crazy if you question them about platform 9 3/4 when they take your tickets. They ask things like, “what kind of dog is that?” about Puff (because they’re muggles, and wouldn’t know anything about wizard things, right?).
I had an app that showed wait times for rides, and since it was late in the evening, we were able to go fairly quickly through the Hogwarts castle line for the Forbidden Journey ride. It was such a short line, in fact, that we didn’t really get a good look at all the fun things inside the castle! (By the second day, that same ride was SUPER crowded, and we waited nearly 45 minutes in line, which was a good time, actually, and we could enjoy looking at the castle details, and hear the talking paintings.)
Since we had done so much the first day (despite spending half the day at the airport), we slept in a bit the second day, and took our time getting to the park. It was a Monday, the first “official” day of winter school vacation, so it was MUCH more crowded than the day prior, but we were able to spend a lot of time around the park.
Again, we started in Diagon Alley. We chugged many, many foamy butterbeers (which come in frozen, chilled, and hot forms–ALL of which are amazing). We revisited the little shops, and doubled back on some of the details we didn’t get to the night before.
We saw a few of the shows we didn’t see the night before, like Celestina Warbeck and her Banshees, which sang classic songs like “You Stole My Cauldron, But You Can’t Have My Heart.” Later, we saw a wizarding theatre troop perform the Tale of the Three Brothers on the same stage.
We stopped in the Gringott’s Money Exchange, just because you can ask the goblin questions like, “Have you seen Harry Potter?” and he’ll reply, “That’s not my area of expertise.” (He also gets testy if he sees too many cameras pointed in his face.) We rode the Gringott’s ride (whose line was SUPER long the second day–and quite an uninteresting wait until you get inside–but it was worth it!). (Incidentally, for the rides, you have to store your things in a locker room near the ride entrance, and they’re only so big (our wand boxes barely fit), so you have to keep that in mind if you have large items!).
Everything was so awesome to look at! Even the building fronts that didn’t contain shops (like the House Elf Placement Agency, above right) were so beautifully designed.
We enjoyed Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream shop and got ice cream with crystals. We ate at the Three Broomsticks and the Leaky Cauldron. We drank more butterbeer.
Next, we took the train back to Hogsmeade, to explore that side a bit more.
Since Myla’s a kid (and gets her clumsiness from me), she dropped her wand a couple of times (see the chip in the skull’s eye on the left up there?), and when it wouldn’t work anymore at one of the spell sites, a wizard helper advised us to swing by the Owl Post for a FREE wand repair! At no charge, the wizard there took it to the back and got us a brand new one, which (for a clumsy wizard like myself) I thought was AWESOME.
We waited in the super-hot sun under my tiny umbrella to see the Hogwarts Toad Choir perform songs like “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” (There were only two performers with toads, though–I thought they should’ve all had them!)
I decided that despite being a grownup (and despite his lackluster paint job) I needed a foam poseable Dobby, so that was my big souvenir. We rode the Hippogriff rollercoaster ride, which (because of the much bigger crowds) was a very long, hot wait–a bit over an hour, with not much to look at in line. It’s primarily a kid’s ride, but as we had a kid (and we’re big kids ourselves) we had fun.
The shops, much more crowded the second day, were similar to the other side, but one of the bookstores had a great window display of several caged and chomping Monster Book of Monsters books, surrounded by shreds of paper. Most of the spell sites were crowded with lines of kids waiting to do the spells, so often we would just watch what they did without bothering to stand in line.
And then, sadly, it was time to go back home. But–SIGHHHH–I loved it there. I wanted to LIVE there. Not in Orlando, exactly…but in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Myla and I decided we should probably just move in. No one would notice–we’d just sort of set up in Knockturn Alley (which is in a dark and cool shady tunnel of shops in Diagon Alley). People would just assume we worked there, wouldn’t they? …It could work, right?
Well, anyway. Goodbye, Weasley Shop. Goodbye, Gringott’s Dragon. Goodbye, Hogwarts. Goodbye, Harry Potter World. Hopefully we’ll be back again soon.
I, for one, have been in a renewed Potter daze since our trip. My husband and I once read the ENTIRE series of books ages ago, and I’m I’m revisiting them by listening to them again on audiobook while I do my crafts. I forgot how GOOD they are and how very different they are from the movies! (We read the majority of them before seeing most of the movies.) Did you realize that there are nifflers and bowtruckles in the Potter books?? After seeing them in the Fantastic Beasts movie, I didn’t realize I had already read about them ages ago!
So join me next week for some Potter crafts from after our trip–where I’ll update you on my dad’s backyard garden train Hogwarts castle, show you my repainted Dobby, and feature our wand and wand-box wall displays.
In the meantime, check out these grumpy little mandrake seedling necklaces I made, for sale in my Etsy shop! I’m pretty sure they keep bad things away. At least that’s what the shady dark-robed wizard in Knockturn Alley told me…. 😀
‘Til next week!
Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I’ve been away. I had lost my voice a bit. I needed to take a little time to remember WHY I was making art, because for some reason social media slipped in, and I started rating myself against others, and feeling down because of it. A little inspiration and competition is healthy, but when you start basing your entire self-worth on what other people think of you, that’s when it gets sticky.
So I took some time, and reminded myself that I love making things. I’d make things even if no one was looking, because it makes me feel good.
So I’m back now, and I’m happy for it! And I thought I’d share a bit about what I did while I was gone.
We went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.
I’ll do a full post on this next week, but it’s safe to say I LOVED IT THERE. We had a day to travel, and two full days scheduled at the park. But thanks to some MAJOR messups on the part of American Air (not helped by their VERY bad attitudes), we had to spend the night at the airport and didn’t get to Orlando til the late afternoon of the first park day. Yes, that’s right–we had TWO DAYS to enjoy the park, and one of the days was spent getting there. Anyway, we had so much fun while we were there. We’ve decided we’d like to live there. Not in Orlando specifically, but in Harry Potter World itself. No one would notice us, I’m sure. We wouldn’t bother anyone. We’d dress in wizard robes and carry wands around, and people would just assume we were part of the ambiance. Please, can we make this happen?
We had family time.
My husband’s family came for the holidays, and we had such a great time! My little niece Sophie (who is 3 years old) even doodled some “magic” in my sketchbook drawing of Dumbledore.
It seemed we had Potter on the mind, as Myla turned herself into a wizard in this doodle, surrounded by several characters from the various wizard movies. (Can you tell who they all are?)
Here’s Myla using a stick as a wand while she holds her pygmy puff (which she got at the Harry Potter park), while we wandered around our favorite walking area back home (which is also Bigfoot’s stomping ground, we’ve decided).
Here’s another little doodle we did together, of Myla the animal adventurer, taming some wild sloths. Like one does.
Myla and I also entertain ourselves back home by making on-the-spot stories about a long-bearded goat named Clyde, and his best goat friend Amie, who came from a science lab and can teleport.
We filled our patch shirts.
Myla and I have been collecting patches, and we’ve finally decided these shirts were fairly full, and we each started another jacket, both of which are olive green.
I made tiny Mandrakes
You know those ideas where you just have to run directly out to the craft store to buy all the supplies to make them happen? That’s where these little mandrake seedlings came from.
This first batch had loose dirt inside, which I found got sort of stuck on their tiny faces so you couldn’t see their grumpy expressions, which didn’t work for me.
It took some tweaking, but I finally figured out to put glue in the bottom so the sand would stay put, and sealed the corks so they wouldn’t come loose. I made them mostly for friends & family, but once I make a few more, I was thinking of putting a few in the shop. They have real dried plants on their heads and rough string “roots” on their arms and legs. They’re frustrating but so much fun to make!
I sewed. A LOT.
Okay, I always sew. But this time, I’ve got a goal. I think I’m going to try for a large convention this year, and sell the Dream Creepers. It’ll be fun.
I put some things in the Etsy shop.
I even painted a color version of the Newt doodle from Fantastic Beasts…
They’re all in my Etsy shop…have a look, if you like!
I did some projects I’ve been waiting to do.
Since I was busy with commissions and requests and gifts, I didn’t have time to do a few “me” projects. So I used this time to do projects like this Tiefling plastic sculpture kit by Dark Sword Miniatures that was sent to me by Tony DiTerlizzi. It was so much fun gluing the tiny pieces and painting them. I finally displayed it by gluing it to a clear frame with a print of the painting the sculpt was inspired by. So much fun!
Hm. Jury’s still out on this one. Just because I learned how to needlefelt by watching YouTube videos doesn’t mean I’m an instant pro. I’m not sure I even have the patience for it. But it was fun trying! After finally learning not to jab myself repeatedly, most of the things I needlefelted I wanted to burn with fire afterward. Thankfully, Myla’s not as critical, and was excited to wear the moth clips I had made for her. (Hopefully my terrible felting won’t traumatize her for life.)
I learned a new (old) thing.
You know how I hate pencils? Maybe you don’t. I always HATED the way rough pencils felt in my hand, and on the paper. Somehow, the grating of graphite on paper was like nails on a chalkboard with cold hands–it’s a textural thing that’s always made my spine shiver.
Aren’t they BEAUTIFUL?!? From time to time over the years, I’ve keep TRYING to enjoy pencils, but I just couldn’t get past the feeling. But when I got these, I decided to give it a really real try. I got a blending stump and an electric eraser (thank you, Christmas gift cards!), took a deep breath, and gave it a go.
And can I tell you, it was like realizing there was a little magic door right in front of you that you hadn’t noticed before, and you happened to have a little proper key, and it opened up into a lovely little forest fairy pixie world you always suspected was there.
It was so much fun, I filled a sketchbook full of little doodles of Myla with monsters, and decided I’d make a book of it, calling it Making Friends With Monsters.
It’s just in the doodle phase for now, and it won’t be anything fancy, but maybe I can make something fun of it. In any case, these pencils have been the magic keys I needed to open up that little door and I’m so grateful to Mab that she sent them to me. So I’m going to keep visiting this little world. I like the things that live there.
But never fear! I will never give up my trusty ballpoint pen. Ballpoint is and will always be my “true love” of art supplies. It’s not going anywhere. It’s been my loyal and faithful magic wand for the doodles I like to make.
So that’s what I’ve been doing! The break has been quite nice, and I’m happy to be back. It’s been such a gift not to place so much mental value on sharing with others, and just draw and create what makes me happy. I need that from time to time, and I need to remember that for the future. So thank you for sticking by me, and giving me the time to grow, and the time to rest. I appreciate that you all read these words and look at my doodles, and I’m so glad to have you around!
❤ ❤ ❤
Only one week away from our trip to Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, and we’ve got Potter fever!
At some point, Myla and I were talking about the creatures in the Harry Potter movies and books, and I mentioned how I stumbled across this pattern kit by Mieljolie for a Cornish Pixie–One of the little creatures from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets that Gilderoy Lockheart releases in his Defense Against the Dark Arts class.
Myla even carried it around in a little wire birdcage we had…
But then I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and I fell in love with the niffler. I told her all about it, and showed her video clips and pictures, and she fell in love too.
The niffler, for those who don’t know, is a little platypus-looking creature from the movie, with a bottomless pouch, who is very much attracted to shiny things.
They even have niffler Funko Pops! We found these adorable Pocket Pop keychains and had to snatch them up:
“I bet he’d make a CUTE doll,” Myla said. But when it came to dolls, I couldn’t find a single pattern online. I heard from a reader that Harry Potter World / Universal doesn’t even have the rights to the characters yet, so they don’t even have plush dolls in any of their shops.
So like I often do, I rolled up my sleeves, and made my own.
It’s a big wonky, and a whole lot strange, but Myla LOVES it.
There’s a great scene in the movie, where Newt Scamander catches the niffler, and shakes him so all the gold coins and jewelry fall out of his pouch, and land in a giant pile on the floor. So fun!
I haven’t made a pattern because I’m like one of those cooks that add a little of this and a little of that and can’t explain to you how exactly they prepared the food? Yeah. Like that.
But its arms are hinged, and can move up and down, and mine even has a little pouch!
Myla LOVES bringing him places. She even took him when she found the nerve to go to the movie, and see the niffler herself, and she LOVED it.
The unfortunate part is that none of the other kids know who or what the niffler is, so they can’t really appreciate it. But Myla’s a bit used to that. She’s learned that she comes from a long line of weirdos, and that even though they’re not always understood by other people, weirdos are the best kind of people. And that just because you’re the only one who knows what something is, it doesn’t make it strange or uncool, it makes it SPECIAL.
One more week til Potter World!
The thanksgiving holidays got me thinking about Hogwarts.
Oh, that’s weird. I should explain… Maybe it’s because of the full-scale Hogwarts my dad built by HAND in his garden train village off of their back porch…
Or maybe it’s because for the first time in our 14 years of marriage, we’re going on our very first REAL VACATION to HARRY POTTER WORLD in Florida!
What? You mean we’ve never gone on a vacation in fourteen years of marriage??? Nope. NEVER. And Professor McGonagall is silently judging me for it.
Being an army family, finding time and planning for a vacation is very tricky. The husband has been deployed three times in our daughter’s seven years. There are field exercises and training to work around. Most of our leave has been used relocating to new duty stations, trying to squeeze in visits to family along our way there. Fun, but not a “vacation.”
Once, when my husband was deployed to Afghanistan, he got two weeks of R&R, and we met up in Hawaii with our 2-year old Myla (who was in her very “terrible” phase then)… and then I returned with Myla to the frozen temps of Alaska, and the husband went straight back to Afghanistan. But I’m not sure that counts as a real “vacation,” does it?
Yeah, I didn’t think so either, Mad-Eye.
My husband and I have been pretty big Potter fans for ages. Early in our marriage, when we were kidless and waiting for our new home to be ready to move in, we spent hours in the hotel room, devouring all of the Harry Potter books. We didn’t do much else. But we had so much fun reading them all. Because we’re adults and we CAN.
Thank you, Professor Trelawney. I don’t think it sounds crazy at all, either.
Myla is seven now, and has excitedly braved her way through the entire series of Harry Potter movies (despite our warnings that they get darker and darker), and she LOVES them. (Snape is her very favorite…)
Honestly, it’s been a rough year, this year. A terrible, no good, very bad year. It seems to have been unusually unpleasant for a great deal of people.
I know, Voldemort. I get a headache just THINKING about how rough this past year’s been.
So I decided that now was the time. We were going to go. I was going to plan it. We’ve had the money saved for ages. We’ll need money for the bumpy road ahead next year, sure, but THIS money has always been saved for a vacation we’ve never taken. So we’re taking it, and we’re not going to feel a stitch bad about it at all.
(Don’t worry, Dumbledore. Don’t worry, McGonagall. We’ll be okay. We got this.)
We’ve only got a couple of days there. And we’re not going to Disney. We just want to go to Harry Potter World. We’ll get wands. We’ll get butterbeer. We’ll do all the fun “hidden” trivia things my friend Cathy told me about, since she goes all the time. I can’t wait! Just a couple of days there, but we will be wizards, and we will have so much fun. We deserve a little fun.
(I know, I know–Don’t worry, Dumbledore! Don’t worry, McGonagall! We’ll be okay! …I’m sure we’ll be okay…)
It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of wonderful characters. And it seems JK Rowling has filled this magical, wonderful wizarding world full of them. I love to draw them. I love to paint them. I’ve done tiny portraits of them. I’ve done larger portraits of them.
And I think our love for that world has spread to Myla…and I’m okay with that.
The husband and I recently watched Fantastic Beasts, and loved it. (Myla hasn’t seen it yet–a few things in there she’s not ready for, but she’ll get there at her own pace.)
So we’ve only got a couple of weeks until our Harry Potter vacation. Our first REAL vacation. I’m so excited! Aren’t you?
So I’m going to celebrate. See that Newt Scamander doodle above? He was so much fun do draw! So I’m going to put 20 signed and numbered 8×10 fine art prints up in the Etsy shop. They’ll be waiting for you there, if you think one should live at your home. Or at a fellow Potterhead’s home. Just because.
So enjoy your fantastic beasts, and I’ll try to patiently count down the next couple of weeks until our Harry Potter Vacation! It’ll be difficult, but mischief will be managed…