Eagles’ Nest Becomes Hogwarts School

SAM_0219 If you know this sign, you’re in league with my granddaughter and most of her 5th grade classmates.  And their parents and grandparents.  And a good portion of the reading public worldwide.  Oh, and Harry Potter and all his friends and foes.

And if you remember my Wizard of Oz birthday party post in March, you know you’re in for some pictures and some Nana crafts.  I do love fussing over birthday parties.  Part of the fun is getting crafty with your grandkids.  One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I never know when to quit.  So my first tip is:  Start Early.


Here’s the birthday girl in her “Cloak of Invisibility.”  You can buy an authentic replica online for $400 (No kidding.  At that price it better work!) or you can get a yard of cool fabric for 1/2 price with your JoAnn’s Fabrics coupon.  All it takes is a casing for the ribbon.  See the little critter hiding in the hood?  That’s a “Pygmy Puff.”  Another coupon, a bit of fake fur and a few facial pieces and you and the granddaughters can stitch up some stuffed party favors in an evening.  The party favors were myriad for this bash, all easily homemade.  You’ll see…

Piper's birthday 033 Piper's birthday 032

We started with wands.  The inspiration was a YouTube video.  We used dowels and natural air dry clay from Michael’s, and they looked great until they dried.  This was a wonderful learning experience.  We discovered that clay applied to a hard core will crack as it shrinks.  We also discovered that failure is not the end of the world.  More Googling by the birthday girl turned up a method using our cleaned-off dowels, paint, and our trusty glue gun.  Glue guns are amazing, aren’t they?

SAM_0213 SAM_0212

We made 8 wands in an evening.  Easy peasy.  The Monster Book Of Monsters gave us a use for the clay—no hard core, no cracking—and more fur fabric.  You can get the book-shaped box at Michael’s (don’t forget your coupon).  Birthday girl blew up some monster pictures and wrote descriptions freehand.  She has lovely handwriting.  (Nana does not.)  Michael’s has inexpensive (with coupons) fancy bottles.  We found potion labels online, came up with clever ways to make the potions look potion-y.  Food coloring, of course, glitter, glow-in-the-dark paint, clear glue, and soon it’s “fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

More party favors on the tray: feather pens (gut the cheapest pens you can find and insert in feather) and potion necklaces made from tiny bottles from Michael’s.  Fingerlights always go into our favor bags.  You can find them online,  and since this is an April sleepover, we can take a walk around the block after dark—eight lights on each of eight fingers on each of eight girls.  Warn the neighbors—it’s not a UFO.  Told ya we don’t know when to quit.  Oh, and that’s a red Sorcerer’s  Stone.

SAM_0221 We made the favor bags, but not the Sorting Hat.  Found that on Clearance after Halloween.  There’s another Pygmy Puff.  They’ll sit on your shoulder, but you need a pin.


Honeydukes Candy Store.  This is the kids’ computer desk covered with wrapping paper.  You can get so many downloadable printables cheaply from online vendors.  Check Pinterest.  Signs, labels and tags among other things.  Butter Beer labels for your root beer bottles.  Had an “Elixir Of Life” sign on a 2 gallon water dispenser.  Probably the hardest part of the whole affairs was folding the pointy Bertie’s Everyflavor Beans and purple Chocolate Frogs boxes.  I found a mold online for the chocolate frogs and ordered just a few of the Bertie’s Beans–expensive and mostly nasty tasting–to mix with Jelly Bellies.  Time to quit came when I was about to make Cauldron Cakes.  Enough!  So we filled the cauldrons with M&Ms and gummy critters.

Word to the Wiser Than Nana:  Don’t do Pixie Stix.  This was a sleepover.  I was vacuuming up pixie dust for days.

Piper's birthday 042 SAM_0214

The Goblet of Fire (glitter tulle) looked pretty cool in the dark.  The stand has a light inside.  We hung up lots of signs and shields and Hogwarts insignias, strings of white lights.  Flying keys and floating battery-operated candles were suspended from invisible thread.

Piper's birthday 044 Piper's birthday 045

You never know what you might have that serves the theme.  Dragged out some of my inkwell collection.  A piece of diamond willow made a nifty broomstick.


Another piece of diamond willow (gifts from my brother-in-law) served as the trunk for the Whomping Willow (branches made of brown paper and wire), which you can sort of see behind the birthday girl.


My motto is keep ‘em busy, so we had Claymates Creations in for some monster making.  Go to the website and see what it’s all about.  They offer classes in the Minneapolis studio, and they’ll bring the class to your party.  Fun!

SAM_0220  A sign for every purpose.

Piper's birthday 061 And, yes, eventually they conk out.

SAM_0124 Every last one.

What was your best birthday ever?

tn_What the Heart Knows - screen My heart knows every birthday—and I’ve had quite a few—is worth celebrating.  What the Heart Knows is my latest from Bell Bridge Books.  REASON TO BELIEVE will be available soon.


About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in birthday parties, book themed party, Claymations, party decorations, Harry Potter birthday party, kids' birthday party. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Eagles’ Nest Becomes Hogwarts School

  1. Trish Jensen says:

    Kathleen, that is all so adorable, but I wish you’d done something more along a Harry Potter theme. Your gk’s must ADORE you. Putting that much effort into a day makes me want to take a five hour nap. You are one cool chick, Mama!

  2. Sharon Mitchell says:

    My best birthday was a surprise from my daughter and an 4 year old granddaughter. They showed up at my home with everything Tinker Bell. Everything from plates, cake, balloons and party favors to every one of my gifts being something Tinker Bell, from a plastic ring to pens to clothes and jewelry. Everyone knew and brought Tinker Bell gifts. It was great fun.

    • Oh, what a wonderful surprise! I know that 4-yr-old was thrilled to do something like that for her grandmother. The connection–love of Tinker Bell–feels wonderful between child and child-at-heart.

  3. Without a doubt, you are the Most Amazing Nana, Kathleen! My best birthdays are the ones I have now – I’m amazed and grateful each time I get to have another one.

    • I hear you, Loralee. I’m as happy to count the years now as I was when I was a child, but now it’s because they’re full of good memories–let the bad ones fall by the wayside and the sad ones be held gently–and I look forward to making more..

  4. Nikki H says:

    Wow! What an amazing experience for these kids. And maybe for you, too.

  5. bellwriter says:

    You are the best Nana ever! I’ll bet your granddaughter never forgets this tribute of love! You rock!

  6. Alison Henderson says:

    I’m so impressed (and jealous)! I don’t have grandchildren yet, but I can’t wait to do something like this with them. You win Nana of the Year!

  7. debradixon says:

    Kathleen– This is just amazing. You are the most awesome Nana ever. The girls are so lucky to have you. i did a movie theater once for my son. It was when ET was released for home viewing. He’d loved the movie at the theater, so we did a movie theme to go with it and then the kids watched the movie. As they came in, we gave them all “movie cash” and we had the complete snack bar. They got to order and buy whatever they wanted. It was a scream.

  8. roxrustand says:

    You are the most innovative, hardworking, creative Nana ever. You amaze me!! Where do you get all that energy?!

  9. taurus says:

    Your granddaughter is blessed to have such a loiving, creative Nana!

  10. I loved the party, Kathleen–ditto what everyone else said. I’m totally looking forward to starting this tradition with grandkids. I loved doing up birthday parties this way. My two favorites were a pirate birthday for my son–with an honest-to-goodness treasure hunt with buried treasure and maps and teams and pin the parrot on the pirate. The other was a “backwards” party we had for my daughter. Everyone wore their clothes backwards, The floor UNDER the table was set for the party, the cake was undecorated until the kids did it (horrid-but hilarious) and the “losers” of party games got the prizes (well, everyone got prizes but …). Anyhow–nothing QUITE as elaborate as your HP party–but thanks for bringing up some great memories!! Well done, Nana!

    • Oh, I love the Backwards theme! So Alice In Wonderland, so contrary! When I was a kid we crossed the International Dateline aboard a ship bound for Guam. It was Backwards Day–backwards clothes and whatnot. But the party UNDER the table takes the cake!

  11. Greta says:

    AMAZING party! What fun, Kathy.
    My best birthday? The next one!

  12. Don’t remember my best bday but that sure looked like a good one. My gkids and I are currently watching the Harry Potter movies in order. We are getting in the spirit because this years library reading program ends in a Harry Potter Party.

  13. Britt says:

    I guess an owl died delivering my invitation because I never got it!

    Wow, Kathleen! This looks absolutely amazing. I’m glad y’all had a blast. Do you know how jealous I am? I love Harry Potter! I wonder if anyone will mind if I set the BBB office up like this.

    • Yikers, Britt, no owls were harmed in the making of this party. And the Eagles remained healthy,too.
      Let me know when you’re ready to redecorate the BBB. I’ll bring my glue gun.

      • Britt says:

        🙂 I hope to be able to call you soon. I am bringing this up in the marketing meeting this week!

  14. Nicole says:

    What fun it must have been. My daughters, 20 and 22, grew up with Harry Potter. I remember when the first book came out and all the kids were reading it. They were in elementary school back them. It was a controversial book at the time. I know my girls just love everything Harry Potter. I’m not much into fantastic but I did like that series. It’s so fun to see all that creativity. Always love the platform 9 3/4. It make me smile each time.

  15. Nicole, keep the HP theme in mind. We girls are never too old for a surprise HP party, say around bridal or baby shower time?

  16. Nan Dixon says:

    Holy cow! What a great memory for your grand daughter!

  17. Lois Greiman says:

    You are amaaaaazing!!

    • Oh, Lois, you know you have magic making in your DNA. A little help from your friends never hurts. Call me when your little grands are ready to party. Have glue gun, will travel.

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