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…
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
What was your best birthday ever?
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.