A Minimalist Harry Potter Birthday; or a fool’s Felix Felicis


Dearest WordPress — so surprised that I even remember my password, it has been so long.  Almost 3 months.  Coincidentally, the length of time I have been living in this funky 1000 sq. foot apartment with 3 boys just waiting to get the hell out of here and live in a bigger place.  So on the eve of our move across town, it is the perfect time to post a blog and pretend like i don’t have to pack all this crap up again.  This should be called the Crafting Procrastinator, not the Crafting Fool.  Anyway, since we were in transition this summer, I called a temporary halt to all my normal birthday craftiness.  However, Big Bro wanted a Harry Potter birthday — I mean if you want a theme that stimulates the imagination, HP is it. As much as I wanted to go full blown, I knew I had to take it down a notch, so I distilled it to its minimalist essentials, goody bags for classmates and a cake for Big Bro for his family birthday party.

Hedwig Goody Bags/Paper bag craft


The goody bags were a lot of fun, but in retrospect I might have rethought doing this for a class of 25.  I was up till two in the morning making them.  Anyway I used:

  1. white paper craft bag
  2. 16 1.5 inch white paper circles
  3. 2 1.5 inch black paper circles
  4. 2 2.5 inch orange paper circles

They are pretty simple to make.  I folded the top corners of the paper bag to make a triangle shape, and folded the point down to what I thought was a pleasing, owlish, if you will, level on the front of the paper bag to make the beak.  Starting from the bottom of the front of the bag, I glued four circles across the front of the bag to mimic feathers, and repeated this again with an overlapping layer of 4 circles until I reached what I thought was a good place to stop under the beak, which was four rows of feathers.  If you calculate this in terms of 16 feathers per goody bag and you made 25 of them . . . well I know 16 times 20 is 320, so this crazy lady punched out over 320 circles for these goody bags.  That is where I started to question my sanity and berate myself.  I might as well have gone out and hand plucked an owl for the individual feathers by that point.  After the feathers were completed, I glued the large orange circles under the beak, and then placed the black circles inside to make a suitably fierce owl scowl.  I know Hedwig has yellow eyes.  And now you know Melody had only orange paper handy.  So guess what?  Hedwig got orange eyes.  I folded the beak down for good and used a Sharpie to color in the triangle for the tip of her beak.  It would have been great if I had enough of those round double-sided velcro pieces to keep the beak down, but as it was I used some double sided tape instead.  Goody bag done.

Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans


  1. Sheet of address labels
  2. Confectioners-looking scrapbook paper cut into 2 inch strips.
  3. Snack size ziploc bags.
  4. 2-3 bags of jelly beans.

Super duper easy.  Using Word I printed “Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans” on the address labels.  I cut the scrapbook paper in strips, and then measured the width of the snack bags to make a piece big enough to fold over the top of the ziploc bag.  I then divided up the jelly beans amongst the bags, selflessly sampling each color to ensure they deserved the Bertie Bott name, and then folded each scrapbook strip over the opening and stapled it.  Last touch was affixing the address labels to the scrapbook strip.  Every Flavor beans, done.

Pencil Wands



  1. pencils
  2. brown and gold paint
  3. brown yarn
  4. hot glue

Ah, the pencil wand.  It developed out of knowing a wand needed to be included but not wanting a bunch of 7 year olds running around with pointy painted chopsticks inflicting damage on each other quicker than you can say “Stupefy!”  I thought a pencil might be economical and hey at least one end is cushioned with an eraser.  To mimic the wand handle, I wrapped the eraser end of the pencil with brown yarn about two inches up the pencil.  At the same time I had the glue gun warming and affixed the end of the yarn with a dab of glue.  That I managed to do this without burning myself is anyone’s guess — that’s usually how my adventures with a glue gun turn out.  I have no fingerprints left because of this.  On my off days I’m a cat burglar.  No trace. Anyways, after I affixed the end of the yarn, I rotated the wand (Pand?  Wencil? It was a weird hybrid at this point, neither wand nor pencil, and just looking for a place to belong.) while dribbling hot glue on it to make it look more like knotty wood, and less like a No. 2 Ticonderoga unsharpened.   I broke out the brown paint and started painting.  This was definitely a step where spray paint and a space to spray would have been great, but that was not going to happen.  After painting them brown, I took some gold metallic paint and applied some antique-y looking detail to the hot glue part.  Following the advice from a blog that now I can’t find (sorry blogger, not trying to steal your thunder), I poked holes in a drumstick box that we selflessly emptied of drumsticks (also part of the directions from that blog) to place the wands in while they dried.  Wands, done.

Scroll of Spells



  1. Paper
  2. Tea
  3. Twine

Would that I were not a Muggle so I could conjure up parchment, or the Galleons to purchase said paper from Office Depot, or a Memory Charm so that I could forget how cheap I can be sometimes.  Anyway, I found a list of spells with a description of what they did from the world of Hogwarts, and printed this out on regular paper.  It looked so dull.  So I decided to try a little experiment.  I made a bowl of strong tea with three tea bags (I probably could have used more for a more intense color) and dipped a foam brush into the tea and swiped it over the list of spells to try to make the paper look a little more parchment-y.


To speed the drying process, I turned on the oven to its lowest setting about 200, 250, got it warmed up, and then turned it off.  I placed the paper in there and this actually had the unintended benefit of kind of wrinkling up the paper so it looked a little aged and crinkly like parchment.


I would have loved to distress the edges a little bit, but figured I was pushing my luck. I guess since I was using the oven I could have tried a controlled burn, but I think we all know that would not be the brightest idea.  Try to explain that to the hot firefighters.  I rolled up the list and tied it with twine.  Scroll of Spells, done.

Easiest, Felix Felicis, You-Decorate-It Harry Potter Cake



  1. A store bought cake
  2. Pocky Sticks
  3. Groucho Marx glasses

It might be good to explain at this point, for those of you who may have forgotten, that Felix Felicis is also called Liquid Luck — one swig and you’ll have good luck.  Now I don’t know about all that, but I do know this part turned to pretty well given my last experience with decorating a store-bought cake with a Batman logo in crushed Oreos. Never again.  When I ordered this cake, I asked if they had a Harry Potter design, which they did not.   Plan B.  Here comes the easy part.  You’re gonna beat me up.  I asked them to decorate the cake in red and yellow for Gryffindor, and leave the bottom half of the cake blank for me to decorate.  I went to the party store and found a pair of 40 cent Groucho Marx glasses.  I removed the nose, eyebrows and ear pieces with scissors.  Next I went to the grocery store hoping they had Pocky sticks, which are kind of like a very thin long pretzel-type . . . thing covered in chocolate.  I placed the Pocky stick, which was now a wand, on the cake at an angle, and used some chocolate sprinkles to simulate magic and wonder sprouting from the heart of the Elder Wand.  On the other side, I placed the glasses.  Bam.  Harry Potter Cake — done, y’all.  Was that so hard to do, Safeway?  But then again, that would have denied me the right to uncomfortably but very necessarily crow about decorating a cake and having it turn to right.

I would love to do another Harry Potter party on a larger scale because I saw some fantastic creative ideas on Pinterest, so I guess I’ll have to depend on the boys to have that party, or maybe throw one for myself when I turn 50 — because the “F” in “fifty” means you can do whatever the f you want.  Even act like an f-ing fool.