Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Welcome to Hogwarts - Part 2

You surely can't have a birthday party without cake!  You can imagine my dread as Joseph described the epic battle scene between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort he wanted depicted on the cake, and then my relief when he changed his mind after realizing some kids might not be too familiar with the story at all.  After looking at some of my cake decorating books, he thought it should be more of a generic wizard cake, so we decided on a castle with a wizard and dragons.

My attempts to fashion a wizard out of fondant were pathetic, but luckily I always aim high and plan to scale back anyway.  The dragons and mythical creatures we had hanging around the house were the perfect adornment to the castle cake I was able to pull off, but I did need to run out to the toy store the day before the party to try to find a wizard figure.

The cake wound up a smashing success!  And oh, my, was there a ton leftover.  As I was baking I was thinking a 10" and 6" square didn't seem like much, but once assembled it weighed a ton and was more than enough to go around.  The birthday boy requested half vanilla and half red velvet this year.

After clean up we played the Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean game (made by Jelly Belly and officially called Bean Boozled), and the kids loved every second of it.  More on that later!

No question that there were goody bags!  They were personalized to match the house t-shirt each guest got, and we slipped in the cauldrons and broom pens from the table settings, along with a few lightening bolt tattoos and some of the most well known treats from Honeydukes Sweet Shop.  I never did get a pic of all the bags together since we had to keep everything out of the rain :(

As a reward for playing the jellybean game, everyone took home a big box of Bertie Botts Beans, but only the good flavors.  Downloading and making the box for a party favor seemed simple enough, but printing, cutting, folding, glueing, and filling 20 of them took more time than a normal person would have been willing to spend.  In retrospect, I now wonder how I lived the first 47 years of my life without ever owning a bone folder.

I did modify the free template in my graphics program to add the happy birthday message - mostly so I wouldn't have to cut out 2 more windows!  It looks good and it's personalized - win-win! - and it was worth the extra effort even though I knew the kids would tear them to shreds within 5 seconds to get at the jellybeans.  (As an aside, tons of people online complain about how expensive it is to fill theses boxes with Jelly Bellys, and for them I have 2 words: resize, and Costco.  I just didn't print them at 100%.  I forgot exactly what percentage I used, but the sides were 2" wide, and they were plenty filled with about 1/2 cup of jelly beans inside a small cellophane treat bag.  A four pound container for $15 at Costco was enough for 20 boxes.)

Number one on the list of required Harry Party party items seems definitively to be chocolate frogs.  With a free wizard sticker in every box!  Molding the frogs was easy, but cutting, folding, and glueing  20 pentagon shaped boxes after making the 20 jelly bean boxes is enough to drive a person insane.  Be warned.  Find a groove, get in the zone, and be happy you spent the $5 on a bone folder.

One last thing I slipped in the goody bags was this little book of spells that I made.  They were supposed to be on the tables for the kids to read and have fun with, but I didn't want them to get trashed in the rain.  This delightful person went to the effort of making the original books and offering them to the world for free.  I still changed them up a bit by printing them 2 to a page so they'd actually be little, and then I designed and printed my own covers.  I actually sewed them down the middle, then punched a hole in the back cover and added some color coded house ribbons to use as a bookmark.

I was happy to see the kids all using the various props around the house - they all look totally adorable in Harry's glasses!  I think I might be able to pull them off as well.  Hedwig concurs.

Happy birthday to my little Gryffindor!

If I haven't lost you by now, there's still a few more pics coming to cover the activities at the party!

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