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Disclaimer: Please excuse my pics! I was rushed by the short notice of my inspiration to create this post and did not “stage” them like the Muggles do.

Because I’m a lesbian and half of my family disowned me for such, I have to spend time with my remaining family members at different times for holidays. I have two adorable nieces that remain, so I try to plan things for them that are fun and memorable. (Mostly because I love them, but partly because I know they’ll go back and talk about it to my evil mother and it will drive her mad!)

When my daughter turned 16, she asked for a Harry Potter party, so I decided to put together a feast that included a house sorting ceremony and a visit to Ollivander’s Wand Shoppe. I wanted to be able to give her a great party while still having money in the budget for gifts after buying her a car, so I hit up Pinterest posts for inspiration.

There are so many different posts, which is why I decided to combine mine for the feast here.

Also, it was such a great success that I did it again this year for my niece’s who have just gotten into the series. This one was very last minute and thrown together, but they still loved it! My sister informed me a week later that it’s all they’ve been talking about.

  1. First, I constructed an invitation. I used some card stock paper and a calligraphy pen. Then, I burned the edges on the stove for a little extra authenticity. Be careful not to actually burn the paper. (Don’t be a Weasley!) Just singe it a little for the black edges. For my daughter’s party I actually printed invitations with downloaded authentic fonts, but for this one, I didn’t have time for all that! I even simply drew a crest-mark on the back rather than melting hot wax. When they received the letter in the mail, they excitedly reported to their mom that they had been invited to Hogwarts and inquired at what age she received her letter!

2. Next, I made the wands for the visit to Ollivander’s. I bought these Wilton Bamboo Dowel Rods because I didn’t have time to go eat sushi and ask for extra chopsticks! Plus, I plan to use the extras for other projects.

I took hot glue and made the designs. This was a little tricky at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was easy.

TIP: Go thick on the end with the glue and let it dry on each side before adding more. This will help form actual shapes rather than giant blobs on one side.

After the glue dried, I painted the wands with acrylic paint. I made a sign and put the wands in a jar with a battery operated light. (Like I said, please excuse the pic!)

The girls really enjoyed this part!

They immediately went around casting spells and charms.

3. I also made floating candles using toilet paper rolls and tea light candles. These add a little ambiance and a nice touch to the atmosphere.

Feast with floating candles
LED Tealight Candles

To make these, I used Celebrate! Tealight Candles from Wal-mart, hot glue, and white paint. I glued the candles into the toilet paper roll and then made “drippings” down the sides of the rolls.

I hung them using thumbtacks and fishing pole string.

4. Of course you have to have sweets from Honeydukes!

Chocolate Frogs & Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans

I picked up these chocolate frogs & Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans at Party City, but for my daughter’s party, I ordered a mold on Amazon.

5. And, a Platform 9 3/4! I used a sponge, a Dollar Tree table cloth, and brick red colored acrylic paint ($.50). I also used a round piece of cardboard to make the sign. This got torn down before I could take a picture.

6. For the Sorting Ceremony, I found a YouTube video that asked questions and sorted the girls into their proper houses. I did it too and ended up in Slithering!

7. Finally, the feast!

This cost me around $25 altogether. I picked up a whole roasted chicken at Wal-Mart, egg noodles, a jar of Alfredo sauce, cheese, canned croissant rolls, & brussels sprouts. I knew the egg noodles would be a hit with the young ones. They didn’t touch the green stuff!

Although it was thrown together and last minute, I think it turned out rather nice!

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Writing

Publishing Bullshit

Julie Still-Rolin (2)

This self-publishing journey has been quite a challenge, but it’s a good challenge. I feel myself growing by just doing it. It is crazy to me how often we keep ourselves from doing things just because we don’t know how or we feel we don’t have some authority. I am so glad that I’m overcoming this. What is that study that says you have to practice something for 10,000 hours before being able to do it well? If that’s the case with self-publishing, I’m two books in and have only been practicing for about 1/10 of that number.

 

Here are some things I’ve learned:

  1. Patience is a virtue. I am not a patient person, so this one is difficult. However, it is interesting when my personality is altered by a process. When I sit down to write, I have my stories in my brain, and I just expect them to flow perfectly and quickly onto the document. Then, I don’t want to have to edit them. And, I do not want to have to go through the grueling process of creating a cover page and marketing plan, etc. These things all take time, and if you rush through them, you will regret it.
  2. Self-publishing is hard. I have read many tips and tricks online, and they all say that you should hire an editor and a cover designer. I am too stubborn for this at this point because I feel confident in my ability to do these things and save money. We’ll see how this works out. On my first book, I had to republish three times because of mistakes. However, that book was an experiment. I wrote it in two weeks and had it published within the same two weeks. I don’t feel like it counts as much.
  3. Do what works for you. This is kind of an extension of number 2, but I have learned that I cannot do what others do. I have to find my own way and s
  4. tick with it. This is the cool thing about self-publishing: you have the freedom to do that, and your success or failure depends on you. My motto for this is, if it doesn’t work, find another way. It’s that simple. I have to follow my own style; otherwise I’d just pay someone to do it for me.

Overall, self-publishing is a journey. I do not expect overnight success. I do not really even care much about that part. What I do care about is that I am finally publishing my work. I’m finally getting my stories out there into the world. If no one wants them, fine. If just one person reads my stuff and enjoys it, I will be ecstatic.