Harry Potter Style Party: DIY Sorting Hat

When my friend said that her daughter wanted to have a Harry Potter Themed birthday party I squealed.  Yes, I actually did. No lie. SO, I volunteered to help a little with ideas and decor.  Well, I'm not going to lie, I'm terrible at decorating. BUT the one thing I'm good at is creating things out of nothing.  

I searched for ideas, and we decided that she had to have a sorting hat! My friend actually had a fantastic idea of recreating the sorting of the Hogwarts houses.  I mean, it doesn't matter how good I am, I could never make the sorting hat actually speak (and if I did, I couldn't tell you, because I can't reveal these sort of secrets to muggles... but you didn't hear that from me).  

My friend baked cupcakes and filled them in with four different frosty colors to signify each house.  You take a bite, If you get yellow you are a Hufflepuff, blue is Ravenclaw, green is Slytherin, and Red is Gryffindor. GENIUS!

BACK TO THE SORTING HAT.

I love DIY projects.  This particular one was exciting to me because I'm a huge potterhead.  I checked pinterest, and other DIY ideas and kind of came up with my own.  

I used materials I already had around the house.  I figured that it had to be sturdy since kids were going to be taking in off and on, so I used cardboard form a large box for the brim of the hat, and...a cheetos box for the crown part... I mean, I figured it was going to get covered anyway, so why not.  Obviously, you can use cardstock or thin cardboard.  

Originally, I was going to use regular glue to keep all parts together, but I soon realized that regular ole Elmer's glue was not going to be enough for this project...So I used duct tape.  Yep.  Best idea I've ever had.  Here's what I did:

1.  MEASURE the circumference of your head, or your kid's head and draw a circle on the cardboard.  Make sure it's big enough!!!! this step is VERY important as you can't fix it later if you make it too small. 

2. DRAW a even bigger circle (brim) around the head-circle.  Cut.  It should look like a donut.   Try it on to make sure the opening is big enough.

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3. USE a large sheet of cardstock paper and fold it in a cone shape.  Make sure that the base (bottom) of the cone shaped cardstock is the same size as the head-opening that you'd previously cut.  Don't worry if the cone looks good or not... we are going to dent it and shape it in just a minute.  I used duct tape to keep the cone together.  It worked great.

4. CUT 1 inch slits all around the base of the cone to make little flaps. about 1 inch apart.  Insert the cone shape into the head-opening until the flaps are at the bottom.  Fold the flaps outward and glue/duct tape the flaps to the brim of the hat.  You can use the duct tape to your discretion to make sure the hat is sturdy and secure.  I used small pieces of cardboard to create the face of the hat (eyebrows and mouth).

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5. NOW the fun begins!  Try to mold your cone by wrinkle it in strategic places.  The top, and some on the sides.  Then, let's paper mache! I ripped regular white paper in pieces and glued one by one on the visible surfaces of the hat until it was completely covered.  Then I applied a layer of modpodge to the entire hat.  This gives it a "leathery" texture.  

6. THE CREASES of the sorting hat are iconic, so I had to get creative.  I used regular sheets of white paper and wrinkled them and then glued them to the bottom, between the brim and the cone part.  make sure it's secure and dry before the next step.

RELATED: HARRY POTTER MIDNIGHT BOOK RELEASE EXPERIENCE

7. PAINT the hat!  Using two tones of acrylic paint, I was able to create texture to the hat.  I used dark brown to cover the entire hat first, and then I used a metallic bronze color to paint strategic places only.  Paint with bronze over the face (eyebrows, nose bridge, mouth), and on the outer part of the creases.  

Let it dry before you paint the bottom part of the brim.  

The results will vary depending on the paint color, but overall I think this is a great way to add a little extra fun to your Magic-themed party! (and cheap!)

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I love DIY projects! tell me about your projects and I might try them too! please comment below or share this post! thanks!

Always,

Mia

Gardening update

So it's been roughly a month since I planted my veggie garden and I am so proud to report, I haven't killed a single thing! I will say, we have gotten quite a lot of rainfall the past several weeks so I have had help in the remembering to water department. This past weekend I harvested my first (of what I hope to) be many jalepenos and cucumbers. Look at these beauties!

RELATED: CULTIVATING MY GREEN THUMB

I finely chopped up a couple of the jalapenos and threw them in with my eggs along with some garlic and parmesean cheese. Delish! As far as the cucumbers, I am trying my hand at pickles. I made 4 jars with just this haul! I'll let you know how they taste after I give them a few days to pickle. I literally just sliced them up, stuffed them in a jar, and covered them with vingear and a few red pepper flakes. Hope they turn out yummy! 

The tomato plants are roughly three feet high- glad I went ahead and bought some cages to help support them because these suckers are tall! I can see several green tomatoes growing on the vines. Can't wait until they are ripe for the picking! (Still in need of some good salsa/spaghetti sauce recipes!)

RELATED: EXPLORE SOME OF OUR FAVORITE RECIPES HERE!

This cucumber is insane people. It's like the vine that doesn't stop growing. I'm not complaining, I hope this gal (Audrey II as I like to call her), produces tons of cucumbers! Next year I think I will plant my cucumber in the middle of one of the raised beds. I really didn't know it would fan out so much, and now have vines trailing along in the grass. 

The bell peppers aren't doing too much, I think they were smothered by Audrey II, but I am holding out hope that they come around. Look at this cute little green bell pepper starting to grow. 

Surprisingly I have not had much in the way of animal interference. I thought for sure I would be cursing the wildlife for pilfering and nibbling through my plants, but so far, I've been lucky. Maybe the fact that we have a couple of dogs keeps the little furries away from our yard? Whatever the reason, I'll take it. 

Anyone else out there brining in a good harvest yet this summer? What are your favorite things to grow? 

 

Cultivating my green thumb

Guys... I'm doing a thing....I planted a vegetable garden! 

Growing up, my family planted a large vegetable garden each spring with everything from tomatoes, peppers, green beans, to zucchini and squash. You would think having so much experience with a garden growing up, I would be a whiz at it as an adult right? Wrong. The green thumb gene apparently skipped a generation leaving me with nothing but a trail of dead plants in my wake when it comes to all things gardening. I'll be honest, a large part of my gardening failures come from the fact that I am a neglectful plant owner. I regularly forget to water, plant things in too much sun or too much shade, and would rather scrub a toilet than pull a weed. 

When we bought our house last May , one of the things I really loved about the house was the beautiful landscaping and the large raised vegetable garden. Everything was so lovingly cultivated and picturesque, I convinced myself that I too could maintain it's beautiful look. Fast forward a year, and I find myself knee deep in weeds, cursing myself for letting it get this out of control. 

This past weekend, I took the time to completely weed and till up the raised veggie garden. I wish I had a before picture because this thing looked liked a scene from The Jungle Book and was in no way a small feat. Let me tell you, I did not come out unscathed during what I like to refer to as "spring garden phase one". I sustained two mysterious insect bites which have caused three days of itching and red puffy-ness but fear not! I shall not be deterred! I planted (by myself) 3 tomato plants, 2 jalapenos, cucumber, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and cilantro. Browsing all the various types of tomatoes at Lowe's alone was enough to send me into a mild meltdown. What's with all the different types of tomatoes? You've got your Cherry and Roma, OK I can get down with those. But then there were Betterboy, Brandywine, Tigerella, Big Beef, Hillbilly, and a few others I can't remember. I was really just in the market for the big red ones, not the little red ones, but unfortunately they didn't have a "big red"and "little red" label so I was really just winging it and chose, Betterboy since they seemed like the "better" choice. Ha. Get it? Better choice?  But I digress....

If all goes according to plan, I will be making my own spaghetti sauce, salsa, and pickles. (Also, I guess I should be googling "how to make spaghetti sauce", "how to can my own vegetables", "how to pickle"... feel free to help a sister out and send me helpful links and suggestions). 

I plan on updating you all regularly during this growing season to let you know how my little green babies are doing. (And also hoping this helps keep me accountable so that I remember to actually water them. No really, can someone tweet me daily as a reminder?)

For now, I leave you with a pic of my cute little baby tomato (or is this the jalapeno? I can't remember lol). 

Library Room Makeover

So it's been a year since we bought our home, and slowly but surely we are getting things done around the house, making it our own. (Find making a garden post here!)  

One of the requirements on my "must haves" list that we gave our realtor while looking at houses, was a room that I could convert into a library. I had lofty dreams of an airy, two story monstrosity of a room (think library from Beauty and the Beast, complete with a gliding ladder and all), but alas, our budget was not very accommodating to my lavish plans, so I had to settle for something a tad more realistic. The house we put an offer on, and eventually signed the next 30 years of our life away to, had such a space. 

Once a formal living room, this room was perfect. In the front of the house, tons of natural light from the wall of windows, I knew the minute I laid eyes on it, it would make a beautiful library room. I'm not even ashamed to admit I dedicated boards on Pinterest to planning and plotting the decorating to my own personal treasure room. 

In keeping with the light and airy feeling the room projected, I opted for white bookcases. Not wanting to break the bank and working within a strict budget, I found these great pieces at Ikea. They are solid and sturdy and were fairly easy to assemble. 

The next items I saved my pennies for was the seating. My Aunt had mentioned that she had found lots of really nice pieces on the Wayfair website so I gave it a whirl. My only hesitation buying online is that I couldn't see/feel/sit on the items in person but I took a chance based on some positive anecdotal advice and went for it. I ended up purchasing two chairs, an end table, and a rug. Everything arrived in great condition and within two days no less! 

RELATED: DIY BOOK-INSPIRED RUG

The last, and most fun, part of completing my library room was the decor. This is the one room in the house that I can fill with all of my fandom related decor and hubby really doesn't complain. I set up all my books on the bookcases and interspersed them with fun trinkets and decor, including my favorite nerd girl collecting pieces, FunkoPops! I don't know what it is about these little guys but I am insanely addicted to purchasing them.

Of course I couldn't leave the walls bare, and adorned them in similar nerd girl fashion. I found these awesome reading inspired vinyl decals to stick up on the walls from Amazon

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Mia, talented artist and best friend that she is, also took the time to draw me up a couple original sketches of two of my favorite mythical creatures, a unicorn and a mermaid. I found these cute frames at Hobby Lobby for 50% off (I love me a good deal). 

This canvas was made my non other than yours truly. A good friend of mine is a crafting whiz and we made these (and similar style with different sayings) as Christmas gifts one year. I may do a "how-to" on these another day. They are pretty simple and a lot of fun to make. 

This next section of wall space is kind of my favorite. Yes, you're eyes saw correctly, behold, a unicorn head! Another Hobby Lobby find, this guy just screamed my name and at 50% off, of course he had to come home with me. The two wooden signs beside it came from  Kohls, and kind of fit in perfectly if I do say so myself. 

So there it is, my completed library. My safe haven, refuge from the mean muggle world. A place where magic is alive and well and a good book can always been found. I will undoubtedly continue to add to my collection of books as well as my trinkets over the years, good thing the room next door is only a dining room. Who uses those anymore anyways? Quite convenient for extending my library into one day...

Where is your "space"? Do you have a room dedicated to your books and nerdy treasures? I wanna see it!

XOXO,

Coco

DO YOU LIKE MY LIBRARY? LET ME KNOW! Share or Comment below!!!!!

Dr. Seuss's Birthday day.... Come up with a costume, quick!

#ReadAcrossAmerica was celebrated this week. It coincides with the great Dr. Seuss's birthday, and many schools in the country celebrate this week by having special activities. One of these activities, and my daughter's favorite, is dress up like a book character day. Her school decided to have kids dress up as a Dr. Seuss character. Any character from one of his amazing books.  

This tradition is great. I love it because I can see the eagerness of the kids to learn more about these characters and to read. That's the point. Encourage a love for reading.  

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The only bad part about this is when, you, as a parent, totally forget about the dress up day (because, let's face it, our brains not only get wiser with age, but mushier...*insert panic emoji*).  When my daughter reminded me the day before, about dress up day...I entered in super mom mode (after the total panic mode ended).

I came up with a great idea! Gather some black leggings, black shirt, an old cat tail from an old costume, voila! I would only need a red and white top hat to have the perfect Cat in a Hat outfit.

BUT, where can I get a hat on such a short notice??? Won't have time to have it shipped, plus I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg purchasing one. So I googled it. Have I mentioned I love google?

All you need is this:  A white poster board, a large white paper plate, red paint, scissors, glue, and tape. That's it. 

RELATED: DIY BOOK-INSPIRED RUG

1. The first thing to do is to measure your child's head around. Cut the length and the width of the hat making sure you leave about an inch (side) to glue the sides together. Leave another inch at the bottom to attach it to the plate.  - also, it's always better for the hat to be big than small... if it's too small in diameter it's too hard to fix.

2. Measure the stripes.  Three red.  I did mine about 3 inches each...but they could definitely be smaller.  Paint 3 stripes red, leaving a blank (white) stripe in between.  Let it dry.  You can use acrylic or water color, or tomato juice or basically anything that you can find.  I was kidding about the tomato juice in case you didn't catch that. *wink*

3. Glue the sides together forming a cylinder.  Use tape to secure around the seam.  

4. At the very bottom... where you left about an inch untouched, cut small slits (1 inch) every inch or two.  fold them out to look like the brim of the hat.

5.  You can also use a paper plate and cut the diameter of your hat in the middle and push the cylinder through, using the paper plate as the brim.  Secure with tape.

There! You have the perfect Cat in the Hat hat!! And a happy child.

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P.S.  When my daughter returned from school, with no hat in sight, I asked her about it.  It was shoved inside her bookbag, shamelessly and wrinkled beyond repair.  I asked her why.  After all that work! She didn't answer.  I'm sure the wow factor died down after a full day of Dr. Seuss fun... next year I will probably buy a real, more durable hat.

Reading and the love for books is very important.  How do you celebrate Read Across America?

SHARE OR COMMENT BELOW IF YOU LOVE Dr. SEUSS BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS!

DIY Book-Inspired Rug. *A Bookworm's Dream*

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OK you all know this, because I've said it over and over.  I LOVE Harry Potter and everything that has to do with the wizarding world.   So, you can only imagine how heart-broken I was when I realized that they actually don't sell any Harry Potter themed BIG rugs.  

I searched, and searched the web for a while, and all I could find were small mats and welcome mats, but nothing bigger...Unless I was willing to pay hundreds of dollars from a sketchy website and get my credit card stolen, no way.  Not me.  I've learned my lesson the hard way.

So I took it upon myself to research other ways to complete my library room.  After almost all search results showed me Harry Potter blanket throws that were about the size I was looking for, I stopped for a moment to think.  "What if I do it myself?"

I swear I love Google, because I can almost do it ALL after reading and watching DYI videos....no magic wand needed.  Granted, some people make it more complicated than what it really is, OR make it look easier than reality, but I like to try it out myself....I'll tell you later how I discovered a great way to cut and color my own hair, and how to clean those annoying spots in between the oven glass...Oh Google.

Anyway, let me tell you the easiest way to make your dream rug and feel proud about it when you are done.

 Here's what you need:

* A blanket, tablecloth, or throw that inspires you. I chose the Marauder's Map throw, because the colors matched my library room (and look at it...it's just awesome).  Don't worry if it's not 100% Cotton. I think the one I got is mostly Polyester and it worked just fine.

*WATER BASED Polycrylic OR Polyurethane.  Make sure it's WATER BASED, and CLEAR Satin.  I got a small can (32 oz) and it was enough for 3 layers on my 4ft x 5ft throw.  If your rug is bigger, you will definitely need the bigger can, as you will need at least 3 layers. 

*  A small paint roller.  A cheap one would do.

* A plastic paint tray

* A Rug pad, or no-slip mat.  Big enough to cover your rug.  You can trim it accordingly.

* All purpose, permanent bond glue spray. I bought Elmer's permanent spray glue because it was only $2 add on when I bought the rug pad on Amazon, BUT it didn't work as good.  I recommend something stronger.

*Scissors, measurement tape, and a tarp (I used a large open box) so you don't stain your work area.

WHAT NEXT?

Prepare your work area with a large tarp, plastic cover, or something to protect your floor. PLEASE do this next step in a highly ventilated area.  I used my garage, with the door open, and still got a little loopy.... believe me, it doesn't seem like it, but that polycrylic is no joke!

Make sure your throw is not wrinkled. This step is important because if you apply the polycrylic and it's wrinkled, it will dry wrinkled. Iron it first if you have to. Once you have your throw set up on the tarp, apply the polycrylic with a paint roller, as if you would paint. Try to cover all surfaces. Do not apply too thick of a coat, as you will do this step two more times, so there's no need. Let it dry for at least one-two hours in between layers. 

Once you are done with the last layer, you'll notice that the throw/blanket has changed in texture.  It's no longer soft and foldable, but rather stiff, but still flexible. Once it completely dries, it's time to measure the rug pad and trim it to fit your throw.  

Then glue the rug pad to the throw, and let it dry.  VOILA! you have a new, unique, beautiful rug to suit your nerdy needs. Oh I was soooo happy with my rug. I can't stop staring at it.  

What are you waiting for? Get started and make your own! For your room, your work, for your book-lover friends. This can make the best birthday, or Christmas gift for ANYONE! The possibilities are unlimited! 

Have a questions?? Ask me or tell me about your rug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Always, 

Mia

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