Saturday, November 28, 2015

Let's Give This Dementor a Hand

We just recently hosted our daughter's 3rd Harry Potter themed birthday party.  She's now a teenager?!  :O  How time flies!  We had lots of fun with the party.  Even after two previous years of Harry Potter parties, we still managed to create a few new things for year number three's Prisoner of Azkaban theme.

The first one I'll share is for our WIP dementor, Pete (His name is inspired by the Moosebutter song.  We love all the clever Wizard Rock songs out there).  Our dementor never quite got fully assembled, but we may get him finished before year Five when dementors show up near Privet Drive and the Ministry.  But, I managed a pair of hands and a quick mask.  Here is a brief tutorial of how I made the hands:

This process is very similar to how I made my dragon wings.  I started with a wire hanger, some wooden beads (from a Christmas cranberry garland I found on the clearance table years ago.  I've used these beads in many projects.) and lots of masking tape.  I like the masking tape because it was already the color I wanted, it stays flexible and easy to use.

I straightened the hanger and cut the wire to lengths and placed the beads where I wanted them for the joints in the fingers and taped them in place.

Then, I taped the fingers from tip to bottom leaving extra tape off both ends to make a pointy tip.

Next, I taped the fingers together one at a time adding them to the hand.  Then wrapped more tape around to secure them in place.  Some tape was wrapped between the fingers until they wouldn't move around too much.  At this point I bent the fingers to resemble a more natural hand shape.  This isn't really necessary, yet.  They will still be posable once finished.

I painted the taped covered wire with lots of fabric paint.  The mixture of translucent Glow-In-The-Dark and Black slick paint makes a good slimy gray flesh of the dementor.  One good squirt of black directly into the GITD paint bottle should be enough.  (The applicator tip should pop off to make it easier to squirt the black in.)  Shake it really well, and then shake it some more.  You can test it and clear the tip of unmixed paint.  Let it dry to determine the actual color.

Once the whole hand is covered, I added more paint as a webbing between the fingers.  I found the fabric paint bottles were convenient to spread the fingers.

Once completely dry you can pose the hand however you like.  Be sure to not lay it on anything it will stick to.  If it is tacky, rub it with a little corn starch to prevent it from sticking.

This is what I ended up with.  They were fun to pose around the house.  I want to make a second pair with attached arm to hang them on Pete easier.

Here is Pete's face.  I used a plastic skull with it's mouth open to mold a piece of foil over before taping the foil and painting it the same way I did the hands.  It looks lighter, but it is the same color as the hands.  I'm still on the lookout for a suitable fabric for the dementor's robes.  I see that the cheaper decorations this year are using black interfacing-like fabric.  It may be too stiff for my purposes, though.

Our hands ended up guarding the entertainment system cabinet, so older students wouldn't try to skip class and watch football.  :/

But, I think they look just as creepy hanging out in the quidditch trunk my sister made for us.  :)  Next, I hope to post about some shrunken heads my mom and I made and the inexpensive upcycled bell jars we put them into.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Gilded Cage Corset

If you follow my craft page on Facebook, you might have seen that I recently entered a corset decorating contest held by Orchard Corset.  The challenge was to embellish one of their corset styles using whatever material we wanted to.  Well, the results are in, and though I didn't place I consider my results a win for me.  I'm happy with my new corset, which probably wouldn't have been finished without the motivation of the contest.  There were some really nice entries you can see in OC's Pinterest board.

It was slightly frustrating and labor intensive, but also an enjoyable learning experience that I managed to squeeze in between my other projects.  (...and the main reason I didn't get a new witch BOO't available for this year.)

For my concept I wanted to do something with spooky trees similar to some of my witch boo'ts, but I stumbled across a raven in an image on Pinterest called "The Doorman" by Katya Horner that sparked my creativity.  I liked the idea of an illusion of a gilded cage where it looks as if you are looking in at a raven in a cage or out from behind a gate/cage at the raven in the woods.

I chose to use their 345 corset.  I purchased one that was slightly uneven at the bottom edge, so I wanted to try my hand removing the binding to correct it, anyway.  I figured the single boning channels would work well as part of the cage bars.  While I had it apart to trim the lower edge I removed the boning and labeling the pieces to put them back in order.  Removing the boning would prevent it from rusting when I dyed the beige/tan color with RIT's Aquamarine and Denim liquid fabric dye. I diluted just a little before applying it with a sponge brush.  I avoided dying the boning channels only because I was going to paint them anyway, and they are thick and would take longer to dry.  It is hard to see the two-tone color variation in the pics, but I was sorta going for a blurry shadow look for depth behind my imagery.

Once I had it dried, I wanted to try a few different mediums on my wearable cotton twill art canvas.  ;)  I drew the raven and branches in place with pencil before going over it with permanent marker.  I know marker isn't the best choice, but I really didn't want to make the panels on the corset too stiff with paint.  This corset has not been broken in, and I imagine it still needs to do a bit of stretching to conform to me.  Once I had the design on I started painting the boning channels black with craft paint.

Next, I brushed a thin coat of bronze craft paint over the black channels.  I also traced over the spiral designs with a mix of slick fabric paint in black and metallic gold that made a darker antique gold before adding some painted faux rivets to the channels.  In hind sight I find it just a little too dark to contrast with the black silhouette branches in some lighting.  I would like add a little more gold and go back over them.

After I was done decorating the corset, I found some brown bias tape to replace the bulkier double-layer tan twill binding that came on the corset.  The brown actually matches with the bronze paint pretty well.  Originally, I was thinking about using black binding and painting it like the boning channels, but opted not to thinking it would make the binding stiff and rough at the edges.

That's pretty much everything.  You can see more of the progress pics and supplies in the Pinterest board created for the contest here:

Though I really love painting my witch boo'ts and other decorative projects, it's kinda cool to be able to wear your creations.  I had a lot of fun on this.  I really want to try another.  I found an irregular 426 long line Orchard Corset in tan, but it will need way more correction before I can decorate it.  Should have some costuming and props to show in the meantime.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hogwart's Birthday 2nd Year - The Food and Classes

It's been taking me forever to post all the things we did for our 2nd year Harry Potter themed party.  I think I'll wrap it up with this post about the food.

Since our 2nd year party was first and foremost a birthday party, we served a cake for dessert, of course.  This year's cake was inspired by Aunt Petunia's Pudding.  We used a packaged cake mix for a two layer chocolate cake.  Since the pudding looked like it would end up being a lot of frosting, which we're not too fond of, we experimented with ways to make it lighter.  So, I added whipped cream to the frosting.  I may have gotten carried away and used too much whipped cream.  It began to get soft really fast, but there were no complaints about the taste.  :)

We served students the feast dinner of Turkey and all the trimming, including Pumpkin Pasties.

We used the same recipe for pumpkin pasties from last year.  But, we opted for leftover green frosting stems instead of green gumdrops pictured below.  Though, the spearmint ones weren't too bad.

As I have mentioned in last years party planning, the pasty is made with packaged biscuit dough.  We pulled the biscuit layers apart in the middle.  Set one half in our mini bundt cake pan for the shape and filled them with pumpkin pie filling that was strained for the juice.  We placed the top half on and punched the sides a little to seal.  Once bakes and cooled, we added the frosting stems.  I didn't have a tip large enough for the stem, but found that a sport bottle top pulled off and cut worked quite well.  (This is our whipped cream frosting, so that is why it looks rather runny.)

After dinner and games it was late, so we dismissed the students.  We held a showing of the Chamber of Secrets movie in our makeshift home theatre with popcorn, last years pumpkin juice recipe and butter beer.  This year we acquired a projector and surround sound speakers from family members, so we had a really neat setup in our DADA classroom (aka: living room).

The next morning the plan was breakfast and start classes at 9am.  There was a surprise waiting for our Slytherins (that I failed to get a pic of before they were gone.)  It was in the form of two floating cupcakes suspended in front of their door when the came out of their common room.  They were suspicious but ate them anyway.  ("How thick can you get?!")  They were yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting and sprinkles just like Hermione made in the movie.  We used large flat buttons tied to fishing line that was poked up through the cupcake to suspend.  We used an "S" hooks to hang them from the door frame.

We had a busy schedule this year, so were light on the classes.  Besides DADA and Potions, which I've already mentioned, we also had Herbology - Re-potting Mandrakes.

We wanted to make mandrakes that were edible.  We decided on some graham cracker bears and artificial leaf stems glued in the center with homemade cookie icing (this stuff is super easy to make and holds extremely well when set).  I cut apart and washed the artificial stems.  (I think it might have been nice to use mint or other edible greens.)  We potted them in mini ice cream cone pots.  Then, students would repot them into larger cones with some crumbled chocolate cake and then some Oreo cookie crumbs mixed with graham cracker crumbs to resemble dirt. While no one was looking, we thought about replacing the repotted cookie bears with larger mandrake cookies.  These could be part of another game where students would have to revive their classmates with mandrake restorative drafts when they lost our Basilisk game in the evening.

Charms - We came up with charmed pancakes for breakfast.  If you've seen the Youtube video where the guy draws with pancake batter, then you get the idea.  Basically we'd let each student charm the batter into a recognizable image in our magical, or electric, skillet  This is actually really simple and fun.  Just need a squirt bottle, like those used for ketchup or other condiments.  The daughter and I made a Hogwart's crest and some other simpler things like bats and faces.

We had some other ideas for classes that didn't end up happening.

Potions - We want to up the difficulty of the potions class by changing the ingredient game from last year by making students identify the ingredients in a mixture instead of individual ingredients.  For example:  Kool-aid, Sugar and Water could be one potion.

Transfiguration - We thought about making a puzzle game using shapes.  Students would transfigure a rat into a water goblet or teacup by reordering the pieces.

If you've noticed, we've been busy working on pixies, house elves and gnomes and the tutorial for each of them.  I think we've got the pixies and gnomes perfected, and there are some pixies listed in my Etsy store with gnomes to follow.  But, there are still some changes we'd like to make the the house elves.  Hope to have them available soon.