Hogwarts, a History

Posted by DeVille |

So, the Christmas do has come and gone. There were so many great ideas for male costumes, but for some reason I felt a bit limited on girly ones. This year's theme was Best of British, and after going back and forward between Dusty, Duffy, generic 60s chick, Queen Victoria and Hermione for weeks and weeks, I settled on Looney Luna! Hogwarts student has always been on my list of costumes to do, so I decided to go with that in the end, although with a much more limited scope that I would originally have done as I only had 1 week to make the costume after taking so long to figure out what to wear. I actually made the decision after ordering a wig online, figuring it would inspire me once I got it... Once it was on, Luna was the obvious character to go with.

Since I wasn't going to do an exact costume replica like I would have done if I'd had time, I went completely lateral on the skirt and cardy, going with a high waist pencil skirt, and a long grey boyfriend cardy. The school shirt and cardy were purchased on sale, both less than half price, and the wig was from an online auction (brand new and half the original price because the seller didn't like the colour)!

The hardest part was definitely the raddish earrings, which I made from Sculpey. the first attempt fell off the hooks in the oven and ended up gorgeous on the front and a charred mess on the back, but I learned a lesson with the second lot and bent the end of the pin, which kept them together well. The wand was an old paintbrush - I just pulled the brush off with pliers, wrapped the end with hemp twine, using pva to glue it, and then just did a light coat of pva over the whole wand and blew on some gold powder guilt I had. Not authentic to Luna, but it looked great!

The only sewing I did was the skirt which turned out great, and the bag. I also created a Quibbler cover based on the copy Luna carries in the last movie, and ironed it on to a white over the shoulder bag I made from an old pillowcase. I was extremely happy with the quibbler cover, it looks so authentic! I managed to get some Spectraspecs online so they went great with the quibbler over. Finally, I created a Ravenclaw badge, ironed it on to a piece of fabric then sewed it on to the cardy.

Overall I was happy with how the costume turned out, though I'm keeping Luna on my list of costumes to do as I still want to do it properly, complete with lion hat and cape.

The night itself was average, much better than last year, but still not as good as other years past. Mainly it's the incredibly long and boring awards ceremony at the beginning, which lasted about 2 hours total. I'm very glad that I went with Luna in the end, as there were dozens of all the other costumes I thought of. There were a lot Harry Potters, a Voldemort, a Snape and some generic hogwarts students (including a few 'adult' costumes), but no other Lunas thank goodness :) I tracked down Voldemort and got a great photo with him, he had the full makeup and nails done which looked great. I also managed to score a photo with the teletubbies :)

Looking at the pictures I'm glad I put in the effort (or really, lack of effort) into letting my hair and eyebrows go back to blonde (my natural colour) as much as possible. It was just about brunetting time when I found out the theme and started thinking of wearing a blonde wig, so by not colouring then like I normally would, my eyebrows were nearly as pale as normal by the time the party came around, which I think really helped pull the blonde look off. I'm no stranger to preparing my hair for a costume months in advance, though this was the hardest so far as blonde roots on mahogany hair is not a good look!

Anyway, I forgot to mention that the carpet is all completely ripped up in the spare room and it's looking well on its way! It's not complete but it's a perfectly usable room now, and I sewed up my skirt and bag in it. Not having the carpet down made cleaning up super easy, and meant I could roll around the room in my chair to get the various bits and pieces I need. Also, this was my first time using my new machine on a large scale (the pj shorties don't count as they were a quick job on the kitchen bench!). It sewed like a dream through the skirt, until the finishing touches of the bag, where it started going insane, coiling the bobbin thread and jamming. I finished the bag by hand and ran out the door because I was late, and haven't had a look at the machine yet to figure out what's going on, but I have the feeling that there's a piece of the iron on caught in it. Fingers crossed it's easy enough to fix :(

This year is just flying past! I've been really busy these last couple of months with work and spring cleaning the house. The sewing room is still not finished, but is well on the way! Last weekend was spent ripping up the carpet and in a couple of weeks I should be ready to start painting.

Next weekend is the
Vodafone Christmas do and the theme is Best of British. After much cogitation, I've decided to go as Luna Lovegood in full Hogwarts regalia. There's so many awesome costume ideas for males (Monty Python, Russell Brand, Noel Fielding, Little Britain, Shawn of the Dead, Higgins etc etc etc) but I seemed to be at a loss for females and those I could think of I'd already dressed as. I've got just about everything ready, I just need to sew the skirt, make the radish earrings and finish off the wand, then I'm done. I've booked a room in the hotel across the road from the venue so that I can just crash out there instead of having to make my way back to the shore (I used to stay there a lot as a teenager when I went clubbing in town), it's cheap, but not too nasty and only a 30 second walk away, so I don't have to walk to far in my school uniform!

I got a new toy today which I had to try out, silicone baking cups... I find it really difficult to find decent cupcake wrappers these days; it's all either mini wrappers or muffin wrappers, not
patticake size like I have. So, while I have a large stock of chili and blueberry wrappers in the pantry, I can't find plain wrappers which don't clash with the decoration ideas I have. For example, I just made a batch of 'flesh and blood' cakes for Halloween (recipe coming, my goodness they were so tasty) that really needed to be cupcake size. Blueberries just didn't cut it, so in the end I had to rustle up some white muffin papers and go with the larger size cake. Meh. The theory with the silicone cups is that I can bake the cakes in them, then just turn them out so I don't need a wrapper. My first attempt seems to have been quite successful, my cappuccino cakes (recipe to come as well) turn out lovely, as you can see from the picture. I topped them with my new favourite frosting, Marshmallow, which I discovered and used on the Flesh and Blood cakes. It does take about 15 minutes to make but it's worth every minute.

Anyway, I wasn't convinced about the heat conductivity of the silicone, so I still put the cups in the tray, and this seemed to be just the right thing to do, as when I pulled them out of the oven, I could touch the moulds immediately, which indicates to me that without the tray, heat transference could be a little dodgy and uneven. The next concern was whether or not they were non-stick and no problems there either. I flipped them upside down after they'd cooled a little and they came right out the mould. I'm going to a
barbie the week after next and I've been asked to the salad and desert, so I'm going to get some mini silicone cups and make tiny versions of the Flesh and Blood Cakes, although minus the fang marks this time and labelled almond cherry cakes, and I may also experiment with heart shaped ones, which will be great for valentines day.

As well as the flesh and blood cakes, I've managed to recreate the Hawaiian Macadamia cake in cupcakes form (this recipe to come as well), and added a few extra touches which made them just heavenly. I certainly won't be bothering with the cake version again.

From a non-baking perspective, I've become addicted to a new show, the Big Bang Theory. A little early for me, usually it's Christmas when I discover new comedies that I fall in love with (last year was the Mighty
Boosh, the year before was Little Britain), but maybe I'll discover something else in December. I've managed to watch nearly 2 seasons in a little over 4 weeks and officially have a celebu-crush on Sheldor the Conquerer. I freely admit to tending towards geeks anyway (being one myself) and have already learned Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock far too well. Of course I'm also following Project Runway but frankly I could give or take it this year. All the ones I love are already out, and we're left with boring designs and the morally bankrupt but good designer, who I don't want to win just for the principle of it.

I went to see This is It today. I just don't really know how I felt about it. I took mum and she loved it, but I spent the whole show worried about it being/getting tacky, that I just couldn't chill out and watch it. I grew up listening the Jackson 5 and
MJ, and fell in love with MJ as a teenager in the 90s, during his HIStory phase (before he went just that much too far with the surgery) and to this day he's one of my favourite artists; the HIStory concert was amazing It was just so sad to think that only days after some of these scenes were filmed, he was dead, and really I wish people would let him rest in peace like a normal human being.

Hmmm, what else. Well, I've given up on the photorejuvenation, it's just not doing a thing to help the rosacea and has now cost me over $1500. I've had 4 sessions in total and on the last one, my face was swollen for over 7 days, more than when I had my wisdom teeth out, and I had a large blister on my cheek. Instead I've given in and got an antibiotic gel from the doctor. I've been using that for 2 weeks and it's doing a great job; it seems to work especially well with the Dr H moisturiser, and I've got my fingers crossed that my skin doesn't get used to it and go back to how it was.

I've also been converted to the Shannon Lush way of life and spent this Saturday gutting the house of all chemical cleaners and replacing them with essential oils, white vinegar and baking soda. I even managed to
recycle some water bottles we've had lying around for months, to use as containers for the vinegar and a shaker for the baking soda. I've used green cleaners for years but I'm finding that these two items work better than many of these cleaners. I've also discovered that vanilla essence is wonderful as an air freshener, even in the toilet!

Finally, I've started turning my hand to growing my own veges. I'm starting with tomatoes as I need something I could grow in a pot to start with, while I figure out where my
vege patch is going to live in the garden. I actually immensely dislike tomatoes as a general rule. I do love a good fresh pasta sauce and sun dried tomatoes so I'm going to use the harvest to make my own from scratch, and if there's enough then some tomato paste too for my homemade pizza.