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1. A First Look at “Fantastic Beasts” LEGOs and T-Shirt!

With the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie due to roll into theaters this November, first looks at film merchandise are beginning to surface.

LEGO website, Bricks Fans recently released images of the packaging of Fantastic Beasts LEGO sets. The new LEGO sets were advertised in the Argos catalogue in the U.K. The images show Newt Scamander, a LEGO Niffler, and MACUSA. The pictures can be seen below. Bricks Fans reports:

“The [LEGO Dimensions Story Pack based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them] will be available in November and will feature a Magical Congress of the United States of America-themed Gateway to add to the LEGO Toy Pad along with a Newt Scamander Minifigure and Niffler gadget. The book also reveals that [the] Story Packs will retail for £39.99 and will feature a 6 level story campaign to enjoyed based on their relevant movies.”

 

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Warner Bros. recently released the first official Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them t-shirt. This is the first official piece of film merchandise added to the Harry Potter franchise. It is a simple black t-shirt sporting the official Fantastic Beasts logo fans have seen in the Fantastic Beasts trailers. Warner Bros. described the tshirt, saying:

“This is our very first printing of our very first official shirt for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the upcoming film based on J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World! Orders placed by Friday, July 22nd will ship on Friday, July 29th. After this, the next batch will ship in mid-August.”

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.45.11 PM

 

 

This t-shirt can be preordered here.

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2. Harry Potter, Voldemort, and Newt Scamander Join Lego Dimensions

Harry Potter is no stranger to the Lego treatment. The Harry Potter Series was transformed a few years ago into a Lego world in  two separate video games. Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and Lego Harry Potter: Years: 5-7 were popular games where you could play as a variety of the HP Series characters as well as exploring the world of Harry Potter in a new and exciting way.

Now Harry, Voldemort, and even Newt Scamander are heading to the Lego Dimensions game. Pottermore has reported that

16 new worlds are coming, including a new Harry Potter expansion pack on 27 September, to be closely followed by Fantastic Beasts.

Lego Dimensions is an expandable game series in which a variety of characters from different universes interact with one another. This means Batman and Harry Potter can team up and take on the Wicked Witch of the West.

LD_Mashup_Magical_Circle

In time for the E3 Expo, Lego has released a trailer for the newly expanded Lego Dimensions world. Harry Potter is heavily featured and there is a sneak peek of Newt Scamander in his new Lego form.

With a quick glimpse of Newt ready to fight it will be exciting to see him come to life in this new Lego adventure. For the full details check out Pottermore.

Newt

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3. Fantastic Beasts of the Wizarding World

With the wizarding world returning to the big screen with a movie called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, not only will the magic return but so will the many magical creatures we have come to love. But which ones will we meet again, and how many new ones will we be introduced to for the first time?

There were many different types of magical beasts that were mentioned and introduced throughout both the Harry Potter books and movies. We all have our favorites, the ones we’d want as a pet, and now, the ones we want to see return in the Fantastic Beasts movie. I’ve decided to explore a few of my personal favorites. I’ve got my copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them here to help us rediscover these fantastic beasts.

Shall we start with the obvious? Probably the most popular and most widely known throughout the wizarding world as well as the Harry Potter fandom. Terrifyingly beautiful, they are the hardest creature to conceal from muggles.

Dragons

We were first introduced to dragons in Harry’s first year, when Hagrid began raising a Norwegian Ridgeback in his cabin. They were mentioned many times from that point on, finally making a reappearance in Harry’s fourth year as the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. Since the four wizards each had to face a different dragon, we had the pleasure of being introduced to four new breeds: the Hungarian Horntail, the Chinese Fireball, the Swedish Short-Snout, and the Welsh Green.

There are ten different breeds of dragons known in the wizarding world but they occasionally interbreed, producing rare hybrid dragons. They have just a few different uses among wizards, namely for their wands. One option for the core of a wand is a dragon heart string. Other aspects of dragons are also useful in brewing potions or as fertilizer for plants.

As full beings, they have been known to be used as obstacles, sort of like guard dogs. Aside from the triwizard tournament, we see them used this way in the lower levels of Gringotts Bank. The Golden Trio even lived my dreams by flying a Ukrainian Ironbelly, the largest breed of dragon, to safety.

Moving on to one of my personal favorites.

Hippogriffs

A Hippogriff is a beautiful creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a horse. They first appeared in the books in Harry’s third year, when Hagrid took over the job of Care of Magical Creatures professor. Hagrid owned a beloved Hippogriff named Buckbeak. Luckily, Hippogriffs are one of the creatures Hagrid owned throughout the books that are actually able to be domesticated.

Hippogriffs are very sensitive creatures. One must be very careful when attempting to approach them, bowing low and keeping eye contact at all times. If the Hippogriff bows back, it is safe to approach farther. Also, it’d be wise to remember “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” otherwise you may end up with an injury or two.

Phoenix

Very few people have been able to domesticate these birds, but it is not impossible. Phoenixes are grand birds, with rich scarlet feathers and a golden tail. They are very gentle creatures whose tears have powerful healing properties. The Phoenix song is quite magical as well, it is believed that it can increase the courage of the pure of heart and strike fear into the hearts of the impure.

Ablus Dumbledore was one of the few able to domesticate a Phoenix. Harry, along with the rest of us, were quite confused when Fawkes suddenly burst into the flames the first time we saw him. Phoenixes have a regenerative ability that let’s them burst into flame when their body is weakening and be reborn from their ashes once again. They can also disappear and reappear at will, taking anyone holding onto them along with them. Kingsley Shacklebolt had it right, Dumbledore’s got style.

Acromantulas

I’ve never been one for spiders but I think if I ever came within 100 feet of an Acromantula I’d probably soil my pants. It may not be the prettiest magical creature that I know of but it is definitely one of the scariest and most interesting. An Acromantula is a large, eight-eyed spider that is capable of human speech and has near-human intelligence.

Hagrid raised an Acromantula from the egg, creating a profound bond between the two. The Acromantula, Aragog, inhabited the Forbidden Forest until it’s untimely death in 1997. Within it’s life, Aragog established a colony within the forest where it’s children still live today.

 

Since the latest trailer for Fantastic Beasts was released, we have caught a glimpse of two new beasts: the ever-adorable little trouble maker, the Niffler, and the Swooping Evil. The Swooping Evil isn’t in the Hogwarts textbook, so Warner Bros. will be including Beasts fans would never have expected. The Niffler, the creatures listed above, as well as many others, you can learn more about in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them book!

Leave a comment about which fantastic beasts you’d like to see in the movie!

 

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4. Wordless Wednesday!

I discovered  Wordless Wednesday from my friend Sandee of Comedy Plus, and I immediately loved it. It's fun and interesting because you post a photo that conveys a message without using words.

The image speaks for itself whether its a photo capturing a moment in our lives or a cartoon imitating us being ourselves.
After posting your image or photo, copy and paste your link beneath Sandee's post on Comedy Plus' list of links then post Mister Linky's code  beneath your photo and we'll share the same links. Here's Sandee's link to the code. 

                                                     Have Fun!




Thank you for visiting A Nice Place In The Sun. 
All visits and comments are appreciated  


                                                              Thank you Google Images

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5. Ahab & The White Whale


via Emergent Ideas Ahab & The White Whale

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6. Ahab & The White Whale

Over the last few months I have been listening to the unabridged Blackstone Audio of Moby Dick. Along the way the story has seeped into my thoughts and drawings. I present to you some work that I made along the way. As it turns out, I am a little obsessed with illustrating stories. Hmm, perhaps there a […]

via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1rLX8sv

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7. Hot Topic’s BoxLunch Brand Butterbeer Kit & Give Away!

As many fans may know, Hot Topic has been a Harry Potter partner for eons. Okay, maybe not eons, but they have been a place for fans to purchase official Harry Potter merchandise since Harry Potter became a “hot topic” many years ago.

Recently, Hot Topic has started a new brand and initiative called BoxLunch. With only a handful of stores around California and Texas (though, more are coming soon!), Hot Topic’s new brand caters to a slightly different audience than their normal Hot Topic stores. BoxLunch sells similar pop culture merchandise as their Hot Topic parent, but through a partnership with Feeding America, with every $10 a customer spends, BoxLunch helps provide a meal to a person in need.

If there isn’t a store near you, visit the BoxLunch website and “get some–give some.” BoxLunch sells men and women’s apparel, accessories, home decorations, Funko Pop! figures, and more.

To support HotTopic with their new initiative, Leaky is taking part in a BoxLunch give away! Hot Topic and BoxLunch has generously donated a Marauder’s Map trow pillow, Deathly Hallows mini bag, and a $50 gift card! To be put in the running to win one of these fantastic Harry Potter prizes, be the first to answer the following questions correctly. Honesty Policy: try to answer all the questions without cheating–like googling the answers all the questions. Email your answers to catherine@the-leaky-cauldron.org.

 

1. Who causes the most mischief at Hogwarts School of Witch Craft and Wizardry?

2. Not completely without loyalty, to which two students did [Answer to Question 1] show respect for during Dolores Umbridge’s attempt to control Hogwarts? (“Give her hell from us…”)

3. What is a Skiving Snackbox? What four types of candies are included?

4. What trick did the Weasley Twins play on their Auntie Muriel that got them written out of her will?

5. What product does the following slogan belong to? “Ruin a gentleman’s day by making his hat fly away!”

6. What is the “Dungbom Rule” that Ron wrote? In which of Harry’s textbooks did he write it?

7. What candy did the Weasley Twins drop for Dudley to eat, and what was the affect?

8. What trick did Harry, Ron, and Hermione play on Crab and Goyle in their quest for Polyjuice Potion ingredients?

9. What spell did Draco use to capture Harry when the Inquisitorial Squad captured members of Dumbledore’s Army?

10. What did Peeves chase Dolores Umbridge with as she fled Hogwarts?

 

In the meantime! Miss tasting that yummy Butterbeer at the Harry Potter parks? Or can’t go to the parks because they are too far away? Check out BoxLunches new, and available for a limited time only, Butterbeer kit!

More information on purchasing a Butterbeer kit can be found here, on the BoxLunch website.

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8. BoxLunch Store’s Butterbeer Kit & Give Away!

There is another Harry Potter publishing and merchandising partner coming to brick and mortar stores across the country!

BoxLunch is here to “get some” and “give some”. With only a handful of stores around California and Texas (though, more are coming soon!), the new store caters to a slightly different audience than other Harry Potter merchandise retailers. BoxLunch sells similar pop culture merchandise as seen in other stores, but also, through a partnership with Feeding America, with every $10 a customer spends, BoxLunch helps provide a meal to a person in need.

If there isn’t a store near you, visit the BoxLunch website and “get some–give some.” BoxLunch sells men and women’s apparel, accessories, home decorations, Funko Pop! figures, and more.

Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 11.12.47 AM

To support BoxLunch and their new initiative, Leaky is taking part in a BoxLunch give away! BoxLunch has generously donated a Marauder’s Map trow pillow, Deathly Hallows mini bag, and a $50 gift card! To be put in the running to win one of these fantastic Harry Potter prizes, be the first to answer the following questions correctly. Honesty Policy: try to answer all the questions without cheating–like googling the answers all the questions. Also, please retweet or repost BoxLunch’s post about their new Butterbeer kit (see below)! Email your answers and links to your retweets/reposts to catherine@the-leaky-cauldron.org.

 

1. Who causes the most mischief at Hogwarts School of Witch Craft and Wizardry?

2. Not completely without loyalty, to which two students did [Answer to Question 1] show respect for during Dolores Umbridge’s attempt to control Hogwarts? (“Give her hell from us…”)

3. What is a Skiving Snackbox? What four types of candies are included?

4. What trick did the Weasley Twins play on their Auntie Muriel that got them written out of her will?

5. What product does the following slogan belong to? “Ruin a gentleman’s day by making his hat fly away!”

6. What is the “Dungbom Rule” that Ron wrote? In which of Harry’s textbooks did he write it?

7. What candy did the Weasley Twins drop for Dudley to eat, and what was the affect?

8. What trick did Harry, Ron, and Hermione play on Crab and Goyle in their quest for Polyjuice Potion ingredients?

9. What spell did Draco use to capture Harry when the Inquisitorial Squad captured members of Dumbledore’s Army?

10. What did Peeves chase Dolores Umbridge with as she fled Hogwarts?

 

In the meantime! Miss tasting that yummy Butterbeer at the Harry Potter parks? Or can’t go to the parks because they are too far away? Check out BoxLunches new, and available for a limited time only, Butterbeer kit!

More information on purchasing a Butterbeer kit can be found here, on the BoxLunch website.

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9. A book treat that parents and little ones can enjoy together, just in time for Spring!






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10. Happy Feline Friday!

Happy Feline Friday! Steve of Burnt Food Dude started Feline Friday. A fun meme that is simple to join and fun to post.

All you have to do is post a picture, drawing, cartoon, or video of a cat, then visit Steve's blog, go to the top of the menu bar and click on the Feline Friday Code.    
Paste the code under your cat picture, add you name and link and join in the fun. It's a great way to meet other bloggers and see a variety of adorable cats and kittens being themselves. You can even post a photo of your own feline when he/she is not looking. :) Have a spectacular day! 




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11. Sibling Rivalry



Hello, and welcome to A Nice Place In The Sun. I'm back...but I'm still regaining my sea legs, so I haven't written anything new and I've been worried about it. Then, this morning, I remembered a second grade essay written by my brother David and I realized I'm not the only writer in my family...I mean geez...;)


How long is he going to hold it against me?


Do you have any sibling stories to share? Can you guess my sibling David’s and my birth order? Am I younger or older than David? What birth order are you?

I cannot wait to read your comments...And thanks for visiting A Nice Place In The Sun. I appreciate it.

More posts coming soon...Have a great day!

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12. Monkey Mod! Fan Art

After seeing some fan art in a comic book, I decide to do some of my own of the Kevin Cross' character Monkey Mod.

via Studio Bowes Art Blog at http://ift.tt/1OxCYr0

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13. Wizarding World of Harry Potter in One Day

In anticipation of Universal Orlando’s Celebration of Harry Potter weekend and upcoming vacation season, my sister has written a special touring report for witches and wizards heading to the Wizarding World this year.

Now that the lines have died down slightly, it is completely possible to follow in Harry’s footsteps and experience all that Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter has to offer in one day.

I come from a family of theme park vacation planners and our typical plans aim at maximizing fun while minimizing walking and lines. This is not that plan. This plan attempts to fully immerse you in the wizarding experience the way it unfolded for Harry. You should get to everything you want to do, but wear comfortable shoes and bring ibuprofen because you will spend some time on your feet.

Logistics

First, you will need to invest your child’s college savings in a single day 2-park ticket that includes access to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. It is a lot to spend on one day, but it is the only way to experience the Hogwarts Express ride between the parks. I justified to it to myself that I could always go to one park or the other on a subsequent trip and my sister really needed me to write this report. Do whatever it takes to relieve your guilt and purchase this ticket. To whoever is reading this, thank you for your part in clearing my conscience.

You may have heard about Universal’s locker policy for certain rides. They are free for the duration of the rides that require them and we did not face much frustration, so feel free to bring whatever you want to carry to the parks – including lots of snacks and toys for the kids. Just kidding. We all know you have to be eleven for admission to Hogwarts and that is about the age required to get through this single day plan successfully.

I do recommend bringing as many photo-taking devices as possible. Feel free to dust off your old point and shoot if you don’t want your phone to die before the galleon shot.

One word of warning is regarding the security “process” recently instated. Unless you want to wait in a long line walking in place on a mobile walkway, I suggest parking at least 45 minutes before opening. After getting through, head right and enter through Universal Studios.

London

Your Wizarding World journey will begin as it did for Harry – in London. Take a brief look around the telephone booths (dial MAGIC for a message from the Ministry) and cabbies’ shelters. You can also try asking an employee where you can find Diagon Alley. I overheard one who responded they had “no idea” – silly muggles.

Diagon Alley

When you reach jolly good status, head “through” the brick wall into the most magical theme park land I’ve ever experienced. Join the group of people standing right inside and take it all in. You will be annoyed by these people later, but for now – enjoy the view.

Diagon Alley in Daytime

So much traffic being blocked for this.

Just like the first time Hagrid brought Harry to Diagon Alley, your first step is to get proper wizard currency at the Gringott’s Money Exchange. If you know you will buy something later or you like making poor souvenir investments, you can purchase wizard notes in $10 or $20 increments. Even you don’t want to exchange, it is worth checking out.

Gringotts Money Exchange

Now with pockets full, it is time to shop! Begin at Ollivander’s Wand Shop and experience the wand selection process before choosing one of your own. Universal now has the option of interactive wands that allow you to “cast spells” with certain wand movements that is very fun.

Wand in Action

At mid-morning, make your way to King’s Cross Station.

Kings Cross

It is time to enter your first year at Hogwarts, but don’t worry, the school year always has a pesky way of ending, and you will be back to explore more of Diagon Alley later. Watch fellow classmates head through the wall to platform 9 ¾ before you find your compartment and enjoy the ride.

Platform

Compartment

Hogsmeade

Hogwarts

Ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and then head to the Three Broomsticks for lunch.  Be sure to have some Butterbeer – available hot, cold or frozen. Then catch the last two attractions in Hogsmeade, Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge, before taking in the shops.

Flight of Hippogriff

Hogsmeade

With all of your Hogwarts hijinks behind you, it is now dark times for Harry Potter– and you must once again board the Hogwarts Express, this time without the anticipation of return– as you seek to destroy Voldemort.

Return to Diagon Alley

Upon your arrival back in London, stop for a conversation with the Knight Bus driver and head back to Diagon Alley through those pesky bystanders I warned would eventually annoy you.

Knight Bus

Take a detour through Knockturn Alley to feel the gravity of the situation before proceeding to Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott’s.

Kockturn Alley

Escape From Gringotts1

The line will be horrible, and I might recommend going the single rider route for this one as they seemed to be able to peek in for the interesting parts of the queue, but I don’t know for sure.

Line

Part of said line.

What I do know is that this ride is a fantastic pinnacle to a great day and is worth any amount of time your body will allow.

Escape from Gringotts2 Escape From Gringotts3 Escape from Gringotts4 Escape from Gringotts5

After saving humanity you deserve to tuck in at the Leaky Cauldron. We tried Bangers and Mash and the Pie Combo, and both were delicious. Also, props to Universal for their efficiency with this restaurant. They direct those from a single line to the next available register and find you a seat, which really took away the stress usually involved with theme park dining.

Bangers and Mash Pies

Finally, finish up your shopping and explore Diagon Alley, which is really a different experience at night. Here are some of the great products available.

Product1 Product2 Product3 Product4 Product5 Product6 Product7 Product8 Product9 Product10

On your way out, feel free to block the entrance of Diagon Alley one last time for that goodbye shot to last you until you can save enough sickles to return.

Goodbye Shot

See here to learn more about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort and start planning your own adventure.

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14. Tuesday's Question: "What Would You Like Me To Know About You,?" and, "What Would You Like To Know About Me?"



Hello, welcome to Tuesday's Question. I've been searching for a question all day that I haven't already asked since I began posting Tuesday's Question in 2007.

Over the years, and stretches between posts, I've tried to ask original questions, (If there is such a thing.) in an effort keep the questions fresh, as well as authentic.

Hence today, in keeping with that tradition, instead of answering my own question, I'm going to answer your questions and vice-versa. Make sense?

I hope so...'cause here goes...

Alright, let's see how well I do at clarifying this...here's the first question: "What Would You Like Me To Know About You,?"and, "What Would You Like To Know About Me?"


These questions were hard to phrase, for one thing they include personal pronouns which are tricky and hard to clarify, especially, when there are two questions for each of "us" to ask one another.  

Basically, all of us can ask whatever question we wish, of course that's not to assume that your inquiry will be answered, but I will certainly give you my best answer.

And now, when I think about it, I suppose I should answer the first question:

"What Would You Like Me To Know About You?" 

I would like you to know that I love people, to write, and to laugh, but many of you already know this about me. I'm sure you may have more questions, because whereas I'm open, I'm also intensely private. But, do not let this detour you; ask away, o.k.?  

I hope these questions will be fun to answer and will help create and enrich friendship. 'Cause, what would we do without friendship, and if it isn't fun, why do it?

Thanks for visiting, and I hope you will return often. :))))

Brag tag.
Feel free to copy, paste, and link a "Tuesday's Question" Brag Tag your favorite Tuesday's Question on your blog/website.

(Note:) Your answers may appear within a post with a link to your blog or website. This is to help promote the blogs/websites who participate. If you do not own a blog or website or for any reason do not wish your answer to appear in a post, please inform me by e-mail, or in your comment. Your wishes will be respected.)
Please know that, every word of every comment is greatly appreciated. :)))))    




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15. Selection Committee to Choose Members of U.S. National Quidditch Team

A U.S. Quidditch team has been designated by a selection committee for the International Quidditch Association’s World Cup, to be held this summer, reports examiner.com.

The selection committee was chosen by U.S. Quidditch staff “from a pool of applicants who were required to submit an essay about their interest in the committee and its responsibilities, experience with Quidditch, and vision for the team.”

For a list of qualifications and to apply to be part of the team, visit the IQA website. The next application deadline is for coaches and is on Monday, Jan. 11 at 11:59pm EST.

The IQA’s World Cup will be held in Frankfurt, Germany, on July 23rd and 24th, and will host Quidditch teams from all over the world.

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16. Naming Emma Watson’s Book Club

Emma Watson is asking her Twitter followers to help her name her feminist book club.  As we reported here at Leaky, Watson has recommended several titles to fellow readers over the years.  It’s exciting to find that she’s going to share future reads on a whole new level!

There have been several creative suggestions, from “Watson Your Bookshelf” to “Read for She.”   Whatever she calls it, we really want an invitation to join!

What would you name Emma Watson’s feminist book club?  To see the suggestions and add your own, visit @EmmaWatson on Twitter.

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17. A Harry Potter Yule Ball Party!

Members of the Leaky community sometimes ask us if we have any tips for throwing a Harry Potter party. Since I recently had one with some family and friends, I thought I’d share a few photos and ideas! The second annual Harry Potter Book Night is Thursday, February 4th, if you’d like a reason to start planning your own party–not that one ever needs a reason!

First off, the invitations. We gathered wax seal supplies, cream envelopes, and special paper that resembles a roll of parchment from a local craft store. This is what they looked like once finished (the front of the envelopes weren’t anything special):

IMG_1975

IMG_1980

There are all sorts of templates on the web for Harry Potter party invitations, from acceptance letter-style invites to Yule Ball invites, and even printable Platform 9 3/4 tickets, which we also included in the envelopes. Click here for a good, comprehensive resource.

Those Platform 9 3/4 tickets came in handy once our guests arrived, because the first step was getting past the barrier!

SONY DSC

Click here for instructions on making the brick wall entrance. We printed and framed the Platform sign, but you could also paint it on. Alternatively, craft and fabric stores sometimes have plastic or fabric sheets that already have a brick pattern on them.

It also makes for a fun photo op! Here’s Bellatrix, Professor Sprout and Pigwidgeon (with Dobby peeking from behind):

IMG_1959

Of course, we had to include the night sky! The “sky” was achieved by splattering white paint onto a black sheet to create the look of stars, but you could also probably find fabric at a fabric store that already looks like a star-strewn sky. The candles were created by using paper towel rolls as the base. We then dripped a hot glue gun down the sides of the rolls to give the effect of dripping wax, and once they were dry, we painted them white. Small pieces of styrofoam were used for the tops and bottoms of the candles so they would look solid (and hold the tea lights). We then placed LED tea lights in each candle, which is completely safe (using tea lights with a real flame is a serious fire hazard, so please don’t attempt it!) Finally, we suspended the candles from the ceiling with fishing wire, which is almost completely invisible and very lightweight. The photos don’t fully capture how spectacular it looked, especially with the lights off.

Picfx3

We had S.P.E.W. posters about (found on Pinterest) which we framed, and attached clothes pegs and socks to. We also had some owls on high window sills (which were difficult to photograph). You can buy owls at craft and home décor stores, and you can also see one of them below, perched on my shoulder.  I was Hermione, so it felt appropriate to take a photo with one of the S.P.E.W. posters!

FullSizeRender

A very talented artist and family friend also created a beautiful, detailed piece of chalk art on our chalkboard so that it looked as if we were looking out of Hogwarts onto the wintery castle grounds:

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There were even adorable Christmas lights and wisps of snow in the trees! And if you look at the previous photo, you can see a patronus behind my shoulder, posed majestically. The chalkboard art made for a lovely backdrop for both the party and pictures. You can very easily make your own chalkboard wall with chalkboard paint, which is widely available wherever you can buy paint.

We also made the Monster Book of Monsters using some thick faux fur, an old belt buckle, some googly eyes and plasticine for the mouth. There are lots of tutorials online, but you can pretty much just wing it without one!

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We took a cue from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and had Moaning Myrtle lurking in the bathroom (via an iPod dock stored in the cabinet beneath the sink). We kept the lights off and had candles to create a bit of an eerie atmosphere:


And of course, every Harry Potter party needs wands! We made them for our guests using surprisingly few materials, like chopsticks and a hot glue gun. Click here for the super easy tutorial.

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We made sweet and savoury nibbles for our guests, but the sweets were the only thing that we made themed. We found confection labels on Pinterest, and the “stone” castle wall covering you can see in this picture was found at a party store. We made (bug-free!) cockroach clusters (fair warning: making these was quite a labour-intensive project because of all of the little pieces you have to delicately attach. I had no idea it would take so long to make them. Also, I couldn’t find yellow sprinkles, so I used yellow icing instead), chocolate frogs (using a frog-shaped chocolate mold from a craft store), acid pops, and we actually found packs of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans at a local discount store! We also made Butterbeer, of course! Dark cream soda (or root beer) works best, and we used Marshmallow Fluff whisked with cream soda to create a foamy topping, but whipped cream would work perfectly well. We made an alcoholic version, so we also added butterscotch schnapps, but you could add butter and vanilla extract if you wanted to make a non-alcoholic version instead.

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“We’ll take the lot!”

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Both the cup and Marauder’s Map were purchased at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Our party was a costume party, with “no muggles!” designated on the invites. Everyone looked so wonderful and it was evident that a lot of thought and effort was devoted to all of the costumes. Because it was Christmastime, we made a Christmas “photo booth” with wrapping paper as the backdrop and some fun props. We also set up a camera on a tripod. Here are a few of the snaps:

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Winky, with the villainous Dolores Umbridge looming in the background. Isn’t Umbridge’s pink outfit perfect?

Dobby and Winky toiled away at their costumes, of course, and they looked amazing. This is the how-to for one house elf costume: Gather, tie, and sew a queen-size bed sheet and drag it through the garden (everything from tea bags to coffee grounds were initially used, but it turns out that dirt works the best). The headpiece was a basic rabbit-style cap made of tan-coloured vinyl with pointy ears sewn into the side seams, both of which you can find at costume stores. The noses were purchased from a dance shop and brown stage make-up was rubbed all over them to make them look filthy. The large anime-style eyes were achieved with stage make-up, but Winky’s final word is that real cosmetics would have worked best.

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“What quirks lurk beneath those rosy cheeks? What mysteries do the muscles mask? Does courage lie beneath those curls? In short, what makes a champion tick? Me, myself and I want to know. Not to mention my ravid readers. So, who’s feeling up to sharing? Shall we start with the youngest? Lovely.” Our Rita Skeeter also looked incredible and instantly recognizable. She managed to find the most Rita-esque dress at a thrift shop!

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If you’re looking for some costume ideas that require just a few common supplies, going as a fantastic beast is a good idea! My friends were very creative. Buckbeak was achieved using a mask, a piece of styrofoam carved into a beak shape, paint, feathers, and a hot glue gun, as well as a grey cardigan. Pigwidgeon was achieved using a fur vest and some face paint, and mini buns to mimic owl ears. I also wore Hermione’s time turner, and I used Hermione’s wand from Ollivander’s Wand Shop at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I added the spell effect using the magic of pixlr :)

We didn’t plan any activities, mostly because all of our attendees were adults, and we thought we’d just let everyone mingle. The most themed activity we did was when a few of us took a sorting hat quiz on my phone, but click here for an amazing article from Buzzfeed, which has all kinds of ideas for décor, food, and activities. From organizing a backyard game of quidditch, to playing “Pin the Glasses on Harry,” to hanging a dementor piñata, there are so many cool things you can do. Looking at that list makes me want to plan another party!

Much credit is due to my mum, who poured a lot of time and love into making sure the party was the great success that it was.

If you’ve thrown a Harry Potter party, do share your tips in the comments section!

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18. What Emma Watson Reads

It’s no surprise to anyone that the highly educated Emma Watson loves a good book.   She has touted several favorites in interviews and on social media pages in the last few years.

This month, Harper’s Bazaar published a list of Emma Watson’s recommendations.  It was originally compiled by Hello Giggles, with Harper’s Bazaar adding a few more titles from other sources.

The list is mostly novels but also includes singer-songwriter Patti Smith’s memoir, Just Kids.  Two authors are listed for multiple books, Cheryl Strayed and Stephenie Meyer.  Watson read three of Strayed’s books in three weeks, and she admitted that Meyer’s Twilight series was a guilty pleasure.

Other titles on the list include John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, which Watson stayed up until the wee hours of the morning reading, and A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini, which is also one of Malala Yousafzai’s favorite books.

Erika Johansen’s The Queen of the Tearling made the Emma Watson book list.  This novel’s film rights are now owned by Warner Bros., and Watson has been slated to both produce and star in the production.

Harper’s Bazaar includes Emma Watson’s mention of Roald Dahl’s The BFG in a Time magazine interview, but, surprisingly, Le Petit Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is not listed.  Watson tells Time it is her favorite book, because, like The BFG, it takes her back to her childhood.  “I like books that aren’t just lovely but that have memories in themselves. Just like playing a song, picking up a book again that has memories can take you back to another place or another time.”

Who understands this better than a Harry Potter fan?

For all 16 titles on the Emma Watson list from Harper’s Bazaar, see here.

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19. First Quidditch European Games to be held in Italy

As some will recall from our World Cup 8 report, the IQA (International Quidditch Association) dissolved in  2014, after many non-US Quidditch teams refused their bids to the 7th annual Quidditch World Cup. The IQA was then split into national associations (i.e. USQ, QUK, etc.). US World Cup 8 was hosted by USQ, while European Quidditch Associations promised a combined regional Cup was in the works. The European regional tournament is finally here.

For the first time, European Quidditch games will be held in Tuscany, The Telegraph reports.

According to the article, the real-life version of Quidditch, which was invented in the USA in 2005,  is popular in Italy. There are an estimated 6,000 Italian players. This year marks the first  that squads from all over Europe will take part in games held in the 2,000 year-old town of Sarteano. Players from the UK, Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Catalonia, France, Poland, Spain, and Italy will compete in the games, which begin this Friday. The Telegraph reports that Sarteano will be transformed into a “mini Hogwarts” for the games:

The Quidditch teams will be greeted by a Harry Potter-themed party in Sarteano Castle, which dates from the 11th century. Market stalls will be set up to resemble the fictional Diagon Alley, where young wizards and witches come in search of their wands in the JK Rowling books.


Alas, flying on broomsticks isn’t exactly a possibility; however, real-life Quidditch reportedly closely mimics the original wizarding sport:

Each of the seven players in a real-world team must hold a broomstick between their legs at all times and the game comes to a close only once the snitch – which comes in the form of a human with a tennis ball suspended in a sock between their legs – is caught.


You can read the rest of the article here.

 

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20. Our Top 25 favourite J.K. Rowling tweets!

Recently, J.K. Rowling took to Twitter to give us the news that there will not be a Harry Potter TV show, nor will there be a ‘Potter-on-Ice’. But rather than crushing our dreams (well, it did a little, if we’re honest), the hilarious ‘image of Ice Voldemort performing the triple salchow’ perfectly depicts Jo’s mastery of Twitter.

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She sure knows how to use those 140 characters; thankfully, her early Twitter days of saying ‘you won’t be hearing from me very often’ didn’t last long. Her social media presence has become prevalent and powerful. She tweets for any occasion and cause, but most importantly, just to connect with her fans. As she answers fans’ questions, or stands up for what she believes in, Jo’s humour never fails to draw media and fans’ attention, love, and favouritism.

Without further ado, here are 25 of our favourite (and most hilarious) J.K. Rowling twitter moments – enjoy!

1) Her continued rage at desktop printers:

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2) The time we had no idea what was going on:

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Maybe a reference to Stephen Hawking’s ‘Zayn Malik in a parallel universe’ theory, but either way, it’s brilliant.

3) When #AddGoatRuinAQuote was used and responded to perfectly:

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Ah, of course, the wise words of Aberforth Dumbledore, the goat charmer.

4) When she ‘Can’t decide whether touched or scared’ by our loyalty:

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5) Behold, the flugly owl:

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The perfect gift for a Hogwarts first year. If it can actually carry letters and fly.

6) The time Jo cleared up that issue with the names of Harry Potter’s kids:

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7) Proof that Jo is, indeed, hardcore:

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8) We thought she’d never answer this question… 

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…And she didn’t, until very recently:

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9) And this question, well:

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10) In a parallel universe, Harry Potter doesn’t exist. Not because Jo is Zayn Malik, but because she’s an otter-weigher: 

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11) We can all agree on this one:

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12) Jo may not kill off as many characters as George R.R Martin, but she still feels bad about the ones she does kill:

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13) The only way to celebrate Ireland’s victory:

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14) Followed by the only way for such a brilliant author to slam the haters:

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15) This is possibly our favourite burn of all time: 

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Especially seeing as Jo seems to be one of the biggest Serena Williams fans out there:

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16) Then there was that time that the world nearly broke her:

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is set to come out next year, and is most definitely not a prequel. You can find more information on the play’s website, and read more from playwright Jack Thorne here.

17) Perfect use of sarcasm:

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We also think that #fideliuscharm has got to be one of the best hashtags around.

18) The time Matthew Lewis (aka, Neville Longbottom) appeared on the cover of Attitude magazine, and was too hot for Jo to handle:

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19) Sometimes Tumblr knows her answers: 

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20) But, let’s face it: at the end of the day, Jo Rowling knows all:

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21) … Even if she can’t play tennis: 

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22) This one got us wondering just how many of these budgies she sees: 

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Almost as cute as these Potter-themed dogs:

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23) NOBODY TWEETS IN CAPITAL LETTERS AND GETS AWAY WITH IT.

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24) We’ve decided that pseudonyms work best when J.K. Rowling uses them:

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And we definitely have to agree with Chris Rankin (aka Percy Weasley) on this one!

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Insulting your literal other half isn’t fair, Jo!

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This recent one gave us a laugh – we can only imagine the struggle of faux-quarrels with your writing partner:

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25) And finally, the reason we’re all here after all. 

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Not only has J.K. Rowling (and Robert Galbraith, of course!) given us books and films we know and love, but her sense of humour is absolutely spot on. Harry had to get his sass from somewhere!

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Make sure you give her Twitter page a visit, if you haven’t already!

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21. Mermaid Illustration

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22. Tuesday's Question- What's In Your Purse, Wallet, Handbag, Computer Bag, Etc, Today?


Hello, and welcome to Tuesday's Question. Today's question is, well, I know you read the title, but I'll ask it again, and answer it: What's In Your Purse, Wallet, Handbag, Computer Bag, Etc, Today? 



I carry a purse and sometimes a book bag, but I'm just going to list what's in my purse. So, pardon me while I crawl into my bottomless bag let's see,  

The first thing I see is a small bag of scramble rubbish, mainly make-up, (Most of which I do not use.) mixed with pens, a little notebook which I bought to write down idea's and notes, receipts, a little purple rock to remind me to be grateful, band-aids, my wallet, a hair brush, three pairs of sunglasses, two pairs of reading glasses, perfume, small coins with a drawing of President Lincoln on them, a variety of mints, Stephen King's new book about time travel, entitled, 11/22/63, and I could go on...it's ridiculous. I clean my purse out at least once a week, but it's an endless chore. 

Alright, now it's your turn. I will reply to each comment, and remember to answer carefully because sometime in the near future I'm going to post my readers comments to Tuesday's Questions. Because I've read some of the comments in the past that are hilarious, touching, kind, and well just plain good.   

If you are a blogger, I will link your comments back to your blog, but if you do not have a blog you will still remain a part of Tuesday's Questions. 

Which reminds me, I've received a few e-mails from readers who aren't sure how to leave a comment.  

If you do not own a blog and aren't sure how to leave a comment, just hit the comment button at the bottom of the post, and a box will pop up, then just follow the directions. It's easy and fun.    



I hope Tuesday's Question's, and this question will encourage everyone to begin conversations by responding to each others comments. Plus, it's a way for all of us to have fun. But, if you are more comfortable just reading comments that's fine too.

O.K. finally it's your turn, What's In Your Purse, Wallet, Handbag, Computer Bag, Etc, Today? 



Link to title image http://www.oliobymarilyn.com/2012/12/lose-weight-forever-50-habits-of.html



Image of "I answered Tuesday's Question was drawn by my son, Taylor McCrary. 

I forgot how to insert the link to the image, but feel free to copy it and brag about the fact that you answered the famous Tuesday's Question. :))

Thank you for visiting A Nice Place In The Sun, and have a spectacular day!    

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23. Aww... Monday's: Drive Carefully

Welcome to Aww...Monday's. The only rule of Aww...Monday's is to post a picture that makes you say Aww...and smile.
Created by Sandee of Comedy Plus who has the Mister Linky's link to join in the fun. Here's the link to Comedy Plus   where you can read her post, add the link to your post, and meet other bloggers.

Aww..is indeed a great way to start the week.



                                               
Drive Carefully, because you never know who is sharing the highway.
                                                             
I'm going to get some Tuna Fish


Image Credit Google images

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24. Winter Wonderland sketches - preschool book that celebrates the wonder of winter for young and old....





Sketches from "Winter Wonderland"  written by Debbie Estrem.
This is the third book in a nostalgic series for parents and 
grandparents to share with little ones, celebrating 
the best memories of every season. 

The first two books in the series are now available!




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25. “Strictly Come Dancing” Christmas Special Features Great Hall set

The highly acclaimed British dancing show, Strictly Come Dancing, features the Great Hall set from the WB Studio Tour London in this years Christmas Special.

BBC One posted photos of the episode, revealing details of where the show, and its behind the scenes content was filmed. Much of the episode has been filmed with the usual Strictly Come Dancing studio, with a live audience and judges. However, many behind the scenes photos reveal the final contestants dancing in the Great Hall, peaking through the Great Hall doors, posing in front of a Wizarding Christmas Tree, and boarding the Hogwarts Express at the Making of Harry Potter: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London.

Some of these photos can be seen below:

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Visit BBC One for more!

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