Happy Harry Potter 2017 Kick Off Giveaway

It’s time once again for my most favorite two weeks of the year: my Happy Harry Potter series! This is the time where I convince my wizard loving friends to get geeky and create brand new Harry Potter tutorials, party ideas, book lists, recipes and more.

Harry Potter gift ideas. Great Christmas and birthday presents for Harry Potter fans

We have an amazing line up this year but before we get to all the new DIY Harry Potter ideas I’ve got a fabulous giveaway for you. This is full of must have gift ideas for Harry Potter fans of all ages! To enter scroll to the bottom of this post and remember to check in every day since we’ll have new ways to enter added through the next two weeks!

We’re starting off with a $50 Amazon Gift card because well there’s so much amazing HP stuff out there these days that I want you to be able to pick! Whether you are waiting for the Illustrated Prisoner of Azkaban, or maybe you want your very own Harry Potter bathing suit, or just a Potter trivia to play while on the go there is something fun for everyone.
Harry Potter swag fun Make Love Not Horcruxes bag and Hogwarts House necklaces

Next I’m giving away one of my Make Love Not Horcruxes Totes and a Hogwarts Tie Necklace. For the necklace you can pick which Hogwarts House you want and I’ll make sure to make one in the colors that corresponds to your house!

cratejoy fandom subscription boxes make amazingly thoughtful presents

On Wednesday I’ll be sharing one of my favorite gift ideas for Harry Potter fans: fandom subscription boxes! Because what is better than a monthly surprise on your doorstep. Whether it’s book related or full on Harry Potter focused CrateJoy subscription boxes have LOADS of fun option that would delight Potter fans. I’ll be unboxing a bunch of them live on my Facebook page and picking some of the contents to send to the giveaway winner!

alohomora harry potter printable

I firmly believe every Harry Potter fan needs some nod towards the magic in their homes. What better way to do that than with some Wizarding art? Here are four amazing Harry Potter Printables to chose from and the lucky winner doesn’t even have to choose how about that for fun.

The Unofficial Guide to Crafting the World of Harry Potter by jamie Harrington

Did you know there is a whole craft book just for Potterheads? Jamie Harrington’s The Unofficial Guide to Crafting the World of Harry Potter is fun and perfect for tweens to do on their own or pick a craft as a family and bond over crafty magical love. This is one of my favorite gifts for new Potter lovers because it’s so fun, not sized and kind of unique!

Hogwarts School Quilt for Harry Potter Fans

And last and definitely the most awesome, the winner will receive a Harry Potter quilt from our vary own Polly. You have probably drooled over her quilt for years, I know I have. She is generously giving away one of her amazing Hogwarts Houses quilts! SO gorgeous. Too bad I can’t enter I’m gonna be crazy jealous of the winner that’s for sure! And if you are a quilter be sure to check out her amazing quilt patterns.

unique must have gifts harry potter fans

Enter to win this amazing prize pack by using the widget below or click here if the widget isn’t loading. Make sure to check back as new ways to enter will be added throughout the series!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This year’s Happy Harry Potter giveaway winner will give a fun package including:


DIY Rainbow Unicorn Crafts Party Ideas and Block Party

Life might not always be rainbows and unicorns…but your crafting certainly can be with these fun projects.  We’ve got you covered from parties to costumes to quilts and everything in between.
DIY Unicorns Rainbows Crafts and Party ideas

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Do I Need an Interactive Harry Potter Wand?

When I didn’t think they could make the Wizarding World of Harry Potter any better they go and completely blow my mind with the extension and interactive Harry Potter wands!

great tips on wizarding world of harry potter wands

You know how we’ve ALL practiced Wingardiun Leviosa? Well picture that but you actually see the the feather floating into the air after you swish and flick. But really you can see it in my video below! Universal Orlando was seriously my happy place before but guys the interactive wands are a game changer.

great resource on wands and universal vactions

Are the Wands at Universal Worth It?

But you might be wondering, are the wands actually worth the cost? And to that I say a resounding YES. Last year when I went to Universal Studios Orlando with my family we all got wands. And I brought mine back with me this year. There was just something magical about having our own wizarding right hands. But it’s not just a wonderful souvenir of a great vacation, we were immediate able to USE the wands to magnify our fun. Do the wand ceremony in Olivander’s it’s WAY fun and really cute.


What Do the Wands Do?

You see all around the Wizarding World both in Hogesmede and in Diagon Alley there are medallions on the floor. These let  you know that it is a spot to cast a charm. Engraved on the medallions are the incantation to use as well as directions for how to move your wand. The exact position and speed can take some practice but once you get it you can watch your spell change things. Also there are some secret ones that you can find (ask the staff if you need clues of where to look).

For Harry Potter fans young and old it’s worth while to carve out a chunk of the day to go to each spot and casts the spells. It’s super fun. One of the best things about the Wizarding World is the 360 degree angles of awesomeness. EVERYWHERE you look, in every direction, your immersed in the magic. And when you add the wands to the mix you all of a sudden become an active participant.

Can't make it to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter right now. No worries tour it through pictures while you get excited for when you can really be there!

I’ve said it before but the attention to detail is incredible and each of the magical displays show different fun scenes and peeks into the world so many of us have brought into our hearts through the books and movies. If you have not had the honor of visiting the Wizarding World at Universal Orlando I’m telling you it’s worth saving up for. 100% guys make it happen.

For a bit of eye candy you can see my photo tour of the Wizarding World and if you want a video tour check out my videos I took while walking through Diagon Alley and Hogsmede on my most recent trip. It really is amazing.

all about wands at the wizarding world of harry potter

Which Wand Should You Get?

Now you might be curious about some muggle facts about the wands. The wands are stunning and there are a variety of styles and sizes. You can buy the wands styled after those that your favorite characters carried. I think my favorite character wands is Luna’s SOOOO pretty. In addition to charter wands there are generic ones. Generic in the sense that they aren’t styled or attached to a witch or wizard from the stories. I opted for one of those. I just felt like it was more MY WAND that way. But they are all special in their own ways.

While we all know that the wand choses the wizard and all you might want to consider the size of your want when you purchase it. Remember you’ll be carrying them around the park when you’re not using them and if you’re like me you’ll want to lug the protective box it comes with just “in case”. I picked out a wand I loved but it happened to be one of the longer ones and it was definitely trickier to fit into the lockers with the rest of my stuff when I was going on the roller coasters. A few times I had to get two lockers. On this last trip I was gifted with one of the smaller wands and that was so much easier to carry around and stash when I was ready to ride. Just something to keep in mind.

must read guide to interactive wands at universal

I would encourage you as you are planning for your trip to the Wizarding World make sure to work into your budget buying the wands even if your whole family shares one it will make the magic even more real and memorable. There’s just something so fun about casting the charms yourself and working together as a family to see what the different spells do.

cabana bay beach resort

I feel like the most blessed girl ever to have been hosted on this last trip. It was the best mix of work and pleasure. We spent the first half of the days talking shop while working at the gorgeous retro Cabana Bay Beach Resort which made me feel like I was transported straight into the Jetsons cartoon world.  As a perk for staying in a park hotel we got park passes with early admission. It was so awesome to have such a comfy place to come back and crash at after our jammed packed afternoon and evenings in the park and at City Walk. I think I’ll have to write a whole post about this place because it was so cute and I can’t wait to go back!

Squatty Potty Unicorn gold

I brought home my very first Squatty Potty which I didn’t even know I needed (but now we can’t imagine living without!) as well as unicorn gold which I’ll be giving to all the men for Father’s Day. The stuff is seriously magic. Every time we use a public bathroom now Teddy tells me I should buy a bottle for them and just leave it there hahahaha.

We got to drive around in style thanks to the folks at Kia. And my oh my was that a snazzy ride! And of course I am so grateful to have gone with such an amazing bunch of blogger friends who thankfully loved Harry Potter as much as I did and never rushed me through the magic.

Best resource for all things Harry Potter! Party ideas, tutorials, printables, sewing projects, recipes, book lists, shirts and so much more

Want More Harry Potter? Check out ALL my Harry Potter crafts, recipes, book lists, and more. I literally have hundreds!

These all look so good. THings to remember to try on vacation at universal studios and the wizarding world of harry potter

Need to know what to eat on your next trip? I’ve got you covered, my foodie family ate so much yumminess when we visited  Universal Orlando and I took tons of pictures and shared the lowdown of the best places to eat at Universal Orlando!


Geek Crafts DIY Tutorials and Block Party

Your inner geek is going to LOVE all these fun DIY ideas this week.  There’s something here for so many fandoms!
So many great Geek crafts and DIY tutorials

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DIY Star Wars and Block Party

May the 4th Be With You is coming right up this week for Star Wars Fans, so we thought we’d share some of our favorite inspiration.
Lots of awesome diy Star Wars projects and tutorials
Stormtrooper Cupcakes | Princess Leia Cupcakes | Crocheted Death Star Christmas Ornament R2-D2 Mini-Quilt

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Comic Con Cosplay Etiquette 101

Comic Cons are some of the best people watching there is but there are some things that you should know before Photographing and Taking Video of Cosplayers.

cosplay etiquette how to take pictures at comic con

If you are a costume enthusiast like me you might find yourself giddy to be surrounded by all the amazing cosplay creativity that comes with con life. I’m not going to lie my absolute favorite parts of conventions is the cosplay. Whether it’s the variety of Salt Lake Comic Con or the video game focus of PAX I just adore seeing all the amazing DIY costumes. While most cosplayers are flattered by the attention that their costumes bring, there are few things to keep in mind so that, in the midst of your excitement over seeing your favorite character from that obscure-but-awesome fandom come to life, you don’t accidentally cross any lines.

Amazing Doctor Who weeping angel cosplay and comic con photo etiquette

  1. Always ask before taking pictures or videos. Most cosplayers are more than willing to pose for a picture, but make sure you ask permission before clicking that shutter.
  2. Respect the person in the costume. While it might be normal to throw an arm around your friends in photos, don’t assume that’s okay when posing for pictures with cosplayers. Sometimes the contact might damage their costume and, more than that, they are strangers – you’ve got to ask before touching strangers. If you want to put your arm around their shoulders or waist, ask first. Under no circumstance is it appropriate to try to touch a cosplayer inappropriately. Make sure to stay away from private areas. If their costume has patches of exposed skin, be extra considerate. And finally, if they don’t say yes, that means no.
  3. Don’t touch the costumes or props. Sometimes in the excitement over the awesomeness of a costume it might be easy to forget that there is someone in that thing. If the costume is oh-so-amazing and you’re oh-so-curious about how something feels, do not try to sneak a touch. Oftentimes, costumes are more delicate than they look and some people just do not want to be touched even if it’s through layers of gear. Politely ask if it’s okay and respect their answer.
  4. Consider your timing. Cons are long and everyone – including cosplayers – needs to take breaks to eat and run to the bathroom. If they are sitting down for a bite, heading for the restroom, or talking on the phone, be patient and, if possible, wait for them to finish and ask them politely if they have time for a picture.
  5. Watch the flow of traffic. There will be a lot of people so when you do take a photo (after asking permission), step to the side so you’re not smack in the middle of everyone else’s way or blocking an emergency exit.
  6. Don’t jump into someone else’s picture. No one wants to show their friends pictures of themselves, that awesome cosplayer and that jerk of a stranger that forced himself into the shot. It takes time to get a good picture and there will often be a line of people wanting to get a picture with popular cosplayers. Don’t just butt in. Wait your turn.
  7. Be nice. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. If you don’t like the character that the cosplayer is dressed up as, you don’t need to announce it. Skip any hateful talk, even if you think it’s a playful joke. Hearing hateful comments (even if it’s addressed to the character) can get old fast. Please don’t criticize their costume, how it looks on them, how accurate it is or how it’s made. Everyone comes with different abilities and experience and, in the end, this is about having fun.
  8. Don’t go all crazy. Control your excitement.You are a stranger and even though you might interpret your own behavior as appreciation or excitement, screaming and running up to someone you don’t know might just make the person terrified.
  9. Be extra mindful of kids. When kids are involved, keep all of the above tips in mind – times 10. Whether it’s kids in cosplay or just nearby, be careful not to come on too aggressively in a way that might scare them. Of course, do not touch them. Kids in costume can be super cute, but always ask permission from their parents or the adult that is with them before taking their picture.
  10. Report inappropriate behavior. Finally, if you see a cosplayer being harassed or endangered, please report it.

basic cosplay etiquette how and when to take pictures properly at comic cons

I originally posted this on the Salt Lake Comic Con blog.

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Costume Tips from Cosplay Pros - Rae Gun Ramblings #diy #comiccon #halloween

Fabulous tips for costume making from Cosplay Pros


DIY Quilts and Blanket Tutorials and Block Party

Here in my part of central Washington it’s been below freezing for WEEKS…and we’ve got more snow coming down today.  All I want to do is curl up in a quilt with a mug of hot cocoa until it warms up a little.  So I thought I’d share some quilty inspiration, especially since lots of us are getting back to some of our bigger quilt ambitions since the holidays are over.
Super cozy DIY quilt and blanket tutorials and projects

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Happy Harry Potter Series: Days 7 + 8

Oh you guys do I have an AMAZING collection of Harry Potter Crafts and Recipes to share with you today.

Awesome unique Harry Potter crafts, recipes and DIY projects

The projects from Happy Harry Potter Days 7 and 8 are top notch. A lot of these gals have been joining us every single year since the very first series and the newbies have totally brought their best projects. I hope you love them as much as I did!

Luna Lovegood Embroidery Hoop Art and More Harry Potter Craft Tutorials and Recipes

Just when you think Bev from Flamingo Toes can’t come up with anything cuter, she totally outdoes herself! How amazing is this Luna Lovegood Embroidery Art?! Ahhh I love it sooo much I really need to finally learn how to embroider.

Butterbeer Sandwich Cookies Recipes. These Harry Potter inspired treats look amazing

When I first saw Emily from Is This Really My Life‘s Butterbeer Sandwich cookies I literally thought about inviting myself over because really how delicious do those look! I’m excited to make up a batch for myself.

I need to make one of these! Harry Potter inspired Slytherin Quilt Pattern. Sewing and quilting project.

Polly from Pieces by Polly is at it again with yet another AMAZING Harry Potter Quilt. I love love love how awesome this Slytherin Quilt Pattern turned out. Make sure to click over to her post because she’s offering some amazing discounts on her quilt patterns (more than half off) and she’s got another discount code for all her other products (I have a bunch from her and love them all).
SO many awesome Young Adult lit villains

Did you catch my list of awesome YA Villains. It was totally inspired by Umbridge and Voldermort. Find over 15 great books with great villains.

Expecto Patronum Shirt tutorial and more harry Potter crafts and recipes

So it might surprise you that out of the MANY MANY Harry Potter shirts I have I do not own an Expecto Patronum Shirt yet. Luckily Laura from Laura’s Crafty Life has the cutest tutorial out to help me fix that!

Harry Potter Tote bag tutorial and lots of other awesome Harry Potter crafts and recipes

Now that’s what I call carrying your books around in style! I can’t get over the cuteness of this Harry Potter Tote Bag that Kyla from Funky PolkaDot Giraffe made. She’s got an awesome step by step tutorial so you can make your own!

harry potter Muggle money wallet tutorial and other awesome potter crafts and recipes

For those of you witches and wizards that sometimes head out into the Muggle world Stephanie from Crafting in the Rain has a speedy Muggle Money Wallet tutorial to help you keep your galleons straight from your dollars and pounds!
Butterbeer Fudge Topped Blondies and more awesome Harry Potter inspired crafts and recipes

And we can’t leave you without just one more Butterbeer treat. How delicious do these Butterbeer Fudge Topped Blondies from April of Mama Loves food look? So good right! I can’t wait to use her recipe to make myself a bunch YUM.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaways!!!

Harry Potter everything. Great book nerd gifts and book swag.

See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you’re there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping.

Prize Pack #1

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So many awesome Harry Potter gift ideas. Great for readers

Prize Pack #2

See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you’re there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

15+ Best YA Book Villains

We tend focus a lot on the heroes and heroines when describing great books but so often it’s the villains that really make a story magical!

Great reading list full of awesome villains that keep you on your toes. Young Adult Books

In honor of the fact that two of most notoriously hated villains in Young Adult Literature can be found in the Harry Potter books and because the theme of this month’s Owl Crate is Good vs. Evil, that my sister and I would share our most memorable villains. (Are you as excited about week two of the Happy Harry Potter series as I am?)

Awesome villains in Young Adult books. We all loved to hate Harry Potter's Umbridge. Great reading list.

We were guests on the We Heart Books facebook page to chat through the WHYS of our choices which you can watch the replay of below but I’m also linking my Amazon associates links for each book so you can get a description and learn more about each title. I’ve got to say I found it surprisingly hard to come up with a non-spoiler villains list. It seems the plot of A LOT of books with GREAT villains is pretty much “who done it?”

  • The King You know that saying about power corrupting? Well that plus magic! – Throne of Glass
  • Dolores Umbridge I must not tell lies and okay we’ll say Voldy too ;) – Harry Potter
  • Queen Levana Why wouldn’t you just mind force everyone to do your bidding even to say marry you if you could? – The Lunar Chronicles  (starts with Cinder)
  • The Darkling – The Grisha Trilogy (starts with Shadow and Bone)
  • The Dad Well he’s a serial killer who raised his son as an accomplice no biggie – Jasper Dent Series (starts with I Hunt Killers)
  • Commandant Oh she’s the worse kind of head mistress meets drill Sargent but there are lots of baddies – An Ember in the Ashes series
  • Defiance Bolton RamseySong of Ice and Fire (not YA starts with A Game of Thrones)
  • The Duchess of the Lake I don’t care how dangerous it is for you I’ll use YOUR body for what I want when I want oh and if it doesn’t work out I’ll find someone else to give it go – The Lone City Series (starts with The Jewel)
  • Adelina Amouteru  We absolutely love that this is told from the villain’s perspective which of course makes it hard to totally see her as a villain – The Young Elites series
  • The Uncle Yeah this guy gave me the major creeps. The lengths he’ll go and the evil he’ll do makes me really anxious about reading the sequel  – Gold Seer Trilogy (starts with Walk the Earth a Stranger)
  • The Seeker She totally stressed me out why won’t she just give up already!? – The Host
  • EveryonePenryn and the End of Days Series (starts with Angelfall)
  • Cole Big whoop that he’s boss of the Underground he’s awesome a super hot musician – Everneath series
  • Alexandra Miles  She’s the ultimate High School mean girl. But the depths of her scheming oh my! – Winning series
  • General Holland He’s awful from the beginnin but as the series go on you realize just how twisted this guys intentions are!  – Mila 2.0 series
  • Warner He’s done SO many bad things but he was raised that way, is he bad, but he’s cute too – Shatter Me series

Just remember that this is an unedited repost of the FB live video :)

So who are some of YOUR all time favorite villains?

And there’s still time to enter the giant Harry Potter Giveaways if you haven’t already!

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So many great books for Harry Potter fans. I've read a ton of these and totally agree with this reading list.

These books all look awesome. creative fairytale retellings mostly young adult

Happy Harry Potter Series: Day 6

Sometimes a girl has just got to make some awesome Harry Potter crafts and food. Am I right?

So many awesome Harry Potter Inspired Recipes Crafts and even Beauty Tutorials

And for those days, err weeks, err years, we’ve got the annual Happy Harry Potter series and without further delay here are the features from this year’s Day 6 posts!

DIY Harry Potter Bottle Cap pendant tutorial

I cannot get enough of book inspired jewelry. I have SO many HP inspired pieces but it looks like I’ll be needing two more because these DIY Bottlecap Harry Potter Pendants by Morena’s Corner are just too cute.

How to make an awesome DIY 3 Broomsticks mug. Awesome Harry Potter gift and craft idea

Whether it’s pumpkin juice or butterbeer you’re sipping you’ll definitely want to do it from a fabulous DIY 3 Broomsticks Mug just like this awesome one Kristie from Our Kerrazy Adventure made!

Fabulous Harry Potter Glasses and Scar Boy's Shirt

I’m pretty obsessed with this simple Harry Potter  Glasses and Scar Tee that Bonnie from Whisk ‘Em sewed up. I just love how straightforwardly  geeky it is. I totally want one but I think on a woman that might be awkward with the boobs ha but I pretty sure Teddy will be getting one in the near future!

Harry Potter No-Churn Butterbeer Ice Cream Recipe

Oh man how amazing does this No-churn Butterbeer Ice Cream Recipe from Jen of My Daylights Blog look? Yup I’m pretty sure I’ll need to be making some of this!

How awesome Harry Potter creatures inspired nail stamping tutorial

And in case you missed it I went live on the Rae Gun Ramblings Facebook page with a Harry Potter Creatures Inspired Nail Art Tutorial. At some point I might make it into a respectable blog post but for now feel free to skip around and through the video if you’re curious :)

And don’t forget to enter the giveaways!!!

Harry Potter everything. Great book nerd gifts and book swag.

See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you’re there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping.

Prize Pack #1

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So many awesome Harry Potter gift ideas. Great for readers

Prize Pack #2

See more about each prize and sponsor at this giveaway post and be sure to enter the other equally awesome prize pack while you’re there! Winner must have a US address or be willing to pay for international shipping.

a Rafflecopter giveaway