My [Harry Potter] Christmas Tree Tour

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I have been so excited to share my Harry Potter Christmas tree with everyone! I handmade all of the ornaments myself using cheap Dollar Tree ornaments, paper, and lots of Mod Podge. I am sorry about the quality of these pictures. I wanted to show how truly magical it is in person, but my apartment is so dark that I had to open all of the blinds to give you guys a better look! I hope you enjoy this mini tour of my Christmas tree!

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I wish I would have had more time and resources to make the top of my tree really extravagant, but alas, I did not. So I just topped it with a simple (but still awesome) Platform 9 3/4 ticket! And I, of course, had to put my Hogwarts house ornament at the very top! (Go Go Gryffindor!)

I printed off book covers, glued them to cardboard, and lined them with glitter. They were probably my favorite ornaments on the tree.

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I added different ornaments that really defined Harry Potter to me. The Deathly Hallows symbol, ornaments filled with potions (like the Felix Felicis one you see here), and Harry Potter’s acceptance letter. I used a mixture of canola oil and gold glitter for Felix Felicis, and I was so happy with how it turned out!

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I can’t forget the Golden Snitches with book page wings and my favorite quote, “I Solemnly Swear That I Am Up To No Good”! They are a little bit difficult to see, but the green ornaments have the Unforgivable Curses written on them with silver glitter!  You can also see my second “potion” ornament, Floo Powder, made with baking powder and multi-colored glitter!

I hope you enjoyed my quick little tour! Here are some close-ups and extras of my Harry Potter Tree! Click on the photos to get a closer look!

A list of all the ornaments I made:

  • Gryffindor House Ornaments (4)
  • Book Cover Ornaments (7)
  • Golden Snitches
  • Deathly Hallows Symbols
  • Lightning Bolt Symbols
  • Unforgivable Curses
  • Harry Potter Hogwarts Letter
  • Platform 9 3/4 Train Ticket
  • I Solemnly Swear I’m Up To No Good Quote
  • “Potion” Ornaments (3)
    • Floo Powder
    • Felix Felicis
    • Veritaserum

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Harry Potter Recipes for a Harry Potter Halloween!

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If I ever throw a big Halloween party, everything is going to be Harry Potter themed. Games, snacks, décor! I’ve been preparing myself for such an occasion by pinning every HP party pin I come across. This past weekend I decided to attempt a few recipes that I’ve been dying to try and give a little review on them! (I mean c’mon, who’s never tried to re-create Butter Beer before?!) I am absolutely NOT a professional cook. I am actually kind of awful unless I am following directions word for word. But even though I made some changes (for better or for worse), everything turned out pretty good! Looking for some easy Harry Potter themed snacks for that Halloween party you’re throwing? Try these three pleasantly surprising recipes!

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I’ve altered the recipes a little, but I will post the original recipe link!

Pumpkin Pasties:

Savory version:
    • 7.5 oz. (1/2 can) of pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
    • 1 Tbsp butter
    • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
    • 1/8 tsp sage
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1 package refrigerated pie dough
    • Flour for dusting
    • 1 egg, slightly beaten for egg wash
 Sweet version:
  • 7.5 oz. (1/2 can) of pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 2 Tbsp sugar or granulated sugar substitute
  • 1 package refrigerated pie dough
  • Flour for dusting
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten for egg wash

The first change I made was switching out the butter for coconut oil. Not because I was trying to be healthy…I actually ran out of butter. Not wanting to lose the buttery taste, I added a teaspoon of butter extract. In my mind, this made sense at the time. And hey! They turned out pretty good. Second, I made my own pie dough. It was a cheaper option and I thought it would be fun. So here’s the link I used for the homemade pie dough: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/07/easy-pie-dough-recipe.html

Instructions

  1. Thaw pie dough in refrigerator overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.
  3. Place parchment on (or grease) two half-sheet pans.
  4. Mix pumpkin puree with room temperature butter in a large bowl, and stir in garlic, cheese, and seasonings (or just seasonings and sugar for the sweet version). Set aside.
  5. Dust a flat surface with flour, roll pie crust out to 1/8 inch thick, and cut into 4-inch circles (or larger, if you prefer) with a pastry cutter or edge of a glass.
  6. Spoon out a half teaspoon or less of the pumpkin mixture onto one side of the dough circles, fold over to create half-moons, and crimp the edges closed. Cut three tiny slits into the top of each to vent.
  7. Transfer pasties to baking sheets, and brush each with egg wash.
  8. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until lightly golden.
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes before diving in.

My Experience: I LOVED the savory version. I actually had a few for breakfast the next day! If you aren’t a huge fan of pumpkin I feel like you would still like these. The pumpkin flavor is very subtle! The sweet ones tasted mostly like little pumpkin pies. Original Recipe Here.

Rosemary Treacle Tart:

For the tart base:
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ¾ stick butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water
For the filling:
  • ¼ stick  butter
  • zest and juice of half a lemon
  • ⅔ cup + 1tbsp  Lyle’s Golden Syrup (or TREACLE)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 + ¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • ⅔ cup corn meal
  • 1 egg

The original recipe called for almond meal, which probably would have tasted a little better, but have you priced almond meal before? It’s like $20.00 for a small bag. No thanks. So I substituted with corn meal. Whatever..I can do what I want. Next, I actually made my own treacle. Lyle’s Golden Syrup is SO hard to find. I didn’t have time to order it on amazon…so I found this handy little video for homemade treacle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksIHlV9T17U

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a shallow 9½ inch pie tin.
  2. To make the base, work the butter into the flour using either your fingers, a food processor or a stand mixer. Once the butter and flour look like sandy crumbs, gradually add just enough ice water to bring the mixture together into a soft dough.
  3. Press the dough evenly into the base of your baking dish, and place in the oven for 30 minutes, or until lightly golden and cooked through.
  4. While the base is cooking, make the filling by placing the butter into a medium saucepan.
  5. Heat the butter over a low heat, until it foams, and begins to turn brown.
  6. Quickly add the lemon juice to the mixture to stop it from burning, and then add the remaining ingredients, except the egg, to the pan.
  7. Stir everything together gently over a low heat until everything is melted and cohesive.
  8. When the base is cooked, remove it from the oven, and set it aside. Stir the egg into the filling mixture, and then pour the filling onto the base, and place back in the oven for a further 20 minutes.
  9. When cooked, the tart should be golden brown and set, with a slight jiggle in the middle. Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes, before slicing and serving from the tin!

My Experience: I used a larger tin, so it was fairly thin and crispy! The treacle was very sweet, but actually tasted pretty mellow once the dish was complete. My boyfriend really enjoyed this one and he doesn’t usually like sweets! I think it would have turned out better if I used the almond meal. Original Recipe Here.

Butter Beer:

Butterbeer:
  • 2 liter cream soda
  • 2 tablespoons Butter Extract
  • 2 teaspoons Rum Extract
  Cream topping:
  • 1 7oz container of marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon Rum Extract
I had no doubt in my mind that this was going to be AMAZING. It just sounds so good! I followed the directions exactly and it turned out very good!
Instructions:

1. Drop the extracts into the 2 liter bottle, put on cap and slowly rotate until combined.

2. Combine all ingredients for cream topping together and mix by hand or mixer until completely blended and smooth.
3. Pour your butterbeer into a frosty mug and top with cream topping!
My Experience: It was SO GOOD. If you don’t like sweets, you may not like it. It is super sweet…especially the topping. But you can always go sans topping and it will still be just as delicious. Original Recipe Here.
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DIY Paperback Book Pumpkin!

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Every time I see old paperback books that we are withdrawing from our collection, I grab a few just in case I find a really cool DIY project! Well, I love fall and all things pumpkin- so today I am going to show you how to create this ADORABLE pumpkin from an old paperback book!

I know some people think it’s sacrilege to use books for crafts, but I’m here to tell you (as an employee of a public library) that books HAVE to be withdrawn from collections. People just won’t check out or buy books that are damaged. And then they just take up shelf room and collect dust on the when we could be using that space for new material. So, by using old books to craft we are giving them new life! And hey, if you still wanna read those books…then by all means…keep it and read it! Just don’t look down on us book crafters 😉

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What you will need:

An old book that you don’t mind ruining

An Exact-O knife or scissors

Orange Paint

A stick (size and shape depend on how you want your stem to look)

 

 

Okay, you’re going to start by removing the cover of your paperback.

Once removed, trace half of a pumpkin onto the paperback. I printed out a picture of a pumpkin and then cut it in half because I am horrible at free-handing any shape.

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Once your pumpkin is traced, you can begin cutting! I used scissors…and it took a really long time but the curves were easier than with an Exacto-knife.

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I painted the edges of the pumpkin orange and let it fully dry. Then I glued a stick between the outside pages. I had to add a few dabs of glue between some of the pages to make it “fan out” correctly which was a little time consuming …but worth it!

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Let the pages dry and add a little hemp cord or ribbon and there you have it! Fun fall decor for the book lover!

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What do you guys think?! Cute, huh? 

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My Favorite DIY Bookmarks

A few days ago my boyfriend, Brandon, brought me some Halloween themed bookmarks from the Middle School library he works at and we had a brief conversation about how bookmarks are basically life! I have about a hundred and I actually use all of them. I usually like to make my own bookmarks out of pretty scrapbook paper, old wallpaper, greeting cards, magazines, etc. but I have come across some really fun DIY bookmarks while scouring Pinterest for book related crafts and I wanted to share my favorites with you! If you are a reader, you need a bookmark! So choose a few to make and spend this weekend crafting, while making something that will get a lot of use!

Do you have a ton of Washi Tape in your craft bag that hasn’t been used in months? Well I certainly do! Check out these cool Washi Tape bookmarks from The Kolb Corner!

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This is one of my favorites! We are always withdrawing damaged or old books from our library collection and I’m always trying to find ways to utilize them for crafts. Go to your local library book sale and buy a few old hardbacks and make these beautiful bookmarks from Totally Green Crafts!

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The art of relaxing adult coloring is so big right now! Why not color something you will actually use? Dawn Nicole Designs has free printable bookmarks that you can color to fit your mood!

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I love how creative these Popsicle Stick bookmarks from Rock Paper Feather are! You really can decorate these any way you like and they are way more fun than ordinary paper.

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Sometimes I don’t feel like being crafty, but I still need a bookmark. That’s where these adorable printable Harry Potter bookmarks from Artsy Fartsy Mama come in!

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Which DIY bookmark is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

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DIY Book Spine Poetry

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(Walk the Edge, Linger, A Step Toward Falling, Fade, Wake)

It’s Friday! Let’s have some fun! I am always looking for fun things to do with books. Whether it be book crafts or organizing my bookshelf (I promise I have a life outside of this). I have done Book Page Poetry, where you cut book pages into strips and then re-organize them and highlight certain words to make poetry, but I just recently tried Book Spine Poetry. I don’t consider myself to be a very “poetic” person. I like writing…but I don’t write poetry. I thought I was going to be awful at this! But it was actually really really fun! I just thought I would share a few of my “spine poetry” creations with you and I encourage you to go through your personal library or your public library and try out some poetry!

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(Mary Mary, Blue-Eyed Devil, The Girl You Left Behind)

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(Aftermath, So Wild a Dream, Journey of the Dead, The Big Sky)

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(Leap of Faith, All I Need, Hold Fast, Don’t Look Back)

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(Wild, Manhunt, Let Him Go, Unbroken)

Feel free to share any of your Book Spine Poetry pictures with me in the comments or post them on Instagram and tag me in them (@revitalizedreading)!

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