Saturday, April 28, 2012

"In dreams, we enter a world that is entirely our own."

 ***If you don't care for "crafting" and/or things related to Harry Potter, you might not like this posting and just wanted to forewarn you about it.***

In keeping with my goal to live "a life more creative," I present to you my next creative endeavor/crafted project in my efforts for gifting of the handmade sort.

My new favorite thing is to dream up packaged gift sets that stretch a cohesive theme to its absolute limits. I will come up with one element of the gift and then just spin that and stretch it in as many different directions as I possibly can. For this gift idea, I took inspiration from the amazing collective that is the Harry Potter series.

This gift is for another individual very close to me (and I am hoping they don't stumble upon this before I am finally able to deliver it to them) and this person is one seriously diehard Harry Potter fan. I started with the idea to crochet them a baby hat - amigurumi-style - in the likeness of Hedwig (Harry's owl).  I free-form crocheted it complete with ear flaps and long ties for under the chin. I stylized it a little by making ears that were adorned with cute black bows (do owls even have ears? Whatever. Like I said - I stylized it.) I could probably make it again if I wanted to but since I don't have a pattern, the hat is probably very much an original in and of itself for the most part. I added another crocheted piece - a scarf in the colors of Gryffindor house - and sized it for specifically for a baby in their first year. I readily expect that it won't probably be used/worn and I don't care since this whole set is mostly for novelty and gifty-ness anyway. The third item of the set is a child-sized wand made to resemble Hermione's wand. It was sculpted out of Sculpey clay with an aluminum knitting needle core and it's a little bit longer than a pencil. The fourth (and final) part of the set is something I didn't make and "outsourced" by way of Etsy only because I calculated out the cost of making it and figured it was cheaper to just buy it - a teeny-tiny Hogwarts acceptance letter!! The design is that for an American Girl-type doll but I also felt like it would be just the right size for a (novelty version) Hogwarts acceptance letter.

The final part of the gift set was something I really mulled over for a while. I wanted to package it up in a way that continued to play upon the Harry Potter theme but I just wasn't sure how/what I could do exactly that wouldn't make it too big to ship via regular postal snail mail. I liked the idea of putting it in a mini suitcase (of sorts) or trunk - like the idea that it could be carried right onto the Hogwarts Express or something and ultimately act as a conversation and functional storage element that could be kept around. When I did research on that option though I discovered it would be quite costly - both to purchase it (because I didn't want to deal with making it) and to ship it.

I must have walked around art and craft stores for upwards of 8-10 hours (that's what I do when I am brainstorming hardcore and trying to get a part of a creative venture right). Literally, I walked the aisles and brainstormed. Eventually I stumbled upon the idea of a book safe/hollow book and thought, "Hmm... I could do a faux spell book or textbook that otherwise could be a Hogwarts required text..." I sort of liked the idea but kind of hated it because of a myriad of reasons but was mostly centered around my own discomfort (even if it was just for novelty) of giving someone a spell book and not a Bible - I strongly adhere myself to a life inspired of and by scripture as much as possible.

Eventually, I was able to brainstorm my way to doing the fake book idea but using the inspiration of the fictional story within the Harry Potter books themselves of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard." It seemed exactly the perfect way to take things and I loved that it was not something of divination or magic and also something that specifically connected with Hermione. I looked up pictures of what the book looked like in the movie, etc. etc. etc. and then set to work trying to make it. Long story even longer? I totally had a craft fail moment that I don't even want to gratify with a picture. Just trust me. It was BAD.

I ended up having to buy a second hollow book and walked the aisles of Michaels and AC Moore (yet again!) until I found myself in the scrapbooking aisles (a department of art stores I generally hate to deal with because they never cease to overwhelm me with options). I brainstormed materials that seemed like they would make sense for creating the different elements of the book and then looked very specifically for them and also aimed to keep them within a strict color palette that I originally didn't even consider so that this time around it would match the child's nursery where everything might end up being displayed. After finding individual decorative scrapbook pages and some pre-fab stickers, I was finally able to get it all together enough to create the Harry Potter-inspired book safe you see below. I'm pretty content with how it came out and can only complain about how hasty I ended up being toward the end which will require me to fix it a little bit before I can actually send it up because I got a little sloppy toward the end of the assembly of all of the elements.

Was able to find corrugated paper that really imitated/suggest that their were real pages! Cool, eh?

The lettering is from a letter decal set and the tree is actually a low-profile three dimensional tree sticker/embellishment intended for scrapbooking in some way. I think it works well despite the fact that the movie version of the book is actually supposed to be a stump rather than a full tree.

So, that's that!!! I really like this gift set and though I don't know that I would ever recreate it for someone else, I did enjoy (for the most part) the challenge of both culling together the ideas that made it all come together as well as making them. Yay for being two for two in my endeavor to live and GIVE more creatively.

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