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Harry Potter

That time we decided to put on a Harry Potter market

April 26, 2016
Harry Potter, In the News, Kawaii Klaws, Nerds and Geeks, Parties and Fun

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On Saturday 26th March we at the Pastel Palace hosted a Harry Potter themed market called Evening at Hogwarts. When we originally discussed it, it was just going to be about four stalls in the front yard of our shop running past our usual closing time. So a facebook event was created and we probably shared it to the usual amount of people we share any of our other events to (there are monthly artist and crafters markets as well as the occasional fundraiser event or art show). But somehow, without us ever understanding how or why, the event went viral and the numbers of potential attendees starting moving up to the hundreds. There was a venue change when it started getting into the thousands and by the time we had the event, there were over 7800 people who had clicked “going” and 18,000 who said they were interested in the event.

In the end we had thirteen vendors (you can see the list of vendors here) in a hall which has a maximum capacity of maybe 300 or so people and a rough guess of maybe 6000 people turning up to attend. People lined up for upwards for two hours, some people event claimed they waited for over four, in the hot sun for a chance to look at our little market. So say we were unprepared for this much interest in a massive understatement. But how do you actually prepare for something like this? How seriously can you take the attending list from a facebook event? How many times can you post reminders that this is a small, free market a few Harry Potter fans are putting on for fun? It was bizarre and I’m still shocked by it all. We had people lining up for blocks consistently from about 11am until 6.45pm when I realised the line was still there and just let everyone in so we could close at 7pm.

 

The good news is that all of the vendors did well, sold heaps and made some money. Our Ruby Kawaii stall did better in one day that we usually make at a whole weekend at Supanova! I only ended up doing eight sets of nails because I felt like I could be of more use elsewhere, thought eight sets of nails at one event is still pretty good! Ben spent a good four hours on our facebook event fielding complaints and keeping people updated when he had only come along to help us set up and take a few photos! My friends Chris and Bizzy who were only meant to come for a couple of hours to serve/set up were there the whole day without rest. Thanks again, guys!

Needless to say we’re looking into having a 2nd event but will be planning it very differently to ensure things run more smoothly and people don’t have to line up for hours in the sun. We’re also going to be careful about expecting that kind of turn out again, as there’s a very good chance it was a weird, once-off freak occurrence. I mean, I had my Harry Potter fan club in the early-mid 2000s and we had maybe 100 or so members at its peak, so we had NO idea a Hogwarts themed market would get so much attention when the last movie and book came out years ago! So needless to say you’ll probably see me post about this in the near future!

Here are a few photos Ben took before things got too hectic and he became our social media manager:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Harry Potter’s 34th Birthday Party!

August 26, 2014
Harry Potter, My Life, Nerds and Geeks, Parties and Fun

Harry Potter's 34th birthday party

On Sunday 10th August I got together with a bunch of friends and celebrated Harry Potter’s 34th birthday! OK so Harry’s birthday is actually on the 31st of July, but as that was midweek and I had Greazefest on the weekend immediately after, we decided to put it off another week.

Back in the 2002 I started a Harry Potter fan club which was primarily aimed at adults which ran til around 2007. Sadly interest petered out when the final book was released and we found it hard to get people to come to our meet ups. But I made some awesome friends from the club and we make sure that we celebrate Harry’s birthday every year as a way to catch up and reminisce about the good ol’ days.

We held this years party at The Scratch where we took over the whole back half of the bar with decorations and a ridiculous amount of food that we all made and brought along. I made cauldron cakes (tiny choc cupcakes with liquorice handles) and cockroach clusters (choc crackles with extra shredded coconut). We drank Butterbeer (as well as lots of delicious beer and cider) and had a lovly time catching up. It was really lovely having some new friends come along as well!

I only took a few photos as I was too busy socialising and eating delicious treats but I managed to snap a few on my phone:

Harry Potter's 34th birthday party Harry Potter's 34th birthday party
Harry Potter's 34th birthday party Harry Potter's 34th birthday party
Harry Potter's 34th birthday party Harry Potter's 34th birthday party

 

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Harry Potter Trivia Winners!

July 8, 2014
Harry Potter, Nerds and Geeks, Parties and Fun, Uncategorized

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As you are all probably aware, I really like Harry Potter. I’ve even blogged about it a few times. Well I found out a little while ago that a Brisbane group called Man vs Bear were hosting a Harry Potter trivia night at a local bar, so obviously I immediately signed up a team (hilariously named “Quidditch while we’re ahead”) and started recruiting friends to join me in my quest to prove how big a HP nerd I really am. In the weeks leading up to the night, I tried to cram as much study in as possible but between working my day job and starting my nail business I only manged to read the Philosophers Stone and a few chapters of Chamber of Secrets. Oh no! I did a whole bunch of online quizzes whenever I could, but I was so nervous! People kept joking about how there would be a group there who had no life and so knew every intricate detail of the books and would defeat us easily. NO! I had a reputation to uphold, I was known for my HP-love thanks to the (now defunct) Harry Potter fanclub and all of my appearances on the radio, TV and in local newspapers  whenever the new film/book was coming out.

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On the afternoon of the quiz, I met with my team to discuss tactics and have a few quick drinks to ease our nerves. We were all HP fans with excellent knowledge who were keen to win! I actually managed to rope in my friend Jen who did the quiz the night before (it’d been so popular, they had to add an extra night, which happened to be the night before we were going) who found out that the questions would be different but it was great to have some insider knowledge on how it all worked.

I won’t go through every blow by blow details of the evening as that’s ridiculous/boring but here are some of the highlights:

  • We got stuck up in the back corner as people apparently lined up super early, but it was a cosy little booth where no one could cheat off us and wasn’t crammed with people like up the front
  • The served Butterbeer! It was actually a cocktail but a delicious one! They also had shots caused Parselmouth which weren’t as delicious as they were full of absinthe but I tried one anyway ;)
  • Our team worked together brilliantly, we all knew things that left the rest of the team stumped and there were no arguments about any answers, even when we got some wrong
  • At the half way mark when the scores were double checked by the hosts, our team was ahead by a whole FOUR POINTS!
  • The last half of the quiz was tough and I started to worry again some other super team would beat us… BUT WE WON!

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Look I’m not going to lie, I was one of those awful, obnoxious winners who screams, dances and carries on like a jerk. But I was so damn excited. I was also stoked when I realised the top prize was a Black Milk voucher, it was as though it was meant to be! Needless to say we celebrated for a while and I maybe made myself very, very sick (oops) but let’s face it, it was soooo worth it!

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Guess who’s back from the USA?!

November 21, 2013
Animals, Harry Potter, Life, Nerds and Geeks, Tattoo Talk, Things I Like, Travel, Wonderful Weekend

Well howdy y’all! Guess who got back from the USA today? Let me just start off by saying it was AMAZING and I’m a tiny bit bummed to be back in Brisbane. I mean, being able to rest, hug my pup and walk around the house in my underwear has definitely been wonderful but I really do love travelling and the USA was incredible.

I am going to write up a bunch of blogs about my trip, which will probably focus on each place we went to as well as a post or two about some of my America-wide experiences. This is mostly for my own benefit so that I have an everlasting memory of my trip but I also hope it will give people some helpful tips before they embark on a trip to the crazy ol’ US of A. There are more than a few tips I know I wish someone had told me about before we went, so I’d love to help other people have the best trip ever by giving them plenty of heads up about what to expect.

While I upload all of the happy snaps to my flickr, I thought I’d share some of the highlights of my trip to get the ball rolling (in no particular order):

  • THEME PARKS! We managed to go to four (yep, FOUR) on this trip. Disneyland and Universal Studios in LA and Disney World and Universal in Orlando.
  • THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER! Need I say more?
  • Getting a Halloween tattoo in LA (even if it caused me much duress for most of the trip because of the placement).
  • Finally getting to see Japan LA in real life and buying so many awesome things. I was in a rush (see next point) so I could have gone REALLY crazy if I’d had more time.
  • Going to see Elijah Wood’s new film in LA and standing beside him in the line at the candy bar where he struck up a conversation with me!
  • Going to Las Vegas as an adult, walking down the street drinking booze and discovering the majesty of Downtown Vegas. Oh and spending Halloween there!
  • Falling in love with New Orleans completely and utterly.
  • Trying so many delicious American craft beers everywhere we went.
  • Finally seeing New York where we saw and did SO MUCH! That city is crazy and wonderful!
  • Catching up with Cam, one of my best friends who I lived with in London. Also finally meeting Maya who I’ve known online for 10 years now!
  • Meeting and spending a lovely evening with Twinkie Chan who’s a bit of a crafty, kawaii hero of mine (she even blogged about our encounter!)
  • All of the animals! Squirrels, scores of dogs in coats, lizards, alligators, birds… there were so many!

OK that’s all I can think of without going totally berserk and just listening ever single thing we did. Ben and I had an amazing trip and I really can’t wait to share it with you all. Lots of photos will be coming soon!

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Harry Potter’s 32nd Birthday Party

August 4, 2012
Harry Potter, My Life, Nerds and Geeks

The 31st of July is Harry Potter’s birthday. As in the actual birth date of the character. Seeing as I once founded the first Australian Harry Potter fanclub (it’s true!), I like to do fun HP-themed things with those friends I made back in the fanclub days. Kimberly and I organised last years one rather quickly but it was a lot of fun so we did it again this year. This time we booked a space at the Platform Bar at Grand Central Hotel as their Functions Manager is the best! It was a small affair as a few people were sick or couldn’t make it but it was lots of fun and good to see the gang again.

Anyway, here are some photos from today (we didn’t have the party on the 31st as it was a Tuesday and we wanted to get our drank on!):


Golden Snitch cake pops, Chocolate Frogs and my poorly made Hogwarts cupcakes.


Various games, all HP-themed, of course.


OMG Kim’s cauldron cakes were the BEST!


As the venue runs alongside the train station we kept it “Hogwarts Express” themed :)


More snacks, some fancy potions bottles and books!


Kim and I. The HP-party duo and perpetual Gryffindor/Ravenclaw’s gals.


Diz joined the fanclub when she was TWELVE  and still comes to all our do’s 10+ years later!


Did I tell you guys how good these cake pops were? Coz they were AMAZING!!!


Second-floor bathroom selfies ;)


Kim and I enjoying some well-deserved beer!

Supanova Gold Coast 2012

April 25, 2012
Harry Potter, My Life, Nerds and Geeks

Guys, I had the best weekend ever! Supanova was at the Gold Coast for the first time and it was awesome! I had so much fun and am totally suffering post-Supanova depression right now ;_;

My good friend Kim and I headed down to the Gold Coast on Friday night where we stayed in a family members holiday unit so we wouldn’t have to drive the hour + drive down each day. I went as  Hufflepuff student as I was sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore (much to my dismay, as I’m Gryffindor through and through) but figured everyone would be in Gryffindor so I’d at least stand out. Turns out I was wrong as Hufflepuff seems to be the new in-thing, but oh well! We battled the Gold Coast public transport system with limited success, arriving at the Gold Coast Convention Centre about an hour later than planned. After skulling some Smirnoff energy drinks for an energy boost/buzz we lined up in the glaring sun with lots of sweaty cosplayers, wondering when it got so hot all of a sudden. Within about half an hour we were inside and absolutely shocked by how many people were there! I don’t know if it was just my imagination but it seemed WAY bigger and busier than the Brisbane Supanova. You could barely move for all the people and god forbid you got caught doing the wrong way up and aisle as it was like swimming upstream of a very geeky river.

After looking at all of the stalls, I started the lengthy process of lining up for photos and autographs with the Phelps twins. If you don’t know who they are, they are the actors who played the Weasley twins in the Harry Potter films. And in case you didn’t already know, the Weasley twins are my absolute favourite characters, followed closely by Ron. So naturally, I was VERY excited to be meeting them! I spent most of the Saturday in lines for a photo with them and then their autograph, which was hideously boring but I made the most of it by people-watching and chatting to the Harry Potter fans around me.

You weren’t allowed to hug the twins or pretty much interact with them at all so I just walked in and said hi to them and put my arms around them and got the photo taken and tried not to squeal like a teenybopper. You can tell in the photo just how excited I am because I normally never grin that much! I then moved on to the autograph line to wait for another million years to meet them and get their autographs, where I was actually able to talk to them for a bit. Oliver was pretty quiet, we just talked about how our days were going and about seeing the Gold Coast. James was much chattier, he asked me about how warm it was in my costume (I admitted it seemed like a great idea until I stepped out of the house) and we laughed at how it was a good thing I didn’t wear my cloak. He also saw my Dark Mark and asked when I got it done, I told him about seven years ago as I’m an old-school, hardcore fan from way back.

And then our first day was over!

Sunday my sister came down for the day despite being sick as a dog (that’s the spirit). I decided not to dress up and just went for over-the-top kawaii with lots of pink, black sequins and some Minnie Mouse ears to top it off. She chose to dress as Sookie Stackhouse from True Blood, in her Merlotte’s diner uniform. Super cute! Thanks again to the Gold Coast’s public transport system we arrived an hour later than planned and only had enough time to look at half of the stalls before we went to line up for the Phelps twins seminar. Unfortunately they don’t filter the fan questions so there was some excruciatingly awkward moments when some fans asked some terrible questions that the boys literally couldn’t answer. CRINGE!

Afterwards we went and lined up for our photo with the twins which was the best thing ever. We were warned yet again not to hug them and that we just had to go in, have the picture taken, and move on. So Erin and made the most of our limited time with them and walked in, said hello (hello again, in my case) and grabbed a twin each and posed. I admit I grabbed James pretty close, in fact we probably had about 80% body contact and if I’m not mistaken, our boobs were touching :D What can I say? I’m sleazy for the Weasley’s!

We then lined up for their autographs which took AGES and by the time we finally got to them, they’d been instructed to speed things up by not chatting to fans for so long so by the time Erin and I got to them we didn’t get to talk to them much. But they were still super sweet and polite and a delight to talk to, even it it was fairly brief. We wandered around for another half an hour, bought a few items and then went and watched the twins finish signing autographs with a group of teenaged fans (I know it’s lame but I love these guys, give me a break) and gave them a cheery wave when they finally left for the day.

Anyway, here are a few photos I took on the day. Hover over them for the description!

  A sneaky vodka before entering
Drop Dead Fred!  Amazing pink bling skull ring. Only $10!

Kawaii!  My sister as Sookie!

Once a non-believer, Cara falls under the spell of Harry’s magic

July 13, 2011
Harry Potter, In the News, My Life

Guess who was in the newspaper today? It’s kind of funny how, after the Brisbane Harry Potter fan club ceased to exist a few years ago, we still get contacted to do interviews and appear in the local press. This is by far the best one yet as far as circulation and the fact the journalist didn’t misquote me to make me like a total moron (as has happened a number of times in the past). On the downside, they got my surname wrong :(

You can see the online version of the article here as I haven’t had a chance to scan the actual newspaper article. Meanwhile I am off to sulk and mope about the last movie (which I have already seen twice now) and finally finish off he final book so I can sob and wallow some more!

I am a Harry Potter Geek (and proud of it)

July 12, 2011
Harry Potter, In the News, My Life, Nerds and Geeks

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you’re bound to be aware that the final Harry Potter movie is coming out this week. If you also happen to read my blog regularly, then you may have noticed I have been MIA lately. These things are not just coincidence, I have been spending much of my spare time these last couple of weeks re-reading all seven books and re-watching the seven movies. Yes, I am a MASSIVE Harry Potter fan and I am not ashamed to admit it. I became a fan of the books back in 2000 after my mum bought the first three books (the fourth book, Goblet of Fire had only just come out at this stage) and spent the next two weeks gushing over them and begging me to read them. I figured it was some dumb fad and wouldn’t give in at first, but my mum was extremely persistent and so I decided to finally give them a go. And the rest, as they say, is history. I was obsessed almost immediately and devoured those books in no time. Shortly after I finished the fourth book, there was news that they were making the Philosopher’s Stone into a film. So for the next year I obsessed over these beloved books, and eagerly awaited the first film. I must have spent thousands on Harry Potter merchandise, in fact when I look back through photos at that time, I barely wore anything but my Harry Potter shirts. I bought ridiculous amount of collectibles off ebay and generally spent any time not at uni, obsessing over Harry and his magical world.

During my second year of Uni, I decided to start a Harry Potter fan club. I’d gotten inspiration from a local school that held weekly fan club meetings in the library and wanted something for adults to take part in, since I often got comments from other fans on my many shirts that I owned. I put up flyers around my uni and received a few emails from interested people. I even discovered a few people doing the same course as me were huge fans and quickly became good friends with them. The fan club was a pretty big deal back then, the first film had been a huge success and people were Potter mad everywhere you went. We got invited to the premiere of the second film at Movieworld and even got to meet Jason Isaacs, who plays Lucius Malfoy (he was here shooting Peter Pan at the time). I was on TV and in the paper all the time whenever a new film or book was released and lots of local book shops and libraries would get us to come act like characters and even hand out the new books. During my time living in the UK I saw the release of the Half Blood Prince (we lined up at Waterstones in Oxford Street for over 6 hours in a queue that ended up being about 10 blocks long and I’m now forever immortalised on getty images as a result) and the film release of the Goblet of Fire where I got to see all of the actors in the flesh and even got to shake the hand of Mark Williams.

And even after 11 years I am still a huge fan and find myself re-reading the books every year, I still finding them funny, sad, exciting and complete magic. I even have two Harry Potter tattoos (the dark mark and the Hogwarts crest) and still have ideas for others. I class myself as a Gryffindor and still have a rather vast collection of Harry Potter collectibles. I am a fan of the books first and foremost, but the films (even the 1st, 2nd and 4th ones which are pretty poor) hold a special place in my heart. I have gone through relentless teasing over the years for being such a big fan, and have even been called, stupid, childish, evil and a (god forbid) nerd for being so open about it. But it doesn’t matter, because I have helped so many other people discover the magic of Harry Potter over the years, and I feel that anyone who is so unwilling to give it a go is sad, boring and absolutely not worth any of my time.  If you can’t give the most famous series of books a chance and feel the need to tease anyone who likes them, then I have nothing more to say to you. If however, you’re willing to give them a go, I promise you they will at the very least be a very enjoyable read. And at most they will be the greatest books you’ve ever committed yourself to and will undoubtedly become as big a fan as million of us Harry Potters geeks around the world!

So I am nervous and excited and even a little bit sad about seeing the final film at midnight tonight. While I will always love the books more than the movies, the last three films have actually been really good and this will be the end of an era for many of us. Personally it’s been eleven years but I have friends who have grown up with harry Potter since the first book came out back in 1997 so it really is a big deal to many people.So it is with pride that I will be wearing my Gryffindor uniform once again, not for the last time but at the last proper launch of something this big and official. I’ve made some terrific friends and had some incredible memories as a result of my love for Harry Potter and for that alone it has been totally worth it.

Share your Harry Potter memories or stories. I’d love to hear them!