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Harry Potter Christmas Baby Shower

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Harry Potter Baby Shower 2 The Prudent Homemaker

I hosted a baby shower last week for a soon to be first-time mom who is a huge Harry Potter fan. Since I seem to have a Harry Potter birthday party for at least one of my children every year (and have for the last few years) this meant I already had several items that I could use for the party, and that some of the items I purchased could be used for future parties.

I had several people ask what they could do to help, so I assigned out paper plates, bowls, cups, napkins, soda, salad, and the Happy Christmas banner. This saved me money as well as time.

We hung the Harry Potter house banner that I had made several years ago. Underneath it we hung a Happy Christmas banner that one of the guests made (using this tutorial and glittered poster board. I didn't even know glittered poster board existed before I asked this guest if she was willing to make the banner, and she told me that she already had glittered poster board to make it!)

On the couch I put the Harry Potter pillow that I embroidered several years ago.

HP Party Flying KeysThe Prudent Homemaker

In the entry way over the table, we hung flying keys with fishing wire. I purchased the keys and we downloaded the wings, which I printed on vellum. My 11-year-old son,Ezrom, cut out the wings, taped them to the keys, and hung them.

 HP Party Flying Keys 2 The Prudent Homemaker

Harry Potter Baby Shower The Prudent Homemaker

Over the dining table, we hung snowflakes, a nod to the enchanted snowflakes that fall over the Christmas table at Hogwarts. Winter made the snowflakes and ironed them on low before hanging them with fishing wire. She also cut the curling ribbon and hung it. 

Besides decorations, a large part of a Harry Potter party is the themed food. 

Since we were having the party on a weeknight and many women would be coming from work, I served dinner. Knowing how inexpensive soup, salad, and homemade bread are to serve, I made pumpkin soup and rosemary olive oil bread. When someone asked how she could help, I assigned her to bring the salad, since I don't have much lettuce growing in the garden right now (despite planting several times). The pumpkin soup was a mixture of butternut squash from our garden, acorn squash I bought on sale (which decorated our table all fall), and mini pumpkins I had also bought as fall decorations.

HP Mini Chocolate Frogs The Prudent Homemaker

I made most all of the desserts in miniature, which made it possible for people to try several things without feeling like they had too much dessert. I used my miniature chocolate frog mold and a tiny snowflake mold to make these chocolates.

HP Chocolate Snitches The Prudent Homemaker

I used a half- sphere mold to make these snitches. My 11-year-old put them together, piped the design over them, and added the wings.

HP tarts and cookies The Prudent Homemaker

I made miniature treacle tarts (Harry's favorite), snowball cookies (about double the size of normal, which was only because I had not made them before, but in the future I will make them smaller), and chocolate wafer cookies.

Harry Potter Party Hogwarts Letter Cookie The Prudent Homemaker

I made some envelope cookies with red fondant Hogwarts seals (affixed with white chocolate). These were a bit larger and though delicious, I think they were too large for a baby shower where all the women want just a little dessert. At a children's party I think they will be eaten without a problem.

Harry Potter Mandrake Cupcake The Prudent Homemaker

The biggest hit among the Harry Potter fans in attendance were these miniature mandrake cupcakes. I made the cupcakes in miniature and bought the smallest terra cotta pots I could find. The mandrake label is a free printable (see sources below). The cupcakes were topped with melted chocolate and chocolate cookie crumbs. We then put in the baby and added a bit of melted chocolate to his head, which we used to affix oregano leaves from the garden.

The second largest hit were the cheese and pretzel broomsticks. We made them last minute so that they cheese would be fresh. I didn't get a photo of them, but I've included a link to the instructions below. I think everyone enjoyed having a savory choice in addition to the soup and salad.

All of those who had soup loved it. It was just the right thing on a winter evening.

 HP food The Prudent Homemaker

The white pumpkin is one I bought at Lowe's that has graced my table all fall since I purchased it at Lowe's in early fall. The floral arrangements were apple branches, Thai basil, dusty miller, and euonymus from the garden.

Being Christmastime, we had up our Christmas decorations as well. We set up a trunk that I had (a garage sale purchase years ago) under the tree, and the gifts went into that as well as around the tree.

For drinks, I served water with a lemon from the garden. Another guest brought butterbeer, which she made by mixing up a few different recipes that she had found on Pinterest. It was delicious!

There were about 30 people in attendance.

The best part, after everyone else had left, was when the recipient told me that it was just the kind of shower she wanted: we had food, sat and talked, and opened gifts.



Mini Chocolate Frog Mold

Snowflake Mold

Sphere mold


printable wings

vellum (opaque paper for printing wings)

Hogwarts seal

Happy Christmas banner template

plastic babies: Hobby Lobby

mini cupcake wrappers: Joann's on 50% off sale

mini pots: Hobby Lobby. They come in a package of six for $1.99. I bought them on a 50% off sale.

red fondant: Hobby Lobby.  I used a 40% off coupon to buy the small package.

Free printable customizable invitation

Wilton melting chips: bought 3 for $5 on sale at Michael's

Pretzels: I bought just a small amount (enough for the party) in the bulk bins at Winco. It was much less than buying a whole bag of pretzels (as well as cheaper per pound)

String cheese: Sam's Club in bulk (around $2.56 a pound)

chives, oregano, and centerpiece greenery: From the garden




Pumpkin soup

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

White cookies

Chocolate cookies (also used for crumbs on top of cupcakes)

Chocolate cake

Snowball cookies

Treacle tart

Cheese and pretzel broomsticks


Looking for more Harry Potter party ideas? Check out my Harry Potter party board on Pinterest.

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A Gift a Day 2016: Day 1: Polka Dot Dress

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I decided to dive right in with a long project this year!

Last year I used this fun polka dot fabric to sew a doll dress, make a skirt, and line a pencil bag. This year I made a matching dress for one of my daughters.

Polka Dot Dress The Prudent Homemaker 


Fabric. I used a cotton print and used around 2 1/3 yards for a size 7.

Basic dress pattern. I used an out of print pattern very similar to this one, but mine called for buttons instead of a zipper. 

Matching thread


Muslin for collar

Interfacing for collar

Ribbon for waistband (I used 5/8" wide grosgrain ribbon)


Sewing Machine


Sewing pins


Polka Dot Dress Bow Detail The Prudent Homemaker


This was a difficult project to try to complete in a day (and it actually took me two days!). Though it is a simple dress without much embellishment (and I'm not counting the time it took to wash and dry the fabric) it still took me over 14 hours, including ironing the fabric and laying out the pattern. I had to work on this all afternoon and into the evening on Monday, and then work on it some more after the children were in bed, and again on Tuesday afternoon. This is one of the simplest dresses I have planned. The sleeves, front, and back bodice are all lined, and the entire dress is constructed with French seams.

Polka Dot Dress Button Detail The Prudent Homemaker



The polka dot fabric, thread, and ribbon were given to me. I've been given a lot of fabric over the years (from various sources, including my grandmother and mother-in-law, who both gave me much of their stash before they died) and am working to use it. I bought the muslin, interfacing, and buttons on sale.


Did you make any presents today? What did you make?

Tagged in: A Gift A Day Gifts
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Christmas Stocking 3 The Prudent Homemaker

Gifts for stockings can easily add up to be quite a bit, even if you take a trip to the dollar store. 

Here are some items to give using items you already have in your pantry, cupboards, along with a few items to make using what you already have on hand:


From the kitchen and pantry:

1. Apples, oranges, and clementines

2. Nuts. Put a small amount in some tissue or a  bag and tie with string or ribbon, or make a little paper cone for them.

3. Hot chocolate packets


To make from the kitchen:

1. Cookies. Put these in a bag or some tissue paper.

2. Caramels. Here's a microwave version. Wrap caramels in waxed paper.

3. Peppermint bark

4. Homemade candies

5. Candied citrus peels

6. Homemade play dough

7. Homemade granola. Here's my recipe for cranberry almond granola

8. Fudge


From the cupboards:

1. Pens, pencils, and crayons that you bought on sale at back to school time

2. Personal grooming items: razors, cotton balls, toothpaste, toothbrush, toiletry samples


To make from the cupboards:

1. A miniature first aid kit to tuck into a purse, backpack, or glove compartment with Band-Aids and pain relievers

2. A small book with printer paper or lined paper, covered in cardstock or contrasting paper. Sew it together by machine or by hand, or staple it instead.

3. Bookmarks. I have a large selection of free printables on my site here.

4. Bookplates. Free printables are here.

5. Dollhouse artwork, wallpaper, and rugs. Free printables here.

6. Seed packets with seeds gathered from your garden. Free printable here.

7. Date with mom coupons. Free printable here.


To make from repurposed items:

1. Scarves from scraps of fabric, old curtains, flannel sheets, a repurposed skirt. Think flannel, velvet, sheers, etc. Likewise, you can knit or crochet a scarf using the yarn from old clothing items, or make a striped scarf using leftover bits of different-colored yarn.

2. Handkerchiefs from old sheets (a great way to repurpose a sheet that has a tear).

3. Earrings from broken jewelry

4. Decorative bobby pins with old buttons

5. Decorative bobby pins with broken jewelry

6. Mittens from an old sweater or sweatshirt (a shrunk wool sweater is perfect for this, or a stained sweater or sweatshirt--just cut your pattern around the stains.

7. Hand-warmers stuffed with rice. Use repurposed clothing or scraps of fabric to make these. Microwave them to put in pockets before leaving. Try a heart shape for a little fun. 

8. Headbands from ribbons and hair elastics


Christmas Stocking 2 The Prudent Homemaker


Something that also helped me was to hang smaller stockings. Two years ago, I needed a couple more stockings for our family. I decided to make new stockings from a drop cloth, and I made them smaller. The previous stockings we had were so long that my children would put their entire arm in their stockings and not be able to reach the bottom! Having smaller stockings relieved the presure from me to feel like I needed to buy more to fill our stockings.

Consider a stocking with a piece of fruit in the toe, some candy and/or other edibles, and one small gift per person this Christmas. It's simple, it will be used, it won't take up lots of space (or be broken in a week), and it works with a tight budget!


Tagged in: Christmas Gifts
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Sewing for Operation Christmas Child

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OCC The Prudent Homemaker

I am excited to participate in filling shoeboxes this year for Operation Christmas Child! These gifts go to needy children all over the world.

I spent some time recently reading stories of those who had received shoeboxes as children, as well as those who have helped distribute shoeboxes. I took note of what gifts were most useful and meaningful to so many.

You can choose to make boxes for a boy or a girl,  in the age categories of 2-4, 5-7, and 10-14. Operation Christmas Child receives the fewest boxes for boys ages 10-14, so we choose that age. I also have two boys in that age group who gave me lots of feedback on gifts.

School supplies and hygiene supplies are especially needed.

Using fabric, zippers, and ribbon that I had been gifted (much came from my grandmother's collection, some from my mother-in-law's, and some from others), I made bags to hold our gifts that will be useful gifts in and of themselves.

OCC Pencil Bags The Prudent Homemaker

I made a lined pencil case. I chose a dark patterned fabric for the inside, so that any marks from the pencils won't be noticeable on the inside. Inside we placed 10 pencils (tied with a ribbon), 13 colored pencils (also tied with a ribbon), a black pen, a red pen, two pencil sharpeners, and an eraser.

I also sewed a little book with blank computer paper. I cut several sheets of paper in half, and enclosed it in a half sheet of cardstock. I sewed it closed down the middle. I embossed a tree on the front cover (picture of the front further down the page).

OCC Toiletry Bag The Prudent Homemaker 

I made a larger bag in the same manner for a toiletry bag. Inside I placed 2 combs, a pair of nail clippers, 2 nail files, a washcloth, 2 toothbrushes, toothpaste, lip balm, solid lotion (like lip balm), and 2 handkerchiefs that I made from the same fabric I used to line the bag. It is a soft cotton.

OCC Marble Bag The Prudent Homemaker

I made a drawstring bag to hold marbles.

OCC Matchbook Sewing Kit 1 The Prudent Homemaker

I made a small matchbook sized sewing kit with cardstock, thin cardboard, thread, a piece of felt, 2 needles, and 3 safety pins. On one of the safety pins I included 2 shirt buttons. I stamped a design on the front and stapled the cardboard holding the thread and felt holding the pins and needles into the bottom.

OCC Matchbook Sewing Kit 2 The Prudent Homemaker


OCC Matchbook Sewing Kit The Prudent Homemaker

We also included a 2-subject notebook with lined pages. The notebook is divded in the middle with a blank page with pockets on either side. I put the blank book into one side and envelopes into the other. I think finding them there will be a fun surprise.

OCC Other Items The Prudent Homemaker

We packed a small ball and a paracord bracelet. 

We packed a t-shirt.

OCC Box The Prudent Homemaker

We included 2 bars of soap. One of these would fit in the toiletry bag, but two would not, so I packed them outside the bag. I double bagged the soap.

The toothpaste, lip balm, and bar lotion were all packed inside a ziplock bag inside the toiletry bag. (Note: These items are prohibited to ship from Canada but not from the U.S.)

OCC Box 2 The Prudent Homemaker

We also included a bag of hard candy and gum (these are also prohibited to ship from Canada but not from the U.S.) I also, per their recommendation, double-bagged the candy.



Balls (in a three pack)--Dollar Tree

Washcloths (in a three pack)--Dollar Tree

Toothbrushes (in a four pack)--Dollar Tree (They also sell a three-pack that includes toothbrush covers)

Combs (in a multi-pack)--Dollar Tree

Paracord bracelets --Dollar Tree (We were going to make these, but one of my children wanted to buy them for the boxes)

2-subject notebook--Dollar Tree

Pencil sharpeners (in a twelve pack)--Dollar Tree

Marbles with shooter--$2.99 at Hobby Lobby

T-shirt--$2.97 at Hobby Lobby. Joann's and Michael's also sell inexpensive blank t-shirts, and they hold up well.

Toothpaste--$1 on sale at Smith's

Eraser, pencils, colored pencils, pens, blank paper--Back to school sales

Envelopes--Bought in bulk years ago from an office supply store

Lip balm and bar lotion--Samples. You can find a homemade bar lotion recipe here; pack it into a closeable container, such as a tin.

Soap--Given to me from someone who was moving, but Ivory soap can often be purchased for $0.50 a bar or less with coupons.

Fabric, zippers, ribbon, needles, thread, felt, pins, buttons--Hand-me-downs

Candy--Winco's bulk bins, bought on sale before Halloween

Ziploc Freezer bags--Sam's Club, bought on sale ($0.04 each).


It's not too late to pack a shoebox! Drop-off locations are open this week! Check here for a drop-off location and times near you.

Rubberband your box closed at each end and include the boy or girl tag with the age marked that you can print here. Boxes will be taped closed around the middle at the packing location. 

It costs $7 to cover the shipping cost of your box. You can pay with cash at the drop-off location, or you can pay online and attach the tracking label to your box from here. If you choose this option, you will know to which country your box goes.

Don't forget to include a note to the child! You can also include a family photo if you like.



Tagged in: A Gift A Day Gifts
Last modified on

Flour Sack Initial Kitchen Towels The Prudent Homemaker

Here is a gift you can give as a housewarming gift or as part of a bridal shower gift. It's simple and inexpensive. You can include a loaf of rosemary olive oil bread as well if you like.




Flour Sack Towels (You only need one for this project to cut into two towels)

Dritz Mark-B-Gone Marking Pen

White Thread

Embroidery Thread 



Sewing Machine (optional)

Embroidery Needle


Printer (optional)



Embroidery hoop


Flour Sack Initial Kitchen Towels  A The Prudent Homemaker


I purchased the towels from Sam's Club in a pack of 12 for $12.78. They are 30" by 38". If you only want to make a few towels, Target carries this four pack for $3.99 (they are 30" by 30"), which you can buy in the store or online.

These are huge towels. I wash and dry them before doing the project to allow for any shrinkage to take place, as they are 100% cotton. 

I then fold them in half and iron them. I cut them in half along the fold line. I iron and hem the sides that I cut on my machine. The twoels already have a hem on two sides, so when I cut them, I cut them in that same direction, so that it will have a hem on both sides along the length.

I then fold the towels in half again lengthwise, and I use the Mark B Gone pen to mark the middle of the towels along the bottom edge (just a short line works fine).

To make the initial, I print a letter in a font I like. If you don't have a printer, you can draw on an initial. If you don't have a font that you like, you can try a site such as to download some free fonts. (And if you don't have a word processing program, you can download Open Office for free.) For these towels, I used the font "Edwardian Script" printed at size 150.

I used a light table to trace my letter, measuring the bottom of the letter 3 1/2 inches up from the mark I made on the center bottom of the towel. However, you can simply tape your printed paper to a sunny window and trace the letter with the washable marking pen.

I then place the towels in a embroidery hoop and get to work! You can use any stitches you prefer. I used a stem stitch to do the entire letter. Where the letter was thicker, I made several rows of stem stitch next to one another. 

When you are done with the embroidery work, remove the towel from the hoop and rinse the blue marker off with clear water. It is important that you do not use soap, as soap will set the marker. 

Hang towels to dry, and iron again before gifting.



About one hour per embroidered letter. To cut towel and sew each half, about 15 minutes. Total time for 2 towels: 2 hours and 20 minutes.



$1.20 for two towels 

Tagged in: A Gift A Day Gifts
Last modified on


Frugal gifts large

 Here are a few quick, easy, and free or close to free gifts that you can download or print in 5 minutes or less:


Frugal Gifts Music 500

Download Free Music:


Classical Music

Amazon Amazon has several free songs and albums that you can download.

Your local library may have free music that you can download from their website through Freegal. You can also use your library card and pin to download the music from Freegal's site. There is a limit to how many songs you can download per library card per week.


Download free audio books:



Free Classic Audio Books



Printable Gifts:


My free printables: bookmarks, date with mom coupons, cooking lessons with mom coupons, bookplates, printable seed packets, needlebooks, and dollhouse printables

Free Sheet Music for  variety of instruments


Children cutting paper dolls

Paper Dolls:

Betsy McCall Paper Dolls

Soldiers of 3 Wars and Their Lasses

Vintage Finnish Paper Dolls

Beautiful vintage paper dolls

(In both color and black and white outlines for coloring)

Lily & Thistle Paper Doll

Russian Nesting Dolls

Regency and Victorian paper dolls

(In both color and black and white outlines for coloring)


Paper Toys:

 Think play castles, buildings, and cars. These are cut, folded, and glued to construct. These are great to print out and let your children construct!

The Toymaker

Beautiful, simple toys (along with a couple of fun boxes for gift giving, including a frog and a chocolate truck)

Paper Toys


Canon's Creative Park

Good for older children or even adults. These projects require a lot of paper and ink.

Made By Joel paper toys

Vintage-Style Concentration Game

Agence Eureka

Vintage French paper toys that you can print


Free Images:

Use these as artwork gifts.

Graphics Fairy

Just Something I Made

She has both free printables and lots of tutorial projects

Vintage Printable

NY Public Library


Free U.S Maps



Do you have any favorites to add to the list? Share them in the comments below!

Tagged in: Christmas Gifts
Last modified on

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