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Harry Potter Pencil Bag The Prudent Homemaker

I've made lined pencil bags and other lined, zippered bags before. They're a pretty quick and simple gift to make. The important thing is to figure out what size you need it to be, depending on what purpose it will serve.

For this bag, I chose to cut the bag 9 x 4 inches and use a 1/2" seam allowance.

I used scraps to make this bag. As both the inside and the outside of the bag were made with thin fabric, I cut a lining from iron-on interfacing and ironed it to the wrong side of each fabric piece before sewing.

For the outside piece, I simply wrote the word "Quills" with a blue washable fabric marker before embroidering the entire thing by hand with an outline stitch in two strands of embroidery thread.

The outside is made from a line/cotton blend fabric. The inside is sewn with some leftover London map fabric I used for three other projects (a pillow, an apron, and a change purse). I made sure that Kings' Cross Station was visible when the bag was opened from the front.



2 pieces of fabric for outside (9 x 4 inches)

2 pieces of fabric for the lining (9 x 4 inches)

4 pieces of interfacing (8 x  inches)

zipper at least 9 inches long 

embroidery thread



Sewing Machine



Sewing pins


embroidery needle

Washable marking pen or pencil

embroidery hoop (optional)


Harry Potter Pencil Bag Lining The Prudent Homemaker


Time: 30 minutes for the bag itself (including cutting the fabric).  1 hour for the embroidery. 

Cost: $0.10, plus $1.44 for the pencils and eraser to go inside.

I used leftover scraps from other projects to make this, so the fabric didn't cost me anything. I used a few cents worth of embroidery thread. The zipper was one I inherited from my grandmother (she gave me a large number of zippers). The interfacing was purchased at a Black Friday sale. 

I spent $1 on the pencils I included and $0.33 on the polymer eraser. I bought the erasers with a coupon at back to school sales. The pencils were from the Target dollar spot (purchased in August).


For my Gift a Day series this year, I will be making gifts using only supplies I already have on hand. I'll include my cost when I purchased materials for the gift (i.e. when they weren't made from hand-me-down fabrics and/or supplies) but none of this money was spent recently. The pencils and eraser that are part of this gift are probably the only things that I purchased in 2017 for any of the gifts that I will be making. Everything else I already have on hand.

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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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Mint Chocolate Frog Ice Cream 4 The Prudent Homemaker

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Cyrus turned 11 last week, and requested a Harry Potter birthday.
This is the second time I've had a Harry Potter birthday for him, and I've had one for Ezrom as well. With 7 children, I doubt it will be the last time we have a Harry Potter birthday party; in fact, Liberty has already requested a Harry Potter birthday for her birthday in September. With that in mind, I decided to invest a bit of time, as well as money, for items that we can reuse every time a child requests a Harry Potter birthday (as a bonus, a few of these items will be useful to make gifts the next time one of my children is invited to a Harry Potter birthday party for a friend!)

Using fabric scraps that I already had, I sewed a bunting in the colors of the Hogwarts houses. I had every color but yellow in my fabric scraps. I used a bit of yellow fabric dye that I had leftover from another project to dye some cotton muslin. I sewed the whole thing onto black grosgrain ribbon that I purchased by the spool at Michael's.

I swapped out our family pictures for some Hogwarts travel art. I purchased these on a half-price sale on Etsy from here, using money I earned from taking surveys. I had them printed at Sam's Club for $2.87 each (they are 11" by 14" each). I can use these again for future parties, and since the art is a download, I can print more as gifts for friends in the future, should I desire.

Since Cyrus turned 11, Winter made a Hogwarts acceptance letter for Cyrus (using a free font from here), which she put in the window with the snowy owl that I bought for him years ago. I sealed the letter with sealing wax I've had since I was a teenager, and this Hogwarts School Badge Wax Seal Stamp (which was $16 when I purchased it).

She included a Hogwarts train ticket that we found here.

Ezrom folded purple paper airplanes from construction paper and hung them above Cyrus' bed for some Ministry of Magic inter-office mail first thing in the morning.

Ezrom also made a howler that he hung from the ceiling with fishing wire over Cyrus' place at the table, but unfortunately I didn't get a photo of it. He did a fantastic job.

I used the seal on some white fondant, that I used to top several small cheesecakes and one medium cheesecake for him. My original plan was to put these on cupcakes, but he wanted cheesecake, so I made some adjustments. I brushed the white fondant with edible gold dust powder. I would love to do this for a future party with a darker color fondant, but I purchased the white as it was the least expensive. I have plenty left over to use for another birthday or some other treats. I purchased the fondant and edible gold powder from Michael's with coupons.

For the homemade cheesecake, I made graham crackers for the crust.

I also used Amazon credit to purchase this chocolate frog candy mold. I already had this larger chocolate frog mold that I had purchased years ago to make chocolate frogs for Cyrus' last Harry Potter birthday. I made him a large frog as a birthday gift, but I needed the smaller frogs to make some mint chocolate frog ice cream. I also used them to surround his cake.

Mint Chocolate Frog Ice Cream 2 The Prudent Homemaker

The ice cream was made with mint from the garden. The chocolate was purchased a couple of years ago on after-Christmas clearance at Sam's Club, but you can also find it on Amazon, here.

Mint Chocolate Frog Ice Cream The Prudent Homemaker

You can find the ice cream recipe here.

His gifts included a Harry Potter Wand Pen that I purchased with Amazon credit, and a water color set. I also gave him a set of Harry Potter Uno cards that I found at a garage sale for $1 earlier this year! Winter gave him the last Harry Potter book, which she found hardcover at the thrift store for $3 (wrapped with a Flourish and Blotts label that I made). He now has his own set of the books, all of which were purchased used over a couple of years. Wren gave him some candy, which we wrapped with brown paper and a Honeydukes candy shop label that I made. Winter made the Ollivander's paper, cutting some brown paper the right size to send through the printer. We used the Hogwarts seal on some of the gifts.

I printed some Hogwarts bookplates for him, and made him a large chocolate frog. I printed out the Harry Potter prequel for him (the one that J. K. Rowling wrote on a napkin). He didn't know about that, so that was a fun surprise.

For fun, the children played a couple of Harry Potter games that I also purchased at a garage sale earlier this year for $1 each (they are each worth over $100 on Amazon right now, as they are no longer being made!)

I had several other ideas in mind that we didn't get to do, but that's okay--I've got another Harry Potter birthday to throw in September, and it will be fun to have some new things then!

If you're looking for more Harry Potter gift ideas, check out some of the other Harry Potter themed gifts I've given him in the past:

Harry Potter pillow

London and Medieval Bookmarks

I've also made a Harry Potter Party board over on Pinterest with links to several ideas Winter and I found while planning his party. Some are ones I used and some I'll be using in the future.

Tagged in: Birthdays Harry Potter
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A Little Something I Made LAST Christmas

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Otherwise known as the hardest embroidery project I've ever done.

(The second hardest was this lavender).

Some of you were excited about using coloring pages as embroidery designs, so I thought I would share another way to use a coloring page as an embroidery design.

I used some scraps of fabric last Christmas, some black embroidery thread, a water-soluble marking pen, and a coloring page to make this for my son for Christmas.



fabric for center
fabric for edges (you could do one solid color for the entire pillow, so long as you can see through it)
paper for printing
stuffing for pillow
embroidery thread (about 2 skeins of black)
pillow stuffing (I stuffed mine with the stuffing from an old worn bed pillow (just wash and dry your pillow first before using the stuffing)


light box (or a window and some scotch tape)
sewing machine (optional)
water soluble marking pen (I use Mark B Gone; you can get it at Wawak, Walmart, or Joann's)
sewing scissors
embroidery hoop

I made a pillow form and then an envelope pillow cover to go on top of that, so I can remove the pillow cover when it needs to be washed.

Before I stitched up anything, though, I had to choose a design.

I used a free coloring page from here. Make sure to have your internet settings to block pop-ups, as there are a lot of pop-ups from that site. It's a wonderful site, though! I use it to print coloring pictures all the time. You could print pictures of your child's favorite characters and make your own coloring book for Christmas.

There are several Harry Potter pictures there; I thought this one was the best for what I wanted.

Print your picture.

Cut a piece of fabric the size you need to go over the image. Leave extra space for seam allowances.

You can tape the picture to a window during the day, and tape the fabric over it for tracing. If you have a lightbox, you can use that instead.

I recommend using a thinner fabric than I did, as it was hard to see in a few critical places.

Trace your design using the water-soluble marker.

When your drawing is complete, embroider your design. I used 2 strands of embroidery thread everywhere, except for the finer details on his face, where I just used 1 strand. I embroidered it with the stem stitch.

When you're done embroidering the entire thing, rinse it with water to remove the blue marker. You can mist it with water as well, but sometimes a little blue reappears when you do that. Do not use soap! Soap will set the marker brown, permanently into your fabric. If any blue reappears after your fabric is dry, just rinse and repeat :)

I usually hang my embroidery to dry over a towel on the towel rack in my bathroom (this also prevents the children from seeing the present!)

When it's done drying, iron the fabric and sew your pillow.

If you've got some Harry Potter fans at home, make sure to print up my free Black and White bookmarks and my London bookmarks. You can even make some tassels with Griffyndor colors if you want! Then you can curl up with your new pillow and reread your favorite books on Christmas break.
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