Friday, 23 November 2012

Hearing a heartbeat

I am lucky enough to have a home doppler, and last week I heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time. It's a bit magical, there's a tiny little (4cms) person inside me. And I can hear them. It's incredibly reassuring as I miss out on a 12 week scan because I had one at 8 weeks. It looks kind of like a potato, but here he/she is...

That's my baby :) The bit that looks like a leg, is in fact cord. The white curve over the tummy is an arm, that wiggled when we saw it! We have finally told Ethan, so fairly soon we'll be going fully public.

I had another listen this morning, and it was lovely. Afterwards, I noticed I'd pressed it so hard to my skin it left a circle :S whoops!

Morning sickness, or should I say nausea is still a bit of a killer. Actually the nausea is starting to fade thank goodness, but the heightened gag reflex has not. The other day the wind blew some hair into my mouth and I started heaving. I kid you not. 12 weeks today though, so roll on the second trimester. Trimester always feels to me like a very american word. Is there an English alternative?

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Harry Potter Studio Tour

We had an AMAZING time at the Studio Tour, absolutely brilliant. I went with Rich, Jess and Jonny, though I think it was a little wasted on the men!

Harry's Cupboard - This is actually right at the start, at the side of where you queue to go in. Speaking of the queue, it looked very long, but went through quickly. You go through to a sort of holding area (lol) while you wait for the group before you to move on from the cinema, but even here there are screens with pictures and a guide giving light commentary and the very few rules. Then you go into the cinema. Another little bit by a tour guide, ours was quite funny. He told us all to take the seat belts from the left of our seats and strap in. dutifully, everyone went to do it, then looked confused when they couldn't find it. He had a good chuckle! 
The short film was the only bit that I thought was a bit naff. There were nice behind the scenes clips and things, but there was a fair bit of waffling from Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. I was eager to get on!

 Doors to the Great Hall. If it's your birthday when you go, you get to be the ones to push the doors! Then it's into the great hall, which has amazing details that you never even see in the films, paintings on the walls and carvings. It seemed much narrower than on screen, but it was amazing, and filled with costumes and all sorts. We learnt that the floating candles weren't all added digitally, they started with them all hanging from wires that were digitally removed. The candles were fake-ish - they were filled with oil that they burnt rather than an actual candle. They removed many of them though when they burned through the wires and fell on people! They still used some, but digitally added the rest.
 Neville's cardigan! They also had Harry's first robes, but I had to have a limit on photos!
 The detail on all the props and scenery was incredible, this lectern had amazing details right down to the floor.
 Ron's bed. All the bedside tables had individual touches.
 The mirror of Erised
 Gryffindor common room. All the sets had information about them nearby. One of the paintings in the Gryffindor common room is of a young professor McGonagall. You'd never know from the movies, but everything has a little back story.
 The giant clock.This was swinging, and it is HUGE. And a teeny bit ominous.
 The stairs to Dumbledore's office. This one was just the statue, but there was one built that functioned, with a 12 foot hole under it that the moving stairs came up out of.
 The door to the Chamber of Secrets. The snakes on it actually moved, when in front of it you can see the tracks. Next to it is a door from a Gringott's vault, the parts of which also moved. The craftsmanship on them was so intricate, it was so cool.
 The Black Family Tree. It's huge, it wrapped around the top of the room.
 The Marauder's Map. This was in a case absolutely rammed with props, books, Weasley Wizard Wheezes, copies of The Daily Prophet and all sorts. Including Harry's photo album from Hagrid.
 Tom Riddle Snr's grave.
 The Potter house.
 Dobby. Jess noticed that though his sack/clothes were covered in blood, there's no tear from the knife. Also I've just realised that surely by this film he should be wearing his odd assortment of clothes?
 Absolutely amazing concept art. There were walls and walls of it and it was all brilliant. When I'm a gazillionaire I'm going back to buy some.

 Giant Hogwarts at the end. Absolutely huge, and the lights change to reflect the differing lights of day and night, and little lights come on inside the windows and on little lanterns.
The time turner I chose in the gift shop. Ah, the gift shop. The snag in the brilliant afternoon. It was ridiculous. Very expensive, though that was sort of expected, no queueing system for the tills, things in multiple spots in the shop with no real order to it at all, skinny aisles, and basically no system at all. And a very grumpy woman who pushed in the queue because she was too stupid to look and see where she was supposed to go.

There was a refreshment place about halfway round selling a small selection of sandwiches and crisps and things, and there was also a butterbeer counter. It was disgusting. some kind of fruity fizzy drink with a sort of ice cream on top, only it just tasted like very cold cream. Jess liked it, I think Jonny thought it was ok, Rich refused to try it. I gave mine to Jess. But it was only £2.95, so I didn't begrudge trying it. Much. 

The tour was great, but I think I missed some bits. It's not laid out in a set way to walk around, which is good because you don't get stuck in a line the whole way, but I think it was quite easy to miss bits. I wouldn't take kids, we saw a few bored ones. I also wouldn't take anyone not particularly mad about Harry Potter, the husbands got bored and wandered off LONG before we did. 

But my sister Amy didn't get to come with us, so I'll get another chance to go. Yay!

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Monday, 5 November 2012


So, I emailed a link to the boys halloween costumes on here to Jen of Epbot and Cakewrecks. I totally didn't expect a reply at all, as she's super cool and gets a ton of emails.

EXCEPT SHE DID! I am geeking out! And she said they were brilliant and she thinks they're her favourite Thor and Loki this year :) Love it!

That's all, except to say if you don't already check out her sites, you should! :D

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Ethan, God of Thunder and Sam, God of Mischief!

Ta-da! I'm really please with how these turned out. I think I probably could have done better if I'd not left it so late to do, I was working on them right up until the morning of Halloween.

On to the making! Ethan's costume was quite a bit simpler than Sam's, because I already had the suit from Asda, leaving only the helmet and mjolnir (the hammer to you and me), which were very easy. The helmet started the same as Sam's, paper mache and a balloon.
 Then I used this photo (found via good old google, I think it's from the movie release posters) for reference to cut out the wings from craft foam - amazing stuff - and used my glue gun to add detail like so:
 Not too shabby! A tad wobbly, but alright for a kids costume. Then I glued wire to the back to help shape them. I could have used heat, if you heat fab foam a little you can re-form it and it'll stay in the new shape. I forgot that until after the hot glue though. You can see the wire in the next picture.
 You can also see Mjolinr, which was really simple. I had the cardboard tube and a small cardboard box. Hole in the box, stick in the tube. Bang, done. I also put a layer of foam on the box because it was a little bashed. Then I sprayed, which was fun til I got some on the patio slabs and could smell it all day long.

A little more glue, and the helmet was done, really really easy. The handle of the hammer I just added some dark brown foam strips for the straps and handle. Ethan later asked me to take it off as he didn't like the feel, but he kept it on for photos!
I also sewed a new cape for him as the one that came with the costume was pretty rubbish and thin, and had been hemmed so the shiny side was down. Simple enough job, buy a rectangle of shiny red fabric, hem the edges, sew on a bit of velcro at the top to attach. The suit already had velcro for the original cape so I didn't even have to bother with that.

On to Sam. His costume wasn't so much harder, but it had more details. This post shows how far I'd got with the helmet and jacket.

 Here's the jacket after a coat of gold spray paint (which I now hate) for the armour. I didn't end up putting more armour on the arms for 2 reasons - first, I ran out of time, and second, Sam had enough issues with the front piece! I used fabric glue from B&Q to glue it on, but I wasn't happy it was held on enough so added some superglue, and later used the glue gun a bit to patch it up. I had some leftover green satin fabric from making bow ties, so I cut that to size, hemmed it, put velcro on it and the jacket, and voila, another cape.

Helmet. It actually turned out easier than I thought, once I decided to make it this way. I used long thin triangles of foam for the horns to make them slightly pyramid-y as that's what they look like in most of the pictures I found, and glue gunned them in place. I looked at lots of other homemade ones, but didn't use their horn instructions as they just didn't look right. They are the place I discovered craft foam though which is absolutely brilliant.
 Then came the painting. Oh my goodness, how much do I hate the gold spray paint I used. I'm sure it was just a faulty can or other brands are better but grrrrr. The first can I used did the pieces on the jacket fine, and part of the helmet before it ran out (it was a small can). So I went and picked up another one. I don't know what I did wrong but somehow that one separated! I got some gold bits but a lot of silver bits. Either way, it looked a mess. The shop I'd gone to for the paint was in Leeds and this was the day before Halloween and I didn't have time (or the inclination!) to spend another £5 plus petrol going to get more. I looked through some shops here, no joy for spray, but in B&Q (again, awesome) I found some gold emulsion. Now, I don't know who the heck would paint their walls metallic gold, but I grabbed a tester pot and went with it. It was ok. It was drippy and took an absolute AGE to dry, but it covered the patchy awfulness.
 Ta-da again! Here also is Sam's staff of Loki, and of this I am quite proud. I tried to find pictures online but it's a pain, as he has 2 or 3 different ones in the film. I eventually found This brilliant blog post where a guy has finished his own (MUCH more professional!) staff. It gave me a great point of reference for shapes and general ideas.

I started off with a long cardboard tube again, it had previously been a sword for a knight costume for Ethan. Sam had a blue glitter and water filled bouncy ball which I thought would do well for the stone. I wanted to stick a torch inside the tube to light it up, but couldn't find one thin enough. Then I noticed on that blog that there was a sort of metal junction-y bit under the stone, and I had a torch small and thin enough for that. So...
There it is! the blade-like parts are all sprayed foam, the 2 sections under the ball are the torch. All glue gunned into place. It wasn't the neatest glue job, but again, time. I made a small cut away it the top of the tube so I could turn the torch on and off as the switch was annoyingly on the bottom end, then covered it with a flap of foam.
All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the results. I thought I might have bitten off more than I could chew with this, but it was all surprisingly simple once I'd got all the plans in my head. Sam didn't want to wear his helmet much, and it rained on us while 'trickle treating' as Ethan calls it, but we had a pretty good time anyway, and they got plenty of treats!

Update: This blog has now moved to - Hope to see you over there!