Thursday, May 29, 2008

1. Which of Arabella Figg's cats ran out from under the car?

a. Tibbles

2. Which of the following is NOT one of Albus Dumbledore's middle names?

a. Ignatius (It is, however, Percy Weasley's middle name.)

3. Which educational decree introduced a High Inquisitor to Hogwarts?


4. Apart from Harry, Ron and Hermione, who was the first person to enter the Hog's Head that showed an interest in Harry's Defence Against the Dark Arts classes

b. Neville Longbottom was the first person to enter, but Anthony Goldstein was the first person to express verbal support, by calling out "Hear, hear!" while Hermione was talking about the idea

5. In the first Quidditch match of the year which player attempted to score first?

a. Angelina Johnson

6. What kind of bush does Harry hide behind to listen to the news

b. A hydrangea bush

7. Why is Mundungus Fletcher disguised as a woman when he witnesses the DA (Dumbledore's Army) meeting in the Hog's Head pub?

b. He was banned from the Hog’s Head pub 20 years ago

8. When Harry and Cho go on their first date to Madam Puddifoot's in Hogsmeade, what is it decorated with for Valentine's Day?

c. Golden cherubs and pink confetti

9. How old is Sturgis Podmore and where does he live?

a. 38 and number 2 Laburnum Gardens Clapham

10. What did Fred and George Weasley do to Montague?

d. Forced him down a toilet in the girl’s bathroom on the fourth floor.

I will be back with pictures!

Picture Scavenger Hunt

Fred and George Weasley (together)

Hog's Head Pub

Sirius Black

Mr. Weasley and Harry (together)

Draco Malfoy

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Major Errors, and Quills...

No! No! I don't need 00 needles. I need 000 needles. Merlin knows where my head was when I posted that!!!! size 1.5mm, 000 in US Sizing.

(yes, I've got three sets of aluminum, but they BEND....which is fine if you are knitting really fine yarn, but if you are using them to get regular sock yarn really dense, oooh, what a mess you can end up with! {Ask me how I know.})

I got a lovely response from Ophelia Ballycastle about my sadly thwarted attempts to post on parchment. She wanted to know where I got my quills.

In fact, I used two quills. The blue words were written with a a fountain pen from an "as seen on TV" offer - I did not pay full price, however. I found the set for about a third of it's original price, and of course no postage, at Big Lots, a Muggle Salvage store.

The Red words were written with a steel nib and a red nib holder, which I purchased in a box at a Muggle Book store in their bargain section. It seems Hermione and Mad-Eye (I HAVE mentioned that Mad-Eye is not dead, haven't I? I thought I had...anyway...) cleverly packaged a concealed writing kit under the guise of a Muggle love letter kit! Apparantly the Muggles were not too loving around Valentines Day 2007, because this year these showed up for less than a Starbuck's Latte in January, and I cleverly snapped a few up.

However, that does not tell Ophelia where she can get one, and so I thought I'd expand a bit.

Metal Quills, in fountain pen or dip varieties, are often encountered in any of several parts of US Muggle Bookstores. Generally, the fancier Calligraphy kits will have them, usually as fountain pens, and these might be either in the art area or the bargain area. Be careful - the less expensive kits often have markers, which are easier to use, but I am sure you all already know where to buy markers. The other place is the gift section. The Chain Barns and No Bells seems to always have an array of the metal nibs, some attached to feathers, some in straight wooden or metal holders, and also glass pens which are lovely but not the same thing at all.

Other places fountain pens can be encountered are office supply stores - not all, but many, and art supply stores - the better ones, not necessarily the art supply section of the nearest chain crafts store.

They can also be ordered from This site does actually metion Harry Potter himself when you click on Quills, so perhaps they are accustomed to outfitting Witches and Wizards. They offer steel nibs and also real feather quills.

Now I have not made an extensive study of magical pen technology, but I do know that when made by Muggles, quill pen points are only good for a few pages at most. Just one of Professor Snapes assignments of "three feet of parchment" on some potion ingredient would have necessitated recutting the nib.

Bearing this in mind, I went and found two other sources which tell you how to process and cut your own pens from the plain old feathers which one can often find at craft retailers. (These are often sold so that little children can make imaginative and entirely innacurate renderings of American Indian garb, if that helps you find them...) I found the first website thorough, but a tiny bit confusing. I found the pictures on the second website to be a great help, but not enough on their own to easily yield one a really superior pen.

The second website, by the way, seems to be run by Muggles who take their history very seriously indeed. American Civil War re-enactors would find them kindred souls as to accuracy, I think.

I hope that any of you who have been finding it difficult to get your homework done because you did not get enough quills at Scrivenshafts and were hoping your people would send from home, instead of making you spend your Hogsmeade weekend allowance on them, may now be able to owl this information to the appropriate parental or other units and have this miscalculation taken care of. (Because most certainly, no student would willingly leave for school without enough equipment to get their homework done...)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Gryff assignment

Okay, you still can't read it, so much for all my efforts...I will type it out for you...

Molly and Arthur Weasley have ____ children. Name three.

They have seven children. Percy, Ron and Ginny are three of these children.

2. What is the full name of Gryffindor Ghost Nearly Headless Nick?

His full name is Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington.

3. Which Ravencalw sports a hat with a Gryffindor-like life-sized lion's head which roars in Order of the Phoenix?

Luna Lovegood wears this hat to support Gryffindor at a Quidditch match.

4. Name five members of the Order of the Phoenix.

Alastor Moody, Mundungus Fletcher, Severus Snape, Remus Lupin and Molly Weasley are five members of the Order.

5. What is the profession of Hermione Granger's parents?

Their profession is dentistry.

6. What is your favorite thing to knit or crochet?

I think that for a while my favorite thing has been socks.

7. What is Professor Minerva McGonagall's animagus?

Her animagus is a cat.

8. What size needles(DPN's, circular or loop) do you prefer for knitting socks?

I strongly prefer DPN's. I use from size 0000 up to about a US. 1.5, and I am always loosing them. Right now I am in particular need of Steel 00 needles.

9. Where are the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix?

The HQ of the Order is number 12 Grimmauld Place.

11. What is the name of the last book you read.

Assuming that listening to an audio book counts, Eragon. Assuming you had to actually hold it in your hands, That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis.

12. Which Gryffindor used to play "Charlie's Angels" and was always Bosley?

That was Lizzie Wychwood.

I really really really hope spelling does not count. I am wonderinf if Mimsy has an e....

Friday, May 23, 2008

A meme....

Girlwithneedles tagged me for this and when I thought about it I realized my classmates here don't know all these things about me, so I figured I would fill it in for you all...

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I had not yet heard of Hogwarts, I believe. I was living where I am now - Same husband, same older son, baby not born yet. I was spinning a lot more, working a weekend job as well as at night, teaching HS students English and Adults ESL

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today?

1. Answer Audrey's email

2. put answer to Gryffindor Quiz up

3. Write the perfect questionaires for ascertaining my partner's likes in scarves and bags and maybe even socks.

4. See if the store I am wondering about has nice fabric

5. eating some more chocolate.

There are other, Muggle sorts of things on the list, but I don't CARE about those...

3. Snacks I enjoy...

Dark Chocolate

Spinach Pie


ice cream

(Although really, a nice big rare roast beef sandwhich on a roll with butter and salt and some potatoe salad and a kosher dill pickle would be nice just about a snack...I have an appetite like Ron Weasley)

4. Things I would do if I were a billionaire....

Go back to Italy

Visit my online friends all over the world.

Buy a Vita-Mix

Endow scholarships

Buy the family homes in Brooklyn

Buy my parents a house in Rockaway for weekends

Try to start business that would provide jobs to all sorts of people

Find a way to lose weight

Get a dog

5. Places I've lived

Brooklyn, NY

Hudson River Valley

Syracuse, NY (3.5 years, College)

Florence, Italy, one semester


Watertown, NY

Queens, NY

6. Jobs I've had.


Counselor at Cub Scout Day Camp
Nature Director at Cub Schout Day Camp
Arts and Crafts Director at Cub Scout Day Camp

Dining Hall in College (This is the job where I got to make salad for 700 and also pull other people's cigarette butts out of their mashed potatoes)

Meal Card Checker in Dining Hall

Box Office Help at Community Live Theater

Assistant to Family Service Dept at Salvation Army

Secretary at IBM (2 summers)

Temp at Minolta Corp.

Office help/Library at Program Abroad

Secretary in Japanese Company in Suburban NJ

Admin. Asst., Library, Major University

Teacher of English 7-12, Upstate

Teacher of English, 9-12 Summer school

Teacher of English/ESL various posts in NYC BoE

Teacher of English/Esl/Tutor/ various nickel and dime operations.

Clerk at Fabric/Craft Store

I even did piece work for the Garment District.....

7. Peeps I want to know more about...

I do not like putting people on the spot, so the following are invited to respond if they care to..

Cassandra Puddlemere

Morgana Black

Clidonia Acromantula


Lizzie Wychwood

Now I have to go post on their blogs...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mystery Solved

The mystery of why it was the Slytherin table his big brother's spell finally sucked my baby out from under has been solved - it seems they may have been slipping him cookies under there! So the unkind muttered suggestions that they were considering holding him for ransome were just that. But they do not know what they have let themselves in for - he'll be expecting cookies all the time, now, and woe to them when the House Elves serve a dinner without them!

And that Gryffinitter! Showing off about her needle sizes! She should have mentioned that she is a very loose knitter, and needs persnicketily small needles just to get 8 or 9 stitches to the inch on a sock. It's not like she is Althea Merbeck or anything. Ms. Merbeck is one presumed non-magical person who has learned how to work a magic of her own!

I did brew my first simple potion without killing anyone. It turned the color of mud and had to be dug out of the cauldron with a spoon to sample it, but at least the kids got a kick out of it. Really, I need to keep a sense of humor - being bested at almost everything by eleven year olds will quickly get to me if I don't!

I am going to get my revenge one of these days, though. From the looks on people's faces when hobbies come up in conversation, there are no spinning witches in Britain. Wait till I bring my Lendrum down to the courtyard one of these sunny, mild days...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

And I must say, Canadians do not get the credit they deserve...

While Belladonna is at class, I am taking over this blog to let everyone see what wonderful stuff I got in my Hogwarts Sock Swap Three box.

First, ha ha, you can tell my spoiler was a Slytherin - pleasantly crafty!. She oh so off-handedly mentioned that she had gone shopping in Diagon Alley and did I like the Harry Potter Colorways that some indie dyers have...without mentioning, of course, that she is one herself! So these socks were knit from "Fawkes" Faery Fiber

The socks are marvelous and fit like a dream, a really deluxe pair, even among hand-knitted socks. Thank you, Cassandra!

But of course, there was much more than these terrific socks (Which went immediately upon my feet and will probably only come off to be alternated with socks from the last two swaps...) A skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Solids, in a burgundy shade that just screams Gryffindor, stickers of Harry catching the snitch, an authentic Harry Potter journal with Hedwig of blessed memory on the front, a copy of Judy Sumner's "Taking Flight" socks which calls for the very sockweight the Cherry Tree Hill happens to be...(you can see Cassandra thougth this all out very carefully!)the remains of the skein my socks came from, for repair, and the very needles I have been searching for - 1.75 MM, steel. Bless you, Cassandra, I was going crazy over finding these!

What you don't see in this picture, because I didn't find it till after the picture was taken, is the second set of needles she sent me - size zero, Rosewood! This was entirely above and beyond the call of swapping and I am stunned - they are not only gorgeous, but have nice sharp points. The next pair of socks I cast on for myself has to be a pair I can use these on.

Lastly, there are edibles - and this is where Canadians are seriously underestimated. I have never found a terrific local chocolate or confection of any kind I can put in a swap box and have had to resort to nice chocolate, but nothing my partners couldn't find, probably, in their own neighborhoods. I keep getting boxes from Canada, however, filled with incredible local candies. This one features a candy bar labelled "A Taste from Alberta" - Roger's milk chocolate. I ate the whole thing. In one sitting. I was a pig and didn't share, either - if my sons want candies this tasty let them make their own international friends! There is also a box of Cupper's Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans, absolutely perfect, and a bag of Maynards original Gummies, "Objects in here are chewier than they appear." We expect amazing chocolates and goodies from Europe, but I think we have to add Canada to that map - between the lavender hard candies from my last box, and these coffee beans and chocolate bar, the next time I go up there I am going to have a budget line for incredible edibles.

I hear Belladonna in the hall - she is going to want the blog back! Bye for now - I will try to post my Reducio Sock tomorrow!

Spent the Morning at St. Mungo's

Well, I spent the morning at St. Mungo's with my fifth-year. I got absolutely no knitting done, but at least he did admit to me that the yarn I bought to make socks for him with did not please him one bit. Better now than after I spend hours on the socks!!!

This potions professor - still a bit of a mystery to me, actually. I am not that entranced with light-haired men. Then again, I maybe be being so hare-brained myself as to be mixing them up and be talking about the wrong person!

The feast was marvelous tonight! I don't usually go down to the Great Hall because the House Elves will bring the food up so families can eat together for the few of us who are adult students with families, but since it was the feast, down we went. The baby ran under every single house table, and I was utterly mortified. There were people at the Gryffindor table muttering about two students named Fred and George who used to go here, and chuckling, while my older son wanted, probably, to disappear. He was very good, though. Accio'd his baby brother and brought him back to us, and then used a temporary sticking charm to keep him on the bench where he belonged. He promised he'd teach me that one when no one is looking.

It has been slightly embarrassing that he could do all this magic and I could not, up till now - it is one of the reasons we finally came. My husband does not love his commute by international portkey, but one look at what would have been his department here was enough. My son could never teach me because of the ban on using magic out of school when you aren't 17 yet. He whispered to me as he went his way, however, that he would come by on Sunday and help me out.

Anyway, there is this Black Bean Pumpkin soup...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Got my pals, and Slytherins, take note!

I got my pals. I am being spoiled by Cassandra Puddlemere, a former Gryffindor (or maybe just one on hiatus - she's in Slytherin this time around) who apparantly really knows how to spoil one. I am spoiling a Hufflepuff, Clidonia Acromantula. She's a second year also, which means she really knows what's going on - I had better get everything right!

Now the Slytherins should take note because I am designing a sock called "The Sevenfold Severusbane Sock" It is "Bane" more in the sense of things being the bane of one's existence, rather than being like wolf'sbane, except that Nagini is going to be an option. I'm going to need a test knitter sometime soon, if anyone is interested.

Actually, since most of the Banes of Snape's existence were Gryffindors, it should also work well in Red and Gold, for any Gryffs who think it sounds interesting.

Potions has yet to go down the tubes for me (Speaking of Hogwart's most famous Potions Master)but that may only be because I haven't had to actually brew anything yet. I am sending for some Mise en place dishes, however. I need all the help I can get.

I didn't kill anything in Herbology, though. That's something...

Got my pals, and Slytherins, take note!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I'm not sure I like this...

What Harry Potter Wand Are You?
Your Result: 12.5" Yew, Dragon Heartstring

Your wand is longer than average, with a flexible and long-lasting wood. Dragon Heartstring is a common Ollivander core. Your wand is ideal for jinxes and hexes.

11.5" Yew, Unicorn Hair
11" Mahogany, Unicorn Hair
9" Willow, Phoenix Feather
10.5" Ash, Phoenix Feather
14" Holly, Veela Hair
11" Ash, Hippogriff Talon
8.5" Mahogany, Dragon Heartstring
What Harry Potter Wand Are You?
See All Our Quizzes

Hexes and jinxes? Well, if that's true - and it doesn't seem to be Mister Olivander who wrote the quiz - if that's true, maybe it will help me out. I suspect I am not the hexy jinxy type, so at least one of the two of us will have an aptitude that way. Something to even things out a bit.

I have my class schedule and it is enough to make my hair stand on end. I'm not eleven. I do know a few things about myself. I stunk at Muggle Chemistry, I'm not much of a cook - and I have to make potions? Really? What are they thinking?!? I come by my inablities totally honestly. My mother's college chem class nearly poisoned themselves by not using the hood. She got in trouble for bleeding on the floor when she used one of the tools improperly - and that was plain, old, relatively inert Muggle stuff. Can you imagine what I, who only got through HS chem by cleaning up after the two kids in my lab group who could actually do the work, did it, am going to do in a potions classroom? I've been asking around and apparantly one of the ways you can go wrong is by melting your cauldron. I've already sent an owl to Diagon Alley to see if I can get some sort of quantity discount on them.

Then there's Transfiguration. I have serious scruples about Transfiguration. When you change an inanimate object to a living thing, are you actually making it live? And if you turn a turtle into a soup bowl, are you killing it? The whole thing makes me very uncomfortable. I can just see the discussion with the Professor, too. They never really want to hear things like this, not even in office hours. Still, I had better go address the issue before I am standing there, asked to turn a porcupine into a shoe brush and surprise her by refusing, and then insult her by explaining that I think her entire subject is unethical...

On the other hand, they could have given me Ancient Runes. I already read a little Founder's Era English. I already know Muggle Runes - more than one kind. I'd fit right in to Ancient Runes. But I did not complain. The Transfigurations thing is bad enough.

One thing I am not worried about is that DADA teacher. First, he looks young enough to be my kid, so no real thrill there. Then, well, after you've taught the muddled Muggle Students I had for 20 years...piece of cake.

I am very very happy with my quills. And my parchment! *dies and goes to neorxnewanga* Everything an old Muggle Medieval Studies Major could ask...

Oh, I hope the other students like me!

Sunday, May 4, 2008


I remember seeing the HSKS the first time, about a year ago, and I had just signed up for the Hogwarts sock swap. That was my first sock and I guess I thought two was too many? I am now an experienced swapper, and a Gryffindor again!!!!

So, for the next few months this blog will be written by a witch named Belladonna Boomslang, a first year adult student at Hogwarts. Sorted into Gryffindor, I am looking forward to all the events that surround a Hogwarts first year - shopping in Diagon Alley for my wand, riding on the Hogwarts express (I think I am bringing a very fancy basket lunch - not quite as pretentious as Slughorn's, but something besides candy, and enough to share with whomever is in the railway carriage with me. My son told me years ago that if you bring food, people will like you, and I see no reason to argue with that logic.) and being taken across the lake in a little boat by Hagrid. My DH better watch it, because that horrible LIE that Mad-Eye died when he fell off his broom is just that, and who knows, I might get to meet him. (Belladonna <3's Mad-Eye like craaaaazy. Of course, so does his wife. You didn't know he was married? It was in the Quibbler...)

Of course the Gryffinitter herself may guest blog from time to time, but mostly it will be me, BB, adult witch from a family of lost witches and wizards, recently re-discovered...