Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Choosing a Bag

Well, students, it appears that I took a long weekend after all my . . . eh-hem 'time' spent with Professor Black last week. Time just got away from me.

I'm sure by now many of you have chosen the bag that you are going to make for your pal, so you can tune me out. But, no working on your potions in this class!!!

In my HSKS research I've seen a number of different bags. Many of the bags were rather small, but some were the size of a medium sized purse. The nice thing about this swap is you can either be industrious and knit a bag or you can go the quicker route and sew the bag. Most of all, don't stress about the bag too much. You want a bag that will hold the necessities for a sock project, so make sure that a hank of yarn, needles, stitch markers, and pattern will fit in the bag. In a couple of days I'll share with you some patterns that I was able to dig up and think are more than appropriate for this swap.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Ssshhhhhhh!!! My partner doesn't know who I am!! LOL I just had to show the progress. This is the first time ever knitting the Ballband bag, and I'm really not sure how big it's going to be. When felting bags does it shrink vertically or horizontally? I can never remember! Anyway I am excited to see the final outcome. It seems link it will be smaller than the Andrea Bag, but we shall see :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Intoxicated - me? Never!!

It appears that some students (who should have been sound asleep!) overheard a little conversation that I had with Professor Black the night before last. I'm not sure that I should be sharing this so publicly, but . . . oh bother! Why not? I must set the records straight lest my employment at Hogwarts come under scrutiny because of a little too much House gossip.

I have never had anything stronger than a stout mug of butterbeer, but it became evident that Professor Black is rather. . . shall we say, chivalrous? He simply can't resist a damsel in distress or, it seems, a damsel that is hungry. I've been wanting to spend a little more time with the Professor, but everyday my time is swallowed up by students that just can't seem to understand the curriculum. I mean, how hard is it to read my assignments and then follow them to a T?

I feel rather vindicated, however, because I overheard Professor Black telling the headmistress that he gave Ms. Flitwick, Ms. Pinkstone, Ms. Puddlemere, Ms. Crookshanks, and Ms. Durmstrang detention. He had them sort out the rotten flobberworms from the good one's. He said that it was because they were talking and giggling in his class too much, but I know in my heart that he heard about my name being drug through the mud and not having the heart to take care of the matter myself.

Sigh!! I think that I might have found my true love! Before we left his bedchamber to head for the kitchen I did swipe this pic I found on his nightstand.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Communication Continued - Post-dated Hallmark Cards

Last year I participated in the Fall Felted Bag Swap. The swap took place between the end September/beginning of October and lasted until the middle of November - I think. Anyway, it was a very busy time for me, what with kids heading back to school traffic in a uproar. So, I tend to preschedule e-cards to be delievered in my pals email box periodically. Did you know you could do that?? Yes, you just head on over to Hallmark. Pick out 4 or 5 cards and change the delivery date for when you would like the card to be delivered, and presto!! Yes, it's probably a little bit sneaky and you may have fallen off the face of the planet by the time the last card is delivered, but it's the thought that counts and every couple of weeks or days your pal will receive communication from you and you only had to think of it once instead of 4 or 5 times. Try it out! I bet you'll be pleased with the result.

The Hufflepuff Quiz #2

1. What does Mrs. Weasley do when she is angry?
When she is angry she tends to be very overbearing and explodes at anyone within ear's reach.
2. Who picks up Harry for his visit to the Burrow?
Fred, George, and Ron
3. What did Moody give Neville?
A book with Gillyweed in it.
4. When is Hermione’s Birthday?
September 19
5. Who does Snape have pickling rats brains for detention?
Harry and Ron for yelling at Snape
6. Are Dobby and Winky at Hogwarts at the beginning of term?
I think so. I believe that they went to Hogwarts directly after Winky was fired by Barty Crouch at the World Cup, which took place before the first term at Hogwarts.
7. Where do Harry, Ron and Hermione pick up sock for Dobby?
This one is stumping me. I know that they meet Dobby in the kitchen to give him the gift of socks, but I'm having hard time finding out where they got the socks.
8. Who helps Harry figure out the egg?
9. Where does Harry have his first meeting with Sirius?
In Chapter 17 of the Prisoner of Azkaban
10. Who interrupts the above mentioned meeting with Sirius?
Professor Lupin

Monday, January 21, 2008

Week Two - Communication

Well, some of you have already felt the bug of no communication with your swap partner, and I'm to understand that the need to remain incognito during this swap is okay if that is what your partner chooses, however . . .

People get nervous when they don't hear from their swap partner because they don't want to receive nothing when the whole idea of a swap is to receive as well as give. I only say this because I've been the victim of a bad swapper. Victim - that sounds so . . . so tragic, doesn't it?

So, these are my suggestions:

  • Post on your blog weekly so that your prefect knows that you are around.
  • If you haven't received any email messages in the last 7 days to your Potter account or your Muggle account check-in. More than likely someone has sent you something and maybe it's bouncing.
  • Send anonymous e-cards to your partner via a free e-card service, such as Hallmark.
  • Leave an anonymous post on their blog letting your partner know that you are thinking of them, but you don't have to sign your Potter name. Let them know that you wish your identity to be a surprise. Just sign it "Your HSKS4 Secret Pal," or something to that effect.
Communication - Day #2

A Little Tease

I finally got my yarn and cast on yesterday. I'm going to see if I can put my transfiguration skills to the test by transforming these skeins of yarn into a beautiful felted bag for my swap partner. Sorry for the blurriness. I know these are not true Gryffindor colors, but I think we'll all be pleased with the result. At least, I hope so.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Swapping On a Budget, con't

Speaking of planning and swapping on a budget, have you all ordered your Flat Rate Priority boxes from the post office yet? It's absolutely FREE! You can either go down to your local post office and request them or you can order them via the internet for FREE. I hope you got that part - the boxes are FREE?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hufflepuff Quiz

1. How many members of Dumbledore’s Army are from Hufflepuff house? 5

2. Which famous member of Hufflepuff is related to Sirius Black? Bonus points for tell me how. Nymphadora Tonks is related to Sirius (as are many others) through Andomeda who is the sister of Narcissa and Bellatrix.

3. What is the name of the Hufflepuff house member sorted before Harry in PS?

Justin Finch-Fletchly who was first accepted to Eton.

4. Who shared a recipe for Yule Logs?

Helga Lovegoods

5. List the 3 Hufflepuffs that have listed in their blogs about their wands and what wood they are made of?

Cliodna Trewlawney - Maple

Bella - Apple

Antonia Marie dela Weasley - Mohagony

6. Who was locked out after forgetting the password?

Petunia Acromantula

Monday, January 14, 2008

Swapping On a Budget

So, you want to join a swap, but money is rather tight? Everyone loves getting anything in the mail besides junk mail and bills. Participating in swaps in one way to be sure that you will receive a nice little package every few months.

Cost of Swap
First you have to determine the total cost of the swap with shipping figured in. That way you'll know right away if you can afford to ship internationally or not. With the HSKS swap the spending minimum is between $30 to $40 over a 2 1/2 month period, which is about the price tag for most substantial swap. I know that the Secret Pal swap is around $60 over a 3 month period. You have to be sure that you can pace your spending over the duration of the swap. If you are able to purchase everything in the beginning - great! If not, that's okay, but make sure that you budget your money as well as your time so that you'll be sure to send before the deadline.

Goodies for the Box
Some people think that the little extras that go in the box have to be expensive - they don't. You can visit your local 99 cent store and find some very valuable little extras to go in the box. Michael's also has several $1 bins with notepads, calendars, pins, and sometimes even cute little tin boxes to put your stitch markers in. If you don't have a Micheal's near you try another craft store in your area. Purchase a little something every pay period or every couple of weeks. Before you know it you will have several things to add to the box. Another place where you will find neat trinkets is at your local fabric store. I participated in a Felted Bag swap a few months ago and besides the bag I also included a cute little novelty turkey, and two small flower starter pots. I also sewed a matching needle roll to compliment the bag.

Also, think about sewing the bag instead of knitting a bag. Many times you can find fabric on clearance that will suit your needs. For U.S. swappers patterns purchased at Wal-Mart are always 50% off the sticker price.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Creating Lesson Plans

It was so beautiful outside the last two days. Many of the students were celebrating their last few days of freedom before classes officially start for the new term. There's been an incredible buzz going around because many of the students have been matched with a partner for the upcoming knitting swap and they are ever so excited to put these kits together. I've been given a lovely Gryffindor, but I want to keep my identity in the dark, so I will not mention names here.

I've spent many hours over the last two days couped up in the library, though I did sneak a few books out under Mrs. Pince's nose so that I could sit outside and enjoy the sun.

Here's the lesson plan that I've come up with for the next 11 weeks of class:

Swapping on a Budget
Choosing a Bag
Making Stitch Markers
The Needles
Something Magical
Finding Yarn
The Pattern
Creative Extras
Packing the Box
Angel Packages

I do hope that the students in my class will be able to concentrate. It appears that Mr. Black has created quite a stir on school grounds.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Teachers Lounge

The teachers gathered today in the teachers lounge for a pre-term potluck. The dishes that some people brought were rather . . . . shall we just say that I had to cast a new spell - limpie el alimento - a spell to cleanse the food from doing me harm after ingested! Millicent Brockelhurst, who will be teaching Transfiguration, brought the most wonderful dish to the potluck! I hope that she'll share the recipe with us soon. She arrived rather flustered because she'd only left her home this morning and barely made it to the potluck. She's subbing - I do hope the students will be easy on her.

I think the teachers are almost as excited as the students! I have to share a bit of a confession, though. I know that the previous Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Snape, is somewhat of a bad boy, but I wish that he was here, teaching again. I truly mourned Snape's departure from this world. Maybe he'll come back to haunt Hogwarts? We could only be so fortunate.

The new Potions teacher is rather yummy, though! His name is Crispin Black. But, listen to me!! Bad, Mandy! I . . . must . . . focus . . . on . . . teaching! That's what they hired me for. Not to ogle at all the fabulously gorgeous wizards!

I do have to say that classes can start none too soon! Maybe then I'll be able to focus on the curriculum so that my students will not be lead astray in the area of preparing their kits. That's it! Must stay focused! I'm off to my office to do a little more research for my class. Until next time!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


A feeling of great liking for something wonderful and unusual
A magical spell

This is a little pre-work before the class actually begins. We want to create a sense of wonder in presenting our packages to our swap partners, so I thought that I would display another package:

The participant who received this beautiful package probably experienced a since of mystery when they opened their box.
"It was like Christmas in my house this evening!" As quoted by the swapper who received this package. And, wouldn't you know it? This package was sent by a previous Hufflepuff House Prefect.

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Course Listing - Enchanted Kit Planning!

As some of you know, I'm not a current student at Hogwarts. I actually graduated some 10 years ago and have been working for the Ministry of Magic in the Department of Mysteries. Well, I got a lovely call this morning from Professor McGonagall offering me the teaching position for a new class listing. - Enchanted Kit Planning! Everyone knows that in order to be prepared in life we must plan! I'm so excited to take on this position :) Because I can't be at Hogwarts everyday my lessons will be available here - online. Oh, this is wonderful!

School, of course, begins on January 18th, but I will leave a little teaser for the course here.

This is a picture of a first year kit, which can be found HERE. This kit contains a wonderful knitted bag, a beautiful hank of Ravenclaw yarn, a cute dinosaur novelty, a handmade needle holder with needles, and a CD of Magical Music. So the course will include many ideas to help you plan your kit and make it extra cute, hopefully for little money, but made to look fabulous!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Good Morning!

Everyone must bundle up! Today's high has proclaimed to be a brisk 3 degrees celsius. I have yet to head back to work after our short little holiday and whilst at home I've been knitting up a storm! Hats, gloves, but alas! No socks.

In my web travels I've come across some very interesting items to add to the kit and thought that I would mention just one of them here:

Jenny's Cards and Books has a lovely assortment of various Potter themed cards!

And if you click on the card it will take you to a lovely quiz where you can find out what your patronus is. My patronus is:

The WOLF, the wolf a noble creature that finds comfort in packs as well as by its self. Its bravery, cunning, and stealth are unmatched. This patronus can take out dementors one by one with its Razor sharp claws and strong jaw. It is a most noble and formidable patronus.

I was visiting Emma Wigworthy's blog this morning and she mentioned how Dobby would have had the time of his life participating the the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap! Now I am determined to add a little something in tribute of Dobby to my package this time around. When I had heard of Dobby's death I cried and cried for the lose of such a zealous Elf! Stories of Dobby still reach far and wide to this day!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The excitement grows!!

I can't wait until I get my partner so that I can start shopping. In the past I've sewn my kit bags, but this time I really want to knit it. I'm almost thinking of designing a bag to go along with the Goblet of Fire theme.

Well, I suppose I'll have to be patient. I have to share a cute little photo of my cat Paige! Isn't she adorable?

Linking from Flick'r

Dear Penelope Pinkstone asked me how you hot link images to your blog and I thought that I'd put together a little tutorial because I'm sure others might have the same question.

This tutorial is going to use a Blogger blog as an example and Flick'r as the photo storage example.
First you will need to upload the image to your flick'r account. Directly above the image you'll see the words 'blog this.'

Click on 'blog this' and follow the steps to Grant Access to Flick'r to post images on your blog. Go back to the image and right click and the Element Properties box will pop up.

You're going to highlight and copy the image location and add it to this HTML verbiage:
<center><a href="http://www.hsks4.blogspot.com/"><img border="0" src="ADD LOCATION CODE HERE" /></a></center>

Go to your blog template and choose 'Add Page Element.' You are going to add the above HTML code here:

That should be it. If you have any other problems, just drop me a note here and I'll be happy to answer them.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

It's HERE!!!!

The Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap 4 is finally here!!! I must admit that I can't knit a sock to save my life, though, I have attempted a sock a time or two. Making a kit is more up by alley and may give me the added encouragement that I need to attempt to knit another sock. My collection may just end up looking like Dobby's socks because I do not have a complete pair to this day.

Since this is my first post I should tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Miss Mandy Finch-Fletchley. Am the aunt of Justin Finch-Fletchley, whom I'm sure you've heard of. He was very helpful to Harry Potter in their 5th year at Hogwarts.

I was born and raised in Godric's Hallow, so yes, I'm very familiar with the history of the Potter family, though I did not know any of them directly. I graduated from Hogwarts 2 years before Harry even knew that he was a wizard. Straight of of school I got a job in the Department of Mysteries with the Ministry of Magic and have been there ever since. Soon I should be promoted to department head.

Why am I not married, you ask? Well, I have been known to see a wizard to two here and there, but what with my focus on work a relationship with the male species as been rather low on the list. Maybe after my promotion I'll have more time . . .