Saturday, December 3, 2011

Harry Potter From Beginning to End & A Giveaway

I’ve put off creating a Harry Potter layout for several months now, although I originally planned to make one right after the final movie premiered this past summer. I’m not sure why I’ve stalled on this layout. I simply wanted to create a two page layout about the books and movies and how much Robbie and I have enjoyed them over the past ten years.

Maybe one reason I stalled was because of these papers – too many to choose from to create a simple two page layout.

Maybe it’s because I really didn’t have think I had any photos, except the one of the life size Dobby in front of Hamley’s Toy Store in London.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have the ticket stubs to all the movies - some have been scrapped previously and some were probably thrown away.

Maybe it’s because I had saved “just a few” extra trading cards that Robbie was going to throw away. How was I to choose which ones would work best to help tell the story on my layout?

Maybe it’s because I wasn’t sure exactly how the journaling should read. How could I tell the story of our ten year journey through the fictional realm of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?

And maybe, just maybe, I was saving it for the final Storytelling Sunday of 2011. (Well, ok, I made up that reason, but it was just the nudge I needed to finally get this story scrapped.) Here’s how I made the necessary decisions to get this layout completed.

To solve the too-much-paper problem: I chose two 12x12 background papers for the two-page layout, and also decided to include a 6x12 page protector in between these two pages to allow more room. Thus, I was able to choose two additional papers (for the front & back of this smaller page).

To solve the no-photos problem: I pulled up all the photos in my Photoshop Elements Organizer and clicked on the “Reading” label to find photos of us reading. I was so excited to find a photo of Robbie reading one of the Harry Potter books! I also found a photo of me in front of a huge HP display in Hamley’s. I then took a photo of my Harry Potter books, which are displayed with bookends, snow globe and tea cups (that Robbie ordered special from London), and a photo of the Harry Potter action figures & puzzles we have displayed in the toy room – I created a collage with these photos.

To solve the not-all-the-ticket-stubs problem: I simply decided to use what I had, it doesn’t matter if they’re not all there! (How’s that for embracing imperfection!)

To solve the too-many-trading-cards problem: I flipped through these quickly and pulled the ones that spoke to me the most.

To solve the journaling problem: I simply opened a Word file and began typing my thoughts. I printed the draft and Robbie read through it and gave it a thumbs up, so I edited the draft and printed it onto one of the 6x12 sheets I’d chosen for the inner page.

Journaling Reads: I don’t remember exactly when I first heard about the Harry Potter books, but I didn’t read the initial one until late in 2001 when Robbie gave it to me as a gift while we were dating. I read the book in just a few sittings and knew that I definitely wanted the next books in the series. At that time, several of the books were already in print and the first movie was being shown in theatres. Robbie bought me two more of the books for Christmas, and we saw that first movie on our honeymoon in Banff. Robbie continued to add each new book in the series to my collection, and we saw each of the movies as they arrived on the big screen (and purchased each one as it came out on DVD). Robbie eventually read all the books also, and we both agree they are a great collection of fiction stories. I actually think the first three books are the best and that the editors maybe let too much slip by in the later books (they were a tad bit too long and had some rather “slow” parts). Robbie re-read all the books last year before the seventh movie was released, and I re-read them all this past summer when the final movie was released. Each time a new movie was scheduled to be released over the past 10 years, we’ve spent the previous weeks re-watching all the movies up until that one (a Harry Potter marathon). We’ve never been so enthralled that we’ve waited in line to purchase a new book in the middle of the night or seen the midnight showing of a movie, but we have seen these movies in several Texas cities and three different countries. We were actually able to see the sixth movie in London, which was a lot of fun since some of the scenes were shot in London in places we’d also been (like the scene where they fly over Trafalgar Square). Over the years we have added some Harry Potter action figures to the toy collection, purchased a replica wand from Hamley’s in London, and kept the books on display with book ends featuring the sorting hat and a stack of spell books. My favorite “extra” is the set of Hogwarts House cups Robbie ordered as a special gift for me. One detail that I truly like is that the series was completed with seven books which were all made into movies and (for the most part) the actors remained constant throughout the series. (Of course, no one could ever portray Dumbledore the way Richard Harris did. His character was never as endearing or magical when played by that other guy.) My favorite thing, however, is that because we own these books and movies, we can revisit this fictional world anytime to wander the magical halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry or watch a game of Quidditch or see Dudley grow a pig’s tale or picture Hermione with her hand in the air to answer every question in Snape’s Potions class or groan as Ron vomits up another slug or cheer as Harry finally defeats Voldemort!

Here’s a look at the left page of my layout:

And the right page:

And the two inner pages (front & back):

And here’s how it looks in the page protectors that I'll be adding to our Things That Matter album:

If you’re still with me after this long story, I have a special giveaway for you. I have a HUGE stack of Harry Potter trading cards that I would like to share with those of you who would like to use them on a layout or in a craft project. If you’re interested in receiving a few, please let me know in the comments by telling me the name of your favorite character or a favorite scene from one of the books/movies.

(This post is part of Sian's Storytelling Sunday - click here to read more of this month's stories.)


  1. Well Melissa, what a great way to end! I have to say, I never knew that there were Harry Potter scrap papers. I think many people would feel similarly to you, the HP series has been a favourite and I know I have enjoyed them ... though, I am yet to see the very last film.

    I have really enjoyed all of your stories for STS throughout 2011 - Merry Christmas to you and Robbie.

  2. I hadn't thought of a layout about HP, but I've bought R the last 2 films on DVD for Christmas so that could be the focus I need to do it. Some Trading cards would certainly help me there, and they would make great birthday cards for boys too. I can't choose a fave character (though as a teacher I can relate to Professor McGonagall) but I think one of best scenes is the next generation starting at Hogwarts and the fact that Harryt and Jinny have called their son Album Severus. It sums up the whole series in a sentence for me.

  3. I love how you have gone through the whole process and overcame your obstacles. Great pages and stories. I need to go back to organising my photos again as this shows how useful it is to do! TFS x

  4. I love your thought process and to think you can find things like 'reading' in your photo library. I am seriously impressed. Great way to tell your story. Thank you and Merry Christmas to you both.

  5. I love the story, great to hear the process behind it. I am so envious that your photos are so organised :) I always promise myself that I am going to do the same and put a day aside one holiday to do this.

    Harry Potter, well it is an amazing series, she does know how to tell a tale. No I am not a queue-r or midnight viewer but I did take the day off when the last book came off so I could indulge all day. Please don't send me the trading cards but a favourite character? Hermione. Whipsmart, brave, loyal.

    Happy Christmas to you and your husband :)

  6. Harry Potter was certainly good fun - I enjoyed wandering through it all too! I love that we got to see the process of you putting the page together as well as all the memories. Lovely story!

  7. I don't know anyone who hasn't been touched by the magic of Harry Potter, I will definitely be saving my copies so that my future children/ grandchildren can enjoy the magic :) Merry Christmas to you all!

  8. Wow, you are a true fan. You did a marvellous job of recording HP for posterity. Happy holidays!

  9. I think what I love most about this layout is the way you have been able to conjure up different times in your life just by thinking about the different books in the series. Very nicely done! It has completely inspired me to attempt a similar exercise.

    I have really enjoyed your stories and your support this year Melissa. A very Merry Christmas to both you and Robbie!

  10. What a great story, and even greater that you have layouts now to preserve the memories. My kids both enjoyed Harry Potter but I myself have a tendency to shy away from long books. The whole series does have a place of honor at our house - sitting all together in a basket. Maybe I should tackle them in 2012.

  11. What a great story - I love how you led us through your creative problem solving. We "discovered" Harry Potter about a month before the rest of the world and gave the book to our God Daughter who loved it and was able to be the really cool kid who knew about it before anyone else!

  12. I'm another HP fan Melissa..and I love how you've journalled your 'journey'....and made such a fab LO!
    Alison xx

  13. Oh, I have to confess that I've not watched one HP movie nor read one of the books. I know everyone raves over HP but I just never picked it up. May have to make that a Winter project.
    I love the way you included the inner pages. As I was reading your post and you were having a dilemna over the paper, I was shouting "Melissa, layer them or make more pages!" LOL And you went through the thought process and got this wonderful memory on paper.
    I'm so glad I found your blog and truly enjoy keeping up with you!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  14. WOW Melissa - you've really taken HP to your hearts. I have to agree about the first 3 books (which I've read) as I never quite finished the 4th. I've enjoyed the moveies though - and have 5 in a boxed set with the latest ones on my Santa list! Great Triple page spread too!

    I have to say that Hermione is my favourite character from the stories - so like myself with her hand up in class the whole time - and so feisty and loyal - a great heroine!

    Merry Christmas ♥

  15. I loved reading this - as I also loved all the Harry Potter books and films too! In fact we watched the last one on DVD last night - brilliant. Thanks for sharing you story and your wonderful layouts. Merry Christmas!

  16. I must be one of the few people in the world who has never even read a Harry Potter book.....but I do love the pages you've made.

  17. wow! I love the idea of a Harry Potter scrapbook. I am such a fan! And where did you find those papers? Amazing!

  18. Harry Potter definitely was a phenomenon. Sarah and I read the first book out loud to each other when she was just 7. We looked forward to and purchased each new book as it came out. She is a much faster reader than I am, so by the 5th book, we were reading separately. That series took her from grade school right through high school. From 7 to 17... and she never lost interest. She has read each book multiple times, seen all the movies, and used to participate in a Harry Potter fan fiction website. I really need to get this documented!

  19. This is one of my favourite posts of yours Melissa as I never realised what a Harry fan you were! I have never seen HP scrapbook pages before wow! Who makes them? My DS and I are huuuuge fans I have read all the books (got them as soon as they were published then read them continuously until finished ...often within 24 hours!) DS and I love doing exactly the same as you and watching all the films prior to viewing the latest release! The final film was released on DVD on Friday so we had to see it again having recently watched all the others. Love the story, love how much you love HP, love the papers and stickers and love the LO you created. A favourite character or scene ... mmm... where do I start too many to choose xxx

  20. So glad Storytelling Sunday propelled you forward into doing the layouts and sharing the story. Loved reading the HP books with the boys. I always found Luna Lovegood endearing and loved Minerva McGonagall.

  21. Had no idea there were Harry Potter papers. Your layouts look great and what a super way to remember your love of HP books & movies. Merry Christmas to you both.

  22. What a great layout! I loved reading your story as to how you discovered and have enjoyed HP. We ran out if steam with it in our house, still haven't read the final book and have only seen the first 2 movies, shame on me!

  23. Great story and wonderful layout. I LOVE Harry Potter and did a layout when the last book came out and need to do one for the last movie. I agree with your about Richard Harris - he was the better Dumbledore. :)

  24. Great LO and accompanying story. We've loved the books and films and I've just ordered the box set this week. We'll be watching them all again over the Christmas holidays. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas xx


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