Bethel Lazuli, a 7th year Hufflepuff and transfiguration N.E.W.T. student, has recently won a second-place prize of 200 Galleons from Transfiguration Today’s annual student competition. The theme of this year’s contest was fashion–students were to transfigure, in front of judges, at least one object of their choosing into a full set of robes. The robes were then subsequently judged on creativity, material quality, appropriate size, and aesthetic and design.
Lazuli chose a bud vase and pitcher of blue and white china for her robes, noting, “China often has delicately painted scenes with a level of detail that’s difficult to reproduce with manufactured fabric, and I wanted to take advantage of that in my transfiguration. The gardener and Chinese bridge on the back of the outer robes turned out beautifully.” She added, “I chose the pitcher and bud vase because of their curvaceous shapes, meaning it’s easier to shape them into witch’s tailored clothing. Unfortunately, the bud vase was a little reluctant to grow beyond a certain point, so the judges deducted points for the shortness of the underrobes.”
Bernie rolls over in bed, eyes still half stuck together; licks her lips and savours the taste, still present, of Serena, some hours before, ecstatic and glorious.
“Morning sleepyhead. Not like you…” The warmth in Serena’s voice trickles through her ears, echoed by the touch of her finger, tracing soft lines down Bernie’s cheek. “…to sleep in…”
“Sleep…in…? Oh shit!” She jerks upright, can feel her hair on end, skin burning. “What time is it? I was supposed to start at seven! Shit-shit-shit, how did I sleep through my alarm…” Bernie’s hand is already half way out, reaching blindly for her phone.
Serena watches her, uncharacteristically relaxed, not fazed in the slightest. “Mind your coffee, do. You’ll knock it over the way you’re going, and you know how I feel about cleaning that rug.”
“What…why… Why didn’t you wake me?” Bernie casts a reproachful glance at Serena, beginning to take in, for the first time, how perfect she looks. Far more so than normal, that is. Far more so than someone who has just woken up has a right to. “Hang…on… Why aren’t you…?”
“Penny dropped yet?”
“We’re both supposed to be on earlys today…” Bernie glances at the carefully made up tray, with a mug of newly brewed coffee, a melt-in-the-mouth Croissant, flaking and buttery, a bud vase with a fully open Peony barely keeping its head up, so heavy the petals are. Then back to Serena, in a silk leopard print camisole that Bernie knows fine well she didn’t go to sleep in; hair brushed (it never looks like that when she’s just woken up) and eyes bright with laughter. “What have you done…?”
“Well, suffice to say, AAU won’t be expecting either of us today.”
“I cleared your schedule yesterday. And my own.”
“Did you really think you could keep today a secret?” Serena quirks an eyebrow, dimple deepening as she twinkles at Bernie.
“Today…? …Oh.” Bernie falls back on her pillows and begins to laugh weakly. “Tell me you haven’t gone to all this…”
“…To celebrate your birthday? Oh, darling, this is nothing.” The cadence of Serena’s voice is rich with suggestion, as she leans down to drop a kiss onto Bernie’s still surprised lips. “But do drink your coffee before it gets cold.”
Bernie sits herself up, wriggles the pillows behind her till they provide support; gives silent thanks that the room is warm enough that she doesn’t have to go looking for the t-shirt that got thrown off somewhere in the early hours of the morning. Reaches for the mug, fingers brushing an envelope beside it. She glances at Serena from underneath her fringe, and picks it up instead. Opens it.
A voucher flutters out, but Bernie’s eyes are drawn first to Serena’s cursive scrawl; tidier than when it’s on a report or a discharge sheet.
I couldn’t think of a gift small enough for you to unwrap that was still big enough to carry everything I want to say to you, today and always. I hope you like this instead.
All my love,
She picks the voucher, wondering. It’s for a ‘luxury getaway cottage’ somewhere in the Mendip hills, with the arrival day bearing today’s date.
“I thought you’d prefer that to a Spa, somehow.” Serena smiles, soft and comforting. “Macho mad woman that you are.” She winks.
Bernie grins. “You know me so well.” Picks up the coffee. “Although…if a certain…masseuse…felt like…”
“Leave it with me.” Serena snuggles into her shoulder, kisses the now pale scar on her neck. “I’ll…see…what she can…do.”
“Is that a promise?”
“Couldn’t disappoint a birthday girl, now, could I?”
Make an open floor plan feel more cohesive by incorporating similar elements across the entire living area. For example, accent colors in throw pillows in the living room can translate to bud vases in the kitchen.
Here, we love how a custom office area was created using the same cabinetry and countertop as the kitchen.
Sylvia Plath reads Leaving Early, written 25 September 1960
Lady, your room is lousy with flowers.
When you kick me out, that’s what
Me, sitting here bored as a leopard
In your jungle of wine-bottle lamps,
Velvet pillows the colour of blood
And the white china flying fish
I forget you, hearing the cut
Sipping their liquids from assorted
Pitchers and Coronation goblets
Like Monday drunkards. The milky
Bow down, a local constellation,
Toward their admirers in the
Mobs of eyeballs looking up.
Are those petals or leaves you’ve
paired them with—
Those green-striped ovals of silver
The red geraniums I know.
Friends, friends. They stink of
And the involved maladies of autumn,
Musky as a lovebed the morning
My nostrils prickle with nostalgia.
Henna hags: cloth of your cloth.
They toe old water thick as fog.
The roses in the toby jug
Gave up the ghost last night. High
Their yellow corsets were ready to
You snored, and I heard the petals
Tapping and ticking like nervous
You should have junked them before
Daybreak discovered the bureau lid
Littered with Chinese hands. Now
I’m stared at
By chrysanthemums the size
Of Holofernes’ head, dipped in the
Magenta as this fubsy sofa.
In the mirror their doubles back
Listen: your tenant mice
Are rattling the cracker packets.
Muffles their bird-feet: they
whistle for joy.
And you doze on, nose to the wall.
This mizzle fits me like a sad
How did we make it up to your attic?
You handed me gin in a glass bud
We slept like stones. Lady, what am
With a lung full of dust and a
tongue of wood,
Knee-deep in the cold and swamped