Thursday 11 February 2016

Cardboard - Love Letter: Batman card game giveaway

With Valentine's day fast approaching it seems like a great time to talk about Seiji Kanai's tiny-but-awesome card game Love Letter. Not the most original of links, I know, but I'd forgotten how much I loved this game until I got the Batman version at Christmas and we've played it lots of times since! I like it so much, in fact, that I thought I'd share the fun with everyone by running another giveaway.

Sunday 7 February 2016

Cardboard - Carcassonne: Over Hill and Dale board game review

If you're not familiar with Klaus-Jürgen Wrede's classic game Carcassonne, it's a tile-laying game where players build up the landscape of southern France, making cities, roads and fields to try and score the most points along the way. Released way back in 2000, Carcassonne has been a staple of many gamers' collections for a long time now, famed for simple, engaging gameplay that makes it a great introductory game for new players.

There have been numerous expansions over the years which can be added to the base game to change things up a bit, from adding different types of tiles and meeples to an actual physical catapault that flings tokens across the board. I've bought a few of these expansions in the past but these days I've separated them all out again so that we can easily play plain old vanilla Carcassonne without spending ages picking out expansion tiles and pieces.

More recently, publishers Z-Man seem to have come up with an alternative expansion method. Rather than selling smaller expansion packs that can be added to the base game, they've started releasing spin-off standalone versions with alternative rules: the same Carcassonne experience we know and love but with an added twist and no need to spend time muddling about with components.

One of the latest entries to the family is Carcassonne: Over Hill and Dale, a farming themed version of the original game where you're making fields and growing crops instead of fortifying cities.

Carcassonne: Over Hill and Dale review

Tuesday 2 February 2016

Making - January 2016

My plan to do a crafting post each month appears to have fallen slightly behind, with the last one being in September! I'll have another go this year, starting with yet another catch-up post.

I picked out my first ever cross-stitch pattern at the Handmade Fair back in September. It's a cute glow-in-the-dark rocket for my baby's room from Bobo Stitch and I'm quite pleased that I managed to finish and frame it before he's old enough to leave home!

Here's the finished product, with his name removed at the bottom to protect the innocent; conveniently this also hides a spacing error I made that still makes me want to unpick and redo the whole word!

Bobo Stitch glow-in-the-dark space rocket cross-stitch

I'm told that doing this would be considered crazy, so it'll have to stay as it is! I love the glow-in-the-dark thread, the whole thing looks really great when the lights go out.

For my second ever cross-stitch pattern I picked this cute Christmas themed stamp from the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery:

Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - Santa cross-stitch

They make all sorts of adorable patterns, from little stamp sized patterns like this to big year-long stitch-along patterns where you get a new piece each month to complete. This particular one was published in Just CrossStitch Magazine's Christmas ornament issue. I made the completed stamp into a little pillow-shaped decoration the Christmas tree:

Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - Santa cross-stitch decoration

I had big plans to make for lots of similar decorations, but only managed one in the end.  Maybe more for next year!

I also started this larger pattern - 'Christmas on Gingerbread Lane' - from the same designers in November, optimistically thinking it would be ready for Christmas:

Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - Christmas on Gingerbread Lane

There's quite a lot still to go on this one, but hopefully I can get it done for *next* Christmas!

Moving on from Christmas themed things, I finally put all the pieces together for the baby's mobile after months of looking at the pile of finished crochet bits. Ta daaah!

Happy Day baby mobile with planets and rockets

It's a bit of a mash-up of three patterns and goes from space through to sky. Random, I know, but I think it turned out pretty nicely!

I found a pattern for Amy Gaines' Happy Day Mobile on Ravelry for free and fell in love with it straight away, but at the same time I really wanted a space-y theme in there somewhere. I bought a pattern for the rockets, planets and moon from One & Two Company but didn't really like the stars it used, so I found a free pattern on the Mohu blog for some smaller ones.

On the way I made a few modifications. The clouds in the Happy Day pattern were all flat circles, which I thought looked a bit odd against all the other puffy bits - so I gritted my teeth and made double the amount so I could stuff them like the other elements. I had to make a bit of a modification for (what seems to be) an error in the planet pattern, which was a bit disappointing in the only pattern I'd had to pay for!

I finished off the planets and moon little kawaii faces to so that they matched with the sun, rainbow and raindrops. Oh and I also added rattles and chimes when I was stuffing the parts so that when the mobile turns it makes a nice noise!

Here are a couple of closer pictures of some of the parts:

Baby mobile planet

Slightly wonky rainbow:

Baby mobile crochet rainbow

Happy sun - I love this bit:

Baby mobile crochet sun

So that's pretty much it for what I've been making since my last post! I've now starting working on the Frosted Pumpkin stitch-along for 2016 - the Pumpkin Passport, a travel themed pattern where you get a new section each month with a different international city, but more on that later!