Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Out in the woods

Spent the weekend the way many SE Michiganders tend to do - headed up north! Put Coop in the car, threw some clothes together, and headed off into the woods for a weekend of rest, relaxation, and naps.

We were somewhere between Mancelona and Traverse City. Our friend, Matt, has a cabin on 15 acres in the middle of the woods. It was fabulous! I could stay there for days - weeks even :)

Friday night we experienced a terrible thunderstorm. Thunder rolled and lightning lit up the sky. The lights flickered a few times, but won the battle. We watched the amazing light show from the huge porch until it started to rain sideways and were forced inside.

Saturday we headed into Bellaire for breakfast at a great local place called Tooney's. Fantastic breakfast and great coffee. It's great to find the little local places to visit while out exploring - no chain stores and restaurants for me :)

Then we drove into Alden, for a stop at the Alden Mill House. Alden is one of the cutest little towns I've ever been in. Tiny town with the main street stopping right on Torch Lake! What a beautiful place. Had me seriously thinking about picking up a real estate guide, but I resisted the temptation - Paul might freeze solid in the winter. Alden Mill House is this great local shop that sells all kinds of cooking gadgets and handmade spice blends. We picked up there Garlic Pepper blends and a meat marinade - both are great!

Then back to the cabin for reading on the porch, Coop exploring the woods, and a nice nap on the comfy couch.

Paul drove, so I had time to finally finish the binding on my Authentic lap quilt. I got to use it all weekend and love how warm it is! So I grabbed some pictures of my completed project.

After an awesome Belgian waffle breakfast by Matt, we loaded up our stuff and headed back to reality. Hopefully, we can do it again soon!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Annie's quilt

My second attempt at quilting was for my friend, Brooke. She was pregnant with her first baby - a girl! I found a great tutorial on Moda Bake Shop for a coin quilt and matching bag, so being the enthusiasic new quilter, I jumped in with both feet and went for it! It made from Hushabye by Tula Pink.

Let me tell you that coin quilts aren't that easy. Especially lining them up! But that's inexperience and an inconsistent 1/4" seam talking :) I've gotten much better at lining things up now!

Brooke sent me a few pictures, as I was in a rush to get her gifts to her before she went on maternity leave and didn't get any! I also had this quilted at Monarch Quilts in Brighton (I still have not improved on my free-form machine quilting!!)

Here are the pictures with Annie! She's adorable and even has a blog of her own :)

One last visit in Puppydom....

I headed up to see Angie at Tifari for one last visit with the puppies before they head to their forever-homes. And I brought Big Papa, Cooper with me! Angie's girl, Piper really wanted Coop to run with her - she did circles around the yard at Mach I; but Coop just watched her like she was crazy :)

Here are some of the pics from the day. The sun was shining in between the trees and really shows how bad my photography skills are, but how can you go wrong with puppy pictures!!

Cooper had a parade of puppies trailing him most of the time we were there. They were very curious about the new big dog that came to visit.....There are many versions of this picture!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Game of the Month - Carcassonne

Or as Paul likes to call it - Corpse!

Carcassonne is a tile laying game. You create the board as you play. Players take turns pulling and laying tiles that create the countryside. Tiles must match up when they are played (roads to roads, cities to cities… etc.).

Every time you place a tile, you have the option of playing one of your 7 "meeples" on the tile you just played, claiming a road segment, city segment, field segment, or cloister (brothel, as the boys like to call them!). Once you’ve placed a follower, he stays there until the road, city, or cloister gets finished (if you place your follower on a field to "farm", he doesn’t leave until the end of the game). For every road, city, or cloister that gets finished, the follower on it earns points. Your goal is to get more points than your opponent(s).

This is one of the few strategy games that doesn’t feel like a strategy game. In fact, there’s enough of an element of chance in the game that you could win without doing much strategy at all, which is one of the best things about this game.

As other players lay tiles, this changes the game, as players can try to sneak into your cities or roads. There are tons of expansion packs too, which add to the depth of the game. We recently bought the bridges, castles, & bazaars expansion. This allows for roads to be continued over empty fields or even cities. The castles and bazaars aspects on the expansion pack also add to the game. You can choose any of the parts to play. You score points during the game for completing roads, cities, or cloisters. You get points at the end of the game (ends when the last tile has been placed) for partial ones. Farm points are determined at the end of the game.

It's a great game that doesn't take long to learn and is different every time you play.

Break-dancing meeples!

Board game geek....wait, that's me!

We have been playing a lot of board games lately - and not your normal Life or Sorry, either. Our board game obsession started when I first played Kill Doctor Lucky with my brother. It was the original version from Cheap Ass Games, with the "board" printed on 5x7 pieces of card stock that you laid on the table and kept adjusting during play. Then I received my very own version of Kill Doctor Lucky, but with an actual board and games pieces.  The rest is history, as they say. We did a bunch of shopping on Cheap Ass Games, and Paizo and have amassed quite the collection of games. We have friends that we love to game with at least one a week, if not more!

So, I'm going to start a little recap of the games that I love to play. I'm going to start with just one a month, but may add some bonus ones here and there as people ask about them.....

NOTE: These aren't games you can find at WalMart or KMart. Get out there and support your local game stores (Yep, the ones that sell miniatures and D&D stuff and comic books) They are great people and can usually order anything you are looking for...Some local Detroit stores are RIW Hobbies in Livonia, Guild of Blades in Madison Heights, and Comic City in Novi.