Friday, December 28, 2012

Crazy for Games

For a number of years, now, the favorite game in my family has definitely been The Settlers of Catan, along with the expansion games. The first expansion we bought was The Sea Farers of Catan. We played it a lot until the more recent expansions came out, but tend to play The Cities & Knights of Catan the most, now. If you've never played the basic version, you should, plain and simple. It's a strategy game, and since the board is different every time, there's tons of replay value. Before you know it you'll be a brick trading, road building, 2 for 1 trading machine! As avid Settlers fans, we've done a few things over the years to help streamline & enhance our playing experience. A few years ago, my husband and I made a playing board to hold the hex pieces together, so they don't move around during play, and so that you can move the board from off the kitchen table if it's time for dinner. You can kind of see it in the bottom picture. We made it out of two pieces of hardboard. The bottom piece was left in a large square, and the top piece has a hole cut in the center in the shape and size of the Catan game. Then we glued them together, and it created a fabulous board!
The next enhancement we made was for our own Cities & Knights game. We like to play with more than just the normal 4 people, sometimes, so I decided to attempt to make our own 5-6 player expansion. We would actually need the expansions for both regular settlers & for Cities & Knights, so I checked what pieces we would need and set to work. I had almost the right amount of hexes from our Seafarers expansion, but needed 3 more, so I used some extra water hexes as the base, copied the front of the hexes needed, printed them off & used spray adhesive to attach them to the back of the water hexes. My husband made three sets of the wooden playing pieces using his wood working tools, and then I painted them black, pink or yellow. I also made knight stickers to go on the knight circles, and they turned out fabulously!
Our most recent goal was to create a card holder to house all the cards needed for a game of Cities & Knights. My technically minded dad, and my creative husband (along with a little input from their wives to help with design) figured out a decent design, and built a prototype for the holder. It turned out great! You can see it in the top right photo. The card holder is angled upward toward the back, so the cards overlap a little on each level. It holds all the cards, including the victory point cards you win when you conquer the barbarians. We used it during the next game we played, and it was so nice to have all the cards organized, without needing to straighten the piles during the game. It was easy to see all the cards, and I'm sure we'll get plenty of use from the organizer. Another nice thing about the holder design, it fits perfectly into the Cities & Knights box!
So, now that I've revealed how crazy we are about board games in general & Settlers of Catan particularly, what are some games that your family is nuts over? Have you made anything to streamline your game play? Or are we just a weird family? =) Have a happy new year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Pressure Canner

I sure do love to use my pressure canner! I use the Presto 23-quart pressure canner and I bet it would make a great gift for the canning enthusiast in your family!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gift Idea

I don't know how many of you struggle to come up with the perfect gift for your husband, but I always have a really hard time. I love to make handmade gifts, and usually make pretty fun things for everyone, except my husband. It's just so hard because when I ask him what he wants, he usually can't come up with anything, or the only things he thinks of are tools. I hate buying tools. So, when I found {this game} on Amazon, I went ahead and bought it, in order to gift it to my husband. It actually wasn't for Christmas, it was to celebrate him earning his Master's Degree this summer. We've played it a few times already, & I think it's going to be a big favorite! It's so easy to learn how to play, and we had a blast playing it. The characters on the cards are hilarious & it's been fun trying out different strategies. So, if your family likes games, or if you want to try a fun, new card game that will test your mind, check out {Loot}!

Vintage Book & Pink Paper Circles Garland

I've been having a bit of success lately selling my paper circles garland in my Etsy store. I just finished making 15 yards of pink, white & vintage book garland (I used pages from a vintage edition of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte) and it is now available in my Etsy shop {HERE}.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Our Beck Treks: What can YOU do with 12 words?

I'm providing one of the prizes for this 12 word essay contest. Go to Crystalee's site to enter for your chance to win some fabulous prizes! Hurry, it ends on Monday & the winners will be announced on Tuesday, December 12th (12.12.12).

Our Beck Treks: What can YOU do with 12 words?: The challenge is on. Enter the 12-word essay contest and wow me with your word skills!