Tag Archives: winter solstice

Making WizWar

When we attended the Carnage gaming conference in November, NatureBoy and I played a game called WizWar, and had a great time. The game itself is out of print, but rules and materials can be downloaded and used to make your own game set. Of course, having played on a beautiful three-dimensional game board, we didn’t want to play on a flat cardboard set.

For Solstice, NatureBoy and I got two silicone rubber molds ( #88 and #285 ) from Hirst Arts, and 25 pounds of a dental plaster casting stone called Merlin’s Magic from a supplier in Massachusetts.

Following the instructions on the Hirst Arts site (here and here), we’ve started creating the pieces necessary for the WizWar board.


Here are the two molds, and some Merlin’s Magic getting mixed on top of the mixing board.

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Holiday season meme

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

I enjoy wrapping gifts; NatureBoy would say that’s because it’s "nit-picky." Last year, Beloved Wife made some drawstring bags out of holiday-themed fabric, and I have used raw cloth from BW’s stash to wrap some things using the Japanese furoshiki technique. Some day I’ll actually make finished furoshiki cloths.

2. Real tree or Artificial?

I really can’t abide artificial trees. I prefer Fraser Fir to Balsam, but they’re quite similar. I remember my paternal grandparents often had something very similar to Charlie Brown’s sad little white pine. I could never quite understand why.

3. When do you put up the tree?

As BW said "The day after Thanksgiving. No exceptions." This is more important to BW and NB than it is to me. I would mind waiting a little, but they get so excited that I can’t help but get excited, too.

4. When do you take the tree down?

Christmas day. Since we really celebrate the Winter Solstice, we’re pretty done with it. and the tree itself starts to drop needles that last week. Can you say fire hazard?

5. Do you like eggnog?

Not especially. I can drink a little, but I’m not a fan of nutmeg.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

Hmmm. The Dungeons & Dragons Basic set was a big one. 🙂 I got that and a cool miniature red dragon on a pile of gold (when minis were still made of lead). I still have the dragon; I recently purchased a copy of the D&D basic set I had (purple box).

I also have a set of miniature building blocks around the size of a box of playing cards, which has always been precious to me. (Yes, have. It’s in my sock drawer).

7. Hardest person to buy for? My mom.

8. Easiest person to buy for?

NatureBoy and Beloved Wife. Hardest thing is to stop buying for them.

9. Do you have a nativity scene? No.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

This is something that I’m not very good at. Usually, BW is on top of this, but with going back to school, some things just have to wait. We do have very nice cards, and we tend to send a small number of cards to close family and close friends. Last year, we included a little newsletter of the major happenings of the year. I expect we’ll do the same this year.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? 

Wow. I’m just not sure about this one. Could be the occasional garment of questionable aesthetic value.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?

The original How the Grinch Stole Christmas is tied with Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Spoiler: Yukon Cornelius is looking for a peppermint mine! (Revealed at the very end of the restored VHS version. DVD doesn’t have it.)

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? November-ish.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

I don’t think so; doesn’t mean I wouldn’t, just can’t think of anything.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Smoked cheddar cheese and port-wine cheese spread with crackers; also cookies, pies, candy canes, and Wassail.

16. Lights on the tree?

Yeas. I used to be a white lights only purist, but BW has won me over to the beauty of jewel-toned colored lights.

17. Favorite Christmas song?

John Rutter’s Carol of the Children, which I first heard on a public television special (which I found on VHS and game to my mom a couple years ago). It’s available on the CD John Rutter – Music for Christmas.

That special also included the story of Brother Heinrich’s Christmas, now available as part of Three Musical Fables, which is a special seasonal story.

We have a collection of special seasonal books, too.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

We celebrate Winter Solstice at home, and usually trade off Christmas Eve between my mom and BW’s parents. Both are live within a few miles, so travel isn’t a significant part of our winter holiday.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Yes, and in tune, but without the Gene Autry twang.

20. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

Presents on Solstice morning, though I think we’ve allowed a single present Solstice Eve in the past. Don’t know about this year, yet. We also open gifts with the parents’ in turn on Christmas Eve/Christmas.

21. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?

The short days. Although I appreciate the darkness, the resting and incubation energies, I find it hard to be motivated to do much when there are so few hours of daylight. Come back, Sun!

22. Favorite ornament theme or color?

Botanical themes; mistletoe, holly, pine and fir; also winter birds.

23. What do you want for Christmas this year?

I’m interested in learning to work wood and make furniture. I’ve been reading books and magazines, and I hoping to start collecting hand tools. (Can’t fit stationary power tools in my apartment.)

Also, there’s some gaming coolness that will be fun for all, but I can’t say too much about it, yet.

24. Angel on the tree top or a star?

BW found a pretty Gingerbread-like snowflake tree topper that we’ve used for several years. Last year, though, NB created a special tree topper out of felt. It had a sad/sleepy sun on it, but on Solstice day, he turned it inside-out and there was a Happy Shiny new sun.

25. Favorite Christmas dinner?

Apple pie. 😉