Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everybody!

Well, what do you think of our fairy costumes? Pretty snazzy, right? The wings and wands are courtesy of a printable pattern we found on Basilmentos's blog. 

And here are two comics in honor of the occasion. Mom's friends posted them on Facebook, so hopefully it's okay to share them here... 

That's it for now. Got to run!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

About Time

Hi! Julie here.

My big news is that I finally caught my first 6/6 wild horse on Horse Isle 2. I'm the last of my sisters to catch one, so I am quite excited about him. Here's the story:

Shady and I had completed a mining expedition in the eastern mountains - both for the usual gems and for some rare metals on Triangle for a quest. We rested up on our ranch afterwards, and as long as we were still on Prairie Isle, I figured we might as well check it for wilds. Somebody else had the same idea about the same time as me, unfortunately. I kept to the east side of the isle while the other player roamed the most likely wild hangouts. No wilds to be found.

So, I started to ride back to the dock. I had Shady pause at the rowboat to Twin Rivers Isle and checked the map of players online: it was currently deserted. Off we sailed to Twin Rivers. No wilds were in the northern grassy oval, so we cantered southwards, staying out of the sequoia forest as much as possible (wilds don't like to hang out in them, plus the lag gets ridiculous in there). Shady and I went to work scouring the much larger meadow. We had found nothing and had decided to head back to the dock when...

There he was!

He was definitely not there the first time I rode by this spot...

All of my searching hadn't been in vain after all. :-)

He's one big boy!
His star is strangely missing from the list of genetic markings...
He's not going to be willing to brave the mountain isles anytime soon, but he sure is talented and social! I'm thinking of calling him Palladium (Pal for short), since palladium was one of the metals Shady and I were looking for on that quest. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, his avatar is similar but not identical to Lily's Flora. 

dark gray, black hooves
New Guy:
brownish tint, brown hooves

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October 15

Well, my birthday was the last of the mild days we're going to see around here anytime soon. It started out sunny and beautiful. My sisters and I got in a lovely horseback ride after school. It was getting cloudy and windy because showers were on their way, and the blowing leaves made the horses more frisky than usual. The band of showers arrived around 5:30. It's been raining ever since. 

We also got the Christmas addition of the AG catalogue in the mail today, so I've been having fun looking through it. You can look forward to us posting about that in a few days.

In Horse Isle 2 news, today was an especially fun day because there were 50% more wild horses roaming around than usual. The game's birthday present to me: 3 wilds hanging out on Harbor Isle! Yetta and I caught all 3. Here they are:

flaxen gold sorrel Haflinger

dark bay Groningen and chestnut rabicano Irish Draught
None were keepers, but it was quite fun lassoing them all, as well as making about $15,000 and gaining 15 experience points. XD Thanks, Horse Isle. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Felicity's New Newfie

Hi guys. 

Lily and Flora are on a role lately. Last night they found yet ANOTHER 6/6+ equine on HI2! I am beginning to think that that horse really is a magnet for awesome wilds. The biggest news is that this one is a mare!

Screw the unofficial rule that we won't keep any equines less than 13 hands. This little Newfie's breed stats add up to an impressive +104! She is staying, and she is mine. 

Here she is:

Well, hello there
And now for her close up:
She's darker than I expected from her avatar. :)
 It was funny, because I was looking over Lily's shoulder when she caught this pony. And when we looked at the top part of her profile, she said, "I have a feeling about this one, Felicity." And I was like, "scroll down already," thinking, it would figure if this little thing was an epic 6/6. Sure enough...

I'm loving the one stocking and the "star" that looks more like a stripe or blaze to me.
Good thing she's strong. :) I figure if Camargues can carry full-grown adults, and our Camargue is only 698 pounds, this sturdy 927-pound mare shouldn't have any trouble carrying our woman avatar around. She looks big barreled, so theoretically mom (the model for our avatar) wouldn't look ridiculous on her. XD *Lowers unofficial minimum height for keeping virtual equines to 12 hands.*

Oh, and obviously, even though Lily had first dibs on the horse since she caught her, she decided to let me have her. I was standing right there watching the whole time, after all. Thanks, sis!

Monday, October 7, 2013

ArtPrize 2013

ArtPrize 2013 officially ended last night. For any readers who may not know, ArtPrize is a 3-week art competition held each fall in various venues in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. It began in 2009 and has been growing bigger every year since.

According to, "Every year, ArtPrize distributes $560,000 in total cash prizes—$360,000 awarded by public vote and $200,000 awarded by jury." That's a lot of money! 

This year, there were 1,524 art entries and 446,850 public votes cast. Wow! Here are the top 3 by public vote this year:
3rd place:
Uplifting by Andy Sacksteder
This bronze sculpture depicts a Native American man lifting up a Native American woman. Water trickles down, like the man really did just lift her up out of water. I think the artist did a great job capturing movement, and the figures are quite lifelike. So, I suppose I can see why it did so well in the art competition. At first glance, it is rather impressive.

However, these figures are scantily clad, which makes me  a bit uncomfortable. I know, the human body is beautiful, but I like certain things to be left to the imagination. The sculpture lost most of its appeal to me when Mom informed me where exactly the trickling-down water is trickling down from. One water source is her belly button. The other two are... erm, the two highest points on the sculpture, if you catch my drift. XD I wonder how many of the voters realized this when they cast their votes...

I would definitely not put this in my top 3, nor even in my top 25.

2nd place:

Polar Expressed by Anni Crouter
This 3-panelled acrylic painting of polar bears was well-done. The bears were beautifully painted, and the panels were so big that they seemed almost life size. Each bear had a subtle twinkle in its eye, which added to their appeal. My favorite bear is the one on the far right. 

I don't really mind that the bears took home 2nd place, though they didn't make it nearly this high on my own list.

1st place:

Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore by Ann Loveless
This piece of artwork consists of 4 panels of quilts that together depict a panoramic beach scene. The artist was definitely playing to her audience in choosing a well-known travel destination in Michigan as her subject. XD I am amazed at how detailed this scene is, right down to individual blades of grass, leaves, and the reflection of the sun in the water. The beautiful hodge-podge of different colors, patterns, and textures of fabrics make this just as fun to look at up close as far away.

I am pleased that this entry took home the popular vote's grand prize. It isn't what I would've voted for, but it's definitely one of my favorites from this year.

Unfortunately, none of my top 3 made it into the public vote's top 3. Here they are:

3rd place:

Tired Pandas by Nick Jakubiak
How cool is it that these cute pandas are made out of old tires? These guys are just as cute in person as they are in photos, according to Mom. I think creating them was an excellent way to give new life to old materials. By the end of ArtPrize when Mom went to see them, the little panda was missing a chunk of its right ear. I sure hope the artist fixes that now that ArtPrize is over!

2nd place:

Daniel by John Katerburg
I really do love this piece, and Mom says it is even more impressive in person. It's a beautiful painting that depicts Daniel in the lion's den. This painting reminded me of the Bible story that inspired it and helped me picture the scene in my mind more vividly than I have in a long time.

1st place:

Myth-or-Logic by Robin Protz
My favorite art entry this year is this majestic griffin sculpture. It is 18 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 8 feet high, and it is made of tons of little chunks of bamboo suspended from strings. Mom reports that any faint stirring in the air at all causes the little golden pieces to move slightly and glint in the light. This artist has submitted similar creations for the last two ArtPrizes. In 2012 it was a dragon made from golden buttons, and in 2011 it was my all-time favorite, a winged mare and foal made from little silvery pieces. This griffin is breathtaking in his own right. I am so glad the artist has continued on with the mythical creature theme, since there is something almost magical about the media she uses.

There you have it: the public top 3 and my own top 3. I'm not going to bother to list all the juried award winners, because most of them didn't impress me much. I guess my taste in art isn't super sophisticated. So be it.

To conclude, here is a link to an album of my own top 25 pieces from this year's ArtPrize. [Link]
 Feel free to take a quick look through it. I had real trouble narrowing it down to just 25 this year. ;)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lily's Lucky Day... Part 2

Well, believe it or not, just a few hours after catching that 6/6 cremello sabino American Paint Horse, Flora and I happened upon this sneaky guy:

Nice camouflage, buddy, but I still see you
A gray Camargue. I was surprised to find a wild so close to the dock, and on a marshy isle besides. The marshes have been crawling with wild horse hunters since the Kerry Bog Pony was added to the game recently, but either the hype is dying down a bit or I was extra lucky. At any rate, I snatched him up before anybody else arrived. 

Not a bad looking dude. Short and sturdy.
 Cute, but not especially impressive, right? Then I scrolled down...

6/6 Again?!
That's right, Bethany. 6/6 number two for me. All it took was one day and we are tied, sister. :)

Wow, talk about lazy to the extreme personality-wise! Oh well, at least he will be good company for the other horses, as social as he is. He is way too good to pass up, but as I just found my cremello sabino dreamboat, I think I'll offer him to my sisters and see if any of them fall in love. <3

Since his avatar was hiding in that first screenshot, here's one that shows him off better:

Not laying down on the job yet, lol
I guess I picked the ideal time for collecting unusual bugs from pitcher plants (the bugs are an ingredient in crafting Esroh material), because I found 2 more wilds while I was at it. One is a handsome Kerry Bog Pony bound for our millennium fields as soon as we come up with a decent name. The other was another much less impressive Camargue stallion who went to auction.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lily's Lucky Day

Here comes another Horse Isle 2 post already. Because... *drumroll* ...I found my first all positive stat wild horse! XD That brings the total to 4, and all have been stallions.

How did this happen so soon, when Felicity just found a 6/6 horse on Sunday? I guess we're extra lucky this week. 

Flora and I had just travelled via SwimmerTurtle to visit the island where MithrilBop lives. We're in the middle of the Golem's Precious quest. We have learned that MithrilBop is the dwobbit who took Golem's precious, but MithrilBop has hidden it somewhere. The first ring hiding spot he suggested was bogus, so we were back on Islands Lake to talk to him for the second time of the day. (On my first visit, there was not a single wild to be found. I suspect someone else scoured the island for wilds shortly before I arrived, which is always kind of a bummer.)

Another player showed up while I was visiting MithrilBop, so I figured any hope I had at a wild was dashed. That player seemed to be on pressing business with the dwobbits, though, so Flora and I cantered into the grassy eastern expanse of the island to check for iron ore. There was iron ore, but more importantly, there was this beauty:

Camera shy, lol
I didn't dare wait for him to turn around so I could take a better screenshot. The other player was too close for comfort, and I didn't want to dawdle just in case he or she came to investigate why I was standing still. He was fairly easy to catch. It helped that I happened to find him in the first quadrant I searched, for once. ;)

So handsome!
His agility and speed gene stats match!
Wow, what a horse! 2,333 gene stats total, +83 stats for his breed, and as intelligent as APHs get! Unusual coloring, blue eyes, and a personality type none of our horses have so far... Yay! He's a keeper, no doubt about it. Never mind that Bethany already has a APH mare. You can never have too many APHs. I'm envisioning pastel blue polos, saddle pad, and halter for him. :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Felicity's Draftie

Okay, let me set the scene. It was Sunday morning before church. I was on Rocky Cove Isle with Arion, intending to mine gems with him in the Mines of More-or-Less. (Ari loves to show off how he can jump that crevice.) Before we did that, we poked around the ledges of Rocky Cove as usual, checking for dutchies (lost dutchman mines) and golden eggs. And then I found this guy by a dragget cave: 
Apparently, he isn't afraid of draggets

This was the first time I remember ever finding a Grade Draft Horse in the mountains. Usually it's Kigers, Kaimanawas, and Moyles, none of which I'm particularly fond of. So, I was pleased from the get-go and got out my lasso. I was even more pleased when I viewed his profile after catching him.

Here he is:
Awkward wording for his coloring. Shouldn't it really be brown spotted blanket?
I like his one white coronet, even if it does ruin the symmetric stocking effect :)

Super cool! Our third 6/6 positive stat wild horse and the first not caught by Bethany! Ha ha, Bethany, you can't brag about being the only one any more. And, the stallion streak continues. 

A very handsome stallion, I'd say. But, despite his good looks and how good his stats are for his breed, like most grade drafts on the game, his gene stats do not stack up in comparison to most other horse breeds. (Note how 4 out of the 6 don't even make it close to 300.) In addition, I was not impressed by his personality (skittish, extremely stubborn, and extremely lazy). So, he went to the auctions and was sold to another player. Hopefully he will be happy with his new owner. 

Who will be next to catch a 6/6 wild? And who will be the first to catch a 6/6 mare? Oh, the suspense!