Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Visitor Appreciation Sale

I appreciate all of you who stop by and visit my blog and really appreciate the comments & encouraging words from many of you.  As a way of saying thanks, I'm making a special offer available to my blog visitors.  This deal only lasts a week, however, so if you'd like to take advantage of it, act now!

For one week, you can receive a discount of up to 20% off orders placed at The Brick Collectors BrickLink Store.  The details are on the coupon below - click to expand.  Offer expires 3/6/12.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Building Challenge #7

We're back in action with this week's Building Challenge!  We post a new challenge every Friday and we welcome YOU to play along with us.

Building Challenge #7 - Micro Medieval
We're going back to some small-scale building (mostly because it doesn't take too long!).  This week we challenged ourselves to build something in the castle/medieval theme in microscale.  I'll share my inspiration model first this week - the Medieval Mountain Fortress.

Medieval Mountain Fortress Front View - by LEGOMom
I'm pretty happy with the way the drawbridge came out.  And I like the banners on the front and side.

Drawbridge View
Wide shot
The gray rocky base is a LEGO element - it came in a Coast Guard-type set, if I remember correctly.
Back View
Aerial View
Next we have LEGOBoy, with his Saxon Castle.

Saxon Castle by LEGOBoy
This is the sort of early castle that the Saxon people built after the Norman soldiers conquered their territory.   (Source:  LEGOBoy)

There's a moat running around it and a stockade wall.  The building with the yellow straw roof is the bailey.  In the far corner is the lookout tower. 
Lookout Tower
If you have a model you'd like to share, link up to us below.  Thanks for checking in with us!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

One of My Favorite Things

Being an AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) has its pros and cons.  On the positive side, you have your own money and can buy whatever LEGOs you want, whenever you want.  This assumes you have an understanding spouse or significant other ;)  On the negative side, you end up with a whole lot of LEGOs, and you have to keep them somewhere.

I don't know if all AFOLs are neurotic or not, but I think it probably helps.  I can't imagine keeping our LEGOs in one monstrous, disorganized pile.  No, they must be sorted.  Some other time I might share pictures of what our LEGO room looks like.  (Yes, it's a room.  Sort of.)

For now, I'll share with you a product we found and love.  (I have no affiliation with this product or company.  I'm just a happy customer!)  We used to keep our minifigs in plastic bags sorted by theme.  It looked like this:

It did the job.  But those minifigs are just so darn cute, and it isn't much fun to look at them this way (and also not so easy to find that one character you're looking for).  Another one of my hobbies is scrapbooking, and that's how I found....the Scraponizer!

Scraponizers are these amazing 8.5" by 11" plastic cases.  You can get them with divided trays inside, like the one you see below.

The great part about these is that you can see everyone in there very easily, the Scraponizers are easy to stack on a shelf, and on the spine you can label them by theme.  Makes it super easy to find even one lowly mime amidst two dozen Crusaders.  (Not that the mime would be mixed in with the Crusaders.  *Shudder*.)

This certainly isn't the cheapest way to sort minifigs (especially when you have a ton), but it's very satisfying.  Searching around online I found a place to get them for about $4 apiece.  Warning:  If you try them, you may very well become addicted.  Especially if you are the sort of person who would never store a mime with Crusaders.

These cases are also child-friendly.  Our 7-year-old is able to look through the stack of Scraponizers and find exactly what he wants, instead of pestering us to find it for him.  We're still working on training him to put things away himself...

If you visit the Scraponizer website and look at their photo gallery you'll see pictures of them being used to store small LEGO collections.  And before we wrap this up, just a friendly reminder that we'll be back with Building Challenge #7 on Friday, so be sure to visit us then!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Family Fun

Today we share a little building challenge history with you.  Before we began this blog, my family and I had another way of doing LEGO building challenges.  One of us would create bags of blocks, like this one:

Each person would receive a bag with an identical set of pieces.  This bag contained these pieces:

Then each of us would build a model using all the pieces.  We used tall books (think Where's Waldo) to shield our creations from each other until we were ready to reveal them.  The result is different creations that use the exact same pieces.  Here's what LEGOBoy and I (LEGOMom) made for this challenge:

Here are the models we created from a different set of challenge pieces:

This is a great, easy way to get your kids using their LEGOs in new & creative ways.  Try it out and let us know what you think!

Monday, February 20, 2012

New Website

Since we don't have a challenge to share this week, I thought we'd keep you busy with some other interesting LEGO-related posts.

First up, I am proud to introduce you to a new website featuring stop-motion LEGO movies and other LEGO creations...Brick a Brack Studios!  This website features the work of one of the third place winners in the LEGO Super Heroes Unite contest that ended this past December.  If you click on this link, you can view his winning entry - Our LEGO Batman Adventure Part 1.  And in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that this is the work of the same person I refer to here as LEGODad - my multi-talented husband, Larry.

Check out the free trailers and if you like what you see, consider becoming a member.  For as little as $1 a month you will have access to exclusive content, tutorials, forums, and more.  And if you'd like to start making LEGO movies yourself, this is a great place to get how-to advice.

We'd love to have you check out the site and give us some feedback.  Meanwhile, it's back to preparing the next Building Challenge for us!

Friday, February 17, 2012

And on the 7th week...we rest?

We're taking a break from building challenges this week, largely because we've gotten a little busy with other things.  Don't worry, though!  We'll be posting some things during the week, and we'll be back with Building Challenge #7 next week.  If you haven't tried out our February building challenges yet, feel free to revisit them and post your creations!

Building Challenge #5

Building Challenge #6

Friday, February 10, 2012

Building Challenge #6

It's Friday, so that means it's time for the next building challenge!


I was a little intimidated by this one, but my husband & son both jumped right in, so I had to follow.  

Building Challenge #6 - Mosaic

We want you to create a mosaic of anything, any size.  If you feel like you would need a little help on this one, there's a great LEGO app for the iPhone called LEGO Photo.  It turns any picture into a mosaic.  As you tap the screen, it shows you your image in different color schemes.  Then you can save the picture to your photo library.  I used the image it provided as the template for my mosaic, although I did adjust the colors a bit.

Here's my inspiration model for this week - a mosaic of Calvin's buddy, Hobbes!

Image from my iPhone using LEGO Photo App.

The actual completed mosaic - Hobbes, by LEGOMom.

LEGOBoy crafted a mosaic of Jay, the Ninja of Lightning from Ninjago.  That's Jay stealthily hiding in the lower right corner  The white streaks are bolts of lightning.

Jay, by LEGOBoy

And LEGODad used his iPhone to help him with his self-portrait.  He's planning on using the image as an online avatar.  

Self-portrait, by LEGODad
Hobbes was my first mosaic, and it was tricky.  It took quite a bit of time, and it's hard to keep your perspective.  After working for awhile it looks only like blobs of color and you forget what you're trying to create!  If you've never tried this art form before, now's the time to go for it!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Building Challenge #5

Before announcing this week's challenge, I'd like to announce that for the month of February we will be offering a prize to our favorite entry!  You will have your choice of one of two different Series 5 LEGO minifigures, which will be mailed to you.  Now's the time to join in the fun!  Each weekly challenge (announced on Fridays) is open all month.

Building Challenge #5:  Destination - Far East

This week we are challenging you to share with us something with an Oriental flair.  It can be Ninjago or Ninjas or something else entirely!  To get the ideas flowing, check out our inspiration models.  First we have LEGOBoy with his action-packed creation - a Ninja Training Area.

Ninja Training Area - by LEGOBoy
When he told me he was going to have Ninjas flying through the air avoiding traps, I was a little skeptical.  I was fascinated by how he chose to accomplish that effect.

The red ninja is avoiding the working trapdoor in the floor.  Very impressive!

LEGODad is a bit busy at the moment, but he'll rejoin us when he can.  That brings us to my creations.  I have three to share this week!  First up is an Oriental-style gate, followed by a bridge.
Oriental Gate, by LEGOMom

Bridge, by LEGOMom
Last is a Dojo my son and I collaborated on.  That explains the yellow baseplate ;)  A lot of time went into creating this model, which can be opened up in the same way the LEGO modular buildings can be.

Dojo - by LEGOBoy & LEGOMom
View of 2nd floor with treasure room, meditation area, and extra ninja gear.
Alternate view of 2nd floor.
1st floor training area from rear.
1st floor training area from front.
Secret entrance.
Enough pictures, right?  Remember, if you submit our favorite entry for the month of February, you will win a prize!  Hope you'll take up the challenge!

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