Category Archives: Accessories

Puzzle Board as a Disabilty Aid?

Living with a chronic disease sucks. When it is one that also happens to be invisible, life can be very hard indeed. Like many people, I have a ton of hobbies. Most of those hobbies form the basis of this blog and do double-duty as a way to keep my brain and body active. Puzzling and diamond art are wonderful mental exercises, but they are absolute murder on my back and neck.

Over the last few years, I’ve had to accept that mobility aids are a part of life. They help me expand my quality of life. So I’ve been looking at different products that other puzzlers use to help them. When I was at Toy Fair, I was intrigued by their puzzle board and the possibility that it could help me on bad days.

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The board  came in a rather intimidating box, but once the travel packing was removed it revealed a really nice traveling box.

I was really surprised to find that the puzzle board comes pre-assembled. This is already saving me spoons! The board is beechwood with a blue velour covering. It is 20 inches high by 27 inches long and somewhere between 15-20 lbs.  Ravensburger says it can handle puzzles from 300 to 1000 pieces. It has 4 possible settings, so that you can adjust the tilt to your preferred angle.

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I decided to test the puzzle board in my two main puzzling locations, on the coffee table in the living room as well as on my bed in the bedroom. The velour cloth that covers the puzzle board creates a slightly static environment that allows pieces to stay in place on the board, even when the board is at its most extreme tilt.

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Hurricane resting under my puzzle and not on it!

I found that I liked the third notch position, and that my puzzling was much less painful after several hours. The non-slip velour kept my pieces on the board and the few that fell were caught by the ledge at the bottom. My back and neck didn’t cramp up from leaning over! The only issue I had it that the puzzle I started didn’t fit the board! this was my fault, because it was a specialty shaped puzzle and I forgot to check the dimensions before starting.

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Yes, my messy bed. With SC out-of-town, I live in a nest of blankets.

I also tried puzzling on the bed. the puzzle board’s base is too long to fit my bedtable, but I found that I was equally comfortable balancing it on my legs or sitting cross-legged with it on the bed itself. Obviously, I couldn’t spend as long puzzling in bed; my legs have issues being stuck in the same position for long periods of time. However, I was able to assemble a 100 piece puzzle and not overstress myself. Due to the nature of my illness, I expect that the puzzle board and I will be great friends this next winter!

Because I live with cats, when not in use, I’ll be keeping the board in its travel box. I’ll also be investing in a really good lint roller! Overall, I think this will be a wonderful aid in my puzzling. At least now I have a way to assemble larger puzzles in bed on bad days!

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy cardboard with a plastic travel handle
  • Board:  Lightweight Beechwood, sturdy wooden pieces, blue velour surface
  • Finish: Semi-gloss
  • Weight: Estimated 15-20 lbs
  • Dimensions: 20 x 27 inches

Disability Notes: Obviously, there is the weight of the board if you have any weight restrictions. If you cannot lift 20 lbs, have someone help you move the puzzle board to your preferred puzzling location. Like most Ravensburger products, you will pay for the quality. That being said, saving up for a puzzle board is much like saving up for any upgrade to a mobility aid. I don’t need the shiny glow-in-the-dark cane tips. But I like them and they make my life easier.

Where to buy: At the moment, the only place you can buy a Ravensburger Puzzle Board is at one of their physical store locations. The price of the Puzzle Board is not listed on the website, but I did a bit of research and found that it retails for $149.99 USD on EBay and Amazon.

Ravensburger : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle board from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own.All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

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Nifty Device From Toy Fair 2019

Hello?…Is this thing on?

Hi, SC here.  Puzzlepaws is unexpectedly out of town for an extended period (longer than expected due to “track maintenance” and “curfew”), so I decided to do a post (or two).

While we were at Toy Fair 2019, we came across a vendor selling this thing called an “iCaddy”. The original design was (not kidding) built out of toilet paper roll cores.  The basic concept is simple: a compact, durable phone and tablet stand, with replaceable charger, and cord storage. The iCaddy website calls it a mobile device multitool!

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The item as we received it.  The model featured on the front is the creator, Katrina.

We received the cat print, which is perfect for PuzzlePaws! Currently, iCaddy has thirteen different patterns.

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Box and contents including: iCaddy with accessories, introduction letter, sticker, and creator’s note.

The entire unit was easy to assemble, instruction were provided in the introduction letter.  The charger fits in a secure pocket in the section of the iCaddy that isn’t used for cord storage.

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This is the travel mode, nice and compact, easy to throw in a bag!

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While the iCaddy is not intuitive in its use, a bit of fumbling and looking at the back of the box allowed me to place it in its two configurations: Tablet Mode and Phone Mode.

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Tablet Mode
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Phone Mode

The iCaddy appears to be incredibly handy.  It holds the tablet incredibly securely (I was not worried that it would fall or tip), while the Phone Mode left the phone available (with minimal fumbling) if you had to take a call.  While it is not shown, there is sufficient space at the bottom of the phone to charge it while it is on the stand.

I was a little leery of “built-in storage”, but I’m pretty sure an engineer was involved in this design.  The cover is secure, but easy to open.  The storage is large enough to contain: earbuds of your choice, charging cable for the iCaddy battery, and a phone charging cable up to about 3′ in length.  It snaps securely closed once loaded.

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Internal storage

Surprisingly enough, the iCaddy came with earbuds.  Being an audiophile, included equipment comes in three forms: surprisingly good quality, name brand, or crappy.  (Not to say that name brand doesn’t also come in “crappy”.)

I compared the audio quality of the supplied earbuds (no brand listed) to my standard set of Skullcandy Ink’d earbuds.  While I couldn’t do a direct comparison as I don’t have that equipment, I was not disappointed.  The iCaddy earbuds have a good weight and a decent range, they fit my (admittedly standard) ears comfortably, bass support was good with little distortion (even at near-painful levels), the lyrics were not muddy, and the cable felt sturdy.  For an included set of earbuds, these were excellent.

The only glaring thing not included?  A charger.  As chargers have basically become ubiquitous (I think I have about 10 in the house not including the computers), a special charger just for the battery is really unnecessary.  The battery will charge with just about any 0.5A to 1A charger outputting 5V.  Charging time is reported to be about 3.5 hours.  Having owned similar chargers, they will supply about 1 fully battery’s-worth of power for a typical phone.

Overall this is an excellent product with a great design.  Since this is Convention season, I’m sure the iCaddy will be torture-tested in the field.

Where to buy: The iCaddy is available on their website for $24.99 USD. It may be available in mass market retailers eventually.

iCaddy : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary product from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Reviewing Sort and Save – Puzzle Piece Trays

I’m not always the most organized person. My life, house and project desk are always in some sort of chaos. Mind you, it’s a chaos that I have down to a science, so heaven help you if you touch it or god forbid CLEAN it. That being said, as my puzzles grow in difficulty, so does the amount of sheer space I need for all the pieces.

I’d been recommended puzzle trays before, but hadn’t had any real reason to try them. Until now. SC has told me that I’m getting an upgraded puzzle board for my birthday. Something that will take both 2000+piece and panoramic puzzles! I’ve been dying to try both of these, but not had a large enough work surface unless I wanted to use the floor of the office while exiling both the cats and the Spouse-critter. Not exactly feasible.

So when I reached out to MasterPieces, I made sure to request a set of their Sort & Save Puzzle Piece Trays. I kind of love that alliteration! 51695_box__66336-1519180977

Okay, so the package is pretty, but what about the actual trays?

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Not just for puzzle pieces! These were great when working a large brick kit!

Check these out! You get 6 trays of pink,yellow and blue(2 of each) made of a nicely sturdy plastic! I wouldn’t risk them in a dishwasher, but if necessary, these can be hand-washed with no problem! Don’t ask why I had to find this out, I have CATS!

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This is the best part other than the trays stackability, the trays interconnect! Really well, too! I could move the whole lot of them by just pushing or pulling the one nearest to me, or rotate them to work a different color.

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The unexpected good side I found to these was that I was able to keep my puzzling momentum even when I had to stack up the trays and half-done puzzle because of an evacuation. When we came home, I was able to pick up right where I’d left off. (In the words of Paul Harvy…”that’s another story”).

I’m pretty sure that when I order my first 2000 piece puzzle I’ll be ordering a second set of these awesome trays!

Rating: 5/5

Pros:

  • Great for organizing/separating puzzle pieces
  • Multiple craft uses
  • Interconnecting and stackable!

Cons:

  • I really wish these were just a little deeper, they barely fit a 1000 piece puzzle
  • For puzzles over 1000 pieces you will need 2 sets

Cost Analysis:

I know I’m not the only disabled person on a limited budget. At $14.99 a package, MasterPieces Sort and Save – Puzzle Piece Trays are a great deal. They’re reuseable, and as you can see from my pictures can lend themselves to many projects with small pieces.

Overall:

I solidly rate this product a 5 out of 5 and do recommend it for puzzlers who prefer to work in sections or have to maintain a tidy workspace, either due to kids, furkids or space restraints.

MasterPieces Sort and Save – Puzzle Piece Trays can be bought here.

MasterPieces: Website/FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle and glue sheets from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!