Category Archives: Puzzle Review

The New Ecru – Mystery Puzzles

I’m a sucker for a good mystery. It piques my curiosity and I just can’t seem to help myself! When Artifact Puzzles announced that they were debuting a new line of wooden puzzles I knew I wanted to try them out. Then Artifact upped the ante and announced that the new Ecru puzzles would include Mystery Puzzles. I was doomed!!

The Ecru puzzles are different from the main Artifact line in that they are made with a closer cut and a matte finish. The Mystery Puzzles are made to be ephemeral, they are only made for a few months at a time, then they are “revealed” and added to the main Ecru lineup.

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I love this. I was sent Mystery Puzzle #1, and it arrived in a plain gray box. IMG_6488

Like all Artifact puzzles, the box and contents are curated for maximum sustainability.  The box has a magnet closure in the lid and as you can see, you are given an envelope of resealing stickers so that you can be sure no pieces have escaped while in storage.

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These pieces look fiendish! I’ve never worked with anything quite like these. The pieces look like interconnected hexagons or simple chemical formulae. In fact, while assembling, I swear I saw a piece that looked like a sugar molecule!!

Continue reading The New Ecru – Mystery Puzzles

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Of Butterflies & Birthdays

September 12th is the start of Birthday Hell in my family. My younger but much taller sister, Little-Big(not her real name) turned 33 today. She loves everything butterflies and purple, so I had to get Cobble Hill’s new Butterfly Magic for her.

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All right, full disclosure here. I did not touch this puzzle except to help sort out the edge pieces. Little-Big loved the idea of a birthday puzzle, and whenever I turned around, she was happily assembling her own present!

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This puzzle went together relatively quickly. I was down with no spoons yesterday, so Little-Big sent me pics while I rested in bed.

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Little-Big started sorting her pieces by trying to finish the monarch butterfly with the sunflowers; then ended up sorting her pieces into the different framed sections.

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My sister had the best time working on the random cut, which had her scrambling to find where pieces fit right up to the last 2 pieces!

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TaDa!! Butterflies! Little-Big managed to get this finished just a few hours before her birthday. It will be glued this weekend and then mounted in her room.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Cobble Hill
  • Title: Butterfly Magic
  • Artist: Rosiland Solomon
  • Year released: 2019
  • Pieces: 500
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 19.25 x 26.625
  • Bonus poster: Yes
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy, Medium-weight, 10″x14’x2.5″ Matte-Linen Finish
  • Board: Thick and sturdy pieces
  • Cut: Steel-cut Die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Satin, linen texture
  • Puzzle Dust: Almost none
  • Piece shapes: Random
  • Piece Fit: Very Good, nice tight fit that if careful, I could lift it up completely

Disability Notes: Little-Big likes the larger pieces, which are easy on hands. The bright colors and different sections make dividing the pieces into workable groups easy.

Where to buy: Butterfly Magic is available on the Cobble Hill website for $15.99 USD. While Fall is fast approaching, this puzzle is perfect for any butterfly enthusiast or to brighten up those upcoming  gray days!

Cobble Hill Puzzle Company : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle 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!

Dog Days of Summer

I don’t know about you guys, but I both love and hate the Dog Days of summer. It’s too hot for me to spend much time outside, and some of my meds don’t react well to direct sunlight. So I spend a lot of time working on my hobbies. Of course, that means puzzles! I’m PuzzlePaws, aren’t I??

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Re-marks was awesome when I asked them to surprise me with a small piece count puzzle to review. I knew I had to wait until I was back home from a convention to give it a proper review.  As most of my puzzles are cat-themed, it was a delight to switch things up and work on a dog puzzle. IMG_6144My sister Little-Big helped me assemble this puzzle. I focused on the grass and doghouses, while she worked on the sky and words. I honestly cannot read this Charles Schulz quote without smiling. Add in the puppies, and this is a winner of a puzzle!

IMG_6147For all that this is a 200 Large Piece puzzle, it had some pieces that were unexpectedly challenging! For some reason, my eyes had a hard time differentiating between the sky and the mint doghouse.

XRXD1162As you can see, the pieces are definitely large! I found them to be lightweight but sturdy, and easy to handle on a day my hands were stiff and swollen.

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Isn’t this cute?? I may have to add more puppies to my puzzle images! This puzzle really brightened my summer day! I may have to stay inside, but at least I have puppies!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Re-marks
  • Title: Doghouse
  • Artist: Unknown, Quote by Charles Schulz
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 200
  • Cut-Style: Grid
  • Finished size: 13 x 19 inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made from Recycled Material
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Compact and lightweight, 8 x 4 x 2 inches,
  • Board: Blue chipboard
  • Cut: Cut with a steel-cut die
  • Image Quality: Good,
  • Finish: Semi-gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: 4 different shapes that repeat, Large size for easy handling
  • Piece Fit: Good! Most pieces could be moved in small groups.

Disability Notes: The large size of these puzzle pieces are great for a person with hand issues, or a short attention span. If you have eyes issues, like not being able to tell the difference between similar pastel colors, you may want to choose a different design. Thankfully, Re-marks has bunches!  The pieces are sturdy and well made.

Where to buy: Doghouse 200 Large Pieces Puzzle is available on Amazon website for $9.99 USD. Unlike most of the other puzzle companies I have reviewed, the Re-marks website is only for wholesalers. However, there are tons of retailers who carry Re-marks puzzles. I usually buy from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Re-marks Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle 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!

Shark Week Blogiversary – Tuesday

Sharks of the Badlands-

I rather liked this episode, but thought the title misleading. The trial and error aspect of finding a working solution for the problem of keeping humans in the water safe from the sharks that live there was well represented. I’m glad that the scientists in questions opted for a preventative solution, rather than a reactionary one.

Legend of the Deep Blue-

This episode was iffy for me. I thought the plot was amorphous, and not well defined. While the shark known as Deep Blue is one of the largest ever tagged, she isn’t the only large shark in the ocean, and finding her without tag data is like looking for a needle in a haystack. As the scientists I follow on Twitter noted, scars do heal, so they are not reliable identifiers after several years. DNA is the only way to be sure. That being said, the episode was fun and had amazing shark cage footage!

The Sharks of Headstone Hell-

So many tiger sharks! Another great shark episode with a great explanation of both the history of the area and the current events impacting both locals and the shark population. Hopefully, now that it is known that the area around Norkolk Island is a tiger shark hotspot it can be designated as a protected area.

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Today’s puzzle is a fun one! Ravensburger’s Smiling Sharks is a puzzle I’ve been hoarding for months, waiting for Shark Week. It is a part of Ravensburger’s Perfect Age Fit series, which features graduated piece sizes for young puzzlers. As a puzzler with hand issues due to arthritis and nerve problems, I really wanted to test these puzzles out. s-l1600

Smiling Sharks is a 300XXL puzzle, which is the smallest piece size in the series. I found the pieces to be comfortable in my hands, and the thick chipboard satisfyingly heavy.

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The border was the easiest part of this image.

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I love the fact that each shark in this puzzle has a different face and personality! Ravensburger is known for quality puzzles, and the attention to detail is  one of the reasons why!

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I adore this little fish!
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Look at their smiles!

Overall, a great puzzle! The image is challenging without being overwhelming. Little-Big and I had a nice afternoon puzzling. Shark Week and puzzles go together!

Want a chance to win your own Shark puzzle? Giveaway Link: Here!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Ravensburger
  • Title: Smiling Sharks
  • Artist: Howard Robinson
  • Year released: 2017
  • Pieces: 300XXL
  • Cut-Style: Grid
  • Finished size: 19 x 14 inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in Germany

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy but lightweight, 13 x 9 x 1½ inches, Linen finish
  • Board: Extra thick chipboard
  • Cut: Cut with a steelcut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Linen matte
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: 2 different shapes that repeat, Large size for easy handling
  • Piece Fit: Excellent! Great snap and I could move multiple pieces easily

Disability Notes: The 300XXL size puzzle pieces are a great size for a person with hand issues, or a short attention span. The pieces are sturdy and wellmade.

Where to buy: Smiling Sharks 300 XXL Puzzle is available on the Ravensburger website for $14.99 USD.

Ravensburger Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle 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!

Shark Week Blogiversary-Monday

I’m tired from traveling home from DC, but I had this sweet little puzzle by Ceaco and the first two episodes of Shark Week 31.

Expedition Unknown: Megalodon 

I’ll admit that I enjoy Josh Gates’s Expedition Unknown series. I found this episode to be both funny and informative, and SC and I loved all the movie references! It was a great mix of shark science and entertainment, while making no bones of the fact that Megalodon is extinct. The “can I lick science” moment was hilarious, and the explanations of the current theory behind the possible why of Megalodon’s extinction were well done.

Shark Trip: Eat. Prey. Chum

Ugh. I’m not going to mince words here. I despised this show. Rob Riggle and his friends are actors, and you cannot convince me that they knew EXACTLY what the script entailed. That being said, the writers of this particular episode need to go back for sensitivity training. Rob’s bullying and toxic masculinity for the sake of cheap laughs and Anthony Anderson’s over-the-top screaming and flailing were not funny. I watch Shark Week for sharks and shark science, not to watch actors act like jerks and spread shark fear.

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I had a devil of a time trying to find this puzzle! I’d seen it in my local Walmart months ago, but hadn’t bought it at the time. When it got closer to July, I started to panic because I could no longer find it! I trolled through every Walmart I went into looking for it! Thankfully, I found it in NH while camping.

IMG_6133 At 100 pieces, this isn’t meant to be a difficult puzzle. Normally,  puzzles of this size are marketed to children, but I’ve found that they are fantastic for bad hand days.

IMG_6136 My sister Little-Big has recently moved in with us, and she helped me assemble this puzzle.

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I found this image of a Great White swimming through a set of presumably Megalodon jaws perfect to start my Shark Week!

IMG_6161 This puzzle is part of Ceaco’s glow line, so SC pulled out the black light for this pic!IMG_6160

It glows!!!

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Here is the puzzle in all it’s sharky glory!

Giveaway Link: Here!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Ceaco
  • Title: Under Sea Glow – Great White Delight
  • Artist: Jerry LoFaro
  • Year released: 2016
  • Pieces: 100
  • Cut-Style: Grid
  • Finished size: 15″ x 11″ inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy but lightweight, 6x6x2 inches
  • Board: Medium thickness, chipboard
  • Cut: Cut with a steelcut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Semi-gloss with glow in the dark lines
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: 4 different shapes that repeat, Large size for easy handling
  • Piece Fit: Good,I could move small sections of 2-4 pieces

Disability Notes: This is a great puzzle for people with hand or eye issues. The image is clear and the pieces easy to handle. A quick small puzzle, it fits well on a lapdesk or puzzle board.

Where to buy: Under Sea Glow – Great White Delight Puzzle is available on the Ceaco website for $6.99 USD. It can also be found at certain Walmart stores.

Ceaco Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I purchased this puzzle 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!

Campside Series – A Day at the Lake

 I got safely to Massachusetts last night, and today I’ll be heading up to Swanzey, New Hampshire with the Boss and his wife to camp.

MasterPieces Puzzles has a new series out this year that is perfect for this weekend, and all summer long. Their Campside series is a set of 4 puzzles that showcase the fun of both summer and camping!

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 I love going to camp, it means different things to different people. For me, it means walking cool forest trails, petting all the other campers’ dogs and swimming in the lake.

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This is a fantastic 300 piece EZGrip puzzle. The EZGrip puzzles are made with larger puzzle pieces that are better for people with hand issues or for children learning to puzzle.

 I was having a bad hand day when SC and I assembled this, so I consider it a decent test of whether or not it works as advertised.

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I love all the different details and aspects of camping shown in this puzzle! It really hits all the best bits of a summer holiday in my mind.

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 This raccoon made me smile! The artist, Adrian Chesterman, really makes his images feel like you are really there!

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 It’s a picnic! Without ants!

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 As you can see, I had a ton of fun with this puzzle. As experienced puzzlers, it only took SC and I about 45 minutes to assemble. That being said, this is a great puzzle to do with the family, either at camp or home. SC and I thought it’d be perfect for a rainy day or after supper activity.

I’ll be definitely looking to collect the rest of the Campside series for my summer puzzling!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: MasterPieces® Inc.
  • Title: Campside – Day at the Lake 300 Piece EZ Grip Puzzle
  • Artist: Adrian Chesterman
  • Year released: 2019
  • Pieces: 300
  • Cut-Style: Grid
  • Finished size: 18x 24 in
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Made in China

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy but lightweight, 8 x 8 x 2 inches
  • Board: Medium thickness, recycled chipboard
  • Cut: Cut with a steelcut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Semi-gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: 4 different shapes that repeat, Large size for easy handling
  • Piece Fit: Excellent, small clusters of pieces could be moved without falling apart

Disability Notes: I found this puzzle to be easy on my hands and the many bright colors to be easy on the eyes as well! This is definitely a puzzle for (almost) all ages and abilities!

Where to buy: Campside – Day at the Lake 300 Piece EZ Grip Puzzle is available on the MasterPieces website for $12.99 USD.

MasterPieces Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle 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!

Endless Starry Sea, Reviewing InGooooD’s Wooden Puzzles

I love contests. I do. Sometimes I even win!

I’d been following InGooooD, a new puzzle company for about a year now. In May, I won their Mother’s Day contest; which let me choose one of their original run of puzzles. This is the hardest part of being a puzzler, I swear.

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I ended up picking Romantic Star Sea. It’s soooooo pretty! Galaxies of stars reflect from a seashore where a couple holds hands.

InGooooD is a little different from traditional puzzles. They make their puzzles from basswood, not cardboard. This makes for a lightweight, but very nice puzzle. IMG_5948

InGooooD prides themselves on quality and presentation. Each puzzle comes in a nice mesh bag, and includes a fullsize  poster and a postcard. I’ve heard from puzzlers that have bought some of the newer puzzles that now they have saver sheets as well!

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Poster

This is a really challenging design. Thankfully, InGooooD has labled the back of the puzzle. The puzzle is divided into 8 grids, labled A-H. I was smart and sorted my pieces.

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Pandemonium loves smelling the pieces!

Being a laser-cut wooden puzzle, the pieces fit very tightly. I spent a lot of time flipping my sections over to check that I had placed correctly.

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Zane playing Dragon and sleeping on a horde of pieces!

I enjoyed this puzzle, and will admit to having a very large wishlist on Amazon full of InGooooD puzzles.  I did learn my lesson, next puzzle will be an easier image.

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Back!
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Tada!!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: InGooooD
  • Title: Romantic Star Sea
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 1000
  • Cut-Style: Ribbon Cut
  • Finished size: 19½x 29¾ inches
  • Bonus poster: Yes
  • Made in China


QUALITY: 

  • Box: sturdy,  8¾ x 11¾ x 2 inches
  • Board: Very sturdy and rigid, wooden pieces
  • Cut: Laser cut
  • Image Quality: Excellent
  • Finish: Semi-gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: None
  • Piece shapes: One shape with two orientations
  • Piece Fit: Incredibly Tight!, If you misplace a piece, you must be wary to not break the piece when removing it.

Disability Notes: This design was rather difficult, and I do not reccommend it for anyone with eye issues. However, InGooooD has tons of images, and is always adding new ones. The pieces are nice and light, easily handled when my hands were mildly arthritic. The alphabet grid is nice and clear.

Where to buy: At the time of this post, Romantic Star Sea is listed for sale on the Ingooood website for $23.17 USD. Ingooood puzzles can also be found on Amazon.

InGooooD : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I won a complimentary puzzle from the manufacturer. 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!