Category Archives: Puzzle Review

25 Days of XMAS – Day 7

Today’s puzzle is one that I’ve been dying to assemble since it came in this fall. Part of Buffalo Games’ Adorable Animal Series, Meowy Christmas has to be one of the cutest Christmas animal puzzles I’ve seen!

It’s so cute!!

Meowy Christmas is a 300 large piece puzzle, so I wasn’t worried that it would it take long to assemble. The puzzle is a ribbon cut, with the traditional 2-knob pieces, which is really nice  to do after having done quite a few random cut puzzles in the last few months. The large pieces are easy to handle, and harder to lose! The Kitten, AKA Hurricane, kept trying to hide a piece under the table as I worked. I think she liked the “shhhing” noise it made on the hardwood.

I’ll admit to being a horrible cat-mother…I put my Santa hat on two of my cats, just to see if they could be as cute. Honestly, there are reason my cats are house-cats and not furry models. Zoomie at least took the whole thing with grace…Teedle is convinced that I’ve lost my mind.

Zoomie is ready for her winter nap!
Teedle wasn’t enthused to wear the hat!

There are few pleasures for a puzzler better than opening a new puzzle and the wonderful “click” of a perfectly placed piece. Buffalo’s  “Perfect Snap” has to be one of the reasons I love the brand.

These kitties are cuter than mine in their winter headgear!

All done! As you can  see above, this puzzle is perfect for any cat-lover in your life.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Buffalo Games
  • Title: Meowy Christmas
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year released: 2018
  • Pieces: 300
  • Cut-Style: Steel-cut Die
  • Finished size: 21.25 x 15 inches
  • Bonus poster: Yes
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Thin cardboard, sturdy, 8 x 8 x 1.5 inches
  • Board: Medium weight chipboard, sturdy pieces
  • Cut: Ribbon Cut
  • Image Quality: Excellent
  • Finish: Semi-Gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: Traditional 2-knob pieces
  • Piece Fit: Excellent

Disability Notes: As I noted, the large pieces of this puzzle are easy to handle, which is great for those of us with arthritis or other hand mobility issues. I know that several of my readers have puzzlers in the older generations of their families, and think this would make a nice change from some of the puzzles available for those with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

Where to buy: Meowy Christmas   is available on the Buffalo Games website for $10.95 USD. Buffalo Games also has started having displays at local Walmarts, but their selections will vary.

Buffalo Games : Website/ FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle  from the manufacturer  in exchange for a 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!

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25 Days of XMAS – Day 6

Today’s a little special, there will be a bunch of posts as I catch up from my cold earlier this week. The first one is featuring Zen Art & Design’s Peapod Puzzles series. Peapod puzzles are their children’s line, and I have to say …. They are really cool! I was sent three puzzles to share with my godsons, Minions 1 & 2.

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The boys were stooked to see me come over with new puzzles for them to try!

The third puzzle I’d assembled at home to get used to before helping the boys with theirs. I love the designing of the packaging! The embossed pea-pod is so minimalist it’s cute, and the boxes are easy to open and reuse.

My puzzle is the World Turtle, something that fans of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series are sure to recognize! It’s the flat disk of the world sitting on the back of four elephants which are in turn, standing upon the back of a gigantic turtle!  Peapod puzzles come in either 25or 53 pieces, which makes it easy to adjust any design for the age range of the child it is meant for!

World Turtle is a 25 piece puzzle, which comes with one whimsy, or as Zen calls them, figural.

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The boys worked on Sea Turtle 1 and T. Rex. My Minions had 53 piece puzzles, which come with four figurals apiece! They loved these! Once I showed them the technique to putting together a wooden puzzle, they had a blast assembling them. I had worried a little about the fact that there would be a squabble about who owned which, but the boys exclaimed over each others’ puzzles, assembled their own, then switched! For an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old, it was a miracle!

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All finished!

One nice touch I found with the Zen puzzles is that each of them comes with a small card letting you know who made your puzzle. It’s a great way to help the company track any errors and to also adds a personal feel to each puzzle!

 

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Zen Art & Design
  • Title: Sea Turtle 1 / T.Rex / World Turtle
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year released: 2018
  • Pieces: 53 /53 /25
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 7½ by 7½ inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy white  cardboard, 4 × 4 × 3¼ inches
  • Board: Birch wood
  • Cut: Laser
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Semi-gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: None!
  • Piece shapes: A good mix of traditionally cut and irregular pieces
  • Piece Fit: Excellent. Some of the irregular pieces make it so that pieces can only be moved in small groups.

Disability Notes: These are great puzzles for people who are bed bound using a lap desk or for those with failing mental capacity. While the Peapod series of puzzles are marketed to children ages 4-8, the artistry of these wooden puzzles is such that they will appeal to all ages!

Minion Notes: Minion 1 thought that the puzzles were great, and loved the figurals, but thought that paper-based puzzles were easier to disassemble. He really liked the fact that his herbivore dino figurals were hidden in the foliage of the T.Rex puzzle, while the carnivores were part of the Rex itself. He also noted that Minion 2 would not have been able to handle a 53 piece puzzle without an adult to help him. Minion 2 had fun learning the names of his figurals and pulled out the BIG DINO BOOK to figure out that the herbivores were a hadrosaurus and a parasaurolophus!

Where to buy: PeaPod Puzzles, which is the series of puzzles that Sea Turtle 1, T. Rex and World Turtles are from;  is available on the Zen Art & Design website, which is running a sale, for $19.99 USD.

Zen Art & Design : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received complimentary puzzles from  in exchange for a 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!

25 Days of XMAS – Day 5

So this is a new sort of post for me, and yet it’s not. You see, normally I either get a puzzle directly from the manufacturer, or I buy them. Today’s post is sponsored by SeriousPuzzles.com, an online puzzle distributor. They carry thousands of puzzles by just about every possible brand! They sent me my first ever shaped puzzle to assemble!

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It’s so festive!

I’ll admit I was super stoked when this puzzle arrived only a few days after I ordered it. The email updates and tracking of my puzzle were top-notch! Serious Puzzles knows their customers! Most puzzlers I know are horribly impatient when it comes to waiting for a new puzzle to arrive!

Sadly, no sooner than I started to assemble this lovely puzzle than I ran into  2 problems. The first was annoying, but workable – As this is a shaped puzzle, I had no framework to build with and had to adjust my style slightly. SC helped quite a bit. The second issue was worse, I caught a horrible cold that took me out for 3 days. Sneezing, coughing, general misery. I got very little puzzling done while I was ill.

The Twelve Days of Christmas x 2 is a really nifty collage style puzzle that references the Christmas carol that involves an overly eager True Love who likes to gift his beloved with fowl and people. This puzzle has twice the usual amounts, with the lyrics being the subjects of both ornaments and the gifts under the tree.

Overall, I really liked this puzzle. It may be awhile before I attempt another shaped one, but I do know that Serious Puzzles has several of the hard to find puzzles on my Christmas list and that I’ll definitely order from them again!

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PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Sunsout
  • Title: The Twelve Days of Christmas x Two
  • Artist: Lori Schory
  • Year released: 
  • Pieces: 1000
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 27 x 3′ inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Thin cardboard, 12½ x 12½ x 2 inches
  • Board:  Medium weight chipboard, sturdy pieces
  • Cut: Steel-cut Die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Semi-gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: Moderate
  • Piece shapes: A good mix of traditionally cut and irregular pieces
  • Piece Fit: Excellent. Some of the irregular pieces make it so that pieces can only be moved in small groups.

Disability Notes: The smaller size pieces of the 1000 piece puzzle are harder on the hands and eyes. I can recommend this for people with mild arthritis or good to excellent hand/eye coordination.

Where to buy: The Twelve Days of Christmas x Two is available on the  Serious Puzzles website for $15.95 USD.

Serious Puzzles : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle from Seriouspuzzles.com in exchange for a 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!

25 Days of XMAS – Day 2

Yes, today’s post is at a different time than usual. There’s a reason. You see, a few years ago, before my disease got really bad, I worked at Colonial Williamsburg. I loved CW, and when I found out that Eric Dowdle had painted a quilt representation that had been made into a puzzle, I jumped on it!

 

As for the lateness of the hour? Well, today is Grand Illumination at Colonial Williamsburg. It’s the start of the Christmas season, with bands, parades, and at 9pm EST, there will be fireworks. Everyone has decorated the doors with homemade wreaths and the air is full of the scent of fresh-baked gingerbread and spiced cider. Grand Illumination is second only to the 4th of July! And since most of my readers aren’t local, I figured I’d share this little slice of my Christmas tradition. Go grab a mug of hot cocoa or hot apple cider and follow me!

All Dowdle puzzles come in a resealable box with a paper sleeve, and include a mini-poster of the design and a resealable plastic bag. I love this company’s dedication to minimal waste and reusable design.

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So many little pieces!!! So many colors!!

This puzzle has, much like it’s namesake city, weathered much. I started this puzzle in September, right before Hurricane Florence caused mass evacuations. I had to leave the puzzle behind and when I got home, it was weeks before I had the house settled back down to focus on it again. By the time I did, and finished assembling it, I found I was missing a piece! Horrors! The thing was…I could clearly remember finding the loose piece right before the evac…and putting it somewhere safe. But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember where!!

Poor SC had to deal with the fact that I had an ALMOST completed puzzle taking up room in the computer lab and was tearing the house apart looking for that missing piece for WEEKS!

It took forever, but I finally found my missing piece. It was right where I’d tucked it, on a shelf near SC’s video games.

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Finished at last!

 

About the Company: Dowdle Puzzles is a part of Dowdle Folk Arts. The artist and owner is Eric Dowdle, who has over 200 folk art paintings, mostly focusing on American cities and national parks.  As well as selling paints, prints, and puzzles, Dowdle is now branching out into coloring books!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Dowdle Puzzles
  • Title: Williamsburg Quilt
  • Artist: Eric Dowdle
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 1000
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 19¼ by 26½ inches
  • Bonus poster: Yes
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy and compact, 7.5″ by 7.5″ by 3″, with paper sleeve
  • Board:  Medium weight chipboard, sturdy pieces
  • Cut: Steel-cut Die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Semi-gloss, with great color saturation
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: A good mix of traditionally cut and irregular pieces
  • Piece Fit: Very Good. Some of the irregular pieces make it so that pieces can only be moved in small groups.

Disability Notes: The smaller size pieces of the 1000 piece puzzle are harder on the hands and eyes. Honestly, I want to try this brands 300 and 100 piece counts for this winter when my hands threaten to swell into claws. I can recommend this for people with mild arthritis or good to excellent hand/eye coordination.

Where to buy: Williamsburg Quilt is available on the Dowdle Puzzles website for $19.99 usd.

Dowdle Puzzles : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle 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!

25 Days of XMAS – Day 1

I really think that this duo is the best way to start my 25 Days of Christmas. You see, when I asked my Rep at Eurographics for the 100 piece Sweet Christmas puzzle, I had meant the mini stocking-stuffer sized one. Imagine my delight when I was sent both!

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Now, both puzzles are 100 pieces, and have the same design; but that’s where the similarities end. The 100 piece Kids puzzle has large, easy to grasp pieces that fit tightly together. Once assembled, I could lift the whole puzzle up!

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The Mini, was a bit more tricky. This had a wider range of shapes and with really small pieces, I was glad to have assembled the larger one first to use as a guide. I liked the Mini, and can recommend it as a stocking-stuffer or as a small gift for someone bedridden. Finding tricky small puzzles that fit on my lap-desk is a trial for those days where I’m well enough to be awake, but not able to move much.

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Sorry for the weird angle, but I wanted to show the size difference!

The design of Sweet Christmas is that of several different baked treats that are featured at Christmas time. Each is labeled,and while I was a bit disappointed by the lack of fruitcake, rum balls and pecan divinity; this puzzle is meant for kids.

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So yummy!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Eurographics Puzzles
  • Title: Sweet Christmas
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year released: 2018
  • Pieces: 100
  • Cut-Style: Grid-cut puzzle
  • Finished size: 13 x 19 in / Mini -9 x 7 in
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made from recycled board and printed with vegetable based ink.
  • Made in USA


QUALITY: 

  • Box: sturdy, sized 8 x 8 x 2.37 in / Mini – 4 x 4 in
  • Board: Very sturdy and rigid
  • Cut: Cut with a steel-cut die,
  • Image Quality: Excellent
  • Finish: Slightly glossy
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: A good mix of traditionally cut and irregular pieces
  • Piece Fit: Excellent, Very tight fit on the Children’s puzzles, a bit looser on the Mini-puzzle

Where to buy: At the time of this post, Sweet Christmas and Sweet Christmas Mini  are listed for sale on the Eurographics website for $9.99 USD and $4.99 USD respectively.

Eurographics Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received a complimentary puzzle 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!

 

Fall Harvest, Thankfulness, and Thanksgiving 2018

There has been much said in the last few weeks as we’ve gotten closer to today; much said about thankfulness and gratefulness and the upcoming holiday season.   I’ve had a lot to think on this year, and I’ve found that I have much to be thankful for. I have a spouse who loves and supports me, friends that do their best to accommodate my illness-inspired needs, and a wide range of people I call family. 

And I have this blog and you, my readers. I am incredibly thankful that you take the time to read about my adventures and experiences in finding crafts that I and other people with disabilities can do.

Thanksgiving isn’t just about thankfulness, though. It was set as a celebration of the fall harvest, the last harvest before winter set in. That’s why today’s puzzle is perfect. I understand that as a new blogger, I don’t have the sort of following that large puzzle brands would prefer. I had to beg Ceaco to take a chance, to let me try. I’m grateful that they have. Ceaco sent me a 300 large piece puzzle, Marjolein Bastin’s Fall Harvest.

This is a new art style for me!
Such big pieces! A little dusty, though.

The puzzle came with this lovely full size poster, which was invaluable to assembly

I’ve done 300 piece puzzle before, they’re great on days like today when the cold seeps into my joints and my hands act as though they belong to someone twice my age! Marjolein Bastin is a new artist to me, and her art not one I normally gravitate to.

Frame done! SC helped a bit, he grew up doing puzzles with his family, and occasionally helps me out.

The assembly went easily for a bit, until I got to the woven basket and the terracotta pots! Then I took a break, had a bowl of sausage stuffing and came back to find I’d gained a helper!

Little Hurricane sitting on my half-completed puzzle!

After shooing Hurricane off the puzzle, finishing it barely took any time at all! I’m really please with how it came out and will definitely be adding more of her puzzles to my collection.

All done and beautiful! Thanks Ceaco!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Ceaco
  • Title: Fall Harvest
  • Artist: Marjolein Bastin
  • Year released: 2017
  • Pieces: 300
  • Cut-Style:  Standard
  • Finished size: 24″ by 18″ inches
  • Bonus poster: Yes

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Medium size, 8″ by 8″ by 2″ inches, glossy cardboard
  • Board: Thin but sturdy pieces, really good click
  • Cut: Steel-cut Die
  • Image Quality: Good, really nice graduation of shades
  • Finish: Semi-gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: Moderate, not enough to put me off, but definitely enough that I had to blow off my board before assembly
  • Piece shapes: A good mix of traditional shapes
  • Piece Fit: Very Good. You can move sections easily, and the puzzle tightens as it is built

Disability Notes: I can definitely recommend this for a person whose hands have good and bad days. I did this on a bad hand day, and the piece size is acceptable for a bad hand day.  It took me a few hours, but I’ll admit that I kept getting distracted!

Where to buy:  Fall Harvest  can be found for $10.99 USD on Ceaco Puzzles’ website. It is listed as out of stock at this time, but many of their other puzzles are still in stock and there is a great Black Friday/ Cyber Monday Sale going on!

Ceaco 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!

Leafy Greens: Building an Appetite for a New Kind of Puzzle

Hang onto your hats, Ladies and Gents, this post is gonna be controversial!

Marijuana AKA Cannabis AKA over 1200 other nicknames including dank, weed, pot, chronic and MaryJane. With Michigan joining in with 9 other states and D.C to legalize recreational use and another 23 states that have legalized medical use; Marijuana has been growing in popularity.  Some of my friends and readers have found relief from their various illnesses due to this herb. For myself, I’m hoping Virginia expands our current status of medical use for Epilepsy only, to something more universal.

When I found out about a new puzzling brand was just starting out, I contacted them. Their puzzles aren’t on the market just yet, but they’ll be doing a Kickstarter campaign soon.

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Check out this box!

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Buzzed Puzzles, founded by Josh and Stephanie Sola; is a brainchild brought about by the repetitive themes in most puzzle images. They aren’t wrong, to find anything remotely sexy for an image I have to buy overseas! Buzzed Puzzles is about pushing boundaries, art and bringing puzzling back to the Xennial and Millennial Generations. And this puzzle, Leafy Greens, is exactly what D.A.R.E was warning you about!

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That bag? It’s a resealable, reusable zip-bag!

The box is a thin and sturdy cardboard with a tucked edge top and the puzzle came in a reuseable, resealable plastic bag. There was NO puzzle dust when I poured out all 504 pieces! IMG_4550The colors are remarkably vibrant, and the piece cuts unusual.

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I had a hard time keeping the cats off this puzzle, they were treating my desk lamp like their own personal sun lamp! Considering the subject matter, SC found this hilarious!

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I feel slightly guilty loving this image. I enjoyed putting it together, as 504 pieces is a perfect mix of ease and difficulty; and because before this, I hadn’t realized just how many colors Cannabis leaves came in! I’ll be giving this puzzle to SC for gluing and mounting!

I’ll be watching Buzzed Puzzles closely, as I desperately want 2 of their other designs, Mermaid and A Thousand Lives.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Buzzed Puzzles
  • Title: Leafy Greens
  • Artist: Not Listed
  • Year released: 2018
  • Pieces: 504
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 16″ by 20″ inches
  • Bonus poster: No

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Small, compact and sturdy cardboard, 9¾” by 7″ by 1½” inches
  • Board: Thin but sturdy pieces, really good click
  • Cut: Steel-cut Die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Satin,
  • Puzzle Dust: None!!
  • Piece shapes: A good mix of traditionally cut and irregular pieces
  • Piece Fit: Very Good. You cannot pick up sections easily, but once set into the whole, it snaps in tight!

Disability Notes: YMMV I can definitely recommend this for a person whose hands have good and bad days. I did this on good hand days, but the piece size is acceptable for a bad hand day.  It took me 3 days of  good concentration to complete this, but I was fighting exhaustion and brain fog!

Where to buy:  Leafy Greens is not listed on Buzzed Puzzles Kickstarter list at this time, but many of their other puzzles will be available for funding soon!

Buzzed Puzzles : Website / FaceBook / Kickstarter

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!