Category Archives: Uncategorized

Easter Bunnies and Easter Eggs!

I don’t know about you guys, but Easter is one of the few holidays that I get excited about the food. As a kid, I loved my Easter basket filled with marshmallow Peeps, jellybeans, and chocolate bunnies. The best part wasn’t Easter supper with its ham and fixings, but Easter breakfast; where after searching the whole of the house for hidden eggs, I got to crack those colorful shells and roll my hard-boiled eggs in salt and pepper.

This Saturday, I’ll be helping my younger sister Hime and my god-daughter Bug fill my kitchen with the scent of vinegar and a veritable army of brightly colored eggs! Lucky for me, one of my favorite puzzle companies, Cobble Hill, unveiled a perfect Easter puzzle for the 2019 year.

IMG_5366

Easter Bunnies by Donna Race is a springtime delight! It’s a 500 piece random-cut puzzle that has three sweet bunnies guarding a nest of colored eggs among a field of early Spring flowers.

IMG_5381
The included mini poster! A super helpful puzzling tool!
IMG_5377
Ignore the cat hair, check out these weird shapes!!

I had help assembling this puzzle. My sister Hime is in town for the holidays, and she and Mom helped sort the border and started work on the bunnies. My Bestie Angel came by the other day and helped finish the bunnies and made a serious dent in all the flowers.

IMG_5370
Such bright colors!

I can’t express how happy this puzzle made me. It really brought home the fact that Spring is here, and that while my neighborhood flowers haven’t bloomed, they will soon! IMG_5372

I know that only some of my readers celebrate Easter, because some are observing Passover or Ostara this week. To all of you, I wish the best of holidays and I’ll see you on Monday, which is both Earth Day and Half-priced candy sales!

 

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Cobble Hill
  • Title: Easter Bunnies
  • Artist: Donna Race
  • 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: I can definitely recommend this for a teen, an adult, or for a person whose hands have good and bad days. I had fun.  My hands didn’t ache after assembly, and the difficulty level was certainly up to adult standard.  I can happily recommend a large piece puzzle for people with fine motor skill issues, or arthritis.

Where to buy: Easter Bunnies is available on the Cobble Hill website for $15.99 USD. It is still in stock, so I suggest ordering in advance for next Easter!

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!

Advertisements

One Color Arts – A Different Way to Color!

Hey gang, I’m home finally! I had fun at ZenkaiCon, and while I had to stay a few more days than I originally planned in Massachusetts; I was far from bored! Smart me had packed this coloring book and a couple of markers. My boss was beyond amused to see me pull a coloring book out of my bag, a fineline Sharpie, and color while exhausted.

 

Sunlife Drawing has done it again! They took a really interesting idea, how to color if I only had one or two colors and made a coloring book! Animals – One Color Arts is made of dots and lines that by only using one color, creates the image. The images are single sided, with the back of the page being black. This keeps the pens/markers/colored pencils from bleeding through. The paper quality is smooth and light, great for pencils, pens or markers.

IMG_5257
I see a kitty, do you?

It looks intimidating, doesn’t it? It’s not, really. When you look closely, the lines and dots become clear, and you can guess what animal you are creating.

WBRL5570

IMG_5254
Frog!

I got curious, I wanted to know what the image would look like if I did the coloring in reverse. That is, What if I only colored the background?

IMG_5255
Boom! It’s a Bull!

Honestly, the images are excellent either way they are colored. While it is a bit harder to color the background, it is just as rewarding as coloring the foreground.

IMG_5252
Zebra!

I will note that I colored all these images with either Sharpies or watercolor markers. While the back of the page is blacked to prevent bleeding, I did also use a sheet of plain computer paper to assist. The only negative I have for this book is that the pages are not perforated, and I needed a craft knife to remove them from the book. However, I am aware that removing pages is my personal preference, and that not everyone does so.

Disability Notes: This book is great for someone who may be suffering from brain-fog, or have problems making decisions. Because of the dots and lines that make up the images, I warn that people with vertigo issues may not enjoy this coloring book. I fully plan to place this book in my travel bag, as with it, I won’t need to haul my full marker set with me!

Where to buy: Animals One Color Arts is available on Amazon, and currently on sale for $7.56 USD. Sunlife Drawing has coloring books in a multitude of styles, all are affordable, and there is bound to be something for everyone’s interest!

Sunlife Drawing : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received this coloring book for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©Sunlife Drawing. The coloring is mine. 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!

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!

Front and Back.jpg
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.

IMG_E0996.JPG
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.

icaddy_802_Cats_15_1024x1024@2x
This is the travel mode, nice and compact, easy to throw in a bag!

IMG_E1003.JPG

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.

Tablet Mode.jpg
Tablet Mode
Phone Mode.jpg
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.

Internal Storage.jpg
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!

Sweetly Addictive, Adding to my Puzzling Habit

There are a dozen popular artists whose artwork is used for puzzles. I’m fond of Nene Thomas and Chris Ortega, not so much Thomas Kinkaid. Of the more recent artists, I’ve been avoiding Aimee Stewart. It isn’t that I don’t like her style, rather, I found myself intimidated. Aimee’s art is very reminiscent of Lisa Frank, all bright colors and happiness.

IMG_5154

While at Toy Fair, I spoke at length with one of Buffalo’s representative about their new puzzle lines and some of the art styles. When I mentioned how popular Aimee Stewart’s puzzles seemed amongst my puzzling groups, but that I was not sure I could handle the visual busyness; it was suggested I try the 300 Large Pieces version. I chose the Sweet Shop, as it reminds me of the old-fashioned candy store I went to as a girl in Cape Cod.

IMG_5160
Yes,this piece is a little bent. It came that way, and I’ve emailed Buffalo about it. 

The 300 Large Pieces are designed to be 67% larger than Buffalo’s normal puzzle pieces. I found them to be wonderful for gripping on a bad hand day, and they still had the Perfect Snap™!

IMG_5168
This shows both the Large size, and the fact I can pick up whole sections to move them!

My fear of being overwhelmed by the bright colors and busy design proved to be moot.  Instead, the cheerful, bright colors made assembly a joy! This puzzle was moderately challenging, but not so much as to need a break. With the tight fit between pieces, it is easy to move whole sections of pieces.

IMG_5177
So pretty!!

I might be hooked on these, not that I NEED more puzzles. One of the joys of being a reviewer is also the bane of my productivity. There are always new products to try, and very little time to go back and enjoy something I’ve already done. Then again, I might have to make sure an Aimee Stewart is set aside for the 2020 World Puzzle Days.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Buffalo Games
  • Title: Sweet Shop
  • Artist: Aimee Stewart
  • Year released: 2016
  • Pieces: 300 Large
  • 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: Standard 2-knob and some star-shaped 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 younger generations of their families, and think this would make a great family project.

Where to buy: Sweet Shop is available on the Buffalo Games website for $10.95 USD. Buffalo Games also has displays at local Walmarts and Targets, 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!

Spring is Coming, and World of Flowers is Here!

I don’t know about you folks, but I’ve officially had my fill of winter. Gray days and cold weather, nasty colds and aching bones; I’m sick of the lot! But! The first day of Spring is coming soon, and one coloring book has been my mainstay through this whole rotten winter.

IMG_4828

Last October, Johanna Basford put out a new coloring book. I hadn’t tried any of her coloring books before, having been intimidated by the level of detail in both Secret Garden and Lost Ocean. However, I can’t grow as a colorist if I don’t test my limits, and Johanna’s Colouring Gallery on her website is a safe, welcoming haven for all colorists of all skill levels. I have to say, I love this woman. Johanna describes herself as an “Inky Evangelist” and her tutorials for coloring are upbeat and encouraging.  So I reached out to Johanna and her publisher in the US, Penguin Random House for a copy for the blog.  

World of Flowers is a good deal larger than the coloring books I usually use. It has 40 pages of double-sided images, giving you 80 pages of coloring adventures to have. The pages are 10 inches by 10 inches on a fantastic medium heavyweight paper. The pages are not perforated for removal, this style of coloring book is meant to be kept whole. Johanna’s books include  a color palette test page, so that you can not only see how your pencils/pens/markers look, you can also check for bleed through. This saved my bacon! My sharpies are a no-go in this book, but colored pencils, Hoolanda watercolor brush pens, fineliner markers, and Pilot Frixion markers all performed well.

I think my favorite thing about this book is the diversity of images. Johanna dedicated World of Flowers to her grandmother, an avid gardener. There is a multitude of plants, lots of tiny insects, a full gardening shed interior, a work truck and even a koi pond! Each page is different, and I found my inky journey being not sure where to go next!

IMG_5172

Disability Notes: This is really a great coloring book if you have a wish to color on a low spoon/low energy day. The mix of simple/intermediate/ complex designs means that people with visual and fine motor control issues can all enjoy. The large size of the book means that it is a little unwieldy to use with a standard sized clipboard, if you are like me and color on the couch. However! It works beautifully on my lap desk.

Where to buy: The suggested retail price for World of Flowers is $16.95 USD. It can be found at Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and online at Amazon. 

Johanna Basford: Website / Facebook 

Disclosure: I received this coloring book for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©Johanna Basford. The coloring is mine.

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 14

LEGO® polybags are some of my favorite treats. I collect them all year long, eagerly searching my local stores for new designs. This one has been waiting for winter in my to-do pile since last Spring!  The name of this kit is LEGO® Friends 30402 Snowboard Tricks with Stephanie. 

I’m starting to get the hang of videos.

Instructions 1
Instructions 2

Disability Note: I did this on a mild day, so it is easily assembled by kids 6 and up or an adult with good to decent hand motility.

Where to buy: At the time of this post,  LEGO® Friends 30402 Snowboard Tricks with Stephanie is listed as Retired on the LEGO® website. However, I have seen it listed for sale on ToyWiz or BrickLink

LEGO®is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site.

Disclosure: I bought this item for my own use. The opinions are my own, and do not in any way reflect the thoughts and views of the Lego Group of companies.

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 3

Hi guys! It’s Day 3 and a Monday, which is typically SC’s designated day off. Mondays are when I get house stuff done. However, I’m not feeling so hot (winter weather making my body ache), so today is about one of my favorite low-key activities.

IMG_4721

I found Sunlife Drawing Company through a Facebook ad, of all things. It’s a small coloring book publisher who focuses on a particular type of coloring. All of us have done color by number at some point in our lives, and most adult colorists tend to ignore this style.

IMG_4665
What could this be??

The Christmas Animal Quest and Animal Quest books are definitely NOT child’s play! The full-page single sided book has images made of thousands of tiny numbered hexagons on the coloring side, while the back is a white text on black background list of the colors needed for the opposite page.  I have to admit, I loved this book!

IMG_4686
Birds? Maybe??

I enjoyed the level of focus needed to match colors to numbers, and the freedom that not having to decide which color went where gave me. Also, each new color unveiled more of the image, keeping me guessing as to the subject matter for quite a while!

IMG_4723
It’s a set of turtledoves and an angel! Super cute!

The reveal at the end was well worth it! Now, this is not a coloring project that goes quickly; and I did find out about halfway through that my progress would have went faster if I had chosen my colors ahead of time. Still, a perfect low impact activity for listening to Christmas carols on the radio and having a hot cup of tea.

Disability Notes: Due to the small size of the hexagons that make up the images, I can’t in good conscience recommend this coloring book for people with vision impairments or fine motor control issues. However! Sunlife Drawing does have a few books in their Mosaic series that have larger coloring areas!

Where to buy: Christmas Animal Quest Color by Number is available on Amazon for $8.99 USD.

Sunlife Drawing : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received this coloring book for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©Sunlife Drawing. The coloring is mine.

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!