Animal Mosaic – A Pop Art Color by Number

Last weekend was great! I hung with new and old friends, ate great food and managed to find some much needed zen in the early mornings. Part of that zen was using those early hours before everyone else was up to listen to the birds as I colored.

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I was approached by the Belba Family on Instagram after they saw my other review posts. Would I be interested in reviewing some of their books? I love small press coloring books, so of course, I jumped at the chance! I recieved both Animal Mosaic and Travel Mosaic (which I’ll be reviewing later) quickly through Amazon Shipping.

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Animal Mosaic is a fun color by number coloring book that uses 18 classical colors and 4 additional shades, focusing on pop art styles. The pictures are divided into geometric shapes, large enough to color easily.

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There are 24 individual images, each with their own names! I found this made a delightful detail, giving each picture a little personality.

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Colored with Prismacolor Pencils.

I really enjoyed this book. The pages are single-sided, and blacked on the opposite side to prevent bleed-through. The smooth pages take color well,  and the pop art styling makes me smile! Due to being small press, this book does not have perforated pages. That is only a minor inconvenience for me, as I prefer to detach my pages and color on a clipboard.

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Colored with Prismacolor Pencils.

When I tested the pages with markers, I found that there was minimal bleed-through even when using Sharpies.

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Colored with a mix of Sharpies and Brush Markers.

 

Disability Notes: I found the coloring areas large enough to accommodate nearly any coloring age group, through a few pages have a higher level of difficulty than others. If you have eye issues, you may have difficulty seeing the numbers as they are printed in a charcoal ink that is designed to blend into the colored page.

Where to buy: Animal Mosaic is available at Amazon. The book’s MSRP is $7.99 USD.

Belba Family: Website / FaceBook / Instagram

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 ©2019 Belba Family. 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!

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Going Back to America’s Roots – The Dissected Puzzle

 Something a little different this week, folks. I’m combining both my Tuesday and Friday post this week to bring you a nifty treasure, as well as to buy myself a bit of breathing room. I’d forgotten that inventory can be both physically and mentally exhausting! We’re halfway through, and the Boss and family have squired me away to Camp for a second weekend. It’s a holiday, y’know?

Every once in a while, you find an odd but cool thing at the thrift store. For me, it was this odd reproduction of one of the very first types of puzzle.

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 They’re called dissections, and were typically made by pasting a map to thin wooden board and using a very fine saw to cut along geographical borders. The first ever puzzle of this type is credited to John Spilsbury, an Englishman in 1767, although there are recorded Dutch puzzles up to ten years prior.

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Excerpt from the back.

 This particular dissection is based on a 1710 map by Peter Schenk the Elder; and was created and sold by the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area Stores.

The original map only has 3 surviving copies, one at Colonial Williamsburg, and the others are parts of private collections.

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 The pieces are huge in comparison to modern puzzles, on a heavy stiff chipboard. It makes sense, considering that the original use for these is to teach children. The borders lock together, while the interior pieces just “float” until assembled correctly.

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 Honestly, this map was a piece of art! The top and bottom borders are highly detailed and beautifully colored.

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Included in the map is an inset of the North Pole, detailing the presumptive NorthWest Passage.

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This is were the really nifty part comes in… this puzzle isn’t available anywhere! Nowhere, and I mean nowhere on the internet has images of this puzzle.

It was made sometime between the late 1970s and the early 1990s. There is no company mark or copyright dates on the box. I used to work for Colonial Williamsburg a few years ago, and these puzzles where not anywhere to be seen except for a display in the Governor’s Palace.

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 I love this odd little slice of history, and while everyone else is focusing on the red, white and blue, I wanted to take a look before. Because before we were America, we were a colony; before there were jigsaw puzzles, there were dissections.

Happy Independence Day!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area Stores
  • Title: Dissected Puzzle
  • Artist: Peter Schenk
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces:36
  • Cut-Style: Grid
  • Finished size: 18½ x 21½ in
  • Bonus poster: No

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Lightweight, 9 x 7½ x 2 inches
  • Board: Very thick chipboard
  • Cut: Cut with a steelcut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, muted tones
  • Finish: Matte
  • Puzzle Dust: None
  • Piece shapes: 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, but due to the muted colors,not so easy on the eyes.

Where to buy: Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find this puzzle anywhere online. It was made specifically for Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area Stores.

About the Artist: Peter Schenk the Elder (1660-1711) moved to Amsterdam in 1675 and began to learn the art of mezzotint. In 1694 he bought some of the copperplate stock of the mapmaker Johannes Janssonius, which allowed him to specialize in the engraving and printing of maps and prints. He split his time between his Amsterdam shop and Leipzig and also sold a considerable volume of materials to London. Wiki

 

Colonial Williamsburg: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I bought this puzzle for the purpose of doing a 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!

Apologies and a quick update

Hey gang,

I’m sorry that my blog post did not go up as planned yesterday. It has been a very strange and stressful week.

Originally, I had planned to head north to Massachusetts later this week to spend time with my Boss and his family, do our yearly inventory, and work at ConnectiCon. Unfortunately, SC and I had some financial scheduling issues, including tenants that were several months behind on rent. We had to go to our family for assistance in making our mortgage payment. I had canceled my trip, rescheduling it so that it fell after SC’s next paycheck.

Late last night, my boss called me, asking “How soon can you get here?” I was/am still flabbergasted. My train ticket is covered. I have less than 24 hours to pack. I LOVE my boss. While he won’t ask it of me, I plan to work my tail off.

So, the month of July is going to be incredibly busy. I have Fourth of July with the Boss and family (fun!!), Inventorying tons of t-shirts and plushies, and ConnectiCon. Then I come home with just enough time to do laundry and kiss SC before heading to Otakon. While at Otakon, we have my Blogiversary and Shark Week! So very busy! Lots to do, lots to share with all of you!

Best,

PuzzlePaws

Roses and Sparkles!

Since getting started with diamond painting, I’ve been trying to explore the various brands. This week, I worked on a great one. Diamond Art Club was kind enough to send me one of their popular Beginner kits, Rose Sheet Music.

I was surprised by how fast this arrived! The kit is entirely self-contained and neatly packed. The back of the box listed the contents as well as how-to instructions.

The canvas is wrapped around the drills and sealed in plastic. It has to be the softest, most supple diamond canvas I’ve felt. I can see why Diamond Art Club claims they have the softest canvas, they really do! I really like the reusable vinyl bag that holds spare drill bags, the tray, wax, and pen. There are some really nice touches here, the pen has 2 ends, one for single drills and one for 3 drills, as well as a squishy grip that made working easy. IMG_5755

Another of those nice touches is a separate strip that lists the symbols, numbers, and DMC numbers of the drills. Because I dislike working from the plastic bags, I sort them into my drill box.

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I wasn’t originally enthused by the thought of this kit. I’ll admit I have a bias, I like large kits because they have better details. I was honestly surprised! This is a really detailed kit for its size. The adhesive is incredibly sticky, but unlike most kits, doesn’t overlap the canvas borders. The inclusion of special sparkly drills made for a nice touch!

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Speaking of nice touches, not only are the symbols nice and clearly labled; but the canvas has scalloped edges and has stitch edging. This means that unlike cheap canvases, this won’t unravel.

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Diamond Art Club has one of the best taglines I’ve heard. Do What Makes You Sparkle™. It’s fantastic! There are few hobbies I’ve found that makes me relax and smile like this one.

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All Done!

My kit came out so pretty! I love the level of detail, and will definitely be ordering from Diamond Art Club again!

DIAMOND PAINTING SPECS

  • Company: Diamond Art Club
  • Title: Rose Sheet Music
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Number of Colors: 23
  • Coverage: Full
  • Finished size: 20x27cm or 8×10.5 inches

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Small, thin and compact, Easy storage
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Glittery without the glitter!
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Drill Shapes: Round
  • Drill Fit: Excellent

Disability Notes: I found this kit to be extremely easy to work. The colors/symbols were early to read and having the second heart of wax made it easy to not worry about running out.

Diamond Art Club: Website / FaceBook

Where to buy: Diamond Art Club has a large range of paintings and often runs sales and adding new designs. Rose Sheet Music is available for $22.95 USD.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Diamond Kit from the manufacturer in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them. All images of Rose Sheet Music are ©DiamondArtClub 2019.

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!

Nene Thomas’s Fairy Colouring Book

No, I didn’t misspell coloring. This rare coloring book was published in the UK, so the spelling is British style.  I found this at Nene’s booth at DragonCon last year. It was newly published, and so very pretty! I’ve been a fan on Nene Thomas’s art for years, of course I had to pick it up!

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©2018 NeneThomas

Nene Thomas’s Fairy Colouring Book is 50 beautiful line art images on smooth mid-weight paper. There are the obvious fairies, but Nene also draws amazing horses and butterflies. The images range from being G-rated to artful nudes. While tasteful, this is very much a coloring book for adults, not for anyone under 16.

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There are images for just about every possible coloring medium and skill level. I had to break out the crayons for this lovely knight and her steed.

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©2018 NeneThomas  

I had fun with watercolor brush pens with the butterfly-horse. There is something about the whimsy in these images that makes it okay to break from conventional coloring.

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©2018 NeneThomas  

Disability Notes: Other than noting that some designs have more complicated line work than others, I have no complaints. Those pages are being set aside for a day when my hands don’t shake.

Where to buy: The Fairy Colouring Book is available on at the Fairy Glen website. The book’s MSRP is $15.99 USD.

Nene Thomas : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I bought this coloring book to use for this review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©2018Nene Thomas and Nemesis Now Ltd. 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!

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