Tag Archives: 25 days of Christmas

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!

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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 4

Hi guys! I have a small treat for you, I made another video! These are tricky for me, but I’m learning. Day 4 is LEGO® Friends 5004920 Emma’s Ski Pod. Everything is explained in the video, though I had to do a bit of research to find the name of the kit, as it was not on the poly bag or the instructions.

Instructions Side 1
Instructions Side 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 5004920 Emma’s Ski Pod is listed as Retired on the LEGO® website. However, I have seen it listed for sale on ToyWiz or BrickLink. For Pods for girls or boys, LEGO® still makes a few. You can find them here!

Special Shout-Outs: Thomas Blackington

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

Disclosure: I received this product as a gift. 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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

 

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!