Tag Archives: blogging

Belated – Trick or Treat! My Halloween Puzzle Review

Sometimes getting back into the saddle after a length of time can be difficult. I had finally shaken the nasty cold that had plagued me just in time to work NekoCon October 31-November 3rd. Unfortunately, even though I had gotten my flu shot days before, after con I had a small relapse of the cold.

While I was well enough to blog last Friday, I’ll admit to having a bit of a mental block. I wanted to write…but the very thought of tackling nearly a month’s backlog of emails and empty space was daunting. It still is. But! SC and I did an awesome puzzle for Halloween in the short space when I felt well, and I miss having the schedule of posts to organize my weeks. So this week you get a bonus post or two. I have a small backlog of projects to write up before I can tackle new ones.

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My mom knows I love Dowdle puzzles and she got me a handful of different ones during a summer sale.

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Included poster, front and back sides.

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if you can’t read the above photo, the Dowdle website has both the poem and a scavenger hunt here.

I don’t have my usual frame and pieces photos as I assembled this puzzle in a bit of a hurry with SC. I wanted to do SOMETHING for Halloween since I’d been too ill to decorate and had the last convention of the season coming up in a few days.

So I sorted the pieces according to location; sky/street/townhouses and we spent an enjoyable 3 or so hours trading pieces and exclaiming over all the little Easter Eggs that Eric Dowdle puts into his art.

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Because it was Halloween, I did dress up the cats in costume! Pandemonium as a BumbleBee and Hurricane Enlil as Sharknado!

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I have to admit, this 500 piece was a great way to get back to my puzzling habit. It’s bright, colorful, and busy; and the pieces are the perfect size for slightly arthritic hands.

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PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Dowdle Puzzles
  • Title: Trick or Treat
  • Artist: Eric Dowdle
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 500
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 16″ by 20″
  • 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 slightly larger size pieces of the 500 piece puzzle are kinder to the hands while still being complex enough to challenge lovers of larger piece count puzzles. 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 to moderate arthritis or hand/eye coordination.

Where to buy: Trick or Treat is available on the Dowdle Puzzles website for $19.99 USD.

Dowdle Puzzles : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received this puzzle as a gift. 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!

Razer Lives!! ….Mostly Back on Track

Hey gang, I’ve good news. Spouse-Critter managed to diagnose and fix most of the issues wrong with my baby and I’m back into blogging this week. It wasn’t easy, I found myself more than a little depressed and cranky with a disrupted routine, and SC had to make time in a week full of on-call emergencies.

Most of the issues stemmed from the fact that my Razer (a Razer Blade 17″ (2012)) was used by someone not terrible tech-savvy (SC: He knew enough to be dangerous, but not enough to fix what he broke.) before I got it. My battery which had been failing, gave up the ghost. I was performing the new Windows update, lost wall power to Razer, and nearly totally corrupted the hard drive (SC: software corruption). So, until we can afford a new battery, I’m tied to the power cord (and the couch) because every unplug means Razer dies immediately (and I have to reset the BIOS, and hope the hard drive isn’t corrupted again).

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Razer, my couch/workspace and Energy Drink! I’m ready to work!

We were concerned that the hard drive had also had a physical crash and ended up replacing it with a spare SC had in his gear. Most of my data transferred, but I’ll be the next few weeks replacing all of the photo editing, video editing, and writing apps I had had installed. (SC: The hard drive is fine after a format, so the issues were ALL software.)

Thankfully, my birthday is coming up, and both a new battery and an SSD hard drive have been added onto my list.

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Razer on a clean puzzle board with piles of puzzles ready to be done in the background.

The blog will be back tomorrow with reviews and cats and silliness!

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!

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

Feeding the Troll, Blogging and Services Rendered.

Spouse-Critter says “Arguing with a troll is like wrestling with a pig. Both of you will get dirty, but only the pig is having fun.” He is most likely right, but I need to post this.

Back in December, I received this comment on my Day 8 Christmas post. I didn’t see it until after December 22, as I’d been in New York on family business.

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This person, hereafter referred to as Troll, chose not to leave a name or email so I could not contact them.  Now, as a point of order, I have to, in fairness, point out that there is no reliable way to convey tone within text. So the little disapproving “church lady” tone I read this comment in is entirely in my own head.

I was hurt, and at the time did not have the words to explain. So I spent a few months being alternately angry/frustrated and depressed. Never a good combo. I fought my way to the surface, spoke to my representatives at various companies, and spoke to both professional writers and other bloggers. I was introduced to a novel concept. If I’m being trolled, then I’m doing something right!

So I started blogging again. I put myself out there, solicited new companies for reviews and worked out a schedule that worked for me.

Then I woke up this morning to this:

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Sorry Troll 2.0, this time I have the words.

The thing is, every product I receive must be logged at either wholesale or retail value and I MUST pay taxes on them. The IRS doesn’t care; I cannot pay my taxes in puzzles and coloring books. I can and do sell some of the products I receive after doing my reviews, but that doesn’t generate enough income to pay taxes, much less regular bills. Other products  I donate to my local VA, senior center, and children’s hospital; because I believe in sharing.

I am disabled, but I fall in that not-so-small category of people who are in the process of applying for benefits, but not receiving any yet. Spouse-Critter works a good job, but his job doesn’t include health care or much in the way of extras. If I want to buy products to review, like LEGO® or high-end wooden puzzles, I need income to do so. That is why I have both Patreon and Ko-fi set up. If you read my Patreon, you’d see that I have it set as a way to sponsor different projects.

I’m of the opinion that if professional authors and other bloggers have Patreon accounts, then there is no reason why I cannot as well. Patreon is a platform to pay for services rendered. I write and do projects, and I recieve money for services rendered. Effectively, it makes my hobbies into a job. As for the accusation of being shameless and asking for money? Have you read my disclaimer at the bottom of each post? I’m not begging. I ask you to consider it. Being a patron is a choice!  You can choose to be one, or you can choose not to. Simple.

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!