Tag Archives: cats

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.

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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.

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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™!

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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.

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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!

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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!

Sparkling Kitty: Reviewing Diamond Art

Like most of you, I have friends I’ve never met in person. Internet buddies, Facebook friends. One of my Facebook friends introduced me to the idea of trying diamond painting. It’s a new and growing craft activity that has much in common with puzzling and cross stitch. So I reached out, being the curious thing that I am, and got in contact with Leisure Arts who had just released a diamond kit line in September.

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I was more than a little amazed by just how much stuff came in this little box!

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All the gems are presorted and labled.

The canvas is done much like a cross-stitch or latch-hook pattern, with color coding and symbols and the key on the side.IMG_4574

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Close up!

I’ll admit to making a few newbie mistakes, for one, I’m a VERY static person, so the plastic gems liked to explode out of their tray. SC ended up having to make me an anti-static band to wear. For two, I thought this would be quick and easy. Haha~! I got that partly right! It was easy once I got into the rhythm, but it was not quick. We’ve had several days of rain here in Virginia, and between my hands trying to gnarl up like I was 70 and basic Fibro grumpiness, this took me 4 days. Yeah… that’s where last Thursday’s post was. I’m a horrible human.

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Zoomie was curious until she touched the sticky stuff!

IMG_4583I have to say, other than the beautiful bruise I formed on my left elbow from leaning on the table too long, I found the whole process to be incredibly meditative. SC got to see me doing the hyper focus thing that happens when I color, so he played video games over my head and we spent time in the same room, doing separate stuff. Don’t let tv lie to you, having different but equal hobbies can be good in a marriage! If SC was home all the time I would go crazy.

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Last step! Using SC’s Grandmother’s rolling-pin to make sure the gems are firmly in place!

 

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I don’t know if you can see it from the picture, but this is a sparkly kitty! I’m definitely adding a few of these kits to my Christmas wishlist!

 

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Small, thin and compact, Easy storage
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Glittery without the glitter!
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Gem Shapes: Round
  • Gem Fit: Very Good.

Disability Notes: I can definitely recommend this for a person whose hands have good and bad days. I started this on a good hand day, and the constant rains made my hands swell. Due to the mechanics of the gem-pen, I could easily continue working when my hands hurt, I just took more breaks. It took me 4 days of  good concentration to complete this.

Where to buy: You can buy the White Cat at Leisure Arts’s website for $17.99 USD. Diamond Art by Leisure Arts is available at your local craft stores, like Joann Fabrics and Micheal’s.

Diamond Art by Leisure Arts : Website / FaceBook

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.

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!

Celebrating the Creepy and Beautifully Odd: Jasmine Becket-Griffith’s Halloween Coloring Book

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Hurricane loves the vinyl spiders!

Apparently, I’m not the only one in my house climbing the walls in anticipation of this Wednesday. the decorations are all up, the cats that will tolerate clothing have been dressed, and I’ve been binging on Halloween makeup tutorials.

With all the birthday and decorating insanity behind me, I needed a quiet day to color. For me, coloring is twofold, it relaxes me and on a bad day, it makes me feel as if I’ve gotten something accomplished.

I met with Jasmine Becket-Griffith’s husband, Matt at DragonCon. Unfortunately, due to both of us having incredibly busy schedules, we never crossed paths. But! Matt was amazingly helpful, had remembered the email I’d sent Jasmine about the blog and offered a coloring book for review. I ended up buying a second one because the best way to love an artist is to buy their stuff! (I couldn’t decide, and her art really is that good!)

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I’ve followed Jasmine’s art for years, and this coloring book blows me away! There’s a great mix of adult and child level difficulty and with the Halloween theme, the subject matters ranges from creepy to almost…cute.

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The book is full of 96 images on 55 pages of a smooth, heavy artist’s paper. While the pages are not perforated, the book can and does lay flat. Or, if you are like me and prefer to work on a clipboard, excising the pages with a craft knife is simple since the back of each page holds only text describing the picture next to it.

How does that math add up? The 96 images on 55 pages? It’s easy! Jasmine added some of her images in small quartets for a quick color session.IMG_4493

 

I did manage to finish my chosen page, The Queen of Halloween. Which was colored while listening to an audiobook and talking to the cats.IMG_4484

My Halloween Helpers, Zoomie and Pandemonium.

I wish everyone a safe, and Happy Halloween!IMG_4474

Where to buy: You can buy Jasmine Becket-Griffith’s Halloween Coloring Book (SIGNED) at her website for $29.99 USD. You can also buy her other coloring books there as well. You can also find Jasmine’s coloring books on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, for a little less, but they won’t be signed! If you aren’t sure you want to invest in a full coloring book, Jasmine also has a $5 USD Coloring Tier on her Patreon.

Jasmine Becket Griffith’s Art : 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 © Jasmine Becket-Griffith and Copyright©Blue Angel Publishing. 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!

The Moonlit Vale: A Mythical Coloring & Art Book by Annie Stegg Gerard

I meet a bunch of talented and artistic people at DragonCon every year, and this year was no exception! I got to talk with local artist Annie Stegg Gerard about the blog and my goals for it. She completely understood, having had her own trials with the boredom that is bed rest. She gifted me one of her coloring books, The Moonlit Vale.

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Teedle refused to move and so became my easel!

Annie also included this beautiful pencil-case, which I’ve been using for holding the spare markers that don’t fit in my coloring case.

I’ll admit that I’ve been dithering over this coloring book. It’s a LOT more complex than my usual fare, and I’ve been afraid that my coloring skills wouldn’t be able to do it justice. Today I sat down and simply TRIED. It was harder than it sounds.img_4424

Look at this beautiful art! img_4427

The book is small, only 8″by 8″ inches, and has 78 perforated pages. Now, I can’t say that they are single-sided pages, as on the back of each one is a little illustration that you can also color, which is great for people who prefer colored pencils.

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Isn’t he sweet??

For the marker and gel pen colorists, Annie includes a thick vellum sheet to place behind your artwork to prevent bleed through.img_4423

I absolutely surprised myself! Can’t believe that I managed to make something that pretty…it must be because of Annie’s amazing art. Yup.

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I love this, as the last piece in the book, it warms my heart!

 

Now that I’ve done one piece, I can’t wait to color another! Not only has Annie made Moonlit Vale, which features mythical animals and ladies; but she has also drawn a coloring book called The WildWood Soiree, which features animals in outfits that remind me of both Beatrix Potter illustrations and Brian Jacques’s Redwall series.

Where to buy: You can buy The Moonlit Vale and pencil-case at Annie Stegg Gerard’s website for $30 USD. You can also buy her other lovely coloring book, The WildWood Soiree there for $20 USD

Annie Stegg Gerard’s Art : 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 © 2018 Annie Stegg Gerard. 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!

Laughter and Wooden Puzzles: A Computer Catastrophe Review

SC says I’m stubborn. I claim it’s more being so determined that I ignore my limits. The end result is usually the same. I push too hard, and end up in bed staring at the ceiling. Not this time! Well….sort of this time. I spent the day in bed, but thanks to my incredible stubbornness/determination; I had this awesome puzzle to do.  IMG_4263

I really love this box. Artifact Puzzles boxes are sturdy, covered in a ribbed blue cloth that helped my grip and has a little magnet in the lip of the lid for reusability.

Artifact Puzzles are made with environmentally friendly plywood and soy-based inks. The pieces are thick, about 1/2cm, which is great because unlike chipboard puzzles, these will last a really long time if you take care of them. SC still has the wooden puzzle his grandfather made back in the 1950s! (SC Edit: I can’t remember what it looks like, it has no reference image!)IMG_4281

Because the pieces are laser-cut, there is a wide range in shapes available. This includes the themed whimsies! I’m not sure who liked the puzzle more, myself or SC!

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Hurricane really wanted to help with this one! She smelled all the pieces and hid under the lap desk while I assembled.

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This is one of the most delightful puzzles I’ve ever had the pleasure of assembling! Engagingly tricky to assemble, but not so much that it is disheartening; this puzzle brightened an otherwise deary day. I loved the interplay of whimsies and computer technician jokes! I found myself laughing so loudly I woke Hurricane when I found the ID10T ERROR!

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Problem exists between keyboard and chair!

Also giggle-worthy were the computer bugs, test tubes of viruses and random mice!

Then there was this guy, my favorite of the whimsies, a three-part dragon.IMG_4278

All in all, it was a productive afternoon! I got to work this fantastic puzzle, SC got to keep me in bed and resting. CFS is no fun, but I hope that my blogging will help others see that not only are they not alone, but there are tons of fun things to do working around the fatigue.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Artifact Puzzles
  • Title: Computer Catastrophes
  • Artist: Randal Spangler
  • Designer: Jef Bambas
  • Year released: 2018
  • Pieces: 182
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 10″ by 10″ inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: 6.5″ by 8.75″ by 1.75″ inches
  • Board: Thick and sturdy wooden pieces
  • Cut: Laser-cut
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Semi-gloss, with great color saturation
  • Puzzle Dust: Nonexistent!
  • Piece shapes: Irregular with plenty of themed whimsies
  • Piece Fit: Loose, but the addition of certain pieces will “lock” a section so that they can be moved in small and medium blocks

Disability Notes: Honestly, I think the review speaks for itself. I managed to assemble this on a lap desk in bed without losing any pieces! I did rely on the advice I’d received that to place the pieces together, they had to be put in from above and not the usual sideways motion.

Where to buy: Computer Catastrophes is available on the Artifact Puzzles website for $40 USD. No sticker shock, here guys! These are high quality, artisan puzzles that will last for decades if well cared for.  These puzzles are a definite birthday/Christmas/Yule/I-messed-up present!

Artifact 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!

Memory’s Wake, Mermaids, Fairies and Faedorables…Oh My! Reviewing Selina Fenech

I’ve been a fan of Selina Fenech’s since 2001. Yeah, I’m ancient, I know. I spent entirely too many hours in my college’s computer lab hunting down art to color for my weekly D&D group. When I started PuzzlePaws, I knew I wanted to try to contact some of those artists I fell in love with seventeen years ago.

I got lucky, Selina sent me two of her coloring books to review, and both are very different from the mermaids and fairies that are the backbone of her style.

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Yes, these are different sizes. I’ll get to that.

Firstly is Victorian Romance. Now, there are actually two different versions of this coloring book, one in line art, the other in grayscale. This coloring book is based off of illustrations that Selina did for her Young Adult Fantasy Trilogy, The books are Memory’s Wake, Hope’s Reign, and Providence Unveiled. I haven’t read them (yet!), but all are available through Selina’s website and Amazon.

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Look at this! No-one does a coloring book where you can color men’s outfits! And the background is so complex!

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I think I love this coloring book because you don’t have to have read the source material to get a sense of the characters, and the level of detail feeds my desire to color intricate outfits. Both sexes are given great scenes to color, and the romance is sweet, not tawdry.

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I had too much fun coloring this. SC requested the pink hair after I’d done the purple.

The really cool thing in the Victorian Romance Coloring book is that while there are only 25 images; the book is split into halves, and the second half is a set of duplicate images so that you can do each image twice! So if you have a cat-induced coffee accident, or want to see the same image done in a different medium, you can! Each image is single-sided, but if you want to use a wet medium like markers or watercolors, I and Selina both recommend using a protective backing of cardstock.

Now, for the second little book I got!

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Yup! It’s time for Faedorables!

Selina has a line of what she calls “Minis”, coloring books that measure 5 by 7.8 inches. These are meant to be a more portable version of her standard 8.5 by 11 inches coloring books. I’ll admit, I was leery of these minis. I know her art is good, but how would it look or color when shrunk down?

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Okay, they look really cute!

The Faedorable series is meant to be a mix of simple, sweet art with some tricky details, enough to appeal to a range of colorists of all ages. The book I have is actually all 50 images of both the Faedorables:Sweet and Simple and Faedorables:Cute and Creepy books. The images are single-sided and with a cardstock backing took both marker and crayon really well!IMG_4261

I was skeptical, I was worried, I was wrong! The mini-books are fantastic! I’m going to keep mine in my Go-Bag, which is my backpack full of entertainment gear for traveling. If you have a love of coloring and either a Go-Bag or a hospital bag, you might want a Mini coloring book and a pack of whatever your coloring medium of choice is.

Honestly, the last few days have been full of fatigue for me, my CFS was flaring, I thought…until SC and I found out that while at DragonCon we were exposed to a Vendor who came down with Chicken Pox. I’ve had Chicken Pox, but SC hasn’t. SC thinks that due to busting my rump at DragonCon, then dealing with Hurricane Florence, and all the resulting stress, that I’ve managed to have a Mononucleosis relapse. It’s possible, I’ve been sleeping tons, but waking to feel more tired. I’m hydrating and resting (coloring is resting, right?).

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Hurricane is my blanket-buddy. She gets how I feel!

 

Where to buy: You can buy Victorian Romance at Selina Fenech’s website for $11.33 USD. You can also buy Faedorables Minis there for $7.54 USD

Selina Fenech Art : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I received these coloring books for free in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright © Selina Fenech. 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!