Tag Archives: jigsaw puzzle

Sunny May Days and Baseball!

Tonight my baseball team, the Boston Red Sox will play against the Seattle Mariners.

Team loyalty is a strong human trait. Most people “choose” their sports teams early in childhood and rarely switch them. I’m no different. My first baseball memory is my Grandpa Roy (maternal grandfather) taking my brother and I to a game when I was around 8 or 9. That was 30 years ago. Grandpa Roy was a diehard Mets fan, and while he failed to give me a love of the Mets, he did teach me to love baseball.  At the time, I was living in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Naturally, I was a Red Sox girl. When we moved to Upstate NY, I found myself in enemy territory. The dread Yankees merchandise was everywhere!  I clung to my beloved Sox fandom, throughout the long years of no Pennants or World Series wins. I celebrated with the rest of the Red Sox Nation when in 2004 we broke the Bambino’s Curse at last!

When I saw the new puzzles that MasterPieces  and Major League Baseball had created, I knew I needed to do one! This is the Boston Red Sox 500 Piece Home Plate Shaped Jigsaw Puzzle, which is a mouthful to say! Thankfully, the title tells you all the pertinent details; it’s 500 pieces, is shaped like home plate, and features the Red Sox! This puzzle is officially licensed by the MLB.

I don’t have my usual frame picture, because I started to assemble the puzzle on my new puzzle board, not having checked to see if it would fit first! Ooops! I ended up having to slide my frame onto the puzzle board SC made me. Shaped puzzles can be tricky, as the nonstandard dimensions may not fit on your puzzling surface.

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This was a really fun, and challenging puzzle. Not only is it a shaped puzzle, but it has 5 shaped pieces, known as whimsies. The whimsies are larger than all the other pieces, and added to the difficulty. That being said, this is a random cut puzzle and the pieces fit together amazingly well.

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Home plate, cleat, glove, cap, and jersey

I haven’t been to Fenway Park since I was a little girl. I live in Virginia now, but visit family and friends outside Boston often. Eventually, I’ll get a chance to cheer my Sox in their home stadium like I did as a kid. In the meantime, I watch from home and wear my colors proudly!

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PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: MasterPieces® Inc.
  • Title: Boston Red Sox 500 Piece Home Plate Shaped Jigsaw Puzzle
  • Artist: Not listed
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 500
  • Cut-Style: Random
  • Finished size: 22x 22 in
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Made in China

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy but lightweight, 10.5 x 10.5 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: Irregular pieces and 5 whimsy pieces
  • Piece Fit: Very good, small clusters of pieces could be moved without falling apart

Where to buy: Boston Red Sox 500 Piece Home Plate Shaped Jigsaw Puzzle is available on the MasterPieces website for $19.99 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!

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Traveling From My Couch, and Happy Birthday Eric Dowdle!

Okay, to explain my title for this post… Yesterday, May 2nd, was Eric Dowdle’s 51st birthday. I’m incredibly fond of Eric’s artwork, which is the basis of Dowdle Puzzles. For his birthday, Dowdle puzzles is having a 51% off sale that ends today, May 3rd. Code: ERICBIRTHDAY

What? you’re still reading?!? Scroll to the bottom of my post, hit the link to the Dowdle website and get shopping! I’ll wait…

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You’re back? Ok. So the other part of my title has to do with the fact that SC has been out-of-town for a week now, and I’ve been busting butt and stressing more than usual. So of course, my body decided I needed a few days of pain flares and unbelievable fatigue. No matter how much I wanted to be active and do a ton of chores, I just didn’t have the spoons.  Thankfully, SC reminded me I’d received a wooden travel puzzle at Toy Fair.

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Dowdle’s Travel Puzzles were not what I expected! Most travel puzzles are either magnetic or have too small a piece count to be a challenge. This is a wooden puzzle where the image is giclee-printed directly unto the wood before being laser cut. At 150 pieces, there is enough complexity to keep my fuzzy brain engaged.

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Such pretty pieces!

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As you can see in the above picture, the pieces fit snugly in the frame, which works just as well on my lapdesk as it would in a car, train, or hotel room! Like the other wooden puzzles I’ve done, to connect the pieces, you have to slide one piece on top of another. Due to the precision of laser cutting, this makes for a really tight fit.  While I was assembling this puzzle, I watched a documentary on Roman Catacombs, just so I’d have the full “travel experience”. 

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I really love the sheer number of animals that Eric has managed to fit into one image! There are the usual suspects: lion, elephants, giraffes and hippos. But there are some real surprises as well. I found a fennec fox, African painted dogs, a rhinoceros beetle and even a tortoise!

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All Done!

The best part of this puzzle? It’s so easy to store! It is only a quarter-inch high, and a little bigger than a sheet of paper. If you travel a lot, space can be at a premium. Or, if you’re like me, my puzzles war with the cats for space on the bookshelves. Collecting all of the travel puzzles currently available would take the same space as a standard puzzle box from one of the other puzzle brands.

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.  

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Dowdle Puzzles
  • Title: Wild Africa
  • Artist: Eric Dowdle
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 150
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 9 by 11 inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: N/A Plastic sleeve
  • Board:  Lightweight , sturdy wooden pieces
  • Cut: Laser Die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Semi-gloss, with great color saturation
  • Puzzle Dust: None
  • Piece shapes: A good mix of traditionally cut and irregular pieces
  • Piece Fit: Very tight!  Some of the irregular pieces make it so that pieces can only be moved in small groups.

Disability Notes: The smaller piece count and wooden pieces are wonderful for someone traveling or trapped in bed! I can recommend this for people with mild arthritis or good to excellent hand/eye coordination.

Where to buy: The Wild Africa Travel Puzzle is not listed on the Dowdle website, making me think it is a Toy Fair/Vendor Exclusive. However, there are currently 5 different designs available on the Dowdle Puzzles website for $34.95 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!

Earth Day, Yesterday, and All Year Long!

Yesterday was Earth Day, a holiday started in 1970 that focuses on environmental reform and the human impact on this world we inhabit. Yesterday was also the day after Easter, and my mom and little sister headed home. I was wiped. Chronic illness means that I “hit the wall” and can’t push myself any further. Last week was a whirlwind, and by Monday, I was very much done. I spent Earth Day in bed.

Today, I’m still tired, but I wanted to bring up a thought. Earth Day was yesterday. Yesterday is over. Does that mean I can just put Earth Day and all it means on the shelf until next year?

Earth Day isn’t like most other holidays… It’s a way of life.

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This year, I managed to convince White Mountain Puzzles to allow me to do a few reviews. I immediately fell in love with Amazing Sea Turtles. It reminded me of the Earth Day commercials and shows I watched as a kid in the 80s and 90s.

I’ve never done a White Mountain puzzle, so I was surprised by the box stand that was included. Made of recycled cardstock, it holds the box lid so that you can have the puzzle image at hand. As this puzzle didn’t come with a separate poster, the box stand came in handy.

 

 

 

 

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My work space, border set up and ready to go!

I found this to be a delightful puzzle. It’s advertised as an E-Z Hold 300, which means it is made with slightly larger than normal sized pieces, on recycled blue chipboard. The grid-style cut was not challenging, but I don’t want a challenging 300 piece.  I do 300 pieces to relax and let me think.

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Look at my awesome turtles!

 

Back to my original point. Earth Day as a way of life. It’s daunting, isn’t it? especially as a person with disabilities. I love my straws, as they keep my hands from spilling drinks down my front, I like modern conveniences. But even I can do small things all year-round to help the planet. I can and do choose to buy puzzles made with recycled materials. I recycle and reuse items. SC and I have furnished our home in furniture that had been discarded but was still serviceable. I use public transit often, and I donate to earth-friendly charities when I can afford to.  I have in the past, planted trees. Small things, sure, but small things, like puzzle pieces add up.

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This is my Earth Day Big Picture.

This puzzle features a handful of sea turtles swimming through a busy coral reef. It’s a great image to show what we could lose, and what we need to protect. More importantly, it makes me happy. I love sea life and aquatic scenes.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: White Mountain Puzzles
  • Title: Amazing Sea Turtles
  • Artist: Gerald Newton
  • Year released: 2017
  • Pieces: 300
  • Cut-Style:  Grid
  • Finished size: 18 x 24 inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made from recycled materials
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy, Light-weight, 10 x 12 x2 inches, Glossy Finish
  • Board: Thin and sturdy pieces
  • Cut: Steel-cut Die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Glossy
  • Puzzle Dust: A bit more than I prefer, but not too much
  • Piece shapes: Grid style, 4 shapes
  • Piece Fit: Excellent, nice tight fit that if careful, I could pick up

Disability Notes: The E-Z Hold pieces are really nice. They fit my hands well and I had no difficulties in assembly. I can recommend this size puzzle for kids and adults, and I think that people with hand or eye difficulties will enjoy it as the colors are amazingly bright!

Where to buy: Amazing Sea Turtles is available on the white Mountain website for $13.99 USD.

White Mountain 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!

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.

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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.

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The included mini poster! A super helpful puzzling tool!
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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.

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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!