Tag Archives: Puzzle Review

Of Butterflies & Birthdays

September 12th is the start of Birthday Hell in my family. My younger but much taller sister, Little-Big(not her real name) turned 33 today. She loves everything butterflies and purple, so I had to get Cobble Hill’s new Butterfly Magic for her.

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All right, full disclosure here. I did not touch this puzzle except to help sort out the edge pieces. Little-Big loved the idea of a birthday puzzle, and whenever I turned around, she was happily assembling her own present!

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This puzzle went together relatively quickly. I was down with no spoons yesterday, so Little-Big sent me pics while I rested in bed.

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Little-Big started sorting her pieces by trying to finish the monarch butterfly with the sunflowers; then ended up sorting her pieces into the different framed sections.

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My sister had the best time working on the random cut, which had her scrambling to find where pieces fit right up to the last 2 pieces!

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TaDa!! Butterflies! Little-Big managed to get this finished just a few hours before her birthday. It will be glued this weekend and then mounted in her room.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Cobble Hill
  • Title: Butterfly Magic
  • Artist: Rosiland Solomon
  • 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: Little-Big likes the larger pieces, which are easy on hands. The bright colors and different sections make dividing the pieces into workable groups easy.

Where to buy: Butterfly Magic is available on the Cobble Hill website for $15.99 USD. While Fall is fast approaching, this puzzle is perfect for any butterfly enthusiast or to brighten up those upcoming  gray days!

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!

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Shark Week Blogiversary – Tuesday

Sharks of the Badlands-

I rather liked this episode, but thought the title misleading. The trial and error aspect of finding a working solution for the problem of keeping humans in the water safe from the sharks that live there was well represented. I’m glad that the scientists in questions opted for a preventative solution, rather than a reactionary one.

Legend of the Deep Blue-

This episode was iffy for me. I thought the plot was amorphous, and not well defined. While the shark known as Deep Blue is one of the largest ever tagged, she isn’t the only large shark in the ocean, and finding her without tag data is like looking for a needle in a haystack. As the scientists I follow on Twitter noted, scars do heal, so they are not reliable identifiers after several years. DNA is the only way to be sure. That being said, the episode was fun and had amazing shark cage footage!

The Sharks of Headstone Hell-

So many tiger sharks! Another great shark episode with a great explanation of both the history of the area and the current events impacting both locals and the shark population. Hopefully, now that it is known that the area around Norkolk Island is a tiger shark hotspot it can be designated as a protected area.

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Today’s puzzle is a fun one! Ravensburger’s Smiling Sharks is a puzzle I’ve been hoarding for months, waiting for Shark Week. It is a part of Ravensburger’s Perfect Age Fit series, which features graduated piece sizes for young puzzlers. As a puzzler with hand issues due to arthritis and nerve problems, I really wanted to test these puzzles out. s-l1600

Smiling Sharks is a 300XXL puzzle, which is the smallest piece size in the series. I found the pieces to be comfortable in my hands, and the thick chipboard satisfyingly heavy.

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The border was the easiest part of this image.

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I love the fact that each shark in this puzzle has a different face and personality! Ravensburger is known for quality puzzles, and the attention to detail is  one of the reasons why!

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I adore this little fish!
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Look at their smiles!

Overall, a great puzzle! The image is challenging without being overwhelming. Little-Big and I had a nice afternoon puzzling. Shark Week and puzzles go together!

Want a chance to win your own Shark puzzle? Giveaway Link: Here!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Ravensburger
  • Title: Smiling Sharks
  • Artist: Howard Robinson
  • Year released: 2017
  • Pieces: 300XXL
  • Cut-Style: Grid
  • Finished size: 19 x 14 inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in Germany

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy but lightweight, 13 x 9 x 1½ inches, Linen finish
  • Board: Extra thick chipboard
  • Cut: Cut with a steelcut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Linen matte
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: 2 different shapes that repeat, Large size for easy handling
  • Piece Fit: Excellent! Great snap and I could move multiple pieces easily

Disability Notes: The 300XXL size puzzle pieces are a great size for a person with hand issues, or a short attention span. The pieces are sturdy and wellmade.

Where to buy: Smiling Sharks 300 XXL Puzzle is available on the Ravensburger website for $14.99 USD.

Ravensburger 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!

Shark Week Blogiversary-Monday

I’m tired from traveling home from DC, but I had this sweet little puzzle by Ceaco and the first two episodes of Shark Week 31.

Expedition Unknown: Megalodon 

I’ll admit that I enjoy Josh Gates’s Expedition Unknown series. I found this episode to be both funny and informative, and SC and I loved all the movie references! It was a great mix of shark science and entertainment, while making no bones of the fact that Megalodon is extinct. The “can I lick science” moment was hilarious, and the explanations of the current theory behind the possible why of Megalodon’s extinction were well done.

Shark Trip: Eat. Prey. Chum

Ugh. I’m not going to mince words here. I despised this show. Rob Riggle and his friends are actors, and you cannot convince me that they knew EXACTLY what the script entailed. That being said, the writers of this particular episode need to go back for sensitivity training. Rob’s bullying and toxic masculinity for the sake of cheap laughs and Anthony Anderson’s over-the-top screaming and flailing were not funny. I watch Shark Week for sharks and shark science, not to watch actors act like jerks and spread shark fear.

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I had a devil of a time trying to find this puzzle! I’d seen it in my local Walmart months ago, but hadn’t bought it at the time. When it got closer to July, I started to panic because I could no longer find it! I trolled through every Walmart I went into looking for it! Thankfully, I found it in NH while camping.

IMG_6133 At 100 pieces, this isn’t meant to be a difficult puzzle. Normally,  puzzles of this size are marketed to children, but I’ve found that they are fantastic for bad hand days.

IMG_6136 My sister Little-Big has recently moved in with us, and she helped me assemble this puzzle.

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I found this image of a Great White swimming through a set of presumably Megalodon jaws perfect to start my Shark Week!

IMG_6161 This puzzle is part of Ceaco’s glow line, so SC pulled out the black light for this pic!IMG_6160

It glows!!!

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Here is the puzzle in all it’s sharky glory!

Giveaway Link: Here!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Ceaco
  • Title: Under Sea Glow – Great White Delight
  • Artist: Jerry LoFaro
  • Year released: 2016
  • Pieces: 100
  • Cut-Style: Grid
  • Finished size: 15″ x 11″ inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy but lightweight, 6x6x2 inches
  • Board: Medium thickness, chipboard
  • Cut: Cut with a steelcut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Semi-gloss with glow in the dark lines
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: 4 different shapes that repeat, Large size for easy handling
  • Piece Fit: Good,I could move small sections of 2-4 pieces

Disability Notes: This is a great puzzle for people with hand or eye issues. The image is clear and the pieces easy to handle. A quick small puzzle, it fits well on a lapdesk or puzzle board.

Where to buy: Under Sea Glow – Great White Delight Puzzle is available on the Ceaco website for $6.99 USD. It can also be found at certain Walmart stores.

Ceaco Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I purchased this puzzle 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!

Puzzle by Number, A TDC Games & For Dummies Collaboration

Do you remember the For Dummies books of the nineties and early aughts? I do!(Yes, I’m dating myself, I don’t care.) 

I found this treasure in a lot of used puzzles I bought last winter with a friend. While a lot of the puzzles were in awful shape, this one wasn’t. I knew I had to assemble this puzzle as soon as beach weather came around.

 

Beach Babies is a 1000 piece grid-cut puzzle, with each piece labeled on the back with both letters A-Z and numbers 1-39. Like all Dummies products, this puzzle has easy to understand instructions. While the map and instructions were missing, I found them online at the Dummies Website here.

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I’ve never done a puzzle with numbers on the back before. I did the logical thing and sorted alphabetically.IMG_5733

I tried a couple of different styles of assembly. IMG_5734

First I did lines A,B and C individually. Then I did lines D,E, F and G as a group. This went faster than most puzzle assembly, but was visually boring. So I flipped the sections over, connected them together and started assembling like I normally do. This took longer, but was far more enjoyable. The fact the pieces are labeled on the back helped me place pieces when stumped.

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H3 is missing.

TaDa!! Yes, I know there is a missing piece, but for a used puzzle, I’m super pleased.

I liked how firmly these pieces fit together.  While I haven’t done any other TDC puzzles, I’ll have to start looking for them. This puzzle had pieces that were thin and sturdy, and I could pick up full sections.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: TDC Games / For Dummies
  • Title: Beach Babies
  • Artist: Donald Zolan
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 1000
  • Cut-Style: Grid cut
  • Finished size: 19 X 26 inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in USA


QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy,  8 x 8 x 3 inches
  • Board: Very sturdy and rigid
  • Cut: Cut with a steel-cut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent
  • Finish: Slight gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: None
  • Piece shapes: Standard 2 knob
  • Piece Fit: Excellent! Really tight, can be picked up entirely

Disability Notes: This sort of puzzle is rather helpful for beginners or people who have difficulty assembling sections that all look the same ie: sky, sand, etc.

Where to buy: At the time of this post, Beach Babies is available for sale on Amazon, for $85.65 CDN. The high price is due to the puzzle being discontinued. 

TDC Games : Website / Twitter

For Dummies : Website / FaceBook / Twitter

Disclosure: I bought this puzzle for the purpose of 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!

Cats and Dinosaurs, Summer is Here!

It’s June! June = Summer!

Alright, so I started this blog last July with a Eurographics puzzle, and I’ve been itching to do this awesome puzzle for weeks!

Screenshot_2019-06-04 Dinosaurs, Jigsaw Puzzle at Eurographics

This was one of my favorite finds last winter, when I was out thrifting before the cold weather really hit. Imagine my delight to find a brand new Eurographics still in its plastic!  I love dinosaur documentaries and movies, and my godsons are huge fans, so I have to be able to keep up.

The fun thing about this puzzle isn’t the design or the random cut, but that Hurricane Enlil, my kitten is strangely possessive of it.

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No Mom, these are MY pieces!

Every time I turned around, Hurricane was there. I swear she has a dinosaur as a spirit animal, the way she loved to sit on or near the puzzle.

Kitten craziness aside, this is a fantastically informative puzzle. Under the title is a color coded listing of the different eras and their relation in time to each other. At the bottom of the puzzle is a combination timeline and biological tree showing all the dinosaur family types.

Assembling these timelines was the easiest part of the puzzle. The majority of the puzzle is done in muted earth tones, presumably because it was drawn before the emergence of both the relationship between birds and dinosaurs, and the brightly colored theory. All those earth tones on a beige background, mixed with the random-cut pieces made for a challenge. Add in the fact that my tortoiseshell cat, Zoomie got jealous and deliberately launched herself off the puzzle board, destroying hours of hard work…

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This is after rebuilding the puzzle twice after Zoomie’s tantrums.

Thank goodness for SC. He helped me reset the puzzle to the picture above before bed last night. Mind you, as mad as I was at Zoomie, who almost never sits my puzzles; I was grateful for a chance to watch SC. He relies heavily on pattern recognition to place each piece into its place. Martial Harmony can be as simple as working a puzzle together and appreciating your differences.

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All done! Well…sort of.

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I’m missing my triceratops’ face. I’ve swept the living room, searched under the couch and puzzle board, and it is nowhere to be seen. I’ll wait a few days as I’m certain that it will eventually show up. If it doesn’t, I’ll contact Eurographics’s Puzzle Warranty page.

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Eurographics Puzzles
  • Title: Dinosaurs
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 1000
  • Cut-Style: Random cut
  • Finished size: 19¼ x 26⅝ inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made from recycled board and printed with vegetable based ink.
  • Made in USA


QUALITY: 

  • Box: sturdy,  10 x 14 x 2.5 inches
  • Board: Very sturdy and rigid
  • Cut: Cut with a steel-cut die
  • Image Quality: Excellent
  • Finish: Slight gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: Moderate
  • Piece shapes: A good mix of traditionally cut and irregular pieces
  • Piece Fit: Good, a bit loose until the entire puzzle is assembled, pieces cannot be moved in groups

Where to buy: At the time of this post, Dinosaurs  is listed for sale on the Eurographics website for $17.99 USD.

Eurographics Puzzles: Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I bought this puzzle for the purpose of 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!

Just Ducky! Crystal Rubber Duck 3D Puzzle

I have a collection that tends to make people laugh. I collect rubber ducks. All kinds, really, so long as they conform to the generally standard ducky shape. When I visited University Games’s booth at Toy Fair, I knew that their Rubber Duck Crystal puzzle had to be my starting point. IMG_5482

I’ve been wanted to assemble this puzzle for ages, but…I listed to SC, who kept telling me how difficult puzzles of this type were. Note to self. Do Not listen to the Spouse-Critter about puzzles! I loved this!  

I’ve never done a 3D puzzle quite like this. The pieces are made of translucent thick plastic (I keep wanting to call it Lucite). There are 43 pieces and the assembly is a matter of trial and error. 

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If you watch my little slideshow, you can see how each layer builds up and interlocks to create a sturdy shape. Not shown are the 2 locking bars and the plastic key. There is a small bar that is inserted into the hole you see in the back-end of the ducky, covered by the tail tip. The second bar is longer and is inserted from the top of the head and locks the whole puzzle into a solid piece. 

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Zoomie supervised the newest ducky build.

Honestly, there were only 2 places I struggled, the neck, and putting on the eye stickers!

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I hate stickers, so my ducky has one eye slightly askew. Other than that, this puzzle only took me about and hour or so. I am definitely going to start looking for more like them!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: BePuzzled / University Games
  • Title: Original 3D Crystal Puzzle™ Rubber Duck
  • Artist: Not listed
  • Difficulty: 1
  • Year released: 2015
  • Pieces: 43
  • Cut-Style: Knob and Hole
  • Finished size: 22x 22 in
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made in China

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Lightweight,6 x 4 x 2 inches
  • Board: N/A 
  • Cut: N/A Molded Plastic
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Clear Gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: None!
  • Piece shapes: Knob and Hole
  • Piece Fit: Very good

Disability Notes: This is one of those puzzles that is perfect for bed or couch days. With under a hundred pieces, assembly depends entirely on your level of dexterity or vision. Due to the translucent pieces, I recommend strong light for people with impaired vision. 

Where to buy: Original 3D Crystal Puzzle™ Rubber Duck is available on Amazon, at Walmart, or at AreYouGame.com for $12.99 USD.

A little background, BePuzzled® is a brand that is under the University Games corporate umbrella. So, while BePuzzled® has their own Facebook page, all of their products are found on the UGames website. 

BePuzzled: FaceBook

University Games 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!