Tag Archives: review

Traveling the World – Travel Mosaic

 I’ve been traveling a lot this summer. While none of my destinations have been super exotic, I enjoy being new places and seeing new people. This week I’m in Atlanta, Georgia for DragonCon and I thought I’d share a new coloring book that’s been keeping me busy.

Travel Mosaic is a Color by Number coloring book by Belba Family, who also created the Animal Mosaic Book. This coloring book is fantastic!

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 There are 24 images of places and people from all over the world, done in a pop art sort of style.My sister, Little-Big really enjoyed this book. She did the majority of the coloring on some of the pages!

We both enjoyed the range of images and colors. I’ve found color by number books to be incredibly relaxing. All the colors are ones easily found in most crayon and colored pencil sets, and most marker sets as well.

Disability Notes: I found the coloring areas large enough to accommodate nearly any coloring age group, through a few pages have a higher level of difficulty than others. If you have eye issues, you may have difficulty seeing the numbers as they are printed in a charcoal ink that is designed to blend into the colored page.

Where to buy: Travel Mosaic is available at Amazon. The book’s MSRP is $7.99 USD.

Belba Family: Website / FaceBook / Instagram

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 ©2019 Belba Family. The coloring is mine. 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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Dog Days of Summer

I don’t know about you guys, but I both love and hate the Dog Days of summer. It’s too hot for me to spend much time outside, and some of my meds don’t react well to direct sunlight. So I spend a lot of time working on my hobbies. Of course, that means puzzles! I’m PuzzlePaws, aren’t I??

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Re-marks was awesome when I asked them to surprise me with a small piece count puzzle to review. I knew I had to wait until I was back home from a convention to give it a proper review.  As most of my puzzles are cat-themed, it was a delight to switch things up and work on a dog puzzle. IMG_6144My sister Little-Big helped me assemble this puzzle. I focused on the grass and doghouses, while she worked on the sky and words. I honestly cannot read this Charles Schulz quote without smiling. Add in the puppies, and this is a winner of a puzzle!

IMG_6147For all that this is a 200 Large Piece puzzle, it had some pieces that were unexpectedly challenging! For some reason, my eyes had a hard time differentiating between the sky and the mint doghouse.

XRXD1162As you can see, the pieces are definitely large! I found them to be lightweight but sturdy, and easy to handle on a day my hands were stiff and swollen.

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Isn’t this cute?? I may have to add more puppies to my puzzle images! This puzzle really brightened my summer day! I may have to stay inside, but at least I have puppies!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Re-marks
  • Title: Doghouse
  • Artist: Unknown, Quote by Charles Schulz
  • Year released: Unknown
  • Pieces: 200
  • Cut-Style: Grid
  • Finished size: 13 x 19 inches
  • Bonus poster: No
  • Made from Recycled Material
  • Made in USA

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Compact and lightweight, 8 x 4 x 2 inches,
  • Board: Blue chipboard
  • Cut: Cut with a steel-cut die
  • Image Quality: Good,
  • Finish: Semi-gloss
  • Puzzle Dust: Minimal
  • Piece shapes: 4 different shapes that repeat, Large size for easy handling
  • Piece Fit: Good! Most pieces could be moved in small groups.

Disability Notes: The large size of these puzzle pieces are great for a person with hand issues, or a short attention span. If you have eyes issues, like not being able to tell the difference between similar pastel colors, you may want to choose a different design. Thankfully, Re-marks has bunches!  The pieces are sturdy and well made.

Where to buy: Doghouse 200 Large Pieces Puzzle is available on Amazon website for $9.99 USD. Unlike most of the other puzzle companies I have reviewed, the Re-marks website is only for wholesalers. However, there are tons of retailers who carry Re-marks puzzles. I usually buy from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Re-marks 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!! One Year of PuzzlePaws. Giveaway inside!

Last year I started this Blog on July 28th by watching Shark Week and assembling a Shark Puzzle by EuroGraphics.  It started as a way to write about my hobbies as I battle my chronic illness; but has morphed into a way to fight for the much needed recognition for people with invisable illnesses amongst the big names in the toy/hobby industries.

I’m watching Shark Week via Amazon Video this year, so each day’s post will include my thoughts on the episodes from the previous night.  Each day’s post will also feature a different shark or ocean themed review!

For my first every Blogiversary, I reached out to Eurographics. They sent me two puzzles to give away to my followers!

Prize 1 is a copy of my first ever review puzzle, 1000 piece Sharks!

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Prize 2 is is a copy of the same Sharks puzzle in 100 pieces, along with a copy of Mindware’s Color Counts Glitter Under the Sea.

To enter the giveaway, click on the Rafflecopter link!

 

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!

It’s MerMay! Let’s have Mermaids in Wonderland!

If you are not familiar with MerMay, let me direct you here, and then note that while I am not an artist, I am a colorist. And I love mermaids, the odder the better! Finding a non-Disney type mermaid coloring book was a treat!

Mom found this glorious coloring book back in April, and I fell in love with it so badly that I hunted through every local Barnes & Noble store until I found my own copy. It is not often I feel the need to own a coloring book that badly!

Mermaids in Wonderland is a 10 by 10 inch book, with 96 pages of beautiful images of mermaids and other sea life. The paper is a really nice smooth midweight, that takes color with ease without too much bleed through. The pages are double-sided, so bleed-through was something of a worry until I experimented a little.

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Colored with Tombow Dual Brush Markers

The first half of the book has white pages, while the second half is done with black pages. These make for some stunning pictures!

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Such a pretty turtle!!

Mermaids in Wonderland isn’t just another coloring book, it is a puzzle-solving adventure! Throughout the pages, cleverly  woven in are clues to riddles that need to be solved. These riddles work in concert, creating a story that you can be a part of. The only other coloring book I can compare this to is Johanna Basford’s Ivy and The Inky Butterfly.

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I think the best parts of this book are the mermaids doing nonstandard mermaid things. There are mermaid (and mermen!) adventurers, acrobats, and warriors. There are salons, restaurants, and amusement parks! There are mermaids from almost every possible culture, from a Chinese Dragon Dance to Native American hunters to European nobility. Unlike most mermaids drawn, there are almost no clamshell bras! It seems to be a function of fashion rather than a statement of sexuality, which is refreshing! The Mermaids of Wonderland have amazingly details on both their clothing and their scales.

Marcos Chin is a new artist to me, Mermaids is one of his three coloring books so far. He has also drawn Fairies in Wonderland and Elves in Wonderland. If they are as good as Mermaids, I’ll be adding them to my collection at some point soon!

Disability Notes: Other than noting that some designs have more complicated linework than others, I have no complaints. Those pages are being set aside for a day when my hands don’t shake.

Where to buy: Mermaids in Wonderland is available on at the HarperCollins Publishers website, as well as Barnes & Noble and Amazon. The book’s MSRP is $15.99 but some locations are selling it for less.

Marcos Chin : Website / FaceBook

Disclosure: I bought this coloring book to use for this review. The opinions are my own. All art shown on this post is Copyright ©Marcos Chin and Harper Design 2017. The coloring is mine. 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!

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!

Lucky Timing and Diamond Art

Have you ever made a split-second frivolous decision? I’m really glad I made this one!

Just after Christmas last year, My friend Sammi let me know that there were diamond art kits on clearance at our local Walmart. I was laid up due to the weather and SAD, so I asked her to pick one out for me.

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This is a Dazz™ Dimensional Diamond Art™. Dazz™ is made by Horizon Group USA, an arts and crafts company. They were only available at Walmart for a limited amount of time before being discontinued by the company.

This is a partial drill diamond art, meaning that parts of the canvas are printed, and not meant to be covered by gems(AKA drills). Dazz™’s  kit is amazingly well set out! The canvas is bright and large, the drills are well labeled, and the instruction sheet is the best I’ve seen!

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Close up of the canvas

I found the drill chart to be easy to read in daylight, though I struggled when my eyes tired. This is the largest diamond art kit I’ve done to date, measuring 16 by 20 inches. The surface is roughly ¾ covered by drills and so it took me almost 2 weeks to finish.

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So many gems!!!

 

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All Done!!

I’m incredibly happy with how this kit turned out! The colors are vibrant and the drills adhere amazingly well. I’ve done a few kits since being introduced to diamond painting last year, and Dazz™ is ranking right up there as one of the best. I’m going to be framing this, but that post will be on the Patreon.

Please, Horizon Group USA! Bring these back! Or at least send me your discards!

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 worked on a lapdesk on the couch, and other than my butt going numb, it was a very comfortable project to work on.

Where to buy: I’m sad to say you can’t, unless you get very lucky on Ebay. I’ve looked. If you were lucky enough to buy one of these last winter, congrats!!

Disclosure: I bought this diamond art kit for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them. All images of Dazz™ Dimensional Diamond Art™ are ©Horizon Group USA 2018.

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!