Tag Archives: review

Back in the Saddle with Madd Capp’s I Am Horse

Last February, I got to meet an awesome puzzle company at Toy Fair. Madd Capp Games makes animal head shaped puzzles. Not just any animal shapes, though. These are hyper-realistic puzzles that any big-game hunter could substitute for a moldy taxidermy trophy. I was determined to try one, even though shaped puzzles are something I find incredibly daunting.

I was sent the I Am Horse 300 puzzle, which has 300 pieces. The 300 line is for people like myself who are intimidated by the larger puzzles which range from 550 -700 pieces but want more challenge than the 100 piece Lil line.

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The box is really nice and sturdy, the puzzle is nestled inside with a full color poster, wasting no space. The poster’s back side is covered in great horse facts, adding to the educational aspect.

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The pieces are a random cut, nicely large in size and with a great bottom texture. I found them to be gentle on my hands and easy to handle.

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As I expected, this was tricky to get started. I sorted according to color as there wasn’t a frame to work off of. Once I got the nose and part of the ears together, the assembly sped up!

IMG_6686I love how very realistic this is!! You can see the individual hairs on the horse’s muzzle and count it’s eyelashes!

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It took me 2 days to finish this puzzle and I took another 2 to seal it with polycrylic. Hime is currently getting to the horse/unicorn obsessed phase,  and this was part of her Christmas present.

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I am not really a horse person, but I love how this came out! Definitely will be doing more Madd Capp Puzzles in the future!

PUZZLE SPECS

  • Company: Madd Capp Games
  • Title: I Am Horse
  • Year released: 2019
  • Pieces: 300
  • Cut-Style:  Random
  • Finished size: 15 x 20 inches – Horse Shaped
  • Bonus poster: Yes
  • Made in China

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Sturdy and compact,
  • 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: Random
  • 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 300 piece puzzle are kind to the hands while still being complex enough to challenge lovers of larger piece count puzzles. Honestly, I want to try this brand’s 100 piece counts for later this winter when my hands threaten to swell into claws. Their 550 -700 piece puzzles are intricate and huge! I can recommend this for people with mild to moderate arthritis or hand/eye coordination.

Where to buy: I Am Horse is available on the Madd Capp Puzzles website for $14.99 USD.

Madd Capp 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!

EasyWhim’s Unicorn: My 1st Square Drill Diamond Painting

Since starting diamond painting last year, I’ve done a quite a few round drill kits, but no squares. When I spoke to EasyWhim Arts and Crafts™ about reviewing one of their kits, they were almost as excited as I was! I was warned that square drills have a higher difficulty level than rounds, but I’m always up for a challenge!

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I chose to tackle the Magical Unicorn kit, which is a 25cm by 30cm canvas. The kit includes everything I needed to start; canvas, instructions, drills, wax, drill tray, applicator pen and tweezers.  IMG_6040

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I seriously love EasyWhim for the way they package their drills. Each drill color (and there were 35 colors in my kit!) comes individually packaged in a resealable bag marked clearly with both the appropriate kit number and DMC color, as well as an approximate count of the drills.

As I was traveling most of this summer, I was able to fit all the drills and accessories in a small Tupperware®-like case and take my project with me.

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As you can see, squares are a bit harder to work when you first start doing them. The alignment alone can cause headaches if you are a fan of precision. IMG_6329This gets better as you go. I found the best advice I’d been given was to use a ruler to straighten the alignment and to place the drills in large sections in a checkerboard pattern.

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As you can see, there are a few drills I have to fix still.

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This is officially the longest time I’ve spent working on a diamond painting. I started this back in July, and worked on it in sections in between conventions and other things all summer and fall. I finally finished it in October. IMG_6675I am so incredibly proud of how pretty this turned out! The drills are sparkly and once pressed for a few hours they don’t pop out. The image looks exactly like it does on the website, and I’ll be framing this for SC’s home office.

Diamond Art Specs:

  • Company: EasyWhim
  • Title: Magical Unicorn
  • Colors: 35
  • Finished size: 25cm by 30cm
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate/Advanced
  • Gem Shapes: Square
  • Gem Fit: Excellent

QUALITY: 

  • Box: Small compact box, easy storage
  • Image Quality: Excellent, great color saturation
  • Finish: Glittery without the glitter!

Disability Notes: I can definitely recommend this for a person whose hands have good and bad days, but not if you have problems with your eyesight..  I worked on a lapdesk on the couch, and at the kitchen table, both places that have excellent natural light. Other than my butt going numb, it was a very comfortable project to work on.

Where to buy: You can purchase Magical Unicorn – DIY 5D Diamond Painting Kit on EasyWhim’s website. It normally retails for $29.99 USD, but is currently on sale for $9.99 USD.

EasyWhim Arts and Crafts : 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. All images of the product are ©Easy Whim 2019.

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!

Shave the Princess?? Acceptance and Self-Discovery on the High Seas.

The Princess Beard is the third in the Tales of Pell series, and while I’ve listened to the previous two books on audiobook, this was the first time actually reading one. There is a definite difference between listening to someone else interpret puns and wordplay, and reading and discovering that wordplay yourself.  Either way, this book is a delight!

The Princess Beard

The Blurb:

Shave the princess? Inconceivable! The hilarious bestselling authors of Kill the Farm Boy and No Country for Old Gnomes are back with a new adventure in the irreverent world of Pell.

Once upon a time, a princess slept in a magical tower cloaked in thorns and roses. 

When she woke, she found no Prince Charming, only a surfeit of hair and grotesquely long fingernails—which was, honestly, better than some creep who acted without consent. She cut off her long braids and used them to escape. But she kept the beard because it made a great disguise.

This is not a story about finding true love’s kiss—it’s a story about finding yourself. On a pirate ship. Where you belong.

But these are no ordinary pirates aboard The Puffy Peach, serving under Filthy Lucre, the one-eyed parrot pirate captain. First there’s Vic, a swole and misogynistic centaur on a mission to expunge himself of the magic that causes him to conjure tea and dainty cupcakes in response to stress. Then there’s Tempest, who’s determined to become the first dryad lawyer—preferably before she takes her ultimate form as a man-eating tree. They’re joined by Alobartalus, an awkward and unelfly elf who longs to meet his hero, the Sn’archivist who is said to take dictation directly from the gods of Pell. Throw in some mystery meat and a dastardly capitalist plot, and you’ve got one Pell of an adventure on the high seas!

In this new escapade set in the magical land of Pell, Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne lovingly skewer the tropes of fairy tales and create a new kind of fantasy: generous, gently humorous, and inclusive. There might also be otters.  

The Princess Beard is a book that makes you think, even as you laugh until you cry. Much like the movie that the title references, this story is beautifully complex and multilayered. I have read it twice over, and know that there is still much left to uncover the next time I pick it up.

Honestly, it’s hard to decide where to start gushing. I adore fairy tales and their retellings. The premise of the princess rescuing herself and becoming a pirate is only the start of the story. At its heart, it is about facing your personal demons, and embracing them to find your true self. The fact that this is accomplished by challenging traditional gender roles or stereotypes (Vic and Morgan), or by having to face both the disapproval of family and an inevitable fate (Tempest), or by forging an entirely new path (Alobartalus); it is done with both grace and humor.

I adore excellent wordplay. I grew up reading both Xanth and the Callahan series. Puns fly frequently between SC and I. Kevin and Delilah have made a world replete with clever words and multiple meanings. There are macguffins, and anagrams. There is edge-of-your-seat action sandwiched between genuine feelings and laugh-out-loud hilarity. And at the very end, there is the warm fuzzy of finally coming home.

Rating: 5/5

  • Title: The Princess Beard
  • Series: Tales of Pell, Book 3
  • Authors: Kevin Hearne & Delilah S. Dawson
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • Released: October 8th, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Format: Ebook
  • Pages: 384 pages
About the Authors:
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Kevin Hearne is the NYT bestselling author of the Iron Druid Chronicles, as well as The Seven Kennings, an epic fantasy trilogy, and the Tales of Pell, a humorous fantasy series co-authored with Delilah S. Dawson. INK & SIGIL, a new urban fantasy series set in the Iron Druid universe, will be out in 2020.

 

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Delilah S. Dawson writes whimsical and dark Fantasy for adults and teens. Her Blud series for Pocket includes Wicked as They Come, Wicked After Midnight, and Wicked as She Wants, winner of the RT Book Reviews Steampunk Book of the Year and May Seal of Excellence for 2013. Her YA debut, Servants of the Storm, is a Southern Gothic Horror set in Savannah, GA, and HIT is about teen assassins in a bank-owned America. Her Geekrotica series under pseudonym Ava Lovelace includes The Lumberfox and The Superfox with The Dapperfox on the way. Delilah teaches writing classes at LitReactor and wrote the Island of Mesmer world for Storium.

Delilah lives with her husband, two small children, a horse, a dog, and two cats in Atlanta. Find out more at www.whimsydark.com.

Where to buy:
The Princess Beard is available on Amazon in Hardcover, Kindle and Audiobook. The hardcover retails for $27 USD, but is currently on sale for $19.80 USD. The Princess Beard is in bookstores right now!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary ebook from the publisher 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!

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!

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!