Showing posts with label California Jigsaw Puzzles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label California Jigsaw Puzzles. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Puzzles for Puzzle Day or Any Day: A Review

Puzzles for Puzzle Day or Any Day: A Review
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay 


I love puzzles. I especially love jigsaw puzzles. It satisfies me to find the exact puzzle piece to fit into the space designed for it. I'm delighted when I finally finish a puzzle -- especially if it's a large one. Are you a puzzle fan, too?


Puzzle Day is January 29


If you didn't plan ahead or don't have time to work a puzzle on January 29, why not celebrate by buying a new puzzle you love, instead. Then enjoy it on any convenient day. Or have a puzzle party with your family or invite a friend or two to help you work your new puzzle. There are many excellent reasons to spend some of your leisure time working jigsaw puzzles.

Here's What Working Puzzles Can Do for You

  • Working puzzles can help you relax. When we work puzzles, we focus on our process instead of on our problems and the things that add stress to our lives.
  • Working a puzzle offers a welcome break from electronics and media. It lets us work at a slower pace and really focus instead of having our attention constantly refocused.
  • If you live alone, working a puzzle can keep you so absorbed you may forget you are lonely. Put on your favorite music and have a party for one. It beats television.
  • Working puzzles helps keep your brain working well. It keeps both sides of your brain busy and since both sides need to work together to complete a puzzle, the connections between the right and left sides of your brain grow stronger. The left side helps you sort pieces and figure out where to put them. The more creative right side uses your intuition as you consider where pieces may fit into the big picture or the individual section you are working on. Exercising your brain with puzzles may delay the onset of dementia or slow it down. The brain also produces dopamine when it's helping you work jigsaw puzzles.
  • Working puzzles together can foster closeness in families and between friends. Working a puzzle together is a social activity that puts people together who have a common purpose – working the puzzle – for an extended time. They may start by planning how to work the puzzle, deciding who will do what, but later they will naturally move on to subjects they probably wouldn't usually have time to discuss. Contributor  Dawn Rae has also written about her experience with puzzles paving the way for quality time. 
  • When children begin working jigsaw puzzles, it helps them develop many important skills. Among these are fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, color awareness, spatial relations, concentration, and working towards a goal.

Jigsaw Puzzle Strategy


Like most jigsaw fans, I have a strategy. Mine is pretty common.
  • Turn over all the pieces first so you know what you have to work with.
  • Find the pieces with straight edges and make the frame by forming and  connecting the edges.
  • Make sure everyone working on the puzzle can see the cover on the box as they work.
  • Try to complete one section of the puzzle at a time until it comes together to complete the picture.
Do you also use that strategy?

Finding the Right Puzzle

For the happiest puzzle working experience, you need to choose the right puzzle for your time, your skill level, and your interests. You will be looking at that puzzle for a long time. If you're a beginner, choose a smaller puzzle of about 200-300 pieces to develop your skills before moving on. Chose a puzzle with smaller blocks of color and many shapes instead of a puzzle with lots of sky or water that's the same color. That makes it easier to figure out which pieces fit.

I like nature. I created this puzzle from one of my photos of the sunset at Larry Moore Park. It comes in many sizes, but for a beginner I'd choose the 252-piece size. There is enough  variation in color and the tree branch shapes to make it easy to see how pieces may fit together. (Check out some of the other California places I made into puzzles.)




As you become more proficient, choose more challenging puzzles with more areas the same color or less pronounced subjects or designs. Or choose a larger puzzle of 750 pieces or more with a design you love and may want to frame afterwards. (Contributor Bev Owens reviews a great way to preserve puzzles you want to frame.) I love books and cats. This 750-piece puzzle by Buffalo Games is one I'd love to have on my wall. Buffalo Games makes quality puzzles. If you click through, you will see what makes them so special.





If you want to get your preschooler off to a good start, you can't go wrong with a Melissa and Doug puzzle. I used to sell these at homeschool conventions and there is a wooden puzzle to fit every interest and ability level. I like these sets for children 3-5 years old. Children this age love color and animals. The puzzles in the first set have both. These puzzles come packed in convenient wooden trays. But if you want something more educational, the pegged set has puzzles that teach the alphabet, numbers, and shapes. The pieces in this set have pegs to make them easy to lift out so that children can find the attractive pictures underneath each puzzle piece.







Puzzles Make Great Gifts

When you gift someone with a puzzle, consider the receiver's age, interests, and previous experience. You can even use a special photo to make a personalized puzzle at Zazzle, such as the one I made of the tree in the sunset I showed you above. Just click that puzzle. It will take you to the product page. Click “customize” on the top right of the page under “Designed for You.” It will show you many options. The first allows you to substitute your own photo. You can also add text if you wish.

Puzzles make great gifts for grandparents and older friends who live alone. It will help them keep their thinking sharp and give them something fun to do by themselves or with a friend.

Give a young child a puzzle and you will be helping to develop that child's brain. Give a puzzle with a related book for a double treat that will let the child be thinking of the book as they work the puzzle.

Maybe you should also gift your own family with a new puzzle to work together.
Whatever day it is, happy Puzzle Day.







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, May 15, 2017

Quality Jigsaw Puzzles for Quality Time Together

http://amzn.to/2pIHwWE

I have always loved doing jigsaw puzzles. Call me weird, but there is something satisfying in the sorting, assembling, and creating a picture that you enjoy. As an adult, I've brought my puzzle hobby into the office. I work with children. Children love to soak up adult attention - not always obviously, but trust me, they want our attention. And the children I work with seem to speak more freely if we are fidgeting with something rather than me sitting still and making constant eye contact.  A good puzzle is not only fun for me, but is often helpful and fun with them. A great puzzle is even better.  I am always on the look out for excellent puzzles and in this review, I will share some of the puzzles I consider to be excellent.

Over the years I have found some puzzles to be too fragile or too frustrating.  Sometimes the paper and cardboard peels apart while the children are trying the pieces in different spots. Other puzzles have a poor "photograph" or color quality and it is nearly impossible for the children and I to get it put together. Some puzzles end up never being completed and being either donated or tossed into the trash.  For these reasons, I am on the look out for quality jigsaw puzzles. I have found that Ravensberger creates quality puzzles.


Current Puzzle - Ravensberger Disney's Pixar: The Artists Desk


The previous two puzzles that have been on my table were real stinkers. Too difficult to complete due to color quality.  So it is exciting to be working on this Disney Pixar 1000 piece puzzle. I was introduced to the Ravensberger brand by Treasures by Brenda and am enjoying this puzzle very much. It is made of quality materials (it is not peeling apart), the pieces are solid and thick, and even though the colors are very similar in portions of the puzzle, it is not frustratingly difficult to put together. Many children like to draw, so this theme has been interesting to them.





Next Puzzle - Ravensberger Disney's Pixar: Disney-Pixar Movies


This 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle is the next in the line up.  I chose it due to the variety of Pixar celebrities that are included.  The older children may initially behave as though it's too "baby" for them, but I know they will work on it anyway. The younger children will like it. And what a great way to start a conversation than by asking which of the movies shown are their favorite. And why.  Children aren't often asked their opinions. It is meaningful when you genuinely ask and want to know.


Disney-Pixar Movies Jigsaw Puzzle (1000 piece)



Other Puzzle Recommendations by Review This Contributors


Beverly recommends Susan Wingate jigsaw puzzles. She shows us several examples of the pretty garden and country living artwork. Beverly gives personal reasons why she enjoys puzzles in general, and these puzzles specifically. I have to agree, the Susan Wingate puzzles are beautiful.

Barb's love of California shines through her review of puzzles of California. As a native Californian, she shares samples of Zazzle puzzles created from her travel photographs as well as manufactured state puzzles that are available. If you love California you should read her California puzzles review.

Speaking of creating puzzles from personal photographs, Mary Beth explains how she does this on Zazzle in her article Create a Puzzle from a Favorite Photograph. Whether you are interested in her fantastic lighthouse puzzle collection or in making your own puzzles, her article is helpful.

And when you have finished your puzzles, you may choose to glue them together and hang them for display.  I love this idea and would do it, except that I cycle through my puzzles at work and we put them together more than once.  Beverly reviews puzzle glue that she has used with success. 





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Reviews of California Jigsaw Puzzles

Working a California Jigsaw Puzzle Together is a Great Family Activity


Reviews of California Jigsaw Puzzles
California jigsaw puzzles are beautiful. Working them together as a family can help children and adults develop or refine many important skills. These include management skills as the family plans who will work on which part of the puzzle; organizational skills as one sorts pieces; and spatial relations and analytical skills as one begins to learn and predict which pieces will fit together and why. Learn more about the benefits of working jigsaw puzzles.

Adults will find that working puzzles may help ward off senility, since both sides of the brain need to work together while completing a jigsaw puzzle. Working puzzles exercises the short-term memory as you try to remember just where that piece you saw that will fit in the hole is, or where the hole is that a piece you have in your hand will fit. It's a more complex version of the card game Concentration.

As families sit around a table and put puzzles together, they not only develop brain skills, but they also have plenty of opportunities to talk to each other. We often don't spend much time getting to know our other family members because we hardly ever make time to sit down with each other in a relaxed setting. Working puzzles together is an informal way for children to spend quality time with parents and siblings or wives with husbands. If the conversational well needs priming, one can always talk about the puzzle working process.

 Why California Puzzles?

So why work jigsaw puzzles with scenes of California on them? Why not? California is the third largest state in America. It has some of the most famous amusement parks. It is a large producer of wine. It has scenery that encompasses mountains, deserts, volcanoes, beaches, rugged coasts, large cities, growing fields, orchards, and a variety of fauna and flora. As a family works California puzzles, children can learn a bit of geography, no matter what state or country they live in. Adults can see places they've never been, or families can remember and reminisce about places they have visited as they work puzzles with the photos of those places on them.

California is home to some of the most beautiful places in America. Of course, I may be a bit biased, since I'm a native Californian. I currently live on the California Central Coast, but I used to live in Southern California and was one of the first visitors to Disneyland when it was built. My dad helped build it.

Now I live among the vineyards in Templeton.  I often walk the downtown area of Paso Robles, as well as its vineyards. I love walking the boardwalk of Cambria and the beaches of the San Luis Obispo County South Coast. I never go anywhere without my camera.

 I enjoy sharing the beauty of my state with others. I share photos of my local area of Templeton and Paso Robles in my blog, Capturing the Paso Robles Area with My Camera, and I love making Zazzle puzzles of some of my favorite local scenes, especially of the coast, the trees, and the missions. You can see all these puzzles together from this Zazzle link. 

Zazzle puzzles come in two sizes. Both come in lovely gift boxes with the image on the top so you can see what the finished product should look like. The 8" x 10" size has 110 pieces. The 11" x 14" size has 252 pieces. Both are suitable only for those over three years of age. Below are some photos I have used on the puzzles you can access from the link above. I took these photos at the Santa Barbara Mission. They are just two views of this mission I put on puzzles.

Reviews of Jigsaw Puzzles with California Scenes
My Favorite Puzzle of the Santa Barbara Mission, © B. Radisavljevic



Reviews of Jigsaw Puzzles with California Scenes
This image appears on my most popular Santa Barbara Mission Puzzle from Zazzle
Below is one of the many beach scenes I put on puzzles of the California coast.

Reviews of Jigsaw Puzzles with California Scenes
This photo of the rocky coast of Cambria also appears on a Zazzle puzzle. © B. Radisavljevic
I have even more puzzles with scenes from the Paso Robles wine country. These are mostly of vineyards, tasting rooms, and even grape processing. In my puzzles grapes are shown on the vine both green and ripe and even withering when left on the vines after harvest. Vineyard jigsaw puzzles show vineyards in summer when  they are green and in autumn when their leaves turn lovely shades of red and gold.  Some of these would be just right to work while you are waiting for a midnight toast on New Year's Eve at home. Here are a couple of favorite photos I used on these puzzles.

Reviews of Jigsaw Puzzles with California Scenes
Vineyard at Harvest Time, © B. Radisavljevic

Reviews of Jigsaw Puzzles with California Scenes
Patio of Croad Tasting Room in Paso Robles, © B. Radisavljevic

Although I love making puzzles at Zazzle, they may not be big enough to satisfy some people. Amazon's jigsaw puzzles feature California places I have not visited with a camera.  Some puzzle pictures feature art work rather than photographs. The topics for which you can find 1000-piece puzzles give you many choices. Here are some of my California puzzle favorites.



Next time you want to spend quality time with your family without leaving home, plan a family puzzle party. Pop corn, make hot chocolate, and work a California  jigsaw puzzle. Pick up one now while you are thinking about it. You won't be sorry, because you never know when  the next rainy day or next power outage will occur. Be prepared.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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