Showing posts with label jigsaw puzzles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 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, September 25, 2017

Reviewing Ravensburger Puzzles Over 2000 Pieces

Ravensburger Puzzles
Even though I love puzzles, and always have one in the process on my table at work, I had no idea there were jigsaw puzzles over 1,500 pieces in size. Were you aware of the huge number of pieces available in puzzles? I had not been aware and this discovery is thrilling. Ravensburger is a brand of puzzle that I can count on for quality. You can believe that I'll be measuring my table at work ASAP and ordering the largest Ravensburger puzzle that will fit.


Ravensburger Brand Jigsaw Puzzles


I had previously reviewed the Ravensburger brand of jigsaw puzzles and I was happy to show you the Disney's Pixar: Artist's Desk 1,000 piece puzzle. I shared that I love puzzles and I shared the reasoning behind keeping a puzzle available in my office at all times. 

There is currently a puzzle on my table of a lower quality. I cannot wait to replace it with a new Ravensburger. And as I stated above, I am going to order the largest puzzle that will fit on my table. The photo shows the 27" x 20" puzzle at the edges of the table, but the puzzle was not centered.  If centered in the middle of my round table, I believe I can accommodate a larger puzzle.  Hopefully, at least a 2,000 piece puzzle. 


Ravensburger Disney's Pixar Artist's Desk (27" x 20") 


Ravensburger 2,000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzles


Ravensburger offers several 2,000 piece puzzles. I am leaning toward the Underwater puzzle. It measures 38.5" x 29.5". I love the marine life scene and because it is Ravensburger brand, I can trust that it is well-made.


Underwater

Ravensburger 5,000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzles


5,000 pieces! Can you imagine? This Beneath The Sea is 5 times the amount of puzzle that is normally on my table at work. I love the idea. I can't imagine that my table will accommodate a 60" x 40" puzzle. Maybe I'll have to exchange tables! 

Please note that I am leaning toward the marine life puzzles because I tend toward topics that the children would like. Not always. Sometimes I choose an adult scene such as maps, landscapes, or art. But I often tend toward themes preferred by the children.


Beneath The Sea

In the 5,000 piece category, Ravensburger also offers The Tower of Babel, Views of Modern Rome, Colin Thompson: Bizarre Town, and the Sistine Chapel


Ravensburger 18,000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzles 


This 18,000 piece puzzle titled At The Water Hole is amazing. It measures 109" x 75.5". Far too large for my current table, I'm sure. But the more puzzles I look at the more convinced I am that I need a new table. I will keep you updated. 

Paradise Sunset and Magical Bookcase are two additional puzzles in the 18,000 piece category.


At The Waterhole

Ravensburger also offers two jigsaw puzzles larger than 20,000 pieces! A View of Manhattan at 32,000 pieces and Memorable Disney Moments at 40,320 pieces.

I have focused on the marine and wildlife themes that would be of interest to the children at work. But Ravensburger offers many themes and many sizes of puzzles. To see their full inventory, check out the official Ravensburger site


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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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Reviewing Jigsaw Puzzle Glue

Ways To Save Your Puzzles

Are you looking for a way to save the jigsaw puzzle that you have been working on? Let me tell you about a jigsaw puzzle glue that allows you to do that very thing. Last week, I reviewed some of my favorite Susan Winget Jigsaw Puzzles and one of the comments that I received asked me if I ever glued my puzzles. The answer is: I have glued a few of them. How did I do that? Well, it wasn't by gluing each little piece together as one might think. It is much easier than that.

There are actually special glues on the market that you spread on the finished puzzle that will then harden so that the jigsaw puzzle can be framed or hung without a frame. For the ones that I wanted to save, I used the product below.


It is really simple to use and preserves your puzzle in relatively no time. When you have decided to work a puzzle that you feel that you will want to frame, I suggest that you place some newspaper on the table where you will be working the puzzle before you start. This will protect the surface of the table when you apply the puzzle saver (glue).

Once you have all of the pieces in place, you can apply the puzzle glue to the front of your jigsaw puzzle. The Elmer's glue that I show above comes with a plastic applicator to make this process go smoothly. You pour the glue into the center of the puzzle and then use the applicator to spread it out over the entire surface of the puzzle. It is recommended that you start to brush the glue from the center to the edges going towards the top corners and bottom corners. That is the method that I used and it worked very well.

You will want to let the glue dry well before you turn the puzzle over to apply to the back side of the jigsaw puzzle. The glue dries clear so you do not have to worry about any discoloration to your piece. I waited 24 hours before I turned my puzzles just to make sure that all of the surface front was dried completely.

It is up to you whether you do the back of the puzzle or not. Personally, I felt that I wanted that extra protection for mine. After having spent close to a month working on it, I really did not want it to fall apart when I picked it up to frame it. It might be fine if you are placing it in a frame with good support but if you plan to hang it without a frame, I would definitely coat both sides for the additional strength.

This process, whether you use the Elmer's Puzzle glue or a different brand, can be a little messy. That is why I recommend placing something underneath before you start your puzzle. I have not tried the peel and stick sheets  that are available so I can not attest to how well they work. They look pretty simple to apply, my only concern would be that you can only place the sheets on the back of the puzzle. That would mean that once pieced together, you would have to somehow get the puzzle with the back side facing up without breaking up your work. Personally, I think that could get quite tricky.

I can tell you that using the actual jigsaw puzzle glue worked well for me. I wish that I could show you a picture of the ones that I saved. I liked them so well that I actually gave them away as gifts so there is no picture of my finished work.


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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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Reviewing Susan Winget Jigsaw Puzzles

Lovely Jigsaw Puzzles To Piece Together

I love to sit down and work on a jigsaw puzzle, especially in the colder months of the year when it is too cold to go outdoors. Some of my favorites are ones that the artist Susan Winget has allowed her art to be used on. 

When the weather is warm, I love to be out in my garden. Naturally, this puzzle with Susan Winget art has caught my eye. I prefer the 500 or 1,000 piece puzzles and this one just really makes me smile!

I just love the entire scene, don't you? Those adorable little bunnies, the watering can and various flowers. This is a jigsaw puzzle that I would love to work and then seal so that I could frame it and hang it on my walls on my back porch sun room.

I don't really know why but I have this thing about old trucks. I just think that they are so cool and perhaps they make me think of a more innocent time in my life when just about every family I knew had a truck to help with the farming. I think that is why this Susan Winget jigsaw puzzle appeals to me so much; it reminds me of being out on my Uncle Joe's farm and riding around in his old truck.

A Family Activity

The wonderful thing about working a puzzle is that it can be a solitary activity or it can be something that the family does together. Children and adults can work the puzzle together and enjoy some quality time while they do it. Some of the best conversations that I have had occurred while working a puzzle with someone that I loved. It might have been a cold and snowy day or a rainy day that we sat down and started to place the pieces together as we talked about our wishes, dreams and memories. Family time just doesn't get better than that!

Susan Winget art usually has a country theme and style and that is probably why I like her work so much. It speaks to my soul and makes me happy. She also does holiday and winter scenes that have been used for jigsaw puzzles. Like this wonderful door that is ready for Christmas. 


Jigsaw puzzles are both fun to give and receive as a gift, at least I think so. They are not terribly expensive and provide hours of good wholesome family time. There is almost always a table set up in our home with a puzzle in progress. It is amazing how when my adult children come home, they seem to migrate over to the table and place a piece or two.

If you love to work puzzles, I highly recommend the ones by Susan Winget. They are colorful, pleasing to the eye and just enough of a challenge to make them enjoyable to work.


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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The Review This Contributors

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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
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