Teddy Bear Christmas Tree

Teddy Bear Christmas Tree by Dona Gelsinger – Masterpieces – 500 pieces

Our last Christmas in July puzzle – feeling that chilly winter air yet? Me neither. Oh well, at the very least there were some beautiful Christmas puzzles. I even reviewed a puzzle that had a Christmas tree in it, did you notice? Paris Opera House, in the center of the hall was a Christmas tree!

The day I started this puzzle I had the worst time trying to decide what puzzle to do next, I changed my mind at least 5 times before I settled on this one. Now that this one is done, I don’t know what to do next – again!

I’ve been impressed with Masterpieces puzzles lately, in my eyes their quality has gotten much better. This puzzle was very good quality and as an added bonus – glitter! You can see some of the glitter at the top of the puzzle; in the negative space is the silhouette of Santa and his team. That’s not all of it though, there’s glitter all throughout the puzzle; it just doesn’t photograph well. (Or I don’t do photographs well, who knows?)

The teddy bears are adorable and the image reproduction is excellent with bright, fun colors. The pieces fit together very well with what I guess I would call a semi-random cut. Fun assembly!

Here’s another question for you, did you notice that one of the pieces was chewed up? On the left border near the top. 😉

100 Elephants and a Mouse

100 Elephants and a Mouse by Kevin Whitlark – Ceaco – 750 pieces

Ugh, this was the worst assembly for me in a while. Ceaco isn’t a favorite, but this was awful! I muddled through it because I like the image, and ended up with 2 missing pieces. 😐 Normally Ceaco isn’t that bad, perhaps this was the end of the run.

The fit of this puzzle was horrible, the best way I can describe it is “spongy”; you could place a piece and it felt almost soft and spongy going together. It was easy to place a piece incorrectly because the fit was so ambiguous. The image reproduction was sharp in some places, and in others it looked almost fuzzy, like a mimeographed picture from my elementary school days. (Yes, I’m old)

I picked this puzzle up several times to start it, liked the image so I pulled the pieces out of the box – then I put it back down because the pieces did not look great. It’s finally assembled so I won’t be having that argument with myself anymore!

I always try to find something positive; with this puzzle it’s making me think very hard. Um, we saved someone else from buying a puzzle with missing pieces, there were a nice variety of piece shapes, and I enjoyed the image very much. Oh, and I found the mouse! 🙂

To the Barns

To the Barns by Art Poulin – Buffalo – 1000 pieces

Another nice thrift store find and fun to assemble. Alas, 3 missing pieces. Oh well. Mom did the majority of this one, I only helped bring it home. 🙂

Buffalo usually has very good quality, but with this puzzle there was image lift on many of the pieces. You can see at the top of the puzzle there are several pieces with the image raised up on the tabs. I’ve worked enough of this brand to know that this isn’t typical, Buffalo makes very good quality puzzles. Perhaps it was well-loved before someone donated most of it to the thrift store?

What’s funny was we were working on it together and there were about 7 or 8 pieces we were CERTAIN were missing.  They were definitely not there. Definitely not. Except they were! We missed them – over and over again. Guess this July heat is boiling our brain cells!

We haven’t had good luck with thrift store puzzles lately, many have been missing pieces. But perhaps that means that we’re about to find a whole bunch of excellent puzzles with all pieces present and accounted for! No matter, this puzzle was a fun assembly, even more fun because we worked on it together. 😊




Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas Everyone! by Charles Schulz- Springbok – 100 pieces

Adorable kid’s puzzle from the thrift store. Puzzles for my Christmas in July here on the blog seem to be falling in my lap. There are plenty of Christmas puzzles in the thrift stores lately, though I’m definitely not complaining.

This is a Springbok puzzle which has good quality with very thick pieces and nice image reproduction, the fit is what I’m not a fan of. Springbok puzzles usually have an extremely tight fit, so much so that you have to really press down to connect the pieces. This puzzle was so tightly fit that the finished puzzle curled up at the edges! I prefer a fit that doesn’t require upper body strength; to me, if I have to work that hard to connect two pieces it makes me question if they actually fit together. But that is my personal opinion, it’s really just a matter of taste. A lot of people prefer the tighter fit, isn’t it great that we’re all so different and there’s a puzzle out there for everyone? 🙂

This was a quick assembly that mom and I did after she finished showing me her latest finds from the thrift stores. We both enjoy putting together the kid’s puzzles – first we have to make sure all the pieces are there before I pass them along to my grandson. And second, we have both refused to grow up – so even though she’s in her 70’s and I’m in my late 40’s we are still little kids at heart who can still have a good time putting together a kid’s puzzle. 😎

Peppermint Patty was always my favorite of the Peanuts gang, because she had freckles and was a tomboy, just like me! I prefer hanging out indoors these days and there isn’t any running around since I was injured, but I’ve still got my freckles. 😉

Review: Horse of Iron

This post is sponsored by Puzzle Warehouse.
Horse of Iron by Werner Willis – Sunsout – 1000 pieces

This is quite an impressive puzzle – when I look at the picture the word “majestic” comes to mind. It’s hard to tell from the picture but the train is 3 feet long! (Side note: this is probably the best picture I’ve ever taken of any puzzle – yay me!)

Sunsout puzzles are good quality. The pieces are thick, and they fit together well. Their rectangular/square puzzles have a much tighter fit than the shaped puzzles; I prefer the looser fit of their shaped puzzles, but that’s just me. The image reproduction is very good, they work with many wonderful artists, and they have an excellent catalog that includes a great selection of shaped puzzles. As an added bonus they are an environmentally friendly company that uses recycled board and soy-based inks.

I’ve only recently started working shaped puzzles, and I’m really enjoying them. Sunsout has an excellent array of shaped puzzles, and several other manufacturers make them as well. Click here to see all the shaped puzzles available at Puzzle Warehouse, they’ve got something for everyone. Give a shaped puzzle a try, they’re fun and a good workout for your brain!

I was able to pull all the edge pieces for this puzzle and start there; usually it isn’t easy to find all the edges of a shaped puzzle, but this one has a white border that was easy to spot. This puzzle has a LOT of edge – more than 250 pieces! By the time the border was assembled I had the puzzle 1/4 done. 🙂

The bottom section was about medium difficulty and fun to assemble. The top section was much more challenging – still fun, but I had to take more breaks because it overwhelmed me at times. It doesn’t look like it would be that difficult, but believe me it was. I had about 100 pieces left when mom and dad stopped by and she helped me finish it up. It’s a gorgeous puzzle that definitely makes a statement. The finished puzzle is 36 x 24 inches (91 x 60 cm) it’s quite impressive!

The artwork by Werner Willis is amazingly detailed and beautiful; this was my first puzzle of his and I’d love to find more. I enjoyed Horse of Iron very much, it was a challenge but I certainly was proud of it when I was done!

I’m sorry to say it’s no longer available at Puzzle Warehouse, but I’ve certainly been inspired to work more shaped puzzles, and have even added a few train puzzles to the ridiculously long wish list – including another shaped puzzle with trains and an interesting retro collage from White Mountain called Travel by Train. All aboard!


I received this product at no charge in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are truthful and 100% my own.