Pam by Michael Hague – Great American Puzzle Factory – 100 pieces

This puzzle was so interesting! It came in a very small box about 4 inches (10 cm) square, was produced in 1981, and it was still shrink wrapped! 😮

Michael Hague is a well known illustrator famous for his teddy bears. I hadn’t heard of the Michael Hague teddy bears before; they’re adorable, and unlike illustrations of other teddy bears that I’ve seen.  In this puzzle, we meet Pam – a well dressed Panda bear from what I can see.

Being only 100 pieces it didn’t take long for mom and me to put this little puzzle together. The pieces were extremely loose, as you can see by some of the gaps in between pieces;  we had to be very careful while assembling it because brushing the edge with your arm or hand would upset many pieces.

The image itself was a bit challenging with all of the fence in the background, it definitely wasn’t a super easy puzzle for kids – this one took a little bit more brain power. Still we had fun, and it was very cool to open a puzzle that had been sealed for 36 years!

Endangered Sea Otter

Endangered Sea Otter – Decipher Inc. – 500 pieces

I’ve come across several double-sided puzzles lately, and I find them very interesting to assemble. For this puzzle having 2 images to assemble was great, one was MUCH easier than the other. If you’re wanting a bit of a challenge you could assemble the sea otter picture; if you’re not in the mood for that, the image on the back is quite colorful and much easier. Mom and I assembled this one together, and we chose to assemble it with the back side up. 🙂

Informational Side 2

These puzzles are educational, I love that! On the front is the image of the endangered species, and the back shows information about where they are found in the world and how they became endangered.  Very cool. There are six in the series: sea otter, koala, giant panda, asian elephant, hawksbill sea turtle, and the rain forest.

The pieces were thinner than a premium puzzle, but quite sturdy and fit together very well. The fit didn’t feel overly tight when you were assembling, but you could pick up the entire puzzle without any pieces coming out. This was very nice, because when we got down to just the pieces of the ocean we were able to flip it over and use the sea otter image to help us finish it more easily.

We enjoyed this puzzle very much and would be happy to find any of the others in the series to assemble. None of the pieces were missing, perhaps partly because they come in a large, resealable envelope with information about the puzzle series. Also very cool! You can tell these puzzles are older from the information on the envelope, no website! (also, it says 1991 🙂 )


They’re no longer being produced, but I’ve seen them on Amazon and eBay, and we got ours at the thrift store. If you find one, go for it! We had a good time assembling it. 👍

Barnyard Dreams

Barnyard Dreams by Dan Hatala – MasterPieces (Childhood Dreams Collection) – 1000 pieces

Another in the Childhood Dreams Collection, and I absolutely love them! The images are nostalgic and sweet, and they make for excellent puzzling.

This one really reminds me of my youth. We lived out in “the boonies” and my dad had a John Deere tractor that he absolutely loved. He would use it to split wood, mow the lawn, drive the kids around the property teaching us how to drive it, and pull city people out of the ditch. (They had no idea how to drive on the back roads in winter!) This puzzle brings back fond memories for me. *sigh*

Mom and I worked on this puzzle together, although I think she did much more of the work than I did. We started it together, but it wasn’t complete when I left so she finished it by herself. Great job mom!

Besides the finish being a little too shiny, the quality of these puzzles has been very good. They fit together very well and are a good thickness, and you can see that the image reproduction is beautiful – very crisp and detailed. We have several of these Childhood Dreams puzzles yet to do, and I’m looking forward to every single one of them.

If these are your kind of puzzle images, I highly recommend them. They’re wonderful to work on, and they make me smile. 🙂 🙂


Review: Night Village

Night Village by Karla Gerard – Artifact Puzzles – 164 pieces

I finally treated myself! I’ve wanted a wooden jigsaw puzzle for a very long time, and I decided it was time, I deserved it! (I could say it was a reward for the 1 year anniversary of the blog, but honestly it was just because I finally decided I wasn’t going to wait anymore to get myself a wooden jigsaw puzzle 😉 )

Artifact puzzles are very reasonably priced compared to many other wooden puzzle companies in my opinion. Many companies are $100 or more for even a small puzzle! And if you’re looking for the “Rolls Royce of Puzzles”, Stave puzzles are the most expensive I’ve found. The smallest puzzle starts at over $800 for a 100 piece, and if you would like a 1000 piece Stave puzzle, be prepared to spend almost $7000!!!!  😮 Even if I were a millionaire I don’t know that I would be able to spend thousands of dollars for a puzzle! My small puzzle cost only $38 dollars. That may seem like a lot to some, and perhaps it is; but I really wanted to treat myself and I make no apologies, I’m worth it!

First of all the box feels luxurious, the pieces are wrapped in tissue paper inside a beautiful blue box with a magnetic clasp. And for me, I loved the smell of the pieces. They smell like Michigan to me. I know that sounds bizarre, let me explain. I grew up in Michigan, and in our house we had a wood-burning stove. The smell of these puzzle pieces reminds me of the smell of our house in fall and winter when we had the woodstove going. It smells great and makes me feel nostalgic.

I chose this image because it’s colorful and fun, and I like the shape of the pieces. On the website you can see a preview of the pieces that each puzzle contains; so you can choose a puzzle with pieces that you’ll like. I didn’t want regular looking pieces, and I wanted an image that would be fun to do over and over. I chose Night Village; it met all of my requirements. If you want to treat yourself click on the link above and see what they have, there’s a wonderful catalog of reasonably priced puzzles to choose from.

The assembly was a joy! Somehow I found the willpower to wait two whole days before I started working on it because I wanted to put it together with my mom on our weekly visit/puzzle day. We had the best time, and it was just so damn cool working with the wood pieces for the first time! I love the way they fit together, I love the feel of the pieces as they “plunk” into place, I love the image itself and the interesting piece shapes; in short – I loved this puzzle! 😍

If anyone is looking for a gift for me…..there’s a link 2 paragraphs up, pick out something fun! 😁

You can really see the piece shapes from the back


  • Title:                  Night Village
  • Artist:                Karla Gerard
  • Brand:               Artifact Puzzles
  • Piece count:     164 pieces
  • Size:                  Approx. 7 x 9 in. (18 x 23 cm)
  • Purchased:      New


  • Board:               1/4″ thick wood
  • Cutting:             Excellent, laser cut
  • Image:               Excellent
  • Box:                   Excellent box with magnetic clasp
  • Fit:                     Normal/Average (I’m not sure this applies)
  • Puzzle Dust:     2 tiny bits of broken off wood, did not affect the image at all
  • Piece cut:          Random cut – amazingly detailed and intricate
  • Piece shapes:   Designed specifically for this puzzle (awesome!)
  • Finish:               Matte finish, lays flat

Overall Rating:      Excellent,  most highly recommended

Prima Ballerina

Prima Ballerina – Ravensburger – 500 pieces

This was the first puzzle I assembled after my attempt at Winter Aspen. Even though there was a piece missing it was still very nice for me. The feel of the regular sized pieces, the way they fit together, and the fact that the image was so much less difficult made this an excellent assembly. 🙂

Ravensburger puzzles have such great quality that it’s always nice to work with them;  but even more so after working with a puzzle that was difficult for me in any way. When I’ve done a puzzle that was dark, or difficult, or one that just felt tedious I always try to make sure I do a Ravensburger next. It always makes me feel better, and gets me back in my “puzzle groove”.

After failing to complete Winter Aspen I wasn’t feeling like the Supreme Puzzle Goddess that I am, so I needed a Ravensburger fix to lift my spirits. This puzzle was healing balm on my wounded ego, and made me feel so much better!  😊

It didn’t matter that it’s not an image I would normally choose, it didn’t matter that the colors were muted instead of bright, and it didn’t even matter that a piece was missing. What mattered was that I enjoyed this puzzle; it didn’t feel like work or a chore, it was relaxing, fun, and helped me get my mojo back!

This puzzle would be great to frame for the little ballerina in your life, or someone who just loves to dance – it’s so pretty!