Balloons Over Cottage Cove

Balloons Over Cottage Cove
Balloons Over Cottage Cove by Nicky Boehme – Milton Bradley – 500 pieces

This hot air balloon image is very different to me than most of the others that you see on jigsaw puzzles. Most balloon images are very bright and colorful, this one is muted and understated; I love an image that’s different from the norm. 😉

Pastels and understated colors aren’t my first choice, but I find they’re fun to work with every once in a while.The nature of the artwork made this a bit more challenging, but in the end it’s such a pretty picture!

Doesn’t it look like a lovely place to visit? I love the look of the house, it feels so homey. And the balloon in the foreground has the brightest colors; but all the rest are very understated and more pastel-looking. It’s quite unusual for a hot air balloon puzzle; at least as far as the ones that I’ve seen.

All the greenery and flowers were much more difficult than I bargained for, and took more time than I thought they would. Being only 500 pieces I’d assumed it would go together quite quickly but that just wasn’t the case.

The quality was very good; there were a good variety of shapes, thicker pieces, and a beautiful image. The pale colors aren’t usually my thing, but I enjoyed this puzzle very much. It’s nice to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while. 🙂

3 Teddy Bears?

3 Teddy Bears
3 Teddy Bears by Debra Jordan Bryan – Giftco – 500 pieces

Here’s a new one for you, I’m posting a puzzle that I DIDN’T do. It’s one of the worst quality puzzles I’ve seen in quite some time. As I was sorting it I became more and more disenchanted; and after putting together only a few pieces I put everything back in the box and put the box in the recycling.

First, the colors shown on the box do not match the puzzle – not by a long shot! The image on the box looks bright and fun, with only the bears themselves and the background looking somewhat muted. Many of the pieces are peach colored, but I don’t see that color anywhere on the box. There are so many of them that I’m thinking it must be either the yellow background behind the bears, or the tan background in the border. The other colors seem bright on the box, but are EXTREMELY muted on the pieces; the reds look pink, and the rest are just very, very pale. 😦

Second, there are 6 pieces total that have become totally delaminated. The image layer is completely separated from the cardboard backing. So basically there were 6 pieces of pretty paper in the box, along with 6 naked puzzle pieces. Not good. I was going to just fix them, but the other problems with the quality of this puzzle all added together made it seem not worth the time.

Third, there is no variety in the piece shapes; they are all what I call ballerinas. (2 prong/2 hole – 2/2 – two/two – tutu – ballerina – get it? Yes, my mind is a weird and interesting place) Normally I can deal with that if the image is entertaining, but the severely muted colors and other problems with this puzzle made it seem like it wasn’t going to be worth the effort.

Lastly, even after all the sorting, laying the pieces out on my trays, and seeing those first 3 problems I was still planning on working the puzzle. But once I started the assembly and felt the terrible way the pieces fit together it was the last straw. The fit was very spongy and the awful quality of the cardboard made it so that you couldn’t even tell from the back if the pieces were put together properly. With no variety in shape and the color issues it would have been a nightmare. Ugh!

Life is short, and puzzles are supposed to be fun – not a chore. If it doesn’t seem like fun why on Earth would I do it? Yes, we spent 99 cents on a puzzle that I’m not going to assemble, but it could be worse. We could have paid retail, we could have no more puzzles left to assemble, I could have a yeast infection – there are endless horrifying possibilities! Fortunately we only lost what amounts to loose change, there are hundreds of puzzles still here to assemble, my lady bits are perfectly fine, and I’ve learned what brand NOT to buy. All good things in my book. 😎

If you love puzzles and come across one from Giftco, set the box down and back away! We puzzlers deserve better.

*This puzzle was not named anywhere on the box, so I’ve given it an uninspired name – 3 Teddy Bears. The artwork on the box looks so adorable; it’s a pity it was licensed to this company.