Surf Shark Bar

Surf Shark
Surf Shark Bar by Iralu – Cardinal – 150 pieces

This was a quick little puzzle I was able to assemble in bed when I wasn’t feeling well. It’s one out of a multipack of 12 puzzles, and I’ve found that the 150 piece puzzles in this set are terrible quality. The fit is bad – so much so that you can’t put together the edges until the rest of the puzzle is put together.

I knew when I bought these puzzles that they wouldn’t be the best quality, but it was the images that made me buy it anyway. All of the artwork by Iralu makes for fun puzzling and are the kind of illustrations that you don’t normally see on many puzzles; it was worth it for me to brave the less than stellar quality. (But on the plus side, the 300 piece puzzles have been much better quality than these 150 pieces.)

Even with the awful quality, I still enjoyed most of the assembly. I don’t regret buying this set of 12, because I’m having a good time putting them all together.

None of the 500 piece puzzles in this set have been put together yet, and I’m hoping that their quality will be more like the 300 piece ones. I don’t know why I haven’t gotten to them just yet, but I’m looking forward to them very much. Honestly there are so many puzzles here to be done that it’s becoming truly difficult to decide which one comes next. There are so many that I absolutely want to do that choosing between them is getting quite difficult. I need to get these giant stacks of puzzles pared down somehow! I’m puzzling as fast as I can, but it never seems to even put a dent in my to do pile. Please don’t suggest that I stop shopping for puzzles, that’s just silliness and it would never work! 😉

Viva Las Vegas!

Las Vegas
Viva Las Vegas! – Buffalo – 750 pieces

This puzzle was more fun than I expected – don’t you love it when that happens? I do! I can’t count the number of times that I’ve been wrong about a puzzle, thinking it will be easy and it ends up being hard, or vice versa – or thinking it will be fun and it ends up being a drag, or vice versa. It seems I’m almost never right on the money about how enjoyable or difficult a puzzle will be, but it’s still fun being happily surprised. 🙂

I love the colors, which gave it just the right amount of difficulty, I think it made it a bit easier than it would have been without the extra color.

Las Vegas 1

I was surprised at the detail in this puzzle. This section is only about 20 pieces out of this 750 piece puzzle, and you can see how detailed the image is. There’s even a McDonald’s there on the strip!

This was a thrift store purchase, and even with a missing piece and several chewed pieces I still had a great time with it. You can see above that somebody’s pet (or child) enjoyed a chew on several of the pieces. And the image is so detailed that you can’t even really see the missing piece, that’s a bonus too in my book. 😉

Even with chewed up and missing pieces I still enjoyed this assembly much more than I thought I would, and it was a well made and great quality puzzle. Everything doesn’t have to perfect for me to enjoy a puzzle, this is a perfect example of that.

National Puzzle Day 2020


It’s National Puzzle Day! Today is the day to celebrate all things puzzle – jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, logic puzzles, sudoku, word searches, etc. I enjoy puzzles of all kinds, but it won’t be a surprise for you to hear that jigsaw puzzles are my favorite. I learned my love of puzzles from my family, so today is a day for me to remember and appreciate my loved ones as well as enjoying some puzzles.

Every year I write a special post on this day, to remember the people who helped me love jigsaw puzzles as much as I do. This year, with my heart still broken from losing my mom, all I can think about is her and how much we enjoyed puzzling together. We’ll never sit together in front of a puzzle board again, and the loss still feels too heavy to bear.

I miss her on many levels, she was my mother after all. But in her later years we became the best of friends, and our shared love of all things jigsaw puzzle was one of the reasons why. We could talk about, look at, shop for, and work on puzzles for hours on end; no one else in our lives felt about puzzles the way we did, and we loved sharing them with each other. She was the first and most important member of my puzzle posse, and I miss her terribly.

My mother encouraged me to assemble the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle, and to start this blog; she was my first follower, my most faithful reader, and always cheered me on. My love of puzzles blossomed mostly because I was always able to share them with her, and they will always be a reminder of her too.

National Puzzle Day will forever be a day for me to remember my mother, and her mother – the two women in my life who taught me to love puzzles of all kinds. I got my start with jigsaw puzzles as a child at my grandmother’s side, and spent countless hours as an adult side by side with my mother assembling them. They were beautiful, kind, loving women, and for me this day is another reason to remember and honor them.

Happy National Puzzle Day my friends!

I miss you Gram, I miss you Mom. 💖

Cats Around the World

Cats Around the World by Eric Dowdle – Dowdle Puzzles – 500 pieces

We were sorting through some of mom’s puzzles, and my daughter said to me “here’s one with a lot of cats”. My response was “Ugh, no thanks”, but then she said it was funny, so I had to take a look at it. I’m glad I did because this is not only a funny image, but was an entertaining assembly too.

I haven’t done a Dowdle puzzle in quite a long time, when did they start using just the one piece shape? And why in the world are so many companies using only one shape? It’s really frustrating, do they think that’s what we like or want? News flash puzzle companies – we like variety in shapes even if it’s only within a ribbon or grid cut – only one piece shape is BORING to work with.

This puzzle came with a legend that names all the cats and tells where they’re from…

Cats 1

Starting at the bottom in the middle and going around clockwise…

  • Sheriff “Cat” Masterson – Dodge City, Kansas
  • Audrey Hep-PURR-n – Belgium
  • Trojan Mouse – Greece
  • Fat Cat – Wall Street, New York

Cats 2

Starting at the top left and continuing clockwise…

  • “Mew”-stafa – Egypt
  • Mr. “Meow”-gi – Japan
  • MVP (Most Valuable Pussycat) “Go Kitty Wampus!!!”
  • “Feline” Nightingale – England
  • Yassir Ara-“cat” – Saudia Arabia

Cats 3

Starting at the top left again, clockwise…

  • Guillermo del “Gato (gato is Spanish for cat) – Mexico
  • Maurice “Chat”-velier (chat [pronounced shot] is French for cat) – France
  • Bat Cat – Gotham City
  • Coot Cat – Magnum P.C. (Pussy Cat) – Hawaii, USA

Cats 4

Starting at the top in the middle and continuing clockwise…

  • Captain Cat Sparrow – England
  • Lady Lib-PURR-ty – a gift from France to the United States
  • Big Lou – known for his cat calls – New York City
  • Chaim “khah-Tool”-evsky (khah-Tool is Hebrew for Cat) – Israel

Just for clarification, the explanations of the words for cat in different languages were part of the legend, and I copied them exactly.

While I was disappointed in the lack of variety in piece shape, I still enjoyed the puzzle and especially the names and silly faces of the cats. Chaim khah-Tool-evesky makes me laugh every time I look at him, that grumpy face is hysterical! Feline Nightingale’s cranky face is pretty funny too – the ones that make me laugh made this puzzle completely worth it. Just looking at the picture of the puzzle makes me smile. 🙂

Knitters Stash In Progress

Knitters IP
Knitters Stash – Springbok – 1000 pieces

It’s taking me a little bit to get my brain back into “random cut mode”, but I think it’s finally there. Thank goodness, because this puzzle has been more challenging than I bargained for already. I’ve been assembling grid cut puzzles almost exclusively this month, and I’ve had to wait for my brain to remember how to think around the random cut pieces and how they go together.

I’ve only gotten these two balls of yarn completed, but oh my has it  been challenging! It’s mostly been getting used to the random cut, but assembling skeins of yarn isn’t as easy as I’d hoped either. I’m sure I’ve put together yarn puzzles before, but I don’t remember any specifically; maybe the memory of them is why it’s taken me so long to finally start assembling this one. 😉

The image reminds me of mom, but not only because she got the puzzle at the thrift store for us, it’s the yarn. My mother did crafts all her adult life and there was always yarn, crochet thread, beads, knitting needles, etc. all over our house. Stored in closets, hung in garment bags, next to her chair, in the office – pretty much anywhere there was a flat surface or a place to stack things up you could be sure to find some craft supplies.

She always had to have some sort of project going (most of the time there were several projects in the works), and always took her knitting or crochet bag with her when she went anywhere. Waiting in the doctor’s office or sitting in the car waiting on one of her kids after band practice she’d be crocheting a coaster or knitting an afghan, or whatever beautiful project was being worked on at the moment. There was always a “go bag” of yarn or thread near her purse so that she’d be ready if she had to go anywhere.

Mom taught me to knit, crochet, embroidery, cross-stitch, and even a little sewing; I really only knit anymore, and it’s not very often. I’m set for life in the yarn department though, I’ve got quite a bit of it stashed away from mom’s house, and there are still so many more boxes to go through!