Ji Ga Zo Puzzle

Is that not the coolest thing? Mom found the most awesome puzzle/program at the thrift store and I can’t stop playing with it! It’s called Ji Ga Zo Puzzle and it’s so freaking cool! That’s my handsome little guy up there, and this is my mom’s little one…

Ji Ga Zo comes with a program disc and 300 puzzle pieces shaded in sepia tones on one side and in bright colors on the other. Both sides of each piece have the same small image on them. Once you install the disc on your computer you load any picture into the program and it turns your picture into a map that you can print out. It looks like this..

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You assemble your puzzle according to the icon map, taking care that the images are oriented properly and you have a mosaic puzzle of your image! It is so much fun; mom and I have done puzzles of our dogs, all 3 of my kids, and a few others. It’s hard to stop playing with it. You think, “Ooh I have the coolest picture – let’s try another one!”

Some pictures don’t work as well as others, there has to be enough contrast in the photo. So choose a good picture, print out your map (or work from your screen if you don’t have a printer), assemble according to the icons and you have an awesome puzzle! Best part is you can use the same 300 pieces over and over again to make puzzles of whatever you want!

A word of warning though, the instructions tell you to assemble the puzzle with the shaded side up – follow the instructions! We decided that it would be easier to assemble it colored side up and so we did. Doesn’t work, it flips the orientation around and you end up with a puzzle that looks nothing like your picture.

I show the picture we used to make the puzzle because it’s just striking how close you can come with only sepia tones in a mosaic puzzle. When you see the image up close it doesn’t look like what it’s supposed to. You need distance to get the best effect with a mosaic puzzle; back up a few feet and you’ll be amazed! Works great on people pictures too….

Best $1.99 spent at the thrift store ever! Actually, she spent $1.99 twice because there were 2 of them, unopened! I checked around and they are for sale from different retailers all over the web. We have had a blast making puzzles of everyone, and I think it’s the coolest idea ever! I even saw a Japanese version of it on Amazon that has 520 pieces and color. 😮

This Ji Ga Zo Puzzle makes me very happy, I have had so much fun with it! It can seem a little tedious at times trying to find the right piece but it goes pretty fast and like most games it’s more fun if you’re playing it with someone. I did a few at home by myself and it was fun and awesome to see the finished image, but it wasn’t quite as much fun as when mom and I worked on it together. What a great concept and what fun for puzzle fans! 🙂

Disney Panorama of Friends

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Disney Panorama of Friends – Cardinal Games – 150 pieces

Another cool thrift store find, a new company to try out, and a super fun image for Disney fans. Three for the price of one!

When we assembled the world’s largest jigsaw puzzle last week I wanted to bring a kid’s puzzle or two for children to work on if they were bored. Turns out it was a great idea, because adults and children alike were working on the puzzles – maybe I inspired someone!  This puzzle was the one everyone was helping with; the bright colors, familiar characters, and excellent quality made it the favorite of the day. (Besides the big kahuna of course) 😉

I was impressed with the quality of this puzzle. The pieces were extremely sturdy and fit together well, the image reproduction was bright without being over the top, and the finished puzzle lies flat and is seamless. Excellent quality for a children’s puzzle!

If you read this blog regularly you know I don’t really talk about the boxes puzzles come in unless they were awful or really cool. The box this puzzle came in was not good at all. It was slightly curved which isn’t a problem, but was made of thin cardboard and the attached top had 2 places where it was to be opened. Not the best idea for a kids puzzle if you ask me, the one we bought was ripped on the top. I prefer a box that has a separate bottom and a top so that you don’t have to damage the box to open it and it makes it a little more difficult to lose a piece. The box wasn’t ideal for a children’s puzzle, and especially one that was such good quality – the puzzle will last, but what about the box?

Box issues aside, this was an excellent puzzle. I looked on their website and Cardinal Games has a good catalog of children’s puzzles and even some adult puzzles in 300, 500, and 1000 pieces. I’m interested to see what the quality of the adult puzzles is like, perhaps my black belt thrift store shopper will be able to find one for us to try. 😎🛒

 

Sweet-Tart

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Sweet-Tart by Ellen Jareckie – Ceaco (House-Mouse Tails) – 500 pieces

Aren’t these interesting pieces? Ceaco isn’t my favorite puzzle company but they certainly seem to like take chances on making puzzles in new and different ways. I’ve worked a couple of their cork-backed puzzles, a puzzle with velvet backing, and now we have curly pieces! I love the diversity.

When I change from working a grid cut puzzle to one that’s random cut it takes a bit for my brain to catch up – I have to change the way I look for pieces, etc. The same applies here, your brain has to change how you see the curly pieces and how they fit together. It’s an interesting challenge, and it looks pretty cool too!

This was a thrift store find, and I was excited to work on it. To my surprise, there is a whole back story on the mice in this puzzle, and a series of curly piece puzzles to go with it! There are pictures of the mice on the side of the box with a small bio of each. So cute! It was such a fun puzzle to assemble because it was so different. Thankfully the pieces were all accounted for, and although the artwork is not exactly what I normally lean towards, it’s cute and makes for a good puzzle.

I started with the limes, green was the easiest color find. After twisting and turning pieces this way and that I finally wrapped my aging brain around how to work these pieces and we were off!

As you can see from the picture quite a few of the pieces were warped. I don’t know if it’s from 1) age – this puzzle is 18 years old, 2) humidity – this is Florida and if this puzzle were stored somewhere without a/c that could account for the warping, or 3) quality issues. I always try to err on the side of being positive, so I will say that I don’t know why the pieces are warped, but I would bet age and humidity have the most to do with it.

The pieces are on the thin side, not overly sturdy, and other than the warping fit together well. I’d love to be able to find a new one to compare the pieces and see if the fit is any better. The image reproduction is good, the lines aren’t always sharp but that is due to the artwork and not the reproduction; it’s an adorable image that lends itself well to puzzling. I’d love it if Ceaco could just use a cardboard that was a little thicker and sturdier. They have so many wonderful images it would be nice if the quality could improve even just a little bit.

If you are able to find any of these curly piece puzzles I would definitely recommend giving them a try! It’s an excellent workout for your brain and it’s fun too! 🙂