Button, Button

Button, Button – Springbok (Hallmark) – 500+ pieces

This puzzle scared me a bit, it seemed as though it would be super difficult; it wasn’t easy, that’s true, but it was really fun too! This is an old Springbok, from back when they were a division of Hallmark Cards. From what I can find this is from about the mid 1970s.

The very random cut of the pieces adds to the challenge, but the fit was excellent. I can lift the whole thing up with one hand and nothing comes apart. Unfortunately because it’s octagonal it isn’t conducive to getting the traditional Stacey-loves-standing-them-up picture. Bummer.

There is a bunch of information on the back of the box about buttons. Which, I know, doesn’t sound all that interesting – but it really was! I took my normal amount of pictures of the puzzle, then I read all the information and had to take different pictures to show you the cool buttons I learned about. All off the buttons in this image are from the collection of Marie Bertholet Smith, who was an interior designer, art director, antique store owner, and who also worked at Hallmark for a number of years.

Wanna see some really awesome buttons?

This is an example of a “stud button”, which were sometimes large, hand-painted, and porcelain. They were called studs because of their post-like fasteners and were made to fasten cuffs, to button men’s vests and ladies shirtwaists, and to insert into the lapel. Look at the detail!

When I was putting this particular button together it made me think of how much time and care must have gone into making this one single button. Back in the day everything was constructed with such care; these days we melt blobs of plastic and pour them into molds for cheap, crappy things that constantly break.

See those spherical buttons in the center of the picture? Those are called “paperweight buttons” because of their resemblance to glass desk paperweights. They were most often made by glassblowers forming a mold of glass over a small ceramic object. Imagine the time it must have taken!

This is called a “garter button”, and they were used on fancy garters in the 1920s. They were faces painted on stretched silk or cotton. I love these! There were several examples of them in the image, but I chose this one because it had the ribbon headband.

It’s such a bummer there were two missing pieces, but for a 45 year old puzzle, that’s to be expected I suppose. It was still so much fun to put together, and learning about so many different kinds of buttons was almost as entertaining as the puzzle!

This old Springbok really makes me think of my Grama. In the days before the internet our only source of good quality puzzles was the Hallmark store. It was about 18 miles away from where we lived, and they only had one or two small shelves at the back of the store that had puzzles. I can remember exactly where in the store they were, all these years later. We had such fun walking to the back and wondering what kinds of puzzles would be there; and then finding just the right one or two to take home with us. Springbok puzzles will always remind me of her. 💖


Imagination by Robert Williams – Mr. Bob Puzzles – 525 pieces

Oh my. This puzzle. What a FANTASTIC image for puzzling! I had the best time putting this one together, and I’m sorry that it isn’t still being produced because it was an amazing assembly and I loved every single piece. 💖

Even though I picked it out myself, sort of, (told hubby which images of Mr. Bob’s puzzles I liked best), when it arrived I was a little scared of the image and thought it would be really difficult. It was put away for a while, then – well, you know. Finally, it was pulled out from it’s place in the to-do pile and….HOLY GUACAMOLE was it fun! I was completely wrong about how difficult it would be. It turns out this is, in my humble opinion, a perfect image for a jigsaw puzzle.

You may not think so looking at it, and to be honest neither did I at first. To me it is beautiful art, but I thought it would be an extremely demanding assembly, especially with the deceptively difficult cut of Mr. Bob’s puzzles. It wasn’t. It was the perfect amount of challenging. I know I am repeating myself, but this puzzle was the best, most entertaining puzzle I’ve done in quite some time. Click the link above to check out their website if you’re interested, they have many unique images that you won’t see anywhere else, and they are excellent quality wooden puzzles.

As usual, it began with pulling all the whimsies while laying out the pieces. There were some special ones in this puzzle – hubby asked them to put the name of my blog in the whimsies! (He must have remembered when they cut my name into a puzzle and I said “Wouldn’t it be cool to have the name of the blog cut out in puzzle pieces?” What a sweet, thoughtful husband I have!)

Having thick wooden pieces means that you can cut out wonderful shapes; and part of the fun is seeing them – and the interesting shapes of the pieces around them. Mr. Bob’s logo and his silhouette are cut into every puzzle, along with a whimsy of Australia. The rest of the whimsies are different depending on the image of the puzzle itself.

When using lasers to cut wooden puzzles the only real limits are the designer’s imagination. (Plus, they can cut out fun things like the name of a puzzle blog!)

How cool is that? So cool! But I have to tell you that even without these words in the puzzle I would still be in love with it. The colors and textures, the movement, the lines running through it, the fabulous quality, the perfect amount of challenge – everything worked together to make for the most pleasurable puzzling this professed puzzle geek has had in a quite a while.

Love, love, LOVED IT! 😍

Mr. Bob’s Puzzles has grown significantly since I reviewed two of their puzzles two years ago – almost to the day! It seems like much more time has gone by; through our email correspondence I feel as if I know Mr. Bob himself personally and we’re old friends. After my reviews I gave suggestions to improve their products, and it was unbelievably well received; they truly wanted to make the best puzzles they could.

I encouraged him to put more of his own artwork on his puzzles: because I adore his digital art, it is most definitely my pile of pieces! This puzzle is one of his creations, and it made for such a fun assembly that I couldn’t stop gushing to him about it. I’ve done several of Mr. Bob’s puzzles, and the ones I’ve enjoyed the most have been the ones with his artwork; Save the Whales, Art City, and now Imagination joins the club.

Last year Mr. Bob’s Puzzles received an order for 53,000 custom puzzles from a major Australian corporation as gifts for their staff – it called for renting a new, larger space, establishing a bank of laser cutters, and a production facility to cope with the higher output. They got them all produced and shipped in about three months – on time and on budget. Bob tells me that it amounted to cutting around 8,000,000 pieces (approximately 375 miles of laser cutting)! 😮

Well done everyone at Mr. Bob’s Puzzles, you’re going places! And we knew you when…