Wool Shop USA

Wool Shop USA by Steve Crisp – Milton Bradley – 300 pieces

This is such a lovely image from Steve Crisp, and doesn’t it look like an awesome shop to visit too? I would definitely enjoy spending a little time in there.

I have been actively avoiding any puzzles with dogs in them, and I honestly didn’t even see the little pupper in this puzzle until I was putting it together. It’s fascinating how I seem to take in the image as a whole and don’t notice things; sometimes glaringly obvious things, until I’m putting it together. I’ve done puzzles with names that let you know you’re putting together a puzzle with cats, but I don’t notice the title – or the cats – until I start assembling. It’s normal for me to miss certain small details until the actual joining of pieces, but many times I miss stuff that is right out in the open.

This was a good quality puzzle from Milton Bradley, with a nice variety of shapes that fit together very well. The image reproduction is gorgeous, as you can see from all the pictures here – even in the close ups there is much detail with crisp lines and no fuzziness in the backgrounds.

I just love the look of this cash register, it’s so much more interesting looking than the little computers you see at stores everywhere these days. I think it would be more fun to use a cash register like this than to just touch a screen – just my opinion of course. Old timey things seem like they’re better made and more aesthetically pleasing to me.

As someone who’s been around crafts all her life, I can say this is an excellent representation of an old sewing machine. This is what they looked like, and they were both beautiful to look at and extremely well made. And there were two old sewing machines in this image, they reminded me of when I was young. My mother had a very old sewing machine in a cabinet that looked like a regular old table, but when you flipped the top over, pulled the machine up, and opened up what looked like a table leaf – you had a sewing machine, with a flat surface for your fabric, and you could pull a chair right up to the table and put your legs underneath. It was VERY cool, and I wish we still had it in the family. 🧵

There’s something about these old timey panels with well dressed women, they’re so perfect for the image. The rest of the image is crisp and clear and both of these panels on the front of the counter are more fuzzy and indistinct, and it gives the whole scene a look of authenticity.

The Summer Thatchers

Summer Thatchers
The Summer Thatchers by Steve Crisp – Wentworth – 40 pieces

The Summer Thatchers is an unbelievably beautiful image that was perfect for a 40 piece micro puzzle. There was no enhancing of the photo needed, it’s truly that bright and gorgeous.  I’m certain it would be quite difficult as a larger piece count, but my goodness it would be lovely!

If it’s been a while since assembling a wooden puzzle I seem to forget how much I enjoy the tactile experience; the thickness of the pieces, the feel of the image adhered to the wood, the way the pieces fall into place. There’s nothing like it!

Summer Thatchers 1

Pretty whimsies, especially the flowers, and the surrounding pieces make for an easier assembly – they’re oddly shaped and easy to find. You couldn’t make whimsies like this out of cardboard, the edges would bend and break way too easily.

Wentworth’s micro puzzles are a joy to assemble, and they allow me to work many images that I wouldn’t otherwise in a larger piece count. Starry Night definitely wouldn’t have been assembled other than in this format, that’s for sure. There are still quite a few I have here to assemble, including several winter/Christmas themed images – look for them when the holiday season is upon us, it’ll be here sooner than you think!

American Diner

American Diner
American Diner by Steve Crisp – White Mountain – 1000 pieces

It’s been a while since I’ve done a White Mountain puzzle that wasn’t a collage, and I’m not gonna lie, it was a little weird at first! This was very entertaining though, and it got done quickly – not being able to sleep is a good thing if you need help getting enough puzzle time. 😉

Steve Crisp’s artwork makes for fantastic puzzling, if you haven’t assembled one of his puzzles I absolutely recommend you give them a try. They’re beautiful, detailed, colorful, and just altogether great fun.

American Diner 1

I love this dancer, she looks like all she cares about is enjoying herself and dancing – she reminds me of me. 💃💃

American Diner 2

Look who’s on the wall – Marilyn, Elvis, and James Dean! I didn’t notice them on the box image, it was fun to see it up close in the finished puzzle. Jailhouse Rock Elvis was sexy! (I was a weird kid in the 70’s and 80’s and LOVED Elvis just as much as George Michael, Journey, and many others – I make no excuses 😎)

I really enjoyed this one, if you come across a copy it’s definitely recommended!

Beauty and the Beast

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Beauty and the Beast by Steve Crisp – MasterPieces – 300 pieces

This beautiful image was fun to assemble, but it was the first time I’ve been disappointed in a MasterPieces puzzle in quite a while. 😒

My experience with this brand has mostly been very good. The image reproduction has always been excellent in my opinion, as are the variety of piece shapes. They are a good thickness and fit together well. I’ve heard that others have found the fit to be quite loose, but that hasn’t been my experience at all. That doesn’t discount their experience; there have been many times where people with the exact same puzzle have had much different levels of quality – a lot of the time it all depends on where in the run your puzzle was produced. Beginning of the run may give you a tighter fit, end of the run can be much looser.

My problem with this puzzle wasn’t the fit at all, it was the bent pieces. I can’t be sure if it was because of the box (book shaped and somewhat small for 300 large pieces) or if it was another reason. The pieces were almost jammed in the box, and up into the spine of the “book”. Whatever it was, there were many bent pieces and the puzzle didn’t lay flat when complete, which was disappointing.

Otherwise I enjoyed the assembly very much, and found the image itself to be absolutely stunning. Steve Crisp’s artwork is beautiful, the colors are perfect for the scene, and it made for a captivating puzzle.

The random cut helped with keeping my focus as well, you couldn’t rely on the edges of the pieces to help you find what exact shape you were looking for. You have to rely more on patterns and shades of color because you may think you’re looking for a certain shape and it could end up that 2 pieces fit where you thought only 1 should go. I love it when a puzzle keeps me on my toes. 🙂

The bent pieces were a bummer, but I enjoyed it anyway – it’s a beautiful puzzle!

The Village Tree

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The Village Tree by Steve Crisp – Wentworth Wooden Puzzles – 40 pieces

This puzzle has a wonderfully bright color scheme, it was fun to assemble and a pretty finished image. I love these micro puzzles; I can put them in my purse and take them anywhere that I know I’ll be waiting for a while. It’s much more fun to pass the time putting together a puzzle than just sitting and reading old magazines or staring at something on my phone.

I was a little disappointed that the whimsies were a rerun of the whimsies in the Yuletide Puppies micro puzzle that I assembled earlier this month. I also realize that there must be a limited number of whimsy pieces per subject. They probably didn’t think someone would go crazy and buy all of the micro puzzles they’ve got in one shot like I did!IMG_4867

This image would be fun to assemble in larger piece counts too, but it isn’t really my taste. It’s pretty and bright, but the subject matter just doesn’t do it for me. If you like Christmas puzzles, this might be a good one for you. It’s available up to 1500 pieces by Wentworth, and was also produced in a 1000 piece count by White Mountain. There’s also a slightly altered image (with no presents under the tree) from Gibsons in a 500 piece. It really is a beautiful puzzle, I would recommend it from any of these companies.

After putting together 4 of these winter themed micro puzzles in one day I remembered that I still have four more 250 piece Wentworth puzzles yet to assemble. I’m recovering today from another all day car trip to a doctor’s appointment yesterday – perhaps today’s the day to start one of those. 😎