Puzzle: Kirwan – Dream of Euripides

Kirwan - Dream of Euripedes, med

Size: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48.26cm in diameter
Producer: American Publishing & Television, Candu Toy & Sport Co. Inc, 1995, Rose Art Industries, Made in USA, No. 6524 (thank you to PuzzleMan for the producer information)
Artist: Jim Kirwan
Painting: original

Puzzle: A beautiful painting bringing to forefront the issues of ecology, consumerism, and the police state. The artist explores the two sides of the coin: how we see the idyllic society and what it costs in the environmental damage and lack of freedoms.

A fun puzzle to do, not very trivial for a beginner, mostly due to nearly-uniform colouring of the puzzle border pieces, and a large uniformly-patterned area in the bottom half. Easiest places to start are the “no”, “don’t”, and “stop” signs, yellow and blue outburst in the bottom left quarter, the horizontal separating black band between the top and bottom halves, and the smaller circle with two halves. In the top half, the sky and the sea, the sailboat, the tree and mountains bordering on the sky, and the red window are good as starting regions. The yellow leaves and the buildings in the top half and the smoke and brighter red and yellow spots are easy to distinguish. Once all these are in place, the puzzle is small enough to make the rest manageable.

Notes: “The symbol for Ecology was created by Euripides; it was a simple circle with a single horizontal line through the middle. In this version of that idea the world is portrayed in two extremes: in the upper portion of the painting the world seems almost idyllic; proportional; and livable with breathing room, clean water, and real possibilities without apparent limits.

In the lower half, concealed from what we think of as our opportunities; we can see what we have made of that bright vision of that fantasy world above. Pollution, oil pumps, the roots of the world amid the chaos of our failures and the trash we so abundantly produce in mega-volumes. That is what we have allowed ‘the developed world’ to become: A world composed of “NO” and “DON’T” and “STOP.” It is a world without light or grace or freedom of any kind. It is the underbelly of unchecked capitalism as we practice it and as we worship the material- philosophy with an incessant and nearly religious ‘consumerism.'” [Jim Kirwan on Rense.com]

Puzzle: All about tea

All about tea, med
: 1026 pieces
Dimensions: 51.12cm x 66.52cm
Producer: Buffalo Games, Inc., Café series, 2002
Photographer: Szczepaniak/Getty Images

Puzzle: As interesting as this idea is in theory, I did not enjoy this puzzle much in practice. Sure, learning about the history and making of tea is enlightening, yet I do not think a puzzle is the appropriate medium for this. Putting together the perimeter with the small text was tedious and did not make reading the text easy until the puzzle was complete. The green arrows with headings, and the colour of the small images for each paragraph (that are so tiny it is hard to tell what is depicted on them), can serve as guides to the placement of the puzzle pieces.

The photo in the middle was more pleasant to do, as by itself it would have made a beautiful puzzle. The orange and red of the background, the shiny highlights on the tea pots, tins, and cups, and the contrasting curves of the dish edges are good places to start.

There is a poster that comes with the puzzle (since the box is too small to fit all the detail you would need as a reference image), and I found it much more enjoyable reading the poster afterwards than trying to follow the tea story on the completed puzzle.

Notes: “All about tea puzzle – a story to assemble.
A Stimulating Jigsaw Puzzle that tells you how to put it together!

The Puzzle tells a Story…
This 1000 piece puzzle features a beautiful picture of tea, surrounded by colorful scenes detailing its rich history. You’ll become a tea expert and have a terrific story-telling puzzle to display or work again.

…the Story makes a Puzzle
The puzzle leads you through the story by telling you which pieces to find next. Search for the symbols on the pieces, and assemble the attached scene. Each scene uncovers fascinating facts or amazing trivia… and then leads you to the rest of the story!” [Puzzle box]

Puzzle: St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

St. Peter's Basilica, med

Size: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48.5 cm x 35.5 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: A lovely puzzle to put together, yet not completely trivial for a beginner. A good place to start is the border of the sky and the building which isolates the top third of the puzzle and provides a horizontal guide to assist in further assembly. The pillars and the lantern post make for good vertical guides. The dome, the windows, the dark archways, the red roof of the stage, the letters above the pillars, the dark building on the left, and the yellow hats of the people at the bottom are all relatively easy to put together. After that, it’s the parts of the building and the sky that are remaining.

Notes: St. Peter’s Basilica is a Late Renaissance church located within Vatican City.

Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and remains one of the largest churches in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the Catholic Roman Rite cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, St. Peter’s is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic sites. It has been described as “holding a unique position in the Christian world” and as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom”. [Wiki]

Puzzle: Unknown Castle

Unknown, med

Size: 1000 pieces, 1 missing
Dimensions: 73 cm x 48.57 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: This lovely castle and the old buildings around it make for a challenging puzzle. There are many ways to approach it. The easiest regions to start would be the sky and clouds, the bright cars and storefronts at the bottom, the green grass region and the fence at its bottom, and the borders of the buildings and the sky. The larger windows of the building on the right can help the assembly of that part of the puzzle. The sky and clouds are distinct enough from the rest of the puzzle and can be filled in relatively easily. The Trees and shrubs can follow. The castle has a large region of a somewhat-uniform grey pattern, making it not so easy to assemble, but it makes for an interesting challenge.

Notes: I no longer have the box, so if you know of the series this puzzle is from and the building it portrays, please let me know.

Puzzle: Beach Garden by Marc Adamus

Marc Adamus - Beach Garden, med
: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 34 cm x 50 cm
Producer: Hasbro, MB Puzzle, Deluxe Puzzle series, 2010, #355260000-35528
Photographer: Marc Adamus
Photo: original

Puzzle: A lovely puzzle, not very trivial for a beginner. The flowers at the bottom present the most challenge due to the similarities of the purple-on-green pattern through most of them. Thus it’s simpler to start with the top part of the puzzle. The distinct regions of the sky, the clouds, the sun, the hills, the water, and the sand, followed by the sand border with the green grass can be filled in easily. The flowers can be assembled by starting on the darker regions at the bottom first, and narrowing the remaining area by assembling the top grassy patch with orange and small white flowers. Then the rest of the flowers can be put together.

Notes: “Lupine flowers glow in the last light of sunset overlooking the sea stacks and sandy beaches of the Northern California coast.” [Marc Adamus site]

How to do a jigsaw puzzle

In this post, I will share some strategies I use when puzzling to make the experience more pleasurable. To be clear, I do not puzzle for speed, I puzzle for zen: to relax, breathe, and get lost in the sensory experience, combined with a good story via an audiobook. Thus these tips are not necessarily going to speed up puzzle assembly, but will keep things organized for smooth progress through the puzzle.

As an example, I will use the photos of the Autumn Foxfire 1000-piece puzzle.

Step 1. If you want to relocate the puzzle at some point (say, if you do not have a dedicated puzzle table, and would need to have it cleared between puzzling sessions) or to glue it after completion, set up your space with a large sheet of cardboard. It can serve as your assembly surface that can be moved elsewhere between sessions: under the bed is a good place that rarely gets disturbed. It can also provide a background for the complete puzzle if it is to be glued. I usually use black sheets from a dollar store. One of those can fit a standard-sized 1000-piece puzzle. Be sure to check the puzzle picture and position the sheet appropriately for a horizontally- or a vertically-oriented puzzle.

Step 2. Set up your reference picture (either the puzzle box or the insert/poster) in a place that is easily accessible and spread out the pieces on the piece of cardboard.

Foxfire puzzle - clean slate, med

Step 3. Flip the pieces face up and separate them into groups based on colour, texture, or particular structures depicted on the picture. Those can go into heaps, as table space is usually limited. Keep the border pieces separate, preferably laid out so that the flat sides of all of them are facing the same direction. It will make for easier border assembly. The border pieces can be laid out on the cardboard sheet since they usually would be assembled first. Place the 4 corner pieces aside as they will likely be the most obvious to place.

Foxfire puzzle - pieces separated start, med

Note that some puzzles have a thick border or a uniform colour along the edges, making it harder to assemble the border. In that case, I would suggest placing the border pieces off to the side of the sheet, so that the inner parts of the puzzle can be assembled on the sheet without the border pieces getting in the way. They can then be brought in at a later stage, once the inner puzzle defines their placement.

Foxfire puzzle - pieces separated half way, med

You might want to skip this step – I rarely do. It makes for a much more enjoyable puzzling session as you can work on similar pieces together and spend less time searching in vain for that one last missing piece of a given colour or structure.

Foxfire puzzle - pieces separated, med

Step 4. Assemble the border. Combine together the pieces that clearly fit. You will end up with several clusters of the border which then can be put together based on the puzzle picture.

Foxfire puzzle - border pieces, med

Foxfire puzzle - border assembled, med

Step 5. Take the brightest batch of pieces, or the smallest similar batch, or the one that clearly connects to the border. Pieces composing large letters, bright flowers, clocks, building details, windows, etc. are good candidates. Assemble the batch and place it approximately within the border frame, or connect it to the frame if possible. A few pieces will likely be left over if similar colour exists elsewhere in the picture. If you have space, set them out in a grid outside the cardboard sheet – that will make those pieces easier to find later.

Foxfire puzzle - border and first batch, med

Foxfire puzzle - first batch placed, med

Step 6. Take the next batch of pieces and repeat. After it’s done, revisit the pieces you put aside and see if you can place any of them.

Foxfire puzzle - fox, med

Step 7. Batch by batch, you will complete the puzzle.

Some of the easiest regions to assemble are:

  • those that are small and uniquely coloured or textured;
  • in puzzles with humans or animals, bright garments or colouring;
  • horizontal guides such as the border between land and sky, water and land, water and sky;
  • curved horizontal guides such as the border between mountains and sky, tree line and sky, tree line and mountains, buildings and mountains, roof and sky, roof of one building against a wall of another;
  • vertical guides such as tall plants, building corners, pillars, masts, and so on;
  • in puzzles with water, direction of the ripples on the water can tell you which way to place the piece;
  • in puzzles with reflections, the part of the picture which has a reflection and its reflection will have similar colours but the reflection will have a washed out texture.

Foxfire puzzle - arches, med

The more of the puzzle is assembled, the easier it is to place the remaining pieces, as there are fewer places into which they may fit. Thus it is easiest to start with the simplest regions.

Foxfire puzzle - dark chocolate, med

Foxfire puzzle - patches, med    Foxfire puzzle - blue, med

Closer to completion, when in doubt, permutation is your friend. Say you have 10 blue pieces left to be placed: try one in all the possible spaces. If it fits, continue on to the next one, else put it aside. I would not try it over a large incomplete area, or in a puzzle with poorly-fitting pieces (as in extreme cases you can’t tell whether the piece fits even after you have placed it). This strategy is often helpful with pictures containing large uniformly-coloured regions, such as sky and washed out clouds.

Foxfire puzzle - sky patches, med

Step 8. Once the puzzle is complete you can glue it to the sheet if you like. I usually leave some margins if the size of the puzzle allows. Puzzle glue is usually either transparent or white that dries to transparent. It is applied over the top of the puzzle and it seeps in between the puzzle pieces anchoring them to each other and to the surface on which they reside. Depending on the quality of the glue, you might have to apply two coats (waiting for the first coat to dry fully before applying the second one).

Once the puzzle has been glued from the front, it is sometimes necessary to glue the puzzle to the sheet. This at times happens with especially well-fitting pieces, such as Sure-Lox, as the narrow gaps are not letting much glue to reach the sheet. I use white school glue to at least secure the puzzle perimeter to the sheet. I then apply weight (heavy books work well) along the perimeter and leave the puzzle for a few hours to fully set. Sometimes the puzzle glue warps the puzzle a bit, so the weights help in flattening it.

Autumn Foxfire, med

Step 9. You can frame your puzzle if you like. It is hard to find a cost-effective frame for most of the large puzzles, but if you find one or can make it yourself, that’s great. If you want to hang your puzzle on the wall without a frame, I suggest first flipping the puzzle and applying sticky tape (such as shipping tape) all around the perimeter of the back. If the puzzle is larger than 500 pieces, I also make a cross with the tape on the back of the sheet. It strengthens the places where anchoring tape will be attached and prevents the sheet from tearing when the tape is taken off.

Puzzle: Collage Living RoomI then take pieces of tape, wrap them into rings with the sticky side outwards and place them all around the puzzle perimeter: the bigger the puzzle, the more of these I use. Depending on the humidity level in your dwelling, the puzzle might warp somewhat, and the more sticky rings of tape are holding it to the wall, the better. I found that when the puzzle is taken off the wall, good tape leaves little trace if any. Poster mounting double-sided sticky squares can be used as well, but they might be hard to remove if needed.

 Puzzle: Collage BedroomAfter enjoying the assembly of your beautiful puzzle, you can use it as a decorating piece. Puzzles of fantasy or fairy tale scenes are great for children’s rooms and creative studios, architectural puzzles make for good living room and hallway decoration, calm landscapes or sensual gothic compositions work well in the bedroom, and food or wine nature morte paintings can liven up the kitchen. Some people even laminate a combination of many puzzles to make them into the kitchen floor. May your inspiration and imagination be your guide.

Puzzle: River Swale, Yorkshire, England

River Swale, Yorkshire, England, med

Size: 250 pieces
Dimensions: 38.5 cm x 26.5 cm
Producer: Unknown

Puzzle:  Simple small puzzle to do, and a rather pleasant landscape. The obvious starting points would be the river with the rocks, the sky and its border with the hills, the red leaf bush in the bottom right corner and another one by the waterfall. The grassy area can be done next, along with the white patch of the hill and the yellow fields. The trees alongside the river have variety in colouring, and since the puzzle is so small present little challenge after the rest has been assembled.

I no longer have the box for this puzzle, so if you know the manufacturer of this puzzle, please let me know.

Notes: The name Swale is from the Anglo-Saxon word Sualuae meaning rapid and liable to deluge. The river gives its name to the valley through which it flows, namely Swaledale. [Wiki]

Puzzle: Autumn Foxfire

Autumn Foxfire, med
: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.95 cm x 48.1 cm
: Mega Puzzles, Fantastic Visions series, 2013, No. 50939AAN, A 23053 PP
Artist: Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Original: artwork

Puzzle: I have used this puzzle as an example for my “How to do a jigsaw puzzle” post, so you can see the steps I used to assemble it there. Overall a very pleasant puzzle, beautiful curves and deep colours. Not very trivial, but not extremely difficult either.

Notes: “…The fox leapt off the bed in a blur of motion. She whipped her tail around, and between one blink of the eye and the next, it was no longer a russet fox that crouched on the floor, but a woman-goddess fierce to gaze upon. She stood slowly, gracefully. Now, the Emperor had seen carvings and paintings of Liri, as I am sure you have. Sometimes she is depicted as an innocuous little fox. At other times she is a warrior of fiery hair and will. And then there is her third form – Liri of the Wood. In this form she is all that is wild. She is hidden desire whether it be passion for love or passion to kill. She is a Trickster, a Scholar, a Musician, and a Lover….”

I am fog and fickle mist
I am all that can’t be tamed
I am born of devil’s kiss
Sear potential unrestrained” [Stephanie Pui-Mun Law Shadowscapes site]

Puzzle: Detail of Roof on a Chinese Temple

Detail of Roof on a Chinese Temple, med
: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 48.1 cm x 67.95 cm
: Mega Puzzles, Structures series, 2013, No. 50941AAN, A 27053 PP

Puzzle: Another puzzle from the Structures series (see Astronomical Clock, Prague, Czech Republic, Galleries Lafayette, ParisSri Mariamman Temple and Church of the Savior, St. Petersburg for more).

To be honest, I did not expect this puzzle to be that interesting: from the box it looked like the too-bold lines of a too-bright building with too few detailed areas to make it interesting. It has, however, pleasantly surprised me. I’ve enjoyed following the diagonal and horizontal guide lines of the structure and the small details that revealed themselves during assembly.

I have started with the red horizontal, vertical, and diagonal regions, and built on them: each band of a different texture and colouring following the bands above or below it. The remaining regions are distinct and separated enough to be quite simple for a 1000 piece puzzle.

Notes: Unfortunately, the puzzle box does not indicate which temple is depicted on this puzzle. If you have any information on that, I would love to know.

Puzzle: Vineyard Terrace by Sung Kim

Sung Kim - Vineyard Terrace, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.9 cm x 48.1 cm
Producer: Mega Puzzles, The Art of Sung Kim series
Sung Kim – Born in 1940 in Seoul, South Korea, Sung Kim exhibited his artistic talents early in childhood. He entered and won various art contests and decided to pursue his passion for art by attending Seorabol Art College where he graduated with honors. Sung opened his own studio and worked as an illustrator for various magazines and children’s books. He traveled throughout Europe before immigrating to the United States in 1980. For the past 20 years, Sung has worked with various fine art galleries, producing over 400 original landscape paintings, and has sold his paintings to people from all over the world. [Puzzle box]
Painting: original

Puzzle: There is a wonderful book by Gerald Durrell called “My Family and Other Animals”, in which he describes life in Corfu – a Greek island to which his mother and three siblings have moved when he was 10. As a child, he explores the island gathering various animals (he has been an enthusiastic budding zoologist at that age), against the backdrop of the slow-paced life of the adults on the island. The olive trees, the sea, the tranquility of sunny afternoons, and the overall calm of the Mediterranean is what I remember vividly from the book. And this puzzle by Sung Kim carries that same quiet feeling of a light breeze on a vine-shaded terrace, on a lazy sunny afternoon somewhere in the Mediterranean.

This puzzle is not a trivial one to assemble, as uniform patterns such as leaves at the top, trees in the background, and bricks of the terrace take up large regions. It is a very calming scene, however, so I have found it quite relaxing, so I did not mind slightly longer time to find the pieces I needed. There are a few good regions to start: the boundary of the sky and the mountain, as well as the borders of the mountain and the trees, and far away trees and the fields. The table with white tablecloth, and the wine glasses and bottles is also easy to assemble. The window with surrounding bricks, and the chairs are also a different enough shade and pattern to not be difficult. The terrace frame is a little harder to complete, but when done it can serve as horizontal and vertical guides for the res of the puzzle. The lighter bricks of the wall are sufficiently different from the tiles of the floor. The leaves at the top can be fitted in between the horizontal guides of the terrace frame, and the rest of the puzzle comes together afterwards.

The assembly went very well with a glass of wine and the early spring sun coming in through the window, promising warm afternoons, if not in the Mediterranean.

Puzzle: Curious Introduction

Curious Introduction, Aimee Stewart, med
: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.95 cm x 48.1 cm
: Mega Puzzles, Fantastic Visions series, 2013, No. 50939AAN, A 23053 PP
Artist: Aimee Stewart
Original: artwork

Puzzle: A beatiful, easy-flowing puzzle. There are so many distinct bright regions, that the pieces fall into place with little thinking. I have started with the lady and the horse, the purple flower in the bottom left corner, and the yellow-green leaves at the top. Once completed, those regions split the puzzle into left and right top parts and the larger bottom part. The bottom is easy to do as the fish and the plants are of bright colours with clear boundaries, reflection is a distinct green, and there are horizontal guides of the ripples on the water. The top right is a bright purple and the top left a distinct brown, both trivial to assemble. Overall a very pleasant puzzle to do – it helped me remember there are good things in life when I was feeling sick.

Puzzle: Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon

Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 73 cm x 48.57 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: There are several puzzles I have done of Havasu falls, and every time I find them breathtaking. This one is colourful and serene. The waterfall with the bright yellow leaves above it, the mountain ridges and their borders with other mountains and with the sky can be put together first and serve as the vertical and horizontal guides. The blue sky and a blue patch of water in the bottom left, the dark of the water under the waterfall, and the outline of the yellow tree leaves in the bottom half of the puzzle can be filled in next. The remaining regions are distinct enough to be completed without much difficulty.

Puzzle: Sam Park – Barcelona Flower Market

Sam Park - no name, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 51.12cm x 66.52cm
Producer: Big Ben, Artist Series, 11404294BX
Artist: Sam Park
Original: painting

Puzzle: A bright and colourful puzzle, a pleasure for the eye. Easiest places to start would be the striped pavement, the sky and tree leaves bordering it, the buildings, and the uniform colour of the market stall roofs. The yellow lights and the dark flower buckets/vases can be done next. The rest of the puzzle is the jumble of small coloured regions that can slowly be filled in.

Birthday Weekend

This weekend has been far from boring. I spent most of the day Saturday putting together a few snacks and playing with the kids, which was followed by a few people coming to share in my birthday. After the celebrations and late night clean-up on Saturday, Sunday was more relaxed. I have managed to indulge in several of my favourite activities.

I have slept in until 9:30 and then connected with a friend to pass on a braided fertility necklace to her. She has discovered it is my birthday from social media, and has brought me an unexpected gift of soaps: cucumber and calendula, lavender and tea tree, and oatmeal. I love Easter European traditions of giving birthday gifts. My love also gave me two clever gifts: a Dali melting clock, and a Canon lens collection cup.

We had leftovers for breakfast, and headed to Ikea for the breastfeeding event happening in the sofa section. The goal was to thank Ikea for their great breastfeeding and baby-friendly practices and highlight the importance of public breastfeeding, since it has a significant impact on mothers breastfeeding to term. I also wish other businesses took notice of what Ikea is doing to implement family-friendly practices, and followed suit. It is surprising how many “family-oriented” establishments lack such simple accommodations as a changing table (especially in men’s washrooms) or a place to safely put a baby down (when a baby is not yet able to sit up on their own, but is not confined to a bucket car seat).

The atmosphere at Ikea was great: I have chatted with a few friends, CTV was there to cover the story, we have spoken to Ottawa Citizen, and ended up participating in an ad hoc focus group for a Carleton breastfeeding research study, which lasted for a while after the official event was over. My older child was rather enjoying the play area during that time.

Afterwards, I have cuddled my babies to sleep at home, and took a break with a lager and some smoked salmon for lunch. During their nap time, I have spent some time puzzling and listening to The Wheel of Time – The Shadow Rising – in other words, in my zen state.

Getting close, md

After a break to feed the baby and rock her back to sleep, it was time to pull out my newly-arrived gemstones and play. I have just found beautiful beads of lapis lazuli and blue-white chalcedony, and combined with turquoise, amethyst, moonstone, and rose quartz, they have made three new pregnancy tracking necklaces and two new fertility/cycle tracking bracelets. In a few days, I will make them available for purchase on Etsy.

Gemstones, md

Lapis chalcedony fertility and pregnancy tracking necklaces and bracelets, design, md

Lapis chalcedony fertility and pregnancy tracking necklaces and bracelets, mdWhen the children were up, we brought out the leftovers and a large 100-piece United Kingdom puzzle (the largest my oldest has ever attempted). We sat on the floor with food and drinks, doing the puzzle and listening to some music. That was a lovely quiet way to spend the evening. We stayed up later than usual, the kids had their baths, and there was more cuddling them to sleep. After all was peaceful and quiet, my love and I had some time to ourselves. A wonderful way to spend my birthday, I must say.

Puzzle: Déjà view

Deja view, med

Size: 500+ pieces
Dimensions: 61.5 cm x 46.5 cm
Producer: Unknown – I do not have the box anymore, if you know the producer and the series, could you please share?

Puzzle: Not a trivial puzzle to do due to many similar regions and the lack of large uniform colour patches. One could start with the bright accessories – the ribbon, the bouquet, small flowers, the butterflies, the feather, the hair piece, and the round peacock feather. The brighter white and yellow postcards and letters can be filled in afterwards, as well as the black photos and the photo in the black oval frame. For the rest of the puzzle, it takes a bit of time to complete, but as the pieces are large and it’s not a big puzzle, I would not say it is hard.

Puzzle: Tom Kidd – Success!

Tom Kidd - Success!, med

Size: 750 pieces
Dimensions: 46 cm x 61 cm
Producer: Sunset Glow? (I do not have the box anymore: if you know who the producer is of this puzzle and what the series is, I’d appreciate it if you share.)

Puzzle: Easy enough to complete, with large distinct pieces and many differently-coloured regions, this puzzle is a good one when you crave a fairy tale visual. Many good places to start: the book and flame, the wizard’s face and hands, the glowing ball at the top of the staff, the red robe, the hat, the white horses, the castle, and the sky wall boundary. The book stand top and round parts in the bottom half of the puzzle can serve as guides. The rest of the pieces should fall into place.

Puzzle: Covered bridge

Covered bridge, med

Size: 500 pieces, 1 missing
Dimensions: 48.5 cm x 35.5 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: Simple enough to complete due to many differently-coloured regions, this puzzle is a quick one to do. The Sure-Lox pieces fit  together snugly. One can start from the red of the bridge building, the beige and yellow regions of the roof and the roads, the black and brown of the bridge building, the white railings, the river water and the border between the mountains in the background and the sky. From that point on, the small buildings, the trees, and the remaining regions fit together easily.

Puzzle: Glimmer

Glimmer, med
: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.95 cm x 48.1 cm
: Mega Puzzles, Vibrant series, 2013, No. 51420AAN, A 29073LP
Artist: Adrian Klein
Original: photo

Puzzle: This puzzle takes a little time, but reflections are easy to do, and the vibrant colours and well-fitting pieces make this puzzle a pleasure to assemble. The easiest regions to start are the top of the mountain and its border with the sky, and the mountain’s reflection and its border with the river water. The blue of the sky and the river water, as well as the white of the river near the horizon can be put together next. The green grass in the middle and the horizontal white line serve as horizontal guides along which the mountain bottom and the evergreens can then be completed. The grass islands on the river and the remaining mountain pieces fall into place easily after that.

Notes: The sunrise light glimmers briefly on the summit of South Sister in Three Sisters Wilderness. [Adrian Klein site]

Puzzle: Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire

Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire, med

Size: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48.5 cm x 35.5 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: A small, not very complicated, puzzle. The best place to start is the building roof/sky border, the distinct towers and building elements, white roof segments, and the sky itself. The bottom white region is also easy to complete, leaving the bushes for the last. Overall quick and pleasant puzzle to do, the Sure-Lox pieces fitting together well.

Notes: Ely Cathedral is the principal church of the Diocese of Ely, in Cambridgeshire, England. It is known locally as “the ship of the Fens”, because of its prominent shape that towers above the surrounding flat and watery landscape. The first Christian building on the site was founded by St. Æthelthryth (romanised as “Etheldreda”), daughter of the Anglo-Saxon King Anna of East Anglia, who was born in 630. She set up and ruled a monastery at Ely in 673, and, when she died, a shrine was built there to her memory. A new Benedictine monastery was built and endowed on the site by Athelwold, Bishop of Winchester, in 970. This became a cathedral in 1109. The cathedral is built from stone quarried from Barnack in Northamptonshire, with decorative elements carved from Purbeck Marble and local clunch. The plan of the building is cruciform (cross-shaped), with an additional transept at the western end. [Wiki]

Puzzle: Dürnstein, Austria

Durnstein, Austria, med

Size: 1000 pieces, 1 missing
Dimensions: 73 cm x 48.57 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: Not a completely trivial puzzle to complete, due to the snow and trees on the mountains forming a somewhat-uniform pattern. It is simple to start from the more prominent regions, such as the bright buildings, the river/snow border, the snow on the roofs, and the steps going up into the mountains. Once that is done, the top mountain range is separated into mostly blue and mostly black regions, and the central blue tower serves as a vertical guide to assist the completion. The Sure-Lox pieces fit together well and simplify the process that would have been harder with more loosely-fitting pieces.

Notes: Dürnstein is a small town on the Danube river in the Krems-Land district, in the Austrian state of Lower Austria. It is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Wachau region and also a well-known wine growing area.

The town gained its name from the medieval castle, Burgruine Dürnstein, which overlooked it. The castle was called “Duerrstein” or “Dürrstein”, from the German duerr/dürr meaning “dry” and Stein, “stone”. The castle was dry because it was situated on a rocky hill, high above the damp conditions of the Danube at the base of the hill, and it was built of stone. [Wiki]