Juniper

Juniper, med

Size: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 48.26 cm x 30.02 cm
Producer: Mega Puzzles, Vibrant series, 2014, No.51410ACN, A27054 LP
Photographer:
Jiinna
Original:
photo

Puzzle: Lovely holiday puzzle, with green juniper branches and blue tree decorations. More tricky than it seems, even with its small size. Good places to start are the tree decorations, the thick purple branches, and the patches of softer pink and blue background. From there, it’s a play of shades and textures of green for which good lighting is essential. Makes for a beautiful picture.

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Puzzle: The Dreaming Tree

 The Dreaming Tree, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.95 cm x 48.1 cm
Producer
: Mega Puzzles, Fantastic Visions series, 2014, No. 50939ABN, A 12113 PP
Artist: Aimee Stewart
Original: artwork

Puzzle: With its wonderful fantasy imagery and subtle colour variation, this is one of my favourite puzzles, so much so that it decorates the wall above my work desk. Reminiscent of Elven trees from Middle Earth’s Lothlórien, Vallenwood trees from Dragonlance, and Ygdrassil tree ships from the Hyperion Cantos, its winding steps, dwellings, and terraces are a calming, inspiring sight.

The puzzle is not trivial, due to gradual colour changes and a variety of small elements. A good place to start is the yellow-orange region in the medium right, the dresses of figures ascending the staircase, the lit windows and the staircase, which can then serve as a near-vertical guide, splitting the picture into two regions. After that, darker green left side can be tackled, followed by red areas of tree bark, black bottom areas, and regions at the top of the tree. Good lighting is a bonus with this puzzle, but the beauty and detail in each region is worth extra effort.

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Puzzle: Country Christmas

 Country Christmas, med

Size:  1000 pieces
Dimensions: 76.2 cm x 61 cm
Producer: Springbok, Hallmark, 2004, 1JIG10501

Puzzle: A beautiful, fairy-tale style puzzle depicting a cozy house, snugly wrapped in snow, surrounded by festive evergreens. This puzzle was a very calming one to assemble. Good places to start are the brown walls and white roof of the house, the lit-up windows and the staircase, the boundary with the sky, and the red and yellow decorated trees. The darker green trees can be next, followed by the snow-outlined tree in the top right and the snow at the bottom. The sky can come last.

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Puzzle: Sunset Blaze by Viktor Shvaiko

Sunset Blaze, med

Size: 504 pieces
Dimensions: 45.7 cm x 27.3 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox pieces. Company unknown – I do not have the box anymore. If you have this information, please do share. There were 4 puzzles in the box: Autumn in Paris, Buca Francesco, Rue Lafayette Paris, and Sunset Blaze – all by the same artist.
Artist: Viktor Shvaiko

Puzzle: I have assembled a 1000-piece version of this puzzle a few years ago. It is a lovely and easy puzzle to do. The best regions to start are the yellow and blue sky, the mountain range, the sign over the sky, and the vertical guides of the building/sky border, the arches, and the door frame. The bright red chair, the orange ledge in the bottom center, the letters above the entrance, the terrace floor and the table are easily put together. The border of the city and the mountains, as well as the red-roofed houses can come next, followed by the flower arrangements around the arch. This leaves the green of trees and grass, the building interior, and the flowers growing around the ledge. Beautiful scenery.

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Puzzle: San Joseph Church, Sicily, Italy

San Joseph Church, Sicily, Italy, medSize: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 51.12cm x 66.52cm
Producer: Hasbro, MB Puzzles, Big Ben, 2008, 04962-W42
Photographer: R. Kord/Robertstock
Puzzle: Not a completely trivial puzzle, but quite serene to put together with its tree blooms and a magnificent building. Good places to start are the border between the mountains and the sky, the outline of the church against the mountain, the horizontal guide of the pavement against the building base, the vertical guides of the pillars and tree trunks, the arch between the pillars of the bell tower, and the statue with the cross. That splits the puzzle up into smaller regions that are easier to tackle. The uniform white and beige of the walls, the balustrade, the pink blooms, and the pavement can be completed next. For the rest of the puzzle, good lighting is a plus.

Notes: I have found a lovely picture of this church at the Walks of Italy site.

It is situated in Taormina – a small town on the east coast of the island of Sicily, Italy, in the Province of Messina. Taormina has popular beaches on the Ionian sea, which is remarkably warm and has a high salt content. The present town of Taormina occupies the ancient site, on a lofty hill. Portions of the ancient walls may be traced at intervals all round the brow of the hill, the whole of the summit of which was evidently occupied by the ancient city. Numerous fragments of ancient buildings are scattered over its whole surface, including extensive reservoirs of water, sepulchres, tesselated pavements, etc., and the remains of a spacious edifice, commonly called a Naumachia, but the real purpose of which it is difficult to determine. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Golden Light

Golden Light, medSize: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.95 cm x 48.1 cm
Producer
: Mega Puzzles, Vibrant series, 2013, No. 51420AAN, A 29073 LP
Artist: Adrian Klein
Original:  Golden Light

Puzzle: Not a trivial puzzle, but a calming one to do, listening to some zen music or a good narrative. I would say a good region to get started is the horizon line separating the snow from the water. This line splits the puzzle into two areas, providing a horizontal guide. The darker blue regions in the corners of the puzzle and a dark rounded stone area in the top left, as well as the bright blue patches of snow on the mountain slope and their reflections in the water could be tackled next. For the trees, I found it easiest to start with the reflections in the water, as the ripples assist in determining the orientation of the pieces. The few rocks in the water and darker patches of land on the shore are distinctive as well. For the trees above water, tree trunks can serve as vertical guides. The gradients in the water, from yellow to blue, allow for gradual completion of that region, from light to dark. I have enjoyed this puzzle quite a bit.

Notes: “Larches turned gold in fall along the lakes The Enchantments in Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington while backpacking with my friend Zack Schnepf.” [Adrian Klein site]

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Puzzle: Grand Canyon, Arizona, U.S.A.

Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA, med

Size: 750 pieces
Dimensions: 59.69 cm x 39.37 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: A beautiful puzzle, a pleasure to do. Might be a little challenging for a beginner, due to the large areas of orange rock. The sky is only 4 pieces deep, with a clearly defined bottom boundary with the rock, the sea area is well-defined with two arc shapes of foam dividing it into easily-managed gradient-coloured regions. The trees at the bottom right and the top of the orange rock are darker than almost anything else in the puzzle. All these regions are good places to start. The bright green trees help split the bottom left region into separate areas. The white gnarled tree in the bottom right quarter is also quite distinct. That leaves the orange rock and the white ground with trees in the lower left quarter, and a few areas of colour fading between already-completed regions.

Notes: I have completed quite a few puzzles depicting the Grand Canyon so far.

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Puzzle: Buzzard’s Roost, Fall Creek Falls

Buzzard's roost, med
Size
: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.95 cm x 48.1 cm
Producer
: Mega Puzzles, Vibrant series, 2013, No. 51420ABN, A28103LP
Artist: Very unfortunately, Mega Puzzles prints a copyright for the entire series with several names of the artists (as opposed to the name of a single photographer who owns a particular featured image), and even through searching I was not able to determine which artist took this photo. If you have that information, please let me know.
Original: photo

Puzzle: Not a very trivial, but a pleasant puzzle to do. The pieces fit together well, and that removes quite a bit of ambiguity, despite many regions with similar colours. I have started with the tree trunks in the top right, the boundary between the rocks and the trees in the top left, the black cracks and shadows among the rocks, and the red rock patches. From that point on, brighter green and bluish-grey rocks can be completed with the help of black shadows under the smaller ridges. Blue and green small trees in the top left are distinct enough from the dark green bushes on the right, and the darker grey area in the bottom right corner can easily be distinguished as well.

Notes: Fall Creek Falls, a 256-foot (78 m) plunge waterfall located just west of the creek’s confluence with Cane Creek. A short trail leads from the parking lot atop the plateau down to the base of the gorge, giving access to the waterfall’s plungepool. Buzzard’s Roost is a cliff located near Millikan’s Overlook. [Wiki]

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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
Artist:
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.

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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.

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Puzzle: Glimmer

Glimmer, med
Size
: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.95 cm x 48.1 cm
Producer
: 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]

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Puzzle: Fire Sunset on Mount Rainier

Fire Sunset on Mount Rainier, med
Size
: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 67.95 cm x 48.1 cm
Producer
: Mega Puzzles, Vibrant series, 2013, No. 50420AAN, A 29073 LP
Artist: Kevin McNeal
Original: Last Bit Of Light – Paradise Area, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Puzzle: A beautiful puzzle that I managed to complete within a span of a single day, so easily the flow of piece placement continued. I have started with the sun, the orange and red regions of the sky, mountains, and snow, and the clouds, continuing to the pink highlights on the trees and the snow, the multiple colours of the sky, and finishing up with the purple of the snow and the bright blue of the sky at the top. A vibrant, peaceful, entrancing puzzle.

Notes: Mount Rainier is a massive stratovolcano located 87 km southeast of Seattle in the state of Washington, United States. It is the most topographically prominent mountain in the contiguous United States and the Cascade Volcanic Arc.

Typically, up to five earthquakes are recorded monthly near the summit. Swarms of five to ten shallow earthquakes over two or three days take place from time to time, predominantly in the region of 4 km below the summit. These earthquakes are thought to be caused by the circulation of hot fluids beneath Mount Rainier. Presumably, hot springs and steam vents within Mount Rainier National Park are generated by such fluids.

Glaciers are among the most conspicuous and dynamic geologic features on Mount Rainier. They erode the volcanic cone and are important sources of streamflow for several rivers, including some that provide water for hydroelectric power and irrigation. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: The Path in the Forest

The Path in the Forest, med
Size
: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 73 cm x 48.57 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: A bit more complex puzzle to do, but quite enjoyable. Good regions to complete first would be the birds and the feeder, as well as the tree trunks that provide vertical guides for the picture. The purple and yellow flowers, as well as the sunlit greenery in the middle can provide more spotlights. The rest of the regions are relatively equal in terms of complexity.

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Puzzle: Aspen Fantasy

Aspen Fantasy, med

Size: 750 pieces
Dimensions: 48.1cm x 64.8cm
Producer: RoseArt, Borders series

Puzzle: Another puzzle from the Borders series (in addition to the Mountain River one), it is a bit more complex. The aspen trees can be completed first, followed by the larger flowers and the rest of the pieces, but it’s not trivial since many regions look similar. Good lighting is a bonus, and the result is a vibrant forest scene.

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Puzzle: Rural Countryside by John Zaccheo

John Zaccheo - Rural Countryside, med

Size: 1000 pieces
Dimensions: 45.4 cm x 67.31 cm
Producer: Wrebbit, Perfalock series, # 20076, 2005

Note: I do not have the box anymore, and thus not sure who the artist is. If you have that information, please let me know.

Puzzle: A pleasant and easy puzzle to complete. The good regions to start are the sky (lots of horizontal guides there), the mountains, the tall red and yellow trees, the bridge, the river, the buildings, the birch trees, the cart with the hay, and the fence along the road. From that point on, the remaining pieces should fall into place easily.

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Puzzle: Garden’s Gate

Garden's Gate, med

Size: 750 pieces
Dimensions: 59.69 cm x 39.37 cm
Producer: Sure-Lox, The Canadian Group

Puzzle: A serene puzzle to do, and being smaller with well-fitting together Sure-Lox pieces, is not too challenging. The red of the maple leaves on the tree, the lantern, the gate, the bright white/yellow regions of sunlit sky, and the wall with smaller rocks are good places to start. Once the wall is complete, tree trunks and leaves, as well as darker tree areas can be filled in.

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Puzzle: Old Mill

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

Puzzle: A serene puzzle, not very challenging. The bridge, the waterfall, the flowers in the bottom left corner, the mill building, and the rocks are good places to start. The tree trunks provide vertical guides, the dark area with the wheel at the bottom of the building is distinct, and the rest of the grass, forest, and sky pieces can be filled in without much trouble.

Notes: A watermill is a structure that uses a water wheel or turbine to drive a mechanical process such as flour, lumber or textile production, or metal shaping (rolling, grinding or wire drawing).

Typically, water is diverted from a river or impoundment or mill pond to a turbine or water wheel, along a channel or pipe (variously known as a flume, head race, mill race, leat, leet, lade (Scots) or penstock). The force of the water’s movement drives the blades of a wheel or turbine, which in turn rotates an axle that drives the mill’s other machinery. Water leaving the wheel or turbine is drained through a tail race, but this channel may also be the head race of yet another wheel, turbine or mill. The passage of water is controlled by sluice gates that allow maintenance and some measure of flood control; large mill complexes may have dozens of sluices controlling complicated interconnected races that feed multiple buildings and industrial processes. [Wiki]

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Puzzle: Birds of the Season, 3 of 4, by Greg Giordano

Birds 2, med

Size: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 40.64cm x 50.8cm
Producer
: Karmin International, Birds of the Season series
Artist: Greg Giordano

Puzzle: One of the 4 puzzles in the box (first, second, third, fourth). As the others, it’s pleasant to make with the bright flowers and green leaves. The uniform areas of the fence and the watering can, the smaller leaves and sky, the white narcissus flowers and the bird’s bright red and black plumage are good places to start. Tulips and blue and lavender flowers stand out as well. Those could be followed by the darker regions, the green leaves, and the yellow narcissus flowers, leaving the rest easy to complete.

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Puzzle: Birds of the Season, 2 of 4, by Greg Giordano

Birds 1, med

Size: 500 pieces
Dimensions: 40.64cm x 50.8cm
Producer
: Karmin International, Birds of the Season series
Artist: Greg Giordano

Puzzle: One of the 4 puzzles in the box (first, second, third, fourth). Easy to start assembly from the wheel, the birds, and the top background. The flowers are a little more tricky, but the bottom dark part can be filled in first, followed by the yellow centres of the daisies, the washed out green at the bottom centre, yellow patch of colour at the bottom of the wheel, and the rest should fall into place after that.

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