Here we are in May 2019, and the snow is finally gone! In Pennsylvania, where we have a farm, the Spring has been beautiful so far, with the green budding trees, daffodils, tulips, forsythia, and other Spring flowers. I’ve been in the mood for Spring-themed puzzles, so I thought I’d pull togehter some recommendations for you guys too. Here are my top picks of the Puzzle Warehouse stock right now.
12. “A Peach of a Day” by Charles Wysocki, Buffalo Games (300 pieces)
This Wysocki is still one of my favorite Spring-themed images and a good bet for those who like 300-piecers. (Click on the image below to view the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.)
11. “Country Diary: Spring”, Cobble Hill (1000 pieces)
For softer colors and a literary feel, check out this puzzle based on the art from “The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady”. (Click on the image below to view the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.)
10. “Yard Sale” by Mattie Lou O’Kelley, Pomegranate (1000 pieces)
I’m a big fan of Pomegranate puzzle quality and folk art, so this puzzle is a given. All the bright dresses will be fun to assemble. (Click on the picture below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse)
9. “Spring” by Pieter Bruegel, D-Toys (1000 pieces)
If your tastes run more to fine art, this Bruegel puzzle gives a historic dose of Spring. (Click on the picture below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse)
8. “Inspirations of Spring” by Chuck Pinson, Buffalo Games (1000 pieces)
This is a perennial favorite and hard to beat for a Spring puzzle. See my review here. (Click on the picture below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse)
7. “Garden Tools”, Eurographics (1000 pieces)
This puzzle will put you in the mood for a little spring gardening. (Click on the picture below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse)
6. “Spring Birdhouse” by Greg Giordano, Cobble Hill (1000 pieces)
Every so often, I love doing birds-and-flowers puzzles, especially when I’m in need of a little serenity and dose of nature. This is my favorite spring-themed one on the site right now. (Click on the picture below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse)
5. “Haru No Uta” by Haruyo Morita, Eurographics (2000 pieces)
A gorgeous 2000 piecer with spectacular colors. Love those cherry blossoms! (Click on the picture below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse)
4. “Sidewalk Flower Sale” by Susan Brabeau, Sunsout (1000 pieces)
I love the combination of characters, buildings, and flowers in this scene. (Click on the picture below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse)
3. “Spring” by Kurti Andrea, D-Toys (1000 pieces)
I reviewed another Kurti Andrea puzzle from D-Toys and really enjoyed it (see my review of Snow White here). They recently released four seasons themed puzzles and this Spring puzzle is lovely. (Click on the picture below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse)
2. “Tree of Life”, eeboo (1000 pieces)
I love eebbo’s quality (see my brand comparison here) and this is a gorgeous puzzle for Spring. The repeating elements will make it a challenge! (Click on the picture below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse)
1. “In Full Bloom”, Buffalo Games (2000 pieces)
This is my top pick this year. I love the 2000 piece size, the soft, painterly style, and all the gorgeous flowers. (Click on the picture below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse)
Publisher: Sunsout (US), currently in print as of January 2019
Title: “Classic Tales: Alice in Wonderland” by Mark Brill, 1000 pieces
Finished size: 20″ x 27
OUR RATING: 8.75/10
This brand new puzzle from Sunsout really appealed to my cartoon art – fantasy – collage puzzle loving soul, so I snatched it up for review. Let’s take a look!
Box Quality: (7/10)
The Sunsout boxes are very large and square in shape. They’re oversized compared to most boxes on the market. This takes up more shelf space but also provides a nice big image when you use the box lid for reference. The name of the puzzle, and artist’s name is prominent on the front. I really like how the artist is featured on both the front and all sides of the box.
NOTE: I forgot to photograph the sides before giving this puzzle to a friend to do, but the sides are basically like the ones below from another Sunsout box.
Three of the sides are the same, showing a tiny image of the puzzle, puzzle name, artist name, piece count, finished size, and Sunsout logo. The fourth side has a bar code and no puzzle image. The year of manufacture isn’t given.
The back of the box is plain white and made of a thinner cardboard.
Nothing comes inside the Sunsout box except the bag of puzzle pieces and a very small paper slip with the company url. There was a fair amount of puzzle dust in the bag. The pieces were fully separated and undamaged. Mainly I ding the box score for the overly large size, thin bottom, and lack of any info about the image or puzzle company.
The final box score is 7.
The Image: (10/10)
I really like the idea behind this puzzle: showing 5 scenes from a classic book, in this case: Alice in Wonderland. We get all the iconic scenes and characters, from the Cheshire Cat to the Queen of Hearts. I also like the collage aspect of the puzzle. It’s basically 5 scenes (plus two “character portraits” of the walrus and caterpillar) in one puzzle. But each scene is large enough to feel like a nice little puzzle in its own right.
The art style is cartoony/fantasy/book illustration-ish with high color. I like that it doesn’t feel too “kiddy”, like it should be a children’s puzzle. The art style works well for adults and children both.
For a puzzle image, I also particularly like the checkerboard border, which looks fun to assemble.
Full marks for this image.
(Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)
I enjoy Sunsout’s random cut. It provides a more interesting and varied assembly experience and also very few “it looks like it fits but it really doesn’t” moments because the piece shapes vary so widely. You can see the variety of piece shapes in the close-up below.
This puzzle fit is snug in tightness and interlock but not too snug. I could move groups of pieces around without them falling apart. When done, I could lift the corner of the puzzle and it hangs together. This is really helpful when needing to more around partially-assembled sections of the puzzle.
The image reproduction and colors are excellent.
There is a glossy finish to Sunsout puzzles, which can cause glare under overhead lights at night. The colors were vibrant in this image with big sections of dark or similar colors, so it wasn’t an issue on this particular puzzle.
Overall, I’ve given quality a 8 score.
This was a fairly easy puzzle to assemble without any areas that were dark or harder than others.
I first assembled the border and then all of the red-and-white checkerboard. It helps that the cut of the puzzle is such that some sides have a thinner solid red edge than others, and the inside checkerboard pieces have some of the scenes on them. By looking at the box, you can tell where a given checkerboard piece goes. That’s pretty much all I got done on day one.
The checkerboard pattern in the middle of the puzzle is thinner and has no dark red edging.
In my second session I began with the bright blue sky pieces. These appear in a few different sections of the puzzle, as you can see below. The yellow clouds were a natural add on from there, and distinctive colors like the bright green grass in the Queen of Hearts section and the dots of flowers in the Cheshire Cat section.
I also pulled all the brown pieces from the central “Alice falling” image and did the middle. The white oval border around the central image made another easy texture to recognize among the pieces and it was nice to get this anchoring element in place. Alice’s blue dress and white apron were also started and finished in a few sections.
It’s been awhile since we’ve talked about Pomegranate. They’re one of the classiest, highest quality American puzzle brands out there. They feature gorgeous boxes, thick pieces with a nice matte finish, and outstanding fine art images. I’ve been in a Pomegranate mood lately. I’ve working on one for review, but I thought it was time to take a look at their current puzzle line available on Puzzle Warehouse.
13. “Do Not Disturb” by Rebecca Campbell (1000 pieces)
I have to include this puzzle because I’m such a bibliophile! (Click on the image below to view the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.)
12. “Return to the Welcome Hills” by David Newton (300 pieces)
Pomegranate has quite a few 500 and 300 piece puzzles for those who prefer smaller piece counts. This is my favorite 300-piecer. Such vibrant colors (Click on the image below to view the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.)
11. “Flower Cycle” and “Geometric Herb Garden” by Rosalind Wise (1000 pieces each)
“Flower Cycle” is a wonderful Spring puzzle, bursting with flowers. (Click on the images below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.)
Wow, I adore all the textures in this puzzle. Despite all the green, each little area has a different pattern. Looks like a wonderful challenge!
10. “Attraction” by Pat Scott (500 pieces)
If you’re looking for a flower puzzle with a lower piece count, this one from Pat Scott looks fantastic. (Click on the image below to view the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.)
9. “Night Flight” by John Dilnot (1000 pieces)
This new butterfly puzzle looks hard but totally worth it. The colors are amazing. (Click on the image below to view the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.)
8. “Edward Gorey’s Book Covers” by Edward Gorey (1000 pieces each)
I love the Edward Gorey puzzles and this one is the best yet because it combines many different Gorey images into a collage. (Click on the image below to view the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.)
7. “Bubble Street” and “Fish Story” by Daniel Merriam (1000 pieces each)
The Daniel Merriam puzzles remind me of the ever-popular Colin Thompson puzzles, but with pastel shades and more elegance. These are both gorgeous puzzles. (Click on the image below to view the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.)
6. “Ultimate Tantra” by Paul Heussenstamm (1000 pieces)
I love the blues and the intricate borders on this soothing puzzle. (Click on the image below to view the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.)
5. Charlie Harper puzzles (various sizes)
I’ve reviewed a few Charlie Harper Pomegranate puzzles (see my reviews here). They’re all excellent. As a fan of national parks and wildlife, his puzzles are very soothing to me. Below are a few but you can click here to see all his puzzles in stock. (Click on the image below to view the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.)
We have been huge fans of Artifact Wooden Puzzles for years and have been sharing them with our guests. Frankly, we are pretty addicted to them.
Saturday, March 16, 2019 between 11 am and 3 pm, we will host a Jigsaw Puzzle contest. Two per team. The team who finishes first gets a brand new Artifact puzzle! Includes lunch! Rates start at $ 199 for two, plus tax. 2 night minimum. Call 410-778-1860 or book online!
Sorry I haven’t posted in a few weeks, but I took a “sun break” vacation down to Florida. Of course, when I arrive back home to Pennsylvania, we had a foot of new snow! I’m more than ready for Spring. How about you?
I’ll be working on some puzzles for review now that I’m back home, but for now I have to share some cool new puzzles that we recently got in stock at Puzzle Warehouse. We’re continuing to get in the new puzzles for 2019 and they’re awesome. Here are my picks of the new Educa and Eeboo puzzles.
“Lighthouse at Rocky Bay” — in 4000 and 1000 pieces
This is a gorgeous new cottage/landscape puzzle. And it comes in both 4000 and 1000 pieces! I’d love to work on the 4000 piecer. Talk about a long-term challenge.
“Cats on the Quay” and “Dogs on Quay”, 1000 pieces
I like the panorama shape and the colors in these two. (Click on the image to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.)
“Country Garden”, 3×500 pieces
I like these sets of 500 piece puzzles. You can do them individually. Or, if you want to make it harder, open up 2 or 3 of them and mix together! Love the Spring theme, which is definitely on my want list right now.
“World Travel Guides”, 1000 pieces
I love all the fonts and colors on this collage.
“Llama Drama Selfie” (1000 pieces) and “Fun in the Sun Selfie” (500 pieces)
These animal puzzles are great to do with kids. Or just for a laugh.
“Astrologer” by Bill Bell, 1000 pieces (Neon)
I like Bill Bell’s cartoon art. Nice to see this one back in print!
FANTASY & GOTHIC
Educa has had some terrific fantasy and gothic puzzles in the past and they have some cool new ones for 2019.
“Awake Your Magic”, 500 pieces
“Pirate Skull” by Anne Stokes, 500 pieces
Love this one!
“Fierce Loyalty” by Anne Stokes, 1000 pieces
Another thing Educe is a “go-to” brand for is larger piece counts. Here are some new ones that caught my eye.
“Old Garage”. 1500 pieces
The detail in this is fantastic and those green doors look fun to assemble.
“Asia Landmarks”, 1500 pieces
This is awesome. I love travel themed puzzles. (Click on the image to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.)
Title: “Butterfly Garden” by Barbara Behr, 1000 pieces, 26.625″ x 19.25″
Review by Jane
OUR RATING: 8.75/10
Here in Pennsylvania, we’ve had a serious cold snap, as has much of the country. So in looking for a puzzle to work, I was in the mood for something that would give me a blush of spring. I chose this lovely nature puzzle from Barbara Behr.
Box Quality: 8.5/10
The box is shown above and below. Cobble Hill has attractive and sturdy rectangular boxes similar in size to Ravensburger and Jumbo. They have a nice linen finish which makes them look and feel different from other brands. The front of the box does not show the artist or image name.
The back is a generic Cobble Hill back. There’s nothing specific about the artist or puzzle image here.
Below: A close-up of the back blurb in English.
The box sides have a nice close-up detail from the image, the Cobble Hill logo, piece count, puzzle dimensions, artist name, and puzzle name. The year of production is not listed anywhere. The Cobble Hill boxes all have a similar layout but the color is unique for each puzzle. The boxes look nice arranged together on a shelf.
Inside the box:
Inside the box is the bag of puzzle pieces and a small poster of the image. The pieces were fully separated with no damage and little puzzle dust.
The poster is not much larger than the box image, however, it does show the entire image, part of which is obscured on the box cover by the logo, so that’s helpful. It’s also nice to have a second reference if more than one person is working on the puzzle.
The back of the poster is blank.
Overall I’ve given the box an 8.5 score.
The Image: 10/10
I really liked this image the first time I saw it. I like nature puzzles when painted or hand-drawn (not so much the photographic ones). This image has an almost cartoon simplicity in the art style, yet the image is packed with color and detail. I like that there are many different types of flowers and butterflies in the image and very few are exactly the same, meaning that when assembling it won’t be super difficult. And, indeed, while working it, you can usually compare any piece to the box image and figure out where it goes. There are lots of small details, such as the color of the stamen on a yellow flower, or the iridescent dots on a butterfly, which made each object in the puzzle unique. This image is perfectly designed to be a jigsaw puzzle.
Above: The completed puzzle. Click for closer view.
This 1000 piece puzzle has a random cut with a wide variety of piece shapes. I like both grid and random cut puzzle, though random cut gets the edge for variety’s sake. Most of the pieces were average in size (similar to Ravensburger) but some were on the small side. You can see the different sizes in the close-up below.
The cut is highly visible on the finished puzzle and doesn’t blend in as much, which may be an issue if you are interested in keeping and framing the puzzle but otherwise doesn’t bother me.