Challenge Yourself: Scheming with Color

Finding yourself itching for a challenge, but not quite ready to jump up to the impossible puzzles or the other uniquely challenging puzzles with a twist?

Or maybe you just prefer the traditional puzzle look and feel. You might like the routine of starting with your edge pieces or working with familiar piece shapes. Whatever the case, don’t think you still can’t challenge your brain. The bright side is, you don’t have to up your piece count either. Work with the size and style you already love. Just switch up your color scheme!

Finding puzzles that are largely of one or two color schemes can make you have to work a little harder, be a little more creative, and definitely test your patience as you wonder how you should start organizing the pieces!

If you have a favorite puzzle that you’ve completed before that was challenging because of the color scheme, share it with us in the comments. We’d love to hear about it!

zebra puzzles, safari puzzles, black and white puzzles

Explosion by SunsOut. 550 pieces. Finished size: 15” x 24.”

waterfall puzzles, boats puzzles

Crash Course by Thomas Barbey Puzzles. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 23” x 29”.

greece puzzles, white jigsaw puzzle

Greece by Clementoni. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 26.5” x 18.25”.

 

rose puzzles, flower puzzles

Red Rose by Ravensburger. 500 pieces. Finished size: 19.75” x 19.75”.

kitten puzzles, cats

Kittens in Pots. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 19.25” x 26.5”.

feathers puzzles, red puzzles

Feathers by Piatnik. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 26.5” x 17.25”.

 

ocean puzzles, surfing puzzles

Big Wave by Heye. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 22” x 22”.

 

Beautiful Swan by Ravensburger. 500 pieces. Finished size: 19.5″ x 14.25″.

Autumn Reflection by Springbok. 1500 pieces. Finished size: 28.75″ x 36″.

 

 

National Museum of Play – Puzzlers Week

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of speaking at the National Museum of Play during their week-long puzzle exhibit. Puzzle Warehouse had been working closely with the museum for months, donating puzzles and planning activities for the event. During the first week of April, the event launched and I trekked all the way from Eugene, Oregon to Rochester, New York to meet and greet with thousands of puzzle and play enthusiasts. I was certainly in for an adventure!

As part of my role as a puzzle expert at the museum for the weekend, I taught sessions on how to glue a jigsaw puzzle after it’s finished. We made homemade puzzle glue and taught people how to apply it directly to the front of puzzles to help keep them preserved forever. It was truly awesome to meet and chat with so many fellow puzzle lovers and also many people who were just recently getting into the hobby and just happened to stumble upon the event. So many people gasped when they saw the 24,000 piece “Life, The Greatest Challenge” jigsaw puzzle on display in complete form and then also out in an activity room where visitors could help put it together.

Check out some photos from the event below:

[Update: More photos added courtesy of Corrie Kraai, National Museum of Play]

Life halfcut E '13

Life, The Greatest Challenge is a 24,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, the second largest in the world, now on display at the National Museum of Play.

Puzzle Fun This Way!

Puzzle Fun This Way!

Guests helped to assembled the 24,000 piece giant jigsaw puzzle!

Guests helped to assembled the 24,000 piece giant jigsaw puzzle!

 

Guests helped to assembled the 24,000 piece giant jigsaw puzzle!

Guests helped to assembled the 24,000 piece giant jigsaw puzzle!

Flyer from National Museum of Play Puzzle Week

Flyer from National Museum of Play Puzzle Week featuring Ashley from Puzzle Warehouse.

 

Play energizes us and enlivens us. It eastes our burdens. It renuews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.

The National Museum of Play had many quotes displayed throughout the exhibits that fit in line with the philosophy of Puzzle Warehouse.

Ashleys young puzzle expert April '13

We were proud of this 6-year-old who boasted his hobby of completing 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles by himself. “I don’t need help – I’m a puzzle expert!” he said casually as he pieced together this small puzzle with ease. I feel blessed to have met this special kid and his mom along with many other puzzle people!

*Above photo published with parent’s permission.

See more detail shots of Life, The Greatest Challenge over on our Facebook page.

Home Sweet Home

I’ve spent the last several day packing up all my things into boxes and moving across town into a new house with new roommates. It’s sort of exciting rearranging your furniture in a new room and calling a new house “home.”

So what is the difference between a new house and a new home? Well, as my favorite writer Lemony Snicket puts it: “The difference between a house and a home is like the difference between a man and a woman—it might be embarrassing to explain, but it would be very unusual to get them confused.”

Our homes are our spaces to relax, to spend time with our families and friends, to do our hobbies (how many of you have a puzzle spread out on your coffee table right now?) Snicket has another great thing to say about homes, which rings true for many of us: “There is something marvelous about returning home at the end of a long day, even if there is tuna fish for dinner.”

Coziness and comfort are what makes a house a home for me, but then there are some homes that are so beautiful and elegant, prim and proper—but these are no less homes to the people inside them. Here’s some of our best houses and homes in puzzle form, some that emanate warmth and tranquility, some that are modern and sleek.

autumn puzzles, orange, fall, pumpkins

Autumn’s Golden Moments by SunsOut. 1000 pieces.

black and white puzzles, river, bridges, netherlands jigsaws

Bridge by Lion Rampant Imports. 1000 pieces.

beach puzzles, ocean, seaside

Ocean Avenue by White Mountain. 1000 pieces.
san francisco puzzles, bay puzzles, transportation

Evening Journey by Educa. 1000 pieces.

italy puzzles, ocean puzzles, mediterranean puzzles

Cinque Terre, Italy by Ravensburger. 2000 pieces.

san francisco

Painted Ladies by Ravensburger. 1000 pieces.

Dowdle – House of Seven Gables by Dowdle Folk Art. 1000 pieces.

Mediterranean Waterfront by Springbok. 2000 pieces.

 

Country Cottage by Ravensburger. 1500 pieces.

Down by the Sea by Ravensburger. 300 pieces.

Village Hideaway by Educa. 2000 pieces.

 

 

 

 

Our Hearts are with Boston

All of our hearts at Puzzle Warehouse are with those in Boston today.

Boston, Massachusetts panoramic skyline.

After yesterday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon, it is important that we come together, spread kindness, cheer, and get in touch with our empathy skills.

Mr. Rogers said it best in 1986 when he said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”

As people mourn, worry, and wonder what happened in this tragedy all over America, there is a surprising amount of people focused on the good: there are articles about the helpers, the heroes.

The Daily Beast reports that NBC Sports Tweeted “that many marathon runners crossed 26 miles to the finish line and continued running to Massachusetts General Hospital, where they donated blood to victims.

Find out the ways that you can help from near or far during these stressful times.

Boston is a beautiful city with wonderful people that are coming together to help one each other out right now. We could all use Bostonians as an example now. Their kindness is inspiring.

Boston by artist Eric Dowdle.

Challenge Yourself: Keeping your Brain Active

We already know that puzzling has multiple benefits—it’s relaxing, fun, and a good way to keep your brain in tip top shape. In fact, puzzles (and the variations of puzzles from Sudoku to Scrabble) are second on Wiki’s list of things to do to exercise that big mass of nerves inside your cranium.

The more you challenge your brain, the more new nerve pathways you form. The benefit of this has some amazingly positive benefits: namely, it can help you avert cognitive decline.

So here’s some things (easy things!) you can start doing in your daily life to make things a little more interesting, and make your brain work just a little bit harder.

1. Get strategizing! Play strategy games like chess or bridge, Poker or Scrabble.

2. Do new things to perk up your brain. Brush your teeth with your eyes closed or use your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth (or build a puzzle)! Take a new route to work and stop living life on autopilot.

3. Read more. Books, magazines, blogs (this one counts!) or the newspaper. Set little goals: ten pages of your novel a day before bed, an article with your lunch break meal, whatever—just fit in some reading time!

4. Start memorizing more. Stop relying on your cell phone and try to learn a new friend’s phone number. Or your grocery list. Or how about the US presidents in order?

5. Listen to classical music because it increases brain activity more positively and helps with spatial intelligence.

How about trying something new with your puzzles? Creative Crafthouse has a huge selection of brain teasers that will push you in entirely new ways! For instance, check out this brain puzzle:

Brainwave. Ages 10+. Difficulty: 4 out of 6.

From the info page: This fellow really has a lot on his mind. Can you help him organize his thoughts? You must insert the 10 pegs into his mind such that no color is repeated on any of the rows, columns, or diagonals of the triangle on BOTH sides at the same time. Each peg has a different color combination on its ends.