Photography

Something I’ve always been drawn to is our photography puzzles. Don’t get me wrong, I love folk art and fun cartoons and also art based in realism. But there’s something about a crisp image that just draws me in.

I think there’s an aspect of photography-based puzzles that’s a bit more challenging, too. Art based in painting or drawing is very deliberate, so, for instance, one piece of the puzzle might have a very distinguishing feature (such as a color) that makes it easy to place. Framing and composition in photography can also be deliberate, but colors are less so, especially in nature settings. Check out all these puzzles and think about the challenges of putting together the pieces of the out-of-focus backgrounds, or the monochrome color scheme!

babies puzzle, anne geddes puzzle, cute

Baby Love – Mia by Educa. 1000 pieces.

Autumn Gray Wolf by Lafayette Puzzle Factory. 500 pieces.

paris puzzles, travel jigsaw puzzles, vacation theme

Eiffel Tower by Clementoni. 1000 pieces.

Stingray by Heye. 1000 pieces.

ocean puzzles, boats, sailing

Sailboats by Springbok. 500 pieces.

Cool Waters by Master Pieces. 500 pieces.

Goetta Canal, Sweden by Ravensburger. 1000 pieces.

Barrels by Lion Rampart Imports. 1000 pieces.

Kalahari Desert by Heye. 1000 pieces.

Parc Guell by Educa. 500 pieces.

Rising Storm by Heye. 1000 pieces.

Lijang – China by Clementoni. 2000 pieces.

On another note, I’m currently doing a puzzle from New York Puzzle Co. with a review to come! Here’s a sneak preview of what we got done last night:

Artist Profile: Jim Daly

In our last post, we featured a puzzle with the artwork of Jim Daly. Barbara’s comment that she loved the puzzle of the little boy taking a bath inspired me to look up what other Jim Daly art we have. Turns out, there’s quite a few! Some of them I’d even saved to my wishlist without realizing that they were from the same artist.

If you like art that “shows life as good, honest, wholesome and clean, full of hope and inspiration,” then Jim Daly’s art is for you. He says that if he can attract people to these kinds of principles then “I feel as if I’ve said something in my art.”

jim daly art, children puzzles, people theme puzzles, cats

A Quick Sniff by SunsOut. 500 pieces.

Jim Daly’s images feature a lot of children. Of them he says, “In a sense my paintings are just me reliving my own childhood and my own life experiences, or maybe the way I would have liked it to be. I’m really moved by the memories of days gone by. Sometimes I think the memories are better than the reality. I love to paint children. There’s an innocence they have that I never get tired of trying to put on canvas.”

Childhood Friends by SunsOut. 1000 pieces.

Daly knew he wanted to be an artist even when he was a young boy. He was born in Oklahoma but moved to Los Angeles at an early age in the years right after WWII. Of his childhood, Daly remembers that he was always drawing—and his mom was always encouraging.

“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing. My Mom was always telling me what a great artist I was. She would make so much out of my drawings that I believed her. She made [my brother] Clayne and I think we were great.”

Back to the Barn by SunsOut. 1000 pieces.

“My paintings are just a reflection of my boyhood,” Daly says. “We rode our bikes, played baseball in vacant lots, and shot marbles, all the things kids do, and there was always a dog following us around.”

Pep Talk by SunsOut. 500 pieces.

Before becoming an artist, Daly dropped out of school to join the army, then while stationed in Panama in the infantry division, he joined the boxing team. He considered becoming a professional boxer, but went to art school instead.

Just a Cowboy Buckeroo by SunsOut. 550 pieces.

He married and had four children, but tragically lost his youngest at the age of six years old. After he divorced his first wife, he married his second wife, Carol. They have been together for 33 years. She teaches at the University of Oregon.

Just Hanging Around by SunsOut. 500 pieces.

Daly finds that his work and art is always evolving.

“Art for me is a continuous search,” he says. “When I was young and starting out as an artist I wanted to learn everything I could. I wanted to know exactly what I was doing but every time I finished a painting it never met up to my expectations and I felt like a failure. As time went by it didn’t get any easier and I still didn’t understand what I was doing. When I heard the joke, ‘By the time I found out I had no talent it was to late; I was already famous’ it scared the heck out of me. Then one day I was watching TV and I happened to catch Allan Alda giving the commencement speech at his daughter’s graduation and he said a sentence that changed my life: ‘CREATIVITY IS NEVER QUITE KNOWING WHAT YOU’RE DOING.’ I then realized that it’s not desirable to know exactly what I’m doing and I’ve never looked back.”

To learn more about Jim Daly, check out his website’s autobiography section. And remember that all the Jim Daly puzzles are offered by SunsOut and right now we are running a special where you can buy 3 SunsOut puzzles and get one FREE!

 

Dreams and Puzzles: What Your Subconscious May Be Telling You

Now that school is out and I’m not so stressed, I’ve started dreaming again. I’ve always loved dream and have a vivid recollection of most of my weirdest ones. I like to go online and look up dream dictionaries and figure out what my dreams are telling me.

The other day, for instance, I had a dream that I was walking along a street and I found several quarters. I was very excited and started to pick them up, when I started noticing dollar bills, five dollar bills, and then even hundred dollar bills. The dream-logic was that someone had won the lottery and had spilled some of it on their way home. Euphoric in the dream, I snatched up all the money and paid off some student loans (I know, very exciting, right?)

But of course I looked up the symbolism.

One Million Dollars by White Mountain. 1000 pieces.

From dreammoods.com, I found that “To see or win money in your dream indicates that success and prosperity is within your reach. Money represents confidence, self-worth, success, or values. You have much belief in yourself. Alternatively, dreaming about money refers to your attitudes about love and matters of the heart. It is a common symbol for sexuality and power. In particular, finding money indicates your quest for love or power.”

Color of Money by Springbok. 2000 pieces.

So I’ve at least figured out my surprise millionaire dream (I’m questing for love or power—how thrilling) but there are so many common dream tropes. We also have a lot of puzzles which may reflect those tropes. Maybe our choice of puzzles is telling us something subconscious?

Dance of the Moon Fairy by Educa. 1000 pieces.

Flying dreams—or our allure to puzzles where whimsical creatures fly—might suggest something about how you feel about the situation you are in. If you fly with ease and comfort, you’re “on top of” the situation at hand or maybe you’ve found a new perspective. But if you are having difficulties with your flight, you’re experiencing a lack of power with your circumstances. If you fear flying, you might be afraid of challenges and success, and you’re hesitant for the next step.

Saturday Night by Cobble Hill. 500 pieces.

This cute kid in the art by Jim Daly is enjoying a Saturday evening bath, but dreams about being naked in other situations apart from bath time suggest vulnerability or unpreparedness. Maybe you feel like you’re not being true to yourself and that others can “see right through you” or that you’re exposed and have no defenses.

Great White Delight by Ceaco (Glow in the Dark Puzzle). 100 pieces.

Dreams about teeth are all too common. Maybe your teeth are rotting or falling out (I know I’ve had several dreams where I lose a tooth as an adult, all which seem so real I wake up and have to feel around in my mouth!)

The Dream Dictionary has this to say: “Teeth are used to bite, tear, chew and gnaw. In this regard, teeth symbolize power. And the loss of teeth in your dream may be from a sense of powerlessness. Are you lacking power in some current situation? Perhaps you are having difficulties expressing yourself or getting your point across. You feel frustrated when your voice is not being heard. You may be experiencing feelings of inferiority and a lack of self-confidence in some situation or relationship in your life. This dream may be an indication that you need to be more assertive and believe in the importance of what you have to say.”

Belvedere by Buffalo Games. 1000 pieces.

As we know, though, sometimes dreams just don’t make sense at all. They’re surreal, the logic is flawed, and it doesn’t seem like you could pull a valid interpretation out of it even if you tried your hardest. Then it feels a little like an M.C. Escher artwork: fun perspective, but ultimately nonsensical.

Blue by Eurographics. 1000 pieces.

Pick out the details with your dreams, even the little things! Like this Kandinsky painting, where the image means little but the colors symbolize mood: “For Kandinsky, blue is the color of spirituality: the darker the blue, the more it awakens human desire for the eternal.”

Try choosing your next puzzle on the feelings it evokes or on your last dream for something fun and different!

Kittens Galore!

We recently added a new addition to our house: a small, bright, fluffy white kitten named Casper. A long time ago, the new addition of my dog, Marlowe, was the inspiration for a puppy post. Well, you know what’s coming, then. I must now update you with new pictures of my (now fully grown) puppy and her new friend.

Screen shot 2013-06-20 at 11.46.42 PM

The getting-to-know-you game was full of reservation on the dogs’ parts. They were so uncertain about this little creature!

Screen shot 2013-06-20 at 11.47.05 PMBut after a little playtime, they quickly grew into fast friends.

Celebrate your love of cats with this many different puzzles that are cute, artistic, or whimsical!

Secrets by Educa. 500 pieces.

Egyptian by Jane Crowther by Heye. 1000 pieces.

Special Delivery by Buffalo Games. 1000 pieces.

rosina wachtmeister, cat art

Mouse by Rosina Wachtmeister from Heye. 1000 pieces.

Cats Under Blanket by Eurographics. 750 pieces.

Cats Galore by White Mountain. 1000 pieces.

Perfect Pose by Master Pieces. 500 pieces.

Pavan Van Klimt by SunsOut. 500 pieces.

labrador, grey cat, kittens

Friendly Opposites by Ravensburger. 500 pieces.

Seventeen Cats by Edward Gorey from Pomegranate. 300 pieces.

 

 

 

Fun with Rompecabezas

I spent the better part of my day exchanging emails in Spanish with new Spanish penpals. I’m hoping to keep up my language skills over the summer so that when I come back in the fall, I can still keep up.

My new friends are from México, España (Spain), and Argentina. So, of course, after asking them a million questions about their towns and cities, I’ve become in love with the idea of traveling abroad and practicing my Spanish.

We have tons of travel puzzles that you can browse by  major city or country. But for today, check out some of these great puzzles from places in Spanish-speaking countries!

Fun fact: the puzzle brand Educa dates back to 1894 and is a leading brand in puzzles and games and they’re located in Barcelona, Spain.

(Psst: las rompecabezas translates to “the jigsaw puzzles.” What a lovely word!)

rio de janeiro puzzles, brazil, travel puzzles

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by Educa. 2000 pieces.

mexico puzzles

Cancun by Dowdle Folk Art. 1000 pieces.

Puerto Vallarta by Dowdle Folk Art. 500 pieces.

landmark puzzles, sagrada familia, spain puzzles

Sagrada Familia by Educa. 1000 pieces.

We also have a 3D puzzle of this beautiful Roman Catholic church located in Spain.

3D Puzzle: Sagrada Familia by Daron Worldwide Trading. 194 pieces.

Old City of Granada by Ravensburger. 1000 pieces.

Holy Week in Seville by Pomegranate. 1000 pieces.

Prades, Barcelona by Heye. 1500 pieces.