Review: Venice by Clementoni

venice puzzles, travel, photography jigsaw

Venice by Clementoni. 500 pieces. 19 x 13 inches.

The following items in the chart was rated on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best.

Picture Quality: 5
Level of detail: 5
Piece Size: 4
How the pieces are cut: 5
Overall quality: 4.5

This 500 piece Clementoni puzzle was a first for me in multiple ways. I had never completed a 500 piece puzzle by myself, and I had never worked with Clementoni puzzles before. I was surprised by the quality of this puzzle for the price. The picture and details were so clear on so many pieces that I knew right where they went immediately, even if I didn’t have their connections yet.

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Before tackling the rest of the picture, I had most of the bridge finished and the side of the canal.

What I found really challenging in this puzzle was the perspective of the photo. The buildings on the left side were so thin that in reality they were represented on one or one-and-a-half puzzle pieces. I had them sorted by color from the very beginning, but I didn’t begin to actually put these pieces together until way later because my guess and check method wasn’t working.

Where the doors/entryways were, it was hard to find the correct pieces because there was nothing really distinct about the image there. Nothing was so difficult as the water, though. Once I had put together everything that seemed really distinguishable, I organized my pieces by shape. The colors were all too similar for me to really further organize them because there was a lot of whites, greys, and reflections of the water with the exact same colors!

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Pieces organized by shape

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The puzzle came together quite quickly after the shape organization.

Finally I was left with just the water! Now, with all the other pieces out of the way, it was a little easier to see the difference in colors with the water pieces and really focus on what they were reflecting.

The pieces fit together so well. They snapped right into place and didn’t shift around a lot. It was easy to know immediately if I had made a mistake or not.

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Final stretch!

I was surprised at how quickly this puzzle came together. I managed to finish it in 2 days. The water alone took a 2 hour stretch, but really, for my first 500 piece puzzle, I was really pleased. I found it challenging but never overwhelming. There was so much to look at in this puzzle, I found myself noticing things that I hadn’t noticed before all throughout creating the puzzle.

Also, my version of the puzzle didn’t feature the yellow “hotel” sign that the version on our website has!

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Overall, I will definitely be buying from Clementoni again. The quality to price ratio really impressed me. I’ve worked with other 500-range piece puzzles from brands that are maybe $1-$2 cheaper where the pieces left flaky cardboard residue on my fingers or that didn’t snap together so well, but I was more than pleased with Clementoni.

And bonus, the puzzle box made a nice pillow for my dog, Marlowe. :)

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Puzzle Warehouse in Kirkwood Power Outage 8/26/2013

We are currently experiencing web and phone difficulties due to a down power line at Puzzle Warehouse in Kirkwood. Please bare with us, and we will updated here when we are back up an running. Orders may be slightly delayed. We are sorry for any inconvenience. 

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Artist Profile: Nancy Wernersbach

When Nancy Wernersbach was a child, her parents gave her a gift of a box of 128 Crayola crayons. From there, her art career was born. She graduated from Southampton College in New York with a BFA degree in 1981 and post-college had multiple jobs in artistic fields. Wernersbach worked in illustration, had a stained glass company, and also worked as an assistant to a fashion jewelry design firm.

Seaside Summer by SunsOut. 500 pieces. 19 x 26 inches.

Birdhouse Heaven by SunsOut. 1000 pieces. 20 x 27 inches.

Fine art has been a particular passion of hers, though. She remained dedicated to creating oil and watercolor paintings of nature. Currently she even works as a watercolor teacher. Her paintings have earned her fame and she has been busy holding exhibits and selling her work—she has even won awards in some exhibits such as the Nassau County Museum of Art, Stonybrook, and the Long Island Museum.

Balloons Over Fields by SunsOut. 500 pieces. 18 x 24 inches.

Country Autumn by SunsOut. 500 pieces. 18 x 24 inches.

One could easy describe her work as “refreshing, happy, and calming.” Nancy herself has stated that “As an artist, I believe we can use the power of nature and art to help us stop our frantic, anxious pace for a moment and find the peace we need.” She invites her viewers to see the natural places in her work and find “rest and refreshment for the soul.”

Butterfly Garden by SunsOut. 1000 pieces. 20 x 27 inches.

Winter Companions by SunsOut. 500 pieces. 13 x 19 inches.

Meeting at the Clothesline by SunsOut. 1000 pieces. 27 x 35 inches.

Review: Floral Passage by Kenojuak Ashevak

Before I review Pomegranate’s 100 piece puzzle “Floral Passage” by artist Kenojuak Ashevak, I must admit something to you guys: I haven’t been able to finish a puzzle for ages! I’ve started 3 in the past few months. One, unfortunately, was put back in the box by my roommate when my kittens learned to jump on the table and mess with the pieces while I was on vacation. The second had a few pieces that, after falling to the floor, were eaten by my puppy and so I gave up on it even though the Puzzle Doctor exists to help with the problem of missing pieces. The third is wrapped up in a puzzle mat, to be finished and reviewed soon.

This puzzle is part of Pomegranate’s Artpiece series and is 8 x 10 inches, so a small feat and therefore perfect for the type of person (like me) who has limited time and space to put together a puzzle without it getting messed up.

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Size reference: The tiny adorable tin box isn’t much bigger than my keys, meaning if I want to put back the pieces, the box is small and easy to store away somewhere! If I decide to glue the puzzle and frame it, the tin still features the lovely artwork and can be refashioned for another use, like holding recipes or stamps, etc.

Charletta previously reviewed for us Charley Harper’s puzzle “Under the Sweetgum Tree,” which is also part of the Artpiece series.

The following items in the chart was rated on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best.

Picture Quality: 5
Level of detail: 2
Piece Size: 4
How the pieces are cut: 4
Overall quality: 4.5

Now, I know the “level of detail” score is really low, but that’s only because the art is simplistic—which is also why I bought this particular puzzle. I think Keojuak Ashevak’s work here is beautiful and charming, so even though the level of detail score is low, it isn’t at all a deterrent for this puzzle.

I was unfamiliar with Ashevak’s work before, but Pomegranate featured a small artist bio blurb on the back of the box. She was born in an igloo in 1927 and was part of a family that tracked seals and herds of caribou. In her youth she decorated sealskin bags and in 1958 she became successful at “transforming the plants and animals of the inuit world into radiant works of art.” I was actually so intrigued with her work that I looked her up on our website to find that she is also part of the Pomegranate Kids series with her piece “Owl at the Centre.”

I found the pieces very easy to work with. They were sturdy and the quality of the art on the pieces was clear and not at all blurry. I was especially fond of the feel of the pieces. They felt smooth and matte-like.

Because there were so few pieces, it was easy to sort them but it wasn’t so easy that they immediately came together. The white edges, especially, meant I had to pay attention to shape and fit rather than picture. In the photo below, you can see that I had trouble in one section. Those bold white and thin blue strips at the right edge of the photo were misplaced by me and I had to swap them around.

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I tried to challenge myself with this puzzle by timing myself. I finished it in one sitting:

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I have plans to do more Pomegranate Artpiece puzzles in the future because I really like Pomegranate’s selection and I think the piece count and size are perfect for my puzzling needs. I intend to keep timing myself to try and see just how good I can get with 100 pieces before moving up in piece count!

Here is the finished product, with Casper the cat and his friend Emerson admiring it in all its glory:

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A Dream Come True

Dreams DO come true. Puzzle Warehouse is officially featured… on a puzzle!

Missouri State Map by White Mountain. 1000 pieces. 24 x 30 inches.

That’s right, everybody. Our own Puzzle Warehouse is featured as a landmark on this Missouri state puzzle as the biggest puzzle story in the USA! We are on the right side, and we share the great achievement of being featured on this puzzle with the St. Louis Zoo, the historic Route 66, and Busch Stadium!

If you live in Missouri or travel here, stop on by! We’d love to see you, and we’d know you’d love to see our massive collection of puzzles and games!