Jigsaw Puzzle Swap

We recently had a customer tell us that it can be difficult to afford their jigsaw puzzle hobby because they finish their puzzles so quickly. That put us to thinking: besides re-doing previous puzzles or upping the piece count, how can you satisfy your hobby without spending more than you’ve budgeted for it?

First, we have several sales going on all the time, from items under $10 to discontinued items discounted 10% and items discounted because the box has been damaged (the puzzle inside is perfectly unaffected though!)

Goldenline Fairies – Water Faery 750 piece jigsaw puzzle from Lafayette Puzzle Factory. $8.99

Heavy Drinkers 500 piece (Discontinued puzzle)  from SunsOut. $10.99

Venice in the Summer – Scratch and Dent 1000 piece puzzle from Cobble Hill. Sale price: $13.99

 

But if you want to go even cheaper and you want to avoid thrift store puzzles that might be missing a piece or two and the digital puzzle route isn’t your style, then consider jigsaw puzzle swaps.

There are many ways to swap jigsaw puzzles. You can check out the Jigsaw Puzzle Swap Facebook page or sign up to be a member of Jigsaw Puzzle Swap Exchange, an online website where you will send and receive packages filled with quality jigsaw puzzles in good condition with other puzzle lovers.

If you’re thinking more locally, you can host an event yourself.

To host a jigsaw puzzle swap with friends and family, or a larger community swap by using websites such as Meet Up, just set a minimum number of puzzles that have no missing pieces to bring and then let your guests browse and swap!

You might agree upon rules or you might not, opting for a more casual, lighthearted event. Either way, you’ll just want to ensure that everyone leaves happy with a new puzzle to complete that they consider a fair exchange.

Popular rules would be along the lines of:

  • You can only swap puzzles that have a similar or equal piece count, i.e. if you bring two 2000 piece jigsaw puzzles, it’s not fair to go home with three 150 piece jigsaw puzzles
  • Swaps should be similar in quality, i.e. no swapping a dollar store puzzle for a high-quality Cobble Hill jigsaw puzzle
  • You don’t have to swap an equal number of puzzles, just an equal challenge, i.e. swapping two 500 piece puzzles is fair game for one 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle
  • Find some way to accommodate people that have specific preferences, such as XL pieces or shaped puzzles only (or not at all) so that no one feels like they are stuck with a puzzle they have no desire or ability to complete
  • Puzzles are exchanged forever, or puzzles must be returned to the original owner within a set time span (returning puzzles is better suited for a swap limited to family and friends, parting with a puzzle forever would be more apt for a larger swap with members of your community)

This swap could be hosted once a year or once a season, depending on how frequently you and your puzzle-loving friends buy and complete new puzzles!

Did you know the Rubiks Cube is 40 years old?

rubik's cub

It was 40 years ago when Erno Rubik, a architecture professor in Budapest, Hungary, put a name to the object he had created – a solid cube that could twist and turn, but didn’t fall apart. The object was not supposed to be possible – and it took him over a month to work out a solution to the puzzle. But As a teacher, he looked at the creation of the Rubik’s Cube as primarily an “object of art, a mobile sculpture symbolizing stark contrasts of the human condition: bewildering problems and triumphant intelligence; simplicity and complexity; stability and dynamism; order and chaos.”

Little did he know it would become the best selling puzzle in the world. And now it has become a national event! The 2014 Rubik’s Cube  US National Championships are underway and continue through August 3rd. 

Competition categories include Speedsolve, Blindfolded, One Handed, and With Feet. Click here to see the results as they come in.

Over the last 40 years, the Rubik’s Cube has evolved into several different styles and functions. At Puzzle Warehouse, we love to see new, interesting and unique versions of this popular brain teasing puzzle. Here are some of our favorites:

Rubik’s Void Puzzle

 

Similar to the Rubik’s Cube, the Void Cube Puzzle has one notable difference – the center cubes are missing! The addictive 3x3x3 mechanical puzzle is a multi-dimensional challange that facinates puzzle fans around the world. With “43 Quintillion” possible moves and only “1” solution, even the Rubik’s fan will find new challenge as you try and solve it!

Snake King 4x4x4:

The 4x4x4 King Snake has 64 blocks that make up a 4x4x4 cube when complete. The degree of difficulty climbs through the roof! Oh so tough! If you solve this in under 3 hours without the instructions, we will be quite impressed. (The fastest time to solve we know of is two hours). This King pattern with the checkerboard blocks is very tough even though there are 2 possible solutions, as the cube colors give very little hints as to the correct solution path.

The Perfect Summer Picnic Baskets

16910theblessingcat

The Blessing, 500 XL pieces, SunsOut. Browse our picnic jigsaw puzzles for inspiration this summer!

It’s summertime, and that means it’s picnic time. Take the family out into the sunshine and nature and pack a yummy, healthy, on-the-go meal! There’s a lot of information out there on what makes the perfect picnic, like safety tips on eating food before bacteria can grow, whether it’s pre-cooked or packed in the cooler to stay fresh. Then there’s the checklist of what essential items you need to bring, and recipes upon recipes of what food you can prepare and bring.

We’ve done you the favor or sifting and sorting through all the information so you can have the perfect picnic!

First, you need to decide what kind of picnic you’re having. Is it on-the-go, where you’ll skip the cooler and the hot foods, or is it part of a larger outdoor potluck or day out?

Whatever it is, you’ll need some essentials:

Pre-Picnic Packing

  • Plates, eating and serving utensils, and cups for eating and drinking
  • Cutting board, cutting knife, corkscrew for on-site prep
  • Napkins for hands, moist toilettes for sticky fingers and faces, napkins for cleaning out dishes before re-packing
  • Large and light blanket for easy travelling and to comfortably hold all picnickers and food
  • Backpack for stowing all food for easier traveling (it’s easier to carry than a basket)

Cupcake Picnic. 1000 pieces. Layfayette Puzzle Factory.

Next you’ll need to keep in mind how to keep your food safe.

Health and Safety Tips

  • Take what you think you will eat to avoid waste
  • 2 hour rule: don’t leave perishable foods out longer than 2 hours
  • Keep food covered to keep away from bugs carrying germs
  • Keep warm/hot foods out of the cooler
  • Warm/hot foods should stay at 140 degrees or warmer to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Only prepare these foods if you plan on eating them as soon as you get to your location (within 1 hour), or if you plan to keep them warm on a grill
  • Cold food should stay at 40 degrees or cooler–make sure you put cold foods in cold. For instance, don’t buy a brand new jar of mayonnaise and expect it to cool down to the proper temperature in the cooler. Tip: Pre-frozen items will help keep other items cooler
  • Fill cooler with ice packs, ice, frozen water bottles just before you leave the house and no sooner
  • Transport the cooler in the back seat rather than the trunk, which is the hottest part of the car
  • Keep raw and cooked food separate, both in containers in the cooler and on prep plates
  • Once you’ve eaten, put the food away as soon as possible instead of leaving it out while you go swimming or do another outdoor activity to ensure everything stays fresh

Winning Recipes

All Aboard! May 10th is National Train Day

It’s National Train Day! For the 7th year in a row, train enthusiasts and supporters will be celebrating trains all over the country, with an event held at the St. Louis Station today where there will be live entertainment as guests explore trains, sleeping cars, and try foods that were at the 1904 World Fair. What better way to celebrate after the festivities than with beautiful art of a train in the form of a puzzle?

We may think that trains don’t hold as much significance in our lives now that so many people have personal cars and that planes dominate the skies to take us from place to place, but we would be wrong! Train ridership has grown 55% since 1997, meaning that it’s the fastest growing travel mode.

So today we’re going to pick some of our favorites train jigsaw puzzles, share them with you, and let you know some great facts we’ve learned about locomotives for National Train Day.

train jigsaw puzzle

Golden Age of Railroads from White Mountain. 1000 pieces.

You might say that it’s the golden age of trains… because for every plane ride between the major cities of New York City and Washington DC, there are three times as many train rides.

Durango Express from Springbok. 500 pieces.

Amtrak carries 31.6 million people every year… and Amtrak just has passenger cars. That doesn’t add up all the trains that run every day to deliver goods to communities in a timely, efficient manner!

alaska jigsaw puzzle, aurora lights

Alaska Memories from SunsOut. 1000 pieces.

Trains are also more environmentally friendly, keeping the world bright and beautiful. For every passenger that rides, Amtrak trains are 16% more efficient than planes and 34% more efficient than cars.

The Coming of the Iron Horse from SunsOut. 500 pieces.

Trains bring us close to nature! Amtrak delivers people to 237 National Parks, historic sites, and monuments, meaning people can pack their hiking gear and leave the car keys at home.

All Aboard! from White Mountain. 1000 pieces.

With so many trains and stations to operate, Amtrak creates a lot of jobs for local communities. In fact, it employs more than 20,000 people across the nation, which is roughly equivalent to every single student at New York University.

lionel trains puzzle

Lionel Series 1935 from SunsOut. 300 pieces.

There are many types of trains. There’s Maglev trains, monorail trains, suspended monorail trains, bullet, commuter, and super trains, and they each have their strengths. For instance, the Maglev is the fastest land-based transport. It has no wheels and hovers only on magnets, and it can whiz past on those tracks at speeds of about 323 miles per hour (430 kilometers per hour).

History of Trains from Eurographics. 1000 pieces.

The invention of trains came over a hundred years ago in 1804. A man named Richard Trevithick invented the first steam powered train. It’s first run included over ten loads of material, with about 70 people and some wagon and iron materials. It wasn’t very fast–it took over two hours to travel nine miles–but it was blazing in comparison to riding a wagon.

Lunchtime from SunsOut. 550 pieces.

It wasn’t until 1925 that there came a company that was dedicated from transporting people across the country in the steam powered machine. This was around the time of the Ford Model T, when cars could travel about 40-45 mph tops. Trains at this time only went 9 mph, but they could carry hundreds of passengers at a once and, just like today, riding a train has advantages for traveling long distances with beautiful scenery and more comfortable seats.

In fact, some people love riding trains so much it’s not even about getting somewhere. Recently Amtrak announced it would be offering free residencies for up to 24 writers, who love the calm, serene rides so much and find them to be a good place for productivity. But forget the destination, because this is about the journey. Writers will travel roundtrip, but only to enjoy the ride and get writing done in their sleeper cabin.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas: Jigsaw Puzzles for Every Mom

Mother’s Day is next Sunday, and we have some great ideas for what to get her! With themes in our Mother’s Day Section from outdoors and camping to fine art and fashion, you’ll find exactly what Mom loves.

Dolphin Family from Cobble Hill. 400 pieces. Finished size: 24″ x 18″

A great family-friendly activity for families with kids of varying ages is our special family format puzzles, which includes 3 different sizes of puzzle pieces for little hands, experienced puzzlers, and everyone in-between! If Mom loves puzzles and you want a gift that speaks to that and gives her some great family bonding time, this is it! Wake her up Sunday with breakfast in bed and then spend the day with some quality bonding and puzzle time. For ages 10 and up. Check out more of our family format puzzles to choose a theme that Mom loves!

Route 66 from White Mountain. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 24″ x 30″

landmarks jigsaw puzzles, travel

Landmarks of the World from Master Pieces. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 19.25″ x 26.75″

Does Mom love travel? Whether it be a good old fashioned road trip with a map spread out on her lap, a fancy getaway destination where she can relax in the sun, or a high cultured trip to all the top landmarks in the world, we have plenty of travel-related puzzles she’ll love to put together. If you’re planning a trip together, from a small one to the beach or a big one to Paris, you’ll be able to find a puzzle related to your travel destination! If you took some family vacations when you were growing up, find the perfect puzzle that reminds you of that summer visiting the Grand Canyon or all those trips to beautiful Florida during spring break. Build the puzzle together and reminisce as you laugh over old memories and create new ones together.

 

On that same note of reflection, outdoors puzzles are great for the mom that took you fishing on the lakes and pitched the tent in the forest so you could sleep under the stars. If your love of nature came from her, remind her this Mother’s Day!

National Park Badges from White Mountain. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 24″ x 30″

Catching Memories from Master Pieces. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 13″ x 39″

 

If you want to go a different route, get something for her that reminds her of when she was young–whether that be through the styles of the good old days or the entertainment. Complete the gift of an Elvis puzzle with a companion Elvis CD she doesn’t yet own, or rent some I Love Lucy DVDs and let her tell you all about the things she grew up with.

America Back Then from Willow Creek Press. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 26.625″ x 19.25″

I Love Lucy Collage from Aquarius. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 20″ x 27″

If themed gifts are your thing, get her or make her some delicious treats and pair with a similar food-themed puzzle.

Chocolates from Eurographics. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 19.25″ x 26.5″

Find her a subscription to a magazine she loves with a matching puzzle featuring a vintage cover…

Good Housekeeping – Bath Time from New York Puzzle Co. 300 pieces. Finished size: 20″ x 27″

…Or get her seeds to plant a garden as beautiful as one she’d envied from a jigsaw puzzle cover!

Tulip Garden from Springbok. 1500 pieces. Finished size: 28.75″ x 36″

Alternately, you could get her two sorts of flowers: a fresh bouquet and matching flower puzzle to last all year long! Help her put it together and frame it and she’ll have a keepsake to go along with a great memory of Mother’s Day 2014.

Colorful Market Flowers from Lafayette Puzzle Factory. 1500 pieces. Finished size: 23″ x 33″

We could go on forever but your Mom is unique and her hobbies and interests will reflect that. You know her best, we’re just here to help with dozens of themes to help you find the just the right gift that shows that!