Airport Travel Tips + Cool Plane Puzzles

‘Airplane Innovation’ reproduced from the cover of Popular Mechanics magazine. Mar. 1931 issue. 300pc Large Piece Puzzle from New York Puzzle Co.

109 years ago, the first airplane, invented by the Wright brothers, rose into the air and landed safely. Just eleven years later, the first airliner—or passenger airplane—took flight, changing the world in significant ways. The airplane and airport have featured prominently in many of our lives, and its status and operations have changed significantly. Airplanes used to be the height of luxury; people would don their Sunday best and look forward to flying. In fact, airplanes were so popular for a while that in 1948 Edward Brown, Jr. invented a fly-in theater, where those who owned small planes could travel to Asbury Park, New Jersey, taxi up their airplane, and watch a movie.

Nowadays this is not the case. The airport is a hectic place; trips are stressful. You always seem to get a crying baby on your flight, they change your gate four times, and the food is overpriced. So you need to be prepared, because when you are prepared, flying can be a nice experience again. Here are some tips to make that happen.

  1. Choosing your flight: Choosing your flight will all depends on your own preferences and needs as a traveler. Red-eyes are good for sleeping. Having layovers is cheaper but space your layovers well. Don’t leave less than an hour between a landing time and a new departure time and try to stay on the same airline. If you miss a flight because your first flight has arrived late, you may be shuffled between airlines as they try to get you to your final destination.
  2. Choosing your seat:  If you are lucky enough to choose an airline which lets you choose your seat prior to your trip, plan accordingly. Seats at the front have you boarding last but exiting the plane first. Aisle seats have the disadvantage of knocked elbows and people climbing over you to use the restroom, but they have a bit more room. Avoid middle seats. Window seats are coveted for the view, but they’re also great if you want to rest your head against the wall, but you do have to climb over people to get to the restroom.

    Fun kids puzzle in a frame – 41 pieces by Ravensburger.

  3. Dress comfortably and prepared: There is nothing more irritating than the person in front of you at the security gate who wore a belt and a watch, shoes that need untying, a jacket that needs taking off, and pants with pockets filled with loose change, cell phones, and other odds and ends. Instead, you want speed and efficiency. Bring a light jacket for the plane but keep it in your carry-on until you pass through the gates, or tie it around your waist. Slip off shoes are recommended. Typically I wear something light but that fully covers my arms and legs: well-fitting jeans and a comfy t-shirt.
  4. Suitcases with wheels over duffle bags: If you not checking luggage, this is a must. If you are checking luggage, I’d still recommend the wheels. Wheels are just plain convenient.

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15 Best Autumn Themed Puzzle

Autumn is back and it’s the best time of the year for puzzles! The days are shorter, colder, and prettier, and it’s the perfect setting for curling up by the window and putting together your fall-themed puzzles with your families. Things feel timeless in the fall, and here are some puzzles that will help evoke the nostalgic feelings that come with this time of year, featuring those bright leaves you love, pumpkins and even Halloween scenes.

Autumn Market – Cobble Hill

1000 pieces. Finished size: 19.25” x 26.625”. $15.99.

 Blue Jay and Friends – Cobble Hill

1000 pieces. Finished size: 26.625" x 19.25". $15.99.

 Pumpkin Patch – Buffalo Games by Artists Persis Clayton Weirs & Lesley Harrison

1000 pieces . Finished size: 20" x 27". $14.99.

 Little Farmers Market – Sunsout by artist David Rottinghaus

1000 pieces . Finished size: 27" x 20". $14.99.

 A Bridge to Unity – Sunsout by artist Dave Barnhouse

1000 pieces . Finished size: 16" x 34". $14.99.

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New Species Discovered: The Lesula Monkey

There is officially a new species of monkey that has been named, though the Lesula Monkey has been long familiar animal to the locals of its central African habitat in the lowland forests of the Congo.


A team of scientists has been investigating the species since June 2007 and have now given it the binomial Cercopithecus lomamiensis. It was discovered when researchers found a lesula monkey that was the pet of a school director’s daughter.

The lesula resembles an owl-faced monkey, but is easily distinguishable by its variations in color, its significantly larger incisors and second molars. They have since proven that the owl-monkey and the lesula are close relatives but genetically distinct, most likely separated geographically by a river that led to the differences between the two species.

This is only the second discovery of a new monkey species in 28 years, but it reminds us that there are still areas of earth to be explored and things to be found.

If this has triggered your fondness of monkeys, here are a few of our puzzles which feature monkeys and apes. We also have a huge selection of jungle animal puzzles for you to enjoy!

500 piece jigsaw puzzle by Buffalo Games.

 

100 piece kids puzzle by Ravensburger.

 

1000 piece jungle puzzle by artist James Hamilton Grovely. Made by Sunsout.

Artist Profile: Annie Lee

My Cup Runneth Over – a 550 piece puzzle from artist Annie Lee.

Annie Lee is an artist that describes herself as painting scenes of every day life, saying, “I try to paint things that people can identify with.” Art commentators have called her distinct style “Black Americana.” She paints two-dimensional figures and incorporates elements of humor, satire, and realism in her work. Notably, she does not paint faces on her figures because, she says, “You don’t need to see a face to understand emotion. I try to make the movement of the body express the emotion,” she says.

Lee was born in Alabama where she and her brother grew up being taught to cook, wash, clean, and sew together. She began painting at the age of ten and her talent was immediately apparent: she began winning contests and even secured several free semesters of lessons at an art institute. In high school she continued honing her artistic talent and cheered for her high school football team on the cheerleading squad. She turned down a scholarship to Northwestern so she could marry and have a family, saying, “At the time, it wasn’t a hard decision to make.”

Lee ended up in Chicago and did not return to painting until she was 40 years old, after she had lost two husbands to cancer and had raised two children. While working at a railroad company by day, Lee began to take art classes at night. After eight years, she earned a master’s degree from Loyola University and recalls the experience saying, “The best thing I ever did for myself. It reopened my mind.”

Lee’s passion for painting stayed intense. Because she was painting so much, she developed tendinitis and spinal problems while the acrylic paints she used cause other illness from the fumes. But she never stopped. Instead, in 1986—a year after her successful first gallery show in which her paintings sold out in the first four hours—Lee made the transition from painting’s being hobby to a full-time job. She left the railroad permanently while on leave after her son died in December in an automobile accident. “Now that my son was gone, I didn’t need such financial resources,” she said.

The risk paid off. Lee has since opened her own shop; had her art featured in numerous shows and movies, including Bill Cosby’s “A Different World,” Eddie Murphy’s “Coming to America,” and ER; and she has considerably recognition in the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and Japan.

She currently lives in Las Vegas where she continues to paint in the open air where it helps her health.

Lee is just one of many wonderful artists featured in our African American Art Collection.

Hattie’s Delight is a really popular puzzle by Annie Lee. 500 pieces, made by Sunsout.

Don’t Forget to Vote! + Fun Political Puzzles

It’s time to register to vote! November will be here before you know it and the 2012 Presidential Election is going full speed ahead. We’ve got some really fun political puzzles to share with you – no matter who you’re voting for, you’re sure to find a red or blue puzzle that will be fun to put together this election season.

US Presidents poster puzzle for kids - will the puzzle have to be redesigned or will it stay the same? It’s up to you to vote!


Click for for more information on when voter registration deadlines are due for your state.

GottaVote is also a great site for learning more about registering and how to vote and what you need to do in order to vote.

Artist James Mellett has chosen key moments and key players in the ongoing dialog between Left, Right and Center. Whether you grit your teeth or laugh out loud, you won't be bored by this incredible puzzle. 1000 pieces.

Take a break from all the media coverage and political debates and just have some fun learning about the presidents. Here are some neat facts you may not have known about the first 44 leaders.

  • James Madison was the smallest and measured at 5’4”. The tallest was Abraham Lincoln at 6’4”.
  • John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe all died on the 4th of July, while Calvin Coolidge was born on it.
  • Andrew Jackson killed a man in a duel.
  • Martin Van Buren was the first born as an American citizen. Jimmy Carter was the first born in a hospital.
  • William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia after only 31 days in office.
  • Zachary Taylor never voted for in a presidential election.
  • The White House didn’t have a stove or running water until the time of 13th president, Millard Fillmore.
  • There was no First Lady during the 15th president’s time. James Buchanan never married, so his niece was the White House’s hostess.
  • Ulysses S. Grant had some trouble with the law: he was fined $20 for speeding in his horse and carriage.
  • The first president to have a phone was Rutherford B. Hayes, and his phone number was pretty simple: it was merely “1.” The first president to have his photograph taken was James Polk, and the first one to ride in an airplane and appear on television was Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    These trivia cards are a great way to learn about past USA presidents.

  • James A. Garfield was a talented ambidextrous. He could write with both hands simultaneously—in different languages!
  • Grover Cleveland is the was the first one to get married in the White House. He married his business partner’s daughter whom he had known since she was born. They also were the first ones to have a child born during a presidency.
  • Campaign buttons were first used by 25th president William McKinley.
  • Theodore Roosevelt officially dubbed it the White House in 1901. Before it was the Executive Mansion, the President’s Palace, or simply the President’s House.
  • Poor Woodrow Wilson never fulfilled his dreams. He wanted to be a stage performer—instead he was just the president.
  • John Tyler, a father of fifteen, had the most children. James Madison, James Polk, and James Buchanan were all childless.
  • Warren G. Harding liked to gamble. He gambled away a set of the White House’s china.
  • Gerald R. Ford was either really cool or really protective: he held his daughter’s high school prom in the White House.
  • George W. Bush has a collection of over 250 signed baseballs. Barack Obama collects Spider-Man comics.
  • The state where the most presidents was born was Ohio, with 7 presidents. No presidents have been born in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, or Wyoming.
  • Imagine if your mechanic or your teacher became your president. That’s what happened to many customers and students when Lyndon B. Johnson took office. Other notable careers of presidents before they were presidents: Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer, Ronald Reagan was a movie actor, Abe Lincoln chopped rails for fences, Andrew Johnson was a tailor, Calvin Coolidge was a toymaker, and Gerald Ford was a model.

Can you name them all? This is a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.

How about these guys?