Nostalgic Puzzles: General Stores

The other day I was talking with my mother and grandparents about the home of my great-grandparents, a small house in the woods built with my great-grandfather’s own hands. My mom talked about going to visit them and how she loved to visit the general store nearby. She’d walk there, pick out candy, and the counterwoman would write down their tab on a small sheet of paper (10 cents per candy) and my great-grandmother would pay it all at the end of the month.

This inspired me to gather up our puzzles of the general store theme. Sometimes they’re sorted under Americana, sometimes under Fall puzzles, sometimes under specific holidays. The presence of old time-y general stores brings about that nostalgic sense of simpler times or small towns. Enjoy!

Pies, Pastries, and Pumpkins by SunsOut. 1000 pieces.

jane wooster scott autumn puzzle

Fill ‘ER Up! by Ceaco. 550 pieces.

Tom Antonishak puzzle, general store jigsaw

Fannie Mae’s General Store by SunsOut. 1000 pieces.

Pleasant Lake General Store by Lafayette Puzzle Factory. 1000 pieces.

Dixie General Store by SunsOut. 1000 pieces.

douglas laird artist

General Store by Cobble Hill. 275 pieces.

nicky boehme puzzles

Country Shopping by SunsOut. 1000 pieces.

The Corner Store by Springbok. 1000 pieces.

Sugar Creek Cider Mill by Master Pieces. 1000 pieces.

Autumn Tradition by SunsOut. 300 pieces.

Along the Yukon by SunsOut. 300 pieces.

New 2013 Autumn Puzzles

Browsing the New Puzzles and Games tab is always a great way to spend your time, but sometimes you just need to see the new 2013 autumn puzzles all in one place! With the fabulous bursts of orange and yellow, these colorful new puzzles perfectly capture the essence of the best season of the year.

Scarecrow and Friends by SunsOut. 300 pieces. 18 by 24 inches.

Autumn Foxfire by MEGA Puzzles. 1000 pieces. 19 by 26.75 inches.

The Cow and the Pumpkin Farm by SunsOut. 1000 pieces. 19 by 30 inches.

The Spirit of Flight by SunsOut. 1000 pieces. 26 by 26 inches.

Fall at the Covered Bridge by SunsOut. 1000 pieces. 20 by 27 inches.

A Golden Autumn by SunsOut. 550 pieces. 15 by 24 inches.

Enterprise Lane by SunsOut. 1000 pieces. 20 by 27 inches.

Maple Leaves by MEGA Puzzles. 500 pieces. 19 by 13 inches.

Yessiree Bobs by SunsOut. 550 pieces. 15 by 24 inches.

 

Meet David, Puzzler Extraordinaire

David of Ajax, Ontario, Canada has completed a BIG project: the 17 x 6 foot 32,000-piece puzzle from Ravensburger.

Double Retrospect by Keith Harring from Ravensburger. 32,000 pieces.

With the help of his wife, Kim, and 6-year-old daughter, Nicole, David was able to complete the massive puzzle in approximately 360 hours over the time span of over a year. He began his project in March of 2012 and finished it just two months ago in July. After some difficulty mounting the puzzle—difficulties which included having to rearrange his basement, fortify the edges of the different sections of the puzzle, visit multiple hardware stores and having trouble getting the puzzle to securely stay in place—David was done.

Now, relaxing after such a mighty task, David took some time to answer a few of our questions.

In our interview, we discussed the challenges of working on and displaying Double Retrospect, as well as get to know David a little bit. A big thanks to David, who was so friendly and amiable in our interview. It was a pleasure to ask him about his puzzle habits!

David and his wife, Kim, and daughter, Nicole, stand in front of the completed masterpiece in their basement, where David has a craft area to work on his puzzles.

Q: How long did it take you to complete Double Retrospect?

A: This puzzle took approximately 360 hours to complete. I started on March 12, 2012 and finished the last pieces on July 27, 2013.
Just preparing the puzzle for display took nearly 20 hours. I estimate that another 10-15 hours were used to take and set up over 3,400 photographs.
Q: Did anyone help you?
My daughter Nicole (now six and a half) helped on several occasions, mostly with the last 10-20 pieces on the many of the cartoons. [She] and my wife, Kim, put the last two white pieces together!
Q: Were there points where you wanted to give up, or were you determined the whole way through?
A: You’ve heard the terms “mental block” and “writer’s block.” I think I suffered “puzzle block.” I hit this point with about 6000 pieces remaining in late June of 2013. I remember thinking “Why am I doing this?” and “I just can’t do this anymore.” So I left the puzzle alone for several days.
When I looked at it again I had this break through: “This is a 6,000 piece puzzle now. Just finish it!” Over the next five and a half weeks, I put the majority of those pieces together.
Could this [puzzle block] have [had] anything to do with the fact that it was summer and I didn’t want to be in the basement? Most likely!
Q: What was the most challenging puzzle you ever completed before this one?
I completed Ravensburger’s 18,000 piece “Tropical Impressions.” The most challenging part were the green border pieces. I struggled and struggled with those pieces because they were so uniform in shape. I would have preferred not to have them at all.

18,000 piece Tropical Impressions puzzle by Ravensburger.

Puzzle Warehouse Note: We do not carry the full 18,000 piece Tropical Impressions puzzle, but we do carry a smaller version.

 

Q: Do you think you can go back to “normal” sized puzzles after these feats?

David says he enjoys SunsOut’s shaped butterfly puzzles. Here is one we have from artist Lori Schory, an 850 piece shaped puzzle with vibrant colors and imagery.

I work on “normal” size puzzles all the time. I enjoy working on 1,000/1,500/2,000 and 3,000 piece puzzles. Often times, I am working on several smaller puzzles while working on larger ones. I have made gifts of them to family and friends. I enjoy these puzzles because of the variety of cuts they use, and some are even shaped (e.g. Sunsout’s butterfly puzzles).
Q: How did you approach such a large puzzle? Did you spend most of your time sorting?
Just seeing the puzzle packaged the way it was, in one VERY LARGE box, eight bags of pieces and a booklet made me wonder why I purchased such a large puzzle in the first place.

The box alone must be quite large to account for all 32,000 pieces! We include a picture of the box on the product description page to give a visual.

The next step was difficult: mix all the bags together or do it bag by bag? In the end I chose bag by bag because I do not have all that much space in my basement. For many, this is not a true way of doing puzzles but think of all the pieces—especially the white ones!
I spent roughly 1/3 of the time sorting the puzzle pieces: first by colour, then by shade, then by shapes. At one point I had 31 piles of pieces. Dollar stores sell plastic storage containers—some with two compartments—which I began using after the first bag was finished. This really helped storing and organizing the pieces. When I found myself working slowly on the puzzle, I began sorting the next bag. This way, I was “ahead” of the game.
The combination colours, like red/black/blue, did present some difficulty because it meant having to piece together the red/black or blue/black pieces first. Of course the white pieces were “fun” too. Many could be paired, as I discovered after the third bag, especially the centred ones and the offset ones. Then I noticed that some pieces had a very particular knob-shape (by the fourth bag). So sorting the white pieces became easier and easier.
I also discovered (that in the very last bag, for the very last cartoon) a piece having four colours (pink/red/blue/black). Out of 32,256 pieces only one piece had this combination!
Q: What advice would you give to other puzzlers who want to challenge themselves?
The challenge with “Double Retrospect” is to stick with it. Working on a puzzle of this size requires lots of time to sort the pieces. It also has a lot to do with your daily schedule and the mood you’re in. Most of the time I only had 20 or 30 minutes to work. Not much work flow for getting into it: sometimes putting together 5 or 10 pieces, other times up to 50 or 60. Then there were stretches of several days that would go by before I could work on it again. The weekends, when I was lucky enough, I could work for a few hours. This was how I could make some headway. The best weekend I had was in April 2013 when I had 5.5 hours to work. I nearly completed one cartoon!
One point to remember: it will not necessarily be the number of pieces that challenges: it is the overall colour scheme and theme of the puzzle. The green pieces (Tropical Impressions) were more of a challenge than anything I’ve put together.
I have two 1,000 piece puzzles from Piatnik “Wine Corks” (row upon row upon row of … wine corks) and “Coffee” (spilled coffee beans and a scooper). These puzzles combined took me over 30 hours to put together.

Even though this 1000 piece Piatnik puzzle is considerably smaller in size and piece count, David still considers it quite the challenge because of the imagery.

Q: What’s your favorite puzzle that you’ve ever completed? 
I would say my favourite puzzle is Ravensburger’s 9,000 piece “Zodiac.” This was the first really large puzzle (over 5,000 pieces) that I had completed. It is also the first puzzle that I mounted, framed and hung on a wall. It’s featured on the back of my business card. I also dedicated it to my grandparents who are now both deceased.
I have always preferred landscapes to anything else. I do have several puzzles of art work, sci-fi and still life. I prefer mountain landscapes although I do have some picturing beautiful seascapes.

The 5000 piece Zodiac puzzle is dedicated to David’s deceased grandparents and is featured on the back of his business card.

Recently, and now that I will have a large display wall, I am hoping to have a “themed” display going for puzzles: Germany, Italy, France and the rest of Europe, Christian Riesse Lassen, and Josephine Wall. I also started to frame holiday puzzles (Easter and Christmas) and seasonal puzzles such as spring, summer, fall and winter.
Q: Thank you for answering our questions!
Thank you so much for this opportunity. Keith Haring’s “Double Retrospect” was definitely a challenge I won’t soon forget. This has been fun and hope that Ravensburger, Educa, or Clementoni come up with another 32,000 puzzle (hopefully it’ll be a landscape or seascape!)

New Halloween Puzzles!

We know Halloween is still over a month away, but we also know that weeks slip by easily and that makes it feel as if it’s just around the corner. You still have to find your costumes, pick out candy for the trick-or-treaters, and decorate your home!

Here’s a highlight on all the brand new 2013 Halloween themed puzzles we have in stock!

 

halloween puzzles, kids halloween fun

Howl-o-Ween Dogs by SunsOut. 500 pieces. 19.5 inches round.

Did We Scare You? by SunsOut. 550 pieces. 15 x 24 inches.

pumpkin puzzle, halloween shaped puzzle, halloween decorations

Enter if You Dare by SunsOut. 1000 pieces. 26.5 x 36.5 inches.

Halloween Kittens by SunsOut. 1000 pieces. 20 x 27 inches.

Lady in Black by Schmidt Spiele. 1000 pieces. 27.28 x 19.41 inches.

Have Broom Will Travel by SunsOut. 1000 pieces. 19 x 30 inches.

kids halloween decorations, wall puzzle, repositionable wall puzzle

Monster High Wall Puzzle by Cardinal Ind. 100 pieces. 24 x 36 inches.

 

 

Guest Post: Angie Reviews Lots O’ Buttons from Colorluxe line

Today we have a guest post from Angie, who works at our Mid Rivers Puzzle Warehouse location and has the luxury of working around puzzles all day! A big thanks to Angie for giving us a review on her thoughts of the new Colorluxe line.

Lots O’ Buttons by Lafayette Puzzle Factory. 500 pieces. 18 x 24 inches.

Hi everyone! Angie here, from our Mid Rivers Puzzle Warehouse location. I was SO excited to get the new line in from ColorLuxe. They won the 2012 Puzzle of the Year Award from the Creative Toy Awards by Creative Child Magazine and I can already see why! They have beautiful pictures, as well as some very challenging ones that have bold crisp colors.

I decided to put one on the walls here and picked their 500 piece “Lots o’Buttons.”  While we do not have this specific puzzle in stock on our website, the Colorluxe series will all have “unique shaped pieces” that make them surprisingly simple to assemble (I took a piece out for a better example than the one on the box, and it was no where near the craziest one!)

Uniquely shaped pieces!

Uniquely shaped pieces!

And, although I haven’t opened up a Large Piece from them, I can only imagine how big they are! The normal sized pieces are very large, similar in size to White Mountain, while also VERY thick and sturdy.

There was no texture to the piece, and while it has a somewhat glossy finish there were no glare issues for me here under the bright store lights. I had a lot of fun finishing it! I glued it together with SunsOut glue – so the finished picture here has some brush strokes (sorry!).

buttonsbuttons2

If I were doing it again I would probably use Master Pieces glue to eliminate the up-close brush strokes, but from a distance you don’t see them. This new line has everything from 300 Large piece to 1500 EXTRA Large Pieces. Make sure to search for ColorLuxe the next time you are on our site and in the store! And, as always, we would love your feedback too.