Monthly Archives: November 2010

Bigger Than Life

Jigsaw puzzles are always challenging. And even if some are more challenging than others, assembling a jigsaw puzzle has never been an easy task. For those who like big challenges and don’t easily give up, puzzle makers are constantly trying to make it harder, by creating larger and more difficult puzzles. A couple of months ago, the biggest jigsaw puzzle you could find on the market was Life, the Greatest Puzzle, a 24,000-piece marvel.

Educa, the Spanish manufacturer behind this huge puzzle, asked Royce B. McClure to design it. The artist combined images from some of his previous paintings in order to make the puzzle challenging and attractive, and the result took thousands of hours of work. Once you complete it, you can use it to decorate any wall in the house due to its amazing 428 x 157 cm breadth.

Today, Life doesn’t look so big anymore. And that’s because Ravensburger created something bigger than Life: a 32,256 pieces jigsaw puzzle, part of the special series called Keith Harring. The Double Retrospect weighs 57,056 pounds and measures an impressive 544 x 192 cm. Since September 2010, it is the official record holder.

But if you look at the image, you have to appreciate Life more than Double Retrospect. The details on the image look great even on the full scale jigsaw puzzle, not only on the box, and the assembling is a lot more challenging due to the richness of the image and the intricacy of the details. While Double Retrospect looks good enough and is the new biggest jigsaw puzzle, it is an assembly of 32 smaller images, like a filmstrip, rather than one large continuous image.

Psychological and Health Benefits of Jigsaw Puzzles

While jigsaw puzzles are widely acknowledged for their entertaining purpose, there are numerous psychological and health benefits of jigsaw puzzles and assembling them that tend to be forgotten in today’s video era.

When we say health benefits, we have in mind some of the alternatives to jigsaw puzzle assembling, such as television, internet and video games. As opposed to those, jigsaw puzzles have the advantage of being easy on the eyes. There’s no backlight, no glare that slowly wears down your vision, and it occupies not only your body, but also your mind.

Jigsaw puzzles make you think. Unlike watching a movie, reading a book or being engaged in another form of passive activity, assembling a puzzle requires a lot of thinking, both logical and creative, thus making your whole brain work at once. It is a useful form of mental activity that has long term benefits.

Jigsaw puzzles also make you relax. After a stressful day, retiring in your room in front of your unfinished jigsaw puzzle helps you clear your mind and relax. While you’re working on it, the stress goes away and nothing else can affect you. Not to mention the happiness you feel when you see the image getting closer and closer to completion with every piece you skillfully arrange.

Jigsaw puzzles can also teach you a life lesson. There’s something in assembling a jigsaw puzzle that can help you in life. If you look at it like a metaphor, a jigsaw puzzle is just like your life. One big challenge that requires you to take small steps, one at the time. You have to do it all, but you can’t take any shortcuts. And there’s no need to get desperate over you. Approach your life like you approach a puzzle. Try to imagine the bigger picture first and then take it step by step. With patience and care, you will get everything done on time.

Jigsaw Puzzle Buildings

This post is dedicated to the young architects and architecture fans out there. If you like historical buildings, famous buildings or just plain and simple buildings, you will definitely enjoy some of the 3D puzzles available on the market.

You won’t probably achieve the glory of Alexandre Gustave Eiffel even if you manage to successfully reproduce his famous tower, but you will enjoy yourself and you will be able to decorate your house with a hand-built Eiffel Tower that looks nearly as good as the original.

If cheese is not your food and France is not your thing, there are some other buildings that you can assemble, such as the Chrysler Building, the Lincoln Memorial, the London Tower Bridge or the Statue of Liberty.

You won’t have too many pieces to assemble, as these 3D puzzles are usually composed of less than one hundred pieces, but the final product is definitely worth it. And the work you have to put into it will make you appreciate it even more.

If the classic puzzles can be framed and displayed on the walls of your house, these 3D puzzles can be displayed on your desk or on a shelf in the house. And because they are 3D, some of them can offer you more than just an object to look at. Some of the buildings, such as the Big Ben, have LED lighting. Others, like the Discover the World Puzzle ball, have an educational purpose.

That’s not everything, but we will let you discover the rest of the joys of 3D jigsaw puzzle buildings for yourself.

Puzzle of the Day – Rosie the Riveter

This week’s jigsaw puzzle of the day features the American WWII icon Rosie the Riveter, by Norman Rockwell. Rosie represents the women who took hard labor jobs during WWII to replace the male workers sent overseas by the draft. She started out as a propaganda figure, motivating women to serve their country on the home front, and has since become an American feminist icon.

Norman Rockwell was an American painter whose knack for capturing the essence of working-class people and their everyday lives has gained him a place in the heart of American history. He is known especially for his illustrations on the covers of the Saturday Evening Post, which he did for 47 years, producing more than 300 covers.

Rockwell’s depiction of Rosie the Riveter on this puzzle shows her on her lunch break, perched in front of a huge American flag with a riveter in her lap and a half-eaten sandwich in hand. Her shoulders are squared and her chin lifted proudly. Her small face and delicate features contrast with a thick neck and muscular arms. The dirt-smudged, girly face on an otherwise manly body illustrates the dual role that women played in that era, of both wife/mother and industrial laborer.

Puzzle of the Day – Flags Over the Capitol

In honor of the midterm elections that took place in the U.S. earlier this week, today’s jigsaw puzzle of the day has a patriotic theme. Flags Over the Capitol, by Thomas Kinkade, is a 750 piece puzzle, showing a shimmering vision of the United States Capitol Building, decked out with dozens of American flags.

Thomas Kinkade, rightly known as the “Painter of Light,” has a distinct style defined by soft shapes and warm, glowing light. His paintings often have religious or patriotic themes, with an emphasis on family and community values. About Flags Over the Capitol, he said, “Nothing brings out American pride more than a celebration with flags flying overhead and banners strung from every window. This is a time when friends, families and neighbors join together in a spectacular display of unity and patriotism.”

Flags Over the Capitol is a popular one of Kinkade’s paintings, featured on everything from beer steins to refrigerator magnets, to—you guessed it—jigsaw puzzles! This one created by Ceaco! will literally shimmer as you piece it together, and will fill your heart with patriotic pride.

A New Challenge: Wasgij Jigsaw Puzzles

Looking for a new challenge? We recommend you try the Wasjig jigsaw puzzles from Puzzle Warehouse. These are no ordinary puzzles. Wasgij puzzles, as the name suggests, are the opposite of a jigsaw puzzle. Each of these puzzles depicts a deliciously complex event, but what that event is is a mystery. The box to the puzzle only shows the spectators’ reactions to this event. In order to figure out what’s happening in the puzzle, you first have to put it together- without the aid of a corresponding picture on the box. If you’ve never put together a puzzle without the help of the box, you’re in for a challenging treat.

Puzzle Warehouse currently offers 29 different Wasgij jigsaw puzzles to choose from. With themes varying from “Drama at the Opera” to “Time Travel”, you’re sure to find a subject that peaks your interest. The cartoon-style of the picture on the box is only a prelude to the hilarious scene you’ll uncover when the puzzle is completed. Decide between 500 and 1000 pieces, whichever fits your skill level and ambition. These puzzles, brought to you by Jumbo, are suitable for adults, so put the kids to bed and invite your friends over to join in the fun!