Artist Profile: Edward Gorey

I was looking through our collection of Halloween puzzles when I spotted an Edward Gorey puzzle we have:

Dracula puzzle by artist Edward Gorey

Dracula in Dr. Seward’s Library, by Edward Gorey. 500 pieces – Finished size: 24″ x 18″.

I love Edward Gorey. His and Tim Burton’s melancholy, macabre works have always fascinated me. My favorite movie of all time is Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, and I was always thrilled it was appropriate to watch during two holiday seasons.

Gorey is famous for his alphabet poem with pen-and-ink illustrations, described as a list of “incredible ways to die.” My favorite is probably “B, for Basil, assaulted by bears.”

I’m drawn to those people who look at things a little differently, and Gorey is one of them.

Here are a collection of my favorite quotes from this great artist:

“I really think I write about everyday life. I don’t think I’m quite as odd as others say I am. Life is intrinsically, well, boring and dangerous at the same time. At any given moment the floor may open up. Of course, it almost never does; that’s what makes it so boring.”

Edward Gorey Puzzle

The untitled, gleefully chaotic work reproduced in this puzzle might be seen as Gorey’s celebration of the theater, which brought him great pleasure and inspiration. 1000 piece puzzle.

“My mission in life is to make everybody as uneasy as possible. I think we should all be as uneasy as possible, because that’s what the world is like.”

“Explaining something makes it go away, so to speak; what’s important is left after you have explained everything else.”

“I don’t think anything might have been. What is, is.”

Edward Gorey died in April of 2000. He is missed, but his charm and peculiar humor lives on his art. As he said about himself: “To take my work seriously would be the height of folly.” So, if you like his unique take on life and his wonderful drawings, check out the Gorey puzzles we have displayed above.

 

EDWARD GOREY: SEVENTEEN CATS Puzzle

Seventeen Cats on the Front Steps of 82 Maple Street, by Edward Gorey. This 300 piece jigsaw puzzle with extra large pieces, measures 18″ x 24″.

Fun & Easy Things to Do Under $20

When it comes to spending quality time with family and friends – sometimes it can get spendy. Puzzles and games are a great way to have fun on a budget – but there are a lot of other fun things you can do that are entertaining without breaking the bank. First off, we have a huge selection of puzzles, brainteasers and games under $10. Since times are tough for a lot of us out there, it’s also good to have some ideas for fun things to do that don’t break the budget.

Examples of puzzles you can get for $10 or less:

From left to right:
1. A Sign of the Times – 300 piece puzzle from Ceaco.
2. African Afternoon – 100 piece puzzle from Ravensburger.
3. Fifties Junkpile – 1000 pieces by TDC Games

Of course, puzzles are not the only way to enjoy your time on a budget. Here, we’ve put together some great ideas for you to have fun that shouldn’t cost you more

HOME MOVIE NIGHT

Still go that VCR hanging around in a storage closet? Find your old childhood home videos and watch them with the family, or take a trip to the nearest Goodwill or St. Vinnie’s and pick up a collection of some of your old favorite movies you’ve forgotten about and have a movie night!

TRIVIA NIGHT

Find out more about your friends and family with questions you wouldn’t normally think to ask each other—like “Would you ever go skydiving/bungee jumping/eat a foreign delicacy like frog’s legs?” Take turns guessing things about other people. It was a fun way to learn new things about the people you already thought you knew best! You can find tons of  “would you ever” questions online – or if you think you need a little more help, Puzzle Warehouse has tons of conversational games under $20.

BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN TOWN

Check into your museums and the parks you haven’t yet got a chance to visit in your town. Pick a new form of transportation: if you usually drive everywhere, why not ride the bus or ride a bike? Try to look at your home from an outsider’s perspective. What do you think about it?

MAKE A QUILT

Still attached to some old clothes that don’t fit? A friend of mine has a quilt stitched out of his favorite childhood t-shirts, and it looks pretty cool and has sentimental value. Also, it will help you out with your sewing skills! Here are some helpful hints.

LEARN HOW TO ORIGAMI

You can use all that notebook paper you kept buying at the beginning of every school year and then lost, or old papers that you just haven’t gotten around to recycling. Pick up an origami book from your local craft store or visit Origami Online for some tips and tutorials.

REARRANGE YOUR ROOM

Sometimes just moving things around makes everything feel fresh and new. If space is tight, even just rearranging some decorations or throwing out things you really don’t need anymore can liven up a space.

COLLAGES

Take out those old magazines you’ve been storing or some old tissue paper you have for gift bags and do some modge-podging on a glass jar to make a neat candle holder. Or use the magazines to make some homemade birthday or holiday cards to give out later in the year. Or just make a collage like when you were 13 of your favorite things for no reason at all! Lots of DIY crafts can be searched for on Pinterest.

BLACKOUT POETRY

There’s a poet somewhere in all of us. It may just be more buried and hard to pull out in some more than others. Blackout poetry is a great way to push yourself creatively! First you find an old book or go and pick up some used copies somewhere for cheap. Then you find phrases and words that stick out to you and take a sharpie and black out the rest of the page—leaving only the words you want for a poem.

CROSSWORLD PUZZLES

On an episode of Friends, Rachel once challenged herself to finish a New York Times Crossword all by herself. But you can always ask a friend to help you with the clues you just have absolutely no idea about, or you can also find resources online like this handy website which lets you know whether you’re on the right track.

PICNICS

Organize a picnic with some friends. Each of you can bring something—it’ll be like a mini pot luck! Again, online can be great resource – find great cheap picnic food ideas.

Puzzles for Libras

Libra Art Miniature Jigsaw Puzzle

Mini puzzle by Artist Stanley Dai, part of his Constellations Collection. 40 pieces and measures 4.7″ x 3.2″.

LIBRA DESCRIPTION

“To your advantage, Libra, you have an ethereal quality that is sometimes described as ‘out of this world’ or evolved. You’re a seeker or light and a believer in true love and you have the potential to create the most beautiful and harmonious art, music, and relationships. You also have a greater ability than most to achieve a balance among all the areas of your life. Where some signs go overboard focusing on just the physical or just the mental part of life, you understand that all areas of your life run most smoothly when they’re in balance with each other.”
—Athena Starwoman, Zodiac: Athena’s Sunsigns

LIBRA:  SEPTEMBER 24-OCTOBER 23

Element: Air
Planetary ruler: Venus
Symbol: The Scales
Quality: Cardinal (activity)
Colors: Blue and turquoise
Gem: Diamonds and opals
Strongest virtues: Eye for design, social charm, and diplomacy
Characteristics: Active, affectionate, artistic, balanced, easygoing, generous, gentle, just, peaceable, polished

Singing and Dancing Abstract Jigsaw Puzzle 500 pieces

Contemporary Arts – Singing and Dancing by Pintoo. 500 pieces. Finished size: 12.12″ x 14.88″. $17.99

This puzzle is almost a reflection of itself down the middle—it’s very balanced and artistic, just like Libra.

Rex Ray Art Jigsaw Puzzle 1000 pieces

Affeto by Heye from artist Rex Ray. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 20” x 27”. $25.99

The bright blue and turquoise, plus the sheek design, will draw in the Libra.

Charley Harper Wildlife Art Jigsaw Puzzle, 1000 pieces

Glacier Bay, Alaska by Pomegranate from artist Charley Harper. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 20” x 27”. $16.99

The simple shapes and patterns of this portrayed balance of the Glacier Bay ecosystem is right up Libra’s alley.

God Speed Fine Art Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle

God Speed by Peaceful Wooden Puzzles. Piece and finished size varies as each puzzle is custom made – click photo for details. Starting at $46.99

Libra’s sign is the scales—they’re sticklers for justice, just like the famed knights of old tales.

Frank Lloyd Wright Jigsaw Puzzle - 1000 pieces

Amish Quilt: Tumbling Blocks by artist Frank Llyod Wright. From Pomegranate Puzzles. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 20” x 25”. $16.99

Balance and with shocks of turquoise. It’s the Libra’s dream puzzle!

For even more zodiac-related puzzles, check out these creative miniature puzzles made by Pintoo, made for each sign of zodiac.

October Giveaway: Win a Free Halloween Puzzle

IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME!

Simply comment on this blog post and you’ll be entered into the drawing. SHARE on Facebook for an extra entry. This mini puzzle is 100 pieces and measures a tiny 7″ x 9″ when complete. Fun and fast to put together, and great for the spooky month of October. THREE winners will be picked from our Blog, Facebook, and Twitter at the end of the week.

In the comment section below answer this question:

What are you going to be for Halloween this year?

10 Best Puzzles for Dog Lovers

My brother and I recently got puppies. He has a pit bull named Katie and I have a chihuahua named Marlowe. We also have an old grumpy papillon mix named Sam who gives us looks of contempt when the puppies try to play with him. All this being said, my life is entirely dogs right now. So, to share the puppy love, we bring you some of our cutest dog puzzles that Marlowe helped me pick out.

See, look how helpful she was:

Marlowe may just be a puppy – but she knows how to pick out a great puzzle!

In no particular order – the cutest dogs you’ll ever puzzle:

Puppies Puzzle

Puppies by Euro Graphics. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 26.5” x 19.25”. $15.99

Bull Dog Puzzle

Bull Dog by Educa. 500 pieces. Finished size: Finished size 18.75″ X 13.5″. $12.99

Puppy and Kitten Puzzle

Big Kiss by Ravensburger. 500 pieces. Finished size: 19.25” x 14.25”. $12.99

Golden Puppies Puzzle

Golden Puppies by Ravensburger. 200 pieces. Finished size: 22.5” x 9.5”. $9.99

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING - PUPPY'S FIRST BATH PUZZLE

Puppy’s First Bath by New York Puzzle Co. 1000 pieces. Finished size: 20″ x 27″. $16.99

PUPPY MISCHIEF PUZZLE

Puppy Mischief by Cobble Hill. 500 pieces. Finished size: 24” x 18”. $14.99

Puppies Playing in Paint Puzzle

Playing In Paint by Ravensburger. 300 pieces. Finished size 19.25″ x 14.25″. $13.99

Dog With Rose Puzzle

Dog With a Rose by Clementoni. 500 pieces. Finished size: 19.3” x 14.2”. $11.99

WORLD'S SMALLEST PUZZLES - PUPPY PLAYMATES

Puppy Playmates (World’s Smallest Puzzles Series) by TDC Games. 234 pieces. Finished size: 4” x 6”. $5.99

Mini Puzzle - Sleepy Dogs

Sleeyheads (Mini) by Sunsout. 100 pieces. Finished size: 7” x 9”. $4.99

Artist Profile: Charles Wysocki

By far one of our best selling puzzle artists, Folk Artist Charles Wysocki is recognized across the globe and his puzzles create a feeling of nostalgia of old time Americana.

Charles Wysocki was born in 1928 in Detroit, Michigan to Polish parents. Though he had a happy childhood, his early enthusiasm was not equally shared by his father who worried about his future and tried to redirect his interests into more stable hobbies for a future income. His mother, however, fully supported his artistic tendencies.

1000 pieces Charles Wysocki Jigsaw Puzzle called Clammers at Hodge’s.

He grew up continuing his art but was drafted during the Korean War. He was stationed in Germany, and after his two year obligation he left the army and and picked up the pen again, although it wasn’t in the way he dreamed: he found a job in the Polish community of Detroit making drawings of tools and car parts for manuals and catalogs.

Eventually he attend the Art Center in Los Angeles, which he as able to do on the G.I. Bill. He majored in design and advertising illustration.

In 1959 that Wysocki formed an advertising agency called “Group West” and became a successful freelance artist for three years, serving such companies as Chrysler and General Tire. Around this time, Wysocki met his wife, Elizabeth, whom he married after six weeks of dating and whom would become a strong influence on Wysocki’s life and art. Elizabeth came from the countryside, and Wysocki would be drawn to the simplicity he found in her upbringing and he loved the wholesome values of the more rural life.

In the five years before Wysocki and Elizabeth’s first child was born, they traveled often to the New England states, of which Wysocki says “I feel the serenity of this life, and it became enhanced on our vacations to New England. We fell immediately in love with this section of our country because the pace so closely resembled our way of thinking—a love for the very small personal closeness of each other’s company and being content with ‘little’ things, happy in activities city folks might find boring.”

He credits his other influences as Rousseau, Edward Hopper, Normal Rockwell, and “of course, Grandma Moses.” While he is considered a folk artist, Wysocki wouldn’t describe himself as that, and he definitely wouldn’t describe himself as primitive. Instead, he says he “consider[s] [him]self simply a painter of early American life with a wide mixture of influences and with a love for the old-fashioned values.”

Hawkriver Hallow – 1000 piece puzzle from artist Charles Wysocki.

In the ‘60s, though Wysocki worked commercially, his heart was always for the simpler style that he felt represented himself. In his free time he worked on the Americana paintings which depict imagined places with details of the places and values familiar to him. These paintings are filled with Wysocki’s signature warmth and sentimentality. A very successful one-man show in which every single piece was sold convinced Wysocki to leave the commercial art world forever. He continued making a living off of original paintings and calendar prints, and then he worked with AMCAL to produce his images on puzzles, collector plates, serving trays, cards, magnets and more.

Wysocki continued painting until the end of his life. He died at the age of 73 in July 2002.

How to Pick the Best Puzzle Brands

So, we’ve posted before on how to select a high-quality puzzle based on the brand and the quality of the puzzle pieces and printing. But I wanted to give you a little more insight into what makes each of our most popular brands unique. We’ll also take a look at quality and prices.

This is to give you all some insight into each brand we carry, starting with the most popular puzzle brands. I have tested many of the jigsaw puzzles myself and have also talked with many people who love these puzzles! More will be posted later.

_________________________________

Sunsout:

This brand carries thousands of different images, in piece counts ranging from 100 piece mini puzzles to 6000 piece giants. They are made from eco-friendly material in the USA. Sunsout puzzles are also on the cheaper side – with 1000 piece puzzles only $15. Pieces are both ribbon and random cut, depending on the image.

_________________________________


Ravensburger:

Often touted as one of the best puzzle brands, it is probably true. These puzzles have true interlocking ribbon cut pieces – they really snap together well and don’t move around. They also use grained paper which makes the image glare-free with a nice, durable finish and great color. These puzzles are perfect for framing. Their 1000 piece puzzles are $17, and they also have great 500 piece puzzles for only $13.

___________________________

Springbok:

These puzzles are known for the fact that no two pieces are ever the same. They use random cut dies to cut their puzzle, a unique look and interesting challenge. They use 100% recycled materials and are made in the USA. They also limit the number of new puzzles each year in an effort to focus more on quality than quantity. 500 piece puzzles from Springbok are just $12.

Heye:

Heye puzzles have some of the most unique images – from gothic art to highly detailed cartoon puzzles. The pieces are ribbon cut and slide together nicely – but be careful – often times with ribbon cut puzzles pieces of similar shape and color can make it to the wrong spot. Make sure it really fits before moving on! These are top-notch quality – with 1000 piece puzzles upwards of $25 – but they are well worth it if you plan to keep and frame the puzzle. (I myself have 3 mounted on my wall from Heye!)

Aquarius:

If you’re into pop-culture, this is the brand for you. They have everything from vintage Beatles puzzles to I Love Lucy, John Wayne and Rush. Their puzzles are also printed with high-quality ink so the images are bright and crystal clear. These are the perfect puzzles for teenagers or fanatics with 1000 piece puzzles around $15.

Ceaco:

This brand is known for its low prices. You’ll find a smaller box and slightly thinner pieces than a higher-end puzzle, but the fun is still the same! These are great party puzzles or for keeping and doing over and over with the kids or family. 1000 piece puzzles are only $12 and they have great painters like Thomas Kinkade!

Love a particular puzzle brand and want to submit your review of it? Talk to us and tell us what you think and I’ll post it next week!

Question for the comments: What puzzle brand are you loyal to and why?