Standard Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle – Blue Vase

This is one of my more popular puzzles. The original by Lucette White is a collage, a combination of a painting with some flowers from a magazine pasted on. The cut pattern is the intricate triangular pattern shown in my blog on September 9th and the yellow background makes for a cheerful and fun puzzle to assemble.

I have blogged a lot recently about custom jigsaw puzzles. Custom puzzles are exciting because often the picture has to be altered in Photoshop and/or there is special design work to be done. Usually, standard puzzles are designed once and that’s it but standard puzzles do have a lot going for them. Most of them are reproductions of paintings that I find  interesting and fun to put together. Of course I have to get permission to reproduce the original paintings. When I started the business back in the late 80’s I thought nievely  that would be easy. I went to the Museum of Fine art in Boston and suggested that I make puzzles of reproductions of some of their masterpieces for them to sell in their museum shop. No Way. The museum charges for each time a repro is made and it was not interested in selling wooden jigsaw puzzles in its shop. So much for that. Gradually I built up a collection of standard jigsaw puzzles that are shown on my website and in earlier blogs. Another advantage of a standard puzzle is that it can be lent, exchanged or sold from one collector to another. Finally and most importantly, standard puzzles offer more bang for the buck. Size for size they are simply less expensive.

BV_BlogNext week I will show you a different bunch of flowers, Still Life with Newspaper. The newspaper is in French and the painter is Haitian.

Junior Olympics at Sandy Bay

Cape Ann is a bunch of granite thrusting its way into the Atlantic Ocean North East of Boston. Sandy Bay is a large harbor at the end of Cape Ann protected by a granite breakwater. There is a lot to say about this wonderful place, too much for a blog, so I will add two links for you to peruse. Starting in colonial times granite was quarried in the interior of Cape Ann and put on ships here to be sent up and down the East Coast and beyond. Learn more here. The breakwater is necessary because the harbor is open to the North East where most of the storms come from.

We were at Sandy Bay to help on the Race Committee for last summer’s junior olympic regatta. There were more than 300 kids sailing Optimist Prams (Opties) Lasers and 420s. See more pictures.


Start of a race the first day

return after the last race on the second day.

The top picture is home base before the first race. The white tents are on the granite pier. The quarries are closed now. The last blocks were sent to Boston for the Big Dig

The second picture is just after the start of one of the races for the 420s on the first blustery day. The 420 is the only two-man boat in the regatta. (“man” as in mankind or “Turn back o man, forswear thy foolish ways”. Drives some feminists nuts.) Acturally boys and girls mix equally. There are even some girl skipper, boy crew combinations. Look closely at some of the boats on the right. A few of the crews are out on trapezes. I was born too long ago and never did get on a trapeze. The closest was in Germany: Skipper:  “Beuh kommt!”. I pushed out from the gunwale, the puff hit, the mast broke and I ended in the drink.

The bottom picture is of one Laser and some Opties returning after the last race.

Back to puzzles next week. A charming standard puzzle of a still life collage.

Custom Jigsaw Puzzles – Drop-out-lettering

         One neat way to make a puzzle special is the add specific lettering to it. The lettering can be pieces in the puzzle as in the blog two weeks ago, or it can be spaces between pieces as shown below. I call that drop-out- lettering. The spaces can be smaller than pieces so more words can be put into the same space. Numbers work too. When letters, words or numbers are pieces in the puzzle, they can go anywhere because they don’t change the picture. On the other hand drop-out-letters interfere with the picture so should by designed into unimportant areas. For this puzzle of a friend’s boat, I alligned the lettering with the oval shape and for RUNNYMEDE I copied the typestyle from the name of the boat on its transom.


      The picture was taken in Sandy Bay at a Junior Olympics regatta last summer. We were there as Race Committee. Next week’s blog will depart from puzzles to discuss junior sailing and Sandy Bay. Puzzles are not the only things I’d like to blog about.

Larger figure pieces

           Here are some larger figure pieces. The top two dinosaures I designed into Forest at Fontainebleau. So far I have used it only in that puzzle and in the relationship to each other as shown. I think the creatures fit the brooding quality of the painting. The larger is made of eight pieces; the smaller four. Upper right is an extinct sloth made of six pieces. Middle left is a stag from a merry-go-round. It has seven pieces. The cuts, which are hard to see, corrospond to the tack of the saddle and bridle. The runing boy has five pieces plus the hat. For scale, the hat is 3/4 inch long. The pin-up is three pieces. The center piece is her rather skimpy bathing suit. The narcistic mermaid with the long hair has seven pieces. Finally the heraldic lion rampant has six pieces. I first used it in a puzzle I sent, unbidden, to Queen Elizabeth.