The Stairway, a rather special wooden jigsaw puzzle.

This puzzle of a painting by Berio Gizzi has been in my collection for some time. It’s a sleeper and should be more popular than it has been. To start with the original painting is amazing. It is the opposite of impresionistic, carefully composed and meticiously crafted. To quote from my 1999 catalog “The images include a portrait by Van Eyck, a photograph of Mr. Gizzi’s daughter, one of the artist’s own landscapes and a porcelain doll. The stairway after which the painting is named is dimly reflected in a mirror.” I assume that the person who ultimately puts the puzzle together has gotten it as a gift, does not know the picture and will be astonished seeing it evolve as the puzzle is put together. The cut design has several large figures made of more than one piece. I guess I can say that both the picture and puzzle design are equally quirky.

Standard wooden jigsaw puzzle – Koran Cover

I never realized that there can be beautiful images in Korans just as there are in the Bible. This is the leather front cover of an old Koran. My father sent me a transparency of it, probably as a sly way to point out that there is a whole world out there beyond our western European tradition. The cover is old. You can see that in the picture. I did not “clean” the image up in Photoshop; I wanted the image to show its age. Koran Cover and the Elephant and the Mouse ( blog dated September 15th, 2009 ) are my most popular small, standard puzzles. They are both relatively easy because the wide borders can be put together first.

If you would like to follow Gracie’s latest exploits ( blog dated May 15th, 2009 ), go to Under Daily Blog look up December 17th.

Another diversion, Iraq this time

A few months ago I started exercising with a personnal trainer. At my age, I need all the help I can get. Mike is a lawyer and Marine officer. While in Iraq he was part of a pay-back system to compensate innocent Iraqui civilians for losses incurred by “friendly fire”. (the loss of a goat for example.) Mike and a sargent with money set up shop and a croud of Iraquis would come to get their due. I suggesed to Mike that they must have been a jucy target for some nasties with mortars. Mike replied that the nasties never could figure out mortars but once a female suicide bomber was aprehended on the periphery before she could do much dammage.mkane2

I just finished a fascinating book: The Fourth Star by David Cloud and Greg Jaffe about four generals – George Casey, John Abizaid, Peter Chiarelli and David Patraeus – who slowly and painfully changed the army culture from conventional warfare, fighting the Russians on the plains of Germany, to counterinsurgency and nation building.  Politicians and the civilian populace will have to embrace the same change. Mike’s job was an example. He is moving on to Colorado, his home, where he will be a federal prosecutor. We will all miss him.

Fred and Ginger updated

This wedding picture reminded me of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers a few generations later. It was a pleasure to make a puzzle from such a fun picture. I was asked to include the names of the bride, groom and their parents. Drop-out lettering would have detracted too much from the picture so Bob was one piece, Anne, Nate, Lisa and Jean were two pieces and Walter was three. Were I to do it again, I would pick either a more bold font or larger lettering.F_Blog