We invite you to read Roberta Shore's review on the following jigsaw puzzle. Since she has discovered the advantages of jigsaw puzzling, she has reviewed/journaled several that will be available on this website.
You may like this Autumn in the Neighbourhood puzzle Amazon link
My Confident Puzzler Difficulty Rating: Hard
Magnolia gives this puzzle’s difficulty 3 stars out of 5. I am confident in my puzzling ability, but that ranking would leave me never going past their 3 star offerings. This required concentration to the max! My daughter, who is an avid puzzler, with way more years of puzzling than me, found it somewhat challenging. We worked on it together then and again over 5 days!
Quality: Acceptable. Two major issues - loose piece fit and the dreaded missing piece. Yes, it takes some enjoyment out of the accomplishment, and in this case, also diminishes the fun of puzzling together. My daughter is visiting from 2500 miles away and it is, after all, just a puzzle, so I will judge the rest of the quality fairly. That said, the brand’s home base is in Turkey; purchase and shipping can be pricey. I didn’t find anything extraordinary about Autumn Rain. The best thing was a totally matte finish. Otherwise, the pieces are solid, of average thickness. All the traditional shapes were represented, piece shapes were varied enough, color match to the only illustration was fine. The average size shrink wrapped box had the full image on the top. Inside was a resealable bag of pieces; there was no poster. There was noticeable puzzle dust. No pieces were damaged or together uncut. There were no false fits.
Getting started: Find the edge pieces and sort by color. We rarely puzzle together and my daughter’s style differs from mine, but we were in my sandbox so she followed my lead on sorting. I sort everything! By color and objects when possible. Turns out this puzzle lent itself primarily to a color sort. Still, I did some sub-sorting: the green with window frames, blue with window frames, red roofs, each color of sky, the tree, the road, the curb, the balconies, the antennas, the wood, etc. etc., and even the laundry. Yes, everything I can. Why? For me it makes the construction flow with less frustration. As long as I see progress, time spent is secondary. Puzzling for me is not a race. My daughter either puts up with me or agrees. :-)
Construction: We built the frame first. I like to connect pieces one area at a time, my daughter makes stacks of like pieces. Clearly and thankfully, we can all be individuals when it comes to puzzling style! In this case, I took the blue sky and the green building, she took the road and the blue building, and then we filled in the center sky and tree. From there we mostly worked separately. I think she got the more difficult parts, and of course she finished first! And we had such a good time being and puzzling and laughing together.
Final thoughts: Yes, we felt accomplished. This puzzle was fun but tough! I actually prefer large areas of similar color and design. At first glance this one seemed to fit the bill. It was the mottled colors almost everywhere, plus so many dark areas that made it such a challenge. This is the first puzzle I have done from Magnolia. This brand’s collection includes some distinctive and intriguing artwork. And of course I have had missing pieces from long standing brands as well. So, could I recommend Magnolia on that basis? I suppose so. At the very least, I suggest checking out their site (https://www.puzzlekolik.com/en/)
My grades for Autumn Rain: Quality, B+, Fun Factor, A- (Missing pieces are not fun!)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - With her self-published book and over 300 jigsaw puzzle reviews, Linda has established herself as a prominent social media marketing influencer and jigsaw puzzle-preneur. If you want to send Linda a quick message, visit her contact page here.
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3. Studio Puzzle Bits and Pieces 500 Piece Puzzle Rain Forest Bill Bell
About: Mastering the Art of Choosing the Right Jigsaw Puzzle
Tips to Avoid Buying Overwhelmingly Difficult Images
Jigsaw puzzles offer a delightful challenge, but there are times when the level of difficulty can be overwhelming. Whether you're a seasoned puzzler or a novice looking for an enjoyable experience, it's important to choose the right puzzle image that matches your skill level and personal preferences. In this article, we'll explore the world of difficult jigsaw puzzles and provide you with a list of tips to help you avoid buying images that might leave you feeling frustrated.
1. Know Your Skill Level
Understanding your own puzzle-solving skills is key when selecting a jigsaw puzzle. Be honest with yourself about your experience and comfort level. If you're a beginner, it's best to start with puzzles that have a lower piece count and simpler imagery. As you gain confidence and experience, you can gradually challenge yourself with more complex puzzles.
2. Consider the Piece Count
The number of puzzle pieces directly affects the difficulty level. Larger piece counts, such as 1,000 pieces or more, can be more time-consuming and mentally demanding. If you prefer a less challenging experience, opt for puzzles with smaller piece counts, such as 500 pieces or even fewer.
3. Analyze the Imagery
Before purchasing a puzzle, carefully examine the image. Complex and intricate designs, such as landscapes with numerous details or abstract patterns, tend to be more challenging. If you're looking for a less daunting puzzle, choose images with clearly defined sections, distinct colors, or simpler motifs.
4. Read Product Descriptions and Reviews
Take the time to read product descriptions and reviews. Puzzle manufacturers often provide information about the level of difficulty, which can help you make an informed decision. Additionally, reading reviews from other puzzlers can give you insights into the puzzle's complexity and whether it aligns with your preferences.
5. Look for Beginner-Friendly Collections
Many puzzle companies offer collections specifically designed for beginners. These collections often feature puzzles with larger pieces, simpler imagery, or even hints and guidance to assist you along the way. Exploring these beginner-friendly options can be a great way to ease into the world of jigsaw puzzles.
6. Seek Variety in Piece Shapes
Some puzzles feature unique piece shapes that can add an extra layer of difficulty. If you're looking for a more accessible experience, consider puzzles with standard grid-shaped pieces. However, if you enjoy a challenge, look for puzzles with irregular or whimsical piece shapes, as they can make the assembly process more complex and engaging.
7. Check for Puzzle-Specific Features
Certain puzzle manufacturers offer features to indicate the level of difficulty. For example, some puzzles may have a "difficulty rating" on the packaging or specify whether they are suitable for beginners, intermediate puzzlers, or advanced enthusiasts. These indicators can be valuable in making an informed decision.
8. Consider Collaborations with Artists
Many jigsaw puzzle companies collaborate with renowned artists, resulting in a wide range of puzzle images with varying levels of difficulty. Some artists may have a distinctive style that makes their puzzles more challenging, while others may focus on creating accessible and enjoyable designs. Research the artist's work and style to ensure it aligns with your preferences and skill level.
9. Seek Recommendations from Fellow Puzzlers
Engaging with the puzzle community, whether through online forums, social media groups, or local puzzle clubs, can provide valuable insights and recommendations. Experienced puzzlers can share their thoughts on specific puzzle images and brands, helping you make informed choices.
10. Trust Your Instincts
Ultimately, trust your instincts and choose puzzles that genuinely spark joy and interest for you. While it's important to consider the difficulty level, it's equally crucial to select images that you find visually appealing and personally satisfying. Enjoying the process of assembling a puzzle is just as important as the challenge itself.
By following these tips, you'll be better equipped to choose jigsaw puzzles that match your skill level and provide an enjoyable experience. Remember, puzzles should be a source of relaxation and fun, so don't be afraid to explore different options and challenge yourself while staying within your comfort zone. Happy puzzling!
(ChatGPT, personal communication, June 20, 2023)