I found the Fire puzzle was the most challenging out of the four in this Series of Element, Air, Water, Earth and Fire. Those fire ladders were dang tricky!
Overall Experience: Great
Cut Quality: Good
Board Quality: firm
Shape Cut: random
Image Quality: great
Hardest Area: No particular area
Puzzle Dust? minimal
Finish Quality: Smooth matte
Box Quality: Great
Sealed Pieces Inside Box: yes
Was this purchased new? no
Price: Picked for review
Recommend Level: highly
Time: 18.5 hours
Not much sense in doing a sorting except to get the edge pieces out and similar colors together. I did lay all the pieces out onto two foam boards which confirms I have all the edge pieces. That said, I cannot locate the images of my pieces that are laid out onto foam boards nor my border photo. Not that I want to complain about technology but my iPhone has been giving me grief this week - no camera, no phone ringing when calls come in and my Happy Color App will not open. Sounds like it's time for a hard restart and update....sigh.....
So 'the plan of attack' for these 4 Element puzzles will be the big letters first then look for the largest sections of colors/patterns/objects. Then just continuously pick away at items by placing them into their 'estimated' areas, one by one which eventually match up.
As you can see in the image below there are a lot of sporadic unfilled areas due to the extreme amount of details and items. We often refer to these images as busy but this one was more challenging than the Water and Air puzzle I have completed. I actually started this one first and wrestled with it alot. I thought maybe doing the Water puzzle could be easier so I left this Fire puzzle for the time being and ended up doing the Water and Air puzzles. The Water seemed a tad easier but then the Air was easier than the Water.....so then I went back to the Fire puzzle and completed it. It's been a while since it's taken me this long to assemble a 1000 piece puzzle...easily 18 hours on it and normally 10-12-14 hours is my usual time on a 1000 piece.
However, after doing the Water and Air and coming back to the Fire I was practically an expert or at least got the hang of it and patiently worked my way through the rest of it.
The following 4 images shares closeup of some of the details and the 5th image shows the size of the small images in comparison to the big letters.
I chose the Elements Series of 4 puzzles titled Water, Air, Fire and Earth as part of my selection of annual reviews for Cobble Hill Puzzle Company. The Element Series is created by Shelley Davies. They are a new Series for 2019 and you can check the following link to locate the Preferred Retailers and the Online Stores for purchasing. CLICK HERE
I will be submitting all 4 completed puzzles to the 2019 World Puzzle Days which Cobble Hills Puzzle Company is one of the Sponsors as well. Thanks to Cobble Hills I have now completed 3 out of 4.
We have collected a massive list of jigsaw puzzles in numerous categories on our Amazon Store link. It's a quick way to browse most current puzzles and/or specific seasons, accessories and themes. Makes for a terrific one-stop jigsaw puzzle gift giving shopping centre. CLICK HERE
Strawberry Tea, A 500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle by Cobble Hill
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)