Amsterdam, 2022-11-20

Very busy image of Amsterdam, with lots of funny details, but pretty difficult. This one was on the table for a full week (it was also a week where I spent most of Wednesday to Sunday at a film festival).

Amsterdam by Frans Le Roux, Ravensburger, 1000 pieces. Completed on November 20, 2022.

Some of the children were wearing crowns, so there’s probably some local holiday going on. Google brought up the opening of parliament in September, Prinsjedag (prince day?), as a possible candidate.

This was my favourite detail in the puzzle! Frans Le Roux gives a nod to fellow Dutch artist Jan van Haasteren, who is known to always include a shark fin in his images. Van Haasteren is, of course, a prolific artist for Jumbo puzzles.

Le Nid Porte-bonheure, 2022-11-13

The title is in French, and as far as I can make out, it means “The Nest Lucky Charme”. I love the image, but it was much more difficult than I expected. Not as bad as my previous puzzle by the same artists 🙂 It took a while to get into, but I did enjoy it on the end.

Le Nid Porte-bonheure by Anne Poiré & Patrick Guallino, Grafika, 1500 pieces. Completed on November 13, 2022.

Halloween Magic, 2022-10-17

I was happy to find this Ravensburger Halloween puzzle since most Halloween puzzles I’ve seen lately have been from SunsOut, and I’m not buying any more of those, the fit is just too bad. I recently saw a SunsOut puzzle called A Tight Fit (Father Christmas stuffing a stocking) which I thought was funny, considering how many times I’ve considered using a hammer to get SunsOut pieces into place.

Anyway, this puzzles was, of course, a joy to do. Loved the image with lots of details, and it wasn’t too dark. Happy Halloween!

Halloween Magic, Ravensburger, 1000 pieces. Completed on October 17, 2022.

Colourful Balloons, 2022-10-19

I haven’t been puzzling much lately, but I’ve managed to finish a few puzzles. I’ve been back in Dortmund for a week, but I did this puzzle before I left Helsinki.

Colourful Balloons, Trefl, 600 pieces. Completed on October 19, 2022.

It’s part of the Trefl Crazy Shapes series, and I really enjoy these puzzles. The wild cut makes them a bit more difficult than a grid cut would be, but now that I’ve done a few, I find that I can even identify some of the edge pieces.

The Garden of Death, 2022-10-13

This painting by Finnish artist Hugo Simberg from 1896 is one of my favourites! He actually did several versions of it, but the first was a small water colour, and I’m fairly sure this is from that painting, which is actually quite a bit smaller than the puzzle. I remember I had a post card of the painting as a teenager.

Simberg explained that the place pictured here is where souls go after death before they ascend to heaven. That probably means that the plants that the grim reapers are tenderly nursing are souls of the dead.

The Garden of Death by Hugo Simberg, Tactic, 1000 pieces. Completed on October 13, 2022.

This was one of the best Tactic puzzles I’ve ever done, it reminded me of Ricordi Arte, actually. And a good thing too, because otherwise, it could have been quite difficult. Now, it was just pleasantly challenging from start to finish. Loved it!

Alpine Fun, 2022-10-08

Fun puzzle, but I had some false fits, unfortunately. I did the top edge with the sky first, and there were several cases where I had to redo a couple of pieces. It wasn’t just the edge, there was also a case where I had already put in the piece below in the second row, and both pieces fit on the left, but then I couldn’t find the next pieces on the right. What you might call a double false fit. Anyway, I only had problems with the top few rows, after that the image made it really easy.

Alpine Fun by Birgit Tanck, Heye, 1000 pieces. Completed on October 8, 2022.
I think mountain goats SHOULD wear helmets, the way they jump around the rocks looks very dangerous!
An eagle snaps up a tourist and Death stalks the valley.

Garage Sale, 2022-10-05

I needed something colourful after that snow, and this was a great “palate cleanser”. Schmidt puzzles are excellent quality, and the fit is also tight enough to move around “islands” easily. Loved it!

Garage Sale by Aimee Stewart, Schmidt, 500 pieces. Completed on October 5, 2022.

I drive, I come and I stay, 2022-10-05

This was the worst of the duck images! I felt slightly snow blind after finishing, and we haven’t even had the first snow in Helsinki yet. Somehow, the left part (both snow and sky) was easier than the right side. I had about a third of the pieces left when I sorted them by shape, but the shades of white helped a bit even after that. Also, the cut was excellent, with some distinct shapes that helped a lot. It was less painful than I expected it to be.

The duck in this painting looks happy and not at all cranky, and I also think it’s a female duck (has hair in a bun and wears a skirt).

I drive, I come and I stay by Kaj Stenvall, Tactic, 1000 pieces. Completed on October 5, 2022.

One final thing, the title. In Finnish, it’s an elaborate word game, because it has two different meanings. The Finnish title is “(Läpi) ajan, tulen ja jään”, and that can be translated either as “I drive (through), I come and I stay”, or as “Through time, fire and ice”. For the second meaning, you really need that word in parentheses.

American Light, 2022-10-01

Back to the Stenvall ducks! This is one of the very few Stenvall paintings with only an English title (most of them have Finnish titles as well). The image shows a cranky duck holding up a candle against a city with no lights. The sofa is covered with what looks like a combination of the US and Finnish flags – the stars in the US flag have been replaced with a Finnish flag. The painting is from 2003, which means this must be a reference to the Northeast blackout of 2003 – surely anything else would be too much of a coincidence. But I have no idea what – if anything – the artist is trying to say, and I also don’t understand what Finland has to do with the blackout.

American Light by Kaj Stenvall, Tactic, 1000 pieces. Completed on October 1, 2022.

This was the second time I’ve done this puzzle, I did it in 2017, and it was the first Stenvall puzzle I did. It was a few years later when I decided to collect all the puzzles. The puzzle quality is good, although the fit is quite loose, which I know many people dislike, but I don’t mind. No false fits, though!

Mail By Rail, 2022-09-26 & 2022-09-28

A set of two 500 piece puzzles. Falcon is still not my favourite brand, but this was actually OK. The cut often seems a bit off with Falcon, and there can be false fits, but I saw nothing of that this time. I like the images, for some reason I usually enjoy doing all means of transport – trains, ships, cars – especially if they are vintage. Surprisingly, the image on the top where the train is being loaded at the station was much more difficult than the bottom one. Still not sure why 🙂

Mail By Rail by Marcello Corti, Falcon, 2×500 pieces. Completed on September 26 & 28, 2022.