The following quote came from a long-time Texas customer’s email after placing order for his 54th puzzle and I promised him Christmas delivery,
“Sounds great – this is puzzle #54 – and I calculate about 28,000 pieces to assemble.
When is enough enough? Not quite yet.”
Yes, Chantilly is a BIG success because Riccardo (my ace tester) has not been able to do it. As he said, she has him going in circles. But Riccardo wants me to design a smaller version which will be more affordable…. hmmmm.
After my Ace Tester Riccardo ‘crushed’ Champette#1 and Champette#2 I licked my wounds and went back to the drawing board this past weekend. What sprang forth is Chantilly. I took the best of the Champettes and added a few zingers. Note that this version has handwritten clues showing where the swap points are. No need for Riccardo spending valuable time finding them. I want his brain power coming up with ideas on how to have Chantilly ever more beautiful.
Earlier this week Bill Bell drove up from New Jersey and delivered his masterpiece of Staveland. We were blown away. Three weeks ago he showed us his work in progress with part of the workshop unfinished because he couldn’t figure out how to have the Stave puzzles being crafted 400 years ago. Driving back to New Jersey he had an inspiration and VOILA! here it is. How ingenious!
Yesterday Bill Bell drove up from New Jersey and stayed at the Norwich Inn. This morning, bright and early at 8:15, he arrived at the shop much earlier than I had expected. Tammy called me and I quickly got my act together and hustled out to meet him, 5 minutes away. And much to my/our surprise he had a painting-in-progress based on our brainstorming 3 weeks ago. We are excited, agog, flabbergasted, double-whammied! Take a look. This is his/our fanciful vision of how Stave jigsaw puzzles might have been crafted 400 years ago. There is the Stave Puzzle shop on the left and, on the right, the King and Queen patrons in their castle doing Stave puzzles in their separate rooms. The scene is filled with Bill’s classic joyful humor. And, yes, when it is finished we will offer it as a Traditional puzzle. We are honored to have captured Bill’s amazing imagination.
This week we were honored to have Sherlock Holmes and Watson visit Staveland. Wait ’til you see what happened… coming soon!
Last Saturday night Martha and I went to a restaurant named Ariana’s in Orford, NH. Behind the restaurant is this giant pumpkin which houses a chicken coop. Funny!!
Bill Bell is one of our most popular artists and last week he honored us with a visit. We gave him the grand tour and he autographed some of his prints for our gang. We took him to lunch and tried to convince him to do a humorous Staveland scene. He loves the idea so keep your fingers crossed.
Champette was crafted and shipped to Riccardo, my star tester, yesterday. It should be 2-10 times harder than Champ, I hope. So it’s time to wait and see how Riccardo does with it. Why is it harder? How about this: it’s 2-sided and it’s double-decker (just head and tail) and both head and tail rotate and a mystery reason I will not divulge. Hmmmmm. Keep in mind that the below photo is my first prototype of Champette and it does not look like my normally crude prototype. It looks almost like a finished design because I wanted Riccardo to get the full effect. There is some roughness to the cut but that will disappear with the final version.
You’ve probably had a peek at Steve’s new Trick puzzle design, Atlantis. It’s great. It’s beautiful. It’s clever. Well let me tell you, if he were in the shop right now I would THROTTLE him!! Now don’t get me wrong… it’s an awesome puzzle but the cutting of the design is an absolute BEAR and that’s putting it nicely!! I’ve put more Atlantis puzzles into the trashcan than I have into Finishing!! Steve’s got so many complex tricks in the design that when you mess up one tiny little spot (like underneath the manta ray) you have to trash the ENTIRE puzzle. It doesn’t matter if you’re an hour into the puzzle or 3 hours in (like when I blew the fifth swap area) it goes to the trash!! Yep, I’ve got puzzle piece flying left and right but not in a good way! Not to worry, though, because I’ll get even. After spending every second of every minute of the past 8 months on Atlantis, he and Martha headed to Boise so Steve could catch his breath and ease back into the real world. Just wait until he opens that nice little package I sent him. He’s going to wish it were a bomb