Handcrafting the world's finest wooden jigsaw puzzles since 1974

The Chief Tormentor

The Deliciously Devilish Blog of Puzzling News From Staveland

Thankful Hearts

Giving Thanks

As sad as I am to see summer fading away, I am also feeling the excitement of the coming seasons, especially Thanksgiving. This holiday brings a warmth to my heart that is sometimes forgotten in the day to day minutiae. It’s the time of year when families get together and we’re reminded of what’s good and right in our worlds.

We have much to be thankful for here at Stave Puzzles. We’ve been driving our puzzlers crazy for over 35 years and we’re still loving every minute of it! Our loyal and crazy followers have called upon us to puzzle them and their families in times of trouble and in times of celebration. We’ve been asked to send puzzles to folks who are feeling under the weather, those who are celebrating great things, and many puzzlers who truly enjoy making order out of chaos and want to be mentally challenged. We appreciate you all so much that we vow to continue to challenge you to your hearts’ content and we promise to keep coming up with loads of new ways to do it!

Normal. Really?!

We’re also thankful for the great people we’re surrounded by each and every workday. It’s an amazing thing to enjoy the work you do but to really like the people you do it with is an even bigger bonus! What is really amazing is how normal we all seem. I mean really, how can we all seem so normal on the outside when on the inside we’re dreaming up new ways to puzzle you?!

 

The Next Generation

 

 

I received a nice note the other day from one of our puzzling friends in Atlanta, GA. Katrina and her husband, Larry, have been puzzling with us since 1991 and over the years we’ve really gotten to know them. They discovered us when they spent some time enjoying our puzzles at Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, Vermont. Since then we’ve had the pleasure of their company at several of our puzzle gatherings here in VT, in NY, and in TN.

A few years after their first order, Katrina and Larry ordered a puzzle for their daughter, Whitney. As time passed, the trend continued and it became clear that this is a true puzzling family. Stave enjoyed being a part of many holidays and special occasions in their family, like Whitney’s birthdays and eventually her graduation. Inevitably, Whitney caught the eye of a special gentleman and the next thing we knew, Whitney’s friend, Luke, was joining us at a puzzle party. Would he pass the test? Is he a puzzler? Yes! He passed with flying colors. Luke wasn’t intimidated at all by our zany group and handled us, and the puzzles, like a pro.

True to the story book trend, there was a wedding and soon another new face in the crowd. Whitney and Luke now have a son, Ethan, and as you can see from the photo below, he’s got the puzzling gene! This family and their story is a prime example of what everyone here at Stave is thankful for. The relationships we build through our puzzles are just as important and satisfying as the puzzles themselves. Each piece brings us closer together and makes for a stronger whole.

Thank you for sharing of yourselves and your lives with us. We enjoy every minute of getting to know you and value our friendships with you more than you can imagine.

Life is good. So very good.

~ Jennifer


Bigger Can Be Better

 

 

 

Some of you already know this but while we’re working on the snazzy mailing piece to share with everyone, I’ll let the rest of you in on a little secret. YES, we cut puzzles with larger pieces! If you have young kids who are itching to get their hands on your Stave or someone in your life who’s eyesight isn’t quite what it used to be, we can cut almost anything with large pieces. Just ask and we’ll do it! Give us a call and we’ll help you figure out just how large you need the pieces and the rest of the details. We’ll get the official word out eventually, but for those of you who have been wondering- now you know!

I probably should have put one of our regular puzzle pieces next to one of the larger pieces but I didn’t think of it at the time. But hopefully, this is good enough to give you an idea of what we can do!

 

 

Potpourri

A Little of This
There’s been a lot going on this summer so I have plenty to share with you. Let’s see if I can get it all in (or remember it!)

First of all, we’re busy preparing for our shop baby. As I’ve mentioned, our Graphics whiz, Bri, and husband, Jason, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first child. He’s coming in early November and we’re all excited! Last month we managed to surprise Bri with a little baby shower. She doesn’t usually miss a trick around here so we’re quite smug we were able to pull it off without her catching on to the surprise. It’s been a while since we’ve had a Stave baby so we’re all looking forward to this big event. We’ll keep you posted on the news of the arrival.

We also recently celebrated Geoff ’s one year anniversary with Stave. He fits right in with our creative group and it feels like he’s just ‘one of the girls’. We enjoy working with Geoff and I think Steve likes having some male support in the building!

And a Little of That
It’s always fun when our puzzlers come for a visit and this summer we’ve been lucky enough to receive many friends at our door. It’s great to see friends, old and new, and we love to give our puzzlers a chance to get a first hand look at where all of the magic happens. We’re a little out of the way for most travelers but if you find yourself in our area, please stop by and say hello. You could meet the crafter of one of your puzzles!

Etc., Etc.
We’ve been having a great time working with our new website developers. They’re a great group of guys. They spent a full day with us, taking lots of photographs and getting a real feel for what Stave is all about. We’re so excited because they “got it” right away! Some people have trouble understanding how passionate people can be about puzzles but these guys figured it out right away. Once you actually get your hands on a Stave and can see the quality and workmanship, things kind of fall into place. But besides all that, this crew was a blast to work with and we’re excited we found them. We’re looking forward to our new website and know you are, too!

We’ve also been working with our Stave artists on some great new puzzle designs for you. Cheryl Johnson has begun preliminary sketches of the next puzzle in our Puzzle the United States series. We’ve completed Vermont, Maine, New York and Massachusetts and now we’re heading west. California is in the works!

Susan Greenleaf and Samara Cary are working on new Teasers that I think all you 4-sword puzzlers will love. I was serious when I said it was my goal to give you more challenging puzzles this year and we’re doing it. Susan is developing a floral design that will knock your socks off and Samara is working on something that will thrill horse lovers and possibly take you on the ride of your life! We’re still in the development stages on these designs but we hope to get the prototypes cut and out to our Testers very soon. Keep an eye out for these two new puzzles in the next couple of months.

Wow! I’m out of space already. Until the next time!
-Jennifer


We’re Going to the Point

He’s Stepping In
Hey Everyone, just a quick note from me, Jennifer. Steve is helping me out by writing this month’s newsletter. This is his story and he needs to be the one to share it. Enjoy!

From Steve
Two months ago I received a nice note from Barbara Bush, a Stave customer and friend for many years, inviting Martha and me to lunch with her and family at Walker’s Point. What a nice surprise! Of course, we accepted! Remember that a year ago Mrs. Bush, with her assistant and 2 Secret Service agents, drove over to Staveland for a tour and lunch with Martha and me. And here we thought that was the pinnacle of our experience. Little did we know it would only get better!

On Monday, August 6th, we drove to Kennebunkport, 3 hours from our home in Norwich, Vermont, to stay with friends. Then on Tuesday, with perfect weather, we arrived at the Bushes Walker’s Point guardhouse at 1:00 sharp. After checking us over and inspecting our driver’s licenses, the guard gave us directions to the main house where Mrs. Bush was waiting for us with her two cute little Maltipoos, Bibi and MiniMe. Mrs. Bush took us into their living room where we chatted with her, President Bush, and several others. After visiting for a bit we enjoyed a delicious lobster salad lunch. Following lunch, Mrs. Bush took us on a tour of Walker’s Point in her golf cart, entertaining us with wonderful tales. We felt very special and honored to be welcomed so warmly.

Time flew and a little after we exchanged gifts with Mrs. Bush and departed. As you can imagine, the whole experiencewas mind-boggling and surreal. We pinched ourselves as we drove away, smiling all the way back to Norwich.

BECKY gets Creative

Becky, one of our Super-Duper crafters, waltzed into my office showing off her latest creations… a one-of-a-kind Stave Puzzles shirt. She cut out the plastic pieces, stuck them on the green shirt, and then lightly sprayed the shirt with bleach. How creative is that!

 

Angels Gather Here

Check out Wanita’s awesome work! Last year she presented our Chief-Tormentor, Steve, with this cute little jester. Appropriate for him, don’t you think?! He’s made of Polymer clay which she shaped into the various parts, put together and then baked in the oven. I’m amazed at how she managed to get his hat just so. From the silly expression on the face down to the purple and red shoes and the Jack-in-the-box he’s holding- he’s the perfect little jester!

 

Wanita’s most recent project is this beautiful angel. She saw a photo of something similar and thought, “I bet I can do that.” And did she!

It took several weeks to get things just how she wanted them and she ended up making the dress 3 times. After struggling with getting the folds in the dress just right, it occurred to Wanita that she could use her daughter’s wedding dress to help her. Wanita’s youngest daughter, Gail, was recently married so the dress came in handy for reference.

The Polymer clay comes in many different colors so Wanita didn’t have to add any paint to it. However, she did have to paint the eyelashes and add a bit of color to the cheekbones. The brush she used must have been tiny!

Here’s what Wanita has to say about her angel:

I love the wings! The smallest breath of air will make them move. I also liked using the different textures. The warmth of the grain in the wood, the smoothness of the clay, and of course, the softness of the wings.

I did have a picture to reference as I worked and I try to get the figures to look sort of like it, but at some point it just becomes your own and you change things, like the dress. As much as I loved the image on the page I liked the freedom of being able to adapt it to my liking.

I have lots of other pieces I would like to make, but geez, there are soooo many other projects to get done, as well. Like creating another puzzle for you all!

Check out Monica’s Coat of Arms!

 

As one might expect from a company that creates handcrafted wooden jigsaw puzzles, Stave is filled with people who are overflowing with creativity. They just have to be doing something with their hands at all times. So in addition to the wonderful work they do here at Stave, they draw and paint, make pottery and quilts, and make wood carvings and chainsaw creations, to name just a few!

Monica, an accomplished seamstress and puzzle cutter extraordinaire, is just one of our crafty people. She’s headed to a wedding this weekend in Philadelphia and she’s made the neatest gift to present to the bride and groom. Monnie has created the Gieg-Wright Family coat of arms!

After creating the shield from the same wood we use to craft our puzzles, Monnie had to decide how to adorn it. She chose a fox to represent the bride, Daylen, because she’s ‘one foxy lady’. Jason, a loving owner of fat cats throughout life, is represented by this prime example of a plump feline.

Jason, a 3D animator and general computer geek is also represented by the motherboards, fashioned into the smaller shield between the fox and cat. Daylen, a Steampunk fashion enthusiast, is represented by the gears. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Steam punk is a genre that originated during the 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternative history and speculative fiction. It involves a setting where steam power is widely used. (There’s you’re Learned Something New for today!) Daylen loves Chrysanthemums, so Monnie designed a big Mum for the top of the shield and Jason is into Ninjas so he’s represented by a throwing star at the base of the shilled.

When Monnie asked the bride what their motto would be, she exclaimed, “Your Face!” (you gotta say it with some sass and attitude). This (or thine features) is loosely translated in Latin to Taum Faciem.

Isn’t this just amazing?!! The pot of creativity is overflowing here at Stave and I’m determined to share more faces and talents with you in the near future.

Are They Crazy Stave Puzzlernuts or What?

Below are shown the before/after of true puzzle craziness. B&L thought it would be fun to dump all 46 of their mini Stave Puzzles (they have over 100 bigger ones) into one box, mix the pieces, and start puzzling. They said ” It was a *wonderful* exercise. We got to enjoy all the puzzles again, and admire their beauty [and your cleverness/sneakiness].”

Thankful Hearts

Giving Thanks

As sad as I am to see summer fading away, I am also feeling the excitement of the coming seasons, especially Thanksgiving. This holiday brings a warmth to my heart that is sometimes forgotten in the day to day minutiae. It’s the time of year when families get together and we’re reminded of what’s good and right in our worlds.

We have much to be thankful for here at Stave Puzzles. We’ve been driving our puzzlers crazy for over 35 years and we’re still loving every minute of it! Our loyal and crazy followers have called upon us to puzzle them and their families in times of trouble and in times of celebration. We’ve been asked to send puzzles to folks who are feeling under the weather, those who are celebrating great things, and many puzzlers who truly enjoy making order out of chaos and want to be mentally challenged. We appreciate you all so much that we vow to continue to challenge you to your hearts’ content and we promise to keep coming up with loads of new ways to do it!

Normal. Really?!

We’re also thankful for the great people we’re surrounded by each and every workday. It’s an amazing thing to enjoy the work you do but to really like the people you do it with is an even bigger bonus! What is really amazing is how normal we all seem. I mean really, how can we all seem so normal on the outside when on the inside we’re dreaming up new ways to puzzle you?!

 

The Next Generation

 

 

I received a nice note the other day from one of our puzzling friends in Atlanta, GA. Katrina and her husband, Larry, have been puzzling with us since 1991 and over the years we’ve really gotten to know them. They discovered us when they spent some time enjoying our puzzles at Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, Vermont. Since then we’ve had the pleasure of their company at several of our puzzle gatherings here in VT, in NY, and in TN.

A few years after their first order, Katrina and Larry ordered a puzzle for their daughter, Whitney. As time passed, the trend continued and it became clear that this is a true puzzling family. Stave enjoyed being a part of many holidays and special occasions in their family, like Whitney’s birthdays and eventually her graduation. Inevitably, Whitney caught the eye of a special gentleman and the next thing we knew, Whitney’s friend, Luke, was joining us at a puzzle party. Would he pass the test? Is he a puzzler? Yes! He passed with flying colors. Luke wasn’t intimidated at all by our zany group and handled us, and the puzzles, like a pro.

True to the story book trend, there was a wedding and soon another new face in the crowd. Whitney and Luke now have a son, Ethan, and as you can see from the photo below, he’s got the puzzling gene! This family and their story is a prime example of what everyone here at Stave is thankful for. The relationships we build through our puzzles are just as important and satisfying as the puzzles themselves. Each piece brings us closer together and makes for a stronger whole.

Thank you for sharing of yourselves and your lives with us. We enjoy every minute of getting to know you and value our friendships with you more than you can imagine.

Life is good. So very good.

~ Jennifer


Bigger Can Be Better

 

 

 

Some of you already know this but while we’re working on the snazzy mailing piece to share with everyone, I’ll let the rest of you in on a little secret. YES, we cut puzzles with larger pieces! If you have young kids who are itching to get their hands on your Stave or someone in your life who’s eyesight isn’t quite what it used to be, we can cut almost anything with large pieces. Just ask and we’ll do it! Give us a call and we’ll help you figure out just how large you need the pieces and the rest of the details. We’ll get the official word out eventually, but for those of you who have been wondering- now you know!

I probably should have put one of our regular puzzle pieces next to one of the larger pieces but I didn’t think of it at the time. But hopefully, this is good enough to give you an idea of what we can do!

 

 

Potpourri

A Little of This
There’s been a lot going on this summer so I have plenty to share with you. Let’s see if I can get it all in (or remember it!)

First of all, we’re busy preparing for our shop baby. As I’ve mentioned, our Graphics whiz, Bri, and husband, Jason, are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first child. He’s coming in early November and we’re all excited! Last month we managed to surprise Bri with a little baby shower. She doesn’t usually miss a trick around here so we’re quite smug we were able to pull it off without her catching on to the surprise. It’s been a while since we’ve had a Stave baby so we’re all looking forward to this big event. We’ll keep you posted on the news of the arrival.

We also recently celebrated Geoff ’s one year anniversary with Stave. He fits right in with our creative group and it feels like he’s just ‘one of the girls’. We enjoy working with Geoff and I think Steve likes having some male support in the building!

And a Little of That
It’s always fun when our puzzlers come for a visit and this summer we’ve been lucky enough to receive many friends at our door. It’s great to see friends, old and new, and we love to give our puzzlers a chance to get a first hand look at where all of the magic happens. We’re a little out of the way for most travelers but if you find yourself in our area, please stop by and say hello. You could meet the crafter of one of your puzzles!

Etc., Etc.
We’ve been having a great time working with our new website developers. They’re a great group of guys. They spent a full day with us, taking lots of photographs and getting a real feel for what Stave is all about. We’re so excited because they “got it” right away! Some people have trouble understanding how passionate people can be about puzzles but these guys figured it out right away. Once you actually get your hands on a Stave and can see the quality and workmanship, things kind of fall into place. But besides all that, this crew was a blast to work with and we’re excited we found them. We’re looking forward to our new website and know you are, too!

We’ve also been working with our Stave artists on some great new puzzle designs for you. Cheryl Johnson has begun preliminary sketches of the next puzzle in our Puzzle the United States series. We’ve completed Vermont, Maine, New York and Massachusetts and now we’re heading west. California is in the works!

Susan Greenleaf and Samara Cary are working on new Teasers that I think all you 4-sword puzzlers will love. I was serious when I said it was my goal to give you more challenging puzzles this year and we’re doing it. Susan is developing a floral design that will knock your socks off and Samara is working on something that will thrill horse lovers and possibly take you on the ride of your life! We’re still in the development stages on these designs but we hope to get the prototypes cut and out to our Testers very soon. Keep an eye out for these two new puzzles in the next couple of months.

Wow! I’m out of space already. Until the next time!
-Jennifer


We’re Going to the Point

He’s Stepping In
Hey Everyone, just a quick note from me, Jennifer. Steve is helping me out by writing this month’s newsletter. This is his story and he needs to be the one to share it. Enjoy!

From Steve
Two months ago I received a nice note from Barbara Bush, a Stave customer and friend for many years, inviting Martha and me to lunch with her and family at Walker’s Point. What a nice surprise! Of course, we accepted! Remember that a year ago Mrs. Bush, with her assistant and 2 Secret Service agents, drove over to Staveland for a tour and lunch with Martha and me. And here we thought that was the pinnacle of our experience. Little did we know it would only get better!

On Monday, August 6th, we drove to Kennebunkport, 3 hours from our home in Norwich, Vermont, to stay with friends. Then on Tuesday, with perfect weather, we arrived at the Bushes Walker’s Point guardhouse at 1:00 sharp. After checking us over and inspecting our driver’s licenses, the guard gave us directions to the main house where Mrs. Bush was waiting for us with her two cute little Maltipoos, Bibi and MiniMe. Mrs. Bush took us into their living room where we chatted with her, President Bush, and several others. After visiting for a bit we enjoyed a delicious lobster salad lunch. Following lunch, Mrs. Bush took us on a tour of Walker’s Point in her golf cart, entertaining us with wonderful tales. We felt very special and honored to be welcomed so warmly.

Time flew and a little after we exchanged gifts with Mrs. Bush and departed. As you can imagine, the whole experiencewas mind-boggling and surreal. We pinched ourselves as we drove away, smiling all the way back to Norwich.

BECKY gets Creative

Becky, one of our Super-Duper crafters, waltzed into my office showing off her latest creations… a one-of-a-kind Stave Puzzles shirt. She cut out the plastic pieces, stuck them on the green shirt, and then lightly sprayed the shirt with bleach. How creative is that!

 

Angels Gather Here

Check out Wanita’s awesome work! Last year she presented our Chief-Tormentor, Steve, with this cute little jester. Appropriate for him, don’t you think?! He’s made of Polymer clay which she shaped into the various parts, put together and then baked in the oven. I’m amazed at how she managed to get his hat just so. From the silly expression on the face down to the purple and red shoes and the Jack-in-the-box he’s holding- he’s the perfect little jester!

 

Wanita’s most recent project is this beautiful angel. She saw a photo of something similar and thought, “I bet I can do that.” And did she!

It took several weeks to get things just how she wanted them and she ended up making the dress 3 times. After struggling with getting the folds in the dress just right, it occurred to Wanita that she could use her daughter’s wedding dress to help her. Wanita’s youngest daughter, Gail, was recently married so the dress came in handy for reference.

The Polymer clay comes in many different colors so Wanita didn’t have to add any paint to it. However, she did have to paint the eyelashes and add a bit of color to the cheekbones. The brush she used must have been tiny!

Here’s what Wanita has to say about her angel:

I love the wings! The smallest breath of air will make them move. I also liked using the different textures. The warmth of the grain in the wood, the smoothness of the clay, and of course, the softness of the wings.

I did have a picture to reference as I worked and I try to get the figures to look sort of like it, but at some point it just becomes your own and you change things, like the dress. As much as I loved the image on the page I liked the freedom of being able to adapt it to my liking.

I have lots of other pieces I would like to make, but geez, there are soooo many other projects to get done, as well. Like creating another puzzle for you all!

Check out Monica’s Coat of Arms!

 

As one might expect from a company that creates handcrafted wooden jigsaw puzzles, Stave is filled with people who are overflowing with creativity. They just have to be doing something with their hands at all times. So in addition to the wonderful work they do here at Stave, they draw and paint, make pottery and quilts, and make wood carvings and chainsaw creations, to name just a few!

Monica, an accomplished seamstress and puzzle cutter extraordinaire, is just one of our crafty people. She’s headed to a wedding this weekend in Philadelphia and she’s made the neatest gift to present to the bride and groom. Monnie has created the Gieg-Wright Family coat of arms!

After creating the shield from the same wood we use to craft our puzzles, Monnie had to decide how to adorn it. She chose a fox to represent the bride, Daylen, because she’s ‘one foxy lady’. Jason, a loving owner of fat cats throughout life, is represented by this prime example of a plump feline.

Jason, a 3D animator and general computer geek is also represented by the motherboards, fashioned into the smaller shield between the fox and cat. Daylen, a Steampunk fashion enthusiast, is represented by the gears. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Steam punk is a genre that originated during the 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternative history and speculative fiction. It involves a setting where steam power is widely used. (There’s you’re Learned Something New for today!) Daylen loves Chrysanthemums, so Monnie designed a big Mum for the top of the shield and Jason is into Ninjas so he’s represented by a throwing star at the base of the shilled.

When Monnie asked the bride what their motto would be, she exclaimed, “Your Face!” (you gotta say it with some sass and attitude). This (or thine features) is loosely translated in Latin to Taum Faciem.

Isn’t this just amazing?!! The pot of creativity is overflowing here at Stave and I’m determined to share more faces and talents with you in the near future.

Are They Crazy Stave Puzzlernuts or What?

Below are shown the before/after of true puzzle craziness. B&L thought it would be fun to dump all 46 of their mini Stave Puzzles (they have over 100 bigger ones) into one box, mix the pieces, and start puzzling. They said ” It was a *wonderful* exercise. We got to enjoy all the puzzles again, and admire their beauty [and your cleverness/sneakiness].”