How Is Puzzling Not #1?
When meeting someone new, it’s common to ask about their hobbies. Do they like gardening or fishing, cooking or golf? How often does someone respond with “I’m a puzzler”? I did an internet search on hobbies several different ways and puzzling didn’t show up on any of them. What’s up with that?! All this led me to thinking it would be fun to ask you about your puzzling history. I reached out to Karen and Janet, the puzzling sisters, and asked them a few questions. Here’s what they have to say about their favorite hobby! Jennifer
How long have you been a puzzler? Is it just jigsaw puzzles or do you enjoy other types of puzzles, as well? KLM: We have puzzled forever. Even as kids, Dad would give us math puzzles, word puzzles, and jigsaw puzzles. His goal was to keep us busy and out of his hair! He delighted in finding things that would really stump us. When he traveled on business, he sent postcards and let- ters in codes that we had to decipher.
Are there other puzzlers in your family? Did they get you started? KLM: Our whole family puzzles; well everyone except my husband does. I think it was part of the selection criteria to join the family: must like dogs, must enjoy laughing, must like puzzles, etc. JPD: My whole family puzzles as well. Our daughters grew up with wooden children’s puzzles, so Stave puzzles are a natural fit for us. Even our dog enjoys them, as he thinks the pieces are quite tasty.... How did you find Stave Puzzles? KLM: I occasionally saw Stave puzzles when I traveled on business. Nice places like Pebble Beach and Blackberry Farm had them in the library and sitting areas. Blackberry is where I finally connected the company name with the puzzles that I so enjoyed.
JPD: Karen introduced me. The first one I saw was In A Puzzling State, which she gave our Dad. When did you take the leap and buy your first Stave? Do you remember the name of it? KLM: I bought my first puzzle in 2005 as an “I’m retired” gift to myself. It was Irises by Vincent Van Gogh.
JPD: I bought the teaser 24 Carrots in 2005 when there was an online special on the Stave website. After the first Stave/Blackberry event, I ordered my first Traditional puzzle Will the Real Santa... by Bill Bell. What did you most enjoy about it? KLM: The Irises image is beautiful. The puzzle was wicked torture. Pieces were cut along lines so that placing them by color or shape was almost impossible. Then there were the usual Stave tricks of putting corner pieces in the middle of the puzzle. It was exactly what I expected and craved. JPD: I was so excited to get my first Teaser. I pulled it out of the box and got to work right away, but couldn’t quite see how to make all those carrots fit in. I went to run an errand, and when I got back, my youngest daughter had finished it! I didn’t know whether to be mad or happy about it! However, she and I both really enjoy the Tricks & Teasers now.
What type(s) of our puzzles do you work? Traditional/Trick/Teaser? KLM: I personally like Traditional puzzles although I REALLY like them with mini-piece cuts and the Radical features most. I like the other puzzles too, but I’m simply slower at doing them. Janet’s family is especially good at those tough Trick & Teaser puzzles. JPD: We like them all. The Trick and Teasers are especially nice to take on long plane trips since they are challenging yet small enough to work on a tray table. How do you approach a jigsaw puzzle? Do you sort colors and edge pieces? Silhouettes in as you go along or do you save them for last? Any other techniques you want to share? KLM: The 1st time I do a purchased puzzle, I lay all the pieces out. That is often more time-consuming than doing the puzzle. Typically I keep the silhouettes together and then put the rest out by color. I take pictures along thewaysothatIcanputtheminmy “puzzle inventory” book which became necessary when I realized there were well over 100 Stave puzzles here. As far as actually piecing the puzzle together, I try to do the silhouettes last just for sport. Surprisingly, while I sort by color, I actually place pieces by shape. (Gotta itch both sides of the brain!)
Is puzzling a solitary or social event for you? JPD: I enjoy doing Traditional puzzles with other people as a social activity (kind of like playing cards), though I’m happy to work alone as well. The Tricks & Teasers are easier to work alone.
What sets the stage for good puzzling? JPD: Tunes are always good, and a glass of wine or a good bourbon makes the puzzling even more enjoyable. No food. Would you recommend Stave Puzzles to your family and friends? KLM: Seriously? OF COURSE! Stave and Stave events are even mentioned in our annual holiday cards. You know that triggers the questions. JPD: Yes, yes, yes! How would you describe a Stave puzzle to someone who knows nothing about us? KLM: Stave sells custom hand-cut wooden jigsaw puzzles. Stave will include shapes and silhouettes and other features as requested. All of my puzzles have a Norwegian Elkhound and a turtle. The crafter signs & dates each puzzle’s logo piece. Stave will even use images (for example family photos) provided by the customer. Each puzzle is unique, a work of art unto itself and certainly a collectible item. Most of all they are cheaper than many other vices in life and are significantly more fun! JPD: Well said, Karen. What’s the best part of puzzling with Stave? KLM: The best part is an excuse to do something with my family, especially Janet. JPD: Awww... I also like the “snook” sound when you fit a piece in the right spot. It’s like when you hit a golf ball on the club’s sweet spot, very satisfying. Anything else you want to add? KLM: Is there a “Stave Addicts Anonymous” group? I need help! JPD: We love you!