Handcrafting the world's finest wooden jigsaw puzzles since 1974

The Chief Tormentor

The Deliciously Devilish Blog of Puzzling News From Staveland

We’re Flaking Out!

Hi Everyone,
I’m so excited about our new Snowflake designs I thought I’d give you a sneak peek. I love the bright colors and patterns and the names… well, they just seemed to be calling out to me. Except for the gold one. I had trouble with that one so need to give credit to K.T. of MA. She and her husband stopped by for a tour last week and suggested just the right thing… Gold Leaf! Why don’t YOU stop by for a tour sometime?snowflakes

Audio Slideshow: Our Secret Puzzle Tester Meets Her Match

Here at Stave, we have a small group of elite puzzle testers that keep us on our toes by making sure our wooden jigsaw puzzles are up to snuff. One part geometry genius, one part masochist, these testers are invaluable to us because they are so good at doing jigsaw puzzles, they know when we have goofed by either making a puzzle too hard, or worse, too easy!

 

One of our long-time testers is Penelope Puzzlenut. A former resident of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, she is now hiding out in the Midwest on a 140-acre farm where she gardens, paints and kicks the tires on our puzzles. It’s a peaceful place – until we show up with our new puzzles that is.

 

This month we almost had to call the paramedics because she got her first taste of our new “Trouble Maker” puzzle. Two phone calls to The Chief Tormentor later, we finally calmed her frayed nerves. Says Penelope: “It’s is one of the most devious puzzles I have ever tinkered with. I can’t wait for more.”

 

We told you these folks are masochists.

 

Steve really does design puzzles on St. John

SteveSTJdesign
Here I am working on my Mac laptop from the deck of our rental home, 1000 feet up, on St. John…. sure beats 17 below (-17) in Norwich, Vermont. Shown on my laptop screen is the template I am creating for an electronic puzzle version of a Teaser puzzle, Peaceable Kingdom. I want visitors to our web site to be able to 'test drive' our different puzzle types. I am almost done with a Traditional ePuzzle. Now on to a Trick one!

Home Sweeeeeet Home!

That’s Cheryl Johnson, one of our new ‘shining star’ artist. She lives in Maine and drove 3 hours to deliver a new design and a ton of delicious treats. In her former life Cheryl was a cake decorator and she couldn’t resist doing some special treats for us…. yum-yum. And lots of our customers think her Gingerbread House design is yummy, also,based on how many have ordered it recently. THANK YOU Cheryl!!

2071214
2071212_22071213_2

Playing Hide ‘n Seek

Here’s a NEW Teaser design with a twist. Artist, Susan Greenleaf, drew at least a dozen hidden images into the artwork of this puzzle. Can you find them all? We pondered for quite awhile when trying to think of a name for this puzzle. Then it dawned on usóHide ‘n Seek!
To get the scoop on more new Teaser designs see your August Antics mailing.

Hidenseek

Summer is Here!

Collectors of the Stave Four Seasons Series have been waiting for Summer to arrive.

Shown here is the third season of the Four Season series. All four puzzles
join together to complete the summer season AND for the first time in the series,
each puzzle has 2 solutions.
These puzzles are no day in the park!
Their difficulty ratings are between 3-5 swords.
4_seasons_summer_lr
Winter and Spring seasons are still available through Stave. The Stave Four Seasons include seventeen puzzles that connect to make up the entire set. Once assembled, the Four Seasons will depict a small village of shops surrounding the mystery center piece. The Fall season and Secret Center will be coming soon!

These puzzles are only available through Stave, just call us!
We hope to have them online soon.

Up to New Tricks!

Here I am explaining to some of our talented sales team the ins and outs of my new Trick puzzle design, What a Catch. This is a small Trick puzzle with three(3) different challenges and we are about to officially launch it.  My gang suggested the obvious:  "Hey, Steve, how about telling us something about your design so we can sound somewhat intelligent about it in case someone asks." So here I am tormenting them with a tortured explanation of the ins/outs of the puzzle. From left to right there’s Paula, Melody, Susan, me and Elizabeth.

Steve_training

Steve’s New Trick Design

Finally!!  Look back in my December blog and you’ll find a photo of a prototype Trick puzzle I’ve been working on. Yes, it looks crude but why spend time/money with a Stave artist until I know the  puzzle has been fully tested and all the kinks worked out.  This is a particularly complicated Trick puzzle because it has three(3) separate challenges… so you get bang for the buck…. 3 puzzles-in-one.  There are three(3) pairs of fish and four(4) pop-up fishermen. Each challenge involves connecting the four(4) fishermen to two(2) pair of fish… all inside the fishing hole. But what  to name it?  Ye Olde Fishing Hole?  Fishing Derby?  ‘What a Catch’ won the prize.  You will see  this puzzle in a mailing soon!  By the way, the mailing shows ‘What a Catch’ as 3 lightning blots in difficulty (of 5)…. actually it is a 4-bolter!  a REAL challenge!2704whatacatch

Pebble Beach Puzzle

Pebble_beach_golf_linWe are about to offer some special deals on our Pebble Beach puzzle in recognition of the golf tournament that is in progress as I type this. Keep in mind that this puzzle art was created totally by Stave Puzzles, and what a project it was.

     Over 6 years ago one of the owners of Pebble Beach, a long-time customer, suggested that I visit PB to see what we could do together. Needless to say I was excited and nervous about going to America’s golf mecca. Yes, I’m a golfer, but just a bogey golfer, and the thought of playing Pebble Beach was intimidating. But Martha and I hopped a plane to San Francisco and drove down to Monterey area where we stayed at Pebble Beach’s best resort (we think) the Inn at Spanish Bay… we were upgraded to the largest suite in the place with piano and everything…. absolutely huge. I brought my clubs, of course, and on Day 1 I played Spyglass Hill…. or it played me. Day 2 I played the famous Pebble Beach, getting 3 pars and 6 bogeys… yes, the water off the 18th has a couple of my golf balls.  Day 3 I played Spanish Bay. Let me tell you, after playing 3 difficult courses in 3 days with 3 strangers each day, all better than me, i was totally beat…. but very happy… what an experience!

     Day 4 we met with Pebble Beach executives and suggested that Stave Puzzles create original art of all 18 holes of the Pebble Beach course since no such art existed. We would produce posters for them to sell in their gift shops and we would produce puzzles to sell to our customers, a win-win situation. They agreed to the idea. Turns out that was the easy part.

     Nowhere in the Pebble Beach archives was an aerial photo showing the entire course, just a variety of photos showing the famous holes an some drawings. So I hired a helicopter and photographer to take numerous photos of all the holes. this was all coordinated with Pebble Beach, of course. We didn’t want to irritate any VIP’s out on the course. I was invited to fly in the helicopter but I declined.

      Shortly after returning to Vermont I turned around and flew back to PB with one of our most popular artists, Bob Pettes, and we walked the course, photos in hand making notes and sketches. Bob went back to Kansas to paint the course over the next couple of months. It was a lot of work for Bob and he did a wonderful job. Upon receiving his artwork I hired a local artist, Susan Berry, to make some changes. Then I hired our  digital artist, Ruth Sytsma, to pull everything together. The end result is spectacular and we are all very pleased with it.

     To turn this new PB artwork into an interesting jigsaw puzzle we asked Melody Eccher, an experienced designer and cutter, to add some magic. She designed the two puzzle ‘windows’ you see above, one with the golfers and one with the PB logo. Plus she designed the theme-shaped pieces that are scattered throughout the puzzle. It’s a fun puzzle to look at and work particularly if you have been to Pebble Beach as have many of the puzzle buyers. Some buyers have us cut into the puzzle the date they were there along with their scores and initials.

 

   

We’re Flaking Out!

Hi Everyone,
I’m so excited about our new Snowflake designs I thought I’d give you a sneak peek. I love the bright colors and patterns and the names… well, they just seemed to be calling out to me. Except for the gold one. I had trouble with that one so need to give credit to K.T. of MA. She and her husband stopped by for a tour last week and suggested just the right thing… Gold Leaf! Why don’t YOU stop by for a tour sometime?snowflakes

Audio Slideshow: Our Secret Puzzle Tester Meets Her Match

Here at Stave, we have a small group of elite puzzle testers that keep us on our toes by making sure our wooden jigsaw puzzles are up to snuff. One part geometry genius, one part masochist, these testers are invaluable to us because they are so good at doing jigsaw puzzles, they know when we have goofed by either making a puzzle too hard, or worse, too easy!

 

One of our long-time testers is Penelope Puzzlenut. A former resident of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, she is now hiding out in the Midwest on a 140-acre farm where she gardens, paints and kicks the tires on our puzzles. It’s a peaceful place – until we show up with our new puzzles that is.

 

This month we almost had to call the paramedics because she got her first taste of our new “Trouble Maker” puzzle. Two phone calls to The Chief Tormentor later, we finally calmed her frayed nerves. Says Penelope: “It’s is one of the most devious puzzles I have ever tinkered with. I can’t wait for more.”

 

We told you these folks are masochists.

 

Steve really does design puzzles on St. John

SteveSTJdesign
Here I am working on my Mac laptop from the deck of our rental home, 1000 feet up, on St. John…. sure beats 17 below (-17) in Norwich, Vermont. Shown on my laptop screen is the template I am creating for an electronic puzzle version of a Teaser puzzle, Peaceable Kingdom. I want visitors to our web site to be able to 'test drive' our different puzzle types. I am almost done with a Traditional ePuzzle. Now on to a Trick one!

Home Sweeeeeet Home!

That’s Cheryl Johnson, one of our new ‘shining star’ artist. She lives in Maine and drove 3 hours to deliver a new design and a ton of delicious treats. In her former life Cheryl was a cake decorator and she couldn’t resist doing some special treats for us…. yum-yum. And lots of our customers think her Gingerbread House design is yummy, also,based on how many have ordered it recently. THANK YOU Cheryl!!

2071214
2071212_22071213_2

Playing Hide ‘n Seek

Here’s a NEW Teaser design with a twist. Artist, Susan Greenleaf, drew at least a dozen hidden images into the artwork of this puzzle. Can you find them all? We pondered for quite awhile when trying to think of a name for this puzzle. Then it dawned on usóHide ‘n Seek!
To get the scoop on more new Teaser designs see your August Antics mailing.

Hidenseek

Summer is Here!

Collectors of the Stave Four Seasons Series have been waiting for Summer to arrive.

Shown here is the third season of the Four Season series. All four puzzles
join together to complete the summer season AND for the first time in the series,
each puzzle has 2 solutions.
These puzzles are no day in the park!
Their difficulty ratings are between 3-5 swords.
4_seasons_summer_lr
Winter and Spring seasons are still available through Stave. The Stave Four Seasons include seventeen puzzles that connect to make up the entire set. Once assembled, the Four Seasons will depict a small village of shops surrounding the mystery center piece. The Fall season and Secret Center will be coming soon!

These puzzles are only available through Stave, just call us!
We hope to have them online soon.

Up to New Tricks!

Here I am explaining to some of our talented sales team the ins and outs of my new Trick puzzle design, What a Catch. This is a small Trick puzzle with three(3) different challenges and we are about to officially launch it.  My gang suggested the obvious:  "Hey, Steve, how about telling us something about your design so we can sound somewhat intelligent about it in case someone asks." So here I am tormenting them with a tortured explanation of the ins/outs of the puzzle. From left to right there’s Paula, Melody, Susan, me and Elizabeth.

Steve_training

Steve’s New Trick Design

Finally!!  Look back in my December blog and you’ll find a photo of a prototype Trick puzzle I’ve been working on. Yes, it looks crude but why spend time/money with a Stave artist until I know the  puzzle has been fully tested and all the kinks worked out.  This is a particularly complicated Trick puzzle because it has three(3) separate challenges… so you get bang for the buck…. 3 puzzles-in-one.  There are three(3) pairs of fish and four(4) pop-up fishermen. Each challenge involves connecting the four(4) fishermen to two(2) pair of fish… all inside the fishing hole. But what  to name it?  Ye Olde Fishing Hole?  Fishing Derby?  ‘What a Catch’ won the prize.  You will see  this puzzle in a mailing soon!  By the way, the mailing shows ‘What a Catch’ as 3 lightning blots in difficulty (of 5)…. actually it is a 4-bolter!  a REAL challenge!2704whatacatch

Pebble Beach Puzzle

Pebble_beach_golf_linWe are about to offer some special deals on our Pebble Beach puzzle in recognition of the golf tournament that is in progress as I type this. Keep in mind that this puzzle art was created totally by Stave Puzzles, and what a project it was.

     Over 6 years ago one of the owners of Pebble Beach, a long-time customer, suggested that I visit PB to see what we could do together. Needless to say I was excited and nervous about going to America’s golf mecca. Yes, I’m a golfer, but just a bogey golfer, and the thought of playing Pebble Beach was intimidating. But Martha and I hopped a plane to San Francisco and drove down to Monterey area where we stayed at Pebble Beach’s best resort (we think) the Inn at Spanish Bay… we were upgraded to the largest suite in the place with piano and everything…. absolutely huge. I brought my clubs, of course, and on Day 1 I played Spyglass Hill…. or it played me. Day 2 I played the famous Pebble Beach, getting 3 pars and 6 bogeys… yes, the water off the 18th has a couple of my golf balls.  Day 3 I played Spanish Bay. Let me tell you, after playing 3 difficult courses in 3 days with 3 strangers each day, all better than me, i was totally beat…. but very happy… what an experience!

     Day 4 we met with Pebble Beach executives and suggested that Stave Puzzles create original art of all 18 holes of the Pebble Beach course since no such art existed. We would produce posters for them to sell in their gift shops and we would produce puzzles to sell to our customers, a win-win situation. They agreed to the idea. Turns out that was the easy part.

     Nowhere in the Pebble Beach archives was an aerial photo showing the entire course, just a variety of photos showing the famous holes an some drawings. So I hired a helicopter and photographer to take numerous photos of all the holes. this was all coordinated with Pebble Beach, of course. We didn’t want to irritate any VIP’s out on the course. I was invited to fly in the helicopter but I declined.

      Shortly after returning to Vermont I turned around and flew back to PB with one of our most popular artists, Bob Pettes, and we walked the course, photos in hand making notes and sketches. Bob went back to Kansas to paint the course over the next couple of months. It was a lot of work for Bob and he did a wonderful job. Upon receiving his artwork I hired a local artist, Susan Berry, to make some changes. Then I hired our  digital artist, Ruth Sytsma, to pull everything together. The end result is spectacular and we are all very pleased with it.

     To turn this new PB artwork into an interesting jigsaw puzzle we asked Melody Eccher, an experienced designer and cutter, to add some magic. She designed the two puzzle ‘windows’ you see above, one with the golfers and one with the PB logo. Plus she designed the theme-shaped pieces that are scattered throughout the puzzle. It’s a fun puzzle to look at and work particularly if you have been to Pebble Beach as have many of the puzzle buyers. Some buyers have us cut into the puzzle the date they were there along with their scores and initials.