Handcrafting the world's finest wooden jigsaw puzzles since 1974

The Chief Tormentor

The Deliciously Devilish Blog of Puzzling News From Staveland

Broadening Her Horizons

 

Samara’s Our Girl

Just over five years ago we were lucky enough to have Samara join us at Stave Puzzles. A talented artist who turned out to be a natural cutter, she fit right in. After a few years of crafting puzzles, Samara began drawing silhouettes and edge designs which quickly led to designing Teaser puzzles, like Your High-ness, and Giant Dilemma. We tried our best to keep her busy and mentally stimulated but after four years, Samara got itchy feet and decided she needed something new. She’s been doing some exciting stuff and we thought you might enjoy hearing her tell about her recent adventure.

From Samara

Leaving Stave was very hard. It is one of those rare 9-5 jobs that allow you to express your creativity on a daily basis. My co-workers became my Stave family and I made important lifelong friendships. The decision to leave came down to this: a 9-5 job just isn’t for me. Routine makes me feel bored and lethargic, which affects my creativity in a negative way. To my surprise, everyone was very supportive of my desire to pursue my art career, which made it easier for me to leave.

Many wish to travel the world, and some never get to fulfill that wish. I decided I needed to act on my dreams so that I never had to say “I regret not traveling when I was younger.” I was 27, had no relationship or children, and I had left Stave 6 months before to pursue a career as a freelance artist. Basically, I was as free as my financial situation would allow. I made the decision to go to Thailand to teach english for a year. I signed up with a program called Language Corps, and obtained a certificate that allowed me to teach English abroad.

For most people, including myself, the thought of moving all alone to a different country is scary.

I knew I would be out of my element in a place where no one speaks English, or so I thought, so I chose Thailand because I had a good friend living in Bangkok. Already knowing someone took away the anxiety I may have had about finding a place to live because I stayed with her and her husband until I found a job, then an apartment.

I truly lucked out on my chances here. Within a month of arriving, I found a job teaching conversational English at Chang Sin College, an art school in Bangkok, for kids ages 15-18. “My kids” are incredibly talented artists who are just awful at speaking English, but that doesn’t stop them from being sly little devils who make me laugh as much as frustrate me. I’m really just teaching them the basics of English: “How are you?”, “Where are you going?”, “Why are you late for class?”, etc.

The Thai teachers really embraced me into their community, especially my boss, Achara, who I call my Thai mother. She translates everything for me, gives me advice and rides, helped me move to a new apartment, and generally looks out for my well-being. In return, I tell her the glasses she can’t find are on top of her head, and I work on learning Thai culture and how to properly pay respect to people when I meet them. In the Thai culture, when greeting another person, you wai them (pronounced like why) by putting your hands in a praying position in front of your face. Knowing how to properly wai can make the difference between an unhelpful store clerk and a store clerk who will make you sit down and do your shopping for you.

I’ve made many new friends from around the world. Friendships really can span the globe, with the bonus of having free places to stay in multiple countries! I also met a guy from Alaska whose best friend in college went to my high school and was a year behind me, proving that you really can go anywhere in the world and still be reminded of how small it can be.

I love how affordable everything is here. Nothing in my wardrobe cost more than $10, and I’ve had to cut myself off from buying shoes because I would have to buy another suitcase to get them home. I also love the traditional culture of Thailand. The fabric, houses, temples, and paintings are incredibly beautiful.

It will be hard to have to say goodbye to all the friends I’ve made here, especially my Thai mother. When I left on this journey, I shed tears because I would miss my friends and family. When I leave Thailand to go home, I know I may never come back, and some of my Thai friends are either too old or cannot afford to travel to the U.S. It will break my heart to leave them and I will cherish the friendship they gave me for the rest of my life.

When I talk about Stave, I still use the term “we”, and I have no plans to stop being a part of the “family” any time soon. In fact, I’m working on an alphabet series of puzzles that I hope to have finished up by this fall! Keep your eye out for them!

Samara

 

He’s At It, Again!

 

Every good employee hopes to have that little extra something that makes them stand out from the rest of the crowd. Whether it’s their organizational skills, their knack for numbers or some other ability, we all want to shine.

I’m here to confess I don’t have any of that! I work in an ‘organized’ clutter, was only an average math student and can’t say I’m totally awesome at anything in particular. But sometimes being in the right place at the right time is all you need!

Around five years ago one of my favorite puzzlers in Birmingham shared his love for Stave with a friend who he knew enjoyed puzzling. When this friend called Stave to talk puzzles, I helped him with his order. For those of you who have spoken with me, you know I like to chat. Maybe not like Tammy but I love to visit! At some point or another I learned this puzzler was as much of a golf fanatic as Steve. To make a long story short, he hooked me up with an invitation for Steve to golf Augusta National. Steve was delighted! To top that, this year Steve was invited to play Pine Valley in southern New Jersey. I’m guessing much of Steve’s ‘bucket list’ has probably been covered by these two events. He was honored and thrilled and loved every minute of it. Due to the kindness of our puzzling friend, I’m in awesome standing with the boss. I’m practically walking on water over here in puzzleland and you can bet I’m milking every bit of it I can!

Steve claims he does some of his best work on the golf course and while we aren’t too sure about that, we know we do some of our best work when he’s out on the golf course!!

 

 

 

Yours in puzzlement,
Jennifer

 

Let’s Catch Up

 

“When friends are at your hearthside met,
Sweet courtesy has done its most
If you have made each guest forget
That he himself is not the “host.”
-Thomas Bailey Aldrich

All the Doings ’round Here

We’ve had a busy summer here at Stave and it looks like we’re going to maintain that trend right through the end of fall and into winter. Winter! Where did that come from? We had a fun little snow shower last week and another on Saturday and that was just a taste of what’s to come. The Farmer’s Almanac is forecasting a lot of snow for us this year. I guess if it’s winter in VT we might as well have snow.

More Summer Fun

Steve and Martha were honored to spend an August afternoon with President and Mrs. Bush on Walker’s Point in Maine. They enjoyed a delicious lobster souffle luncheon and lively conversation. Mrs. Bush is as lovely as ever and sharp as a tack! As you can see from the photo above, President Bush’s hair is growing back after shaving his head to show support for the two-year-old son of a member of his Secret Service detail who is battling leukemia. Now that’s cool!

Look Who’s Here!

We ’re very proud to introduce our latest Stave team member. Easton Meyer arrived on August 16th coming in at 6 lbs. 10oz. He’s been coming to work with his mom, Jesse, for a few weeks now and boy, do we love it! Easton’s got a full head of wild hair and a smile that will melt your heart. We’re going to keep him around as long as Jesse will let us.

 

Jennifer-
Is she really ‘all there’?!

Stave’s Amazing Flying Machine

Here’s a sneak peek at Steve’s latest 2-way Trick puzzle.
Artwork by Molly Delaney

Up, Up, and Away!

After 26 years at Stave you would think I’d have Steve figured out. It’s taken me a while but I’m finally catching on. Do you remember a few years ago when we debuted Steve’s sensational 2-way Trick puzzle, Atlantis? He spent forever developing the trick, cutting and working through the various prototypes and directing the artwork. Just when we reached the final stage and began crafting all the orders for this monster of a puzzle, he left town! I thought I was going to go around the bend trying to master that beast! Thankfully, just when I was about to throw up my hands in despair, it all came together. Well, he’s gone and done it again!

Steve ’s been deviously designing another new 2-way Trick puzzle and it’s great! The puzzle is based on an ingenious group of kids who kludge together their own soap box derby-type cars. They’ve nabbed parts from their dads’ garages, their neighbors’ basements and maybe even a few things from the dump! But as we know, when someone pours their heart and soul into creating something the result can be magical. And it is!

After constructing the four individual car s, they joi n together to create an amazing flying machine. It will be a really fun puzzle. But back to the boss. Here we are with a deadline to get this puzzle crafted and photographed so we can spread the news and he and Martha are headed to Maine! Guess who that leaves to pull a rabbit out of the hat? ME! I’ve had the opportunity to cut a few of the prototypes this time so it won’t be so bad. It’s a fun and entertaining puzzle and I know our Trick puzzlers are going to love it! Stay tuned…its debut is coming soon!

Jennifer-
Always up for a new challenge!

 

New (and not so new) Faces

 

 

Sarah, Meg S, and EvieThe year 2013 has brought some changes to our group of talented puzzle crafters. Our friend, Olga, left Stave in January to spend more time with her young son and to pursue her love of language. Our talented Samara decided this was the perfect time in her life to explore the world and try some new things. She’s been painting a mural for the local library, refurbishing vintage signs and now she’s in the midst of creating a floor painting. Thankfully, she’s still designing puzzles. You’ll be seeing her latest challenge, You’re in Luck, very soon, and she’s currently working on a puzzle based on a favorite fairy tale. Most recently, Wanita has taken on the fun job of managing our local pottery studio. She’s teaching classes and loving it!

Though Olga, Samara and Wanita were difficult to replace, we were lucky enough to find Sarah and Evie to join us in the shop. Sarah grew up in the area but headed west to pursue her education at the University of Colorado. After graduating and spending a few years there, she decided to move back east. Sarah is an avid crafter who particularly enjoys bookbinding. She lives in Hanover, NH., with her kitties Santo and Marco Polo, who is blind. Sarah tries to hear as much live music as possible, loves animals, travel, and sipping cocktails by the lakeside. As you may have guessed by the name of her cat, she has a great sense of humor.

Evie grew up in a neighboring town and after graduating from Keene State in nearby New Hampshire, decided to come back our way to begin her new life. When we first met Evie she shared several beautiful woodworking pieces as well as some amazing drawings and paintings. It was obvious to us early on that she was very talented and just what we were searching for. Evie enjoys the outdoors, spending time at her camp in Northern VT., swimming, gardening, and staying active.

I’m sure many of you remember Meg S. You may even have puzzles with her initials on the back of the clown. Meg started with Stave back in 2004 and over the years became known in the shop for her love of cutting custom photo collages. All those faces can present quite a challenge to the crafter! After the birth of her second son, Meg decided to spend more time at home with her boys. Fortunately she’s been able to help us out during our busy times but we’ve always hoped there would come a day when she would be ready to come back to Stave full-time. That time has come! Meg is now working 3 days a week with plans to join us full-time when school starts in the fall. In her spare time, Meg enjoys gardening, fishing, knitting, and family time. We are thrilled with our new additions and know you will be, too!

Special Delivery Jesse

Special Delivery

We have another Stave baby on the way! Jesse and her husband, Will, are looking forward to the birth of their first child in August. We can’t wait to have another little boy to snuggle and spoil. Will is an avid hockey fan so we know the baby will probably be holding a hockey stick before he can even walk!

Until the next time,
Jennifer

 

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


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.

All That You Need

The Total Package

I’ve spent two of the last three weekends enjoying the company of some of my favorite people. In mid- February my husband Rick and I traveled to Walland, TN., with fellow Staver Carol and her husband Hank. Our destination? Blackberry Farm, a luxury hotel and resort situated on a pastoral 4200- acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains where we spent three days puzzling with friends, old and new. Last weekend, Rick and I were off to The Point, a unique, private estate where luxurious splendor is weaved amongst New York wilderness in Saranac Lake. Carol and Hank have hosted the puzzling event at The Point in past years but this year they had too much going on so Rick and I filled in. After only a couple of hours of experiencing The Point, I sent Carol a message letting her know she made a BIG mistake by not being there. Rick and I fell in love with all The Point has to offer. Once again, we were greeted by familiar faces as well as new but by the end of the weekend, we were all comrades in puzzling.


Our puzzling weekends at these amazing getaways offer something for everyone. Some puzzlers pack the most they can into the weekend, enjoying a spa treatment or a hike between puzzling sessions. Some who come vie for the much coveted title of “Over Achiever”. This award is bestowed upon the first place winner in the puzzling competitions and it’s accompanied by a very fashionable medal.

And then there are those who come to simply puzzle: all day and all night. They are there when I come down in my robe for my first cup of coffee in the morning and they are still there puzzling into the wee hours. When do they sleep?! I ended our whirlwind time of puzzling thinking how much Stave Puzzles has in common with these fabulous places. We all have one goal in mind: to give you the best experience you can have. Whether it’s plying you with amazing food and drink, organizing a hike through the woods, a boat ride on the lake, or creating a puzzle masterpiece for you to make order out of havoc, we’ll do whatever is in our power to make the time you puzzle with us everything you could want and more. There’s something very gratifying in it and that must be why we’re all doing what we do!
Come join us at our next puzzling event. You’ll love the locale, the people and the puzzling. I promise!
-Jennifer

It’s In Our Site(s)

 

Home Make-Over

Steve does some great work when he’s on vacation. He and Martha head to warmer climates and while they’re enjoying the sun and sand, the wheels in that whacky mind of his are turning like mad. His vacation time is when some of our best puzzles have originated. Last month when Steve and Martha were relaxing, Steve spent a good amount of time on the internet looking at websites. No, he wasn’t shopping for a new jigsaw, he was looking at what really makes a website stand out because it’s high time we updated the Stave Puzzles website! We need to make it easier for you to find just what you’re looking for.

New Technology

The internet has totally changed how we work. In the old days we put together a four page black and white mailing piece that may have shown 12 or 15 images. When the option of high-quality color copies became available to us, we graduated to producing mailing pieces in color that were great supplements to our professionally produced catalog. Mailing days were always fun. We’d get some chips and salsa and a bag of M&M’s and gather around the table to fold pages, stuff envelopes and stick mailing labels. Then we’d have to add postage and deliver them to the post office. Whew! As you know, we still put out a newsletter every few weeks but a large majority of our puzzlers head straight to our website to find their puzzles.

Shop at Home

With the widespread use of the internet, we’ve had to change with the times. You don’t need to sit and wait for the newsletter to hit your mailbox, anymore. You can have our entire catalog at your fingertips any time of day or night. You can find the perfect puzzle to take with you on vacation while you’re sitting at home having breakfast on a Saturday or check the selection of Gustafson prints while you’re waiting for the car to be serviced at the garage. You can even sneak a peek at the newest Teaser puzzle while you’re supposed to be working!

Keeping It Simple

Because the web has given you the freedom to peruse our site at your leisure, it’s important that we keep things fresh, exciting, and easy to use and that’s where we’re going to focus our energy in the coming months. We’re going to give you great categories like Destinations where you can search for puzzle images of specific locations like New York or Paris. If you are looking for something for someone who loves the arts, you’ll find a category for that, too, where we’ll have puzzles with a theater or musical theme. And if you want to find a puzzle for your spouse who has a love of gardening, you’ll head to the Hobbies category where you’ll find the perfect gardening themed puzzles to choose from. We’re even going to have a Sock it to Him/Her category where you’ll find just the right puzzle to drive your puzzler crazy! Keep watch in the coming months. You’ll see great things coming your way!

Until the next time,
Jennifer

Broadening Her Horizons

 

Samara’s Our Girl

Just over five years ago we were lucky enough to have Samara join us at Stave Puzzles. A talented artist who turned out to be a natural cutter, she fit right in. After a few years of crafting puzzles, Samara began drawing silhouettes and edge designs which quickly led to designing Teaser puzzles, like Your High-ness, and Giant Dilemma. We tried our best to keep her busy and mentally stimulated but after four years, Samara got itchy feet and decided she needed something new. She’s been doing some exciting stuff and we thought you might enjoy hearing her tell about her recent adventure.

From Samara

Leaving Stave was very hard. It is one of those rare 9-5 jobs that allow you to express your creativity on a daily basis. My co-workers became my Stave family and I made important lifelong friendships. The decision to leave came down to this: a 9-5 job just isn’t for me. Routine makes me feel bored and lethargic, which affects my creativity in a negative way. To my surprise, everyone was very supportive of my desire to pursue my art career, which made it easier for me to leave.

Many wish to travel the world, and some never get to fulfill that wish. I decided I needed to act on my dreams so that I never had to say “I regret not traveling when I was younger.” I was 27, had no relationship or children, and I had left Stave 6 months before to pursue a career as a freelance artist. Basically, I was as free as my financial situation would allow. I made the decision to go to Thailand to teach english for a year. I signed up with a program called Language Corps, and obtained a certificate that allowed me to teach English abroad.

For most people, including myself, the thought of moving all alone to a different country is scary.

I knew I would be out of my element in a place where no one speaks English, or so I thought, so I chose Thailand because I had a good friend living in Bangkok. Already knowing someone took away the anxiety I may have had about finding a place to live because I stayed with her and her husband until I found a job, then an apartment.

I truly lucked out on my chances here. Within a month of arriving, I found a job teaching conversational English at Chang Sin College, an art school in Bangkok, for kids ages 15-18. “My kids” are incredibly talented artists who are just awful at speaking English, but that doesn’t stop them from being sly little devils who make me laugh as much as frustrate me. I’m really just teaching them the basics of English: “How are you?”, “Where are you going?”, “Why are you late for class?”, etc.

The Thai teachers really embraced me into their community, especially my boss, Achara, who I call my Thai mother. She translates everything for me, gives me advice and rides, helped me move to a new apartment, and generally looks out for my well-being. In return, I tell her the glasses she can’t find are on top of her head, and I work on learning Thai culture and how to properly pay respect to people when I meet them. In the Thai culture, when greeting another person, you wai them (pronounced like why) by putting your hands in a praying position in front of your face. Knowing how to properly wai can make the difference between an unhelpful store clerk and a store clerk who will make you sit down and do your shopping for you.

I’ve made many new friends from around the world. Friendships really can span the globe, with the bonus of having free places to stay in multiple countries! I also met a guy from Alaska whose best friend in college went to my high school and was a year behind me, proving that you really can go anywhere in the world and still be reminded of how small it can be.

I love how affordable everything is here. Nothing in my wardrobe cost more than $10, and I’ve had to cut myself off from buying shoes because I would have to buy another suitcase to get them home. I also love the traditional culture of Thailand. The fabric, houses, temples, and paintings are incredibly beautiful.

It will be hard to have to say goodbye to all the friends I’ve made here, especially my Thai mother. When I left on this journey, I shed tears because I would miss my friends and family. When I leave Thailand to go home, I know I may never come back, and some of my Thai friends are either too old or cannot afford to travel to the U.S. It will break my heart to leave them and I will cherish the friendship they gave me for the rest of my life.

When I talk about Stave, I still use the term “we”, and I have no plans to stop being a part of the “family” any time soon. In fact, I’m working on an alphabet series of puzzles that I hope to have finished up by this fall! Keep your eye out for them!

Samara

 

He’s At It, Again!

 

Every good employee hopes to have that little extra something that makes them stand out from the rest of the crowd. Whether it’s their organizational skills, their knack for numbers or some other ability, we all want to shine.

I’m here to confess I don’t have any of that! I work in an ‘organized’ clutter, was only an average math student and can’t say I’m totally awesome at anything in particular. But sometimes being in the right place at the right time is all you need!

Around five years ago one of my favorite puzzlers in Birmingham shared his love for Stave with a friend who he knew enjoyed puzzling. When this friend called Stave to talk puzzles, I helped him with his order. For those of you who have spoken with me, you know I like to chat. Maybe not like Tammy but I love to visit! At some point or another I learned this puzzler was as much of a golf fanatic as Steve. To make a long story short, he hooked me up with an invitation for Steve to golf Augusta National. Steve was delighted! To top that, this year Steve was invited to play Pine Valley in southern New Jersey. I’m guessing much of Steve’s ‘bucket list’ has probably been covered by these two events. He was honored and thrilled and loved every minute of it. Due to the kindness of our puzzling friend, I’m in awesome standing with the boss. I’m practically walking on water over here in puzzleland and you can bet I’m milking every bit of it I can!

Steve claims he does some of his best work on the golf course and while we aren’t too sure about that, we know we do some of our best work when he’s out on the golf course!!

 

 

 

Yours in puzzlement,
Jennifer

 

Let’s Catch Up

 

“When friends are at your hearthside met,
Sweet courtesy has done its most
If you have made each guest forget
That he himself is not the “host.”
-Thomas Bailey Aldrich

All the Doings ’round Here

We’ve had a busy summer here at Stave and it looks like we’re going to maintain that trend right through the end of fall and into winter. Winter! Where did that come from? We had a fun little snow shower last week and another on Saturday and that was just a taste of what’s to come. The Farmer’s Almanac is forecasting a lot of snow for us this year. I guess if it’s winter in VT we might as well have snow.

More Summer Fun

Steve and Martha were honored to spend an August afternoon with President and Mrs. Bush on Walker’s Point in Maine. They enjoyed a delicious lobster souffle luncheon and lively conversation. Mrs. Bush is as lovely as ever and sharp as a tack! As you can see from the photo above, President Bush’s hair is growing back after shaving his head to show support for the two-year-old son of a member of his Secret Service detail who is battling leukemia. Now that’s cool!

Look Who’s Here!

We ’re very proud to introduce our latest Stave team member. Easton Meyer arrived on August 16th coming in at 6 lbs. 10oz. He’s been coming to work with his mom, Jesse, for a few weeks now and boy, do we love it! Easton’s got a full head of wild hair and a smile that will melt your heart. We’re going to keep him around as long as Jesse will let us.

 

Jennifer-
Is she really ‘all there’?!

Stave’s Amazing Flying Machine

Here’s a sneak peek at Steve’s latest 2-way Trick puzzle.
Artwork by Molly Delaney

Up, Up, and Away!

After 26 years at Stave you would think I’d have Steve figured out. It’s taken me a while but I’m finally catching on. Do you remember a few years ago when we debuted Steve’s sensational 2-way Trick puzzle, Atlantis? He spent forever developing the trick, cutting and working through the various prototypes and directing the artwork. Just when we reached the final stage and began crafting all the orders for this monster of a puzzle, he left town! I thought I was going to go around the bend trying to master that beast! Thankfully, just when I was about to throw up my hands in despair, it all came together. Well, he’s gone and done it again!

Steve ’s been deviously designing another new 2-way Trick puzzle and it’s great! The puzzle is based on an ingenious group of kids who kludge together their own soap box derby-type cars. They’ve nabbed parts from their dads’ garages, their neighbors’ basements and maybe even a few things from the dump! But as we know, when someone pours their heart and soul into creating something the result can be magical. And it is!

After constructing the four individual car s, they joi n together to create an amazing flying machine. It will be a really fun puzzle. But back to the boss. Here we are with a deadline to get this puzzle crafted and photographed so we can spread the news and he and Martha are headed to Maine! Guess who that leaves to pull a rabbit out of the hat? ME! I’ve had the opportunity to cut a few of the prototypes this time so it won’t be so bad. It’s a fun and entertaining puzzle and I know our Trick puzzlers are going to love it! Stay tuned…its debut is coming soon!

Jennifer-
Always up for a new challenge!

 

New (and not so new) Faces

 

 

Sarah, Meg S, and EvieThe year 2013 has brought some changes to our group of talented puzzle crafters. Our friend, Olga, left Stave in January to spend more time with her young son and to pursue her love of language. Our talented Samara decided this was the perfect time in her life to explore the world and try some new things. She’s been painting a mural for the local library, refurbishing vintage signs and now she’s in the midst of creating a floor painting. Thankfully, she’s still designing puzzles. You’ll be seeing her latest challenge, You’re in Luck, very soon, and she’s currently working on a puzzle based on a favorite fairy tale. Most recently, Wanita has taken on the fun job of managing our local pottery studio. She’s teaching classes and loving it!

Though Olga, Samara and Wanita were difficult to replace, we were lucky enough to find Sarah and Evie to join us in the shop. Sarah grew up in the area but headed west to pursue her education at the University of Colorado. After graduating and spending a few years there, she decided to move back east. Sarah is an avid crafter who particularly enjoys bookbinding. She lives in Hanover, NH., with her kitties Santo and Marco Polo, who is blind. Sarah tries to hear as much live music as possible, loves animals, travel, and sipping cocktails by the lakeside. As you may have guessed by the name of her cat, she has a great sense of humor.

Evie grew up in a neighboring town and after graduating from Keene State in nearby New Hampshire, decided to come back our way to begin her new life. When we first met Evie she shared several beautiful woodworking pieces as well as some amazing drawings and paintings. It was obvious to us early on that she was very talented and just what we were searching for. Evie enjoys the outdoors, spending time at her camp in Northern VT., swimming, gardening, and staying active.

I’m sure many of you remember Meg S. You may even have puzzles with her initials on the back of the clown. Meg started with Stave back in 2004 and over the years became known in the shop for her love of cutting custom photo collages. All those faces can present quite a challenge to the crafter! After the birth of her second son, Meg decided to spend more time at home with her boys. Fortunately she’s been able to help us out during our busy times but we’ve always hoped there would come a day when she would be ready to come back to Stave full-time. That time has come! Meg is now working 3 days a week with plans to join us full-time when school starts in the fall. In her spare time, Meg enjoys gardening, fishing, knitting, and family time. We are thrilled with our new additions and know you will be, too!

Special Delivery Jesse

Special Delivery

We have another Stave baby on the way! Jesse and her husband, Will, are looking forward to the birth of their first child in August. We can’t wait to have another little boy to snuggle and spoil. Will is an avid hockey fan so we know the baby will probably be holding a hockey stick before he can even walk!

Until the next time,
Jennifer

 

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


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.

All That You Need

The Total Package

I’ve spent two of the last three weekends enjoying the company of some of my favorite people. In mid- February my husband Rick and I traveled to Walland, TN., with fellow Staver Carol and her husband Hank. Our destination? Blackberry Farm, a luxury hotel and resort situated on a pastoral 4200- acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains where we spent three days puzzling with friends, old and new. Last weekend, Rick and I were off to The Point, a unique, private estate where luxurious splendor is weaved amongst New York wilderness in Saranac Lake. Carol and Hank have hosted the puzzling event at The Point in past years but this year they had too much going on so Rick and I filled in. After only a couple of hours of experiencing The Point, I sent Carol a message letting her know she made a BIG mistake by not being there. Rick and I fell in love with all The Point has to offer. Once again, we were greeted by familiar faces as well as new but by the end of the weekend, we were all comrades in puzzling.


Our puzzling weekends at these amazing getaways offer something for everyone. Some puzzlers pack the most they can into the weekend, enjoying a spa treatment or a hike between puzzling sessions. Some who come vie for the much coveted title of “Over Achiever”. This award is bestowed upon the first place winner in the puzzling competitions and it’s accompanied by a very fashionable medal.

And then there are those who come to simply puzzle: all day and all night. They are there when I come down in my robe for my first cup of coffee in the morning and they are still there puzzling into the wee hours. When do they sleep?! I ended our whirlwind time of puzzling thinking how much Stave Puzzles has in common with these fabulous places. We all have one goal in mind: to give you the best experience you can have. Whether it’s plying you with amazing food and drink, organizing a hike through the woods, a boat ride on the lake, or creating a puzzle masterpiece for you to make order out of havoc, we’ll do whatever is in our power to make the time you puzzle with us everything you could want and more. There’s something very gratifying in it and that must be why we’re all doing what we do!
Come join us at our next puzzling event. You’ll love the locale, the people and the puzzling. I promise!
-Jennifer

It’s In Our Site(s)

 

Home Make-Over

Steve does some great work when he’s on vacation. He and Martha head to warmer climates and while they’re enjoying the sun and sand, the wheels in that whacky mind of his are turning like mad. His vacation time is when some of our best puzzles have originated. Last month when Steve and Martha were relaxing, Steve spent a good amount of time on the internet looking at websites. No, he wasn’t shopping for a new jigsaw, he was looking at what really makes a website stand out because it’s high time we updated the Stave Puzzles website! We need to make it easier for you to find just what you’re looking for.

New Technology

The internet has totally changed how we work. In the old days we put together a four page black and white mailing piece that may have shown 12 or 15 images. When the option of high-quality color copies became available to us, we graduated to producing mailing pieces in color that were great supplements to our professionally produced catalog. Mailing days were always fun. We’d get some chips and salsa and a bag of M&M’s and gather around the table to fold pages, stuff envelopes and stick mailing labels. Then we’d have to add postage and deliver them to the post office. Whew! As you know, we still put out a newsletter every few weeks but a large majority of our puzzlers head straight to our website to find their puzzles.

Shop at Home

With the widespread use of the internet, we’ve had to change with the times. You don’t need to sit and wait for the newsletter to hit your mailbox, anymore. You can have our entire catalog at your fingertips any time of day or night. You can find the perfect puzzle to take with you on vacation while you’re sitting at home having breakfast on a Saturday or check the selection of Gustafson prints while you’re waiting for the car to be serviced at the garage. You can even sneak a peek at the newest Teaser puzzle while you’re supposed to be working!

Keeping It Simple

Because the web has given you the freedom to peruse our site at your leisure, it’s important that we keep things fresh, exciting, and easy to use and that’s where we’re going to focus our energy in the coming months. We’re going to give you great categories like Destinations where you can search for puzzle images of specific locations like New York or Paris. If you are looking for something for someone who loves the arts, you’ll find a category for that, too, where we’ll have puzzles with a theater or musical theme. And if you want to find a puzzle for your spouse who has a love of gardening, you’ll head to the Hobbies category where you’ll find the perfect gardening themed puzzles to choose from. We’re even going to have a Sock it to Him/Her category where you’ll find just the right puzzle to drive your puzzler crazy! Keep watch in the coming months. You’ll see great things coming your way!

Until the next time,
Jennifer