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"The Chief Tormentor"
The Deliciously Devilish Blog of Puzzling News From Staveland

CAT | Piece of Mind by Jennifer

Sep 7
2011

Stormy Seas

Piece of Mind?!

The name of this newsletter is a little deceiving for me this week because I’ve had no peace of mind since I began cutting Steve’s new Trick puzzle, Atlantis. I’ve felt like my ship has been sinking for days now. SOS!

Come bail me out!

Atlantis is based on the theory that in 9000 B.C. , the city of Atlantis disappeared in a horrendous storm.

The Journey

Atlantis has been in the works since January. Yep, eight long months. Steve has literally been consumed with it for practically every minute of every day. Just ask Martha! She was trying to get Steve’s involvement in planning a special 50th wedding anniversary celebration and she had a very hard time tearing him away from the puzzle. He’s lucky she’s agreed to keep him for another 50 years.

The puzzle takes you through the workings of Professor Samuel K. Robinson’s research and ultimately reveals where he found Atlantis to be located. That is if you can solve the puzzle! New designs go through many prototype stages but Atlantis has beaten our record. Steve spent hours locked in his home office, working and reworking the puzzle on paper and then he’d come to the shop and cut it in wood. Some things worked, some things didn’t! I can honestly say that all the time he spent on it was worth it. It’s an amazing puzzle. Now let’s talk about the puzzle cutting.

Lost at Sea

When the design was finally ready to go, Steve went through an arduous training session with Elizabeth. It wasa painstaking process because the steps you have to work through in its cutting are intense. The puzzle consists of seven circles, each larger than the next and it’s safe to say, they’re loaded with puzzlement. The difficulty levels range from a not so hard one sword to a hair pulling four swords. I rate the cutting experience a ten plus swords.

Why am I complaining? Because Elizabeth left for vacation and Steve and Martha were finally going to take some time to get their lives back after eight months of living with Atlantis day in and day out. That left little old me holding the bag. Thank goodness I roped Ginny in to help me. I knew I needed a second pair of eyes and ears when Steve went through the puzzle with me. There’s so much to remember!!

The training session went well. I remember thinking, “This isn’t so hard! What’s the big deal?!” Steve and Elizabeth had documented the cutting steps well and Steve incorporated several things into the design to guide us in the cutting. Then he left town and all hell broke loose!

Things started out smoothly, cutting up the puzzles we had worked on with Steve. But then we had to begin anew. Ok, step one isn’t so bad. Nicely done. Step two? Got that! Step three is when the water got choppy. Who would think that one little quarter inch difference in placement of a trick cut could mess something up so horribly? The nature of this design is such that one little mistake messes up the entire puzzle. There’s no saving it. The entire puzzle goes in the trash and you start again. So I did.

Step one, good. Step two, nice. Step three, I learned my lesson there, it worked great. Step four, man overboard! The angle on that baby has to be just perfect or else you get an oval instead of a circle. That’s all I can say about that. Back to the drawing board. Step one, good. Step two, good. Step three, made it. Step four, still afloat. Step five, tidal wave! How did that happen?! At this point I’m cursing Steve and wishing he had been on the island of Atlantis when it went down. Needless to say, it was a learning experience but Ginny and I weathered the storm and came out alive.

The puzzle is AMAZING and I think our puzzlers will love it. This may just be the trick puzzle that I have to own. You all know I’m a loyal Traditional puzzle fan but this design is so cool and clever that I want it for myself. I think it might be a while before I work up the muster to cut it for myself, though.

May your seas be calm- Jennifer

Aug 10
2011

Are You Old Fashioned?

New Wave

Technology is great! Can you imagine not having a remote control for your TV?! How about the garage door opener? Now, that is something I don’t want to live without. I think you’ll agree, we rely heavily on these modern day inventions.

Old School

I’ve begun to wonder if all these technological advances are too much of a good thing. I used to play the game Battleship with my sister when we were kids. It was so fun to yell out, “You sunk my battleship!” She’s four years older than me so I was usually the one screaming that out while she hooted and cheered for herself. Now we play Scrabble via our phones. I make my word, gloat at the amount of points I earn, and hit send. Then nothing, until she takes her turn. There’s no subtle bragging, no snickering, no gleeful “I’m a winner!” dance, because we’re not even in the same town while we play! There’s something missing in the experience, in spite of the fact that sometimes I can beat her!

Stay with Tradition

The nice thing about working a jigsaw puzzle with someone, is you are in the same room together. You get to share in the excitement of finding a piece. You can help each other search for that piece you know is there somewhere but manages to escape you. Putting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together does more than make a pretty picture. It brings the people around you together and that’s a beautiful thing.

Get out a puzzle today and see what happens. I bet you’ll have a crowd, gathering around you in no time!
-Jennifer

 

 

Arts & Crafts

Great news… I’m designing a puzzle for Stave!! Well, I guess I should say I’m going to try my hand at designing. That’s super exciting, huh?! I’ve always loved art and I know I want my future job to have something to do with art, so when my mom suggested I try to design a Teaser puzzle, I was super psyched! I love a challenge, so this is going to be a really fun project for me. I already have a few ideas ready for my mom to check out… hopefully she likes one of them and thinks it will make a good puzzle!

Next on my list of things to do at Stave is my Weekly Challenge, which I think I have mentioned before- I put together one puzzle a week and write about it on my StavePuzzleNuts blog. If you have any ideas for my next challenge, let me know by posting something on my wall at www.stavepuzzlenuts.com/profile/MadisonPerrin!! I would love to hear from you. I know there are sooo many amazing puzzles to choose from, so I’ve decided to give you a category to work with… drum roll please… it has to have SOMETHING to do with flowers!! Don’t let the category hold you back, though. If you have a favorite puzzle you think would really challenge me and think I would love, let me know and I might be able to make an exception for you!

Another thing I’m still waiting to hear about is the photo contest that’s going on here at Stave. Where are your photos?! If I were you, I’d be taking my picture right now to win that $100 off coupon!! All you have to do is get a little creative and snap a quick pic of you and your friends puzzling, send it to us, and you could be the lucky PuzzleNut winner. You’ll be the envy of all your friends!! So good luck to everyone and I hope to be seeing some crazy photos coming my way soon!!

-Madison

P.S. Check out a few of the neat cutting elements used in the puzzle below. Wow! Tell Madi what your favorite puzzles are info@stave.com.

Jul 12
2011

A Golden Anniversary


Beating the Odds

It’s sad but true, the divorce rate in America is pretty close to 50% and I’ll admit I’ve helped support those statistics. So when you find a couple who is beating those odds, you darn well better honor them! When we learned Steve and Martha would be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, we knew we had to have a party. Not only do they deserve it for setting such a good example for all of us, they deserve it because they are the first to help us celebrate the birthdays and employment anniversaries of everyone here at Stave.

The Celebration

Keeping anything a secret in this place is like trying to hide an elephant behind a telephone pole, so it was no easy feat keeping our surprise from Steve and Martha. It’s amazing we pulled it off !

Several weeks ago we called the gang together after Steve and Martha left for lunch. After putting our heads together, we decided a nice luncheon would be appropriate and wouldn’t it be nice to have a fancy anniversary cake and some bubbly! Tammy got on the phone (one of her favorite things) to search for caterers and Bri went on the hunt for a cake.

Suffice it to say, Martha and Steve were pleasantly surprised and honored. It felt good to be able to give back to the two people who give us all so much and we look forward to sharing their next 50 years with them!

 

Jennifer- In awe of such a remarkable feat.


 

Show Us Your Fireworks

Since I’ve been back from vacation for about a week now, I guess you could say I’ve adjusted to my normal routine again. Sadly, that routine usually only consists of working countless hours between my two jobs and trying to get to sleep at a decent time. It’s a good thing Stave is such a fun place to be, otherwise I think I’d have burnt out by now! Since I just turned 20 and am no longer a teenager, I’ve lost my only excuse for being lazy!

How was everyone’s 4th of July celebration? Mine was pretty good. I worked for the first part of the day, then we had a cook-out with family and I finished the night off watching fireworks with friends. I’d love to hear a few of your 4th of July stories, and maybe even see some fireworks pictures from you guys! Send me an email or check out my PuzzleNuts page and post some photos on my wall.

I recently wrote a new blog post on my PuzzleNuts page about what it is that I like so much about Stave Puzzles, and while trying to figure that out, I was checking out some recently ordered puzzles and found a few new favorites! One of them is Restful Retreat. What instantly drew me to this puzzle is the bright colors of the birds in the scene.

One of my favorite things is the colors we see in our every day life. And when I see a puzzle like this, which highlights some of the beauty color brings to life, I instantly fall in love.

Another of my new favorites is Neptune. I’ve always wanted to see a Sea Turtle but I haven’t been lucky enough to, yet. This puzzle makes up for that because it’s almost like looking at the real thing. The artwork in this image is just breathtaking. The little details are what get me. So much attention was paid to every inch of this painting, it makes for an awesome puzzle. I would love to put this together, so maybe it will be my challenge for this week!

And last, but not least, is Church at Auvers. I know this puzzle isn’t like the other two at all, but I love the style Van Gogh chose to follow when painting it. It gives off a very intriguing vibe which makes me want to stare at the picture, almost like there’s a story hidden in the art work. I know I would love to put this puzzle together solely based on the artwork itself.

But enough about me, what are your favorite puzzles? Send me an email or submit some ideas to my PuzzleNuts page so I can have some fresh ideas for my next weekly challenge! Hope to hear from you soon! Stay cool!

Tell Madi what your favorite puzzles are.. info@stave.com.


 

 

Jun 20
2011

Doing It Right the First Time

Please allow me to toot my own horn. I was reading the current issue of Consumer Reports the other day and came across an article titled “What’s wrong with customer service?” Things like this always interest me because I truly feel everyone at Stave does their absolute best to really be the best and I am so proud of that.

Consumer Reports surveyed 1000 consumers nationwide to find the customer-service related problems that bother them the most. The biggie? The inability to speak with a real person on the phone. If you call during our regular business hours of 8 am to 5 pm EST, you’ll reach a real live person, guaranteed. There’s no recorded voice saying how much they appreciate your call, telling you to push 1 for customer service, push 2 for whatever. I promise you’ll get a real live person on the end of the line. If you call after hours you’ll get our answering machine, but we do listen to it every morning, so let us know what you need and when we can reach you and we’ll take it from there. More often than not, some of us are still here after five so if we’re doing something that’s easily interrupted, we’ll pick up the phone. Heck, you might even get Steve on the line. How many companies let the President take calls without screening first?! The next time you call, it could be your lucky day!

The second biggest complaint is Rude Salespeople. At Stave, we all love what we do and it shows. If you get me on the phone I might gripe about all the rain we’re getting but that’s as far as it goes. Every single person here knows that you are our top priority and will do their best to make you feel it. If your little Biscuit eats a puzzle piece from your Timeshare puzzle for the fifth time, I bet Tammy will still be as sweet as honey when you call to confess.

The rest of the article was interesting, and honestly, I think we rate very high on them all. The only category we might struggle with a little was the complaint with the lowest rating: “Wait for scheduled repair person.” Even though you aren’t sitting at home waiting for one of us to show up, you might still experience the same feelings if you need a replacement piece made. Cutting those replacement pieces is Tough, with a capital T, so we tend to put those off until we have several to do. But give us a delivery date, and we’ll meet it every time!

I thought long and hard about what it is that makes us successful in providing great service and after the smoke cleared I came up with this: Steve has given us the power to do the right thing. I know if you call up tomorrow and tell me that “Olivia”, a 5-bolt Trick puzzle, is way too hard for you, I’ll tell you flat out to send it back. And I’ll do it with full confidence knowing I’ll be supported in my decision no matter if you decide you want to trade the puzzle for a simpler Trick puzzle (we’ll never tell), a different type of puzzle or even a refund. We want our puzzlers to gaze upon their little blue and green puzzle boxes with anticipation and glee, not dread, and Steve has made sure we all know we need to do whatever it takes to keep Stave one of your favorite places to do business with.

Put us to the test. -Jennifer

Time for Some R&R

Woo Hoo!! My family and I are headed off to Maine pretty soon, and I can’t wait! I want to spend my days laying in the sun relaxing, maybe with my iPod and with a puzzle. Ever since I got home from school for summer break, I feel like I haven’t had very much time to relax.

 

Between my internship here at Stave and my other job at the local general store, Dan & Whit’s, I’m busy every day. This is going to be a really nice break for me. I know it sounds a little crazy to want to bring your work with you when you go on vacation, but that’s just what I’m planning to do. I’ve been trying to decide which puzzle I should bring with me by looking at the Stave website. There are just too many great choices! I know I want it to be some kind of beach scene, and I want it to be pretty big since I know everyone is going to want to help put it together, but I just can’t decide.

 

 

I’m torn between Favorite Beach House, Beachside, and Maine Regatta. Which one do you think I should choose? I would love to hear what you think so after taking a look here, visit my PuzzleNuts  page (www.stavepuzzlenuts.com/profile/MadisonPerrin) and let me know which puzzle you think I should bring with me.

Other than puzzling on my vacation, I plan on spending a lot of my time tanning on the beach, hanging with my family, going for a few runs and hopefully getting to spend some quiet time working on my paintings. And while I’m soaking up the sun and relaxing, you know I’ll be thinking about everyone working hard back here at Stave!

-Madi

 


Jun 20
2011

You Can Quote Me On That

We all know how nice it is to get real mail in the mailbox. Junk mail and bills come frequently but how often do you find a note from a friend or a card from ‘Aunt Margot’ in Chicago? Not often enough!

Thankfully, that’s not the case at Stave. It’s not uncommon for Martha to call out, “We got a note from Mrs. Fill in the Blank today!” and then she’ll read it aloud to those within earshot of the mail desk. When we hold our shop meeting twice a month, Tammy is always sharing your notes and cards with us. It makes us feel great! Thank you soooo much!

Let me share the love with you. Here are a few quotes from fan mail we’ve received over the years. It’s pretty plain to see this is why we love what we do. Help keep our mailman busy. Send a card today! -Jennifer

“One by one, family members drifted over to the puzzle table to ‘just have a look’. Minutes passed… brows furrowed…and then their hands twitched towards pieces…Mind you, these are people who think puzzles are boring” D.M., Lancaster, PA

“She told me next to her diamond engagement ring, this was the best gift she had ever received in her life.”
C.C., Virginia Beach, VA

“You guys definitely live up to your reputation…thanks for the hours of maddening, frustrating, amazing fun!”
E.M., Columbus, MD

“I can’t remember when I’ve had so much fun with a company I’m sending lots of money to!” M.M., Louisville, KY

“Working your puzzles helps my wife get rid of the other stuff in her head.” G.H., San Antonio, TX

“If puzzling makes your brain sharp, I’m a buzz saw by now.” C.Z., Southbury, CT

“The cutting is so marvelous, mean and creative…I can’t begin to tell you what it did to my vocabulary, it’s unmentionable.”
G.B., St. Louis, MO

“Thanks again for all the pleasure (and frustration) of your puzzles. I enjoy watching my wife do them, and now and then I find a piece or two. Your puzzles are by far the best we’ve ever seen- the quality with which they are made, the care to detail, the intricate cutting, all bespeak a labor of love. Keep up the good work.” H.A.M. Downey, CA

“It was everything I expected and more.” H.K., Reno, NV

“In this topsy-turvy world we live in those puzzles of yours provide great joy (and some pain) for me.” A.D., Tenafly, NJ

Please Mr. Postman, look and see, oh yeah, if there’s a letter in your bag for me… Jennifer

Chance of a Lifetime

 

Hello everyone!! As most of you probably know by now, Barbara Bush stopped by Stave for a tour last week. All I can say is, “Wow, how cool!” Getting to meet the First Lady was so amazing, I mean how many internships give you an experience like that? Not too many! Mrs. Bush made us all feel comfortable and had a great sense of humor. She was very patient and happy to pose for a bunch of pictures with everyone. It’s great to have something to help us remember the day. Mrs. Bush even took the time for a photo with me, the lowly intern. My mom, Jennifer, and I did a group shot with her. Mom told Mrs. Bush she was a “rose between two thorns” and she thought that was quite funny. It was such an honor to have Mrs. Bush take the time to come visit the Stave shop and we are very thankful for the honor of puzzling her and her family.

On another note, who’s ready for Father’s Day? Have you picked out which puzzle you’re going to give to your dad? There are so many amazing choices, I bet some of you don’t even know where to start. Well, just in case you are having a hard time, here are a few pointers to help you pick out the perfect puzzle for your dad to help show him how much you love and appreciate him:

First, think of something your dad loves to do; like play tennis, cook, read a good book, build something-you get the idea.

Then, check out the Stave website and use the Puzzling Gift Ideas For Dad link we have set up. You’ll see some really great suggestions on there, but don’t let that limit you. The choices are endless! You could even send us a family photo or a children’s drawing to cut into a puzzle. Get creative and call Stave today! -Madi

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