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

Aug 24

Angels Gather Here

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 14

Check out Monica’s Coat of Arms!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These 2 characters, Amy and Lucien, go way back with us…. 1992…. saw us in USAir inflight mag. They have over 70 Stave puzzles. In 2010 their house got hit by lightning and burned to ground. Everyone was safe but all their puzzles, stored in a table/chest, got waterlogged. So we’ve been helping them replace the damaged puzzles. Amy made a special little cake for us. Note her Stave Puzzles box. Footnote: during our 1995 puzzle party they “borrowed” one of my “Steve’s” staplers which traveled far and wide while sending back photo reports with us not knowing who swiped the stapler. During this visit Jenn and I kept a close eye on them. They do look like Troublemakers, don’t they.

May 14

Pine Valley Away. YEA! ARGH!

YEA! A Stave customer just invited me to play golf at Pine Valley, a “to-kill-for” invitation. Pine Valley, in the pine barrens of southern New Jersey, is an ultra exclusive club often ranked right next to Augusta National as either #1 or #2 best course in USA. But  ARGH! I can’t make it because Martha and I are heading to Cape Cod that week to celebrate our anniversary…. the price of love!

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