Handcrafting the world's finest wooden jigsaw puzzles since 1974

The Chief Tormentor

The Deliciously Devilish Blog of Puzzling News From Staveland

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

Can You Believe It??

I hate for these words to cross my lips, but I think Summer is just about over here in New England and Fall is getting ready to move in. After I get done with my favorite summertime activities – whether it be hiking, camping, canoeing, playing a little volleyball or badminton, or just hanging out at the beach – I love to come home for some R & R and sit in front of a Stave puzzle! Now that the nights are getting a touch cooler here in Vermont a puzzle and a hot fudge sundae are always a great way to end the day! (It is still Summer after all!) I can’t think of any better time to puzzle!

On those really cool, rainy days that we seem to be getting lately…a Stave puzzle is a great way to pass the time and bring some fun to a dreary day. Sometimes I will even invite friends and family over for a day of puzzling! What great fun that is! When we all sit down at the puzzle table… it’s game on!! There are always a couple of us who like to make it a competition and see who can put the most together or complete the puzzle first. The rest of us just like a nice relaxing experience so we can enjoy the satisfaction of each piece clicking into place. What kind of puzzler are you? Speaking of puzzles, I hope everyone is gearing up for a puzzle filled Labor day weekend. Break out your favorite puzzles and make a day out of it, rain or shine!

Okay..Okay! So we said Fall is around the corner and while I know we all love Summer and hate to see it go! There is one great thing about Fall… the AMAZING foliage we have here in Vermont! Have you ever been here during peek season?? It is stunning all the red orange and yellow colors painting the mountains. If you haven’t seen Vermont in the fall it is a definite must do! And while you are visting Vermont feel free to stop by the Stave shop and take a tour! Looking for a fabulous place to stay while you are visiting?? Why not stay at a STAVE approved Inn that have a great selection of our puzzles for you to work!

The Rabbit Hill Inn sits in the charming little town of Lower Waterford, Vermont. Beautiful vistas of the White Mountains of New Hampshie and the hills of Vermont can be seen from the front porch and lawn of the Northeast Kingdom Bed & Breakfast. (For more info visit www.rabbithillinn.com)

Another one of our favorites is Twin Farms! A unique country estate getaway situated on over three hundred acres of wildflower meadows, hardwood forests, ancient gardens and private ponds in Barnard, Vermont. Did you know that Stave will be taking over Twin Farms for an entire weekend in October?? If you ever needed a reason to come visit, this is the perfect excuse! See below for details! Can’t wait to see your happy faces there! – Penelope-

 

 

 

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.

Puzzling News from Penelope

WOW! I don’t think it’s been this hot in a VERY long time. I woke up this morning around nine(!) and it was already 86 degrees out. I didn’t expect that to happen this summer based on how much rain we’ve had. I guess we’re kinda lucky to have some rays! I was stuck inside all day yesterday working, so when I finally got home I went swimming. I love having such a great swimming hole close to my house. It makes it pretty easy for me to take a quick dip in the river when it gets hot out!! We even have a rope hanging from a tree. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m just a big kid – the more fun I can have the better!

Enough about the weather… let’s talk about ME!! Wait – we’re already talking about me! Anyway, this past weekend was my annual get together with my best girl-friends from college. Since we all live so far away from each other, we rotate which one of us will be the host of the event so the traveling time is always fair. It was my turn to be the host this year. I love, love, love getting together with my friends, and I love entertaining! It can be so much work, but I know how to throw a good party – everyone always has fun! The weekend couldn’t have been any more perfect. I’m so glad none of us have changed, and we are still just as crazy as we were 10 years ago.

Speaking of not changing…one of my good friends, Becky, hasn’t changed a bit…she’s still just as nosey as ever! Everyone was settling in, unpacking for our long weekend of fun, and Becky was getting to know her surroundings…which, as I mentioned before, was my house. While snooping around Becky found my puzzle stash, and before too long the puzzling had begun. As you’re already well aware – once you get started, there’s no stopping! And let me just say, if you wanna catch up with some friends, the best way to do it is by popping open a bottle of wine and sitting around a puzzle table. We talked about things I never thought would be brought up again. Let’s just say it’s a good thing there weren’t any other ears in that room!

Hey! Where are your photos for my photo contest?! I need to see some funny pictures of you guys puzzling!!! We’re just dying to give away some Stave moola. I know if I were you, I would be getting my camera ready right now and taking some wild and wacky pictures so I could win! I sure do hope to hear from you guys soon so we can get the ball rolling on this contest, but until then enjoy this nice summer weather!!

Penelope

Penelope’s WACKY Photo Contest

Get out your camera!! All you’ve gotta do is send us the craziest, wackiest, WILDEST photo you can take of you(and your friends if you like to share your puzzles) putting together one of your favorite Stave puzzles! Don’t be afraid to go all out with this one, we’re hoping to see some pretty wild entries!! Here are a few of my favorites from our last contest.

Here’s how it works: It’s as simple as 1,2,3!

1. Send us your wild and wacky photos. Don’t be shy! Show the world whatcha got.

2. In July, August and September we’ll pick our favorite three photos each month. Those three puzzlers will each win $100 in Stave Moola! Woo-hoo!

3. Then, we’ll let the Stave Puzzlenut community decide which photo goes to the final round in October. You could win an additional $500 in Stave Money!!!

Don’t wait! Enter today, you could be a $600 winner!

Send pictures to: penelope@stave.com or you can mail it to us at
Stave Puzzles, PO Box 329, Norwich, VT 05055.

You can also read more about the contest and upload your photos to StavePuzzleNuts.com

 

 

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.


 

 

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

 


Vermont: the Green Mountain State

Let Me Fill You In
Our last newsletter was filled with so much news, I had to save some tidbits for later. Now is later, so let me catch you up. Cheryl Johnson, our artist in Maine, has been working on a series of small Teaser puzzles featuring each of the United States. Our goal is to design them at a size and difficulty level that will appeal to everyone. Of course, we started with Vermont. We’re incorporating the state bird, flower, and flag into each puzzle as well as Teaser pieces representing what the state is known for. Did you see the Stave clown? Get ready to travel our beautiful countryside, discovering new things along the way. Once you own your home state you know you’re going to want them all!

Mouse Pad is Susan Greenleaf ’s new Teaser puzzle. As you can see, it’s a play on words so I think it will appeal to all those who are keen on computers. And all you critter lovers will laugh when you see the techno-savvy mice. These little housemates will have you keyed right in to joining them in their mouse pad.

We’ve been brainstorming with Stave artist, Susan Berry, and we’re coming up with great ideas to incorporate into our new Limited Edition puzzle based on the lost city of Atlantis. This project is right up Susan’s alley and she’s already working on preliminary sketches. Steve has sent the first prototype to our ace Tester in Delaware so we should be hearing groans of frustration very soon! The puzzle is shaping up beautifully with lots of neat twists and turns to keep you befuddled and puzzled. Steve’s trickery and Susan’s artwork make this a puzzle not to be missed!

We’ve also got Steve’s new 4- sword Teaser prototype out to test. I cut the first prototype and I had to put it back together with a cheat sheet. I can’t wait to hear the feedback on this new challenge. We gave Molly Delaney the AOK to begin painting our new 2- way Trick kitty design but then promptly pulled her off that project to ask her to work on something else. Don’t worry. We’ll let her get back to it very soon! Do you have any suggestions for its title?

Is That Small Enough?
Waaaaay back when, like in the mid-80s, we offered a cute little puzzle called Blue Mum by artist Piet Mondrian. It was done totally in soft blue with only a few different shades. What made this puzzle so special? It was cut in 100 mini pieces. Instead of our usual two pieces per square inch it had three! Our puzzlers loved it and our cutters did, too. It’s your lucky day because we’re bringing our Minicut style back! Keep your eye out for news of our Mini-cut revival as well as other cutting styles you may have never seen.

Jennifer

Latest and Greatest

On the Horizon
Spring is a time for fresh, new things like lambs, daffodils, and mud, if you’re living in Vermont. It’s also a time for new puzzle designs. In addition to a few new designs from your favorite Stave artists like Molly Delaney, Susan Greenleaf and Cheryl Johnson, we’ve got some great new things cooking up with STEVE! As you probably know, Steve and Martha head South every April to get away from the neverending snow here in Vermont. There must be something about all that sun providing a boost of Vitamin D because we can always count on Steve to come back with loads of new puzzle ideas. Who knew Vitamin D was beneficial for puzzle designing?! We’ve received several emails with a first look into what he’s cooking up and I’m loving it!

First and foremost, Steve’s been working on our new Limited Edition puzzle, Atlantis. We’ve been brain-storming on this off and on for a while now and he’s finally got a handle on where this puzzle is going. Get ready for a hand – painted, multilayer puzzle that will knock your socks off !

We’ve been lamenting the need for more 4-sword Teasers and guess what. Steve’s cooked up a new concept to give you just that! We’ll begin cutting a prototype in the next week or so and get it out to test so we can make sure it holds up to all you Ace Teaser puzzlers.

Steve’s also working on a new 2-way Trick puzzle design. It sounds like it will be a 3 or 4 bolt difficulty level, not as tough as Fred & Ginger or Olivia but tougher than what most of you are probably used to. The theme of the puzzle will probably be tied in to the Mayan theory that the world will end in 2012. Let’s hope we can get it to final art before then!

We’re getting close to the finish line on the new cat themed 2-way Trick puzzle that’s kind of a cousin to the doggie themed, Bark in the Park. I’ve got one more test cut to do and if it passes muster Stave artist, Molly Delaney, will go to paint! It’s darn cute and sure to please all you cat loving Trick puzzlers. Molly is also working on a new beach themed Teaser which will be ready just in time for vacation puzzling this summer.

We have another new Teaser design by Molly debuting this week. Do you remember about a year ago when we showed a couple of cute donkey sketches on PuzzleNuts and asked for help in choosing the theme and title based on the cute little guys? Here it is! PuzzleNuts Kristen and Jennifer had a combined effort in suggesting a barn dancing theme with a title of Donkey Tonk.

A short while ago we showed you a new Teaser puzzle called Your High-ness by Stave crafter and artist, Samara Cary. She’s done it again! You’re getting the first look at A Giant Dilemma. It got great reviews by our Testers and I think you’re going to love it, too.

Cheryl Johnson, Stave artist living in Maine, is finishing up the first puzzle in the new United States series. Can you guess what state we did first? You’ll get a peek at it in my next newsletter.

More Good Things Coming Your Way
Just arrived in my mailbox… I just received Mouse Pad from Stave artist, Susan Greenleaf. I guess we’ll just have to give you a peek at that one in my next newsletter, too. You guys have a lot to look forward to!!!

Guess this Rebus!
Thanks to all those who sent answers to the rebus game in the last newsletter. You guys are good!! Puzzler C.M. of N.Y. was the first to get the correct answers: Market Share, Harvest Time and Come Sail Away.

Here’s another one for you.

The first person to email me with the correct answer to this rebus will win a prize! Email your guesses to me at jennifer@stave.com

 

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

Can You Believe It??

I hate for these words to cross my lips, but I think Summer is just about over here in New England and Fall is getting ready to move in. After I get done with my favorite summertime activities – whether it be hiking, camping, canoeing, playing a little volleyball or badminton, or just hanging out at the beach – I love to come home for some R & R and sit in front of a Stave puzzle! Now that the nights are getting a touch cooler here in Vermont a puzzle and a hot fudge sundae are always a great way to end the day! (It is still Summer after all!) I can’t think of any better time to puzzle!

On those really cool, rainy days that we seem to be getting lately…a Stave puzzle is a great way to pass the time and bring some fun to a dreary day. Sometimes I will even invite friends and family over for a day of puzzling! What great fun that is! When we all sit down at the puzzle table… it’s game on!! There are always a couple of us who like to make it a competition and see who can put the most together or complete the puzzle first. The rest of us just like a nice relaxing experience so we can enjoy the satisfaction of each piece clicking into place. What kind of puzzler are you? Speaking of puzzles, I hope everyone is gearing up for a puzzle filled Labor day weekend. Break out your favorite puzzles and make a day out of it, rain or shine!

Okay..Okay! So we said Fall is around the corner and while I know we all love Summer and hate to see it go! There is one great thing about Fall… the AMAZING foliage we have here in Vermont! Have you ever been here during peek season?? It is stunning all the red orange and yellow colors painting the mountains. If you haven’t seen Vermont in the fall it is a definite must do! And while you are visting Vermont feel free to stop by the Stave shop and take a tour! Looking for a fabulous place to stay while you are visiting?? Why not stay at a STAVE approved Inn that have a great selection of our puzzles for you to work!

The Rabbit Hill Inn sits in the charming little town of Lower Waterford, Vermont. Beautiful vistas of the White Mountains of New Hampshie and the hills of Vermont can be seen from the front porch and lawn of the Northeast Kingdom Bed & Breakfast. (For more info visit www.rabbithillinn.com)

Another one of our favorites is Twin Farms! A unique country estate getaway situated on over three hundred acres of wildflower meadows, hardwood forests, ancient gardens and private ponds in Barnard, Vermont. Did you know that Stave will be taking over Twin Farms for an entire weekend in October?? If you ever needed a reason to come visit, this is the perfect excuse! See below for details! Can’t wait to see your happy faces there! – Penelope-

 

 

 

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.

Puzzling News from Penelope

WOW! I don’t think it’s been this hot in a VERY long time. I woke up this morning around nine(!) and it was already 86 degrees out. I didn’t expect that to happen this summer based on how much rain we’ve had. I guess we’re kinda lucky to have some rays! I was stuck inside all day yesterday working, so when I finally got home I went swimming. I love having such a great swimming hole close to my house. It makes it pretty easy for me to take a quick dip in the river when it gets hot out!! We even have a rope hanging from a tree. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m just a big kid – the more fun I can have the better!

Enough about the weather… let’s talk about ME!! Wait – we’re already talking about me! Anyway, this past weekend was my annual get together with my best girl-friends from college. Since we all live so far away from each other, we rotate which one of us will be the host of the event so the traveling time is always fair. It was my turn to be the host this year. I love, love, love getting together with my friends, and I love entertaining! It can be so much work, but I know how to throw a good party – everyone always has fun! The weekend couldn’t have been any more perfect. I’m so glad none of us have changed, and we are still just as crazy as we were 10 years ago.

Speaking of not changing…one of my good friends, Becky, hasn’t changed a bit…she’s still just as nosey as ever! Everyone was settling in, unpacking for our long weekend of fun, and Becky was getting to know her surroundings…which, as I mentioned before, was my house. While snooping around Becky found my puzzle stash, and before too long the puzzling had begun. As you’re already well aware – once you get started, there’s no stopping! And let me just say, if you wanna catch up with some friends, the best way to do it is by popping open a bottle of wine and sitting around a puzzle table. We talked about things I never thought would be brought up again. Let’s just say it’s a good thing there weren’t any other ears in that room!

Hey! Where are your photos for my photo contest?! I need to see some funny pictures of you guys puzzling!!! We’re just dying to give away some Stave moola. I know if I were you, I would be getting my camera ready right now and taking some wild and wacky pictures so I could win! I sure do hope to hear from you guys soon so we can get the ball rolling on this contest, but until then enjoy this nice summer weather!!

Penelope

Penelope’s WACKY Photo Contest

Get out your camera!! All you’ve gotta do is send us the craziest, wackiest, WILDEST photo you can take of you(and your friends if you like to share your puzzles) putting together one of your favorite Stave puzzles! Don’t be afraid to go all out with this one, we’re hoping to see some pretty wild entries!! Here are a few of my favorites from our last contest.

Here’s how it works: It’s as simple as 1,2,3!

1. Send us your wild and wacky photos. Don’t be shy! Show the world whatcha got.

2. In July, August and September we’ll pick our favorite three photos each month. Those three puzzlers will each win $100 in Stave Moola! Woo-hoo!

3. Then, we’ll let the Stave Puzzlenut community decide which photo goes to the final round in October. You could win an additional $500 in Stave Money!!!

Don’t wait! Enter today, you could be a $600 winner!

Send pictures to: penelope@stave.com or you can mail it to us at
Stave Puzzles, PO Box 329, Norwich, VT 05055.

You can also read more about the contest and upload your photos to StavePuzzleNuts.com

 

 

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.


 

 

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

 


Vermont: the Green Mountain State

Let Me Fill You In
Our last newsletter was filled with so much news, I had to save some tidbits for later. Now is later, so let me catch you up. Cheryl Johnson, our artist in Maine, has been working on a series of small Teaser puzzles featuring each of the United States. Our goal is to design them at a size and difficulty level that will appeal to everyone. Of course, we started with Vermont. We’re incorporating the state bird, flower, and flag into each puzzle as well as Teaser pieces representing what the state is known for. Did you see the Stave clown? Get ready to travel our beautiful countryside, discovering new things along the way. Once you own your home state you know you’re going to want them all!

Mouse Pad is Susan Greenleaf ’s new Teaser puzzle. As you can see, it’s a play on words so I think it will appeal to all those who are keen on computers. And all you critter lovers will laugh when you see the techno-savvy mice. These little housemates will have you keyed right in to joining them in their mouse pad.

We’ve been brainstorming with Stave artist, Susan Berry, and we’re coming up with great ideas to incorporate into our new Limited Edition puzzle based on the lost city of Atlantis. This project is right up Susan’s alley and she’s already working on preliminary sketches. Steve has sent the first prototype to our ace Tester in Delaware so we should be hearing groans of frustration very soon! The puzzle is shaping up beautifully with lots of neat twists and turns to keep you befuddled and puzzled. Steve’s trickery and Susan’s artwork make this a puzzle not to be missed!

We’ve also got Steve’s new 4- sword Teaser prototype out to test. I cut the first prototype and I had to put it back together with a cheat sheet. I can’t wait to hear the feedback on this new challenge. We gave Molly Delaney the AOK to begin painting our new 2- way Trick kitty design but then promptly pulled her off that project to ask her to work on something else. Don’t worry. We’ll let her get back to it very soon! Do you have any suggestions for its title?

Is That Small Enough?
Waaaaay back when, like in the mid-80s, we offered a cute little puzzle called Blue Mum by artist Piet Mondrian. It was done totally in soft blue with only a few different shades. What made this puzzle so special? It was cut in 100 mini pieces. Instead of our usual two pieces per square inch it had three! Our puzzlers loved it and our cutters did, too. It’s your lucky day because we’re bringing our Minicut style back! Keep your eye out for news of our Mini-cut revival as well as other cutting styles you may have never seen.

Jennifer

Latest and Greatest

On the Horizon
Spring is a time for fresh, new things like lambs, daffodils, and mud, if you’re living in Vermont. It’s also a time for new puzzle designs. In addition to a few new designs from your favorite Stave artists like Molly Delaney, Susan Greenleaf and Cheryl Johnson, we’ve got some great new things cooking up with STEVE! As you probably know, Steve and Martha head South every April to get away from the neverending snow here in Vermont. There must be something about all that sun providing a boost of Vitamin D because we can always count on Steve to come back with loads of new puzzle ideas. Who knew Vitamin D was beneficial for puzzle designing?! We’ve received several emails with a first look into what he’s cooking up and I’m loving it!

First and foremost, Steve’s been working on our new Limited Edition puzzle, Atlantis. We’ve been brain-storming on this off and on for a while now and he’s finally got a handle on where this puzzle is going. Get ready for a hand – painted, multilayer puzzle that will knock your socks off !

We’ve been lamenting the need for more 4-sword Teasers and guess what. Steve’s cooked up a new concept to give you just that! We’ll begin cutting a prototype in the next week or so and get it out to test so we can make sure it holds up to all you Ace Teaser puzzlers.

Steve’s also working on a new 2-way Trick puzzle design. It sounds like it will be a 3 or 4 bolt difficulty level, not as tough as Fred & Ginger or Olivia but tougher than what most of you are probably used to. The theme of the puzzle will probably be tied in to the Mayan theory that the world will end in 2012. Let’s hope we can get it to final art before then!

We’re getting close to the finish line on the new cat themed 2-way Trick puzzle that’s kind of a cousin to the doggie themed, Bark in the Park. I’ve got one more test cut to do and if it passes muster Stave artist, Molly Delaney, will go to paint! It’s darn cute and sure to please all you cat loving Trick puzzlers. Molly is also working on a new beach themed Teaser which will be ready just in time for vacation puzzling this summer.

We have another new Teaser design by Molly debuting this week. Do you remember about a year ago when we showed a couple of cute donkey sketches on PuzzleNuts and asked for help in choosing the theme and title based on the cute little guys? Here it is! PuzzleNuts Kristen and Jennifer had a combined effort in suggesting a barn dancing theme with a title of Donkey Tonk.

A short while ago we showed you a new Teaser puzzle called Your High-ness by Stave crafter and artist, Samara Cary. She’s done it again! You’re getting the first look at A Giant Dilemma. It got great reviews by our Testers and I think you’re going to love it, too.

Cheryl Johnson, Stave artist living in Maine, is finishing up the first puzzle in the new United States series. Can you guess what state we did first? You’ll get a peek at it in my next newsletter.

More Good Things Coming Your Way
Just arrived in my mailbox… I just received Mouse Pad from Stave artist, Susan Greenleaf. I guess we’ll just have to give you a peek at that one in my next newsletter, too. You guys have a lot to look forward to!!!

Guess this Rebus!
Thanks to all those who sent answers to the rebus game in the last newsletter. You guys are good!! Puzzler C.M. of N.Y. was the first to get the correct answers: Market Share, Harvest Time and Come Sail Away.

Here’s another one for you.

The first person to email me with the correct answer to this rebus will win a prize! Email your guesses to me at jennifer@stave.com