TAG | Steve Richardson
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.
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
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-
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.
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!
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!!
P.S. Check out a few of the neat cutting elements used in the puzzle below. Wow! Tell Madi what your favorite puzzles are firstname.lastname@example.org.
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’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: email@example.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
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.
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.. firstname.lastname@example.org.