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

TAG | wooden jigsaw puzzle

Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve been a member of various clubs. I think the first club I became a member of was the Girls Only club that my sister and I started to keep our two brothers out of our room! We were the only two members but we were a force to be reckoned with!

My next experience was when I joined the Girls Scouts as a Brownie. That’s where I met my best friend, Claire, and we’ve been lifelong friends ever since. As we grew older, we flew up to the rank of Girl Scout. Claire never liked the uniforms but hey, redheads look great in green, right? We really did learn a lot in those years and the benefits of being members of the scouts is still with us. Claire was our top cookie seller for five years running and now she’s top in sales at her company.

In my college years I joined a sorority. I met amazing women and together we did some pretty neat things. We organized several fundraising benefits for local families as well as national organizations. There is something very powerful about a group of women. We were passionate about what we did and we worked well together as a team to get the job done.

So where is all this going? Have you ever noticed how puzzlers seem to have a private group of their own? Puzzling isn’t one of those hobbies, like golf, where it’s out for the world to see. Puzzling is usually done in the comfort of your own home so it tends to be private. And here’s some great news – Stave is starting a Travel Club! They’re not actually “taking” us anywhere, but more helping us to travel the world in puzzle form. I hear there are six legs of the journey, but I haven’t actually gotten all of the details yet. I’ve been told to keep an eye on my mailbox because all the nitty-gritty facts will be arriving soon. My buddy at Stave – Bri – said something about that the only passport I’ll need is the one that Stave will give me.

I think this is a great way to see the world without having to deal with delayed flights and lost luggage. As a matter of fact, Claire and I decided we’re going to travel together and share the journey. This is going to be so cool!!

Gotta run. It’s time to start packing!!!

 

 

Dec 19
2011

From Honolulu to Norwich to You!

A Honolulu customer recently was asked to show some of her Stave puzzles in their high-rise lobby display creating quite a few questions from other residents. Show below are 3 of the photos she just sent.

Oct 5
2011

Keep Me Out of Trouble

Just Around the Corner

Ok, maybe the holidays aren’t just around this corner but they’re around the next corner and I’m already excited. Why? Just look at all the great images Susan and the gang are offering in this mailing! There are so many great puzzle images…who wouldn’t get excited?! But what’s the best part of all this? I’ll get to cut some of them!

My Best Times

You’ve probably heard me say (ad nauseam) that cutting is my favorite thing to do at Stave. It’s hands down what I love the most. And this time of year is when I take the time to really make some sawdust.

Plain or Fancy?

Any puzzle cutting is good but when it’s an image I really like, it’s even better. I liken it to chocolate. A Hersheys kiss can be just the thing on a tough day but if you’re nibbling on a Godiva: Wowza! But maybe you like scotch. Cutting a 2-way Trick puzzle would be like a little nip of Dewars for me but if I found myself at the saw cutting Winter’s Gifts by Paul Landry, that would be a glass of Macallan. A really big glass! Want to know what I’d do with Winter’s Gifts? I’d craft some snowflakes swirling in the sky, a squirrel in the tree, someone putting the finishing touches on the snowman and maybe a lamp lighter at the lantern. The kids all bundled up in cold weather gear offer a great opportunity for some color-line cutting. Each youngster would be a little puzzle within your puzzle. And some skaters. A young lady in a layback spin and some young men playing hockey are in order for this puzzle. And what skating pond wouldn’t be complete without someone falling on their keester ? !  Bringing the puzzle to life is what I love. Oh, the things I could do!

Let me entertain you!

 

Who’s Behind These Pages?

Have I got you wondering where all those wonderful puzzle images come from? Let me introduce you to a few members of the Stave team. Susan, Bri and Geoff (yes, we have another gentleman in our midst!) are the creative force behind our puzzle mailings.

Susan is probably a familiar face to many of you. She’s been with us for a gazillion years and in that time she’s grown from Graphics Assistant to Queen of Licensing for Stave. She’s the one who finds all this incredible work from the talented artists. She has the perfect knack for finding just the right images for puzzling from the traditional Americana like Bringing the Cows Home by Linda Nelson Stocks to the wildly weird like Hell from Hieronymus Bosch. With so many images to choose from, Susan has a fun but tough decision deciding what images will be shown in each mailing. If we let her, she would show them all! Especially the ones with horses and dogs. Susan is a gentle soul. You can’t help but like her. And if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on your puzzle table, let Susan know. She’ll do her best to get it for you.

Briana, or Bri, as we call her, works her magic to get the puzzle image onto paper. In the old days we would purchase the actual prints. Nowadays, we use a digital file and print them ourselves. Bri is the clever one who decides where we’re going to hide that little Shadow clown that you search for and she also sizes the image to the correct number of pieces. What do we love about Bri? She’s bright and cheerful, and has a great attitude. She’s eager to learn and comfortable throwing out ideas and she’s not afraid to pick up the phone and help you with your order. If she happens to beat Tammy to the phone the next time you call, ask her about her buddy, Gus. He’s a cute little Yorkie/Silky mix.

Geoff is the newest addition to the Stave crew. He’s fresh out of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a Bachelors in Game Art and Design. Steve’s excited to have his help in orchestrating some videos for our website. Being the young whipper-snappers, Geoff and Bri keep us up on all this new social media stuff and are helping us keep up with the times. Geoff is settling in nicely at Stave and doesn’t seem fazed to be working with a bunch of women. He goes with the flow and didn’t bat an eye when I arrived the other morning and called out a “Good morning ladies” when I breezed through on the way to my office.

I guess you could say he’s already become one of the girls! Susan, Bri and Geoff are just a few of the wonderful people I get to spend each weekday with. I consider myself very lucky to work with such a great crew. Watch for more of our terrific team in the coming months.

 

Whew! Hurricane Irene sure has made a mess of things! As you’ve probably heard our area was in deep water a couple of weeks ago when the storm swept through town. We’re used to the snow and ice in the winter, but when five feet of water comes rushing through there’s not much you can do about it.

Thankfully, our friends at Stave came through OK. I spoke with Tammy a couple of days after the storm and other than a few people who couldn’t make it to work for a couple days due to washed out roads, there were no problems. The areas directly around them, however, were hit hard. The excessive rainfall caused record flooding of rivers causing major destruction in many areas. The raging waters ripped trees from the riverbanks, dragging them downstream. Cars and trucks were taken away in the current and homes were literally lifted off of their foundations. The homes that were able to hold strong were filled with several feet of mud. It’s hard to imagine the devastation unless you’ve seen it.

An event like this can either make you or break you and I’m proud to say the Vermonters are rising to the challenge! Rescue workers were out in full force during the storm, helping people evacuate their homes, directing them to the Red Cross shelters set up around the area. Local fire departments and rescue squads were at their best rushing from one location to the next helping all who were in need. The town road crews have been working practically non-stop to repair and, in some cases, totally rebuild roadways that were washed away. And the townspeople have banded together, offering food and supplies to those hit harder than themselves. Friends and strangers helping each other shovel the mud from basements, haul the ruined remnants of their lives to the town dumps. Life goes on and it’s made just a little bit easier by the kindness of others.

Sadly, many historic covered bridges were damaged during the flooding. Vermont is known for and proud of these iconic landmarks and to have them ravaged by the floodwaters was devastating. One in particular, the bridge in Quechee, by the Simon Pearce restaurant and glass blowing facility, was damaged. The Stave gang has spent many a holiday party at Simon Pearce, enjoying the good food, camaraderie of their co-workers and relief that the holiday rush was over for another year, all the while enjoying the view of the covered bridge. Hopefully they’ll be able to view it again this December.

Thousands travel to New England in the Fall to view the changing leaves and appreciate the scenery. In fact, I have a bunch of friends coming for a visit in a couple of weeks. I’m going to take them North to the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury and after enjoying the foliage along the way we’ll sample a scoop or two. Then we’ll head over to Shelburne to the Shelburne Vineyard for a little wine tasting and after that maybe we’ll make it to the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory just down the road. And after enjoying the reds, oranges and yellows in the trees, we’ll head back home to see who still needs help clearing out and re-building. We can all get by with a little help from our friends.

P.S. – Remember Stave is having a Puzzle Party at Twin Farms in Barnard, Vt at the end of October! There is still time to join in on the fun.

For more info visit: www.StavePuzzles.com

 

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

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© 2009 Stave Puzzles, Inc., Norwich, Vermont. Stave Puzzles, Inc. owns the copyrights in the puzzle designs, Silhouette designs, and Custom Edge designs of the puzzles appearing on this web site. Trick, Monkey Fist, Crazy Claw, Teaser, Twister, Tumbler, TroubleMaker, the Clown and Stave are trademarks of Stave Puzzles, Inc.