Handcrafting the world's finest wooden jigsaw puzzles since 1974

The Chief Tormentor

The Deliciously Devilish Blog of Puzzling News From Staveland

You Can Quote Me On That

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chance of a Lifetime

 

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

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

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

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

A Chip (or two) Off the Old Block

A Bonding Experience
Many of you may know that Stave Puzzles is a very family oriented place to work. After having kids, several of us returned to work with a diaper bag over our shoulder and a baby in our arms. It’s the perfect place to bring an infant: a shop filled with all women. Except Steve, of course!

My son, Tyler, was born in 1989. I took a couple months off then returned to work with him in tow. He was a colicky baby so it wasn’t always easy but when I needed a break there were always another pair of arms ready to take him. One of his favorite places to sleep, when he did sleep, was on his pillow in Paula’s desk drawer. It was opened, of course!

In 1991 , my daughter, Madison, arrived. She had round cheeks and a bald head and was the best natured baby you could ask for. Once again, I took a few months off and then returned to work with Madi coming along. She was happy to sit in her bouncy seat or lay on the floor on her blanket and babbled to anyone who took a few minutes to visit with her.

Over the years, Madi continued to be a familiar face at Stave, coming in during school vacations, after a doctor’s appointment, etc. I’ll never forget the day she told me she wanted to have Steve’s job some day. The kid has aspirations!

Madi’s almost 20 now and is attending college in Boston. She couldn’t find a program to get her degree in Tormenting so she’s studying Communication Journalism, instead. A month ago she asked me if she could do an internship at Stave this summer. My response? No way! I’ve got enough to deal with trying to keep myself in line! Thank goodness for Paula, who is always up for a challenge. She’s agreed to take Madi under her wing and give he r the opportunity to see what it’s like to work in one of the best places in the world. You’ll be hearing from Madison periodically over the summer. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do.

 

Another New Face

Did you me e t Penelope, another new friend at Stave? Penelope is going to be popping up from time to time to introduce new puzzle designs, share information and lots more. She’s a true puzzle fanatic so she’s the perfect person to make suggestions and answer any questions you might have. Keep a look out for her in future mailings and on our web site. I think you’re going to love her.

 

Drum Roll, Please!

Hello fellow puzzle lovers!! My name is Madison Perrin and I am the new Stave summer intern. I’m also Jennifer’s daughter, so you know I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me if I’m going to impress her! I’m so excited to finally be working here. I’ve always wanted Steve’s job, and this might just be the perfect opportunity for me to show off my work skills so by the end of the summer he’ll be handing over the business!! Of course, I’ll also have to hone my puzzle designing skills before that ever happens!

You’ll be hearing from me quite a bit this summer – and since this is our first time meeting, I thought I should tell you a few things about myself. This fall, I will be starting my Junior year at Suffolk University in the wonderful city of Boston, MA. I’m currently studying Communication Journalism and minoring in Foundation Art, so what’s better than an internship at Stave Puzzles?! I’m hoping this internship will whip me into shape so I’ll be ready for the real world once I graduate. Mainly, what I am going to be doing around here is keeping in touch with all of you. I’ll be updating Stave’s blog with fun discussion topics, writing descriptions and copy for new puzzle designs, adding a little bit to my mom’s biweekly newsletter as a guest writer, and keeping up with my new account on StavePuzzlenuts.com. If you’re not a member, yet, be sure to join now and add me as your friend. You can find me under the name of Madison Perrin.

I’m so excited to finally be helping out around here. Like I said before, I would love to get to know all of you. Please feel free to write on my wall or ask me any questions, and I’ll make sure to keep you updated on all the new and exciting things going on around here at Stave. -Madi

P.S. Balancing Act, by Royce B. McClure is my favorite puzzle ever. I love it because of its bright colors and fun vibe. Growing up, my favorite thing to do was collect everything that had anything to do with frogs. When my mom gave me Balancing Act, I couldn’t have been any more excited to start putting it together!! Yep, I’m a puzzle nut, too!

 

 

 

 

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

Not Quite a 4

I thought I’d give you a quick update on that 4-sword Teaser design I told you Steve was working on. Unfortunately, our Ace Tester’s feedback wasn’t what we were hoping to hear. He said it MIGHT be a 4 sword to some puzzlers but it wasn’t for him. Well you know MIGHT just isn’t good enough at Stave. Steve is back at the drawing board on that one. I’ll keep you posted.

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

 

Fun and Games Stave Style!


Me And My Shadow
A couple of years ago, we started hiding a shadow of the Stave clown in your Traditional puzzle images. What’s a clown shadow, you ask? It’s a mini picture of our clown logo hidden in the scene of your Traditional puzzle image. As the term shadow suggests, it’s not a dark shade, but a lighter, harder to find color. How do you know if you have a hidden shadow clown in your puzzle? Look inside the lid of the box! If we’ve hidden a shadow clown in your puzzle there will be a label in there with a short description and example of what you’re looking for.

Have You Spotted Him?
We’ve gotten some great feedback about the shadow clown game and it seems most find it pretty challenging and lots of fun. There have been a few puzzlers who need some help (a lot of help!) and a few who find him right away, but for the most part, it’s a rewarding search mission.

What’d You Do That For?
Are you wondering why we go to the trouble of hiding that little guy in your puzzle? Because we love to puzzle you!

Every Traditional Stave puzzle is loaded with puzzlement, beyond the actual working of the puzzle pieces themselves. We want you to have something to look forward to even after you’ve fit all the pieces together. How do we do that? We craft things like Interacting and Enlarged silhouettes into the puzzle.

 

For those of you who may be into the Teaser and Trick puzzles, Interacting silhouettes are two or more silhouettes that touch each other. It could be a man pushing a wheelbarrow or a bunny nibbling on a carrot. An Enlarged Silhouette is like having a mini puzzle within your puzzle. It’s a silhouette that’s been enlarged and cut into three or more pieces. Oftentimes you won’t discover an Enlarged silhouette until your puzzle is completed. The pieces look just like regular puzzle pieces when they’re on the puzzle table but as you work your puzzle the Enlarged Silhouette will begin to appear.

Some Traditional puzzles will have a Rebus game, too. A rebus is tough to pull off in the smaller puzzles but a Traditional puzzle with 250 pieces or more will usually contain a rebus.

A rebus is a word game where a word or saying is made by using shapes. A rebus is always contained in a wavy lined box with the silhouette of the Clown’s feet touching the box. The silhouette shapes within that box are what are used to create your rebus. If you have the shapes above within your rebus box, what does it say?

Nice job! I’ve shown several rebuses below. The first one to email me with the correct answers will win a prize!

Keep The Puzzlement Coming!

Here are some of the fun Rebuses that were cut into some puzzles just this week. The first person to email me with the correct answers to these rebuses will win a prize! Email your guesses to me at jennifer@stave.com



© 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 website. Trick, Monkey Fist, Crazy Claw, Teaser, Twister, Tumbler, TroubleMaker, the Clown and Stave are trademarks of Stave Puzzles, Inc.



 

Nowhere Else

Behind The Scenes
At Stave I am continuously amazed at the loyalty of our puzzlers. Not only do they show their love of puzzling and the handcrafted art by puzzling with Stave, they don’t hesitate to tell us, either.

Don’t get me wrong, I have my favorite companies but do I send them pictures and emails telling them how much I love them? No! Luckily for us, that’s just what our puzzlers do.

Fan Mail
Many of you have probably spoken to Tammy when you’ve called Stave to order a puzzle. If you have, you know she’s always upbeat and fun. She’s so good at her job and loves what she does so it’s no wonder she has quite a fan base.

Here’s a snippet of an email Tammy received from one of her favorite puzzlers, Karen. She and her sister have been Stave puzzlers since 2005 and often attend our puzzle parties at Blackberry Farm. They were also guests at our 35th Anniversary party last year. “Tammy, You are seriously on top of things! Didn’t expect to hear from you for several days/week. I’m very impressed.” Blah blah blah regarding prize points. “BTW, (By the way, for those of you who don’t know the lingo) You and Dennis (Tammy’s husband) SHOULD consider a trip beyond New England.” She then goes on to suggest several times frames for Tammy to come visit. She also said a visit from Tammy would be enough to get her sister to travel from Singapore for the occasion. Is that the coolest or what?! Have you ever invited your order taker from L.L. Bean to come visit? Only at Stave!

Another Loyal Follower

We just received this email from a puzzler this morning.
“I just want to tell you I think this company is awesome. I read an article in Games Magazine many years ago about Stave Puzzles. I don’t honestly remember if it was about Steve, but I do remember the article and I thought, “Wow! This is what I want to do with the rest of my life!” That article made me feel like life was full of possibilities. I still have it somewhere. Then a few years ago, I was getting ready for church and saw there was going to be a clip on a person that creates jigsaw puzzles on CBS Sunday Morning. I knew right away it was going to be about Stave Puzzles and decided I wasn’t going to make it to church that morning. I got that same happy, optimistic glow again while watching it. I never got anywhere with my dream of making puzzles, but I’m not dead yet. I’m really happy to know people are out there creating these things for us to enjoy and enjoying themselves in the process.
—J.S.
P.S. This is my first ever fan letter. I just wanted to share that those articles have always stuck with me.”

Let me just say, this made our day! — Jennifer

we LOVE to hear from you!

Give Tammy something to talk about!

 

 

Let me know what you want to read about. Do you have questions, ideas, suggestions? Email me jennifer@stave.com

Don’t forget to check out Steve’s whacky photo contest. You might win a $25 gift certificate. Go to www.stavepuzzlenuts.com to place your guess. You could be our next winner.

 


You Made Your Bed

The Search

Finding a puzzle cutter is never easy. Just think of it. How many people have you met who know how to cut a wooden jigsaw puzzle? It’s like searching for hen’s teeth! What do we look for when we’re searching for someone to join our crew? Someone who is crafty and clever, eager to learn with the highest standards for themselves and their work. They’ve got to have good hand/eye coordination and manual dexterity but most of all, they have to love working with their hands.

A Real Find

In addition to finding fabulous puzzle cutters we also work with local (or not so local!) artists to create Stave’s Teaser and Trick puzzle designs. And like finding a puzzle cutter, it’s tough to find an artist who can design a puzzle. It’s very different from painting a landscape. You’ve got to figure out how thick or thin you can make a piece. You need to learn how to get all those Teaser pieces to grip each other but not fit solidly like a Traditional puzzle would. After all, that would make it easy, now wouldn’t it?! Needless to say, it’s a long training process.

So when we find a great puzzle cutter who can design puzzles, too, it’s like hitting the jackpot! Dianna and Wanita are puzzle cutters who have created several Stave designs, and now we have Samara. Samara has been cutting puzzles for almost two years now and she surprised us last year with a great idea for a new Teaser puzzle. She’s been working on several Teaser designs I think you’re going to love but here’s a peek at her first completed design, a puzzle based on the story of The Princess and the Pea. We’re calling it Your High-ness and it’s a hoot! Trying to fit those brightly colored pillows and blankets into the bed frame are going to keep you from getting any shut eye, for sure.

We’ve Got Designs For You

In addition to Your High-ness, Samara has several more designs in the works. Since I’m feeling generous today I’m going to give you a little inside information so you’ll know what to be on the look- out for. The design I can’t wait to see is a Teaser puzzle based on the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. It’s a little different than our other Teasers, with a clever edge design I think you’ll love.

Samara has a couple other designs in the works that just went through the Testing phase of the design process. They received great reviews so we’ll be working to get those out to you soon. Keep your eye out for another fairy tale themed puzzle and another puzzle that will appeal to your own artistic side.

 

Stave’s Clever Creations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve been busy here at the Stave Puzzle workshop, crafting beautiful puzzles to delight and challenge you. Take a look at what your fellow puzzlers have been working on. Maybe you’ll see your puzzle shown here!

I’m still waiting to hear your stories about how you got started puzzling. And don’t forget to share where and how you puzzle. In your kitchen or the
dining room? Do you sort by color and edge pieces? Email me jennifer@stave.com

Don’t forget to check out Steve’s whacky photo contest. You might win a $25 gift certificate! Go to www.stavepuzzlenuts.com to place your guess. You could be our next winner.

 


You Can Quote Me On That

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chance of a Lifetime

 

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

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

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

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

A Chip (or two) Off the Old Block

A Bonding Experience
Many of you may know that Stave Puzzles is a very family oriented place to work. After having kids, several of us returned to work with a diaper bag over our shoulder and a baby in our arms. It’s the perfect place to bring an infant: a shop filled with all women. Except Steve, of course!

My son, Tyler, was born in 1989. I took a couple months off then returned to work with him in tow. He was a colicky baby so it wasn’t always easy but when I needed a break there were always another pair of arms ready to take him. One of his favorite places to sleep, when he did sleep, was on his pillow in Paula’s desk drawer. It was opened, of course!

In 1991 , my daughter, Madison, arrived. She had round cheeks and a bald head and was the best natured baby you could ask for. Once again, I took a few months off and then returned to work with Madi coming along. She was happy to sit in her bouncy seat or lay on the floor on her blanket and babbled to anyone who took a few minutes to visit with her.

Over the years, Madi continued to be a familiar face at Stave, coming in during school vacations, after a doctor’s appointment, etc. I’ll never forget the day she told me she wanted to have Steve’s job some day. The kid has aspirations!

Madi’s almost 20 now and is attending college in Boston. She couldn’t find a program to get her degree in Tormenting so she’s studying Communication Journalism, instead. A month ago she asked me if she could do an internship at Stave this summer. My response? No way! I’ve got enough to deal with trying to keep myself in line! Thank goodness for Paula, who is always up for a challenge. She’s agreed to take Madi under her wing and give he r the opportunity to see what it’s like to work in one of the best places in the world. You’ll be hearing from Madison periodically over the summer. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do.

 

Another New Face

Did you me e t Penelope, another new friend at Stave? Penelope is going to be popping up from time to time to introduce new puzzle designs, share information and lots more. She’s a true puzzle fanatic so she’s the perfect person to make suggestions and answer any questions you might have. Keep a look out for her in future mailings and on our web site. I think you’re going to love her.

 

Drum Roll, Please!

Hello fellow puzzle lovers!! My name is Madison Perrin and I am the new Stave summer intern. I’m also Jennifer’s daughter, so you know I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me if I’m going to impress her! I’m so excited to finally be working here. I’ve always wanted Steve’s job, and this might just be the perfect opportunity for me to show off my work skills so by the end of the summer he’ll be handing over the business!! Of course, I’ll also have to hone my puzzle designing skills before that ever happens!

You’ll be hearing from me quite a bit this summer – and since this is our first time meeting, I thought I should tell you a few things about myself. This fall, I will be starting my Junior year at Suffolk University in the wonderful city of Boston, MA. I’m currently studying Communication Journalism and minoring in Foundation Art, so what’s better than an internship at Stave Puzzles?! I’m hoping this internship will whip me into shape so I’ll be ready for the real world once I graduate. Mainly, what I am going to be doing around here is keeping in touch with all of you. I’ll be updating Stave’s blog with fun discussion topics, writing descriptions and copy for new puzzle designs, adding a little bit to my mom’s biweekly newsletter as a guest writer, and keeping up with my new account on StavePuzzlenuts.com. If you’re not a member, yet, be sure to join now and add me as your friend. You can find me under the name of Madison Perrin.

I’m so excited to finally be helping out around here. Like I said before, I would love to get to know all of you. Please feel free to write on my wall or ask me any questions, and I’ll make sure to keep you updated on all the new and exciting things going on around here at Stave. -Madi

P.S. Balancing Act, by Royce B. McClure is my favorite puzzle ever. I love it because of its bright colors and fun vibe. Growing up, my favorite thing to do was collect everything that had anything to do with frogs. When my mom gave me Balancing Act, I couldn’t have been any more excited to start putting it together!! Yep, I’m a puzzle nut, too!

 

 

 

 

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

Not Quite a 4

I thought I’d give you a quick update on that 4-sword Teaser design I told you Steve was working on. Unfortunately, our Ace Tester’s feedback wasn’t what we were hoping to hear. He said it MIGHT be a 4 sword to some puzzlers but it wasn’t for him. Well you know MIGHT just isn’t good enough at Stave. Steve is back at the drawing board on that one. I’ll keep you posted.

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

 

Fun and Games Stave Style!


Me And My Shadow
A couple of years ago, we started hiding a shadow of the Stave clown in your Traditional puzzle images. What’s a clown shadow, you ask? It’s a mini picture of our clown logo hidden in the scene of your Traditional puzzle image. As the term shadow suggests, it’s not a dark shade, but a lighter, harder to find color. How do you know if you have a hidden shadow clown in your puzzle? Look inside the lid of the box! If we’ve hidden a shadow clown in your puzzle there will be a label in there with a short description and example of what you’re looking for.

Have You Spotted Him?
We’ve gotten some great feedback about the shadow clown game and it seems most find it pretty challenging and lots of fun. There have been a few puzzlers who need some help (a lot of help!) and a few who find him right away, but for the most part, it’s a rewarding search mission.

What’d You Do That For?
Are you wondering why we go to the trouble of hiding that little guy in your puzzle? Because we love to puzzle you!

Every Traditional Stave puzzle is loaded with puzzlement, beyond the actual working of the puzzle pieces themselves. We want you to have something to look forward to even after you’ve fit all the pieces together. How do we do that? We craft things like Interacting and Enlarged silhouettes into the puzzle.

 

For those of you who may be into the Teaser and Trick puzzles, Interacting silhouettes are two or more silhouettes that touch each other. It could be a man pushing a wheelbarrow or a bunny nibbling on a carrot. An Enlarged Silhouette is like having a mini puzzle within your puzzle. It’s a silhouette that’s been enlarged and cut into three or more pieces. Oftentimes you won’t discover an Enlarged silhouette until your puzzle is completed. The pieces look just like regular puzzle pieces when they’re on the puzzle table but as you work your puzzle the Enlarged Silhouette will begin to appear.

Some Traditional puzzles will have a Rebus game, too. A rebus is tough to pull off in the smaller puzzles but a Traditional puzzle with 250 pieces or more will usually contain a rebus.

A rebus is a word game where a word or saying is made by using shapes. A rebus is always contained in a wavy lined box with the silhouette of the Clown’s feet touching the box. The silhouette shapes within that box are what are used to create your rebus. If you have the shapes above within your rebus box, what does it say?

Nice job! I’ve shown several rebuses below. The first one to email me with the correct answers will win a prize!

Keep The Puzzlement Coming!

Here are some of the fun Rebuses that were cut into some puzzles just this week. The first person to email me with the correct answers to these rebuses will win a prize! Email your guesses to me at jennifer@stave.com



© 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 website. Trick, Monkey Fist, Crazy Claw, Teaser, Twister, Tumbler, TroubleMaker, the Clown and Stave are trademarks of Stave Puzzles, Inc.



 

Nowhere Else

Behind The Scenes
At Stave I am continuously amazed at the loyalty of our puzzlers. Not only do they show their love of puzzling and the handcrafted art by puzzling with Stave, they don’t hesitate to tell us, either.

Don’t get me wrong, I have my favorite companies but do I send them pictures and emails telling them how much I love them? No! Luckily for us, that’s just what our puzzlers do.

Fan Mail
Many of you have probably spoken to Tammy when you’ve called Stave to order a puzzle. If you have, you know she’s always upbeat and fun. She’s so good at her job and loves what she does so it’s no wonder she has quite a fan base.

Here’s a snippet of an email Tammy received from one of her favorite puzzlers, Karen. She and her sister have been Stave puzzlers since 2005 and often attend our puzzle parties at Blackberry Farm. They were also guests at our 35th Anniversary party last year. “Tammy, You are seriously on top of things! Didn’t expect to hear from you for several days/week. I’m very impressed.” Blah blah blah regarding prize points. “BTW, (By the way, for those of you who don’t know the lingo) You and Dennis (Tammy’s husband) SHOULD consider a trip beyond New England.” She then goes on to suggest several times frames for Tammy to come visit. She also said a visit from Tammy would be enough to get her sister to travel from Singapore for the occasion. Is that the coolest or what?! Have you ever invited your order taker from L.L. Bean to come visit? Only at Stave!

Another Loyal Follower

We just received this email from a puzzler this morning.
“I just want to tell you I think this company is awesome. I read an article in Games Magazine many years ago about Stave Puzzles. I don’t honestly remember if it was about Steve, but I do remember the article and I thought, “Wow! This is what I want to do with the rest of my life!” That article made me feel like life was full of possibilities. I still have it somewhere. Then a few years ago, I was getting ready for church and saw there was going to be a clip on a person that creates jigsaw puzzles on CBS Sunday Morning. I knew right away it was going to be about Stave Puzzles and decided I wasn’t going to make it to church that morning. I got that same happy, optimistic glow again while watching it. I never got anywhere with my dream of making puzzles, but I’m not dead yet. I’m really happy to know people are out there creating these things for us to enjoy and enjoying themselves in the process.
—J.S.
P.S. This is my first ever fan letter. I just wanted to share that those articles have always stuck with me.”

Let me just say, this made our day! — Jennifer

we LOVE to hear from you!

Give Tammy something to talk about!

 

 

Let me know what you want to read about. Do you have questions, ideas, suggestions? Email me jennifer@stave.com

Don’t forget to check out Steve’s whacky photo contest. You might win a $25 gift certificate. Go to www.stavepuzzlenuts.com to place your guess. You could be our next winner.

 


You Made Your Bed

The Search

Finding a puzzle cutter is never easy. Just think of it. How many people have you met who know how to cut a wooden jigsaw puzzle? It’s like searching for hen’s teeth! What do we look for when we’re searching for someone to join our crew? Someone who is crafty and clever, eager to learn with the highest standards for themselves and their work. They’ve got to have good hand/eye coordination and manual dexterity but most of all, they have to love working with their hands.

A Real Find

In addition to finding fabulous puzzle cutters we also work with local (or not so local!) artists to create Stave’s Teaser and Trick puzzle designs. And like finding a puzzle cutter, it’s tough to find an artist who can design a puzzle. It’s very different from painting a landscape. You’ve got to figure out how thick or thin you can make a piece. You need to learn how to get all those Teaser pieces to grip each other but not fit solidly like a Traditional puzzle would. After all, that would make it easy, now wouldn’t it?! Needless to say, it’s a long training process.

So when we find a great puzzle cutter who can design puzzles, too, it’s like hitting the jackpot! Dianna and Wanita are puzzle cutters who have created several Stave designs, and now we have Samara. Samara has been cutting puzzles for almost two years now and she surprised us last year with a great idea for a new Teaser puzzle. She’s been working on several Teaser designs I think you’re going to love but here’s a peek at her first completed design, a puzzle based on the story of The Princess and the Pea. We’re calling it Your High-ness and it’s a hoot! Trying to fit those brightly colored pillows and blankets into the bed frame are going to keep you from getting any shut eye, for sure.

We’ve Got Designs For You

In addition to Your High-ness, Samara has several more designs in the works. Since I’m feeling generous today I’m going to give you a little inside information so you’ll know what to be on the look- out for. The design I can’t wait to see is a Teaser puzzle based on the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. It’s a little different than our other Teasers, with a clever edge design I think you’ll love.

Samara has a couple other designs in the works that just went through the Testing phase of the design process. They received great reviews so we’ll be working to get those out to you soon. Keep your eye out for another fairy tale themed puzzle and another puzzle that will appeal to your own artistic side.

 

Stave’s Clever Creations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve been busy here at the Stave Puzzle workshop, crafting beautiful puzzles to delight and challenge you. Take a look at what your fellow puzzlers have been working on. Maybe you’ll see your puzzle shown here!

I’m still waiting to hear your stories about how you got started puzzling. And don’t forget to share where and how you puzzle. In your kitchen or the
dining room? Do you sort by color and edge pieces? Email me jennifer@stave.com

Don’t forget to check out Steve’s whacky photo contest. You might win a $25 gift certificate! Go to www.stavepuzzlenuts.com to place your guess. You could be our next winner.