I am so glad that my husband gave me this puzzle for my birthday. I thoroughly enjoyed putting it together, although for a while it did have me a bit mystified. It has a unique, quite unusual cut, lovely, intricate. Diabolic isn’t the correct word, but as I assembled it piece by piece, I kept thinking that whoever designed it deliberately tried to make it as difficult as possible. When you finish it, though, it looks so calm, serene; she is reading a book, the whimsies tell a story, laying out the panorama of her life, a pleasant one, nothing sinister or evil. The fun part is that it is challenging, that you can figure it out, that you can overcome the unusual pattern that you are constructing as you place one piece, after another piece together.
I love puzzles. I have a collection of them. My sister and my mother collect them, too. We have so many that we keep a list of them, so we can avoid duplications, and to make it easier for my husband when he is figuring out which puzzle to buy for me on those gift giving occasions. I actually recently went through ALL of Artifact’s and Ecru’s puzzles, to make my husband’s life easier, and I listed all the ones that I really liked and wanted. I did not list this one. My husband didn’t even see the list until very recently.
He bought this puzzle for me two months ago. He almost sent it back. The reason was because I had bought my sister an Ecru puzzle for her birthday entitled “Monet’s Garden.” He was devastated when I told him. “I bought you the same one, “ he said, “I will return it.” I felt so bad, but finally I showed him the images of the puzzle that I bought for my sister. It was a different puzzle with Monet’s colors, but done by a contemporary Brazilian artist (my sister loved it). He had bought the only Ecru puzzle by Monet, but hadn’t paid attention to the name. Again, I am very lucky that I got the puzzle and that he didn’t try to return it!
He gave it to me yesterday, my birthday, and I skipped dinner and cake, to do the puzzle instead, it was that much fun! (Also I had a huge lunch and so much cake at midday that I wasn’t hungry). Part of me would like to describe it in greater detail, but part of me doesn’t want to spoil it for others. I understand why Artifact/Ecru chooses to do “Mystery Puzzles.” It is fun to be surprised. I hate the boring, obvious, puzzles, but I do love to do puzzles with gorgeous images and colors. Some cuts are more interesting and more difficult than others. I usually flip the pieces and begin sorting them, to some degree, separating the whimsies that I can identify. I do love the whimsies; they are so well designed that they are works of art, all by themselves. This one has some very interesting whimsies, many in one piece, two pieces, or more. It makes it quite challenging when you can’t spot the whimsie pieces… Then there are edge pieces, sometimes they are obvious, but sometimes they are not at all; they are deceptive, with straight lines in places where you wouldn’t expect them. Leafy trees are always a bit daunting, maybe because I am getting older and when it is late in the day, it is harder to differentiate the various shades of green. I found it easier to put the lighter pieces together first. Of course one generally does the easiest pieces first. What amazes me, sometimes, is when I loan a puzzle out, and it is returned, and I am told “It was too hard.” They didn’t manage to put it together. I think this puzzle requires a bit of patience and a positive attitude. You can do it! Don’t give up! It is worth the effort! It is a lovely, unusual puzzle, and a work of art in itself, finely crafted, something you can truly enjoy all by yourself, or sharing with others!