16 Nov 2009

Some assembly required

In my experience families are either jigsaw lovers or a jigsaw haters. There seems to be little grey in this one.

We fit into the former group.

Holidays just wouldn't be holidays without a puzzle or two laid out on Mum and Dad's dining room table for us all to work at, chatting companionably amongst ourselves as we each work away at our individual task. The boys always start with the straight edge pieces. I prefer to work on an individual area - the garden or the house or the sky. Well okay, rarely the sky. That probably comes last.

My pet peeve is when somebody finds just the piece you've been searching for to finish an area and pops it in to complete the picture instead of giving it to the person who has done all the yuck work first. Boy, do I get cranky! You'd think my brother and sister, having spent their whole lives doing puzzles with me would have learned by now not to commit this terrible crime - I am the eldest, after all - but they're the worst offenders of all.

Enough already.

My favourite puzzles are those finely crafted laser cut wooden ones - the ones with special whimsy pieces like the ones by Liberty Puzzles in the US or Wentworth Wooden Puzzles in the UK. I just love these.

Recently, however, I discovered these Australian made puzzles featuring the work of our very own Peg Maltby. Aren't they delightful? I've not actually seen one of these puzzles, but the website assures me that they're 'excellent quality' and made with thick strong cardboard.

Although I was a little critical of Maltby's literary style in my review of her work recently, I make no such criticism of her illustrations, and her crowded compositions full of scurrying fairies, birds, woodland creatures and other little folk surrounded by whimsical nature scenes lend themselves perfectly to the puzzle medium. Not a lot of sky in these sweet little pictures!

Maltby was one of Australia's finest illustrators, and these puzzles are a fine way to display her work.

They'd make an ideal gift for that little girl in your life don't you think? (Not that I'm going to mention a forthcoming gift-giving event this early...wouldn't even think of it!!)


  1. Oh! I want one. I love Peg's work ~ well, her illustrations. Her wrtiting is a bit twee for me. These are too gorgeous for words.

  2. Oooh, those are beautiful. At our house we have two jigsaw puzzle lovers - my eldest son, and moi. However, we also have a puzzle destroyer, and a puzzle piece eater. Wah! Maybe some day we will be able to work on one together without having it destroyed! I think I'll have to save beautiful ones like those until then.

  3. Oh dear Sue, you certainly do run the whole gamut in your family don't you? Puzzle piece eater...chuckle!!

  4. The boys are past the destroyer and eater stages and just beginning to kike puzzles. My older girls did love them, particularly my second.
    I am a little afraid to suggest starting a good big one at the moment with very active one year olds tearing around the place! Ah, the sacrifices!

  5. Hi Jeanne,
    These are absolutely gorgeous! My daughter really loves comleting jigsaw puzzles.
    Have a great week,

  6. Silly me! I thought only Queen Elizabeth got to have wooden jigsaw puzzles!! lol... I'm a puzzle lover--perfect for winter. Can't stand them in the summer. The cats simply ADORE doing puzzles with me even if the kids run at the sight of the box! The illustrations on the one you show are lovely! My family, growing up, had a tradition of a new "red barn" puzzle every winter--always round!


I'd love you to leave me a message. Tell me what you like - and what you don't. Just remember that this is what we do in our family - it doesn't have to be what you do in yours...