Ever since I can remember mom and dad have loved doing jigsaws and as soon as I was able I joined in and I still love jigsaws all these years later.
In 2002 Dave (hubby) and I moved to Llandudno and mom and dad came to live with us as dad had Alzheimer's disease and I needed to be his full time carer, as mom could no longer cope with him on her own. Unbeknown to us at the time mom was developing Vascular Dementia so I ended up being her carer once dad had passed away.
We had a three storey house and mom and dad had the ground floor as a sort of flat within that house and this way they could keep some independence. Now you may be wondering what this has got to do with a jigsaw but bear with me all will be revealed!
The dining room downstairs on the ground floor contained mom and dad's round wooden dining table and we started doing jigsaws in there - so much so that the room became known as the jigsaw room!
Doing a jigsaw was one of the few things that would get dad to sit still for a while and if I sat with him mom could have a bit of freedom to do things she needed to do. Towards the end of his illness dad did tend to put the pieces in the wrong place but all we had to do was distract him by getting him to look at something in the garden and whip the wrong pieces back out!
Anyway I began to look for some new jigsaws, either ones that would be easy for dad to do, or ones that had pictures that would mean something to him. I also tended to look for ones that only had 500 or 750 pieces so that they would get done relatively quickly and not become boring for him.
One of the ones that I bought for him was one called Garden Shed by Gibson's and I paid a couple of pounds for it on EBay. I have just looked at Google and found that the jigsaw to be purchased new is currently about £8.
The jigsaw has 500 pieces, measures 490mm by 340mm and is a picture of the inside of a garden shed (bet you didn't guess that did you?). The shed has a bench with all sorts of things on it from plant pots to bits of wood and there are tools such as a garden fork and riddle ready to be used. It reminded me of my dad's garden shed as he always had just the right thing for the job be it a piece of wood or a screwdriver, a plant pot or a mallet, dad had got just what was needed and looking at this jigsaw I could just see him in his shed. Mind you dad's shed was always tidy unlike the one in the jigsaw and he never had chickens wandering in either! LOL!
The jigsaw itself is well made and the pieces fit together easily and stay together. I get very irritated with jigsaws that come apart as soon as you touch them - in fact I like the ones that you can pick up all in one piece to dust under them and then put them down again still all in one piece!
The jigsaw is a medium one in terms of difficulty. There is a lot of detail in it and a lot of different shades but not actually a lot of bright colours, so if you are the sort of person who likes to sort out various bright colours to do the relevant bits of a jigsaw this isn't the one for you. It is not so easy that it is boring but it is not so difficult that it takes too long to complete. So the jigsaw is a challenge without feeling as though it is impossible and yes, dad really enjoyed helping me to do it. Whenever I fetch it out to redo it in the future it will always remind me of him.
In conclusion I would recommend this jigsaw as a good one for older children and adults who enjoy a reasonable challenge.
Since early childhood I have adored doing jigsaws. Show me one and time is put on hold during its construction.
After a lengthy break from them, my passion for puzzles was reignited a few years ago, when my niece gave me one for Christmas.
Since then I have completed many, 30 of which have been Gibsons puzzles.
The one I am reviewing today, is called The Garden Shed; a 500 piece set of a painting by the West Country artist, Edward Hersey.
I have divided the review into four sections, beginning with some background information on the Gibsons's company and their jigsaws; followed by a description of the picture. The third section includes some - useful or not, as the case may be - tips on placing and setting up the puzzle; and finally, my thoughts on, and impressions of, the Garden Shed.
The Gibsons's family business was established in 1919. Prints of artist's paintings are pasted onto 2mm thick, quality card and cut using eight to ten different basic shapes; the most common being one with circular, paddle-like projections on opposite sides and on the other two sides are round slots into which the next piece should fit. The more unusual shaped one has one or two larger, spade-shaped projections, the spade shape being similar to that of the ace of spades (and morphed aces) not the gardening variety.
Gibsons produce a large selection of puzzles, varying in sizes, shapes and in themes. From 200 pieces through the range of 300, 500, 636 and 1000 piece puzzles. Country scenes - past and present - seasonal scenes, round and rectangular shaped pictures, the list goes on.
The 300 and some of the 500 piece sets are cut in extra large pieces (twice the normal size) specifically for those with poor eyesight or those with 'handling difficulties.' These extra large sets piece together the same size as the 1000 piece jigsaws.
If, and it does happen, albeit rarely, a piece is missing, a replacement can be obtained by sending the title of the puzzle, its bar code, the name of the retailer where it was bought along with 5 pieces of the puzzle to the Gibsons Games company, the address will be in the box. Within a week or so, a whole puzzle replacement will be posted back to you.
~~~~THE GARDEN SHED~~~~
This is a 500 piece puzzle, which when pieced together measures 490 x 335 mm (as do all the 500 piece sets, apart from the Extra large cut ones)
The scene is of a view from the inside, rear end of a garden shed, looking diagonally across to the work bench, and out through an open door onto a paved path, which curves along the lawn to a thatched cottage. Blue skies and green foliage suggest it to be a bright summer's day.
Two chickens have found their way to the shed, one pictured inside is pecking at something on the stone-paved floor, whilst the other, about to enter, looks on.
The bench is cluttered with a variety of gardening paraphernalia; an old kettle, standing on what looks to be a paraffin burner, at one end, and a large zinc bucket, wooden seed tray and neatly stacked pile of terracotta flowerpots at the other. In the middle section, the view through a four paned window, looks out onto a scene of wispy clouds and green-leaved tree tops. The spout of an old watering can just be seen dangling from the roof, in front of the window.
Along the wall of the shed, on either side of the window, are two narrow shelves filled with bottles, tins and cardboard boxes. A large, black metal sieve is hung on the end wall, by the door opening, against which leans the garden fork and broom.
Hanging on the door, which has been propped open with a red brick, is a wood-saw, small scythe and a rusty old horseshoe.
Under the bench is another shelf, again filled with all sorts of gardening gear, boxes, crates,string, another tin with paint brushes and a basket of what appears to be tools such as trowels.
Under this shelf is a dark area with more clutter.
Leaning against the bench is spade, a couple of bamboo canes and the handle of what could be that of an old fashioned lawn mower. At the far end, by the door, is yet another large bucket.
The whole scene is very rustic, and for me, paints a picture of peaceful tranquility. The gardener, having perhaps temporarily left this organised clutter - where only he knows where to find every last piece of string - for a lunch break, or maybe to plant out some flowers or vegetables.
Had I not read that it was a scene painted by an artist, I would have thought it a photograph.
~~~~BUILDING THE JIGSAW~~~~
Firstly and most importantly, before setting up a jigsaw, it is essential top use a table or tray large enough to accommodate the puzzle - each will have its dimensions printed on the box lid - and preferably one where you can leave it over the following few days or weeks, and can't be reached by mischievous puppies or inquisitive toddlers, both of which seem to enjoy chewing cardboard only to leave soggy, mangled chunks of it on the carpet.
Points, incidentally, I learned the hard way:-)
There are no hard and fast rules for building puzzles. Some may start at the bottom edge and methodically work upwards. I always begin with the slightly tedious task of finding all the straight edged pieces which will form the framework, then separating the rest into groups of similar shapes and colours, before building the perimeter frame.
Through past experiences with building Gibsons jigsaws, I have found that there are usually one or two pieces, each with three sides that will slot perfectly into the same position in the puzzle, but when it comes to finding a piece to fit the fourth side, there isn't one to be found. This only means that there is another piece that should have been positioned where the misfit is, with the same paddle and slot positions on the three sides, but with a different fourth side.
The most likely places where these non-identical twin pieces can be fitted, are in parts of the puzzle where the shades of colour are the same, like still-water, cloudless skies or the dark shadowy areas.
~~~~MY THOUGHTS AND IMPRESSION OF THE GARDEN SHED PUZZLE~~~
When building jigsaws, I invariably find myself totally immersed in the scenes portrayed, imagining the characters of the time and era.
Once I have started on a puzzle, time stands still and all thoughts of any problems, minor or otherwise, seem to vanish for the time being; such is the effect jigsaws have on my ability to focus entirely on the task in hand.
The Garden Shed puzzle was no exception. As I was piecing it together, I imagined the gardener, wearing baggy, brown corded trousers held up by thick braces, and for good measure, a broad leather belt. His sleeves rolled up exposing a pair of bony elbows. His hands caked in compost, pipe in mouth, busily pottering away having lost all track of time, like myself; and when my dogs eventually managed to break through that wall of concentration to remind me it was time to eat or go for a walk, I found myself almost pleading with them to "Let me find just one more piece."
Though the picture gives the impression that it could be built with ease and quite rapidly, that was not the case. The area under the bench was probably the most time consuming part of the puzzle because of the dark shadows. The buckets, kettle and tin were also of similar shades, as were the shed walls, so it took a little longer to find the right fits.
I wonder if the scene, painted by Edward Hersey, was that of his father's or grandfather's shed.
Although all the pieces of this puzzle were present and correct. I did have occasion once, to send off for a replacement and within three weeks one was posted back to me.
Gibsons puzzles can be bought in most good shops, I have seen them in WH Smiths, but I buy them from our local Saturday market.
For this puzzle I paid £7.00 and for the many hours of entertainment, worth every last penny.
I wonder, did this puzzle inspire me to build my own shed a year or so later? Could be that it did. In fact, I'm sure it did.