Some months ago I was able to choose a gift for donating blood for the 15th time. I could not pass up the jigsaw puzzle that I saw – a 500 piece puzzle from Jan van Haasteren!
It’s specially designed for the Dutch blood bank, Sanquin and not available in stores.
Highlights include: the Sinterklaas in the upper right in the elevator, next to a prisoner stealing the pelican (Sanquin’s mascot), the guy in the business suit in the middle donating blue blood, and the gnome sitting patiently in the donation area on the right middle. Oh, and the gentlemen on the left side with the green shirt who is taking advantage of the policy of free snacks for blood donors.
I recently finished a 1000-piece puzzle of Amsterdam — a present last year from Roger. And indeed, the puzzle sat in the ‘puzzle holder‘ for a good 5 months before I was able to finish it. The puzzle itself shows the corner of Amsterdam’s Prinsenhof where it meets Brouwersgracht, on King’s Day – hence all of the orange-clad characters.
Here is a close up look of the detail:
In the meantime, I’ve already started the next one. That would be a puzzle of The Hague’s Hofvijver which Marco bought for me as a Christmas present.
For Christmas I was gifted a Ravensburger puzzle from Roger. It was made from a good quality – even using “soft lock technology” apparently. I found it interesting that the puzzle used a dark blue backing instead of the light gray backing that most puzzles use.
There were two minor weird things with this puzzle:
There is a part of the actual puzzle that doesn’t match the box it came in. Look in the lower left with the lady in green – in the actual puzzle she leans over to the right, worried because the man behind her is choking on a herring. On the box, she panics a bit and falls backward because the seller is shoving a herring in her face.
There was an extra puzzle piece that did not fit anywhere. The puzzle itself is done, and has no gaps. You can see it in the photo below, to the left of the actual puzzle.
If you’re looking closely, you’ll notice that the puzzle itself is within a flat case. The exact model I have is Jumbo luxe puzzelkoffer – 1000 stukjes. It makes for really easy storage. There are two additional panels which are shown in the link which you can also use to store pieces on top of. When you are ready to store everything, you put the panels on top of the puzzle to create a tight fit so that none of the pieces move. You could even store the work-in-progress horizontally. I have successfully tested this but normally store it vertically.
It’s been a while since I’ve done a puzzle (although ironically I received a new one as a gift last week!) but this one is near and dear to my heart. As some of you know, I like trams and metros and subways and…
So it should come as no surprise that the puzzle above – a map of the New York City subway – is so awesome!
It’s a relaxing night here over in The Hague. Marco is currently playing Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag (a free game offered recently on Xbox One) and I am writing this blog post. While preparing for this blog post I came across another post I had done only the second day after moving to the Netherlands: Second day (Or: Settling in and unpacking). It was interesting to re-read all of the little things we did that day to get me settled in. One of the benefits of keeping a blog I guess!
Here is a random photo I took in the So Low in the centrum of The Hague. Sometimes you see the randomst things from American culture make it over to Europe (due to being used in films or TV shows mainly).
These cups are world famous for alcohol consumption at frat (fraternity) parties. Just to make sure the customer knows the connection, they are called “American cups”. My favorite, though? When you see something marketed as American or with an American flag which is most decidedly not American. I do not have any examples at the moment unfortunately.
This week I have a new puzzle, again from the cartoonist Jan van Haasteren (read a previous puzzle post about him here). This week’s puzzle is called “Camping chaos”:
In the lower right you have a panicked mass of people trying to escape the man on the diving board. Well, actually, trying to escape the shark underneath the man on the diving board… There’s also a lot of people with cameras in this puzzle, occasionally filming scantily dressed women. That’s the Dutch humor for you.
And of course the usual random floating hand coming out of unexpected places, a trademark of his. No Sinterklaas in this puzzle, though.
Let’s see how long it takes to finish all of the paths and green areas…
Last week Roger dropped off one of his mother’s puzzles for me to work on. Little did I know, it was 1000 pieces! (I thought it would be 500.)
It is a Jan van Haasteren puzzle with the title NY Marathon – he is a well-known Dutch cartoonist. Part of the reason I like his puzzles is the fact that they are animated – it reminds me of a puzzle I had when I was younger (probably 500 pieces) with a mini golf theme.
First things first – separate out the edges:
I had a small scare at one point when I couldn’t find one of the edge pieces (remember, it’s not my puzzle!) but after a while it turned up. The biggest issue is the lack of table space – hence why I don’t have any puzzles of my own and it is better to borrow one from someone else.
Back in late October 2009, when I had only lived in this current apartment for a few months, Marco had to buy a birthday gift for a friend’s young child. While searching for a gift in a store, he came across blank puzzle pieces.
On a whim, he purchased four jigsaws and drew some images and phrases on each. He then had the bright idea to mail them to me a few at a time! So it was a while before I could complete the puzzles, though not forever.
“ik ben van jou” -> I am yours.
Funny story about the phrase above – he taught me two phrases back before I really started studying Dutch at all. “ik ben van jou” – I am yours – and “jij bent van mij” – you are mine. As I had zero grounding in Dutch, he was teaching me to remember it based on memorization, so he said “jij BENT van mij”, while making a bending motion with his hands.
So for whatever reason, that phrase reminded me of driving a car, with your hands on the steering wheel. So for a long time I could only differentiate between the two (ben vs. bent) by thinking of which one was where you were driving.
And this second jigsaw puzzle is proof that we have always been counting down days until we see each other again. At the bottom you can see the “80!!’ for 80 days. That would have been the Christmas trip where they visited my new digs for the first time.
By the way – it is 28 days and about 20 hours until we see each other again.