Every time you smell it you really feel the desire to get closer to it, and chances are that you will feel more calm and relaxed afterwards. It's lavender, a purple, beautiful and fragrant plant that produces long stems with buds and blooms. It's usually cultivated for its essential oils, which are used to scent a variety of products. People even make lavender candles because it is believed they can help you sleep better and may have healing and cleaning properties.
Some refer to this plant as the darling of the wellness world, and I agree with that.
To be honest lavenders never helped me sleep better, but their colour and smell are definitely an incredible source of inspiration and therefore I wanted to have them in at least one of my personalised puzzles.
Following the Doi Inthanon black and white project I wanted to try again a similar experiment (combining black and white with another colour) and choosing lilac seemed to be a very interesting direction to take.
Unlike the previous project, this time I wasn't inclined to cut the picture at all. I didn't want to leave any flower out of this puzzle. Therefore I looked around for a manufacturer who could offer unconventional sizes of personalised puzzles, wider than the standard ones. I found this manufacturer who, among other things, is making wooden puzzles. I had never tried something like that before, so it sounded like a very interesting project. I would have never imagined that I was going to take such a difficult path, but that's what happens when you try new things.
As soon as I opened the box I realised what the future was holding for me.
Apart from the challenge posed by the nature of the picture itself, I immediately noticed that all the wooden pieces (edges excluded) had the same shape. They were all candies (take a look at differentiated collection if you don't know what I am talking about). I have to say it took me some time to absorb the shock.
The puzzle turned out to be one of the most challenging I have ever done, although being a 1500 pieces so definitely not a big size one. While I was sorting pieces by colour, I kept thinking that not having the possibility to sort pieces by shape would have added an unexpected additional level of difficulty to an already challenging puzzle. I felt like I was moving in uncharted territory, a mix of excitement and a bit of healthy fear at the same time, wondering how on Earth I would have been able to complete it.
I got a quick confirmation of the level of difficulty of this puzzle as soon as I began to assemble the white pieces composing the sky. It was supposed to be an easy part, the perfect place to start from. However, as all the pieces looked the same, completing that part took a lot more than expected and patience already started to leave the room in a couple of occasions.
From there, I thought the only way to get to the end of this puzzle would have been to move clockwise (where the predominant colour is grey). The black areas on the left would have been saved for last.
Therefore I moved to the right of the white sky, completing the grey building first and later on moving down to the light grey part of the plant (the stems and the small lilac flowers). It took me so much time to complete these areas, but still nothing compared to how long it would have taken me to put together the black ones. The biggest purple flowers and the white fence behind them were good references but still, I had to proceed one piece a day almost all the time. Patience left the room and went on holiday on multiple occasions.
When I finally connected the last black piece the first thing I felt inside was a bittersweet sense of relief, not exactly knowing how I managed to complete this puzzle. It was the first time I was experiencing such a feeling after finishing a puzzle, and it was a strange moment.
Not all the experiences are the same, and not all the puzzles make you totally happy I suppose.
Still, I really love lavender and I am happy that I tried something different.
DIMENSIONS 87x57 cm
As mentioned above, this was a wooden puzzle. It was the first time I was embarking on such a journey (and it was the first time I tried something from this manufacturer) so I believe that, quality wise, there is a lot to say.
I would like to begin underlining the fact that I am happy with the quality of the printed picture, especially when it comes to some important details like the lavender flowers and stems.
The pieces forming the grey building on the right had some reddish horizontal lines crossing them (probably traces of laser printing) but they were not that visible to the naked eye so not a big deal for me.
Having said that, the picture didn't come out as I expected. I thought it could have been printed a bit darker than the original one (as always when it comes to personalised puzzles) but some details came out very different.
As you may have already noticed on the pictures above, the lilac flowers became basically purple flowers instead. Below a more detailed comparison between what was the original picture and the puzzle.
Moreover, those little greyish clouds in the background completely disappeared and the puzzle came out with only white pieces instead.
The smell of the box was a bit weird, reminding me freshly painted pieces of wooden furniture that just came out of the factory. It took me few days to get rid of that smell.
The wooden pieces looked nice at a first glance, although many of them were already connected in pairs when I opened the box for the first time.
As mentioned before all the pieces were candies but, surprisingly enough, a series of letters were printed on the other side of them, identifying specific areas of the puzzle.
I believe this is done on purpose to give people some sort of compensatory help, but I am not sure and it's just my feeling. I have to say that the temptation to use those letters as references was big, and on few occasions it felt like it was the only way to proceed further. As there was no click feeling when connecting the wooden pieces to each other, it was difficult to understand whether I was connecting the right pieces or not. Flipping them around and checking the pattern of the letters was often the only way to confirm that I was doing good. I didn't like it so much, but there were no other options to avoid getting stuck forever.
Unfortunately the wooden pieces turned out to be very fragile and using this method implied that all the times I was wrong and had to separate the wrongly connected pieces there was a high risk of damaging them.
As a consequence disassembling the puzzle after completing it turned out to be quite a delicate and complicated operation, as I haven't spent already enough time and energies on this puzzle. Moreover, it became necessary to clean the table a couple of times afterwards as it was full of wooden debris.