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Lucretia's Pieces Feedback

People are always curious to know what puzzles other folks are ordering. So I thought you might like to hear about some recent orders — and what our customers had so say about them. (I have wonderful customers — their imaginations and inventiveness are what make this business worthwhile.) Perhaps their requests will give you some ideas about your own custom puzzle. - Tracey Dugdale


A civil engineer from the Washington D.C. area wanted a Christmas present for his wife. He wasn't precisely sure what he wanted when he called, but after a minute or two it occurred to him that his wife was an avid quilter, so a puzzle having to do with quilts would be just the thing. I was able to find a lovely antique quilt print, into which I cut the names of her children and other personal pieces. The puzzle also had a cut-out section of the Capital dome.

I'll bet that puzzle was a challenge to put together — the repeating quilt pattern made all the pieces look remarkable similar, so she couldn't collect pieces of a particular color to help her.

Up for a Challenge?

If you love a challenge, let me know! I got an order recently from a woman who wanted to give her son-in-law "the hardest puzzle I could cut." (Hmm, do you think she approved of the marriage?) Apparently, he's an avid puzzler. To that end, she told me not to include any silhouette pieces at all! That's because while silhouettes make a puzzle very personal, they can also make it somewhat easier because of their distinctive shapes. (I did my darndest — maybe he's still working on it!)

(One regular customer from Baltimore — who always asks for hard puzzles — informed me that he was tempted to bite one piece to get it to fit in a place he just knew it should go.)

Wild and Crazy

One of my favorite requests was from an attorney in Florida who said: "I get all the fine art I want when I visit the museums in Boston— send me something fun!" What she got was a puzzle of a giant cow in a Hawaiian shirt! The puzzle edge followed the outline of the cow exactly, so there wasn't a straight edge to be found anywhere. She called, bless her heart, to tell me it was just what she had hoped for.

If you want me to choose a print for you — so you don't see it first — you can still give me some hints of your tastes and preferences. I promise to pick something I'd be proud to give my own friends or relatives.

Conducting a Search

Finally, one of the more unusual stories behind a puzzle comes from a musician and his wife from New York City. He's a conductor. While visiting the Louvre years ago, they saw a Degas painting of a conductor in an orchestra pit who looked so much like our customer that the similarity was drawing comments from the people around them in the museum!

He and his wife wanted a puzzle made from this print for their daughter, who grew up doing PAR puzzles as a child. But they couldn't find the print anywhere — and neither could I. It just wasn't available.

However, their son-in-law was travelling to Paris, and managed to pick up a small print of the painting at the museum itself. He brought it back, photographed it himself, and had the photo enlarged!

I have to agree, it made a stunning puzzle — complete with a cut-out of the daughter's monogrammed initials and an enlarged silhouette of a grand piano. (She's an accomplished musician herself.)

The mother sent me a letter reporting these results: "(Our daughter) has done her puzzle thrice: twice face upwards, and once from the back. Now it's my turn. The special pieces are very special. We loved the logo cut-out and adored the piano."


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