Review: “A Girl’s Stocking” by Liz Goodrick Dillon, Sunsout – 9.25/10

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Publisher: Sunsout (US), published 2016

Title:  “A Girl’s Stocking” by Liz Goodrick Dillon, 800 pieces 

Finished size: 15.5″ x 35.5″

OUR RATING: 9.25/10

Christmas Puzzle Week #1

Our theme on the blog this week is Christmas puzzles. Yup, it’s that time of year! There are so many great Christmas puzzles on the market, and a lot of new ones this year too.  I’ll be reviewing two Christmas puzzles this week and on the weekend there will be a “top ten” (or twenty) Christmas puzzles this season.  I’ll be covering more Christmas puzzles up through the end of year.

“A Girl’s Stocking” Review

Box Quality:  (7/10)

The Sunsout boxes are very large and square in shape. They’re oversized compared to most boxes on the market. This takes up more shelf space but also provides a nice big image when you use the box lid for reference. I really like the fact that Liz Goodrick Dillon’s name is prominent on the front.

Sides:

Three of the sides are the same, showing a tiny image of the puzzle, puzzle name, artist name, piece count, finished size, and Sunsout logo. The fourth side has a bar code. Unfortunately, the year of manufacture isn’t given. But “A Girl’s Stocking” was just released a month or so ago.

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Back:

The back of the box is plain white and made of a thinner cardboard which is easily damaged in storage.

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Inside:

Nothing comes inside the Sunsout box except the bag of puzzle pieces and a very small paper slip with the company url and a short blurb. There was a fair amount of puzzle dust. The pieces were fully separated and undamaged.

The final box score is 7.

The Image:  10/10

When this puzzle, and its twin, “A Boy’s Stocking”, were announced a few months ago in July, they were my top picks of the new puzzles that month. I adore shaped puzzles, so I’m always excited to see new ones come along that have good designs.  I love the unique stocking shape and the closer-in view of the room. The subject of a quiet tea party by the Christmas tree is very cute. The colors are bright and cheerful, and the stocking border/trim at the top and the toe make nice separate areas to assemble. The art style is very pleasing too–it looks like an oil painting. There’s a fair amount of detail without it getting too busy. I like that there are some broad areas (like the window and tree) that can be pieced together without referring to the box lid.

I’ve given this image a perfect 10.

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(Click on any of the images in this review for a closer look.)

Puzzle Quality: (9/10)

Sunsout did well in our brand comparison. You can see our full brand comparison on Sunsout here.

This brand new puzzle has the usual strong quality of Sunsout. The pieces are sturdy and very random in cut, as you can see in the close-up below. The size is average (eg. Ravensburger size).

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There is a glossy finish, which can lead to glare under overhead lights at night. I didn’t have too much trouble with that in this puzzle though, because the colors are so bright. There are no dark areas in this design. The image reproduction is good and the alignment with the stocking shape is perfect.

I might have given this puzzle a 10 quality score, but the fit was a little loose so that I sometimes messed sections up when I leaned over the board and then had to fix it. A tighter fit would have given it a perfect score.

I’ve given quality a ‘9’ score.

Assembly:  (10/10)

This puzzle is of moderate difficulty, and took me three long evenings to complete.

DAY ONE:

Since this is a shaped puzzle, I didn’t do the border first. I pieced together the border along the top of the stocking and the toe and then began assembling green pieces.

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The red and green triangular pattern with gold braid that appears at the top of the stocking, and again at the toe, make these areas stand out. The toe was fast and fun to assemble.  I love the nice round edge.

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DAY TWO:

In the second session I did the green pieces–the Christmas tree and a few green gift boxes. I also started the girl’s red dress and the red curtain in the window. I had to keep repositioning the toe of the stocking down because the puzzle kept “growing”. This is a really large puzzle at nearly three feet long.

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Everything has a nice, distinctive pattern, such as the green-red-and-white hearts on the girl’s dress.

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The Christmas tree is a random pattern, but the candy canes, ornaments, and color variation between the bright and dark green needles kept it from being too difficult.

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DAY THREE:

In the third (long) session, I completed the puzzle. The white window with the vertical window panes was fun to assemble along with the two white/gray horses.

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My favorite part of the puzzle is the gingerbread house and the little tea party plate and blue cups and teapot. I love the strong curved shape of the puzzle border around the tea party area.

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There really was no ‘left over’ area in this puzzle, since almost everything in the puzzle had a bright and distinctive color and pattern, like the girl’s hair, or the gift boxes.

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I’ve given this puzzle a perfect 10 for assembly. Some of what made it so enjoyable was the extreme curved border. But it was also ideal in that there were so many strong patterns and colors within the image. Each little object was a mini-puzzle, and I kept wanting to do “one more thing”. There were no boring or “left for the end” bits. It also felt very Christmassy throughout.

Bonus Point: (1)

I added a bonus point for the inventive shape. I really do appreciate the few manufacturers who make shaped puzzles because they’re probably not as profitable or easy to do as rectangular, but I love them! This is a wonderful new addition to my shaped puzzle collection.

Summary:

I loved shaped puzzles. There aren’t that many released each year, so I treasure the good ones when they come along. This stocking-shaped Christmas puzzle is really delightful. The curved border is fun to work with and the image is filled with bright colors and patterns that keep you moving from one object to the other without wanting to stop. I love the quiet scene by the Christmas tree and the soft, painterly art style. The Sunsout quality is excellent too, with sturdy pieces and a fun random piece cut.  Highly recommended.

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Where to find:

This puzzle is 15% off for the next 3 days (through 11/21/2016).

Click below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.

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OTHERS IN THIS SERIES: (click to view it on Puzzle Warehouse)

“A Boy’s Stocking”, 800 pieces

boysstocking

JJ

4 responses to Review: “A Girl’s Stocking” by Liz Goodrick Dillon, Sunsout – 9.25/10

  1. I’ve really only worked one shaped puzzle before, and was disappointed with the quality so I haven’t done another. Today though I started working another shaped puzzle that was a thrift store purchase. The quality is much better than the previous one I worked, and I may be a new convert to working shaped puzzles! These two stocking puzzles are adorable, but how can it be so close to Christmas already??

    • Hi, Stacey. Well, it’s not Thanksgiving yet, but there are so many Christmas puzzles to cover, I have to start early. 🙂 What brand is the shaped puzzle you got at a thrift store? Just curious.

      • It is from Paper House Productions, it’s called Oz-Poppy Fields – Dorothy and friends in the poppy field. It’s the first puzzle from this company that I’ve done, they’re thinner than Ravensburger, but seem quite sturdy and fit together nicely. Some pieces are very small, but I don’t really mind that too much. I’m enjoying it. Shaped puzzles are more fun than I thought!

      • Interesting. I haven’t tried any Paper House. The Sunsout quality is quite good on their shaped puzzles.

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