Review: “Ladies Garden Club” by Susan Brabeau, Sunsout – 8.75/10
Publisher: Sunsout (US), published date 2017
Title: “Ladies Garden Club” by Susan Brabeau, 1000 pieces
Finished size: 16″ x 34″ (panorama)
OUR RATING: 8.75/10
Box Quality: (8/10)
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. The name of the puzzle, and artist’s name is prominent on the front. I really like how the artist is featured on both the front and all sides of the box.
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 and no puzzle image. Unfortunately, the year of manufacture isn’t given.
The back of the box is plain white and made of a thinner cardboard.
Nothing comes inside the Sunsout box except the bag of puzzle pieces and a very small paper slip with the company url. There was a lot of puzzle dust, so open the puzzle piece bag over a surface that you can easily wipe clean. The pieces were fully separated and undamaged.
The final box score is 8.
The Image: (9/10)
One of my favorite puzzles last year was Susan Brabeau’s “And the Winner Is…” (read my review here). So when I saw this puzzle in Sunsout’s 2017 releases, it was a no brainer. I love Susan Brabeau’s combination of old timey vintage settings and costumes with humorous shenanigans. You can read my interview with artist Susan Brabeau here.
This image is especially nice with large characters with funny expressions, small town houses in bright colors, and lots of flowers.
I’ve given this image a full 10 score.
(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 Brabeau puzzle has the usual good quality of Sunsout. As you can see in the close-up below, this puzzle had a piece cut that wasn’t as random or varied as many Sunsout puzzles I’ve done. It is more of a ribbon cut with ends that don’t always match up. There is a good variety of two-knob, two-hole pieces with fat ended pieces, and no pieces were overly small as can happen in some random-cut puzzles.
The pieces are sturdy and the piece size is above average but not huge. The image reproduction and colors are excellent. The image is from an original oil painting so the art style isn’t super crisp but has visible brush strokes.
The fit in this puzzle was tight. It was tight enough to be able to easily move groups of attached pieces. In fact, you can lift the finished puzzle by one corner and it doesn’t come apart.
There is a glossy finish to Sunsout puzzles, which can cause glare under overhead lights at night. There are some dark greens in this image which were difficult to distinguish under overhead lights. This was reflected (no pun intended) in my assembly score, but it wasn’t too bad.
Overall, I’ve given quality a 9 score.
This is an moderate puzzle that took me three sessions to complete.
As usual, I first assembled the puzzle border. The border was a little harder than usual because there’s a lot of dark green foliage and a number of very small pieces in the border that I didn’t pull out on my first pass through to grab border pieces.
After the border, the first thing I assembled was the houses. There’s a yellow, white/blue, and blue/brown house. Their board and trim textures are easy to distinguish. Since I was pulling whites for the house, I also ended up assembling the two white blouses and the white on the dog.
The yellow house is the easiest object in the image to put together because that yellow is very distinct and the horizontal boards and windows break the area up.
The white house had some blue on the ceiling porch and shutters, and there’s a lot of texture in the trim.
The middle house was more challenging because the main body of the house is mostly “dark” under overhead lights. The blue roof got done first and the main part of the house later.
DAY TWO and THREE:
After the houses, I worked on all the large figures. The purple and pink clothing, hats, shaw fringe, etc, are pretty easy to find among the pieces. There area lot of flesh tone pieces, but usually there’s an ear or part of an eye glasses or some other feature you can recognize if you check the piece against the box lid.
After the main figures and houses, the next thing to tackle was the red and pink flowers in the foreground. There are a lot of red flowers and the greenery is a repeating pattern, so this area is a little more challenging but not large enough to be very difficult.
The last part of the puzzle to tackle were all the dark areas. These were mostly green foliage but also included the dark brown house and other areas here and there. There was glare on the dark green from overhead lights (I worked the puzzle at night), which made the various shades of dark green hard to see, but the dark areas aren’t super large, fortunately.
Overall, I’ve given assembly an 8 score. The characters, flowers, and houses were fun but the patterns were not as bright and interesting as in “And The Winner Is…”, and there were more dark areas in this one too.
“Ladies Garden Club” is a fun and whimsical small town scene with appealing humor. I loved the large figures of the ladies with their interesting costumes and expressions. The brightly-colored houses and flowers were also fun to assemble. I adore Susan Brabeau’s images, so it was a treat to get this classic in 1000 pieces, and the panorama shape was a nice change too. The Sunsout quality is very good, with sturdy pieces and a random piece cut. The fit of the pieces is very snug so that you can move joined pieces around without them falling apart. There are dark areas in this puzzle with all the green foliage, and that makes the puzzle a little more of a moderate challenge. Recommended.
Where to find:
Click below to see the puzzle on Puzzle Warehouse.