National Parks and Reserves of Canada

by Elmer Prather, guest blogger 

This is the 44th Cobble Hill Puzzle I have had the pleasure of putting together. It is a 1000 piece puzzle titled National Parks and Reserves of Canada by Cobble Hill Puzzles. I need to have a connection with a puzzle before I spend the time and energy putting it together. The connection I have with this puzzle is my love for Canada. Canada has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and it goes from coast to coast. It has the second largest land mass of any country in the world. There are 10 Provinces, 46 National Parks and approximately 207 Reserves in Canada. I have had the pleasure of visiting 11 of the national parks and 9 of the Provinces. Each has its own characteristics and beauty. This puzzle depicts scenes in each of these parks you may be able to see if you visit them. 

Photo and assembly by Elmer Prather

The National Parks in Canada are protected natural areas throughout the country that represent distinct geographical regions of the nation. Under the administration of a government branch, Parks Canada, National Parks allow for public enjoyment without compromising the area for future generations, including the management of Canadian wildlife and habitat within the ecosystems of the park. Within Parks Canadian is a wide range of protected areas, encompassing National Historic Sites, National Conservation Areas and National Parks Reserves. 

This puzzle introduces the person putting it together to the beauty of the Canadian National Parks. When the puzzle is finished the end result is fascinating. The many different bright colors and muted hues used in the puzzle jump out at you. You will want to look closer at each National Park park shown in the puzzle to be sure you did not miss anything. See picture below. I really enjoyed putting this one together.

Sort, Sift, Stack, and Store!

Cobble Hill is excited to finally have some accessories added to the line! Just over a year ago we added Sorting Trays and a felt Roll Away Puzzle Mat. We were shocked at the welcomed reception we had to the products and excited to see that the felt mats sold out incredibly fast! Like lightning fast! We have them in stock (as of this moment), but not to worry, the last reorder was increased ten fold to ensure that we don't run out again any time soon! 

Here's a look at the felt Roll Away Puzzle Mat. On the felt mat is Common Quilt Blocks, a popular 1000 piece Cobble Hill puzzle that has a finished size of 26.625" x 19.25". You can see that there is plenty of room for your puzzle pieces. 

When you're taking a break or want to travel with the puzzle, you can simply roll it up! The tube is a sturdy cardboard that is used to roll up the mat, then use the hook and loop strap to keep the pieces from falling out. These are excellent to have if you have a pet because we know kitties like to swipe your pieces and dogs like to eat them. So, it's a good idea to put the puzzle away if you need to take a break from it!

The other cool accessory that we brought on board are our Sorting Trays. These are incredibly unique to Cobble Hill because our sorters includes small holes in the tray that allow one to sift the puzzle dust. Now granted, we hope there isn't any puzzle dust in your puzzle, especially ours, but the reality is that it happens. Now you can open the bag, plop the pieces into a tray and give it a little shake to sift out any dust. Just be sure to sift over an area that isn't your working space!

Photo of Cobble Hill Sorting Trays & Archie Love Triangle puzzle by Dorothy K

Included in the box are six sturdy trays. You can obviously sort any brand of puzzle using the trays. They stack on top of each other too, for saving space, if you're just working on one tray at a time. We've been getting great feedback from puzzlers who are using these trays, so we're confident it's a must have accessory if you're a sorter!

Cobble Hill Puzzle Sorting Trays

The above is a good visual of the holes and what the box looks like. If you give them a try, let us know by sending in your comments to our General Inquiries form!

Last, but not least, we will soon have glue!! When I was a kid there was a PSA with puppets where one character yells, "Glue, I need glue!" Granted it was a PSA about borrowing without asking and the puppet broke a lamp he "borrowed". But we have had SO many puzzlers ask us about glue that I can't help but hear that cry for "glue, I need glue"... Glue will be coming. It was a challenge getting the right mixture, but final approval on the formula has been made.  We can't wait to announce it once it arrives to our warehouse!

Cobble Hill Puzzle Glue - not final art

We hope that you are all still enjoying your puzzle hobby during this pandemic. So many puzzlers have been whipping through puzzles, we thought we'd hear about puzzle burnout by now, but nope! Happily, everyone is still enjoying their puzzles and we're thankful that you choose Cobble Hill. 

If you have been enjoying our Sorting Trays and/or Roll Away Puzzle Mat, please share on Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to tag us #CobbleHillPuzzles. 

Welcome to the Cabin

by Elmer Prather, guest blogger

It is hard to believe that I have just finished putting my 43rd Cobble Hill puzzle together. It is a 275 piece puzzle titled Welcome To The Cabin by Sam Timm. I chose this one because I love old log cabins. My connection to this puzzle was an old cabin that was built in the early 1900s. A close friend of mine rented this log cabin to be used as a hunting/fishing lodge by the members of the hunting and fishing club he had established. The cabin gave members a place to meet, have meals, plan hunting and fishing trips and to socialize. It was located just outside of Atlanta, Georgia on the Chattahoochee River.

Welcome to the Cabin by Sam Timm 1000 pc assembled by Elmer Prather

There was a small lake between the cabin and the river. The cabin was built on 40 acres of land abutting the Chattahoochee River. Sitting on the back porch of the cabin you could see the lake behind the cabin, just as the puzzle depicts. There was an inlet between the lake and the Chattahoochee river where the original owners could move their small paddle wheeler boat from the lake to the river. After many years of use, the boat sank into the lake.


The three room cabin had all of the modern conveniences like running water, electricity and a bathroom. It was heated by a large rock fireplace. It was cooled by raising the windows. My friend rented the cabin for several years. We had to stop using it when the remnants of a hurricane blew 100 year old pine trees across the road making access to the cabin impossible. Eventually the cabin fell into disrepair and was torn down. The property is now a Nature preserve.


The cabin in the puzzle reminded me of this cabin. The picture in the puzzle had many scenes that stood out. Some of them were the old used pick up truck parked beside the cabin, the light shining down from the three windows on the side of the cabin. Another scene that caught my eye were the two ducks flying over the lake in front of the cabin. The ducks reminded me of the ducks that flew onto and away from the lake behind my friend's cabin. In the finished puzzle, the blues in the duck's wings really stood out. Whoever owned the cabin must have been a hunter, like my friend, because there are deer antlers mounted on the side of the cabin. There is a bird house attached to a large oak tree beside the lake. The picture depicts a late evening timeframe since you can see the evening sun reflecting across the lake. There is ample firewood to heat the cabin stacked by the oak tree.


I did not see a boat in the puzzle but with the cabin being on a lake with a boat dock, there was probably one located nearby. I imagined that the cabin had a man and woman living there. The man had probably taken the boat out and was fishing while his wife prepared dinner in the cozy cabin kitchen.


The cabin in the puzzle was built with asphalt shingles not the wooden ones normally found on older cabins. The rocks used to construct the chimney can be seen above the roof line. They appear to be river rocks. The rocks that were used to build the chimney probably came from around the lake.


The puzzle had a ribbon across the bottom that read, “Welcome to the Cabin”. It made a statement that the owners enjoyed spending time with their friends and neighbors.


It was a pleasure putting it together and seeing it come to life. 


A True "Rocky Mountain High"

 by Elmer Prather, guest blogger

The puzzle pictured below is the 42nd Cobble Hill puzzle I have had the pleasure of putting together. It is a 2000 piece puzzle titled “Rocky Mountain High” by Mark Keathley. This is the third Mark Keathley puzzle I have put together. The other two were titled “Smoky Train” and “Mountain Cascade”.

The reason I chose this one is because I have been to the Rocky Mountains several times and this puzzle reminded me of those great trips. The puzzle depicts part of the snow capped Rocky Mountains, a mother bear and her two cubs, several beautiful Quaking Aspen trees and two small water falls flowing out of the mountain in the background. When I finished putting it together I stepped back to view it and the vivid colors and how they all came together to enhance the overall beauty of the scene truly gave me “A Rocky Mountain High”. The finished puzzle seemed to invite me to step into the scene and smell the fresh mountain air and listen to the rushing water as it flowed through the meadow.

This puzzle reminds me of the mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park which is located approximately 76 miles northwest of Denver International Airport in north-central Colorado, within the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The eastern and western slopes of the Continental Divide run directly through the center of the park. The main features of the park include mountains, alpine lakes and a wide variety of wildlife within various climates and environments, from wooded forests to mountain tundra. I think that Mark Keathley has captured all of this in his Rocky Mountain High puzzle.

Most tourists who visit Rocky Mountains National Park will make a side trip to Estes Park. Estes Park is the base camp for Rocky Mountain National Park and only 90 minutes from Denver. Nestled at the east entrance to the park and surrounded by protected land, the mountain village of Estes Park offers travelers the best of outdoor recreation, real wildlife, and hometown hospitality. This town has many old buildings that have been restored and are now home to numerous unique retail shops.

Dennis Mayer's Twice the Love Jigsaw Puzzle

 by Elmer Prather, guest blogger

The puzzle pictured below is the 39th Cobble Hill puzzle that I have had the pleasure of putting together. It is titled Twice The Love by Denis Mayer Jr. He named this painting, “Twice the Love” because the mother bear depicted in the puzzle has to give her love to two babies and when you see her, you will sense this gentle love. He noted that you will also sense the fierce power that is so obvious in her size and her claws, for if attacked she will be prepared to defend her cubs to the death. Today the mother will keep the cubs close by; tomorrow she will let them roam further afield as they grow more and more able to fend for themselves. The reason I chose this puzzle was because the bears reminded me of the black bears I have seen in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Twice the Love 1000 piece puzzle assembled by Elmer Prather

There are approximately 1500 black bears in the park. Many of them call the area around Cades Cove their home. Cades Cove has an eleven mile one way loop road circling the cove valley. On some of the drives I have taken through Cades Cove, I have seen bears, wild turkeys, coyotes, deer and other wildlife. Along the loop road you will pass three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log homes, and many other faithfully restored 18th and 19th Century structures.

Black bears love this area because of the vast food sources. They are omnivores and there is an abundant supply of berries and nuts for them to eat. In the fall when the acorns are ripe the bears will climb up into the oak trees and feast on the nuts. Gorging on the acorns ensures their storing enough fat to carry them through their winter hibernation.

Black bears usually have a fear of humans but in Cades Cove they have become acclimated to humans and they usually just continue eating in the fields around the cove as we drive by. Many times when a tourist sees a bear they will stop and take pictures. This causes what is called a “bear jam”, resulting in the Park Rangers being called to get the crowd moving again on the narrow one way road.

Below you will find a picture of a collage of some of the photos I have taken of bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Collage of black bears in Cades Cove photographed by Elmer Prather

As I stated earlier, black bears are omnivores and there have been several documented cases of bears attacking humans, however those are rare occasions. During the many times that I have visited Cades Cove I have witnessed several close calls where a tourist has gotten between the mother bear and her cubs. When this happens the mother bear becomes protective and does whatever it takes to ensure that her cubs are safe. Sometimes this includes lunging at the person between her and the cubs. This usually sends a message to the tourist to get back into their car quickly. 

Black bears are beautiful, graceful animals that usually mind their own business, which for the female is taking care of their cubs and foraging for food.


Santa's Substitutes for Pandemic Puzzlers

It's no secret that puzzles have been popular during the pandemic.  But with everything turned upside down this year, it hasn't always been easy to find the jigsaw puzzle you want as suppliers constantly run out of stock.  So, if you find a puzzle that you like, don't hesitate to buy it!  

Obviously we LOVE jigsaw puzzles. Please keep enjoying them all year long! But, have you considered for yourself - or as a gift - other types of puzzles? 

We've picked out some "other puzzles" (cousins to the jigsaw) that will entertain individuals and cohorts in your bubble! These are all family friendly ideas that we hope you enjoy! Links provided to our retailers for online shopping in the United States and Canada.



Puzzlers have excellent visual dexterity, which makes Q-Bitz a natural fit for the puzzle lover. Just like a puzzle, one has to find pieces that create a specific image - these pieces are cute little wooden cubes. These bright and colourful cubes are available in various challenge levels and even a solo version!


Precision-cut micro jigsaw pieces join together in a pixelated adventure! Puzzles can be created by following the paper templates or use your imagination to design your own masterpiece. Different size projects and themes are available to enjoy as a solo project or for family fun. 

Pana Po'o

Pana Po'o is a Hawaiian word for "scratch your head", which puzzlers often do when searching for pieces. So flex your brain's creative brawns to design an object that your team can guess. Roll the dice, grab your colours, and start creating! Great for the puzzler who enjoys abstract images. 


Just like jigsaw puzzles, Zangle uses visual perception with left and right brain connectivity. Use two or more cards to create the shape on another card and you have a Zangle! You can enjoy three different modes from Speedster (race opponents) to Turn-Style (take turns) and Solitaire (solo play). 

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Puzzle Sorting Trays

Okay, it's not a puzzle or a game, but it's new and SOooo cool! These stacking sorting trays are the most unique you'll ever find because they have sifting holes to get rid of any pesky puzzle dust. They pair perfectly with any brand of puzzle so you can sift, sort, and stack to your hearts content!

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Marble Circuit

The addictive marble puzzle game that has you turning tiles to get all your marbles in the correct position. Colourful removable multi-directional tiles are logically placed to send steel marbles down the run. Match the challenge card and you're ready for the next puzzle. A great solo game for your brain!

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Whether you're naughty or nice, you can add spice to your family fiesta by shouting "Guacamole"! There's a lot of picking up cards only to put them back, like when you grab the wrong puzzle piece. Be first to collect all the ingredients for each spice level & you'll be kicking up the heat this Christmas. Grab a snack!

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Literally, a gem of a game. Four puzzle pieces fit together to create a colourful board. Simply surround a jewel with six coloured diamond pieces and win the gem. It's aesthetically pleasing, simple to play, and exciting when you win two gems at once! Read Outset's Critic's Corner review for more details.

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We ho-ho-hope you enjoyed Santa's suggestions for fun alternatives (or additions) to jigsaw puzzles! For more entertaining games and stocking stuffer ideas, visit the leading Canadian distributor for fun at

Could this "French Village" Be Quebec City?

by Elmer Prather, guest blogger

The puzzle pictured below is the 40th Cobble Hill puzzle I have had the pleasure of putting together. It is a 1000 piece puzzle titled French Village. The reason I chose to spend the time and energy to put it together is because it reminded me of a French speaking town that I have visited several times, Quebec City, Quebec.

The puzzle has an open archway that leads to a body of water and Quebec City sits on the inlet of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. You are able to see the water as you traverse through some of the streets in downtown Quebec City. Many cruise ships stop here on their way to the maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.

French Village - a Cobble Hill Puzzle assembled & photographed by Elmer Prather

The puzzle has multiple hanging baskets of various flowers as does Quebec City. There is a cobblestone walkway in the puzzle and the city streets have similar cobblestones. Below is a picture I took while visiting downtown Quebec City.

Photo by: Elmer Prather, Quebec City

The primary language spoken in Quebec City is French and the shops, cafes and the entire town has the look of an authentic French town. While you are walking along the cobblestone streets for the most part, you will hear the people speaking French fluently. The shop owners and Restaurateurs encourage their customers to speak French when they order food in their restaurants and cafes or when they are purchasing something from the shops along the streets.

The residents and elected officials of Quebec City have done a fabulous job recreating a French village town in Quebec City.