Friday, February 4, 2011


What are snowy days good for?

Working jigsaw puzzles.

(How old am I?)


What can I say? I LOVE working jigsaw puzzles. When I was a kid, every winter my dad would drag the big "puzzle board" out of the garage -- it was actually a large 3'x 5'(or so) sized piece of pressed board that he had painted -- and put it on the carpet in front of the fireplace. There was always a puzzle set up to work for anyone who wanted to work on it. This is one of my absolute favorite family memories.

I still remember my favorite puzzles from childhood as well. The more pieces in the puzzle, the better. It had to be at least 500-pieces to be worth working at our house, and preferably 1000-pieces and up. My absolute favorite one was called "Wee Folk" and was set in the forest with lots of tiny fairies and gnomes and mushroom houses, etc. My brother and I would practically fight over who would get to put in specific pieces of the cutest characters in the picture. My mom informed me the other day that she accidentally sold it in her last garage sale. Accidental, my foot. I think I might actually start scouring eBay for that one, I liked it so much. And my other favorite was a picture filled with stuffed animals -- and hiding in the sea of stuffed animals was E.T.! A child of the 80's, that I am. I know there were other puzzles that were favorites. I'm not as much a fan of real landscape puzzles, although I'll still do them. Most of ours were whimsical or paintings of make-believe landscapes.

So for Christmas, I asked for puzzles. No joke. My mom picked up three $4 puzzles from Target, and I was as happy as any little kid with my Christmas loot! And my husband bought me one of those "puzzle saver" mats. Talk about someone making money -- basically it is a big piece of felt with a telescoping cardboard tube and oversized ponytail holders. Dang, why didn't I think of that?

Here are the three 1000-piece puzzles I did all by myself since Christmas:

Well, actually the little man helped some. His idea of "helping" was to hide the last piece (grrrrrrr...imagine my frustration) so that HE could put it in. I know it's juvenile of me, but I was a tad irked that after putting 999 pieces together, someone else got to stick the last satisfying piece in there. But of course, I put on my big girl panties and allowed him the pleasure. And thank goodness I got over myself because I think I've created a puzzle monster in the five-year-old! I picked up a couple of 100-piece puzzles for him at the dollar store (including a United States map puzzle), and he's been in heaven. I'm pretty happy about that. I've been telling him that working puzzles is super good for your brain, and he's thrilled about that, as am I.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that I have him good and well trained, too -- always work the outer border first, then tackle the insides...


Rhonda said...

You should hide the 100th piece and demand to be the one to put it in. It's only fair. (Maybe I'm NOT ready for kids yet, huh?)

I'm currently working on a 2000 piece of a castle in Bavaria. I'm loving it! Dorks, unite!!

Oh, and Tamara came over and looked at it and said, "I went there when I was 8." Good stinking grief, the closest I'll ever come to that castle is the puzzle itself, and she actually explored the place. Go figure.

Angie said...

Too funny that you were irritated with him wanting to put in the last piece! We had the same ET puzzle. The others I remember was one of a pile of ribbons. We had another that was mostly black, with a white cat in the middle looking at a bowl of goldfish. Too many black pieces, it wasn't fun.

And, until the past couple of years, Allen's stepdad (78 years old) has constantly been working on a puzzle. I would buy him a puzzle every year for Christmas.

~Michelle~ said...

What a little stinker! Puzzles are a skill I just can't master - even with the "this is good for your brain" guilting me! We have a puzzle from Germany that maybe I should see if I can get Steve started on again...I'm guessing we maybe lost pieces in the move though! Good for you :)

Phyllis said...

Kristen has been putting together some puzzles, too. For Christmas I had gotten her a box with 8 Disney puzzles. She's really good! I have tried and tried to convince her to do the border first, but that stinker will not listen to me!!

Heather said...

how fun! These puzzles are beautiful too! Lol, I tried to play some board games with my husband but his being 100 times better at them than I am soon made the charm of it wear off ;) lol, I'm getting some good reading and painting done though!

shannon said...

I LOVE 1000+ jigsaw puzzles. My husband can't fathom the appeal of spending so much time working on it and then putting it back in the box, but I love it!

sacha said...

are those charles wysocki puzzles? his prints are my fav!

Country Dreaming said...

How fun! What do you do with thwm when they are complete?
Those would look great framed!
My father-in-law does puzzles in the winter--one of his fav pastimes.



Angie said...

You inspired me. I bought two puzzles Friday. We put the first 300 piece snow white puzzle together yesterday. The other one is 1000 pieces, and I don't think it's going to hold the kids' attentions, though.

@nnie said...

good Alzheimers prevention!
in that case, I will get Alzheimers (God forbid) because puzzles aren't my thing! We always had puzzles around growing up too, but my sister picked up a love for it more than I did. But seriously, I'm impressed.... quiliting AND working 3 thousand piece puzzles? wowzers.