What’s Puzzling…

Cozy Bathroom by Olga – Ravensburger – 500 pieces

I’ve only done a couple puzzles with artwork by Olga, and both of them have had only kittens/cats in them – how delightful to have this adorable puppy in this image! How could you resist that sweet face?

Yesterday I had only started on the sorting of this puzzle, but spent most of the day in bed. Luckily (not really), I was up and at the puzzle board at 3 am; so it’s now completely sorted and there is actual assembly going on.🧩

Insomnia is not great for me personally, but it is good for giving me plenty of quiet time to puzzle with no one asking questions or expecting anything of me. It’s also good for making sure there are plenty of puzzles in the queue to be posted – there is much more time for me to puzzle if sleep doesn’t interfere much.

There’s no need to worry about having enough puzzles to get through our upcoming trip, there will be plenty ready to go before we even leave. There will even be enough completed to have a cushion of a couple of days after we return – time for me to get back into the groove of puzzles and posting. I’ll be taking some smaller wooden puzzles and my computer with me, of course, but it’s nice to have a big enough queue of completed puzzles that there’s no worry about keeping up. 😎

How is Our Posse?

We have a few different posses here – The Puzzle Posse and The PADS Posse being the most prominent. So to all posse members, here’s my question of the day – how are you? It’s not a question I’m asking in passing that I don’t really want to hear the answer to; I’m truly asking how you all are and I am sincerely interested in your answers.

Asking how others are doing and actually listening to their answers is so important in any friendship or relationship – and it’s so good for your well being to be able to really talk to someone about how things are going and how you’re doing physically, mentally, and emotionally. I find sometimes it’s easier to share online than it is to have these conversations in person: if you feel the same way and are inclined to share, please let me know how you’re doing. Everyone deserves to be heard.

I’ll go first…

I’m having a hard time right now dealing with the many stresses in my life, and I find myself diving headfirst into my puzzles so that I don’t have to interact with anyone in my family or others who may stop by. I sit in front of my puzzle board and either work on the puzzles themselves or on the blog so that when someone comes in to see me I’m busy “working” on something and there isn’t as much conversation as there normally would be. It isn’t healthy, and I’m doing my best to stop hiding in the puzzle room.

We have a trip coming up in a couple of weeks, so I’m stressed about making sure the blog has enough puzzles ready to be posted, getting all of our stuff packed and ready, and making plans so that my boys and the house are taken care of while we’re gone. There are lists being made, conversations being had, and much anxiety taking place on my part. It’s supposed to be fun, a 10 day trip up north to Michigan to see our family, and it will be fun once we get there; but the pre-trip preparations are stressing me the bleep out.

I’m healing, slowly, from my oral surgery – one way I can tell is that the chronic pain I have in my hip and leg is back in full force. In the beginning all I could feel was the dental pain, now I’ve got them both together. Thank goodness for pharmaceuticals is all I have to say about that. Additionally, I don’t speak the same way I used to because of the surgery, and am embarrassed to have to speak in public when I go out. It’s causing a great deal of depression and anxiety; my dentist tells me it will right itself in time, but it’s been over two weeks already. I want my speaking voice back the way it was, and even though I know it isn’t true my brain has convinced me that I’ll be talking like this forever. 😢

So that’s how things are with me. How are you all doing?

June is both PTSD Awareness month and Alzheimer’s/Brain Awareness month. As someone who has experienced PTSD and the damage it can do to your life, I’m just doing my best to make sure all my puzzle posse friends are doing ok – or at the very least have someone to talk to.

As far as Alzheimer’s/Brain Awareness, I hope you all know how good puzzles are for your brain. They help with memory, spatial awareness, pattern recognition, fine motor skills, and much more. They are also calming, relaxing, and stress relieving – puzzling releases dopamine into your brain – it makes you feel good!

So I’m advocating that you puzzle when you can, talk to us – or anyone – when you need to, and perhaps consider donating your completed or unwanted puzzles to a local senior center or retirement home/community. I’m sure they will be most appreciated, and can especially help those with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Currently In Progress…

My youngest son and I went to the bookstore yesterday, and he helped me pick out a few puzzles – he also helped me pick out which puzzle was next. So currently I’m in the process of sorting an adorable and silly puzzle called Night Owls Study Group; my son is crazy about owls at the moment, so we’re just going with it.

*The picture above is a “recycled” one and not the puzzle I’m sorting. There is a limited amount of space for media on my current WordPress plan, and since the puzzle isn’t even started yet I decided to use any old “sorting” picture and save space for future puzzles.*

It’s Memorial Day here in the United States; a day to honor and mourn those who gave their lives in service to our country. It isn’t about an extra day off work or getting a great deal on some new furniture or a mattress – it’s about remembering those who gave all. So if you’re an American, maybe take a minute or two today to think about what this holiday is really about.

To all of those who currently serve in our military, to those who have served, and most especially to those who gave their lives to try and keep our country safe and free – Thank You. ❤🤍💙

Where Do You Puzzle?

Do you have a special place to work on your puzzles? Do you have a puzzle board that’s exclusively for you or do you have to take over the dining room table from time to time? Do you work only in one place or do you roam the house and puzzle all over?

I’m always interested in how others get their jig on, so to speak.

When this post starting forming in my brain it had me thinking about how my Grama (who instilled in me my love for jigsaw puzzles) used to work on her puzzles, and I’m amazed at where she chose to puzzle. She always sat in “her” chair in the living room and used a huge piece of cardboard that she placed on the big footstool in front of the chair. Thinking about how much leaning over that required, I’m stunned she didn’t develop back problems. When my sisters and I would spend the night at her house there were many times when we went to bed and Gram was working on a puzzle; when we got up in the morning she was still sitting there in her pajamas in front of the board and the puzzle was much closer to completion. I used to think to myself that I couldn’t wait to be a grownup so I could stay up all night if I wanted to and work on puzzles. (I have done so on several occasions, and it is very nice not to have to answer to anyone about my bedtime, that’s for sure.😉)

Mom used a big sheet of white board paneling, cut down to a manageable size, that my dad bought from the hardware store. When she was working on a puzzle she’d put it on top of her big table in the office (it had plenty of room for us to sit side by side and puzzle together when I visited), and when she needed the table for other things she’d just pick up the board and set it on the day bed. She also worked late into the night on puzzles, especially if we hadn’t finished a puzzle on one of our Friday visit days. She’d text me a picture of the finished image and say something like “worked on this one till 3 am, but we finally got it done!”.

I have several boards and have both a dedicated room where I work on my puzzles, and extra boards and trays so that if need be I can work on larger and smaller puzzles in other rooms of the house. My main boards were made by hubby, my mom, and me – it was definitely a team effort.

My fantastic husband helped me to make a board to work the giant 40,320 piece Disney puzzle, measuring 5 feet by 4 feet, plenty of room for each section to be completed.  Mom and I found some gorgeous suede-like fabric on clearance at Joann Fabrics that was perfect for the cover.  I purchased enough material to cover a smaller board (4′ x 3′) and 2 large boards (5’x 4′) for about $12.  We bought a 4′ x 8′ sheet of sub-flooring (luan) for about $13, and cut it into the 2 sizes I wanted.  Mom and I then glued the material on the boards and for about $25 total I have two beautiful jigsaw boards, and they are extremely nice for working puzzles. The fabric makes it so the pieces don’t slip around easily and the color makes a nice background contrast so the pieces are easier to see.

The smaller board fits puzzles up to approximately 3000 pieces and is the main one in use.  The larger one was primarily for my Disney monster, but is also needed for some bigger piece count puzzles I still have to get to. Plus I have a white board (dry erase) that I use when working on larger puzzles in bed, and various other boards that can be put to good puzzle use if need be. And let’s not forget my paper-lined cookie sheets that I use for our bathroom puzzles and for working on small puzzles in bed. 🛌🧩

Well, that’s where and how three generations of women in my family got/get their jig on. I’m certain most people’s homes aren’t as crazy with so many boards and places to work on jigsaw puzzles as mine is, but I’d love to hear where and how you puzzle.

Working On…

Currently this gorgeous wooden puzzle is on my board. It’s slow going; partly because I don’t sit in the puzzle room for long periods of time, and partly because I’ve put the box away and am working without an image.

When working with wooden puzzles I prefer to work without any helpers, it makes it take a little longer and I can enjoy the feel of the pieces and the way they fit together for just a teeny bit more time. It’s nice to only think about the colors and shapes, where this oddly shaped piece might go, and does this section connect here….. I find it easier to be mindful about what I’m doing and one hundred percent engrossed in the puzzling itself.

I’m extremely thankful that we’re in a place where I can afford to get myself some wooden puzzles if I am so inclined, and I don’t take it for granted at all. Honestly, the wooden puzzles I’ve been working with lately have done wonders for my state of mind, they’re almost a therapy substitute – it’s difficult for me to be in a crappy mood when working with them, they take me completely out of my head so I stop thinking too much and they’re just so much fun! ☺