There are a number of things that I really enjoy doing such as spending time with my family, running, reading, playing the occasional video game, and writing a blog post. But there is one activity that I’ve truly enjoyed over the years – doing a puzzle. It doesn’t seem there are many people that are into puzzles any more. I guess we can thank the cellphone and tablet generation as many would rather click, click and tap, tap on their screens with the constant barrage of alerts, beeps, whistles, and extra lives. I enjoy those too, especially as someone that has based his entire career on technology.
Over the years, I feel there is a lost love and a lost appreciation of puzzles. The quiet solitude with just your thoughts. Sorting, matching, struggling, and snapping the quiet pieces together to turning chaos into something with order — the completed puzzle that reveals the creators vision of the scenery, the landscape, or the creation from their imagination. [See bottom of post if you love puzzles and are interested in a Facebook puzzle community]
My most favorite size is the 1,000 piece puzzle and I generally don’t like spending the time on anything less than 500 pieces. A few years ago, I started a 3,000 piece puzzle and somehow I was able to convince a few family members and friends to join in on the fun. It was a great time as three to four of us surrounded the table laughing and sharing various stories as we were mixing and matching pieces. I have yet to convince them to jump in and do another one with me. I guess there are no repeats in the family.
It was about a year ago I decided to try and do my largest puzzle to date; the 5,000 piece by Ravensburger title Mickey as Artist. Unfortunately it is no longer available. I’m not a huge Walt Disney fan; however, I really liked how the colors popped and it had the range of Disney characters that gave it the right balance of fun with difficulty. As an analytical person, I kinda geeked out on the numbers so I decided to start timing me to see how long it took me. It took about 2.5 months due to work travel but total logged time was about 53 to 55 hours. I’m interested in trying to put this to a test to see if I average 100 pieces per hour (so, would a 500 piece puzzle take me 5 hours????).
Yes, I nailed the puzzle to the wall… not sure if the wife was supportive of that idea. But, how else do you show off a puzzle that is 5 feet by 3.5 feet? I do have intentions to put a frame around it (I’m not that uncouth). I digress.
I usually get the question “what are you watching or listening to while you are working on the puzzle.” I always found that to be an odd question as the main reason why I enjoy doing puzzles is to tune everything out. So, my answer is “nothing, I puzzle.” All day I’m doing conference calls at work, or writing a business plan and constantly receive text messages or Facebook alerts. And I always have the news on in the background (usually listening to the Business channel in the morning). When it is time for me to step away, I like the pure silence with nothing but me, my thoughts, and my puzzle.
Favorite Puzzle Brands
There are many good puzzle brands but I generally focus on two that I have continued to enjoy over the years – Ravensburger and Buffalo Games. If you are looking to purchase a puzzle, you can obviously go to Amazon but there is one place that I’ve found and used; especially when searching for large puzzles – Puzzle Warehouse. They say they are the “Largest Jigsaw Puzzle Store in the USA.” I’m not sure if it is true, but that doesn’t really matter to me.
If you are into puzzles, there are two Facebook communities that I have found and have enjoyed over the last year or two:
- Piles of Pieces (Public; 2,800+ members) – Focus of the group is for puzzlers that enjoy the larger 3,000+ piece puzzles.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Enthusiasts (Private; 18,000+ members) – Focus is for all people that enjoy doing puzzles
Would Love To Hear From You
If you are reading this and have made it this far, I’m curious to know if you are a puzzler? If you are, do you sit in silence or have the music or TV on in the background? What is your favorite size of puzzle? Brand? What is your largest puzzle you have done to date?
I’m also curious to know what you do with your puzzle when you complete it. Do you put it back in the box to either do it again or to let someone else complete it? Do you glue and frame your puzzles? I’m a gluer. I just don’t think I would enjoy doing it a second time. Kinda like reading a book a second time… it rarely happens.
AND WHO ARE MY PUZZLE HOARDERS? I know you are out there? I’ve seen the pictures of your closets!!! Do share. I love the puzzle hoarders. It’s the perfect preparation of the coming zombie apocalypse, snowmageddon, or societal meltdown.