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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Puzzled by a Puzzle

My mother and I continue to put together jigsaw puzzles. It has been almost a year since I posted about the puzzles we have done. So here they are.

The Grand Canyon was our first stop early last spring. Everybody told me this puzzle was “too hard” and nobody helped, much. So I got all stubborn about it and did it myself.

After the Grand Canyon we picked this tropical scene. Everybody helped with this one. It was too much fun not to! It made me think of the time my husband, son and self visited cousins in Southern California and took a trip one day out to Catalina Island on a huge catamaran. The dolphins met us a mile out and played at the bow and sides of the craft almost all the way. I loved being out there on the sea; my husband and son got a little seasick and went inside to be warm and not to feel the motion so much. The air was salty and wet; there was a fog part of the way, and the sky was iron gray with overcast. It was heaven.

This charming petshop folk-art scene came next, closely followed by another in the same style, a florist shop.
Everybody who visited us helped with these puzzles. Brothers, cousins, friends, nieces, etc.

Then came the castle of mad King Louis of Bavaria, Neuschwanstein. I am a bit curious about this picture. Most of the pictures I have seen online of this castle are from the other way around. I wonder if it is not easy to get to this side to photograph the castle? How can I find out? Go to Bavaria and see for myself! Of course! What a great idea!

Although very beautiful, this birdhouse puzzle was extremely hard for us. My mother always likes to have the border of the puzzle done first, but that was not possible with this style. Then she wanted to put together the birds, but she found them quite difficult. My real difficulty was in restraining myself from finishing too much and incurring her displeasure. When it was done at last, she really liked it. So we were happy with it.

These next two, in the same folk-art style as two previous, we finished in the summer. I forgot to take a photo of our finished version of the girl with the milk pail, but here is the picture on the box. We enjoyed these puzzles; the style lends itself to easy completion by a variety of levels of puzzlers, which perfectly describes our household in the summer with various ages of relatives whizzing in and out all season.

This lovely mountain lion arrived on our puzzle table at the end of the summer. What a noble looking face and magnificent paws. I was reminded of the time right after we moved into our present house, when our neighbors to the west who had built in the months just before us told us that one time they had come over during the building process to inspect how things were going, and a young cougar had got itself stuck in one of their window wells for the basement windows! Yikes.

After a very warm summer, this cool walk in the woods was just the ticket. It was one of those puzzles you simply put together based on the shapes of the pieces, not the picture they make, because there are so few discernible pictures that close up.

To put us in the mood for Christmas, my mother got out this adorable puppy puzzle in November. She worked on the puppy while I did everything around it. We left it on our table for a full month. This was our favorite puzzle of the year.

The week after Christmas we did two nativity puzzles.
We did not actually like either one, so I did not photograph the second one. The first problem was the glitter on the pieces. It was so rough and stiff that it flaked off easily. Very annoying. Then when we were about finished, we looked again at the way the faces of the Holy Family were cut up for the pieces, and from a distance they looked very disturbing, as if Mary had an abnormally large nose, and as if the baby Jesus had had a lobotomy with a terrible stitching job that day. As soon as we were finished with these puzzles we gave them away.

The castle puzzles we received for Christmas. The smaller 300-piece puzzle was for my mother, whose puzzling ability has sadly deteriorated this year. She was not able to do much on her puzzle, as her eyes were not working well enough. She really likes this puzzle though. She is hoping her eyes get better so that she can do this puzzle again later this year.

The larger Irish castle puzzle of 1000 pieces was for me. My mother did part of the border, as she had the small castle puzzle. I finished it and discovered the first missing piece then. I hoped it was hidden among the other pieces, but with mathematical precision I laid out the pieces in order of color and shape in neat rows, and it was not there. When I was finished with the sky, I knew one of those pieces was missing as well. Later I discovered a third missing piece, but when I put the puzzle away I found the third missing piece, part of the grass and steps, lying on top of that puppy puzzle box where it had no business to have landed. The really weird thing is that there were three pieces extra: duplicates exactly of three edge pieces I already had (see the bottom left corner). These had stumped my poor mother, and I had been frustrated trying to finish the border until I realized about them being duplicates. Why did this happen, and how? It is a mystery we will never solve.


  1. Hi Marci,
    I am sorry that the Holy Family puzzles turned out so poorly. There were several others at Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio, where I bought them, that had no glitter or were larger and might not have had the flaws that those had.

    1. Don't be sorry, Al, Karen & I had a great time putting them together for Mom. Thanks for all the great puzzles you've sent!!


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