In the past year, we have all had to change our ways of thinking. We have had to learn new ways to be creative, to focus, and to find activities that we can do from home. I used to do huge Lego sets with thousands of pieces. I liked having something to focus on. I liked the satisfaction that came from creating something from bags of pieces to one final product.

After the birth of my daughter, and the dozens of pieces that were getting lost, I stopped.

Just before COVID entered our lives, I bought a couple of jigsaw puzzles. I wasn’t looking at the manufacturer, the size, or the feel of the pieces. None of those things mattered to me. I just liked the images I chose, but then I realized I was having fun!

And that is how I began my puzzle journey…

 I started to research. I started to join groups. I learned terminology I never heard of: ribbon cut, grid cut, linen finish. I learned about puzzle artists and started to recognize their styles. I got better. I got faster. I can now advise on different brands, cuts, materials. I can tell you how to sort, and what kind of accessories are helpful.

I became a puzzle snob!

There’s nothing wrong with that either. I have learned what I like, what to avoid, and most importantly, I have learned there are no wrong answers with puzzles. Everyone does them differently, and everyone is correct. It’s wonderful to have a hobby where we can all share ideas and opinions and no one is wrong.

People like different styles and piece counts and people approach their strategies differently.

In this unique time, puzzle sales have skyrocketed. There is limited stock and manufacturers cannot keep up with demand. We are stuck at home with no idea as to how long this pandemic will continue. We are struggling to find balance and different outlets to exercise our brains. 

There is something very satisfying in a pile of pieces thrown about in chaos where we have the ability to restore everything and make it whole.

Puzzles are excellent for our minds. They help us to reduce stress. We can do them alone or with family. We can pass them on to share with others. We can keep them to hang them on our walls or redo another time. We can do them quickly or over several weeks. We can do them with background music or in silence. There is no right or wrong way to do a puzzle. And with so many manufacturers and artists, the possibilities are endless.

 Jigsaw puzzle

How did you start? What is your puzzle life?  

If you don’t know where to start, here is my advice: Pick up an image you like. Puzzles speak to us. Start with 300 or 500 pieces. Try a standard cut puzzle such as Buffalo or Ravensburger with a smaller variety of shapes.

And personally, I always do the edges first. You will be happy to see that border holding it all together. Just as we are doing every day.