Hello all! I have a new feature for this blog that I am hoping you will like. I have spoken to many artists and have learned so much from them. Then I realized that we all have something to share about our puzzling habits, so I reached out to a fellow puzzler. 

I met Samina Schiller online in a Facebook puzzle group and she taught me so much! I messaged and video called her all the time and I learned all the basics from this wonderful puzzling friend.

I hope you will enjoy learning what she has to share.

Me - Tell us about yourself and how you got started with puzzling

Samina - I never puzzled consistently until the pandemic, when my life, along with everyone else’s, kind of turned upside down. As a board gamer, I needed a solo hobby that I could still satisfy and challenge that part of my brain. I had two puzzles already, so I went to work on those, doing one of them twice, before ordering a few online that I was able to curbside pickup from a local store. I did each of those twice before slowly getting more and more puzzles and learning about trading.

Me -What have you learned in your puzzle journey?

Samina - I have learned a lot of the same things I think other people have learned about themselves: what brands and images I do and do not like; that it is okay to not finish a puzzle if I’m not enjoying it; that is it okay to exhibit some patience when a newly released puzzle comes out, it will become more readily available after the hype. 

Me – What are you favourite brands / artists / preferences,

Samina - You know I love Aimee Stewart! I’m also a fan of gradients, cats, and Disney. I enjoy Ravensburger, the 500 piece round eeBoos, the Buffalo Cats collection, and Wasgij by Jumbo. I have just started to really get into Gibson too, but they are more difficult to find where I am located. I also like Micropuzzles a lot! I am also really into wooden puzzles, which are $$$, but I joined a wooden puzzle rental subscription club (called Hoefnagel – only open to the US right now, sorry!) and I have been able to do so many incredible puzzles that I would normally not be able to afford. 

Me – What does your collection look like? 

Samina - It looks out of control. LOL! I had maintained under 100 for a really long time but a few months I scored a great deal and have been hovering around 130 in my ‘to-do’ stash, not including my wooden puzzles.

Me - What do you do with the puzzles after you are done?

Samina - Very rarely do I keep a puzzle. I have to really love the process of putting it together to keep it in my permanent collection. I have saved around a dozen so far, one of which was my first pandemic puzzle (Travel the World, White Mountain, 550 pieces). I also have one puzzle glued and hanging on my wall for sentimental reasons (Dragonfly, Bgraamiens, 1000 pieces).

Also Read: How to glue your puzzle

Me -Do you have a large puzzling circle or puzzling community?

Samina - Competitions – That’s what I like to do! Internationally – I am a part of so many wonderful Facebook puzzling groups (its how we met!) and I love seeing the puzzles and brands people do from all over the world. Locally - At least, I think its large, and it continued growing! I admin one of two local puzzle groups on Facebook. There are close to 300 members combined in the two groups. The other admin is wonderful and organizes these monthly puzzle trunk swaps where we get together in a parking lot to trade, buy, sell, and give away puzzles. Our puzzle swap last weekend had around 35 cars! Also, we are starting to have more competitions in our area. I have competed in two local competitions (my next one is February 4th) as well as at US Nationals in October. My teams placed first and fourth, respectively, locally. At Nationals, my 4-person team placed 11th, my pairs team placed 23rd, and individually I placed 34th (I was so exhausted by that point!) I have so much respect for the people who placed in the top spots, especially in teams, because that was a marathon event of 5.5 hours!

I want to thank Samina who shared this with me and showed me I still have a lot to learn.

Puzzlers, I really hope you enjoyed this feature. There are so many things to learn from our puzzling community. If you would like your collections or ideas featured, please reach out so I can write about you.