Autumn months lead to colder winter months which usually means more time spent inside. Because it’s nice to cosy up under blankets in front of the fire, and drinking hot chooclate. Along with more reading, occasional crocheting and family board game sessions, the colder months see me get out the jigsaw puzzles again.
I never do them in the summer months, but there’s something about getting them out, working through them. A way to keep the mind ticking over rather than just watching tv or spending time on the laptop.
My next aim is to get N more focused and able to stick at puzzles. He’s moving up to 500 piece puzzles, but once he’s found the edges he drifts off and I’m left to finish them. Frustrating given he used to love puzzles when he was younger. It would be a great way to get him probem solving, looking ahead, planning. And away from the Kindle fire.
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The only issue with large jigsaw puzzles is finding the space where a half completed puzzle can be kept out without being knocked or covered in toys. Because I only do the odd half hour in the evenings and a couple of hours at weekends, it takes me a few weeks to complete a 1000 piece puzzle. I’ve had to invest in a Portapuzzle – the best invention in my view. But my brother couldn’t stop laughing when I told him I’d got one.
Yes, you can use a large board on the floor and slide it under a sofa when not in use, but I get back ache and arm ache from leaning over on the floor.
I do have a foldable craft table but it’s not steady and not big enough. The best place to do jigsaw puzzles is on our kitchen table so I can set up the box picture to refer to, and have all the pieces to hand. So the portapuzzle is my friend when doing puzzles.
Benefits of the portapuzzle:
- Different sizes – I have a 1000 piece one, but you can get a 1500 piece portapuzzle
- Can be closed up and then stood up out of the way (some pieces fall down slightly, but generally stay in place well)
- There’s felt ‘boards’ to keep pieces you’re using at that time readily available and visible
- It’s portable
The only downside is when N wants to do a puzzle usingit, or I get a review jigsaw puzzle when I’ve already got a half completed puzzle in it. Oops.
My other useful items for doing puzzles are whatever I have around the house
- Ziplock bags (or even just basic sandwich bags – great for sorting your pieces into
- Takeaway containers also for sorting, but these don’t fit back into the puzzle box as well as bags.
As for the puzzles themselves, I’m a fan of ‘chocolate box’ scenery. Old fashioned pretty pictures, especially winter scenes. But I do prefer images with lots going on meaning they’re faster and more straightforward than lots of frustrating sky. The Wasgij range are more taxing but can be satisfying and a bit of fun completing them.
Here’s some other ideas for helpful jigsaw puzzle aids