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OTHER ITA SITES:
Jigsaw Puzzles, A Great Gift With A Lot To Offer!
Here comes the holiday season again, gasp! That means chasing all over town searching for that perfect gift for everyone on your list, fighting with the crowds for the latest "it" toy or newest electronic thing-a-ma-jig, right?
Why not try a different approach this year, and give some- thing special to your family and friends? Jigsaw puzzles could be the answer!
My love of jigsaw puzzles comes from my Grandmother.
My grandmother lived in a very small town in northern Minnesota where the moquitos out number the people. It certainly was a boring place to spend a summer vacation as a kid. What was worse I realized, Grandma didn't have cable TV! Out of sheer boredom, I sat down with her while she worked a puzzle.
Grandma was smart, she had an extra chair and some cookies waiting for me to join her.
There is one puzzle I remember clearly, it was a picture of a red and white quilt and it was huge! It must have been 2000 pieces and it took up the entire dinning room table. I was sure there was no way anyone could ever get that whole puzzle put together, it was simply too hard. It took some time but after I found a few pieces and had completed one square of the quilt I was hooked. Every day I looked forward to working on the puzzle, and every piece found was a triumph! It took a few weeks, but we finally finished that puzzle, and all of Grandma's famous sugar cookies too!
I felt proud of what we accomplished and that I was able to help. We left it on the table for a couple of days to admire our work. Soon I discovered the rest of Grandma's puzzle collection and I couldn't wait to dig into a new puzzle!
Looking back on this now as an adult and a mom myself, I realize that this simple pastime gave me many things. At first I didn't think it was possible to complete the jigsaw puzzle, but once it was done I felt a great sense of pride and accomplish- ment. More importantly, the real gift was quality time, great conversation and fantastic memories of my Grandmother. ( And I still have her cookie recipe!)
So before you rush out to buy the latest "batteries not included" flashing light gadget, take a second look at this old fashioned gift. You may get more back then you expected.
Tips to make a jigsaw puzzle a hit this holiday season
Jigsaw puzzles are more fun when they are part of a bigger plan.
Give tickets to your local zoo with an animal puzzle, or tickets to an aquarium with an underwater puzzle.
Find a puzzle of your next vacation destination, or someplace you would like to visit someday.
Start a new family tradition and work a puzzle together.
Look for a puzzle with a fantastic winter scene, or holiday celebration to get you into that Christmas spirit. Turn off the television and turn on some Christmas music and enjoy some time with your family.
Jigsaw puzzles can add to a collection.
Perhaps someone you know collects dragons, dolphins, or roosters for instance, look for a puzzle with those things and you've got a great gift.
Jigsaw puzzles can be used to decorate your home.
Jigsaw puzzles can be easily glued together and hung up as artwork. Keep the theme of your children's rooms, and your dining room in mind as you look for a puzzle, you can fill your home with art work you made yourself!
Things to look for when purchasing a jigsaw puzzle:
1) Picture :
I think the most important thing to look for when purchasing a jigsaw puzzle is the picture itself. Puzzles are meant to be fun, so find a picture that makes you smile! Have fun!
2) Size and Piece count:
You should pay attention to the piece count, make sure it is appropriate to the age and skill of the puzzler. 500 pieces may be to hard for your 6 year old to do solo, but may be perfect for the family to do together.
The size of the completed puzzle is important. Make sure the area you will assemble the puzzle will hold the puzzle and have extra room for the un assembled puzzle pieces.
A quality puzzle is well worth the price! Vibrant colors, tightly fitting pieces etc. will make assembling the puzzle more enjoyable.
It is frustrating to have the paper fall off the cardboard of a puzzle piece or to have thin pieces that break easily.
4) Challenge level:
While choosing a puzzle, keep in mind that a puzzle of a solid color or repeating pattern may make it more difficult then a puzzle with a variety of colors. Example, a puzzle of black cat on a black blanket even though it is only 500 pieces may be extra challenging.
Keep this in mind, but remember a puzzle is supposed to be a challenge!
5) Specialty Puzzles:
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of a puzzle may be a rectangle shape with a picture of a field of flowers. If this sounds boring to you keep looking! There are many unique puzzles out there.
Shaped puzzles are puzzles that have a unique border shape.
Such as in the shape of a dog or of an eagle in flight. These puzzles offer a a challenge to those who always work the border of a puzzle first. Round puzzles are some of my favorites to work because of the unusual way the pieces are cut!
Glow In The Dark puzzles look like a standard puzzle but parts of the design will glow in the dark making them a great choice to glue and save!
Tips for getting started:
Now that you have a puzzle, and a place to work it, you are a little overwhelmed by looking at that huge pile of pieces. Now what?
1) Lighting A bright place to work will reduce eye strain and make for a more enjoyable experience.
2) Sort your pieces I like to turn all the pieces right side up first as well as sorting the edge pieces right away. I have also found that using boxes or small containers to sort the different colors into is very helpful! ( The boxes of previously worked puzzles that you have glued together to display are perfect for this.)
3) Enlist help I have found that it is nearly impossible to walk past someone who is working a puzzle without stopping to find a few pieces myself.
Puzzles are a great way to pass time and you may have a wonderful conversation too!
4) Puzzle roll ups If you need to use the dining room table again, and you are not finished with your puzzle yet, don't despair! A puzzle roll up will help you move and store your unfinished puzzle for another day! Puzzle roll ups are available in a variety of sizes.
5) Puzzle Glue Once you have completed your puzzle it can be heart breaking to take it apart again. If you really like the design, or just want to show off your hard work, it is a simple task to glue the puzzle together and hang it on your wall! A good puzzle glue will dry clear so it doesn't distort the beauty of the colors. Puzzle glue is brushed on, and when it is dry you can frame the puzzle, or hang it up as is. Keep the decor of your home in mind when you are buying puzzles, and you can fill your home with art you made yourself!
If you have completed a puzzle and don't wish to work it again here are several ideas for you. Pass it on! Know a friend that enjoys puzzles? Exchange your completed puzzles with them! Donate puzzles to local schools, churches, nursing homes etc.
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