Thursday, June 13, 2013

Learning To Puzzle

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were trying to come up with a plan for staying in on a weekend evening, and he said to me, "Do you want to do a jigsaw puzzle?" And I surprised myself by saying, "Sure!" So he ran out to the store and picked out a 1000-piece puzzle and I got some snacks (cherries and dark chocolate) ready for us.

You might be guessing that the reason I was surprised by my own answer was because jigsaw-puzzle-solving on a Saturday night isn't exactly hip or exciting. But no, that's not the reason. I'm an old soul deep down and have no problem admitting it, and we weren't really after hip or exciting anyway.

The real reason I felt surprised by my answer is because I've never liked jigsaw puzzles. My family would typically do one each summer when we were on vacation in the Adirondack Mountains and another one around Christmastime, and both of my parents and my two brothers got very into these puzzles. I just didn't get it! They would whoop and shout each time they found a pivotal piece, and they would pore over 5000-piece puzzles for hours at a time.

But I thought it was such a sweet suggestion of my husband's, to work on a puzzle all weekend (it was a long weekend too) and spend that time chatting and just being together, so I enthusiastically sent him off to go find one for us. And I'll be honest--I didn't enjoy the first few hours of sorting and putting together edge pieces. The sky just seemed impossible and the green grass was not far behind. But the chocolate and cherries tasted good and my husband was close by, so I plugged away.

And within a few hours, I surprised myself again. I was getting into it! It did feel great to find an important piece! It was fun to hunt and search and piece together buildings and people and grass (yes, even grass). It was rewarding and I was having fun. I think I just needed to learn a little bit of patience to enjoy it.

Now, I'm still not very "good" at jigsaw puzzles. I've never been a math/science/logic kind of person and any sort of riddle or puzzle (jigsaw or otherwise) tends not to be my forte. My husband laughs at me when I try to jam in a piece that looks like it will fit without really looking at the shape first (I suppose my approach is trial and error; his involves his senses and brain a bit more).

But we did manage to successfully finish the first puzzle, and the next time I was out running errands I bought us another one, which we finished last night after dinner. We have a cute plan for them too. My family used to admire their finished puzzles for a few days and then put them back in pieces in the box, but my husband's family (they also did puzzles during vacations and holidays) often framed the results of their hard work. I doubt we'll frame all of the puzzles we do, but we thought it would be sweet to frame the first two we ever did together and save them for our future children.

Won't this look adorable in a little boy's room?

And isn't this one pretty and perfect for a little girl?

I'm going to bring them to a local frame shop and ask for a white mat and simple white frame. And they will be tucked away until it's time to decorate our first nursery. Almost all of the art on our walls has meaning, and these will be no different.

I can almost picture myself in that nursery at three in the morning, exhausted with a new baby, a quick glance at the puzzle hanging on the wall reminding me that everything worthy and good and beautiful in this world takes patience.


  1. Very, very sweet. And I'm the same: everything hanging on my wall has some sort of meaning. I almost can't enjoy art, no matter how lovely it is, unless it's personal in some way. Those will make perfect nursery decorations.

    You are such a tremendous writer, Kate--and you made puzzle-making interesting, just like you do everything you blog about.

  2. I would have suspected that all of the art in your home had some sort of meaning! And I know I've said this before, but one of my absolute favorites in our house is Dan's drawing of us.

    And thank you--I happen to think you have the same knack for interesting writing, no matter what the topic :)

  3. Love it! At our family beach house in Michigan we always do a big puzzle while we are there. It's good for rainy days and sun burnt days. I love the idea of using them in children's rooms. Great idea!

  4. Yes, I mean they're essentially little paintings/drawings and are perfect for a child's room I think!

  5. I love the idea! Very sentimental. And the second puzzle is lovely--I'd love to have it framed in my room.

  6. remember to sign and date them... that makes them all the more special!

  7. I feel like this would be a good relaxing way to get your mind off things and just unwind together.
    Believe me...we are not hip and exciting here either...when I went out for my Bachelorette SIL called me a wet blanket...I'm not exciting...

  8. It is really cute, if you look closely it's a town of little bears running a carnival! So sweet.

  9. It is, and it's nice because we can talk while doing it, which is a great end to the day.

  10. That last sentence is just beautiful. And so true.

  11. What a sweet idea! I used to love doing puzzles as a little girl, though I must admit it's been years since I've done one. This definitely makes me want to pop into a store and pick one up!

  12. Oh you should, I've been amazed at how much I enjoy it!


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