According to Better Homes and Gardens, January is National Jigsaw Puzzle Month.
This came as great news to my friend, B, and I this week. We just completed a puzzle we began FOUR years ago !!! Actually, it was 4 1/2 years, but what's 6 months when it comes to a 1000 piece puzzle?
Seriously, we started Santa Claws during our annual beach week 4 1/2 years ago. We thought it'd make a great group project. (We share a beach house with 6 couples each year.) Turns out, B and I were more into it than anyone else. Oh, everybody helped a little that first time around. By the end of that week, we had the entire outline done and a little bit of the bottom innards. B carefully packed it up and kept it in one of those roll-up puzzle keepers. Turns out we forgot to take it the next year. (Never occurred to us to get together over the winter to work on it. We only lived 25 minutes apart! After all, it was a beach thing!)
The third year, both of our households had some medical problems and we canceled beach week. Then, this year, B remembered to bring the puzzle. On our second night at the beach, we set up a little table on the side, unrolled the puzzle, poured some wine and prepared to get down to work. That was when it dawned on us -- the box with the puzzle pieces in it was home on the bookshelf in South Carolina. (B moved two years ago.) We were in Nags Head, North Carolina. So much for finishing that puzzle at the beach!!
This weekend, we visited B and her husband. We got right down to working on that puzzle on Friday night. (Okay, first thing we did was open the wine. It WAS a long drive so we did need to unwind a bit first!) We really worked at it all weekend. The Big Guy and B's hubby both jumped in and helped a bit. B's daughter stopped by and added a few pieces and, lo and behold, B and I were able to place the last two pieces by Sunday afternoon!!!
B says she's going to preserve the finished puzzle. I fully expect to find it adorning the guest room wall next time I visit!
Some Puzzle Facts:
Just for the record, jigsaw puzzles were invented all the way back in the 1700s in England by a map maker. They were originally maps mounted on thin layers of wood. Those were difficult to cut smoothly and were somewhat cumbersome to work with. Eventually, cardboard became the mounting of choice and more interesting artwork was used.
Puzzles came into their prime in America during The Great Depression in the 1930s. Folks found them to be cheap family activities that could be enjoyed at home by the entire family. Libraries were even known to rent jigsaw puzzles in that era.
Working on puzzles develops one's logical and analytical thinking. It encourages concentration and gives a great sense of fulfillment upon completion. Eye/hand coordination improves for those who do a lot of puzzles.
So, other than the great amounts of wine we consumed while working on the puzzle, we were pursuing a pastime that was good for us!!
B and I can't wait to start a new puzzle this year. (Seriously.)