Cold outside? It’s Puzzle Time!

Alas, November has come and gone. In less than 3 weeks, Christmas will be here. Then New Year’s. That is a lot of indoor time with family! When it gets freezing cold outside, I tend to crank out more jigsaw puzzles. I should do a big post on all the Springbok puzzles I completed in 2016. Most of which I purchased from thrift stores. Until then, here are a few I have completed this year.

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‘Golden Sunset’ released in 2006 – 1,500 pieces

This one my husband bought me for Christmas one year. I finally got around to finishing it and find out one of my cats took off with an edge piece. No idea where it went. LOL

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‘Bear Lake’ in Estes Park, CO released in 2012 – 500 pieces

A score from one of the thrift stores I go to. This is cool because it’s complete and it’s close to home. Rocky Mountain National Park near Estes Park is beautiful! Perhaps one day I will show you!

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‘Knit Knacks’ released in 2010 – 1,000 pieces

A friend loaned me one her Springbok puzzles. We switch puzzles with each other and try not to get duplicates. This way we work on many other different puzzles. šŸ™‚

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‘Snow Leopard’ released in 1979 – 500 pieces

A thrift store find that has all of the pieces to it as well. You’d be surprised how many I’ve gotten complete from there! Usually there’s a piece or 2 missing. Not this time. All that white was very tedious though. Ugh! At least it’s done now! Whew!

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‘Gotta Love Snow’ released in 2007 – 500 pieces

This one is from a thrift store too and is missing a piece. It snowed, so I decided to do a snow puzzle. It didn’t snow enough to make snowmen but it was the first snow of the season.

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‘Book Shop’ released in 2015 – 500 pieces

I got this one for my birthday this year from theĀ close and dear friend that switches puzzles with me. We both worked in a public library, so it was perfect.

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‘Candy is Dandy’ released in the 1970’s – 500 pieces

Yet another thrift store find I finished around Halloween. Complete with all pieces. I like to do seasonal puzzles and this one was fun because, it was shaped in a circle. COOL!

That’s all, folks! Next post I will show you more puzzles. Seven puzzles in one post is long enough! See you soon!

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Cookies. Oh, yummy cookies!

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Springbok ‘A Kid’ll Eat the Middle’ – 500 pieces

I finished a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle recently by Springbok called ‘A Kid’ll Eat the Middle’ made in the 1980’s. The white areas were not as hard to piece together. All of that black was really tough!

I love me some Oreo cookies! It’s one of the cookies I remember grabbing out of an egg basket cookie jar when I was a kid and devouring it. They happen to be vegan too! I found that out a few years ago.

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Childhood Cookie Jar

Here I found a picture online of the cookie jar my Mom used when we were kids. It’s at least 35 years old. A familiar piece from my childhood but ugly as heck. How could you ever forget a cookie jar like this!? šŸ™‚

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Vegan Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

Speaking of vegan cookies… I baked a few dozen vegan chocolate chip walnut cookies for my family and friends last week. My place smelled great! They were gone in 2 days though! Didn’t last long at all. I need to make another batch for others since I’ve had a couple requests for more cookies.

This time I also have a new cookie scoop!  My 15 year old Pampered Chef medium cookie scoop broke a while back. I never replaced it so, my cookies varied in size. Now, my cookies should be more uniformed than my previous bakes with this scoop.

It makes me very happy to use my almost 20 year old Kitchenaid Stand Mixer that was handed down to me from my Mother too. Any time I get to use it for anything I get excited! Need to knead some bread? Mix a large batch of cookies? No problem. This thing is a workhorse.

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 Well, those cookies won’t bake themselves. I better get going. See you soon!

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Jigsaw Puzzles… a second chance at a new beginning.

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500 piece Crimson Road by Springbok

Lately, I’ve had an increased interest in completing jigsaw puzzles. Specifically, I love the Springbok brand because, they have the thickest puzzle pieces and are all different interlocking shapes. They are quality brand puzzle makers for sure. But, I will work on any puzzle and I get most from thrift stores… or my husband. He buys me a lot of puzzles. šŸ™‚

My interest in jigsaw puzzles also had another purpose… to help keep my brain healthy.

23 months ago, I had a stroke. I was one of the fortunate stroke victims who had relatively minor brain damage. It mainly damaged my memory and balance.

As part of my rehabilitation, my neurologist suggested working on puzzles to help:

*enhance my visual perception

*hone my coordination

*improve my memory

*develop critical thinking

*increase dopamine production in myĀ brain

*heighten creativity

*stimulate my entire brain

I am grateful for thisĀ second chance at living life and look forward to more time on Earth.

What does one do when they survive a health crisis like that? They do what their neurologist says, of course! I need to do puzzles? No problem, Doc! I’m all over it!

Almost 2 years later, no one can tell I had a stroke. I can walk fine. I can talk fine. I just have a little trouble remembering things short-term and recalling long-term memories. That’s what notes and journals are for. I have lots of notes everywhere in my apartment reminding me of things I need to do!

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1,000 piece Balloon Bonanza in Colorado Springs by Springbok

I have completed over 2 dozen puzzles in various sizes and designs during that time. My favorite is the 1,000 piece puzzles that areĀ just the right size for a challenge. I then share them with friends who also have the jigsaw puzzle fever. We rotate and make sure we don’t get the same puzzles.

I get so engrossed in the puzzle that I forget things around me. I am so focused on finding that right piece to fit the section I’m putting together that I tend to finish my puzzles in only a few days. I work on it constantly until it’s done. I’mĀ obsessed!

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500 piece The Georgetown Loop, Georgetown, Colorado by Springbok

It really makes me happy every time I get another puzzle. I buy them from thrift stores, Amazon, Hallmark, Hobby Lobby, etc. I get out my felt mat and foam board that are my tools to work on and setup.

The excitement of a new design, the smell of the cardboard, the hunt for the edges that make the border, the chance to watch it grow as I complete it… all of which makes my brain work hard, relax and have fun too.Ā 

I take pictures every day of my progress. I want to watch my work for the day grow into the final design. It’s fun to watch and gives me the satisfaction of completion.

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Day 1 of Garden Goodies
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Day 2
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Day 3
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Day 4: Complete! 1,000 piece Garden Goodies by Springbok

It’s currently snowing outside so I ended up finishing it. When was the last time you worked on a jigsaw puzzle? Do you remember trying to figure out where each piece fit?

What about searching through the box for all of the edge pieces to begin the border? What did it smell like? How long did it take you to finish the puzzle?

If it has been a while, I think you should get a small puzzle to try and see if it whets yourĀ appetite. You may like it, you may not. Make it a family affair… more than one person can work on it. Then, after you’re done, pass it on to someone else to enjoy. Have fun!Ā 

Thanks for tuning in! Watch for future posts on the current jigsaw puzzles I am working on… and a bunch of other stuff.

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