crazy stuff

Puzzle Me This

okay, I'm a puzzle person

You know what? I love puzzles. Specifically, 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles. Who knew?! I did not know this about myself.

I bought one on a whim while I was at Target before Christmas. I was thinking that it would be a great diversion when we had my mother-in-law over for Christmas dinner. You know, something to ease all those awkward silences when we have next to nothing in common to talk about. Well, it turned out that my mother-in-law (who is now my ex-mother-in-law) has no interest in puzzles and it didn’t ease the awkwardness at all but it was super duper fun for me.

1000 pieces

I opened it on Christmas Eve, just to see what it looked like and figure out where to put it in my house. It turned out that it was too big for anywhere but my dining room table. This was not optimum because I needed to serve Christmas dinner on my dining room table but by the time I realized this I was already hooked. It’s so fun!

this goes here...

A few neighbors stopped by and so we pieced a few pieces while we had a cup of tea or two…

let's do this

A few more pieces went together before breakfast…

home stretch

Then Toby came over and he got into it too. He declared it so fun that we should all eat dinner in our laps and puzzle all afternoon. Who needs a dining room table for Christmas dinner? We have more important things to do!

Then my mom and dad came over and they got sucked in too (though I failed to take photos of them, sadly). In fact, we were all so into it that my poor mother-in-law felt completely left out or bored or something and asked to be taken home early. It was weird and I do feel kind of bad about that.

all finished

But the puzzle was so fun! It was a painting of bridges of San Francisco by Heronim. I’m not a huge fan of this style of art but I do have a soft spot for the city of San Francisco since I did live in the bay area for three years when I was in college. It’s the one big city that I really do know my way about. I’ve walked all over it. You could even drop me in the middle of the Tenderloin and I’d be able to get myself out without too much trouble. I love San Francisco. So I loved this puzzle.

little black cat

And I love that the artist signs all of his work with a little black cat. I think I’m going to have to make these puzzles a tradition. A new city every year.

admiring our handiwork

Around half past nine on Christmas night we finally finished it. Bug put the last piece in. It was something to celebrate. After spending that much time on it and enjoying it so much I can see why people frame these things. I was tempted. But I’m a snob about how my house looks.

break it down

After a moment of silence, I broke it down this morning and put it away in the box. Who knows maybe I’ll take it out and do it next time I have guests over who I don’t really know how to deal with.

back in the box

But if it’s you who I take this puzzle out for, please don’t take it the wrong way. Just get down to business have fun!


  • Jen

    Every Christmas my dad works on a puzzle and I really missed this part of Christmas this year :( Puzzles are so much fun! I did send him two puzzles and one of those roll up mats to put them away when he (or my mom) needs the kitchen table.

  • Megan

    Someone gave me the genius idea of throwing a table cloth over the in-progress puzzle if you need to use it in between puzzling. I’m also a big puzzle fan (especially the Ravensburger ones – I just finished the one I got for Christmas :).

  • Carrie

    I LOVE puzzles! Growing up we used to have a puzzle out on the dinning room table (that we only ate at for fancy meals) and would spend so much time working on them together as a family. Such fun!

    We now buy puzzles at the the thrift store. They often have great ones that cost 25 or 50 cents each. Usually they are missing one or two pieces, but for that price I can’t complain.

  • Sonja

    Are you kidding? I’d love it if you took a puzzle out for me to play with! It’s a bit of a family tradition for me – my grandpa was always working on puzzles, and my mom inherited his love for them.

  • Becca

    We love puzzles over here too. Actually, I have a double sided cats puzzle that is too hard… I work puzzles based on pictures. If someone did puzzles based on shapes of pieces they’d probably find it easy peasy.

  • OMSH

    We are a puzzling family. It is a huge tradition. After we work a puzzle we put the date on the back of the box and we write all the names of those who worked it on that date (or around and about that date). It is always interesting to pull a puzzle out years later and see who worked on it before. :)

  • kat

    we LOVE puzzles! we did a 1500 puzzle over thanksgiving – it was chinatown san francisco and possibly the hardest puzzle EVER. seriously. my puzzle tip is to find all of the edge pieces first and then build out the border. seems to help!

  • Pam

    i always get puzzles for christmas! it’s one of my favorite things to do, most of my family loves puzzles, my grandma is who got us all started on them, she’d always have a puzzle going when i was little :) i miss her, this was our first christmas without her, i did get two amazing puzzles this year though, the thomas kinkade paintings of gone with the wind, and the wizard of oz, there’s so many hidden details i love them, i’m going to start one with my aunt (who still lives in my grandma’s house) tomorrow afternoon, right in the middle of the dinning room table just like grandma always did

  • Deborah

    We LOVE puzzles in our family! Jigsaw and otherwise. I have one of those roll-up mats to temporarily put it away, but haven’t tried it yet. Puzzles always take precedence over eating at our table! My favourite was a Clue puzzle where you had to complete the puzzle to solve the mystery.

  • KD

    One year I bought my mom a puzzle for Christmas to distract her from the fact that my sister was cooking Christmas dinner in our mothers kitchen. My sister works better with a little bit of space so as prep started I suggested we pull out the new toy – it kept the ‘kids’ nicely occupied!

  • Danna

    When I was in high school, just before my grandmother passed away,she lived with us for several months. While she was there she would do large puzzles and I would sit with her and we would just enjoy putting them together.

    I will always remember that.

  • Kuky

    “Eat dinner in our laps” Bwa ha ha!

    Last year for Christmas, at least I think it was Christmas, at least I think it was last year, Alan’s family had a puzzle out at the family gathering. Everyone was working on it. And it got finished that night so many people worked on it.

    We loved it so much we bought some puzzles too. Three to be exact. We’ve only finished one though. We had the same problem, no room for it. Oh and it probably didn’t help that Nathan was younger and grabby and that makes puzzle piecing hard. Can I even use that as a verb? Why yes, I declare I can.

  • Heather in WA State

    I got this puzzle this year, too! Actually, we have about 25 of this artist’s 1000 piece puzzles, and they are very much a part of our holiday family gatherings. Our record is putting one together in 5 hours. Of course many hands helped during the course of the day. The gathering together around the table is what makes it such fun. You can take a peek at how these puzzles fit into our holidays here:

  • Sarah

    We do puzzles every Christmas, love them! My favorite right now are the “Gibson” ones from (they have ones of toys from the 60’s, 70’s, etc…as well as grocery store items – brings back memories). They’re well made too. Definitely a fun tradition!

  • Sarah

    What a fantastic puzzle. I haven’t done one in such a long time, I should really do one and get some new ones too. I love the idea of having a huge one out on the table that drop-in guests can contribute to too.

  • carrien - she laughs at the days

    My grandmother had one of those fold up tables that you use for card games. (Actually, she had a lot. We’re a big family and they became extra seating at family gatherings.) There was always a game or a puzzle going on one of them on Christmas day. I distinctly remember one epic game of risk that took all day one Christmas.

  • Linda

    We do puzzles often. A few years ago I bought a large poster board at Staples and used that as the base for our puzzle. When you need to use the dining room table just pick it up and move it out of the way. (I usually put it under the bed to keep it from getting disturbed.) Works great!!