Puzzle Camp

These past weeks has been a training camp of puzzling for us. My sister and I started with 2000-piece Van Gogh’s Starry Night and it took quite some time to finish but we finally did.

20150512_170809 20150515_17220420150527_173709My niece and I started her 3D puzzle portraying the Taipei 101 and the city which she had tried before but failed to finish. It is really challenging but we were able to complete it. We switched some pieces several times since the picture appeared weird in some parts and later on we had someone else check it. My niece’s dad said that it’s alright because no one will notice it if there’s a mistake, they’d be quite dizzy after staring at it for too long.

Taipei 101

After that, we started with another puzzle, an easy one, a cartoon to relax our eyes. It’s a 1000-piece puzzle of Stitch.

Stitch

The next day we started with another 1000-piece puzzle of the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffer TowerI think it’s not an addiction but that we somehow grasped the momentum so we decided to do the next project of 1500-piece which was previously done before but put back inside the box. We continued it and had redone some parts of it. It depicts a country memory which has a house in the middle of the woods.

20150601_181653 20150602_075601After that, we opened a 2000-piece puzzle which we yet have to finish but already did a huge part of it. We only have the mountain left which could be the hardest part.

20150603_001710 20150603_014802

At home, my sister and I opened a 3000-piece puzzle of the ancient world map. This could be a lot of fun.

In between, we had done some small pieces of puzzle, the gifts we had received from different people.

Guide to Jigsaw Puzzle:

  1. The first step is organizing or sorting the pieces according to similar shades or drawings. Classify which ones you want to group together according to the picture of the puzzle such as grouping together the sky and then houses on another group. Separate also the borders. This step is very important because you are able to segregate the vast amount of possibilities you have in hand and forms a kind of guide in piecing a part of the picture. 20150605_204524
  2. If you start puzzling, notice the patterns and see if the pieces can connect together. Try another piece if the one you got cannot fit. You’d hear a click which means you got the right piece. We usually start with the borders so that you can have a guide.
  3. Once you got the pacing, you will be able to easily put the pieces together and slowly form the different parts of the picture. You can choose to begin with the ones with most patterns and follow the clues based on what you see on the piece. If your talent happens to be abstract, you can start with the sky, the grass, the land or the water. Don’t stress yourself out if you cannot do this part yet. Start where you can build the picture.
  4. You can set a schedule when you want or can have time to puzzle. It can be during nighttime or over the weekend. It doesn’t matter if each time is very productive, quite productive or not at all. The important thing is you puzzle bit by bit. If it is a 1000-piece puzzle, all you might need is just a few hours. If it is a more abstract picture, you need to allot more time to finish it, which means more hours and more days.
  5. Recognizing the sides and shape of the pieces are important too. Once you get used to the pattern, it would be easy to spot the right place for the piece you are holding even if the color is the same. Keep yourself attentive for clues on each piece.
  6. If you get to the hard part and all else fails, try the trial and error method, this can reduce the number of pieces you have yet to put.
  7. Know that there are different brands of puzzles like Ravensburger, Educa, Clementoni, and others. We have also tried brands from China, Japan and Taiwan. They differ in quality, shapes, sizes, texture, and thickness. Such as the Educa brand, it’s pieces are much harder to piece in because it only has two kinds of shapes, either horizontal or vertical. Ravensburger has beautiful pieces and fun shapes. It is great to piece in because you’d be able to hear a click. But regardless of the brand, we still enjoy piecing jigsaw puzzles.
  8. To enjoy puzzling, find companions to puzzle with you. While some people prefer to puzzle alone, it helps to find a company to join you in this activity. Though I know the dilemma for some people who can’t find a companion because not everyone can stand puzzling. It might become stressful for them if they weren’t able to piece anything. If you do find a puzzle buddy, then good for you.
  9. Sometimes all it takes is one completed puzzle and the puzzle journey begins…

Lessons from the Master (which is my sister)…

You can see the difference in patterns and puzzle pieces. The color of the sky differs, it can be different shades of blue, white, light violet to dark violet, dark blue to pitch black. Notice the puzzle pieces and see even the smallest clues in the pieces.

Sometimes you are able to feel that this particular piece fits the other. A friend of us who is an avid puzzler agrees with this but her husband is puzzled with this magical feeling because no matter how hard he tried they seem to look the same.

Sometimes you have already seen the piece earlier on that’s why you pick it up and put it right away in the picture. And it happens to be the right piece.

It’s an activity that you don’t have to talk, a fun activity to share with a group, it’s a good for brain exercise, to relax, get mind off unimportant things, and a good quiet time.  Puzzling teaches patience and pacing, you get to meditate while doing this activity.

Lessons learned from puzzling…

Life is a puzzle. Some pieces fit; some don’t. We cannot force a piece to fit the missing part or to connect to the other piece if that’s not the particular piece that matches the other. No matter how similar the color, if it’s not the right piece, other parts could go wrong too and the picture won’t be complete.

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