Despite moving and living without my puzzles or my puzzle table for over 4 months, I still had a good puzzle year.
I completed 58 puzzles from 21 puzzle companies. My smallest puzzle was 60 pieces, the largest 1500 pieces, and the majority were 1000 pieces. (I don’t currently have a table big enough for anything over 2000 pieces.)
That’s over 48,000 puzzle pieces!
I completed so many awesome puzzles this year, I had a hard time narrowing it down. I had as many as 25 puzzles picked out until I realized that was almost half of my yearly total. But I finally narrowed it down to 13. To see more, check out my Instagram, where I post puzzles, books, adventures, and more.
Now that I am mostly settled in my new place, I can get back to what I love—books and puzzles. And it just so happens that I received a new puzzle order today.
This is a blame it on Instagram purchase. Or rather, blame it on the fact that most of the sponsored posts I see on Instagram are puzzles because I follow and like mostly puzzle accounts. And Instagram’s algorithms clearly work.
Well played Instagram. Well played.
In this case, I’m super happy with my purchase. The company is called Flipsi Puzzles, a small and new puzzle company from Australia. (And this is why I do love social media—being able to find and support small businesses anywhere in the world!) Their first series is called Haunted Places and What Lurks Within. As I am insatiably curious, I had to get these puzzles and find out what’s on the flip side.
After struggling to pick one of the puzzles, I gave up and just purchased all 3 puzzles plus the Flipsi Puzzles board. Check out my unboxing video:
And stay tuned. I’ll post part 2 where I complete the Haunted Castle so I can finally see what’s on the flip side.
As I completed my latest puzzle today, the mushroom images made me think of a book about fungi on my TBR bookcase. When I went to put the puzzle in one of puzzle cases (basically a bookcase that I’ve converted for puzzles), I looked at some of my other puzzles and started thinking about which puzzles could go with which books. I’ve seen Instagrammers pair puzzles and beverages and bookstagramers have paired books with all sorts of things from dresses to food to other books. So I thought hey, why not pair puzzles with books. (Seriously, this was pretty much my exact thought process.) And voilá! I came up with a whole list of puzzle and book pairings.
It makes me so happy when two hobbies collide in such a delightful way. Booknerds & Puzzlers unite!
But in that video, I only got as far as separating all the pieces with the border pieces ready to be put together. I didn’t explain how I work each puzzle section. And I promised to show the finished puzzle.
Well, I finished the puzzle today. But instead of just showing a photo of the completed puzzle, I decided to continue the video to show the various stages of my puzzle progress. From completing the border to putting in the last piece.
If you follow me on Instagram, you see a lot of posts of jigsaw puzzles and legos in my feed. (And if you don’t follow me, why not?!)
A follower asked me what I do with the puzzles and Lego sets once I have put them together. A great question! And I thought this video would be better (because visual) instead of text.
It’s a vlog!
Do they still call them vlogs?
Terminology tangent aside, my skills of video taking and movie making are rather rudimentary, so please don’t judge. Although I did have a lot of fun making this.
I also have to give a shout-out to Frostbeard Candles. If you notice, you will see several in the video. Not only do these booklover candles have fun names like Trashy Romance Novel, Darcy’s Parlour, and Cliffs of Insanity, they also smell amazing. (Not an affiliate link, just my honest opinion.)
If you work puzzles or put together Lego sets, what do you do with them once they’re finished?
While I have been documenting my puzzles through photos on Instagram, I had not kept any kind of master list. Since my puzzle collection has expanded a bit a lot, I finally decided to catalog my puzzles, past and present. So over my winter break, I made a master database of all my puzzles going back to 2016.
Yes, that’s right. I dug through my photos both and through my Puzzle Warehouse account. Of course, I have a few puzzles that I cannot remember which year I completed them in and I’m sure a few are missing from the list, particularly from the earlier years as I didn’t regularly take photos or post my puzzles back in 2016. And any prior to 2016 are lost in the vague recesses of my memory.
Needless to say, I have done a lot of puzzles since 2016.
But let’s talk about the puzzles I completed in 2021!
I’m sitting here on the cusp of the New Year, looking back over the last 12 months. And what a year was 2020.
And in looking back, I decided to list my Top 20 of 2020 broken down into Top 5s in 4 categories.
1-5 — Top 5 Books I Read in 2020
I had a stellar reading year. I read 235 books. Yes, some of these were rereads, but I always have some rereads. I always have a hard time choosing any fave, but I highly recommend these 5 (in no particular order).
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune – a young adult urban fantasy about a group of orphaned magical youth and their case worker. I found this story so enchanting and whimsical with beautiful prose. The book has great character development, wonderful world-building, and imaginative characters. I fell in love with each and every one of the orphans. And as lovely and wonderful as the story is, this story is also a timely read. Because this is a story about being different, about living authentically, about fighting prejudices and stereotypes, and about changing the system by changing the minds of one person at a time. This is a story that asks tough questions. That demands us to question our preconceived notions. That examines what it means to be a family, to be our authentic self, to be alive instead of just living. This is a story to be read and reread. To be cherished. And to be shared.
Becoming by Michelle Obama – I always liked Michelle Obama. Now I even respect her even more. What an amazing and inspiring story. I listened to the audiobook while following along with the physical book. I loved hearing Michelle read her own story. I particularly enjoyed hearing about her early life growing up on the South Side of Chicago. I understand her desire to not be in politics, but I think she would make a great political leader. And then I recommend following up with the Netflix documentary about her book tour.
Claire lived by the firm moral philosophy that one could never have too many pockets, too many books, or too much tea.
The idea that unwritten stories exist in their own library that’s in hell, but not completely a part of hell. And that librarians are normally deceased mortals who once were these unwritten stories authors. So imaginative with fantastic world-building and character building. I loved it so much I read it in one day. This is truly a book dedicated to stories.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge – this book provides an eloquent discussion on race and institutional racism in the UK. While it is UK-specific, the broad discussions about racism, structural racism, feminism, and class are applicable anywhere. Ms. Eddo-Lodge clearly did an immense amount of research and is a testament to the book’s truth. This book is an important read and a great resource to start the hard discussions. Racism is a real and persistent problem. And it’s going to take voices like Ms. Eddo-Lodge to help facilitate the tough dialogue to find solutions
The Wolves at the Door by Judith L. Pearson – a nonfiction book that reads like a fiction spy thriller about America’s greatest female spy. She did so much important work during WWII that THREE governments honored her with their highest civilian honors. This was such an incredible read. Not only did she have to overcome the challenges of gender (which funnily enough she faced more after the war), but also disability. Her story is one that should be a must-read.
5-10 — Top 5 Puzzles I Completed in 2020
As an avid jigsaw puzzler, I completed a lot of puzzles this year. I don’t keep track of numbers (haven’t found a puzzle tracking app yet).
The Season Tree by Schmidt Puzzle Rebel Girls by Gibsons Puzzles Waiting for Our Humans by Better Co. Garden Peacock by SunsOut Sleepy Time by Vermont Christmas Co.
OMG. Today is October 15. The Ides of October. I just got over that it was October 1 and now here it is mid-month already.
Seriously, I’m about 7 weeks behind. I couldn’t believe when the calendar flipped over to October. At the beginning of the month, I started writing a completely different post. I set that post aside for, I swear, a day or two. Now here it is mid-month and that post is out of date.
So here I am writing a it’s-mid-month-where-has-this-month-gone post instead of the previously started it’s-October-and-I-have-so-many-things-to-get-done.