Now that the cold season is almost over, I wanted to share with you the fun I had on my winter puzzle holiday. If you recall from last fall, I was anticipating the coming of winter so that I could begin to assemble the puzzles I acquired over the year. After coming down sick in December, I decided not to wait until the Winter Solstice, the official beginning of winter, and so began my puzzling the first week of December. For me though with several nights of lows in the 20s, it seemed close enough to winter for me.
Since I was starting before Christmas, I decided that my first puzzle would be the mid-century modern puzzle with the added Christmas theme.
This was the same brand as the mid-century modern puzzle I did last winter, which I thoroughly enjoyed in spite of its rather unique and strange-shaped pieces.
As you can see, the scenes are quite similar between the two puzzles but with the addition of holiday decorations (and not one but THREE aluminum trees)!
I set up my same work surface and as usual laid out all the pieces trying to keep the edge pieces in one place. Additionally, I sorted all the green-and-white border pieces together, which would frame each of the six individual scenes. Also, there were so many pieces to the large aluminum tree; I placed them together as well.
That chore completed, I began the process of linking together the edge pieces to frame the puzzle. This turned out to be a very difficult task as the pattern was similar on all four sides with lots of greenery. Fortunately, there was an occasional colored ball, a star, a bell, or a candy cane, which were the first ones I could assemble. After that, it was almost guess work, as some pieces seemed they were interchangeable (although I’d learn later they were not). In the end, I couldn’t get all the side pieces in their correct location and so decided to start with one of the individual scenes and worry about finishing the edge-work as I went along. I figured it would eventually straighten itself out.
I decided to start with the bottom right corner of the puzzle since it had a couple of unique and easily identifiable components. Although I could not find all the pieces, it went together fairly easily.
I next did the scene to its left, which also went fairly easily although as before, I could not fit in several pieces.
Seeing all of the pieces of the large aluminum tree together in one place, it seemed that that scene might be the next easiest one to do since I knew I had all the pieces for the biggest item in the pane. Oh was I ever wrong!
I thought I could assemble the tree and then build the rest of the scene around it. But when I started trying to put the pieces together, I realized they were so similar that it was going to be a very tedious trial-and-error approach to get them together. So instead, I assembled the rest of the scene first (you can see the multitude of aluminum tree pieces below and to the right of that partially finished scene).
While I was working on this scene, I figured out through the placement of some of the inner pieces that the reason I could not get the left-side completed was I had a series of about five pieces in the wrong location. When I moved them, the side fit perfectly but I was left with a bigger edge gap on the top. That was when I looked at the two red stars and thought maybe I had part of the top and bottom reversed (even though the pieces fit together).
After swapping about eight pieces on the bottom with six pieces on the top, all four sides came together completely (the clue glaring at me all the time that I had failed to grasp was the blue pieces that connected to the red star were part of the sky, not the floor).
Returning to the aluminum tree, it took connecting one piece at a time to existing assembled pieces in order to finish the tree. But at least all the pieces were in one place; it was just a lengthy path to get them together correctly.
I next chose to work on the bottom left and since there were very few items in that scene, it came together fairly quickly.
Before working on the last two scenes, I thought it would be helpful to assemble all the rest of the green and white borders. I had all of these pieces together and so figured that would provide frames to build the last two scenes from. This turned out to be some of the easiest pieces to go together.
I wondered if I had done the inside borders first if I would have had an easier time with the sidepieces? Well there was no way to know.
As a last organization step, I decided to sort the remaining pieces as best I could into one section for the large outdoor scene and one for the last indoor scene. If I ran across any pieces that didn’t seem to go with either of those, then they might be the remaining pieces missing from the other three scenes. This proved a wise decision as the last indoor scene was the easiest to get together AND the first one I was able to complete the entire scene before moving on to another area of the puzzle (probably helped there were only about 300 of the original 1,000 pieces left from which to choose).
With just the outdoor scene left and some rather unique colored pieces to aid the assembly, it was fun to watch as it came together.
And then as I began, I was left with about 60 similar green pieces (and a few of the original colored pieces I couldn’t find in the maze of color).
The final placement of these pieces was trial-by-error and when I had finished, I still had one very small piece left. I wondered whose puzzle had a missing piece but before I set it aside, I scoured all over the puzzle—twice no less—and then found where the last piece went, naturally another green piece!
I loved looking at all the festive decorations with a satisfied feeling of accomplishment. Since Christmas was still about a week away, I felt that I should leave it together to admire.
But when I compared the finished puzzle to the small box-size version included as a guide, the picture was better without all the crinkly lines between the pieces. But the puzzle stayed together and the picture went back in the box. Because it wasn’t the quality of the print that mattered, it was the satisfaction of completing another rather challenging but fun puzzle.
To be continued…