Saturday, May 31, 2014

Puzzles & Stuff

When I was younger, I did jigsaw puzzles.  I always had a puzzle going.  In my home growing up, we had a basement and us kids had a big area to play in.  My grandpa gave us a section of pegboard (it was blue, I still remember) and we laid it out and started doing puzzles on the floor in the basement.  Sometimes, we would do them in the living room and it would take up the whole middle of the floor until we were done.  We had dogs and they would step all over it, whatever. 

I once did a puzzle that was 2000 pieces and it was a Victorian Garden.  It had all of this green grasses, 100 different types of flowers, etc.  This puzzle I did as a tween and it took a long time.  Not quite sure how long, but the peg board was huge.  This one I had to do in my bedroom and I had to pick up off the floor and place on my bed each and everyday.  I had to walk the perimeter in order to get out of my room.  I glued this one and wanted it framed, but framing (as anyone who has gone to Michael's or Joann's knows) ain't cheap.  A 12/13-year old girl does not have $200 to frame a puzzle.

So, I stood it up and slid it behind a dresser that was about the width of the puzzle and went about my life.  I never framed it.  My parent's do still have it in the basement, propped up behind a few dressers.  That was my last hoorah for puzzles for quite some time.

Recently, I did a few puzzles.  I wanted to remember how fun they were and how involved you can get in a puzzle.  Hours and hours at the table sifting through the box, looking for edge pieces, making the border, focusing on a section at a time...Better than mindlessly watching hours of TV.

My first puzzle was a dragon puzzle that technically did not have an edge.  It did have an edge, but it was a shaped puzzle with curves and points.

Vince and I did the dragon one at his parent's house, on the dining room table.  That pic was not the actual put-together puzzle.  Unfortunately, I can't find the pic of the actual puzzle we did.  It is somewhere on my computer, I just have not fully transferred all my pics from my old computer.  That puzzle was 1000 pieces.  I bought it at a yard sale for $1.  Great deal; it is about $15 online.  One does run the risk of having missing pieces when you buy it open, but I was willing to give it a whirl.

My next puzzle was a 1000-piece Mystery Puzzle, where there is a mini-story in the puzzle box, you read it as you put together the puzzle.  The puzzle is the murder scene.  With the help of the picture and the story, you can figure out the mystery.

I thought that the puzzle would give an extra clue, like the puzzle would be slightly different than the picture on the box so you only know this clue by putting together the puzzle.  No, that was not the case, but it was neat anyway.  You supposedly can go online to find out the answer to the mystery, but I guess the puzzle was old enough that it was not available anymore.  I got this puzzle at a yard sale, too.  Two-for-two on all pieces being there!

The tough part on that one was the gray stone walkway and the gray marbled walls.  They all were very similar.  My last piece was the left wall where the lion sits. 

My most recent one was a 550-piece Teapot puzzle.  This was a new puzzle that I got for Christmas one year from my mom.  I did this one and the Mystery puzzle on my dining room table.  We don't typically use the table for everyday meals, only when we have people over.  I did get a huge square of cardboard from Costco (free, it was a toilet paper layer separator) to do the puzzles on, so that I may move it, if people come over.

Isn't this quaint?  I started with the roses and then worked on the chair and down that way.  I was left with this one piece and was thinking, "I have an extra piece??!"  I scanned the puzzle and truly could not find where I was missing one.  I called Vince over and showed him, he laughed and saw the hole right away.  It was in the berries that are in the roses.  So, my last piece was were I started.  I had come full circle (or square, whatever!).

I think I have one or two more puzzles in the garage.  I will dig them up and do them, in-between my summer knitting. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

JC Baby Blanket

I am crocheting my fourth baby blanket in the Lion Brand Marbled Baby Throw pattern.  I love that pattern!  It is easy and you can totally zone out and it's all good.

This time this blanket is for a friend at work.  She went out on maternity leave and she will be due back really soon, so I really need to get on the horn if I want to send it to her before her return.

I am using Loops & Threads Impeccable (100% Acrylic, 128g each) in Clear Blue, Soft Fern and White.  While I am working with it, I am not loving this yarn; it is very stiff.  I am used to doing this large project with Berroco Comfort and that is relaxed and not so much strain on your wrists to get it out of the skein and to manipulate.  I wanted to save a few bucks (in case I never see this gal again; who knows, she may love staying at home and quit her job at work.  It would not be the first time I have seen this happen after the first child is born).

There is Razzy, helping me crochet.  Yarn attracts the cats, no doubt.  I ended up using one whole skein of each color and a little bit from a second skein. 

These types of blankets relax the more you wash them.  Acrylic is not the softest yarn, but it is sturdy.  It can withstand lots of wear and tear.

It will be nice to have a little blanket to cover either mommy or baby during those late night feedings or a nice square to lay down for the baby to hang out on the floor.

This was a simple granny square thing, around and around.  Perfect project for a beginner crocheter and a perfect project to use up scraps of yarn.