The joy of a puzzle.

on January 17, 2012 in Ze Bloggy Goodness with 31 comments by

I grew up doing puzzles. Working puzzles? Constructing puzzles? Puzzling puzzles? I don’t really know.

My grandmother loved them. She always had one in the works at her house or when we went on vacation. It’s one of my strongest and fondest memories.

But somehow, I previously had yet to adopt this hobby into my own life.

[Because I’m not 75? Maybe.]

As an author, I spend a lot [read: too much] time in front of my computer. And when it is time to relax, I like to avoid words and my computer. So while I love reading [you know I LOVE READING], there are lots of times where I just want to step. away. from. the. alphabet.

Within the last four weeks, puzzles have made a massive comeback in my life. And I am realizing it is the PERFECT hobby for me.

Those of you who know me well will appreciate this next sentence –> Last week, I worked on the puzzle for two hours while I watched episodes of The Waltons.

[How in the WORLD am I supposed to get a date when I write stuff like that on the internet?]

And then just yesterday, I played the Wicked soundtrack all the way through while trying my darndest to finish the leafy sky.

Here’s why I love puzzles:

1. It involves zero words.

2. It is mindless but totally challenging. At least this one is. 1000 pieces of Post-Impressionism? Ouchies.

3. A normal person could walk away at any time and return later. [I have issues. I need to finish certain areas. Don’t judge.]

4. Multiple people can contribute. There are currently about five of us working/contributing/puzzling this puzzle.

5. It does something good to your heart to escape from your today. I’ve watched a boy with a broken heart finish the red lady’s dress and a girl with heavy decisions on her mind put together an entire field.

6. You can do the puzzle over and over again. I don’t know if I will [this one is about to make me or break me], but I like that you can.

7. You have a lifelong hobby. [I *think* this is my way of convincing the world that IT IS COOL FOR A 30-SOMETHING TO ENJOY PUZZLES, OKAY?]

So, I guess this whole post is a confession that if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you are probably going to continue to see pictures of this puzzle as it progresses. And now that I have justified it, I will quit giving myself such a hard time for being a dork.

. . . . .

What’s your favorite hobby? Any other puzzle lovers out there?


  1. posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 3:36 AM  |  reply

    Hello! I’m not sure I’ve commented before, although I enjoy reading your blog. Clearly the draw of the puzzle was too powerful for me to resist – for, I too love puzzles!

    And I completely relate to your third point (I am not a normal person when it comes to puzzles – my husband once “lost” me for most of a weekend as I had to get the sky finished. Had to.)

    We don’t really have space in our flat to do them, so I haven’t done one in a while, but I do miss the combination of mindless and challenging. Perfect for unwinding, or to do whilst talking about deeper stuff (or silly stuff).

    Enjoy completing this one!

  2. Yorokobi
    posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 4:37 AM  |  reply

    Why I love puzzles:

    There are very few arenas in this world in which I can bring perfect order out of complete chaos.

    There is such satisfaction in completion. Working hard. Creating something, sort of.

    And I can do all this single handedly, when necessary, or with friends.

  3. Katy
    posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 5:02 AM  |  reply

    Oh! I love puzzles and seeing some of your pics have made me want to get one to start!

  4. Jen
    posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 5:51 AM  |  reply

    Yay for puzzles!

  5. posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 6:43 AM  |  reply

    some of the kiddos i babysit are VERY into them, so we end up puzzling a lot…and i kinda love it. πŸ™‚

  6. gmh
    posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 7:29 AM  |  reply

    Did you know that every time you place a piece in a jigsaw puzzle, your brain gets a little jolt of endorphins? That’s what keeps you going!
    I love puzzles. I’m so geeky that I listen to sermons while working puzzles. (Either that, or a good book on CD.)
    Puzzles- a place for everything, and sooner or later, everything in its place!

  7. posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 7:50 AM  |  reply

    so funny! we actually just bought a puzzle! i found a really awesome vintage nashville puzzle months ago and andy got the puzzle bug. we were at target sunday and were trying to pick one out but nothing suited both our fancies. i ended up picking out a vintage cinderella one – have you seen those? they are beautiful vintage paintings of disney princesses. andy said he’ll pick out the next one for us to do. πŸ™‚

  8. posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 8:44 AM  |  reply

    I haven’t done puzzles since I was a kid, but used to love them.
    We even had a “puzzle board” so we could move it around the house to different rooms if we wanted. That thing was massive or at least it was when I was younger. πŸ™‚

    So I see nothing wrong with your working on puzzles (even though you are single) πŸ˜‰

  9. posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 8:59 AM  |  reply

    Love love LURVE puzzles. I have a VanGogh one and a 2000 piece castle one waiting to be done right now. They’re definitely something we do on vacation, especially the beach.

  10. merideth
    posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 9:19 AM  |  reply

    I had lots of hobbies as a kid, but they all fell by the wasteside as I got older. actually been thinking about this lately, and trying to think of things I’d like to do. I paint once in a while, but I get frustrated knowing that I can’t put on paper what I picture in my head. But, I still like it.

  11. posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 9:57 AM  |  reply

    Puzzles are what I do to decompress. A weekend of that for me involves a puzzle and a movie I’ve seen so many times I don’t need to be watching the TV to know what’s going on so I can focus on the puzzle. We also used an empty cube at a previous job to house a puzzle. It was how we dealt with the stress of downsizing and outsourcing.

  12. posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 12:14 PM  |  reply

    I have a friend who used to have puzzle parties. She would fill her house with tables and puzzles and have a huge potluck. All the finished puzzles would get glued and mounted on her basement ceiling. She now has the most amazing ceiling in her finished basement. Every kind of puzzle you can imagine. All different shapes. So much fun.

  13. Mandy Mann
    posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 2:55 PM  |  reply

    Annie, every time i check your blog. i leave with a smile and a deepening appreciation for your writing. YOU. ARE. AN. EXCELLENT. WRITER! If there is ever a dreary, cold, rainy, winter day in Nashville when you doubt that….maybe my words will whisper in the back of your memory. You are an excellent writer.

  14. posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 3:05 PM  |  reply

    This brings back such good memories! We used to do puzzles as a family. My junior of college, I lived in a house with 10 other girls and we always had a puzzle going in the living room. It was a great stress reliever/way to procrastinate. I’m more in to crossword puzzles these days but this makes me wonder if I should have a puzzle table in my living room now.

  15. posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 4:06 PM  |  reply

    Annie, I’m amazed at how much we have in common. My grandmother always had a puzzle going. When we would spend our summers at our lakehouse, Grandmama would always have a puzzle on a huge piece of plywood on the table so we could move it when it was time to eat. I was always the one sitting there with her. Even when her eyesight declines she would still do those puzzles. I haven’t had much heart to do them since her death in 2006.

    Always put the border together first she would say. My favorites were spools of thread, crayons and vintage toys. She always glued them together, too. No taking them apart.

    And I would so be watching The Waltons (nightly here) or listening to The Wicked soundtrack. Can I come over? πŸ˜‰

  16. Valerie
    posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 6:39 PM  |  reply

    Some of the best times I’ve spent in the past 6 months have been working a puzzle with my 18 year old daughter. We did the New York skyline (it was panoramic and a KILLER) and a Thomas Kinkade Christmas scene. We usually listen to music. For the Christmas puzzle, it was the Dave Barnes and Matt Wertz Christmas CDS. What perfect memories! Every once in awhile my husband will come through, try to place a piece or two, then decide to just sit back on the couch and keep us company. DD’s boyfriend does the same. Now that she’s back in college, we don’t have a puzzle going, but maybe that needs to change….
    However, I too obsess about getting a certain section done, which often doesn’t bode well for cooking, cleaning, etc.:D

  17. posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 7:50 PM  |  reply

    I *LOVE* puzzles and am looking forward to being able to do them again (right now I don’t have a spot in my house that’s safe from my son’s “help”)

  18. Breehan
    posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 8:37 PM  |  reply

    We are the same person I am pretty sure. My favorite memories with my dad always include long conversations (or quiet moments of silence) over puzzles. Every year when we went to the beach, we would buy a super challenging puzzle and force ourselves to finish it before the end of the trip. No matter how much of the puzzle my dad did, he would always save the last piece for me. Every year for birthdays and Christmas I always give my dad a puzzle. Its kind of our thing. So in short (well that is short for me), I love puzzles and completely agree with everything about this post!

  19. Jolene
    posted on Jan 17, 2012 at 9:46 PM  |  reply

    I love puzzles!!!!

  20. posted on Jan 18, 2012 at 11:57 AM  |  reply

    I, too am thirty-something *cough* and I love puzzles!! =)

  21. posted on Jan 18, 2012 at 1:39 PM  |  reply

    Annie – we are BIG puzzle supporters in the Mahon household – we should do one together sometime.


  22. posted on Jan 18, 2012 at 1:40 PM  |  reply

    Now that does look fun! We have to put adult puzzles on hold for a bit while we wait for our 3 yr old to grow out of the time to destroy puzzle parts that have been put together stage…but other than that…I love them too! πŸ˜€

    And when I was single, I did them too! Then I would glue them and frame them for art. May sound silly, but it was fun, relaxing, and gave me a hobby and art I had worked hard for without lifting a brush!

    MY first time here…found you on twitter…I will be back!

  23. posted on Jan 18, 2012 at 1:52 PM  |  reply

    Oh, I so understand wanting to step away from the computer during down time. And (at 26) I do love puzzles! It’s a pretty standard activity during beach vacations in our family.

  24. posted on Jan 19, 2012 at 12:34 PM  |  reply

    Wow – no idea there were so many other puzzle fans out there. I’m a complete puzzle nerd. I even have one of those ridiculous felt mats that you wrap up around this thing that resembles an inflatable pool toy. Keeps the puzzle away from my part-time 2 year old’s hands that always seem to find the puzzle board, no matter where I stow it.

    You know you want one.

    Add that to the fact that I absolutely loove watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, and I don’t think I’ll be finding any dates any time soon either.

  25. posted on Jan 20, 2012 at 6:56 AM  |  reply

    Puzzles and puzzle lovers rock.

  26. posted on Jan 24, 2012 at 10:03 PM  |  reply

    My mom’s side of the family does puzzles when we get together – something to do while talking and all ages are invovled. But at some point my grandmom (and her friends) decided it was more fun to hide the box top so half the time you don’t even know what the puzzled is of… random but fun times!

  27. Janice034
    posted on Jan 26, 2012 at 10:09 AM  |  reply

    I have always loved solving puzzles… I really can’t stop unless I perfectly done with it. I love doing this because it enhances my mind and makes me have fun and excitement…

  28. Armand
    posted on Jan 27, 2012 at 10:32 PM  |  reply

    When I was a kid, my uncle always bought different puzzles for me. I love playing it. But sometimes if I can’t fix the whole puzzle it irritates me a lot.
    How much more if they ask me to complete that puzzle in the photo. It will make me sick!

  29. melanie
    posted on Feb 05, 2012 at 6:39 PM  |  reply

    I swagbucked “joy of puzzles” to find someone who was able to put into words why I’ve come to love this new hobby. Well said. I just finished my first 1500 piece and loved/hated/loved it.

  30. melanie
    posted on Feb 05, 2012 at 8:23 PM  |  reply

  31. melanie
    posted on Feb 09, 2012 at 11:09 PM  |  reply

    Wow, I just figured out that you are friends with Kristi Stofer! We were housemates with them in DC for a number of years and LOVE them. So you must be pretty cool too… =)

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get a sneak peek of Annie’s latest book! Click the link to download two free chapters of Let’s All Be Brave.