Jigsaw Puzzles: Puzzling and Puzzled and Enjoying

I like to do jigsaw puzzles.  I have really been going crazy on jigsaw puzzles this winter, doing about one a week.  They are a great thing to do while staying indoors during the pandemic.  I love having the big dining room table:  I can do the puzzle on one end and still have plenty of space for eating.  My mom really likes puzzles too, so we have been trading them back and forth.

I don’t like really difficult jigsaws.  Tom and John have occasionally bought me extremely difficult ones as gifts.  Like one that was all brown chocolate.  Tom wanted to get me one that was all Lego mini-figure heads for Christmas, but I found out and talked him out of it.  Life is hard enough without puzzles adding more stress.

How do I define a good jigsaw puzzle?  It is colorful, with distinctive areas.  For instance, the sky is blue, the grass is green, the barn is red, and the horse is brown.  Tom, John, and Jackie got me puzzle sorting trays for Christmas.  Dad got some for my mom after we saw them at Karen Graham’s house.  Karen is another puzzle fan.  I like being able to sort out the colors and filling in an area.  My mom prefers 500 piece puzzles.  I don’t mind larger jigsaws, but the bigger they are, the more important the color is.  For instance, I really enjoyed doing this 1,000 piece puzzle:

I like puzzles with substantial pieces, so the cardboard is thick enough that you can’t bend the pieces.  Ravensburger and Dowdle are my two favorite puzzle makers currently.  Ravensburger has colorful puzzles that are thick and fit together well.  They have 500 piece puzzles with larger pieces that are easier to pick up.  Dowdle does citiscapes that are really fun and interesting.  I like to get the jigsaws of cities I’ve been to and remember my visit while putting the puzzle together.  They have 500 and 1,000 pieces.  I recently got my mom a Dowdle puzzle of the Ohio State Stadium and we both enjoyed putting that together.  I even have a jigsaw puzzle app on my iPad for when we are in the RV.

Daughter-in-law Jackie likes to get me jigsaw puzzles for Christmas.  This year she got me one that is a Disney puzzle with 1,000 pieces.  It has a lot of dark areas, so I delayed putting it together.  But, when I took it out of the box, I found out the pieces had letters on the back.  The letters let me sort the pieces into six sections, and from there I could put the puzzle together by sorting the colors.  At first the letters felt like cheating, but it made putting the puzzle together a lot more enjoyable.

Letters on the backs of the pieces
Putting together one section at a time
Finished puzzle
Dowdle Atlantis
Dowdle Grand Canyon
Dowdle St. Augustine, Florida
Ravensburger Barbie

Jigsaw puzzles are a great way to spend some relaxing and enjoyable time.  Do you like to do puzzles?  If so, what do you look for when you are buying one?  Do you have any favorite brands that you would recommend?