How To Turn A 1000 Piece Puzzle Into A Masterpiece

Puzzle Pieces

3/5/15 Puzzle Pieces

A fun and healthy hobby I enjoy with my family is putting together puzzles 1000 plus pieces. In this post, I will share some simple tips to help you puzzle faster and easier. I created photo journals during the process on some of my favorite puzzles, from the beginning process to the end.

This is what you will need:

  • Chose a puzzle that you love
  • 1 piece of large poster cardboard, any color
  • 1 bottle of Elmer’s puzzle glue
  • 1 sponge or large paint brush
  • 1 frame, puzzle measurements
  • A big dose of determination

Let’s start with this puzzle photo of an Indian Chief in completion, to get you motivated. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Indian Chief Puzzle

3/5/15, Indian Chief, Headshot Puzzle

Puzzle

Puzzle

Puzzle, Indian Face

Puzzle, Indian

Here is a list of things to do to organize 1000 tiny puzzle pieces.

  • If you are newbie to larger puzzling, I would search for puzzles with many colors and objects to keep it easy and interesting. I get bored working with the same color.
  • Great lighting is mandatory or you will die, not really, but you will struggle visually with the pieces. I use 3 bright lamps, LED lamps and place around the puzzle.
  • Place the puzzle pieces on a flat uncluttered surface.
  • Make sure no pieces are left in the plastic wrap.
  • Stand the empty box up in your work area for visual reference.
  • Start by turning all the pieces right side up, separate by grouping of color initially.

Obviously, there will be many shades of every color, group light to dark within groups.

Now you are ready to work on the frame. All frame pieces will have a straight side, pull the frame pieces together and create the puzzle border. Below is a picture of the puzzle I am working on now. A border example is easier to see in this puzzle photo.

Puzzle Border

Puzzle Border

Easy, right? Now you are ready to start developing the puzzle. Here are photos of the Indian Chief puzzle in progress.

  • After you finish the puzzle, it’s time to slide a piece of large poster cardboard (available almost everywhere) under the puzzle to prepare for preserving. Be careful with this maneuver, you don’t want it crashing to the floor.
  • Now it’s time to cover the puzzle with puzzle glue. Elmer’s puzzle glue is the best. Usually one coat will secure the pieces into place, occasionally it takes two coats. Put the puzzle away and wait 24 hours for it to dry.
  • Hopefully you will want to frame your masterpiece. Frames for puzzles are not easy to find. I would recommend checking local craft stores, but you might have to buy online, especially if your puzzle is an odd shape or size. And be sure to save the puzzle box, it has the puzzle measurements on the side.

One thing I learned the hard way – check the floor each time you leave your puzzle area for any pieces that may have fallen off the table. My dogs have eaten several puzzle pieces over the past years. Luckily, my husband is crafty at making missing puzzle pieces. He constructs them out of cardboard boxes, and then matches the paint with the puzzle. Once we worked on a 2000 piece puzzle all summer, yes… it seemed like an eternity and 1,999 pieces later, a piece was gone. Panic attack, but lesson learned – don’t lose pieces.

I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know if you have any questions. Do you enjoy puzzling? I would love to hear your tips and shortcuts or see photos of your masterpieces. After puzzling for years, I have accumulated a lot of puzzles, but my favorite one is the “Wizard of Oz”. It has bright colors, characters galore and Dorthy’s red sparkly shoes. Do you have a brand puzzle you favored? 

This week I’m working on a sweet “cupcake puzzle”, how about you?

Happy trails,
Donna George

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Did You Know Seagulls Are Clever, Intelligent Birds?

Seagulls on the beach

Did you know  Seagulls are clever birds? Whether you love them or hate them, these beautiful birds are crafty and highly intelligent. Growing up on the coast I’ve always been intrigued with seagulls. Their aggressive and bold behavior around people seem to contradict their graceful aerial movement and soft water landings.

Seagull

These fascinating birds initially only hung out by the seaside, river or some type of water resource, but now many urban areas have become home to them. Growing up on the coast hearing the high pitch call of the gulls, integrates into the normal everyday backdrop sound, but it has always seemed strange to hear seagulls in cities far from the coast when I travel. Strange as it may sound, it always warms my heart a little to think my beach friends from home… Followed me.

Seagull

It turns out Seagulls have separated into two distinct different groups, rural and urban gulls and these seagulls do not mix. They usually stay in the area they are born in, although some urban seagulls do return to the coast to breed, according to Peter Rock, seagull expert. Once the babies are born, the parenting seagulls rotate turns caring for their young, standing guard and providing food for the nest.

Studies estimate over 100,000 seagulls are now nesting on urban cities rooftops where they can protect their young and easily feed from waste landfills and street trash. While the number of gulls heading to the cities is increasing, the coastal gulls are dramatically decreasing.

Seagull on the beach

I love to watch the seagulls on the beach, play out their little tricks. Did you know they stomp the ground with their feet to get the earthworms to surface imitating rainfall? If you get the chance, notice they will repeat many behaviors in unison with each other while communicating to large flocks.

Here’s a few more interesting things about the seagulls:

  • Seagulls posses a highly developed range of vocalislation. They also have the ability to communicate with each other through body movement.
  • There is estimated to be twenty-nine different species in existence.
  • They drink both kinds of water, fresh and salt.
  • Seagulls target rocks to drop hard shell food in to break it open to eat.
  • They have a small claw halfway up their leg that allows them to sit on ledges without being blown off by high winds.
  • If you notice them hovering over bridges, they are conserving energy to prepare to absorb rising heat from hot roadways.
  • Their eyesight is better than ours.
  • Seagulls can survive in the wild for 10-15 years, but can live up to 30 years in captivity. The oldest recorded seagull was 49 when he died.
  • Although they live in colonies that consist of thousands of pairs of birds, they are monogamous to their pair and stay with one mate for life.
  • Seagulls remember things and pass it on to other gulls.
  • They are covered in white plumage and have black around the wing edges.
  • Their wing span is usually 11 to 30 inches and they appear uniform in shape.They have heavy bodies, moderately long limbs and necks with a rounded tail (except for 3 species).
  • Eagles and other large birds are the main predator of seagulls.
  • Seagulls often steal food from other birds, animals and humans.They eat earthworms, rodents, insects, reptiles, fruit, seeds, amphibians and human food. Occasionally, they eat other birds in their species, cannibalism.
  • The seagull is the state bird for Utah because they helped the Mormons settle by eating the excess of crickets in the state. Referred to as “The Miracle of Gulls“.
  • They are synonymous with the terms “Freedom, Versatility, and Carefree” in the Native American Culture.

Live free

Seagulls are not just beautiful, but an old species. No one knows exactly how far they date back, but most bird enthusiasts agree, that seagulls are among one of the species of birds.

A little birdie told me that it’s known in the circles of ornithologists, wildlife biologists and birders that most experts cringe at the term “Seagull” and say it’s misleading. The experts claim there is no bird species known as technically as “Seagull”, but as simply “Gulls”. The word, sea, got attached to the gull after their behavior demonstrated their devotion to the coastline.

If you enjoy the “Flight of the Seagulls” you’re part of the mass majority, however, if you find the seagulls annoying – maybe this post will help change your mind. I hope so because you’re missing out.

Why do you think the seagull is so popular among all the feathered friends? Is it the mental images of being near the ocean or just simple subliminal perception of coastal familiarity? Whatever the reason, it’s a great one and justified.

Happy trails
Donna George

Why Natural Seaside Oats Are Important?

sea oates

Uniola paniculata, Seaside oats

The tapestry and subtle lines of the natural landscape of Sea Oats on the eastern seaboard coastline is both important and attractive. Variations of earthtone colors, sizes and textures line the beach banks in grandeur perfection. Paired with a backdrop of a blue sky and the big blue ocean – Extraordinary!

Sea Oats

Sea oats

Sea Oats, a living plant is protected in most states due to its location and habitat. These beautiful plants help protect our shoreline by holding sand and soil in place during extreme weather events such as tropical storms and hurricanes. These plants can actually catch blowing sand, who knew?

Sea Oats

Shoreline Sea Oats

And let’s not forget that beaches are always moving which makes Sea Oats “endangered”. Occasionally, I see people attempting to pull the plants from the beach to take with them, not a good idea… They are an important part of the ecosystem that keep the natural habitat healthy.

carolina beach

Sea Oats

Beach season is approaching quickly, and thousands of visitors will pour onto the coastline to enjoy the long-awaited day offs and family vacations. Considering how brutally cold the winter, it’s predicted to be a busier than ever beach season. Everyone is ready for some fun in the sun and beach time.

The ocean is a tremendous gift, a treasure, positioned as the heartbeat of summer. It’s up to us, you and me to keep it clean and abide by essential regulations.

There is something everyone can do to contribute to protecting the beaches. Small things like disposing all your trash in designated areas. I cringe when I see people bury their cans in the sand or throw bottles in the sea oats. 😦 And be warned, I go ballistic when I see people smoking on the beach. (Where do you think they dispose of the butts? ). It’s so sad…

I am the crazy lady who might just speak up, yikes, yes. I can’t control myself. My vehicle displays a license tag that declares, Protect our Oceans. How about you? Can you think of a way to influence, protection of coastline treasures? Will you be visiting the beach, summer 2015?

Enjoy the coastline and take a second to look at the Sea Oats quietly on the sidelines, swaying and dancing, playing its part in the ecosystem.

Happy trails
Donna George

What Would The World Be Like Without Bridges?

Bridge over waterway

Wrightsville Beach Bridge

What would the world be like without bridges? Primitive. These beautiful structures we often take for granted are miraculous structures that connects us in a million ways to places, islands, jobs, people, etc.

Design lines, Bridge

Beautiful lines, Wrightsville Beach, NC Bridge

I love bridges. It’s hard to find one that’s not interesting or lovely in its own way. Bridges are the “big connectors” that simplify our daily lives. Any bridge over the water is gorgeous, and so are the old rusty ones hidden away from us on roads less traveled and out of the way country roads. The mixed hues of blues, aquas, greens and browns, blend the structures into the natural surrounding landscape and stirs my desire to grab a seat and stay awhile. Just like a scene setting you would see from a Nicholas Sparks movie.

I traveled the state of Alabama for years, and yes its true, the bridges are epic. I was lucky enough to get a peek at the famous “Bridges of Madison County from the movie starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, (great love story).

I can’t isolate the one thing that attracts my eye to bridges, but I do enjoy them. How about you? Do you have a certain bridge that you love? Do you ever experience nostalgia when you cross bridges?

Happy trails,
Donna George

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Front Row Seats With A Big View

2 beach chairs on the beach shore

Front Row Seats

A big ocean, front row seats with a big view… A perfect day. Who would you bring to sit with you?

Countdown to Summer 2015. Are you ready for to grab a seat? I am <3.

Happy trails,
Donna George

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Blogging U Photography 101, Day 5: Solitude

Moon

Moonlight Solitude. Full Moon

The moon is full, bursting with light, shining bright for all the world to see. Completely alone, in “Solitude”.

The moon is faithful to shine bright, right on time every night. Tonight, time moves up an hour, the moon already knows.

Happy trails,
Donna George