Category Archives: Puzzle Mania

We aren’t puzzle addicts. We swear. But man, do we love puzzles.

Triumphant Return of Puzzle Mania

Our poor, poor puzzle addiction. This whole time that we’ve been too busy to post, we’ve also been too busy to finish puzzles. My friends, the drought is officially over. We started Thomas Kinkade’s Lady and the Tramp puzzle… Hold on. I actually have to go look at that post to find the date… Wow, all the way back at the beginning of February. It has been sitting on our puzzle board (a repurposed shelf that we didn’t use from a prefab cabinet) since then, just mocking us. Tonight, we finally conquered it.

Similarly to last time, we pulled up a high-res image of the finished work on our TV, but this time we focused in to a small section at a time to find the pieces missing from that area. That helped for a little while since we hadn’t placed a few pieces in color transition areas and they were really stumping us. Finally, we got down to the last few (30 or so) pieces and separated them into shapes to start trying to match a few holes we had across the board. We were convinced for a while that we were missing a bunch of pieces because the ones we had weren’t fitting. We even (unfairly) blamed the cat for walking off with a few pieces (though he never did admit it), but by some miracle, even after all this time of the puzzle sitting out, every single piece was there and the puzzle came together at last. It always feels good to complete a puzzle, but this time especially since it has been so long since we started.

Completed Lady and the Tramp puzzle

Our next puzzle is on loan to us from our friends. They either like us or hate us, but we can’t tell which. The Doctor Who fans among us will probably remember the Vincent Van Gogh episode, and the follow-up painting of the TARDIS exploding as part of the Season 5 finale. They loaned us a puzzle of that painting. It’s going to take us a whole weekend (or maybe longer) to put that together. It’s nothing but white, black, dark blue, orange, and yellow. Puzzle Mania marches on…

Buy Thomas Kinkade Disney 4-in-1 puzzle from Amazon

Thomas Kinkade Disney Puzzle 1

Tonight’s Tabletop Tuesday is the return of Puzzle Mania. We had a lot of fun doing the Legend of Zelda Puzzle last month, so we decided to make it a regular thing. We’re not puzzle addicts. We swear.

Amanda’s brother loves puzzles, so for Christmas, we bought him four reasonably difficult puzzles and gave them to him mixed up in a single box. This sounds cruel and unusual, but he really loves puzzles. He spent around 16 hours straight trying to complete them before giving up and finally going to bed. Anyway, this lead to us realize that our puzzle addiction will get expensive. After researching some, Amanda found that you can buy multipacks of puzzles, sometimes getting four puzzles for the price of one, as was the case for the puzzle we are doing tonight.

We started the first of a four-pack of Thomas Kinkade Disney-themed puzzles, Lady and the Tramp, based on the painting of the same name. After completing the Zelda puzzle, we sat down and evaluated how we could do puzzles better in the future. We started by rearranging our initial setup to allow us easier access to all of the pieces. For this puzzle in particular, we used our TV as a giant visual aid for the design. Since these are Thomas Kinkade puzzles, very high resolution copies of the original image can be found online. That let us see the tiny details of the puzzle much more clearly. More importantly, this meant that we didn’t have to pass the cardboard box back and forth because we could both see at the same time.

The puzzle was 500 pieces, same as the Zelda puzzle, but this one was more difficult because it was smaller, measuring 18×24″. We spent about 3 hours working on it, but only got maybe half way done.

Lady and the Tramp puzzle

To not let our puzzle addiction get out of control, we have resolved to only do a single puzzle every month. We also struck a deal with our friends to trade puzzles when we finish them. They have a truly insidious Doctor Who puzzle of Van Gogh’s exploding TARDIS. We are both looking forward to it, and are terrified of it a the same time. We spent about 2 hours at their house one evening trying to help them out and got practically nowhere. Brutal.

As an interesting note, we came across an article on CBS News from a couple years ago while searching for puzzles. According to the study referenced in the article, solving puzzles, along with reading and other activities that engage your brain, helps prevent the plaque in the brain that causes Alzheimer’s. So not only are we having a fun date night together, but we’re also exercising our brain to be healthier, so we can remember these dates nights for longer. Two dates and a lifetime of memories in one!

CBS News article about puzzles helping the brain
Buy Thomas Kinkade Disney 4-in-1 puzzle from Amazon

Powerball and Puzzle

We don’t gamble much, but today, we had a billion and a half reasons to. We bought a couple tickets and let the computer pick the five main numbers, but we picked the Powerball numbers.


The fun part of this date was imagining all the things we would do with the money. Here are our top 5:

1. Pay off all of our debts.
2. Pay off all the debts for family and friends.
3. Build our dream house in a dream location. That spawned an interesting conversation about house features and location features, which we intend to revisit for a future, longer date.
4. Buy new cars. I want a Tesla Model S and Amanda wants a Pontiac Sunfire.
5. Travel the world for a year. The house will take time to build anyway.


While we were waiting for the drawing and chatting about how we were going to spend our winnings when we definitely hit the jackpot, we finished the puzzle from last night.

As the numbers were called, we knew we didn’t win the jackpot, but we did get the Powerball correct. So in all, we came out $1 ahead, and I’ll forever claim that we won the Powerball.

Legend of Zelda Puzzle

For tonight’s Tabletop Tuesday, we did a 550 piece Legend of Zelda puzzle. Puzzles make a great date because they allow you to work together toward a common goal, and when you’re finished, you have a nice display to remind you of your hard work together.


The puzzle we chose is the Collector’s Puzzle of a Legend of Zelda Map.  We both really enjoy the look of cartographic wall art and the Legend of Zelda franchise. The puzzle featured the fictional language of Hylian among the familiar details of the map. We took the time honored approach of trying to do the border before moving onto the inside pieces.

It was surprisingly a challenging puzzle due to the edges being the same color and pattern, as well as the monochrome design. We should have started earlier in the evening, because we didn’t complete it even after almost 5 hours of work.  It is highly detailed and has many pieces. We’re looking forward to finishing it on a future date night and getting a frame to place it in our house.