New (to me) Car

Last week, I purchased a new (used) car, a 2011 Ford Fusion. For the last few years, I had been driving a 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe which belonged to my husband before we got married. I started driving that in 2018 when my Ford Focus got totaled in an accident and the replacement car we got was a stick shift that Joe drives. (I haven’t driven a stick in many years and am sorely out of practice!)

I have always liked Fords. My first car, which my parents bought me my first year of college, was a Plymouth Horizon, but my second car, which I picked out, was a black Ford Escort Pony with hot pink striping. Both of those cars were stick shift. After that, I owned a Ford Taurus sedan, a Ford Taurus wagon, and a Ford Focus (all automatics).

It was a bit strange driving the Santa Fe at first. I had to get used to being up higher since it was an SUV. But it was a good vehicle for the time I drove it. Unfortunately, it had gotten to the point where there was enough stuff wrong with it that it wasn’t worth fixing anymore. I thought about getting another SUV, but now that I have arthritis in my right hip, it can be difficult to get in an SUV.

The Fusion has some great features which I have never had before. It has a navigation system along with a rear backup camera. It also has heated seats (black leather) and dual temperature controls. It also only has 58K miles on it. I am looking forward to driving it for quite a few years.

Here are some pictures:

Ice Cream Dream

The first puzzle I completed in 2023 was Ice Cream Dream by LEGO. It’s a 1000 piece puzzle depicting different color LEGOs as tubs of ice cream. I got this as a birthday gift from my friend Renee.

I actually started it in December 2022. I thought it would be super fast and easy, but each of the sections was like a mini single color puzzle and they took a little longer than I thought they would. It was very satisfying to get each color put together.

Here’s my progress as of December 31, 2022:

And here’s the finished puzzle:

This was a fun, colorful way to start the New Year!

Camping for Christmas

Camping for Christmas from Vermont Christmas Company was the first puzzle I did from my December puzzle haul and the last puzzle I completed in 2022. It was a gift from my husband, and I was so happy to get it!

I would classify this as a medium difficulty puzzle. The edges and the main part of the campers were pretty easy to complete, but from there it got harder. I did the Christmas trees and as much of the people and animals as I could, then I hunkered down and worked on each quadrant of the puzzle to fill in the missing pieces. These were mostly snow and trees with some lights thrown in.

Here is a picture of the completed puzzle:

And here are some closeups of the campers:

I’m glad I got to do three Christmas puzzles this year. I enjoyed all of them, and they definitely enhanced the holiday experience for me.

Puzzle Haul – December 2022

As you can imagine, my wish list for Christmas this year was mostly comprised of puzzles. My birthday is also on Christmas Day, which can be seen as a good or a bad thing, depending on your perspective. Because of this, I did get a bunch of cool puzzles, so I wanted to share them here.

The first puzzle I got was actually not from either Christmas or my birthday. I had entered and won a giveaway from the YouTuber The Casual Puzzler for Whisper of Cactus, a 1000 piece puzzle from Antelope. It looks fun, although there is a lot of green, which could be tricky.

Next up are two puzzles that I got from my Secret Santa at my husband’s family Christmas. We get together on Christmas Eve and open presents at midnight. The puzzles I got are Ocean from Ravensburger’s Circle of Colors series and Songbirds from Mudpuppy. These both look like they will be fairly easy, especially since they are only 500 pieces.

After getting home at 2 AM and sleeping for a few hours, my husband, son, and I gathered in our sunroom to open the presents we got for each other. My husband got me 3 puzzles: Camping for Christmas from Vermont Christmas Company, Hungry Plants from Mudpuppy, and Favorite Things from Elena Essex. I have already done the Camping for Christmas puzzle and will post that next. Hungry Plants is another cute 500 piece puzzle, and Favorite Things is from the same brand as my favorite puzzle of 2022, Woodland Magic.

My son got me one puzzle for Christmas and one for my birthday. They were Cats in Quarantine from Exploding Kittens and Hawaiian Food Truck Festival from Buffalo Games. Both of these have a lot going on in them, so they may be a bit challenging but still look like fun.

A couple of days later, another puzzle arrived as a birthday gift from my friend Renee. It was the Ice Cream Dream puzzle from Lego. I have actually started this one and am about halfway through. It’s like doing a bunch of mini solid color puzzles. It’s harder than I thought it would be but quite satisfying to finish each section.

I am so happy with all the puzzles I got this year. I am looking forward to many hours of fun putting them together. I have already started a new wish list, however. There are just so many cool puzzles out there!

Michael Storrings New York City Subway

I did another Christmas puzzle this week. This one was the Michael Storrings New York City Subway from Galison. It was 500 pieces. I actually received this puzzle for free from Galison, after I contacted them regarding the defects I found in a previous puzzle of theirs.

This was a super fun puzzle to do! I really enjoyed the image with all of the different buildings and vehicles. The pieces were good quality, with no false fits or bent/broken pieces. The feel of the puzzle was much better too. I would rate the difficulty level as easy, especially because there were no solid color areas or difficult textures.

Here is a picture of the completed puzzle:

I’m not sure if I’ll get another puzzle done before Christmas. I have a busy schedule this weekend, and then Christmas is next Sunday. I am off work between Christmas and New Years’, though, so I’m hoping to do some puzzling then.

A Very Happy Merry

Just before Thanksgiving, I completed my first Christmas puzzle of the season. I had taken the whole week off from work and had been very productive, taking care of various administrative duties and running a bunch of errands, so I decided to take a break and do some puzzling. After this, I put up our Christmas tree and decorated the house a little with the help of my son Michael.

This was such a fun puzzle to do! I enjoyed the image very much, and the puzzle quality was very good as well. The puzzle is a 500 piece puzzle from Bits and Pieces. I’m sure I will enjoy doing this puzzle for years to come.

Here’s the finished puzzle:

So cute!

Stamp Spices

Last weekend I did the puzzle Stamp Spices from Bits and Pieces. This was a 500 piece puzzle with a collage of stamps with different spices on them. I had ordered this along with a Christmas-themed puzzle to try out the brand.

I did enjoy the subject matter of this puzzle, and I definitely like the collage style. However, I found the puzzle to be very dark, which made it harder to see what you were doing. I also didn’t find the pieces to lay very flat or feel very nice when I ran my hands over the puzzle. One piece was bent, and one piece was missing, although like before I can’t guarantee I didn’t lose it.

I will do the Christmas puzzle because I like the image a lot, but I doubt I will buy any more from this brand.

Here’s the finished puzzle: