Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 4: Sorting Finished!

I am happy to report that I have just finished sorting (first pass through anyway) the first section! Now I can actually start putting the puzzle together. Well that is once my son goes down for his next nap. I had literally just put the final pieces into their appropriate bucket when he started crying that he wanted to get up and be fed. LOL

My next task is to roll out the puzzle mat onto the dining room table and start putting together the border. I think I may also start working a little on the hot air balloons or the clown fish. I know the balloons will probably be a lot easier so maybe I should start with the clown fish and get them out of the way early.

Hmmm...decisions, decisions, decisions.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 3: Will I ever finish sorting?!

I now have close to 3,000 pieces sorted (half of the first section) into my buckets and I have decided that anyone who mixed all 24,000 pieces together before starting their sorting process is completely and certifiably NUTS! LOL

Sorting takes forever! I know in the end I will thank myself because I'll have a lot less pieces to look through later when trying to put together a particular picture element, but holy cow is it tedious work right now.

I want to try and keep track of my actual hours spent on this project so from this point forward I will close each day with my time spent for that day. To recap, before I forget, I have spent close to 4 hours sorting between Saturday and Sunday.

Day 1 (part 2) and Day 2: Sort, sort, sort

Well, I was able to do more sorting once my son went to bed Saturday night, but I didn't feel like I made all that much progress. I sorted maybe 1,500 pieces into my various buckets and then called it a night.

On Sunday we had company over in the afternoon to watch a movie in our recently completed media room. I was able to sort more pieces while watching the movie. (FYI -- The Informant is a big thumbs DOWN!!)

My initial sorting piles were anything clownfish in one, anything blue (like the underwater stuff or the sky) in another, the edge pieces, and pretty much everything else in the last pile. The last pile being a compilation of the animals, the hot air balloons, and anything I didn't know where else to put. When I sat down to start sorting on Sunday, I realized this last pile needed to be further broken down and refined, so I decided it would probably make more sense to pull out the hot air balloon stuff. Unfortunately, I made very little forward progress Sunday afternoon, but I did at least get the hodge podge bucket re-sorted.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 1: And the sorting begins....

I went to the Dollar Store today to buy buckets and baggies to assist in sorting the pieces.  When I got back, I cut open the first bag and began the ugly, but critically important task of sorting.  I was only able to spend about 20 minutes on it as Derek needed to be fed, but at least I did start. I will need to get more buckets though so I can further refine the sorting which will make it a lot easier for me later on. I am having so much fun already, and I've only spent a few minutes on it. I am hoping to get back to sorting a little later this evening after dinner with the in-laws and Derek is in bed.  Gotta get ready for dinner....going to JJ Fins.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pictures of "The Beast"

From this moment forward I think the puzzle will be referred to as "The Beast"! Holy Cow is that a big box of pieces!

I can't even begin to fathom the insanity of the people who actually open up each of the four bags, mix all the pieces together in the big box, and then proceed. If I had to search through 23,999 pieces just to find that one elusive edge piece I think I would have to shoot myself. I will be more than happy to take the easier way out and do the puzzle section by section. That in itself will be a huge accomplishment and good enough for me anyway.

Here are a couple of pictures of the individual bags as well as the poster that comes with the puzzle. This is meant as a reference point instead of trying to see the details from the small image on the box. I am going to try to laminate it tomorrow as I know this will get a ton of use.

It's Finally Here!!!

After much watching out the window and practically pacing the floor, the puzzle finally arrived a little after 6 p.m. tonight. I really thought it would have been earlier in the day, but at least it's here! And wow, the box really is heavy.  Somehow knowing that it's 28 pounds of puzzle pieces makes it feel so much heavier than your average package weighing 28 pounds. LOL

My next post will include the first set of pictures of the puzzle (probably the box itself.)  Will post it soon. Have to wait for my little one to go to sleep and then I can open it up.

Anxiously Awaiting Arrival

I thought about this puzzle and its arrival most of last night and the anticipation is killing me. I keep listening for the sound of the UPS guy to come around the corner so I can go out and attack him as soon as he steps out of the truck. (No puncture wounds, I promise!) I'm curious to see in person how big and heavy it is...a 28-pound jigsaw box has got to be pretty impressive.

Today I pulled out and opened my "Roll-O-Puzz" mat that I purchased about six months ago in anticipation of getting this puzzle at some point. It accomodates up to 6,000 pieces and is just barely big enough, dimension wise, to hold one section. These puzzle mats are the greatest invention since sliced bread to the puzzling world. It's so convenient to be able to work on a puzzle for a few hours or days then have the ability to roll it right up around the cardboard tube, and put it away when you need your dining room table back.  In the past this was always a problem for me when it came to completing puzzles because I would start it on the table, but inevitably I would need the table again before I was finished with the puzzle. Since I had no way to move it without ruining all my progress up to that point, I would end up having to take the puzzle apart.  At that point it became too much of a hassle to start the puzzle all over again so I would rarely ever finish one.  So a big thank you shout out to whomever invented the puzzle mat.  You rock!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

World's Largest Puzzle Website

Here's a link to the "Life" puzzle website so you can see for yourself the gorgeous picture and get inspired by the stories in the Hall of Fame. There are 100 stories - each one interesting in it's own way, but none more so than Daniel, the QUAD/TETRAPALEGIC who has very limited use of his hands.  Incredibly, he mixed up all 24,000 pieces and completed the puzzle on his own by licking the palm of his hand, picking up a piece, and placing it on the puzzle board!!!  If he can do it...I certainly have no excuse not to finish! What an inspiration!

Daniel's Hall of Fame story:

It's ordered...

So I guess I'm officially nuts! On Wednesday I ordered the World's Largest Jigsaw Puzzle (Guiness certified), and have since been anxiously awaiting its arrival. UPS promises me it will be here tomorrow and if they know what's good for them it will be here by late afternoon. :o)

Now you're probably wondering a couple of things - 1) Just how big IS the World's Largest Puzzle; and 2) What the hell are you thinking?! The first part is easy to answer. This puzzle, appropriately titled "Life: The Great Challenge", consists of a mere 24,000 pieces! And no, I did not make a typo and add too many zeros to that piece count. For those of you reading this who love numbers, here are a few more.  The actual size of the completed puzzle is 14 and 1/2 feet wide by 5 feet 2 inches tall! The box the puzzle comes in weighs about 28 pounds and is big enough to fit a 12-month-old baby (one puzzler posted a pic of his little girl sitting in the box.)  Too cute.  The puzzle is split into four bags of 6,000 pieces each. Each 6,000-piece bag is one quarter of the overall picture and measures approximately 42" x 60".  For me, dimensions alone necessitate working on the puzzle in sections rather than try to put it together as one big piece. Besides, while I do admit to being a little nuts for trying this, I'm not a complete glutton for punishment! :o)

The second question is a much more difficult one to answer, but I'll do my best. About a year ago I was doing some research on the internet for jigsaw puzzles. I have always loved doing them and wanted to get back into it again. I found several really large puzzles with counts well over 5,000 pieces, and I began to wonder - what's the biggest one out there? So I googled world's largest puzzle and found the Life puzzle and a really cool website dedicated to those amazing people who have completed it. I began looking at the website and THREE HOURS LATER I knew I had to get this beast. It is an incredibly beautiful picture. In doing the research, I found out it is a compilation of many different works by the artist, Royce B. McClure. The colors are so vibrant and the overall picture comes together so well that you can't help but get lost in it whenever you look. It has a little bit of everything - hence the title "Life" I guess, but all I know is I simply fell in love with the picture. However, it was the Hall of Fame section of the website that truly inspired me to want to put this together. There are stories from people all over the world who have conquered this enormous project. It was so much fun reading all the different stories and techniques (of which I am stealing several) of those who have come before me. I know I won't be setting any records for time or "first in whereever to complete", but I know I will have a ton of fun working on this. And most likely my 5-month-old son Derek will be old enough to help me before I get this thing finished so it could end up being a fun mother-son bonding thing. LOL

I started this blog to keep track of my progress and share it with family and friends. I will take lots of pictures and talk about the process as I'm doing it. My goal for Day 1 (tomorrow) will be to open the box, swoon, and laminate the poster it comes with to help put it together. I know I will be using the poster endlessly so I want to make sure it's stable enough to handle all the wear and tear it's going to get.

I am so excited! I cannot wait to get started...come on UPS man, bring me my box! :o)