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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Success Is Here At Last!

In the last couple of days, my daughter has worked on the jigsaw puzzle with a lot of vigor and has finally completed the entire puzzle. It took a lot longer than she expected. But she learned a bit about solving large puzzles, I think.
Jigsaw puzzle 95% complete
Some tips I gave her regarding the solving of large puzzles, which I hope she has now taken to heart, and can use effectively in solving similar puzzles:
  • Assemble the border first because the pieces that go on the borders are somewhat obvious by having one of two straight edges
  • Separate the pieces into different colored piles so that you know approximately where in the puzzle each piece goes. This is obviously more difficult than it sounds because there will be several pieces with transitional colors, but make a best effort
  • Separate out pieces that have distinctive patterns on them. In the case of this puzzle, for instance, we separated out all the pieces that had streaks of color on them because we knew that those represented pieces that form part of the reflection of light on the water at the bottom of the puzzle.
  • Assemble some parts of the puzzle separately if possible, and then fit these assemblies into the puzzle as the rest of the puzzle is solved. We used this strategy to pre-assemble the gazebo on the right side of the puzzle, for instance. We also used it to pre-assemble parts of the main-house's door, etc.

Jigsaw puzzle fully complete
  • Try to identify spaces on the puzzle that require pieces with distinctive shapes. Such puzzle pieces are easier to find than generic pieces of the puzzle
  • Most importantly, just keep going. Don't give up. Take a break, but don't put it off because it is too difficult. My daughter did not work on the puzzle for quite a few days in the middle because she couldn't add any pieces to it, and got frustrated and discouraged. I then stepped in got the momentum going again by finding some pieces to fit in the puzzle that opened the door to a lot more pieces getting assembled. Now, I think and hope that my daughter is capable of keeping the momentum going by herself without help from me.
Here are some pictures of the puzzle at about 95% complete, and then fully assembled. Time for a celebration by disassembling the puzzle and packing it back in its box now. Maybe, it will be fun to get it out and try reassembling it after a few months to see if we can do it much faster, given our experience from the first time.

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