I'm Really Puzzled

Submitted to Community Café

It started out pretty simple – when I retired, I found a cheap scroll saw on Craigslist and got it to see if I’d like it . . . and I did . . . a lot.  I upgraded to a really nice scroll saw with bells and whistles the cheap one didn’t have and added a bell and a couple whistles of my own to make it “perfect.”  I found some simple patterns online and made a few “cat puzzles” for family kids and some neighborhood children.  I learned quickly that almost everyone likes cats (well wooden ones) and most folks like puzzles – especially if they are handcrafted.  I have an assortment of spray enamel from Rust-oleum (their satin works well for puzzle pieces and has a great cure time.)

My neighbor likes to paint – it relaxes her and gives her a lot of pleasure.  She also loves cats and has a couple of housecats, two dogs, an assortment of frogs – a real animal lover!  She is also very artistic - many ceramics, drawings, and paintings of creatures share her home with the living creatures.

My sawing and hammering caught her attention and she came to my shop (my half of the garage,) to investigate.  She really liked the cat puzzles and she insisted I let her paint one for me, so I offered her a deal: I’ll make some puzzles and if you’ll add faces and some whiskers, you can keep the one you like best – nothing fancy, just some lines for eyes, nose, whiskers, OK?

Imagine my surprise when I saw her finished product!  They’re so pretty, I hate to give them away to the kids like I had planned.  The photos show what the puzzles look like in plain wood, and then what she did with them.  Sure beats my “spray Rust-oleum enamel and Sharpie-face," which I thought was just fine: a good paint job with a few black lines added for some detail . . . until I saw what she did with them.

And now, its got me a little more hooked!