January Favorites and How I’ve Been Passing These Cold Winter Days

I’m sooo happy right now. I just looked out the window and though it’s almost 5:30 PM, it’s still bright and sunny outside! That means the daylight is staying with us longer and longer each day! No wonder the birds have been so happy and singing their little hearts out today–they know spring is on its way!

I’m late as usual but wanted to share the few things that made it to my “favorites” list for the month of January. Hope you find these helpful!

I never, ever seem to have enough clips for items like popcorn, snacks, rolls, frozen items, etc… so I went in search of some good clips in all sizes. I ordered these below for smaller items and they are working great! There were so many in the package–thirty, so I’m going to share these with my son/dil. If you need small clips for smallish packages, you’ll find these here: Multipurpose Clips.

 

I also purchased these clips below for bigger packages like frozen french fries or the huge bag of dried mealworms I feed to my outdoor birds. I find these so much easier to use than trying to perfectly line up the little closure strip on some bags—much less frustrating. These are really nice and are available here: Package/Chip Clips.

 

 

 

I’m still in love with the wool cushion I purchased for my office chair. I have not been shocked a single time since I added it to my chair. Thankfully, it completely fixed the static shock issue I was having here in the office. (Read more about that in this previous post: The Weirdest Thing: Shocking Experience & How I Finally Solved It. 

If you have this issue with an office chair or really any chair, you’ll find these seat cushions in all colors here: Wool Seat Pad.

 

Though I don’t have a kitty, I thought I would share this product below since my son and daughter-in-law absolutely love it for their kitties. When I was visiting during the holidays, my oldest grandson was scooping the litter box and though he is supposed to always wear a mask when he does that chore, he had not taken the time to put one on. Litter dust was going everywhere creating a big cloud right around his head.

I checked online for some dust-free litter and ended up purchasing this to see if it would help in case he forgets to wear a mask in the future. My son and dil loved this litter so much, after I got back home my dil texted me asking for a link to where I purchased it so they could buy more. She said that it clumps really well and is the best litter they have ever used. So if you have kitties, this comes with good recommendations from my son and daughter-in-law and is available here: Dust-free, Clumping Litter.

Best Dust-free Cat Litter

 

The only other thing I’ve really been into the last few months is puzzles–lots of puzzles! I’ve been averaging two, 1000-piece puzzles a week! It’s too cold to be outside and I love doing a puzzle in the evenings while listening to a book on Audible.

My favorite puzzles are those with distinct, bright colors. I really don’t enjoying doing puzzles where the colors are muddled or muted and all seem to run together.

I also love puzzles that tell a story like this Cozy Cabin Retreat puzzle I’ve shared in the past. If you look closely, you’ll see so many wonderful details that really tell the story of this cabin and the woman who lives here. We can tell she loves genealogy and tracing her roots. She also loves knitting, reading, cats and dogs, puzzles, chess, and scrapbooking. (Cozy Cabin puzzle is available here: Cozy Cabin.)

Cozy Puzzle for Winter, Book Lovers

 

This was one of the puzzles I loved doing recently. It definitely tells a story! lol

 

While the lady of the house is outside cutting beautiful flowers from the garden for a special luncheon, the kittens inside are getting into all kinds of trouble!

 

Oh, the scene that awaits when she comes back inside!

 

Notice the dogs are all being complete angels, it’s just the kittens who are up to no good. lol I think that’s Mama kitty there in the bottom right corner–asleep on the job.

 

I loved all the flowers and bright colors in this puzzle!  It was a lot of fun to do! It’s still available here: Naughty Kitties.

 

Loved this puzzle the moment I saw it. Love all the kitties, the sweet sleeping puppy, the gorgeous bookcases and books, the wonderful window seat, the colorful birdcage, the beautiful stained glass window hanging in the big center window, the full moon outside, and the beautiful cityscape that’s visible through the huge windows. Unfortunately, it appears to be sold out. I can’t find it anywhere now. Update: Just noticed that it’s back and available here: Library with Moonlight View.

 

I loved this puzzle so much, I ended up preserving it to keep. To see how I preserve the puzzles I decide to keep, check out this previous post: The Best Way to Preserve a Puzzle to Keep or Frame Without Using Messy Glue.

 

This puzzle featuring beautiful Neuschwanstein Castle was another fun one to do and is not as hard as it looks. The trees were the hardest part and the castle was definitely the most fun!

 

Here’s a close-up of some of the beautiful details of the castle—such a gorgeous puzzle! You’ll find it available here: Neuschwanstein Castle Puzzle.

 

Not sure when I’ll travel again so I took a little trip to Parga, Greece via this puzzle. Greece is still one of the places I would so love to visit. This one is available here: Parga, Greece Puzzle.

 

I just finished doing this puzzle a couple of days ago. It broke my heart to take it apart because it is definitely one of my favorites! I just love the scene/story it tells so much! The name of the book shop is The Greatest Ever Book Shop In The World.

 

Inside we see a little girl with pigtails searching for the perfect book on which to spend her allowance. I wonder if she’s searching for a new Nancy Drew Mystery story?

This puzzle brought back so many memories of when I was that age. My best friend, Nan, and I would walk several blocks to Joyland Toy Shop to peruse all the Nancy Drew Mystery books they had available. It was always agony choosing a new one because they all sounded wonderful!

We would finally make our selections, choosing a mystery book that neither of us already owned. Once we were finished reading our own book, we would swap books to read each other’s. Oh my goodness, how we loved those books! Did you notice the kitty in the window? Every book shop needs at least one kitty.

 

Outside, the basket on her bike is filled with beautiful flowers!

 

Are those school books on the back?

 

I love the kitty in the upstairs window.

 

There’s a curious bird peeking in the other window.

 

This puzzle is still available and you’ll find it here: The Greatest Ever Book Shop in the World.  It was a really fun one to do!

 

I’m eyeing this one next since I’m all out of puzzles now. There’s even a puzzle on the coffee table, so there’s a puzzle within a puzzle! You’ll find this one available here: Lakeside View.

 

Below are some of my other favorites and a few that I’m eyeing to purchase. (Click on any picture to access or read more about that puzzle.)

It’s starting to warm up here a little so I may venture out some this next week. I hope you are staying warm, so glad to hear that Texas is finally warming up and getting their power back on!

Happy Puzzling!

 

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Comments

  1. Not a puzzle fan, but I laughed at the cats. It’s Cirque du soleil here every day.
    Spring is in the air. Leaves are popping out and birds were chirping, then it rained and turned colder. I think I have SAD and dread cold weather.

  2. Cyndi Raines says

    Wow! Those are awesome puzzles, so bright and colorful. And aren’t you industrious! I have one ready to start, but am delaying because once I start, I don’t want to stop and I was determined to clean and reorganize my vanity drawers, chest of drawers and dresser and now that task is competed! Yea! This week is slated to start on the office. Once that’s done I’ll start that puzzle, hehe. I love that they all have kitties. This winter I have really missed my fur-babies. Glad I can visit my neice and enjoy her kitty, it helps. Do you feel that way when you are in Ohio and can enjoy your families kitty?

    • I have the same issue, once I start one, I can’t stop. lol I see it here in my office every day calling my name. Unfortunately, the two cats my son has are not very friendly. They love my son and recently my dil since she’s been working from home…and one of the cats has really started loving to sit on one of my grandson’s lap, but they are not friendly otherwise. Even when I was there for almost 3 months helping them last year, the cats still eyed me suspiciously. They stay hidden much of the day when the kids are awake and tend to come out at night. I’ve never had cats act that that, all mine have been very friendly so not sure why they are like that. They were older kittens when my son adopted them so not sure what their life was like before that. I wish they would let me pet them. Once in a great while they will do that, but then the next day they act like they’re afraid all over again. lol

    • Cyndi, maybe you need another furbaby! πŸ™‚

      • Cyndi Raines says

        I have thought about it…been very tempted a few times, but it hurts so much when they pass, I don’t want to go through that again. Also, like you, when we get to travel again, that’s one less concern as to who will check in on them, feed, etc. We still have our doggie, but I have said we he leaves us that is it. I’ll love on everyone’s else’s pets. I hope the Ohio kitties grow to love you as you continue your visits and as they mellow with age.

        • I know what you mean, that’s the biggest reason I’m not getting another cat, just can’t bear to go through the heartache of losing another one. I still grieve for Max when I come across pictures of him on the blog. It def makes travel a lot easier when you don’t have pets. I would not have been able to travel to Ohio so much this past year if I had a pet.

  3. That cabin puzzle made me sigh out loud! Talk about wish fulfillment – what I wouldn’t give to be there right now! πŸ™‚

    I’m so glad the seat cushion solved your static problem – much easier and cheaper than calling the electrician!

    Hope you have a lovely weekend, and Happy Almost Spring!

    • I know, I would love a cabin like that in the mountains.
      lol Yes, the cushion totally did the trick…haven’t been shocked a single time since I added it. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Barbara!
      XXX

  4. brought back a memory seeing the puzzle with the hot air balloons. My friend and I put one together and tried to figure out how many balloons were in the puzzle so her husband came up with the idea of putting a penny on each balloon …there were 26 I can’t remember the name of the puzzle but it was fun. Hope you have fun picking out the next one. rls1

  5. You find the coolest puzzles. Those kittens are so cute! I like puzzles from photos like you have here and in the links. The hardest one we ever came across was French Riviera by JS Puzzles. Lots of colorful buildings that you would think would be not be that difficult. I like a challenge though. Love the bookstore and bike puzzle – reminds me of my love of books as a child. Can’t you almost smell the library or bookmobile if you lived in a small town?

  6. I use clothes pins to close bags, etc. Very inexpensive and you get lots in a package. They work really well!

  7. Bobbi Duncan says

    I love your puzzle selections, Susan, and could definitely envision myself in that cabin, all snuggly & warm. They would make for some lovely art too. Hope you have a most pleasant day!

  8. I got momentarily lost in the Lakeview Cottage puzzle. The flag suggests a holiday, but which one? Lilac pillows on the sofa and bright green trees makes me think spring, so Memorial Day? But flying ducks/geese and the sunset colors say early fall, so Labor Day? All else says summer, so July 4th?
    I noticed today that the sun seems stronger and brighter. The first day of the first month of spring is a week from tomorrow!!! RIP winter. All hail spring!

  9. Franki Parde says

    Just got a “Biltmore” 1000 piece puzzle for our grandchildren next door…they ARE a puzzle!! Luv having them “close by” and with all the travel restrictions…they have been “here” more than usual! We, too, marvel how much more daylight is sneaking in…SO READY!!! franki

  10. Ellen Smith says

    We enjoy puzzles, too, and have amassed a nice collection during the pandemic. What do you do with the ones you do not preserve? We pass some on and rework some others, but they do tend to pile up!

    • I’m just starting to build a bit of a collection. A few I’ve donated since I didn’t want to do those again, but a lot of them I’ve kept because I do enjoy doing them again. It’s a bit like rereading a favorite book. I enjoy the act of doing the puzzle as much as completing it so I like doing some of them more than once if it’s been a couple of years.

  11. Pamela Austin says

    Susan, may I make a suggestion from one jigsaw puzzle addict to another? If you have an iPad, download “Jigsaw Puzzle Collection HD” from the App store. Early in the morning I make a cup of coffee and prop up in bed with a book light as my night light and play a puzzle on my iPad. This is the only jigsaw puzzle app I like. It’s much easier to understand and even look at than the other jigsaws apps. Get comfy and put together a puzzle!

    • Pamela, thanks for sharing that! I do have an ipad, although I rarely use it. I should use it more since I just bought a new one last summer. I’ve blown my puzzle budget for this month, so I will definitely check it out. Also, in case you’re interested, someone else mentioned in a comment about another site that sounds interesting called JigsawPlanet.com.
      It is an addiction! Oh well, we could have worse additions than doing puzzles, right? πŸ™‚

    • Pamela, Susan, Jigsaw Puzzle Collection HD is fantastic — I play it on hubby’s Kindle Fire. If it’s the same version, it was free to download and offers in app purchases. Susan, I might have mentioned it in an earlier comment. I still like the real thing best, but this app is great.

  12. What awesome puzzles!!!! Oh my gosh I absolutely chuckled out loud with the Naughty Kitties! Susan – can you just imagine that???? As one who has hosted formal afternoon teas for years – I would absolutely die if that happened!!!! That poor lady – what a GREAT piece of art.

    They’re all awesome – you find the best puzzles ever.

    • lol I know, it’s almost painful to look at that scene, especially the ripped pillow on the sofa. I’ve never had a cat slice open a pillow with their claw, so that’s a bit farfetched! lol

  13. Sandra D in Joliet says

    Those naughty kitties will blame any and all damage on the dogs. Seen it before in Lady and the Tramp where the naughty Siamese twins blamed all the damage on Lady and she was muzzled! I love to use large binder clips for my chip bags.

  14. I have been doing a lot of puzzles but not as quickly as you. I am just finishing up one by Cobble Hill. It is of the covers of the Nancy Drew books. I loved those books also. Did you read the Cherry Ames nursing series?

    • No, is it a good one? I’ve done the Nancy Drew…loved that one! I ended up preserving it since it was such a good memory from my childhood.

  15. Can you share your methods for doing puzzles? Do you do all the edges first? Sort pieces by color? I feel overwhelmed when I try to do a puzzle, and am wondering if I’m missing something!
    PS- I use binder clips to keep bags closed. They don’t take up a lot of room in the drawer.

    • That’s a great question. I was toying with the idea of doing a post about that. I always separate out all the edge and corner pieces first. As I’m doing that, I’ll watch for other pieces that are really eye-catching/predominant in the puzzle. For example, in the Naughty Kitty puzzle, as I was pulling out all the edge pieces, as I came across the teal sofa pieces, I sorted those out into a separate sorting tray. I also sorted out the red curtains, the pale green wall, and the bricks. Once I’m done sorting, I’ll sometimes go through all the left over pieces one more time to see if I missed any edge pieces. I usually find 3-4 pieces more edge pieces that I missed the first time through. I usually do all the sorting while watching a YouTube video or listening to a book on Audible so it goes faster.
      Next, I put together the “frame” of the puzzle with all the edge pieces I’ve sorted out. Then I normally start assembling all the distinct colored pieces I had separated out…like the red draperies, the sofa, etc… Even if they don’t connect to the frame of the puzzle, I enjoy putting those together and then placing them approximately where they’ll go in the puzzle.
      After that, sometimes I’ll start working along the bottom of the puzzle, especially if there’s something distinctive along the bottom like grass or a rug that’s easy to pull find among the puzzle pieces. Or sometimes I’ll start along the top of the puzzle if there are elements of that section that I can locate easily among the pieces.
      If I have an area that I think is going to be more difficult…like a large body of water, or a big section of sky, I’ll separate those pieces out according to their shape and that makes those areas go a lot faster/easier. Here’s a photo I took of where I did that recently while working on The Governor’s Party puzzle.
       

      So, to summarize, I usually sort out all the edge pieces, pulling out distinct pieces of other elements in the puzzle as I go, put together the frame, then put together some of those other elements in the puzzle that I had previously sorted out–like the draperies or sofa. Then I start on something else in the puzzle–like maybe the woodburning heater, or the rug or something that’s easy to sort out of all the remaining puzzle pieces. I usually end up saving the parts of the puzzle that I know will be harder/more time-consuming for the end. These are the sorting trays I used: https://bit.ly/37GnG6d

      If I ever feel a little overwhelmed, I just remind myself I’ve never not finished a puzzle. Sometimes the parts that appear they are going to be the hardest, actually turn out to be easy. That’s the way it was recently when I was doing the Neuschwanstein Castle puzzle. I thought the sky was going to be a challenge. It actually went quite quickly because there are so many different shades of blue in that part of the puzzle. So it was pretty easy to pick out which pieces went where in the sky.
      Hope this helps, Joan! The more puzzles you do, the less intimidated you’ll feel.
      One tip: Try to always buy really good quality puzzles. The only puzzles I’ve ever done that I found miserable to do are cheaper-made puzzles that contain a lot of pieces that are exactly the same size/shape/color. That can be really frustrating to work and work on a section of a puzzle, only to discover the problem is that earlier in the puzzle you used a piece in the wrong place because it fit beautifully in that spot (though it didn’t belong there) due to the poor design of the puzzle.
      It’s better to pay a bit more for a great quality puzzle than go through that frustration, so read the reviews. After you buy puzzles for a while, you will get an idea which brands to avoid. There are a few brands I won’t buy for that reason.

      • Thank you for such a detailed reply! The method you describe is exactly what I’ve been doing, but I think you’re more patient than I am! I recently purchased a puzzle saver board that folds, so that might be helpful too.

  16. Pamela Austin says

    Marlene, I neglected to say it’s easy to buy new in app puzzles. I didn’t want to scare Susan away. Still very inexpensive. But this app spoiled me, I’ve tried others and immediately deleted them.

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