** Today's post is a guest post from my awesome sister-in-law Victoria. She runs an Etsy shop over at Lost and Found Puzzles. We were lucky enough to have her make us a puzzle for the guest book at our wedding. She makes some really amazing puzzles so I've asked her to hang out here for the day to show them off.
|Victoria (my brother in the background). How cute is she? Photo by Ampersand Studios|
(Be sure to go check out her website and her Facebook page after you read how she makes these cool projects.) Thanks Vic! Take it away...**
My fabulous sister-in-law offered me a guest spot on her blog…so exciting!!! I hope that I can keep you as entertained/engaged as she does (I know I have my work cut out for me). Here we go…
I've always loved puzzles, but it wasn't until 2011 that I started viewing them as a story of life. My best friend Holley's Dad, Mark Clapp, passed away after a year-long battle with cancer. At his celebration of life, a speech was given regarding puzzles and it got me thinking. Below is a post that I wrote on Mark's Caring Bridge page.
"I've thought a lot today about what to write. I thought back to the memorial service and that speech that was given regarding puzzles. It made me think of all of the people in my life who make up my puzzle. When putting a puzzle together you think of your key pieces...I always find my corners first. Holley came into my life as one of my corners very early on. I have you to thank for creating one of my edges. You were a constant in my youth and will be thought of everyday in my future. Not only did you provide me with my multiple pieces of my puzzle growing up, but in your passing you brought me another corner. I will thank you every day for bringing Tyler into my life. You really do have a way of always being there and pulling the puzzle together. I know it's not complete yet, but I am a better person knowing that you helped by filling so many of the pieces. I love you."
When Tyler proposed and the wedding planning began, I knew that I wanted a puzzle as the guest book. I wanted to see the names/notes of all of the people in our lives and how they come together to make our puzzle.
So…how do I make them? Well, last summer Tyler and I headed to the German Village garage sale. Amongst our amazing finds were a pair of Danish Modern side tables, an unbelievable vintage desk, a filing cabinet that is screaming for a makeover and we really lucked out when Tyler spotted a scroll saw that has got to be at least 50 years old! I decided to give it the ol’ scholarly try and see if I could actually pull a DIY and make our own wedding puzzle guest book. We took a trip to Lowes to buy a piece of birch plywood. This store was quickly becoming a second home as we were in the midst of remodeling our newly purchased house. …I know, I know, a wedding and house purchase/remodel at the same time… What was I thinking?!?! I’m still not so sure. Anyway, I sketched out the puzzle on an 18”x24” sheet so that it would amount to 120 pieces with each piece large enough for guests to sign. We tried to include more organic shapes than typical puzzle pieces…anyone that knows us, knows that we are anything but typical! J Then it came time to cut…YIKES! I was terrified that I was going to ruin our guestbook. I made some test cuts on some scrap wood first, then held my breath and started on the real thing. To my pleasant surprise, it came rather natural and I felt pretty good relatively quickly at making the quirky little cuts we’d outlined.
|This is the scroll saw we found at the garage sale with some of my first cuts.|
|I tried to keep the puzzle assembled and numbered as I made cuts.|
|Assembled and ready for the wedding (please ignore the countertops…I did tell you we were in the middle of a remodel, right???)|
After cutting, I sand each piece to remove any rough edges. This takes a lot of time and patience… A LOT! I found that you also need to be a fan of sawdust because it gets everywhere! I decided to paint and number the back of the puzzle so that it was easier to distinguish the front from back (some guests still signed on the wrong side, but I just transferred their message to the front).
The puzzle turned out better than I had hoped and I love reading through all of the pieces/messages from our friends and family! I’m torn between framing it and hanging it in our home or possibly creating the tradition of putting it together on every anniversary.
|Puzzle on display at wedding.|
|Signed puzzle pieces collected in a box we set up.|
|The almighty completed puzzle.|
|(Credit to my amazingly creative husband who came up with the idea of having Idaho as the center piece)|
Since those two puzzles, I decided to set up an Etsy page to see if I could sell any of my creations (https://www.etsy.com/shop/lostandfoundpuzzles). The response has been fabulous! I received my first order right around the time I started taking classes at the Idea Foundry here in Columbus. I’ve taken woodshop and laser cutting classes which have been great in contributing to the creativity in these puzzles! I run to the Foundry whenever I need to cut down an oversized piece of wood (their table saw has a larger bed than the one we have at home) or when I want to play with their laser etching/cutting machine. I’ve had eight sales so far and received some really amazing feedback! It’s so great to hear the stories of others and what each puzzle means to them. I’ve made plain puzzles as Christmas gifts for puzzle fanatics, keepsake puzzles for families that have experienced recent losses, name art puzzles for the little ones in your life, wedding guestbooks and much, much more.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this! If you’re interested in having a custom puzzle made, let me know J
Puzzle made as a gift for our wedding photographers(Ampersand Studios).
Left to right: prior to staining, stained and pop of color on edges, finished with etched in “studios” to complete their company name.
Wedding guest book - The groom provided the artwork and I etched it onto the puzzle! Like his artwork? Find more of it at: http://about.me/joshua.lee.maynard
Name art for the little ones (Christmas presents for my nieces and nephew)