When Things Come Together

I like trains.  I like jigsaw puzzles…..can you see where this is going?  Call it luck, call it weird, call it whatever you want.  While browsing in the supermarket I came upon two puzzles with train themes.  They were on sale too, but that really isn’t the point….. or is it?  No, the point is that I came across these puzzles, bought them, and now I am sharing them on this blog.  That’s it.
unusual packaging
As you can see I am a edges first kind of puzzle builder.  I don’t know why that is.  Everyone who I have ever done a puzzle with has always built them this way.  I have never scene a centre outwards builder.  I am not really even sure that such a person exists.  Maybe edges first just seems like something you do, and nobody questions it.  I guess you would either call it common sense, or logic, or an unwritten rule.  Regardless of what you think, this is the way I do it, and it seems to be working for me.

sort those edges
This puzzle had a few negative points right off the bat with me.  The box didn’t really lend itself to my typical sort and sift method.  Normally I would use the top and the bottom of the box for this.  This particular box was not built for this, and I had to tape up the insert box and use a Rubbermaid container along with it.  The other problems with this puzzle is that too many of the pieces were still together from the initial assembly.  I find that rather frustrating. (I have a friend who considers that cheating–I won’t go so far myself, but I can sympathize with his point).  The pieces also have a lot of cardboard dust attached to them, making it a slightly messy experience.  I guess I can see why it was on sale.  The puzzle also purports to be a “sure-lox” puzzle.  The last puzzle I built fit together so nicely that I could pick it up an wave it like a sheet.  I highly doubt that will be the case this time.  If, however, that turns out to be true, I will make a video of it and put it on YouTube.
Get those edges done first

Hopefully this puzzle will look good when it is finished, but who is to say for sure.  I think the theme is good, so I am looking forward to the result. 


And You Decided to Take up This Hobby Because….

Where does the inspiration for a new hobby come from?  For me, it could be anything really.  I might see something cool on TV, or it might come up in the newspaper.  Then again a store window or a magazine cover might catch my eye.  I am also surrounded by people who purposefully, or maybe accidently talk about something they are interested in, and in doing so provoke me to become interested in their hobbies.

If my friends are reading this, and thinking that I am blaming them for my ever expanding collection of hobbies, they are right.  Actually, they are only half right.  When you come into contact with people who are really interested in something, there are only too possible responses.  The first, and the one that leads to my downfall, or at least the investment of my cash and time, is COOL!  The other, which I seem to use less than other people, is WHAT?!? or ARE YOU NUTS?!

When I do have the latter reaction, I can often overcome this by sheer force of will and rationalization.  I may not find the hobby cool, but this person seems to be enjoying themselves.  They don’t seem to mind the money and time they’ve spent, so why should I.  Add to the fact, they haven’t hurt anyone, and soon all resistance fades.

Several years ago, while living in an apartment, I met a man in the elevator lamenting the fact that he needed to buy more Rubbermaid containers for a new shipment of beanie babies that he had purchased.  He exclaimed they were a great investment.  At first I was a bit confused, but I applied the above criteria, and it didn’t seem so off putting.  At least I was able to take my hand off the emergency stop button and finish the elevator ride.

I had one friend tell me that when I found the perfect hobby for myself, all the others would simply fade to insignificance and I would be satisfied.  That sounds like sage advice, but I wish a timeline had been provided, or at least she could have given me tips on where to store the ever expanding pile of stuff until that day.

Currently I am not facing the “new hobby dilemma” but rather the “old hobby dilemma”.  I have been working on a train layout for a long time, but have never managed to make it work right.  I have two solutions (though there might be a few more that I am ignorant of).  The first is to take apart what doesn’t work on this one, and rebuild it.  This would mean saving materials, and therefore money.  On the other hand, I could buy a kit which would teach me some of the skills I am lacking, and make the whole thing more visually pleasing in a shorter period of time.  There are some downsides to this of course.  The first is money.  The kit is not exactly cheap, and doesn’t even factor in the costs already acquired.  The other, more emotionally expensive downside is admitting defeat.  As a hobbyist, we tend to think we can complete what we start, and that the plans that we laboured over are good and feasible.   Funny how things work out.

Where to Put My Stuff?

As an adult with too many hobbies storage becomes a big problem.  Certainly more hobbies means they take up more room.  Actually, rooms would be a better way of expressing it.  I’ve got the requisite hobby room of course.  I’ve got stuff in drawers, in closets and in Rubbermaid containers.  In truth, I probably need two hobby rooms–as well as space for the train–but that’s another story.

Big space really isn’t what I have trouble finding.  As a modeller, train enthusiast, card collector, toy car collector, and many other things, I have a ton of small parts, knick knacks, leftover pieces, and various odds and ends that need a place to go.

The small plastic multi drawer contraption ostensibly for holding screws that I got on sale at Canadian Tire doesn’t really do the job.  The drawers don’t really slide that well and make an excruciating scraping sound when I manage to get them open.  The plastic moulded handles on the drawers also serve to obscure the contents of the drawers.

I bought this one at a Japanese Dollar Store.  (they have them too.  They are called 100 yen stores, and being closer to Asian production centres they seem to have swung better deals having slightly better quality stuff and larger quantities–if you’re curious, just check out YouTube)

It isn’t bad, but the tray dividers don’t fit that snugly and rattle around –and things just don’t stay in place the way I would like it to.

I bought big drawers, but they are really only for big stuff,

For one of my latest hobbies I decided to do some research.  I chose this one from Stanley (through Amazon).  I like the mix and match cups. (I bought two and used most of the smaller cups in this one) Most of my stuff seems to stay put.  It was more expensive than the storage containers that I mentioned above.  It appears to be of a higher quality.  Only time will tell, but hopefully I’ve got a winner.

As storage seems to be a big deal in my hobby life, I was wondering what other people are using.