Jigsaw puzzles, brains and other grey matters

At Redwood Library we have WiFi  and we have jigsaws. Hard to believe they’d even be in the same room together, let alone the same sentence. But WiFi is the library flavour of the month and  jigsaws are hot news after a 26 April article in The Press (you can read it in Press Display) which featured a lovely lady who uses jigsaws as stress relief after the quake.

There are no books called Jigsaw Puzzles through the Ages or The Dummies Guide to Jigsaws. I know because I looked. However, several community libraries have a jigsaw exchange system which works like a treat.

So far, it’s mainly senior citizens who avail themselves of this service, and when they are all up and jigging, as it were, they may be doing more than just passing the time pleasantly, according to the excellent book Secrets of the grown-up brain by Barbara Strauch.

Strauch would probably be a fan of using jigsaws to help stave off Alzheimers, provided you did them whilst jogging, or at the very least with your left hand (assuming you are right-handed), whilst drinking a glass of red wine and snacking on blueberries. Then, quite possibly, you may never grow old at all. Strauch gives a cracker example of the world’s oldest woman, who took up fencing at 85 and lived to be 122. But you know jigsawing will be a better fit than fencing in most retirement units.

Still I worry about the lovely lady in The Press – how quickly can she get her puzzle under the table? I’d hate her to get to piece number 2499 of a 2500 piece puzzle only to find that the next quake means she has to start again!

Crafty Clogs – Why? Just in case of course!

CoverI’m on a sort-of arty-crafty binge at the moment. I can’t get enough, truly! In the last six months I have acquired metres and metres of  fabric, enough beads to keep a school holiday programme busy for years, a guillotine, tonnes of pretty paper and cardboard, reels of craft wire and buttons galore!

What am I making? I have no idea actually …  maybe a fabricy, wirey, papery, beady button holder, who knows? There are just so many possibilities.

A couple of weeks ago, full of enthusiasm for things handmade, I visited the annual Avice Hill Art and Craft fair in Memorial Ave and it was fabulous!! The event promotes craft activities that take place at the Avice Hill Craft Centre and in the local community, with plenty of ‘experts’ on hand to offer guidance and advice.

I painted a folk-art wooden tile,  learnt how to make pot-pouri (correctly so that it doesn’t go mouldy), crafted a fabulous arty card, made my very first candle, bought several pieces of antique linen and made an amazing herbal tussie-mussie all for under $10 – yes truly! All kinds of  free art and craft demonstrations encouraging young and old  to “have a go’, including soap-carving,  omaru stone sculpting, pottery, woodturning,  and  paper stamping. Craft fairs are an excellent source of  reasonably priced goods, ideas and access to the many organisations offering courses and supplies .

If you are looking for  inspiration, the library has a huge range of art and craft books and magazines.

What arty-crafty things have you got ferretted away, just in case?