Two Abbotsford retirees and part-time puzzle aficionados have decided to show off what they’ve been up to since COVID-19 has kept them inside.
Carol Mitchell and Caroline Bartlett, who live beside each other on Carol Street, have created what they call the “Carol Street Art Walk.” The two have completed 10 puzzles since March, for a total piece count of 11,000. Their husbands, Doug and Lewis, have framed and hung the puzzles on the retaining wall outside their homes.
“We have been doing a lot of walking around our neighbourhood, and we’ve been noticing the painted rocks and stuff in the windows. So we got to thinking, ‘What could we do in our neighbourhood?’” Carol said. “We have both been furiously doing puzzles in quarantine, and so we got this crazy idea.
“We came home and gave the idea to our husbands and they were just all over that.”
The women and their frame-building spouses said the walk has been well-received by the community.
“We’ve had quite a few people stop by and have a look,” Carol said. “There was a young fellow and he was walking by and I heard him exclaiming quite loudly over the puppies in one of the puzzles. So it just made me happy to hear that.
“Everyone is out walking, [and] it can get a little boring walking around the neighbourhood after awhile, so it just makes me feel good to know that they are enjoying it.”
Aside from one 2,000-piece puzzle, which took a total of 40 hours to complete, the rest are 1,000 pieces and took 20 hours each, according to the women.
The two said puzzles have been a hobby since retiring several years ago, but they only started collaborating after discovering their shared interest.
“We started sharing them. When we do them, we take them apart and then give them to each other,” Carol said. “We’ve got 10 hanging on the wall now and a couple more in progress, and a couple more to do after that.”
They said that puzzles with lots of greenery or bizarrely shaped pieces are the hardest.
“Always start with the border first, and then probably by colour. When I get close to the end, I’ll separate by shape,” Carol said. “You do the easy stuff first. So if you’ve got a bright-red barn, grab all the red and do that first!”
The Carol Street Art Walk will probably stay up and grow for the rest of the summer, according to the two women. Afterwards they plan to donate them.