The Puzzled Turtle
What's your name?
Elizabeth but everyone calls me “Turtle”
Where are you based?
Greenville SC (USA)
Tell us about what your ordinary day looks like.
I’m in outside sales for a medical company so my days are fairly hectic. I live in my car from 7am until 4:30pm every weekday, with lots of conference calls while I’m driving. And so much small talk during the work day! When I get home from work, I love my quiet time. Most days, as soon as I get home, I take my adorable rescue pups on walks. Once back at home, I finish up computer work/paperwork and make dinner. THEN, it’s puzzle time until bed.
How did you get into the world of puzzling?
I’ve always loved puzzling. I remember as a small child, sitting on the floor and doing puzzles with my Mom. And when we’d pack for trips, I always had to have my old school “board” puzzles. As I got older, game nights and puzzles were the norm at our house. All through high school and college, I would host a big group of my friends and we would play games late into the night. Then real work and social life commitments hit, which meant less and less time for puzzling. In 2018, I was diagnosed with RA after being extremely sick for close to a year. Puzzles were the BEST therapy when you’re stuck inside sick for months on end. As soon as I was better, I just kept doing puzzles. Then in 2019, I lost my Mom to Alzheimer’s. When I asked her doctor what were some things I could do to help ward off Alzheimer’s, puzzles were a recommendation. So voila - I became “The Puzzled Turtle”.
What makes you keep puzzling & how often do you puzzle?
Shortly after I started working puzzles into my every day life, I quickly realized they did much more for me than just keeping my mind sharp. My stress levels went down immediately when I would start a puzzle. For years, I’ve tried meditation. And if any of you out there are creative minded people, you know it’s so hard for us to turn off our brain. For me, meditation was stressful. Nothing worked. But puzzles were my own type of meditation. My brain would hyper focus on the pieces and shapes and colors. Then I could listen to a podcast, book on Audible or a Netflix show - and truly “zone out” while puzzling. Instant and gratifying relaxation.
What is your favorite type of puzzles?
I used to think “the bigger, the better” because they last longer. Now it matters more about the image itself and the quality of the pieces. I LOVE a fun 750-1000 piece. But if my day is extra hectic and I don’t have time to do one that large, a 300 or 500 is perfect. When I travel, I ALWAYS take mini puzzles along with me. I am known to whip out my Zacko puzzle board with a mini puzzle anytime I travel with work. As for artwork/images, I am a HUGE fan of anything fun. I love bright colors, original artwork, cartoon images, fun designs. I was a graphic arts major in college and my creative mind tends to pull towards the more bright and funky. I’m not a fan of scenery or buildings/landscapes. But give me a montage of cartoon faces and I’m glued to it until finished.
During puzzling sessions, do you listen to anything or puzzle in silence?
I wish I could do them in silence but having ADD, my mind needs and craves noise while I puzzle. I will put on a Netflix or Hulu series and puzzle with that in the background. Amazingly enough, I even retain what is happening on the show. I also love a good podcast or “book on tape” (for anyone under 35, that is Audible).
If you were to describe what puzzling means to you, what would it be?
Happiness. Genuine happiness.
Tell us about your other interests & joys.
My second favorite hobby is baking. I have a side business baking and decorating sugar cookies with royal icing - in every design you could imagine. My customers order themed cookies and I work on those between puzzles. It’s also a source relaxation for me and a fun way to channel my creativity. Other hobbies include anything with my nieces & nephews, Clemson football, travel, reading, anything art related and of course - my dogs. My sweet furbabies are the center of my world.
Do you have anything you want to share?
I think the biggest takeaway is learn what puzzles appeal the most to you. Try different brands, themes, styles and artists. Find which ones make YOU happiest and do more of those. And always give credit to the artist who designed the puzzles you love. The artist who creates the images is just as important as the puzzle manufacturer. I am a very loyal fan of puzzle companies who promote the artists, highlighting their work and biographies. Another reason I adore Soonness! You will ALWAYS find info on the artists at your fingertips. It’s highlighted on the website, on the puzzle boxes, etc. And not only do they recognize them, they SUPPORT artists. They are constantly looking for new talented artists from around the world and a cut of every puzzle sold goes to the artist. (You’d be amazed how many companies do not do this! It’s shameful.) You know if a puzzle company is owned by an artist, they respect the job. And Soon is an INCREDIBLE artist! She truly respects the profession and the people.