With frames and mats strewn about the room, the basement became "framing central" for a group of puzzle enthusiasts who meet daily to put the pieces together in the back of Allen's TV Sales and Services located at 14 E. Washington St. in Roachdale.
The group, known as the Roachdale Puzzle Club, is made up mostly of men and women in their 60s and 70s, who can be found in Allen's shop at most points of the day piecing together puzzles and catching up on town talk.
"You don't find this in town or in cities like Indianapolis," club member Dottie Young said.
For the annual Roachdale Community Yard Sale today, the group has 31 framed puzzles to sell for $5 each. Puzzle Club member Bill Perkins also made some of the frames from leftover barn wood. The back of each puzzle for sale has the names of all club members, which now numbers 25.
The church also plans to sell books, hotdogs, coneys, homemade fudge and jams and other items at the sale, which runs from 8 a.m. to noon today. All proceeds from puzzles sold will go back to the Roachdale Presbyterian Church.
The club began after founding member Pat Allen's husband died a little more than five and half years ago. She was looking for a hobby to keep her mind fresh, so she'd sit in the back of the shop between customers to put puzzles together, and was soon joined by a cadre of friends around town who helped her put projects together -- one piece at a time.
The club, which began as a one-table operation, now has three tables set up in the back of Allen's shop, member Dottie Young said.
"It's more about sitting and talking to pass the time of day," she said.
Members still meet daily, drifting in and out of Allen's shop to work on puzzles in between customers. For members, though, completing each puzzle is secondary to the bonding and time spent talking and eating together.
"We'll stop in to put a piece or two in, we'll argue or find out what's going on around town," Rust said. "I get to see all my friends, and it helps the hour go quicker."
It takes the group anywhere from a few days to several weeks to complete one puzzle, which range from 200 to 3,000 pieces to put together each.
When puzzles are almost near completion, every once in a while members will notice a few pieces missing. In that case, the project is shelved in the event the loose pieces turn up eventually.
"Sometimes people carry pieces on their elbows without knowing it when they walk out," Young said.
Club members agreed that replicas of Thomas Kinkade landscape paintings were the most difficult to put together because the colors blend together and its hard to distinguish where the pieces fit.
The group also recently received 51 additional puzzles to put together from outside sources, and Roachdale Presbyterian Church Pastor Alan Small talked to someone he knew at a store at a store who was interested in sending about 20 more.
"We have nothing in these. It's a cheap, easy way of making extra money for the church," Rust said.
Rust said the group recently took apart a John Deere puzzle only to find someone had specifically requested one for the sale.
"We really hustled to finish," she said, noting it took the club two to three days to complete.
More than putting the puzzles together and raising money, the group meets more so for the bonding and time spent together, many forging lifelong friendships in the process.
"It's a real support group," Rust said. "I could call any of the 25 members listed on the back of those puzzles and they'd bring this or that."