The Café Program Jigsaw Puzzle

finished postcards

Putting the pieces together

Surf Coast Shire Council’s Café Program would usually be hosting catch ups for people over 65 at cafes and community venues across the shire. 

Once the COVID-19 restrictions were introduced, council staff were keen to find inventive ways to keep participants connected while apart and came up with a plan for a Café Program Jigsaw Puzzle.

Participants were sent a blank jigsaw piece about half A4 in size, with instructions to decorate it however they like and send it back.  All the pieces come together to create a jigsaw puzzle that showcases our program paticipants’ diverse creative talents.

finished postcards  

Photography by Mollie Vaughan

Here is a small sample of the completed jigsaw pieces and some words from the makers.


Norma from Anglesea

”It was lovely to do the jigsaw piece.  I would have liked another one to play around with. I love flowers and the trees and the outside and I love the bush. A flower always makes people smile.  If you can stop to smell a flower it makes every day special.  Camellias are my favourite.

I loved doing it and I didn’t want it to come to an end.  I would have added more to it but I wanted the final jigsaw to fit together.”

rosalind anglesea  

Rosalinde from Anglesea

I thought crochet would be good for this because I could make it to fit inside the jigsaw piece. I do a lot of crocheting; I love it. I like making crochet for those who live near me.  I make bags, blankets and cushion covers.  I give a lot away and teach others how to make their own. I have a lot of time at the moment so it only takes me about a month to finish a crochet blanket.”

Jan Bellbrae  

Jan from Bellbrae

My puzzle piece is a pen on paper celebration of home, family and nature that has fortified me in these challenging COVID times. It is expressed through heart/flower motifs and the Bunjil eagle totem of our local indigenous custodians. The cup symbol represents the Café Program who’s surprisingly charming Jigsaw Puzzle Project has engaged and connected its members in a broader creative community outcome.”

Geo Bellbrae  

Geo from Bellbrae

”I love coffee and I love writing and languages.  I usually create sculpture alone working in hard materials like stone and steel, so it was a pleasant surprise to work with pen and paper on a community project through the Café Program that Jan and I have enjoyed before Covid19 restrictions.”

lola aireys inlet  

Lola from Aireys Inlet

Our jigsaw piece is inspired by my reading. I told my granddaughter about a bookshelf idea and she said she would love to help. She took the piece home and came back with this great piece.   I am not so good at getting involved with things, so without Nina's help it would not have happened.”

Alison Winchelsea  

Alison from Winchelsea

“I tried to make it with what I had in the house. I looked at the jigsaw piece and thought, what am I going to do?  I coloured it in first and then placed the stickers on top.  Each of the stickers represent what we are going through at the moment.  Fish: fish out of water.  Teddy Bear: missing cuddles. Dog wearing glasses: doing a lot of reading. Sleeping dog: having a nanna nap occasionally.  The faces drawn in pen show that I am sad when I am missing people and happy when I see someone.”


Joyce from Gherang

It is called Crazy Patchwork. I do patchwork and I always have bits and pieces of materials leftover.  Crazy Patchwork is made from all the leftover pieces of material.  You start with a centre piece of material that usually has five sides and you work out from there.  Crazy Patchwork is good for small items like cushion covers.  There is no pattern. You put them together and you see what happens.”


Joan from Winchelsea

“I had photos at hand.  I’m at home fiddling around so I thought I may as well get involved. My sister went into a nursing home and I have all her photos to sort through and give back to family.  One of the photos on the jigsaw piece is a photo of family at Cumberland River.  We used to go there every year.  The photos of the Sydney Harbour were from a bus trip we did to Queensland.”

leo and helen  

Helen and Leo from Winchelsea

“I just did a bit of decorating, putting the beads together. They are called diamond dots.  I usually buy the kits where you buy the framed picture and packets of beads.  The numbers on the packets of beads match the numbers on the picture.  You attach the beads and then spray it with a special spray.  I’ve done animals and a photo of my dad.  I’m doing one of a horse at the moment.” 


Lynette B from Torquay

 “I had left the flyer on the coffee table.  My daughter found it and asked me what I was going to do?  I said I didn’t know and I was going to have to think about it.  My daughter said, I could make those birds (paper cranes).   We made it while watching the footy. I supervised and chose the paper.  My daughter learnt how to make the birds when she visited Japan about 30 years ago.  She went to Japan with a group who worked in hospitality for 12 months. She made lots of friends and had a lot of fun on the trip.  The paper we used was purchased in Japan when she went on the trip.”

Julia Torquay  

Julia from Torquay

It was a photograph I took of the ocean.  It is my happy place. I’ve met lots of dogs and people there. It would be great to get back to the beach with no restrictions.  The message on the jigsaw piece is about living for today with no regrets. I was inspired by a tattoo I once saw.  A waitress who served us in Sydney had a tattoo on the inside of her bicep.  It read: They are not mistakes, they are lessons.”

Lynette P  

Lynette P from Torquay

I decided to do a painting. We lived for years and years on the Gippsland Lakes and now in Torquay.  I love being by the water. This painting is inspired by the water. My late husband’s artwork was always very gentle.  This painting is also gentle and represents, peace and quiet and relaxation.   I’ve used water colour and water colour pencil and soft pastels. The trees were put in with inks.  This is what you call mixed media. I’m usually a silversmith. I love the other side of me that is now coming out. “


Helen from Torquay

When I got the jigsaw piece I thought wow, ok, what will I do? Will I paint something? Will I write something? It said to be creative.  I’m creative in needle craft and knitting.  I remembered a booklet I had about crochet flowers and thought I will finally get to use it. I decided to decorate it with crochet flowers with a lot of colour.

There were one or two frustrating moments when trying to arrange the flowers.  The couch swallowed my crochet hook so I had to go and buy a new one from Spotlight. My couch has also swallowed a cable needle. “