Category Archives: ingeniousness

Those cards will have me in shards

Here’s a confession: I hate German grammar. Mind you, I’m not overly fond of any grammar and if pressed I’d probably say Latin grammar is worse than German.

The thing is: I’m trying to cash in on German grammar. Together with a German friend I have a project to make teaching material about it. The material involves two sets of cards, and today I got done designing those cards.

I use Excel for want of a proper graphics program and it works sort of alright. My wrist tells me I did more mouse work than it really prefers but I can ignore it.

What really got me hugging the desk in despair is the sheer number of variations in especially pronouns. Of several kinds. Small wonder that my hatred is common among learners.

And now for the happy note: If this material makes the grand transition from project to actual, published and buyable aide, it will change the way pupils and students battle with grammar.

Think I may go for the name “Deutsch ohne Tränen”: German without tears.

Patience, chance

I write. Not just this blog (and another one in Danish) but also fiction. Sometimes I write non-fiction too when I describe some of the patterns et c. I make for various craft projects.

And when you write you get – at least some people get – the notion that someone might want to publish your writing. So you send off a manuscript to veraous publishers, big and small.

And then you wait. Watch your mail box for at least an auto-reply that tells you that your heart and soul reached their destination. And you wait some more.

From time to time you loose patience, often as not only to wish you didn’t because the long-awaited answer is a refusal.

And then just once in a while you get a chance. This just happened to me even if it was in disguise: I wrote up descriptions with lots of snaps of a select number of patchwork patterns and looked for publishers specialising in the field. Then I wrote to those publishers. Finally I posted in a patchwork group on Facebook if others had good suggestion of “never fail always good books” from a specific publisher.

That was when chance entered the equation. A group member with a shop wrote to me because she could well want to sell my patterns in her shop.

The lesson I learned from this? Just the usual: Timing is what makes chances occur.

Think pink!

pink skuldertaske for

pink skuldertaske bag

My darling mum was always a collector and saver. I inherited and willingly pick up anything she began to discard because of a move to a smaller flat. I fully intend to turn the odds and ends into something, and this shoulder bag is one such thing.

I have no clue what she intended the two different kinds of material for. Probably something else. Only thing I’m sure about is the strap surprised her.

It’s an old bicycle tube.

The top is something shiny, the beads are mostly Czech glass, the floral-print is satin.

There’s something about contrasts …

 

Tartar sauce sandwiches and the laws of physics

Warning: It’s another scouting post. Anyone severely anti-scouts can stop reading now, unless you’re into Newton, physics and general sillyness.

So: Saturday was regional tounrnament with the scouts. These things always revolve around a theme, and this one was about the works of a beloved children’s books author Ole Lund Kirkegaard. He worked as a teacher and genuinely loved it. Was always on the side of his pupils, never got really mad, encouraged imagination and wrote books accordingly.

The one my group got tells the story of some children who pursue and catch a thief who goes around on a push-scooter while dealing with a terrible grouch of a man, learning tricks from a 16-year old and starting school.

One trick is how to drive a teacher mad: Just arm yourself with open tartar-sauce sandwiches, throw them at the blackboard / chalkboard and hope he gets so mad he steps into the waste-paper bin. (Or she. In the book the teacher is a man).

So what we had them do was sneak past Mr. Storm, the grouch, as best they could, pinch leads as to where stuff was hidden while disturbing the push-scooter thief and of course make and throw tartar-sauce sandwiches.

For the last part we / I devised what I thought was an ingenious sandwich catapult out of two milk crates, a narrow board, a metal rod from a scrap heap, a tiny bit of electricians’ tube, gaffer tape and binder twine. The board was suspended between the crates via the metal rod inside the tube bit taped onto the board. See-saw style.

So why is there no snap of this wonder? Weeeellll – because I’d plain forgotten Newton’s laws. Instead of catapulting forward, it worked as any see-saw. Scout number one placed the sandwich, sauce facing up, on one end. Whacked the other end with a rubber-head hammer (usually for tent pegs). Up shot the sandwich, some 25 meters I was told (almost 80 feet!). Then it lost momentum, went into a backward, steep curve and managed to land on the neck of another scout. Sauce facing down.

Apparently, they tried once more, only this time hitting the board with less force. The result was that the sandwich merely fell off the board. It was then discarded and disassembled before I could get a photo op.

At least the rest of our activity and the rest of that day was a success. And we had great fun too playing silly buggers for some 8 hours.

Scouts are serious, great, innovative, quick to ad-lib. And sometimes very, very silly.

The Seventh year stitch(es)

Yes I know full well I’ve been at it before. And now I’m at it again: Scouting. Well it’s just a sign that it takes up a lot of mental room. Hardly surprising since I have this proof of just how long time ago I first donned my blue uniform:

årsstjerne

7 years in blue. And ridiculously proud to show it. As a girl I was in the YWCA for 6 years. And no that doesn’t mean I should have a star saying 13 years on my pocket, which is where it’s sewn on. Because I’m in the non-denominational uni-sex Danish Scout Corps now.

And I think I’m ready for seven more years, one at a time. So is it much of a craft to sew on a small piece of material? Not really, though our uniforms are made of sturdy cotton woven the same way as denim.

What is a genuine craft is coming up with idea upon idea on how to train each girl and boy scouting skills, cooperation, cameraderie, how to overcome being homesick, pitching tents et c. And still keep up your own enthusiasm. OIt’s only possible because scouting is so wonderful it attracts other adults that become friends. Oh yes, I am SO ready for seven more years. Itching to get back to it all!

 

Ceci n’est pas une door handle

Nor, for that matter, is it a loft ladder:

handsker

I’m not particularly proud of these gloves. My defense is they’re made of thinsulate, which is completely unwieldy and – just to top it – has a strong tendency to come apart in tis three layers while you work with it.

The reason I almost call them a doorhandle is my nephew who is a carpenter. And he has cold hands in the morning because work gloves are either too thin to really keep his hands warm or too thick to actually work with. My idea was thar thinsulate just might work as undergloves because it’s thin AND warm at the same time.

The handle on my daughter’s door is playing up. And he promised to fix it and possibly extre-fasten her loft ladder in return for these gloves.

Nepotistic trading economy. You gotta love it.

Bang, bang, button

Are jeans makers lazy? Sometimes I get that feeling. Because when you buy a shirt, jacket or cardie the buttons are always sewn on.

Not so with jeans. Instead it’s one of those things you just punch in. Even though most jeans only have one single button.

So what, you might say. Most of the time – nothing. But when such a button comes out, there’s precious little you can do, because it leaves a hole in the material.

So when my daughter’s favourite pants lost the button she was so sorry. Only worn three times which is enough to be impossible to complain about and far to early to discard.

A bit of creative thinking, two scraps from worn-out jeans and my trusty sewing machine later, this was the result:

Only the backside really shows my ingeniousness. The front plainly works. And she is so happy she has me.

As the mother of a teenage girl that’s woth a lot.