You have to haggle!

Or: How I bartered my nice neighbour for laminated copies of dead currency

Scouts are an odd bunch. I speak from knowledge as I’ in my eight year as a scout, and that’s just counting my adult scout years.

So let me expound on odd: We pay good money just to be allowed to be with other peoples’ children in our spare time. Often as not away from our own families. We volunteer to stand post at night even in winter and rain. We think woodsmoke is the best perfume imaginable. We walk our feet sore beyond belief for a tiny badge to show off on our uniforms. And just to top it we know no greater joy than adhering to a concept for an entire week-end, using a story frame to play silly buggers.

So this week-end I spent with the scouts. Nothing we did was any surprise to me as I volunteered to help plan the whole thing.

We set the story frame to be ancient Rome: The rooms in the cabin were adorned with signs saying “culina”, “dormitorium”, “triclinium”, “vestibulum”, and “cubiculum”. Not one cub had a clue why. The older scouts either asked about is a dozen times – each –  or overlooked it.

Friday evening the 10-12 YOs built role play weapons and shields while the 12-16 YOs built an acquaduct out of discarded plastic tubes from a carpet store.

Saturday saw the arrival of the cubs. They set to work adorning triclinium with columns (more tubes) and stick-on mosaics while the others practised weaponry / built a steam hut to double as a “caldarium”.

Saturday afternoon saw all scouts invade European regions to spread Roman civilisation. In Slavia they had to crawl belly-up, crab-style over odds and ends to feel for their patrol tote animal. They fired a catapult in Bohemia to get a very silly dining rule: “Always top your neighbour’s glass”, “Always stand while Ceasar sits”, “Make sure potatoes and meat DO NOT touch” etc. Had to give up conquering the Gauls. That kind of thing.

Saturday evening late saw the 10-16 YOs meet the red tape of Roman civilisation. The idea was to turn the rule democratic. My post was one as a slave keeper at the Colosseum. They had to haggle with me to buy free my enslaved neighbour, and I was tough on those scouts.

Yesterday I felt great again after a 12-hour night’s sleep. So now I’m ready to go again next Saturday.

Yes, we are an odd bunch. But the badges are neat!

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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 …

 

Bobbin’ for cash

Yes, it’s usually for apples. I tried that once and got sopping wet on my chest. Not breasts as it was when I was only 10.

Last week I did a short round to a couple of bridal wear shops that had responded positively to an email suggesting I become a free-lance partner for them. I brought examples of embroidery, beading, stitched lace, fine crochet, and bobbin lace with me as examples. One ordered a stole. And this is the finished order: kniplet stola

This is what bobbin lace can look like when enlarged and made with a cashmere- / mink blend. It weighs next to nothing and should add grace to any bride in my opinion.

And the cash? Since it takes me a full day to measure out the thread, wind it up, sketch up the pattern and actually make it, I said the price is 1200 DKr. Which is a decent day’s wage and nothing extraordinairy.

A shiny new coat

Bird houses for Burundi. It actually makes sense if you hear the whole story:

A retired Dane went into his garage out of boredom, emerged with five identical bird houses and hung them on his fence. He ran out of space in the garage. While making some more he was disturbed by a rap on the door. How much did those bird houses cost? He said he had to ask his wife.

The wife was – still is – a woman of business and compassion. She told her husband to ask ca. 50 dollars apiece but paint them first. The surplus would support a development project in Burundi, a country riddled by mines and other scars of war.

By now they have turned a tent camp into a regular village complete with a soap factory, a tailoring shop, a school, an bicycle ambulance et c. All on the proceeds of bird houses. They have different people paint them and sell / auction them off.

In between a man with a gardening program with lots of wievers heard about it and made half an hour’s TV about it. And I saw it. Convinced my fellow scout leaders that we should paint and sell bird houses with our cub scouts to perform duty to others.

Today I gave them a final coat of lacquer to preserve the paint in rainy weather. I spent 3 hours in boredom and fumes, and it felt great.

Because when the parents buy those houses, we’re helping a couple more families get home, jobs and education.

I love being a scout!

The things we do for love

I’m not sure how much it reveals about me that I – often as not – think of titles of songs or movies when writing a title for a new post. This time it’s 10 CC.

The thing I currently do for love is basting. Usually when I sew my box of pins is all I need. To me basting is just a way to waste time sewing seams twice. Yet now I do precious little but baste.

The reason is the bedspread that popped up in two posts already. But hey – since I hand-sew my patchwork I have to baste them into correct size first. Which takes time because there are 468 of them.

Bringing me back to things we do for love: It’s for my darling Mum. She deserves all the love I pour into the work.

 

Snip, snip

Do you know the feeling? You found all your patchwork material, spread it over half the living room and cut piece after piece for a specific project.

Then the minute you sigh and begin to re-fold everything to put it away you think of other patterns. Leave the mess, take up pencil and paper – in my case a standard checkered pad – and begin to draw. Come up with brilliant ideas. Or remember old and equally brilliant ideas not yet put into colours and cloth.

Lean back with sketches on the pad, smile to yourself and fetch the thick paper used for clich´s and begin to cut those. And then finally go on to cut the material for those patterns.

That’s what I did this past week. Well, not all of it, some of it. And now that I finally put all the material away to stop myself getting further ideas I have not only the 468 pieces for my Mum’s bedspread but also 2X5 for two canters, 15 pieces for one experimental pattern, 11 pieces for another experiment and finally 177 pieces for a square pattern. Because I stopped myself before I began to cut a hexagon cliche’e which would have meant countless other pieces.

Oh and did I mention I always hand-sew? Seems I have my work cut out for me very literally.

CDM

Cake, dinner, midnight.

Calculation, dedication, mass production

Chaos, disaster, moping

What have I been doing?! Well you might just ask. The answer is that Saturday my Mum came to visit to see the progress on her bedspread (see last post) and decide what should go on it now. We talked back and forth for a bit, thought a lot and finally decided to reduce the number of denim pieces and add a simple patchwork design of only squares.

A lot of them as it turned out. 468 to be precise.

We sighed a bit, then she began to cut out the squares, I began to edge them, and my daughter collected them in bundles of 10 to ease counting. All was well, we took a break for coffee / tea and cakes, another break later on to finish cooking a pot roast already simmering.

Time wore on but around 11 PM we “just” needed 80-odd squares and went on cutting to get it over with.

Minutes later disaster struck. My trusty old sewing machine decided to play up, eat material and make snares of the thread. 44 squares are un-edged, and all of them still need sewing together.

I really need the one CDM I didn’t have: Cadbury’s dairy milk.