Tag Archives: #ideas

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.

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.

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 gentle art of plotting

I might have called it scheming. It’s a lot less sinister than it may look at first glance: I hope to finish some writing in time to join a competition to win publishing. And I have to hand in a plot outline.

I’m not always much of a plotter. This time I decided I would at least use the competition to practise making a plot instead of just plodding ahead as is my usual wont.

It took the physical form of pieces of paper. Plot outline on one, locations on another, characters on a third et c. And yes I know there are computer programs that let you do that on-screen. I don’t have those programs. Not one. And it just doesn’t really work in the programs I have and know.

Besides, there is something nice about long hand and tangible notes. This is (at least primarily) a crafts blog. Of course I like and often prefer to use my hands and fingers for something other than tapping at keys. And there is a joy in its own right to spreading out those notes on the table (amid pieces of a pair of short pants in the making) to get an overview.

There are no good snaps in such a process. All I can hope for is that it’ll turn out some really good words. Such as “you’ve won!”

 

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!