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Trump Cubes - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
Trump Cubes
When my Euchre Girlfriends and I get together, it is almost always very late at night. Even if it doesn't start as late, it certainly ends up that way. What this means is that, as the night progresses, our brains get more and more fried. Fortunately we can all play euchre in our sleep (and I'm sure we have before!), but it does make it hard to remember what trump is.

Many months ago, during one of these late-night sessions, this subject came up. Our friend 'Stine had had a "trump cube", a wooden cube on which her mother had drawn the suits in magic marker. You just turned the cube to display the correct suit, and nobody had to remember what trump was anymore.

We discussed how useful such a device would be, except that 'stine is no longer nearby enough to attend our euchre therapy sessions. Somehow as conversation progressed, it was determined that we would EACH make up trump cubes for our fellow euchre players, and give them to one another as Christmas gifts.

Thus it was that we each went to our respective homes, conniving to come up with some sort of unique trump cube to give out at christmastime.

I spent quite a bit of time thinking about mine. Because I am competitive that way, I wanted to come up with a concept that was totally different than everyone else's (and preferably cooler, even if in nobody's opinion but my own). The main problem that I see is: while there are only four suits in a standard card game, a cube has SIX sides. This makes two wasted sides, which bothered me. What to do? Pyramids, 4-sided dice? But I don't like that the 4-sided die sits on its flat surface.

One night when I couldn't sleep, I pulled out a pad of paper and began designing a complex architecture in which a 4-sided die is encased in a clear resin or plastic, giving its pointed bit a flat but see-through surface on which to sit. The idea was that you could set it so that the flat plane with the suit marked on it would be facing up, but it would still have only four sides.

Satisfied, I went to sleep. However a few weeks later when I started to contemplate materials for this project, I realized that I had set myself up with a really complicated engineering task. This would probably involve things like exacto knives, measuring, and trigonometry!

A bit daunted, I started thinking some more. What other four-sided three-dimensional objects are there....? A random link on wikipedia led me to my answer.

Dreidels!

Four faces, a handle, and a tip for spinning. Perfect. This led me to a couple of amusing date-moments. First was when a friend and I were getting together, looking for something to do, and I was able to say "Well I need to go to the craft store and pick up some dreidels, want to come?"

He happily agreed, even while having no idea why I needed dreidels, and I explained the project on the way. Much to our dismay, neither of the craft stores we visited sold dreidels of any sort! I was planning on buying some and painting them. The funny thing is that each store had a "holiday decorations" section, which is a nice and polically correct name, which would have been fine except for the fact that ALL THEY HAD WERE CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS! That just made the name rather pathetic.

Stymied once again, I had to come up with a plan C. Fortunately there was a song to guide me, so I bought some modeling clay and paints.
This led to entertaining date moment number two, when a different friend came over to pick me up for a date. My oven beeped. He looked at me puzzledly. "Oooh, my dreidel's done!" Then I got the fun of explaining the project all over again ("please tell me why it is that you have a dreidel in your toaster oven?"), on the way to dinner.

Both of these patient gentlemen have since been given dreidels of their very own, incidentally. They are fun to play with!

After much labor, my dreidel project was finished. It was a lot of work, getting the faces relatively flat and the handles and points balanced enough that they can spin half-way decently. Then painting the darn suits carefully enough that they looked properly recognizable... eventually it all came together. I even gave them out in little Christmas stockings, to increase the irony. It was a really fun arts-and-crafts project, and it's inspired me to make more homemade presents in the future.

Random Pics
Trump Dreidels
Originally uploaded by javagrl.

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Current Mood: amused amused

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Comments
larcb From: larcb Date: January 15th, 2008 12:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I am way impressed. I have sung that song since I was a wee one, and it NEVER occured to me to actually make one out of clay. Or even Play Doh.

Probably the Chanukah stuff was way gone from the craft stores since it fell so very early this year.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 16th, 2008 06:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Oddly enough, both of the ones I went to (near 14 and John R) said they didn't get anything due to their nearby population. Not enough Jews I guess? Surprising.
larcb From: larcb Date: January 16th, 2008 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, guess not! Strange....
hannunvaakuna From: hannunvaakuna Date: January 15th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)
*grin*

it took euchre to get this jewish chick her first dreidel! you rock (:
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 16th, 2008 06:36 am (UTC) (Link)
ha - that's awesome! I must say I do love your solution for the extra two sides as well. Trump!
delosd From: delosd Date: January 15th, 2008 02:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Noooooooooo.... I can't get that song out of my head!

The same four lines, over and over. Oh, the humanity!
sherdeb From: sherdeb Date: January 15th, 2008 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I love mine! I haven't forgotten that IOU...
specialagentm From: specialagentm Date: January 15th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm... can I order some pinochle dreidels? :-D
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 16th, 2008 06:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Are those different from trump dreidels?
specialagentm From: specialagentm Date: January 16th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
No. It's just that I don't play euchre. :-D
jebra From: jebra Date: January 15th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Have I mentioned, recent, that you rock?
fachless From: fachless Date: January 15th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ohh! That's my dreidle on the bottom!
devnul From: devnul Date: January 15th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Heh-heh! Cute!

You could also have used a 3-sided pyramid, which with its bottom has four sides. I seem to remember gaming d4 from my childhood being shaped like that. Instead of showing trump on one face, it shows it at the top of the 3 sides just below the peak.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 16th, 2008 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I mentioned those in the middle:

"The main problem that I see is: while there are only four suits in a standard card game, a cube has SIX sides. This makes two wasted sides, which bothered me. What to do? Pyramids, 4-sided dice? But I don't like that the 4-sided die sits on its flat surface.

One night when I couldn't sleep, I pulled out a pad of paper and began designing a complex architecture in which a 4-sided die is encased in a clear resin or plastic, giving its pointed bit a flat but see-through surface on which to sit. The idea was that you could set it so that the flat plane with the suit marked on it would be facing up, but it would still have only four sides."

I wanted a single surface to show, not having to have the symbol on 3 sides of the tip.
devnul From: devnul Date: January 16th, 2008 11:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, I read but did not understand!

Using a dreidel for cards reminds me of an 80's comedian:

Last night I was playing poker, but instead of regular cards we used Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died.

renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 16th, 2008 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
heeheehee. (:
bowmaniac From: bowmaniac Date: January 15th, 2008 06:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, those are all KINDS of awesome. What a great idea. It's amazing how many times I'll repeat "XXX is trump" during a hand. It's only 5 tricks, one would think I could remember something that long. I may have to look into something like this.... :)

I grew up in a family that played echre all the time. The most frustrating thing about watching and trying to learn how to play was that they played so often and knew each other so well that after 2 or 3 tricks everyone would know what was going to happen so they'd just throw in all the rest of their cards. Confused the hell out of me for the longest time.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: January 16th, 2008 06:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, we'll do that too. It makes it look like you're not playing at all really!
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