Learn English – activities that use the hands

Some people like doing crafts with their hands.  I don’t!  But I do enjoy one hobby, one activity that uses my hands.


Hey there. This is Maria from English without Fear. I have tried many different activities with my hands. I have tried hobbies that use my hands, but I am only good with one activity that uses my hands. And today I’m going to tell you about that. So, sit back, relax, listen, and just try to understand as much as you can

(Intro: English without Fear where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories)

I have many friends who are very skilled with their hands. They do beautiful crafts and I admire them. What did I try? What have I experimented with? When I was little..hmm, when I was about eight years old, my mom, my mother started me with piano lessons. But I wasn’t very good at piano and I didn’t enjoy it and I didn’t practice very much. And after a while I gave it up. 

What else did I try? As an older girl, my grandmother gave me her sewing machine and I tried making clothes, I bought material.  I bought patterns and I actually made a few things, even a dress that I wore to a school dance. But I wasn’t very good at sewing, whether with the machine or just with my hands. And I gave it up. 

I have tried knitting with my hands. I have tried crocheting with my hands. I have made a clay pot. I have even done some watercolor activity, painting. But I wasn’t very good. And I didn’t really enjoy it and I gave it up. 

But when I was 13 in school, we had some lessons in cooking. We learned basic cooking skills. And I remember one of the homework assignments, where we had to go home and fix, prepare, an entire meal, a supper, a dinner for our family. I loved this homework assignment. And the food tasted good, it was simple. And my family enjoyed it too. That was a very positive experience and I continued on with cooking and learning how to cook.

I remember being 16 years old and for some reason I wanted to make a pie crust and a pie from scratch. What does it mean to make something from scratch? That’s a funny English expression. Making something from scratch means making it homemade with no packaged items, no processed foods. Everything you use is real.

So, I found a recipe for a pie crust and followed the recipe and it was a failure. It was a flop, we say.  It did not turn out well. But I was challenged, I was determined. I’m going to keep working on pie crusts. My mom, my mother was great. She let me do whatever I wanted in the kitchen as long as I cleaned up. So, I kept working on those pie crusts and eventually, eventually I was successful.

I also learned how to make bread. My mother made French bread from scratch and I learned to make French bread from scratch. I still do make French bread, but only when we have company.

I have been cooking for years, for decades. A decade is 10 years. I’ve been cooking for decades and I like to cook with real foods from scratch. What kinds of things do I make from scratch? I make my mayonnaise from scratch. If you buy mayonnaise at the store, it’s got all sorts of preservatives. 

I make chicken liver paté from scratch. You might think that’s weird, Mike and I like it. I make sauces from scratch. What else do I make from scratch? I’ve made jam from scratch. I can’t think of anything else, but I do a lot from scratch and it is very satisfying. I have not gotten tired of, I have not given up cooking at all. I like it and it uses my hands. 

Well, what about you? What have you tried to do with your hands? Are you good at gardening? Are you good at painting? Are you good at folding paper, uh, origami? Tell me about it. Leave me a comment below this video. 

And remember, if you would like the transcript, the written words, to today’s episode, just go to my website, www.englishwithoutfear.com and there you can download the transcript. You can sign up for a newsletter where occasionally I write about how best to learn another language and how best to teach a language. Well, that’s it for this episode. I’m Maria from English without Fear. Talk to you next time. 

(outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments, here’s my email.)

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