The things we do for fun—In their spare time, Hilde C. and Chantha M. are apt to invent something

It all started with Christmas decorations.
Two local residents took a long, hard look at the way we light up our houses each holiday season, and how we hang the dangly little lights around the gutters, and decided there had to be a better way to do all this.
Presto! They became inventors.
Hilde C. and Chantha M. are sort-of part-time inventors. They do it for fun.
Their real lives are tied up with other, more pressing busy stuff, like retirement, volunteering and working.
“I guess I could call myself an inventor,” said Chantha, who is trying to find someone to help produce his idea for easier-hanging icicle Christmas lights. “When I see something that is not very user-friendly, I like to readjust it and stuff to make it work right.”
Hilde, who is working on a solar-powered holiday light setup, would really rather do other things. It was all those years of staring at Christmas lights draining electricity that stoked her invention flame.
“I invent for fun,” Hilde said. “I just think it’s a good idea. I hate to have to waste electricity.”
Hilde and Chantha aren’t alone. The local area is sort of a hotbed of invention, thanks mostly to the high-tech firms that populate the county.
Hilde’s idea is pretty simple: Power those holiday light displays by the sun.
People spend a lot of money stringing brightly colored lights on houses each Christmas, all wired to extension cords that pull electricity and send their utility bills skyward. Hilde has worked on a device to created solar-powered generators that could power those same holiday lights, without the costly electric bill.
She even built a “flimsy” prototype that could be used to power all kinds of outdoor decorations, it doesn’t matter what the holiday.
Inventing came naturally to her. When she came up with the idea for the solar-powered holiday decorations, she contacted Invent-Tech of Coral Gables, Fla.
Hilde said she believes her invention should find a home some place. She also has more ideas up her sleeve.