Thursday, March 26, 2020

I'm Strapped

A post went up on our community FaceBook page that one of the residents in my new community is making face masks for medical personnel. One of her friends is a nurse and made the request, so Jacky made a few masks for her. Requests popped up almost as fast as the virus has spread in New York! Jacky put out a plea on FaceBook, and on Thursday she reported that over 300 masks had been made by people in our community!

While people were busy sewing, a problem arose. Jacky ran out of elastic and the elastic she ordered was backordered. She asked if I could make some straps. Ick! I thought of the challenge of sewing and turning small tubes of fabric. It certainly was something I could do, but not something I really cared to do... but in the spirit of helping I wandered into my sewing room. Then, it hit me! My Singer Featherweight machines come with a bias binding presser foot.

It is intended to apply bias binding to a raw edge of fabric, but I wondered if it could turn and sew a strip of fabric, without applying it to anything else. The answers was, "Yes!"
I also wondered if it would work with something other than fabric cut on the bias (which is another pain!) and again, the answer was, "Yes!"

Within a few minutes it was working! Sure, there were a lot of goofs and a bit of experimenting with how to hold the fabric, and what sort of fabric to use... but, ta da!!! I had straps!

The presser foot takes the strip, folds the bottom edge in and turns the upper edge on top of it. The machine stitches it all in place. I found that I could use a glue stick and glue one piece to another, making a long chain with the fabric strips, and sew them all as one long strip, then cut them at the glued joints.

I made a video! 
I thought it might be helpful for people to see how it's done, 
knowing that a picture is worth a thousand words!

I took my straps to Jacky's house, leaving them on her front porch, and she incorporated them into masks.

Jackie's nurse friends sent her a hearty thanks, and a picture to show how grateful they are. This particular group is using the fabric masks on top of the regulation N-95 masks, allowing them to change the fabric mask for each patient. This lets them use the N-95 mask for multiple patients, trying to hang on to their dwindling supply.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Life in the time of Coronavirus

Last night I started thinking about the book, "Love in the time of Cholera". I don't know that I've read the book, but the title came to mind as I contemplated how our lives have changed in such a short time. Googling the book led me to Daniel Defoe's "A Journal of the Plague Year", which apparently was inspiration for "Love in the time of Cholera".

I began web-site skipping, clicking on links and hopping from one site to another. At one I stopped to read a bit of Defoe's work, written in 1722. He wrote, "We had no such thing as printed newspapers in those days to spread rumours and reports of things, and to improve them by the invention of men, as I have lived to see practised since." Hmmm, thought I, what an eloquent way to say "false news", which seemingly was an issue even in the 17th century (another Internet hop to see when newspapers were more widely printed in London).

Then a hop to a list of pandemic books: The 20 Best Pandemic Books to Read During Coronavirus. (This being only one suggestion from about 357,000,000 results (according to Google) that flashed on my screen in 0.64 seconds) in the event you want to read about similar events, fact and fiction.

From there a link to "The Retreating Horizon of Time in Coronavirus Quarantine" by New Yorker author Don Chiasson. His piece begins: "As space constricts, for many of us, to the four walls of our houses and apartments, time seems to have overflowed its usual containers. It feels as if we have stowed away in the belly of a ship, uncertain of the duration of the voyage and without a view of the stars to chart our positions. A day feels one way when we imagine weeks of this, another way when we imagine months. The port appears to be receding as we approach it: a week ago, it felt like the journey-less journey on the S.S. Sameness would be over in late March, then in early April. On Monday,   “July or August.” News reports later that day seemed to suggest that we’d be living more or less this way until a vaccine for covid-19 was available, in perhaps eighteen months. (Much worse fates than boredom may await  some of us, if the terrifying forecasts hold.)" 

Reading this gave me pause (another hop to find that online dictionaries don't know the origin of this phrase) and reflect; being forced to stay home and have all the time I want to sew and create certainly seems novel (sic) today, but how will I feel in 2 weeks, 2 months, a year?!

Enough of this sobering, stressful stuff! I'm going to turn off the news. I'm going to stop my Internet hopscotch, I'm going to put my proverbial head in the sand and I'll show you a few things that have kept me occupied this week.

First, they are building five homes across the street from us. I hope that the company completes all of the homes, and that we don't end up staring at the shells of homes for years until our economy straightens out. They have been working steadily on them, and almost every day I stop and take a picture from the same place, showing three of the home sites. When the homes are finished I think it would be fun to make a slide show, somewhat like a time-lapse photo. Here are a few pictures:

March 1: Adding plumbing and digging footings
March 6: Pouring concrete for the first 2 houses 
March 10: Block exterior walls complete on first 2 houses
March 20: Roof trusses going up on first house
I've been enjoying time in my sewing room. I have a wall hanging on my long arm quilting machine. I have almost finished the quilting.

Each day I try to make a whimsical bird. The birds will ultimately be used in a quilt that will be a gift to my brother and sister-in-law. 

On Tuesday I had my annual Medicare "Wellness Exam". For those of you who aren't of the age, this check up isn't much of a medical check up, beyond making sure that you are breathing and your heart is pumping. This year the PA actually touched me to listen to my heart and lungs. Last year, I recall that the Doctor sat in a chair and asked me questions, and didn't come close as I had a horrendous cold. 

On Wednesday I woke up with a UTI. Of course! Why couldn't this have come a day earlier when it would have been easy to get it taken care of? Due to the circumstances in which we find ourselves, I did not want to go to a medical facility in town and the office where I went for the wellness visit probably wouldn't be able to see me. However, I had received an email that a "Meet with a Doctor" app had just been approved by our care providers. I downloaded the app, and after waiting a bit, I was online, video-chatting with a doctor who prescribed some antibiotics for me. This was one of the easiest visits to the Doctor I have had in... well, forever! The UTI seemed to involve my kidneys. I have been experience discomfort over the kidneys for several days since my online visit, but I think it is finally clearing up. 

On Thursday and Friday cove molding and tile was installed in our pool. We are thinking the pool will be a welcome relief to hot summer days if we can't travel to California as we have planned.

On Saturday I proposed a drive-in, driveway happy hour to our neighbors. They all said, "Yes"! I think everyone is itching to get out! We spread out on chairs and in golf carts and chatted for a bit.

On Sunday Gudrun Eria led a Quarantine Quilt-Along. She presented a pattern, and had four different video sessions on FaceBook. Other quilt artists participated as well. I pulled fabric from my stash and worked on the quilt for several hours during the day. My BFF introduced me to Gudrun and the Quarantine Quilt-Along, and she and I chit-chatted and sewed together through the magic of our iPhones. Gudrun and her production team put together a song playlist with 100 appropriate titles for "Life in the time of Coronavirus", which included songs such as:  
Don't Stand so Close to Me (The Police)
In My Room (Beach Boys)
I Say a Little Prayer (Aretha Franklin)
U Can't Touch Me (MC Hammer)
Our House (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
It's Gonna Get Better (Stars Go Dim)
I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)
Only the Lonely (Roy Orbison)

The pieces for the quilt make my long arm machine look like it is meant for drying laundry 
Gudrun is on the computer leading 4,000 some quilters around the world in making her quilt!
I have placed many of the pieces on my "quilt wall" to see how they look.
I need a bigger flannel wall!

I hope you are all hanging in there and staying healthy. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Living the Horror Novel

If Stephen King or Robin Cook wrote a novel about the coronavirus and its impact on the world, readers would have claimed it was too far-fetched. Their editors would probably have said it was too crazy and would have suggested massive edits, or perhaps scrapping the storyline completely. I mean, how could a microscopic virus hamstring major cities, close country borders, close businesses and schools and cause the stock market to plummet and shut down life as we know knew it?

How can something so beautiful have such an ugly impact?!

I have friends who roll their eyes when I mention the virus. They aren't buying into it. They don't understand that this is a "novel" virus, meaning "new". We humans have no immunity to it. Our bodies have never experienced anything like it, and have no way to combat it. For many,  I have heard, the virus will be a few days of a fever, sore throat and a congested chest. For others, it spells death.

I have been trying to learn Spanish for over a year. As part of my practice I try to write in a journal each day. (I do that about as well as I write posts on my blog, however!) Two weeks ago I wrote:

3/6/2020 Hoy es viernes seis de marzo. Chris llamó por teléfono. Su oficina está cerrando debido al virus. Trabajará desde casa. El virus me da miedo. Está en doce estados. No se porque, pero siento un presentimiento. Espero que no sea nada. 

In the event your Spanish is worse than mine, or in the event what I wrote is really not Spanish, I commented that my son's office was closing because of the virus and that the virus was now in 12 states and really scared me. I said I had a bad feeling about it, that I hoped it wasn't true. 

That bad feeling got worse! What an amazing, mind-boggling change in just two weeks.

The Mister and I have pulled back on just about every social activity. I still play Pickleball a few times a week, but the players stay at least 6 feet apart and I wash my hands when I finish. I have nitrile gloves in the car and in my purse, as well as sanitizer and Clorox wipes. I did get to the grocery store today, and tried to maintain a distance from others. There was no pasta. The bread was limited. The meat counter and the canned vegetable aisle had more empty space than occupied space. The only eggs left were colored, hard-boiled eggs for Easter.  I wanted to get white vinegar to make a solution to spray veggies - everyone else wanted it as well, apparently. I have become OCD about washing my hands. They are getting chapped!

The insightful piece of this is that the virus has a greater impact on the "elderly", those aged 65 and above. Wait a minute... when did I become "elderly"!!! Publix has announced senior shopping hours from 7 to 8 AM on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It will be interesting to see if the shop is more or less crowded. Other than fresh vegetables and creamer, we are set for several weeks. 

My neighbor was lamenting about not having anything to keep herself occupied. I don't have that problem. I have so many home projects, and sewing projects, and quilting projects... I'm good to go for quite a while. 

How about you? How has this had an impact on your day-to-day life? How have things changed for you? 

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