Finding Solace
Trust Me

Just In Case You Lost Track

. . . it's Monday again.  Time to . . . 


As usual, on Mondays I share a bit of this and a little of that.  Things I discovered over the weekend.


"Some days there won't be a song in your heart.  Sing anyway."
        --- Emory Austin


(One of my neighborhood swans . . . )



Let's talk face masks, shall we?  

I've been busy sewing face masks using this pattern, but . . . I really don't like the fit all that much.  I've tweaked and fussed with it for a couple of weeks now, and I'm ready to try something new.  After much (probably too much) research, I'm planning to try these today instead.  (This one is simple to cut out and simple to sew.  Fewer steps AND it looks like a better fit.)

Can't find elastic?  (Because apparently elastic is the new toilet paper. . . ) The pattern I'm going to try today includes options for elastic OR ties.  I've also read about suggestions for elastic-substitutes, including using hair ties or cutting up old pairs of tights or pantyhose.  Looking for an easy and effective fabric for making ties?  Use knit fabric or cut up old t-shirts (the knit will roll up on itself and make a comfortable tie). 

Want to make masks but don't sew?  Here are some great tips for making no-sew face masks.



Looking for a creative outlet to get you through your days?  

Artist Kim Bernard is providing a daily 15-minute art prompt.  These quick little "exercises" are simple, fun, and a nice way to keep focused on something other than the news.

And artist/author Keri Smith is posting an Exploration of the Day (not every day but most days?) to help us all pay more attention to the world around us -- especially now that we are isolated, afraid, and unfocused.



Have you heard about the Mouse Book Club?  I discovered these little books last year when I was trying to use my phone less (after my "digital detox").  These miniature phone-sized books are perfect when you're looking for a portable diversion out in the world.  (I used to keep one in my wallet, and pull it out instead of my phone when I needed to "kill time.")  Now that I'm not going out in the world anymore, I find I need a phone-sized something (now more than ever) to keep me from looking at my phone.  Again. 

Check it out!  A great diversion -- AND a great way to sample those pieces of literature you've been meaning to read anyway.



Lastly, I have a couple of things to share that may help you with your anxiety and general stress about what's going on in the world.

First, something quick to read -- a simple antidote to help with coronavirus anxiety.  It's not going to solve all your problems, of course.  But it might help you make it through the next moment.  And maybe the one after that.

And then, something that will take a little more time -- but worth it.


And that's it for this Monday.

Be well.



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I have been chatting about mask patterns with my quilting friends and think I will finally try making a few today. Thanks for the links


I may sew some masks this week, and I thank you for sharing your experience with patterns and fit. Those Mouse Books and Just the Facts (I read this in a Sgt. Friday voice) are both practical and useful. You find the best stuff!


You do find the BEST things for us Kym. Thanks! I think Fletch and I will maybe use some bandannas (and look like bank robbers), but I just discovered he had some old masks in the basement (from when he was working with toxic fumes on one project or another) - anyway, they have been washed and 3 are hanging up in the bathroom to dry.


Apparently a bungee cord is made up of 1/4" elastic. Lots and lots of elastic. So if you have a bungee cord that you can cut the ends off, there will be elastic on the inside. I haven't tried it...just saw it on a post somewhere while searching about face masks and patterns. I could only find 200 yard spools online but luckily found a smaller amount on eBay. Also if you can get or have blue shop towels or even HEPA vacuum cleaner bags they make a better mask. Even good cotton is too loose a weave to trap viruses but the nonwoven shop towels add better trapping capabilities. They can be used as a liner in a pocket or just make the mask out of them. I too apparently have been doing more than my share of mask researching!! :o


I delivered my first 10 masks over the weekend and just finished the next 10. I still have about 15 more to make for friends. We have about 40 international students in town and they stop in once a week to the Newman Center food pantry, most have lost their on campus jobs, since campus is shut down. So we are also making masks for them. I had to switch from elastic to ties and have been using bias tape and shoelaces. When I run out, I will have to make my own bias tape. I'm using the Deaconess pattern, with a few modifications, it fits good and I find it quicker than the Fu mask to make. Good Luck!


I have found a super GREAT cure for my phone! I am living in Pluto World and thus no pants with buttons (or zippers) or conveniently, no pockets! I leave my phone on the end table in the living room. When I sit down after lunch, I permit myself a few minutes to scroll but then it goes back down and I don't look at it again until after dinner. My watch gives me an alert if there is a phone call or a message I absolutely need to respond do, but other than that - I am living sans phone for most of the day! :)


I think I've made 5 masks from 4 patterns (two sizes from one of them) and they're all different styles/different types of ties. I was very late to this particular bandwagon because I've been kicked off of so many before and the forthcoming information has been so &*($#&)# lame (not to mention about everything else). Anyway, I'm not busting my butt... BUT I'm making sure we're all protected. Thanks for ALL of your information, Kym!

kathy b

Oh no sew masks! Great and a Ted talk too


Oooh, thank you, again, for all the rich resources!! Can’t wait to listen to Liz Gilbert. The pantyhose are a GREAT idea—we found the hair bands pulled on our ears (we only have the thicker ones—I’ll bet the thinner ones are better for masks! I was going to pull the elastic out of two hand sewn skirts my girls have outgrown, but I think I’ll try the pantyhose first! Enjoy your garden time—and that swan!! What a treat!!


I have almost zero sewing skills (I can sew on buttons and fix a seam, but that's about it), but the new pattern you're trying looks like something I can handle. Thankfully our next-door neighbor is a quilter and has been making masks for all the neighbors with her scraps, but it's good to know I have some options if I need them!


The 'new' pattern you are looking at is perfect. When Colorado went to wearing masks outside, I started sewing. After fiddling with several sizes, ties, or elastic, I finally got what I wanted. I found that ties work the best, they give more of a custom fit to the wearer. I cut straight on grain 2' x 36' strips, cut that in half and sew to sides of pleated mask like putting binding on a quilt. I can get 4 masks (reg. size, one pleat) out of a fat quarter or two larger ones with 4 pleats, (big heads in my extended family).


That pattern is pretty much identical to the one I used yesterday. Thanks for the links, I'm going to check them out, I could use an anxiety antidote.


A little behind. (Quarantining is so time-sucking:)). These are great ideas. I had already seen the rubber band one and made it immediately. Its three advantages: easy, no-sew, and covers the lower face completely. No gaps. Would be very comfortable if you had the security of strong rubber bands. Mine not so much but should withstand a trip to the grocery store. Disadvantages: so many layers will be HOT in the humid summertime, and not really impermeable to microscopic viruses. Thinking of felting some knitting to use as an insert. (Downsized two years ago and got rid of all my fabric and felt - who knew??). The video giving dimensions of the fabric very helpful to give as a guide for downsizing mask for toddler so she can be like her parents if they go out for a stroll. (Hmm..may be too frightening. Haven't run it by the parents yet...might depend on family). Thank you for all your tips, thoughts and example, Kym!


Whoops, didn’t think about breathing. Guess that’s that’s what “in development is for!” 😧


I have read that, particularly if one is going to donate the face masks they have made, that ties are better than elastic because the wearer can adjust the fit more easily.

I almost -- almost -- feel guilty that I am still sailing smoothly through my days. Realistically, I am trying to get all my volunteer stuff organized just in case I succumb to the virus. It seems the least I can do for those who follow.

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