Two months in.
But the end is in sight. If the infection and hospitalization rates continue to decline in New York State, a limited reopening may begin by May 15. I have mixed feelings about that – while I think it would be nice to go to a restaurant, for a haircut, or to the zoo, the idea of being around people who still might be infected does not sit well with me. Sure, as King Trump said in a recent interview, we all have to die sometime anyway – but I don’t want it to be now, and I don’t want it to be because of COVID-19. I am at risk because of age and immunocompromization (is that even a word?), and I don’t care to take any chances.
The good new is – the face masks I ordered from China have finally made it across the ocean and are now physically in Los Angeles, so maybe they’ll arrive next week. However, they’re disposable dust masks, and we’ll still need washable cloth masks when we eventually return to work.
The bad new is – the washable face masks I ordered from a company in Arizona have still not arrived. Before ordering, I checked the information on Amazon to be sure they weren’t being imported from China and learned they were manufactured in Mexico and were “in stock.” Great! If they’re “in stock”, how long could it possibly take to get from Arizona to Buffalo, New York? I ordered them the third week in April, and within 24 hours I received information that they had been shipped – and was given a USPS tracking number.
When I hadn’t received those cloth masks after two weeks, I logged onto USPS.com to track the order. Which is when I learned that a shipping label had been prepared but that the package had not yet been given to any USPS facility. Say what? Have I been scammed? Did the seller merely prepare a shipping label in order to receive payment from Amazon, with no intentions of delivering the product?
I’ll wait another week before asking for a refund. Because I’m naïve, probably stupid, and very patient.
Meanwhile, we need cloth masks. I have several friends and acquaintances who are making these types of masks, but I see no need to pay for a homemade mask when I could probably do just as well myself (especially since I’m currently sitting home with nothing much to do.)
So I did.
I found a polyester turtleneck shirt I bought last year and which never fit quite right. I was going to donate it to charity, but realized the material was just the right weight and elasticity to make some really nice masks.
The first mask I made took all of five minutes. I merely had to cut off the turtleneck part of the shirt and add rubberbands to either end to put over the ears. Then I took a couple of tucks at the top and bottom to make the mask tighter around the nose and chin.
Not the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, but it works and it is very comfortable:
The tuck at the top keeps the mask tight enough to prevent my glasses from steaming up. My only complaint is that the mask is fairly hot to wear – I hate to think what that’s going to be like come summer if we’re still required to wear masks.
But I still wanted something that looked like some effort had actually gone into it, and I had plenty of material left (the whole shirt, as a matter of fact). So, I went online and found a YouTube tutorial on how to make a face mask – without a sewing machine.
Perfect. I haven’t had a sewing machine in years, and my hand sewing isn’t too bad. The tutorial was very easy to follow – simply a matter of cutting out a circle of material (the tutorial made it look really easy to cut a perfect circle, but it wasn’t), folding and cutting it into fourths, and then sewing everything together the right way. The tutorial recommended using those wrapped hair ties that little girls use for pigtails, but I opted (again) for rubberbands for the ear pieces (rubberbands I have; hair ties would have required a trip to the grocery store).
This mask took a long time, merely because hand sewing is so tedious. I think it took me over an hour to do what I could have done in about 10 minutes with a sewing machine.
The mask still isn’t pretty (yeah, I totally forgot it was a plaid pattern which wasn’t going to match at the seams), but again, it’s functional. However, because it’s smaller than the first mask, the rubberbands have to stretch further and it’s not very comfortable on the face.
Looks like I’m seriously in need of a haircut, doesn’t it? I may have to deal with that on my own (heaven forbid).
In any event, I now know the basics of making a face mask. I’m sure the next ones I make will be nicer. Hopefully, I won’t have to make too many.
Hugs to all my readers. May you all stay safe and healthy.
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio