So, in case you’ve been living under a rock since February, there’s a pandemic on. And with pandemics come masks. 

My youngest daughter can’t wear the usual ear loop masks, because she has one ear that rolls forward and the suckers just slide right off.  School started here last Monday, and she was required to wear masks for school, so we needed to find a solution that didn’t repeatedly try to escape her face. Ear loops were right out, and the pretty little ribbon ties on the first batch of masks I made her last spring definitely wouldn’t work for school, since she can’t tie them herself and there’s just no way her teacher would have time to retie it repeatedly all day. Same problem with the crochet ear savers with buttons – sure I could have whipped up a few of those, but I’m not sure she would have the dexterity to hook the ear loops to one, or (and more importantly) the ability to keep track of the ear saver when she took the mask off for lunch and recess.

Enter momma’s ingenuity and fabric stash. After a little noodling, I came up with a mask that a.) doesn’t loop around her ears, and that b.) she can put on and take off by herself. A couple of people have asked for the pattern, so here you go! 

1. Cut two 5.25″ x 7.5″ fabric pieces. 

2. Press long sides under .25″. (Note: I am lazy and skipped the pressing step entirely but best practice would be to do it. I am a terrible seamstress who hates the extra effort involved in using the iron, even though I fully acknowledge it both makes sewing easier and makes for a better end product.)

3. With wrong sides together, seam short ends, unfolding pressed edges as you sew (assuming you’re a more responsible human and actually pressed them, of course). 


4. Turn right side out, press flat. 

5. Beginning .5″ from one of the short ends, sew pressed edges closed along long end .125″ from edge, stopping .5″ from the other short end. Turn your work 90° and sew along the short edge .5″ from the edge, leaving a channel. When you reach the other long edge, turn 90° again, and sew it closed .125″ from the edge, stopping again .5″ from the short edge. Turn again, and sew a second channel .5″ from the short edge. You should now be back where you started. Sew around the same rectangle again following as close to the original stitching as possible. 

6. Cut a 20″ piece of elastic and thread through the channels so the loops are on the top and bottom (the long sides). Tie off, trim ends, and pull the knot inside a channel.


7. Profit! 

This is what they look like laid flat (ish) with the elastic added, how they loop around the head (for school we usually put her hair in a ponytail to keep it contained, and one loop goes above the ponytail), and how the finished mask looks when worn. It seems to be fairly comfortable, because my not-quite-seven-year-old doesn’t mind wearing it and she has absolutely no problem telling you if she’s not happy about something.

If you make this mask, please tag it #serenitys_mask

Quarantine diary – Saturday edition,

Bartered some of my precious stock of toilet paper for 5 pounds of rice yesterday.

This morning I am going to organize the kitchen cabinets and plan meals for the next two weeks. My employer was making noises Friday that they anticipate a shelter in place order for Indiana sooner rather than later.

Schools are now closed until Star Wars Day. Elearning will only be Tuesday- Thursday so I need to design a schedule for the children on Monday and Friday. My plan is to involve them in the process.

But for now, my coffee is consumed, and my kitchen cabinets are calling my name.

And what a week it’s been. My 19 year old moved back in with us, the little two have been on spring break and are turning feral, and the husband and I are still going to work every day so we’re probably going to end up sick sooner rather than later. 

My plans to start a podcast have been sidetracked by my inability to banish my family, so we’ll see if I can find an alternative. There have been rumors of a desk being set up in the garage. 

I need to get a schedule established for the girls, because next week they are supposed to start elearning. So far I’ve got a giant list of websites and videos for various subjects, and I’m working on a daily chore list. (They’re going to be thrilled.)

Dear diary,

Still going to the office every day. 

I’ve reached a state of fatalism where I accept that we’re going to catch it, it’s just a matter of when. Max, Mike, and I all three are leaving the house every day for work. Mike works in a factory of 200+ people. Max works in a warehouse. I work in an office but our field employees work all over the state and have to come back to the shop for supplies. It’s coming. All I can do is try to prepare as much as possible.

Day I don’t know, they’ve all run together,

Mike and I are still going to work every day. Precautions are being made by our employers but it’s only a matter of time. The children are on spring break this week and are becoming more feral than normal. They’ve been in pajamas for days.

I am very lucky to have Alex here to watch the girls, and I know this. I’m very lucky to still have a job and still be getting paid. But I confess I’m so envious of people who are home right now. My job could absolutely be done from home but the bosses have indicated that they will not close unless the state mandates it. So I keep dragging myself to work.

… also known as “trying not to panic” mode. Today’s plans include reorganizing cabinets to give my dyeing equipment a home, working some more on the shop backend (I have forgotten most of my hard- earned webmaster skills) and possibly a complete reorganization of my entire crafting supplies. One must prepare when one has crafty children who will now be out of school for at least three weeks. They can’t spend all day watching minecraft walkthroughs on YouTube, after all. 



Finally got to break out the dyes today to experiment with the different bases. 

Observation 1: I need smaller spoons for the powder

Observation 2: I have forgotten a lot about dyeing technique

Observation 3: No matter what time of day I choose to dye, at least two people in my house will decide they need to have food right that second and get completely in my way. 

(Note to self: before large dyeing sessions, put a pile of snacks on the dining room table to avoid people underfoot) 


I ordered some yarn samples from a couple of wholesalers in an attempt to decide which base(s) I want to carry. For some reason known only to the internet gods, Paypal replaced my current address on one of those orders with that of the house we moved out of last September. Mind you, I deleted that address from Paypal’s website the week we moved. 

And then, just to make it even funnier, the post office failed to forward the package to me, and instead went ahead and delivered it to the old house. 

But! Proof that the entire world isn’t awful after all, the current tenant tracked me down on the book of faces and left the package with the neighbor (who is a friend of ours) and I was finally able to bask in the glory that is delicious, soft, squishy merino. 

I’m pretty sure Lily would have actually rolled in it if I let her. She’s already insisting that the sparkle base is hers once it’s dyed. She’s accumulating quite a stash for someone who can’t knit yet. 

bare yarn