This all started with a quick visit, a "home for the holidays" trip.........
12-25-19 - How I ended up back in Southern California:
On 12.25.18 I was 'Home for the Holidays' - flew in a few days prior, from Hilton Head, Sc - to visit my mom in So. Cal. From the moment I arrived I noticed my mom's health was suspect. She claimed it was due to the smoke from recent fires (although those fires were more than 50 miles away). We attempted to do a few of our normal holiday things - boat cruise to look at the holiday lights, dining out, going to the movies - and during all of it she was very, very slow moving, very quiet, and appeared to just be 'getting through". I accompanied her to a pre-scheduled cardiologist appointment on 12/24, they concluded that something was very wrong and she needed more tests - HOWEVER - if she were to start feeling any worse, or exhausted, or out of breath, she was to immediately go to the ER. On 12/26 (after skipping our annual 12/25 dinner) she said "I think it's time to go to the ER". She was admitted, and within a few hours there was a hub of activity around her. I was told the situation was very serious and they needed to run additional tests. She had A LOT of fluid in her chest along with an "unknown mass" - the Dr. looked very grave. Everything after that was a blur - I recall my mom asking about my scheduled flight home the next day. I told her I extended my stay and would be here with her to figure out what was going on, however long that takes. That was December of 2018. I now live -permanently- in So. Cal. In 2019 I learned more about Cancer, our Health Care (non) system, the "Dying with Dignity" law, and how an event like this can either pull a family apart, or make them stronger.....and I have become a master at finding ways to occupy my time in between care taking. I will share what I have learned , and hope that others can learn from my experience as a caretaker
Why I started making masks 4.08.2020
About me: I am a former Broadcaster (30 years!) as well as an experienced seamstress. I owned and operated a small hand bag company for several years. I cut, stitched, and sold every handbag I made. I sold that business several years ago.
In March of 2020 I noticed a need for face masks and wanted to make some for my friends and family. I spent 3 days doing research - read CDC guide lines (which change often), found a study from Cambridge University about the best fabric to use to make masks (3 layers of premium/tightly woven cotton)
I also discovered that by adding a pocket for a filter, the user could help to prolong the life of 'real' masks by inserting them into this type of cotton mask. I'm not a filter expert, I don't play one on TV, Make your own decisions on what type of filter to put in to your cotton mask. Do your own research, It changes constantly and I can't keep up, so take responsibility and do your research.
I found several patterns and combined a few to make one that seems to suit most peoples needs - 3 layer/ cotton/ filter pocket
I funded this project thanks to Ryan Reynolds - Yup, the actor. He owns MINT MOBILE, a wonderful cell phone service provider. I switched to Mint Mobile a few months ago and will save more than $600 on my phone bill this year. So I used that savings to buy supplies. Thank you Mint Mobile!
Then, during the first week of April , face masks are suddenly REQUIRED in many states - as it should be!
...and now I spend almost every waking hour cutting, sewing, packing, mailing, and ironing - OMG the ironing! I have blown through my $600 budget and had to start accepting donations - HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that has donated.
....and about once a week I venture in to the one and only fabric store that is still open in my area (THANK YOU Joanns), stand in line for an hour ,or more, to get in to the store, grab as many bolts of premium cotton that I can find (I don't even care what the prints are at this point). Then stand in line for another hour waiting for the fabric to be cut (I don't really get anything cut, I buy the entire bolt, but it still has to be measured and ticketed). I've also ordered more than $300 in fabric on line, that was 2 weeks ago and my order is still 'processing'. (This is why I have to go out in public to buy supplies)
Then I pre-wash and pre-shrink every bolt of fabric, cut, sew, iron, sew, iron, top stitch, pack, ship/deliver Repeat
Well, Shiiiitttt (as Leslie Jordan would say) I've just mailed off my last 75 face masks to a group in Arizona and am officially out of the Mask making business. Time to refocus-reflect-regroup I truly wanted to participate in the peaceful protests happening in my city, but my main - hell, let's be honest, my SOLE - responsibility is keeping my mom safe and healthy. Risking my health to march with a large group of people is not something a responsible caretaker would do. So I'm back to creating and gardening and reading, oh, the joy of reading! ....and last week we ventured out to a necessary medical appointment - eyi, eyi, eyi! Read my blog update about the experience here