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Mask Making

Apologies for the radio silence, friends.

I haven’t been away on holidays (remember those days?), or pottering in the kitchen, delightful as that would be. Instead, I’ve been frantically sewing masks.

As COVID19 continues to spread in parts of Australia, NSW Health has urged us all to wear masks whenever we’re unable to socially distance, and I’ve been trying to make enough for our family and friends. I’ve got the process quite streamlined now, having churned out nearly a hundred in the past few weeks. Here are some thoughts…

#1: In my personal opinion, ties work better than elastic ear loops. It does, of course, depend on head shape, but we’ve found that ties give a snugger fit with less gaping.

Stretchy cotton lycra makes extremely comfortable ties which tend to stay in place. We’ve been cutting 3cm (1¼”) strips across the width of the fabric (selvedge to selvedge), then giving them a good tug until they curl. I thread a 90cm (36″) continuous strip through both sides of the mask and then tie behind my neck. I’m actually using bamboo lycra which I found as a remnant at The Sewing Basket, and it’s gloriously soft…

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#2: Fabric masks can be a sustainable alternative to paper ones. We’ve made masks from old jeans, rescued scraps, and materials sourced from The Sewing Basket (which I’ll henceforth refer to as TSB as I’ll probably mention them another ten times in this post).

These ones were made from Big Boy’s old jeans, lime green binding, interfacing and lingerie elastic that I found at TSB, and straps cut from Small Man’s old tshirts (see this post)…

The denim ones were so popular that I made a second batch. I was able to cut ten masks from a pair of $2 Salvos’ (thrifted) jeans, and lined them with fabric from a Japanese cushion cover that I also picked up for $2 from the Salvos Store in Croydon. All the components – including the interfacing and straps – were sustainably sourced from rescued and donated materials…

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#3: Very little fabric is actually needed to make a mask, so they’re the perfect project for leftover scrap. My darling friend Dan recently made me this patchwork quilt from a $30 donated kit that I picked up at TSB…

She then gave me all the excess fabric back, and I was able to turn the scraps into nearly thirty masks…

Including a pair for these little monkeys…

I’ve had these  pieces of Schoeller Dryskin Extreme  in my sewing room for nearly two decades. When it was first released, the fabric retailed for an astronomical amount – over $100/m from memory – so I’ve hoarded these rescued manufacturing scraps like gold. The high tech material was originally targeted at adventurers hiking in the Swiss alps, so naturally I made pieced jackets for Pete and the kids from them. It turns out they’re perfect for masks, because water runs off the external surface but they’re still reasonably breathable and comfortable to wear.

I’ve said it a dozen times, if the universe doesn’t want me to be a quarter hoarder, then it really needs to stop positively reinforcing me for it…

. . . . .

Finally, something to make you laugh. I sneezed inside my fabric mask the other day (it was seriously gross) and basically proved the truth of this graphic which Jess sent me. Stay safe, folks! ♥

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Being in lockdown has been a difficult time for everybody, but it’s also given us an opportunity to reconnect at a deeper level with our wonderful neighbours.

Over the past few months, I’ve been doing a weekend neighbourhood bake and I’m keen to keep it up, even though we’re all starting to get busy again. Each family only gets a small portion, as there are so many people to share with, but it’s a lovely excuse to check in with my neighbours on a Saturday morning to see how everyone is travelling.

Last weekend I baked chocolate chip cookies in a slab. These are the lazy version of Pete’s favourite and boast a wicked 3:2 chocolate to flour ratio. I wrap each cookie square individually, as the oozy chocolate makes quite a mess. It helps to have a mountain of rescued-from-landfill food safe paper from Reverse Garbage

Each packet contained just four cookies, but I’ve learnt that a token of affection doesn’t need to be huge. On the contrary, I’m always happier to give something small – that way no-one feels like they need to reciprocate. There was enough to share with eight households, plus extra for Pete and Small Man. Happy days! ❤️

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World Peace Cookies

It’s been a crazy, tumultuous couple of weeks, so last weekend, I baked a batch of World Peace Cookies.

Actually, I baked a quadruple batch, wrapped them in bundles of six, and shared them with all my neighbours.

For the most part, they brought peace and harmony, but my three year old neighbour Eli tore the house down when told he was only allowed to have two cookies. His mother didn’t back down though – World Peace doesn’t come from giving in to temper tantrums. If you haven’t tried this recipe, do give it a go! It doesn’t need eggs, but you do need to use the best chocolate and cocoa you can find. ♥

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Quaft

My friend Grace is now 8 years old. I’ve known her since she was born.

When her family would come over for dinner (back when folks still did that), we’d often talk about “craft”. Only we’d pronounce it “cwaft”.

“Why do we say cwaft?” Grace asked the last time she was here.

“Well…” I said, slightly hesitantly..”when you were very little, you couldn’t pronounce ‘craft’ and also you never let anyone throw anything out. You insisted on saving everything for ‘cwaft’”. (The pink wig I bought for her when she was three is a good example. As strands of pink fibre fell off, Grace would carefully save each one and set it aside. For cwaft.)

My young friend looked me straight in the eye and said nothing. Then she went home and made this box.

Her mother Bethany sent me a photo and informed me that we’d been spelling it incorrectly all this time.

We can’t decide if Grace genuinely believes that’s how it’s spelt, or if she’s displaying incredibly sophisticated and subtle sarcasm well beyond her years. Knowing her, the latter is a definite possibility.

I adore her and am terrified of her in equal measures. What’s she going to be like at 16? ♥

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Mother’s Day

♥ Happy Mother’s Day! ♥

When I blogged about my vintage postcards a few weeks ago, lovely Lorna dug this one up and sent me a photo of it. It was part of her grandmother’s collection and probably dates back to the early 1900s.

When I showed it to my neighbour Ben, he said “That sums up the home schooling experience in many households right now!” Yes, it really does…

To all the incredibly patient, stoic mothers, particularly those with many balls up in the air at the moment – I hope you get to put your feet up and rest today.

♥ Happy Mother’s Day! ♥

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