On masks and ties—Updated 4/25/2020…

Elastic, when we can find it, is what many of us have been using for mask ties. Most wearers like elastic but it bothers some people’s skin. Fabric ties are nice but slow to make.

Ann suggested using strips cut from t-shirts and they work really well… no sewing or serging necessary. We’ve been using T-shirt strips for a while and everyone loves them. Cut strips 1/2˝-3/4˝ x 18˝ either cross-grain or with the grain, it doesn’t seem to matter.

We are cutting ties longer because some of us like tying the ends behind our neck and head rather than in ear loops.

I use a wire “tie-threader” to pull ties through the mask casing, shown in my original mask post. But I realized that people who want to replace ties won’t have seen my bent-wire threader, so I added that information to the instruction sheet I give out with my masks.

If these instructions work with the masks you are making, you are welcome to use my instruction sheet. Here is a link to the instruction sheet: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5m7rognqml7s2mx/Mask%20Instructions.pdf?dl=0. There are 4 to a page.

May you be healthy, and happy, and may you have many happy stitches!

Sunday. Or Monday?

I was the lucky recipient of four 2019 wall calendars. Since I love them all, I had to come up with places to hang them.

Steve hangs three calendars next to his desk on campus. One shows the current month, one the next, and then the next. He can see three months at a glance. I decided to do the same thing.

My fourth calendar hangs on the back of a cabinet door in the bathroom.

I’ve been marking off the days on this calendar, a thing I have not done on wall calendars in the past. It didn’t take me long to notice these weeks begin on Sunday.

Since I have always thought of the week beginning on Monday, that seemed wrong. So I checked and, of my four wall calendars, three begin the week on Sunday. Honestly, how did I not notice this in the past?

My Get To Work Book desk calendar starts on Monday.

This has created a subtle shift in my thinking. When my week begins on Sunday, the week ahead feels somehow calmer. When my week begins on Monday, it feels like jumping into the deep end of a pool, knowing that I’d better be ready to start swimming for the other side.

I don’t think mentally starting the week one day is always better than the other. For me, it’s knowing that I can choose which day my week starts on and that that choice can change my perception of the week ahead.

Crochet Art, made just for me!

Sarah Meyers is an artist (and young mother of 3) who makes all sorts of things, including crocheted mandalas. She made one for Lorna and I loved it so much that I commissioned one for myself! FYI: she is willing to more commissions—if you are interested you can email me (becky.pieceocake@gmail.com) and I will give her your email address.


I chose acrylic yarn because I expect to wash and dry it in the dryer. I chose a color palette and OK’d the yarn choices and it’s a kick to see how well it turned out! It’s colorful in a way that is so different from the quilts I make. It is going to be wonderful to cuddle with when the weather turns cooler.


It’s really tactile, and 3-dimensional…



Again, if you are interested in commissioning a crochet mandala, email me (becky.pieceocake@gmail.com) and I will give Sarah your email address.

Round and round…

I was going back through photos on my phone, weeding and sorting — a never-ending task. Anyway, I found these… again!


These are Amy’s mirrored disco balls. I love them!!!!


Honestly, how can you not love them?


I don’t have a good place for disco balls in my back yard. I don’t look out front as often, but I may put some there anyway. (FYI: you can buy mirrored disco balls online — just google it.)

And, because I like round things, I also have a photo of this lovely antique hubcap. It was on a spectacular car in the De Young Museum in San Francisco. That’s Amy and me in the reflection.


And this!


I really want to paint my own ‘you are here’ circle somewhere. Maybe in the garage… If you paint one, send me a picture!

Last stop: Sydney!

Catherine and I spent 2 days in Sydney. We had had a great view from our room:


We walked and shopped (of course)…



I was tempted to buy Han Solo in carbonite for my son, Chris, but thankfully he was not for sale. (Lorna, aren’t you glad this isn’t coming home to your house?!)


We walked in the gardens… that’s a fig tree!


We went to the Art Gallery of New South Wales where we got to view the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. There are 6 of them, each similar to each other, but different.



The 2018 Archibald paintings were also on exhibit but we chose not to pay to go, mostly because I had a sinus headache that was trying to kill me. Not really ‘kill’ me, but it definitely slowed me down. Darn, right?!

Vivid Sydney is happening now. Once it gets dark, the city around the harbor is filled with light and music. It was lovely! We saw it from the water one night. Last night we walked the streets. So, this is the Opera House by day:


And the same Opera House, lit during Vivid. The projected images changed, morphing from one thing to another…


There were random displays…


Catherine loved this one, that was all about microbes…



And now it’s time to go home. I’m going to miss Catherine! We had such a good time together. It’s going to feel lonely for a while. I’m glad that we can FaceTime until the next time we can get together in the real world.



Now that we’re home from the Grand Hotel…

Elanor spent the day catching up and shipping orders. Three big bags of packages will go to the post office first thing tomorrow morning.

There’s one order from class with no name or contact info for side-threading needles. If you think that’s you, please email me at becky.pieceocake@gmail.com.


I spent part of my day going to doctors. This morning I saw my foot doctor. I have a toe that curls under its neighbor and it has begun to hurt. For now, I can wear a tiny little silicone sleeve on it. In late July, he’s going to do a ‘1-stitch’ procedure to fix it. I think that means he’s going to lop off the offending underside of that toe. If it works, the other foot will be having the same thing.

My mother told me that when I was a baby she did her best to straighten up those two toes, wrapping them to make them grow straight. It didn’t work but, Moms, they know so much.

I went to the dermatologist this afternoon. I have a line under my thumbnail that a physician/student suggested it would be good to have it looked at. My doctor looked at it and my other fingernails. Turns out, I have a similar thing going on under other nails, just not so pronounced.


After much deliberation we both decided that it was probably not melanoma, but that it was prudent to watch it. I’ll be going back in 3 months. He measured but didn’t have to do a biopsy today. That’s all good news. The bad news is that I need to forego polish for 3 months. Dang!

Donna, who takes very good care of my nails so that they always look good on camera, will make even unpolished nails work for me. I’m sure of that. However, the transition from one to the other might not be so lovely so it’s good that I’m not on the road teaching again until August.

FYI: If the line under my nail gets wider and irregular, that’s bad. If you have that, go to the doctor NOW!

Side note: I wore a dress in case he needed to look me all over. Turns out, he did. Nothing of note, thankfully.

And, lastly, I should show you this room at the Grand Hotel. I took the photo as we walked by and the door was open, between guests. All of the rooms are decorated differently and I didn’t see that many, but I really like this one!


The predominant colors at the Grand Hotel are green, red, and aqua. This guest room also has a touch of periwinkle which is very nice. Many, if not most, of the ceilings are pale aqua… just like my very own bedroom at home. Sweet!

So much pattern! Big prints! Strong colors! I don’t want to bring it to my house now but it is loads of fun to visit :-). You should definitely visit the Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island. It’s an amazing place.