Life Under Cover

I started out the morning with, as it turns out, somewhat overly ambitious plans for creating a practical if not fashionable face mask out of little blue plastic-lined puppy pee pads.

It was not a good look for me. No, you will not be seeing the photo. Consider yourself fortunate. It looked way too much like I was wearing a disposable diaper on my face.

But I was on a roll … So, with YouTube for inspiration, and a strong desire NOT to drag my sewing machine out as incentive, I dove into the world of DIY cloth face coverings.

BTW, that seems to be evolving as the PC term; “cloth face coverings” rather than masks, at least for the myriad of patterns available for such things, made from everything from paper to t-shirts to bandannas, crocheted and knitted, as well as more ordinary cotton, polyester or linen cloth face masks. Oh, and don’t forget the puppy pee pads – I certainly can’t! That idea can from You Tube as well.

My second attempt has, so far at least, turned out to be my favorite. Not exactly a fashion statement, but at least it’s a color I like and wear quite often, so clashing with my wardrobe won’t be a big problem.

This cloth face cover is made out of the bottom third of a cotton T-shirt, using absolutely nothing except a pair of scissors and a bobby-pin. Yes, they still make bobby-pins. Who knew! It’s a bit cumbersome, and I felt like a bandit when I tried it on, but it has three major advantages.

First, no sewing. Yay! Second, the concept is pretty ingenious and comes together in about 15 minutes, including a pocket for a filter, which is recommended. Third, I finally have a good use for all those perfectly good, size-large t-shirts that don’t fit me anymore.

If I can find the YouTube page again, I will link it since it’s a different (and IMO, much more practical) version than similar ones I’ve seen – but I’ve searched for the last hour and can’t seem to find it again. Anyway, here’s De the Desperado! 🙂

OK, you can stop laughing now! It’s actually pretty comfortable. Since the material is doubled up, there’s a secure place for either a filter or even an N-95 mask inside. 👍🏼

The Governor of Alaska announced last night that he wants everyone to comply and wear some sort of cloth face coverings when out in public areas starting today (although he stopped a hair short of making it mandatory) – and I needed to pick up a prescription. Jerry and I both fall under the “high-risk category, so we are taking this seriously.

Anyway, one face cloth just isn’t enough and, although I like red, it simply does not go with all of my clothes. Besides, there were plenty of online patterns to choose from. So, I pulled a clean gray cotton T-shirt out of the drawer and chose a different pattern. Interesting! This design uses the neck of the T-shirt as a natural over-the-nose bridge, allowing the wearer to pull it over the head.

Hmm … a smaller shirt size would’ve worked better for me. This ended up too large, although it may work just fine for Jerry.

OK, enough with the t-shirts. I saw several links to face coverings created [it seemed] very simply from an ordinary square bandanna. I thought I’d go patriotic with my theme …

Maybe not with the purple shirt,eh?

Well, the bandanna was a basic tri-fold design with two big rubber bands over the ears, but I honestly felt like it could easily fall apart and slip off. Colorful … but I’ll keep that one as an emergency back-up.

I took a break for lunch at this point, grabbing some time to relax from my face mask endeavors and get some work done on the scarf I started knitting the other day.

Oh wait. Hmm. There’s a thought.

Seed-stitch N-95 cover, anyone?

OK, it looks like tomorrow I may have to break down and pull the little portable sewing machine out after all. Sigh.

Stay safe, my friends. And, fashionable or not, please either stay home (my preference by far!) or choose a pattern and protect yourself and others. This virus is going to be here for a while.

And Life Spins Merrily Along …

Well, OK, maybe not so merrily, but it DOES seem to be spinning. I’ve been too busy to do much of that (spinning) myself lately, which I intend to remedy.

Those of my followers who aren’t avid fans of K9 Nose Work (the dog sport) will be happy to note that I seem to have gotten most of my “practice-at-home” nose work group to migrate over to Facebook, so I won’t need to use my blog to keep them updated any longer. If YOU are one of those peeps and have not found your way to my Facebook practice group, let me know and I’ll help you. 🙂

So, back to the rest of my life, such as it is, in the here and now. Like many of you, I am in “Hunker Down” or “Shelter in Place” mode, depending on where you live. With Jerry and I both in the “at risk” category age-wise and health-wise, we’ve decided being hermits suits us just fine. We are trying to focus on the positives.

We have a couple of wonderful friends willing (so far) to bring us any necessities we may have forgotten to stock up on (they leave the bags on the porch), and thanks to social media, we are staying in touch with pretty much everyone. I’m working on next Christmas’s knitting projects and Jerry is reading Audible books and watching marathon TV (which means I’m mostly living upstairs, since the TV drives me batty!)

The dogs are keeping us both entertained … Rhonda in particular, since at almost two years of age, she does NOT understand “shelter in place” and wants to go do all the FUN things she normally does during the week – play dates, shopping, agility class, nose work practice (away from home, that is), Rally class … Sigh. She is wound up like a ball of over-wound yarn. We are practicing nose work at home and working on her next Trick Dog title.

We still have plenty of snow outside, so please don’t suggest we take the dachshunds for a long walk … they think short walks are just fine, then they want to be picked UP. 😉

More later … for now, everyone stay put (please!), wash hands and stay in touch. We are thinking about all of you and hoping for the best. (((hugs)))

Staying At Source – Tip #3

OK – getting your dog to stay AT SOURCE during a Nose Work search:

Whether you want to encourage a specific response (note I don’t say TRAIN a specific response), or just solidify your dog remaining at source with whatever behavior your dog is already offering, what YOU do in those brief seconds after you dog tells you “it’s HERE!” will make a big difference.

Keep in mind that Rhonda is still learning nose work. She’s definitely enthused about the game and is doing well, but still learning. The alert Ronni has developed on Containers (rows of boxes, plastic tubs, etc.) is a crouch/down (sort of mini-push-ups). 😄 She stands atop and then sort of collapses on the container as if to say “This whole [box/tub] is it!” I didn’t teach her this – but it is distinctive, so I’m fine with it. The important thing is that she is remaining at source and communicating clearly with me. Here is a quick video of Ronni working a simple Container search.

Rhonda’s alert on small, more concise hides like those you find in an Interior room search (a small tin or straw hidden from view) is different. For these hides, she generally touches her nose to source (or as close to source as she can get), then glances at me as she Sits. If I’m not prompt with her reward, her nose goes right back to source, as if to say, “Really, Mom – right HERE!”. The important thing is that she stays right there at source and doesn’t wander off to look for something else. Good girl, Ronni! Here is a brief video of Ronni doing a bedroom search.

Rewarding her RIGHT AT SOURCE several times, and waiting for her to tell me again (in her own way) that “it’s right here!!” is the easiest way to teach your dog to stay at source until released.

The goal is to end up with a dog who will stay at source (where the “odor/hide” is hidden) until you EITHER tell them to “Find more!” (another hide) or “All done”, meaning the game is over.

SUNSHINE, Lollipops & Rainbows … 🎵🎶🎵

Well, all right – sunshine, at least. I’ll take what I can get!

I woke this morning to sparkling white snow, glistening under bright blue skies and a morning sun with enough power to paint well-defined gray shadows in stripes across the swathes of white. Gorgeous!

It would’ve been even prettier if I hadn’t been aware of the outside temperature reading of -16F. Sheesh!

Still, it’s supposed to get up into the 20s today and if I stand out in the bright, vitamin-D filled March sunshine, it should feel even warmer.

So, there is just one thing I still need. I need the snow to MELT! Let it melt, let it melt, let it MELT!

March in Alaska … sigh.
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