America Will Not Be Held Hostage

In the current state of fear caused by national health and violent riots, I was inspired the write the below poem.  I believe it expresses the opinions and feelings of the majority of American citizens who are unwilling to give into fear tactics.  This reflects on criminals and terrorists who advocate violence and break the laws of the land, whether they be internal or external.  It is NOT about denying 1st amendment rights to American citizens.  I hope this poem gets spread by my readers who agree via social media and email so that our voices and sentiment may be heard.  There are social icons in bottom of this post to make sharing. pinning, and tweeting easier.

America Will Not Be Held Hostage
by Shirley Fine Lee (copyright 7/6/2020, all rights reserved)

America is a republic of earnest citizens
Who decide by democratic vote.
We look for the true in what we do.
Americans respect what founders wrote.

America will not be hostage
To marauding terrorist and traitors
Who to this country wish to ravage.

Honest citizens who work hard
To succeed and grow in our place.
The republic of true Americans
Do not allow our country disgraced.

American citizens will not be hostage
To shouting terrorist and traitors
Who wish to destroy, burn, and pillage.

Citizens have laws and just protectors
In American cities, counties, and states.
Federal support and patriots stand
Working together to stop the hate.

America will not be hostage
To destructive terrorist and traitors
Who to this country wish only damage.

Americans have right to speak for and against
Issues that concern our direction.
Citizens may peacefully protest and debate,
But we will not tolerate unlawful insurrection.

Protest or Censorship?

JFK and MLK statues
Stone, metal wood are inanimate objects incapable of emotions.  The purpose of art is to invoke emotion and of teaching history is to promote thought.  Art can be used to protest injustice or show a dream, but it can not  make those things  happen. Labeling art something other than the title given it by the artist shows a lack of knowledge and respect.  The only way to prevent wrongful labeling is to do research.  Research done right takes time and will calm emotions as historical facts and artist intentions are reveled.

"We need to move away from being offended by everything, of going through history and looking at everything, of renaming everything." - Ben Carson (video)

"Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak... Non-violence is hard work." - Cesar Chavez

"We're not separate races. There's only one human race." - Alveda King (video)

"The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clich├ęs of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” - John F Kennedy
  • Art (paintings, sculptures, sketches, etc), litterature, music and theatre offer freedom of expression to those who create it and education to those who view it.
  • Destroying art is a criminal act regardless of reason, while removing art because a few are offended by it is censorship that is killing freedom of speech through artistic expression.
  • History teaches us not what will be but what was, so we can choose not to repeat the bad and grow from the good.
  • Using taxpayer dollars to pay for change/removal activities without allowing citizens to vote on it is misappropriation of funds.
  • Acting rashly for perceived political gain and may become the beginning of government corruption.
"Doing what you want to do is easy. Doing what you have to do is hard." - Larry Elder  (video)

"The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls."- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“I am convinced that even violent temperaments can be channeled through nonviolent discipline, if they can act constructively and express through an effective channel their very legitimate anger.”- Martin Luther King Jr.

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” - Winston Churchill

Communism and Nazism used violence and targeting specific groups to a control people and gain their place in history,  Then history proved both to be bad for all people under their hold. Historical examples of statue and art removal include the communist dictator Stalin in Russia and Nazi dictator Hitler in Germany Dictators effectively use propaganda and false news reports to spread lies and hate to gain followers and use unrest as an excuse for military take-over.  Destroying or hiding historical figures because the color of their skin or their ethnicity is different from those screaming out promotes continued  on every side.  Pandering for  political gain is not only the wrong motive, it is often a wrong move for sake of a nation. 

“Some things are believed because they are demonstrably true, but many other things are believed simply because they have been asserted repeatedly and repetition has been accepted as a substitute for evidence.”  - Thomas Sowell

"Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding." – Mahatma Gandhi

"Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater." - George Washington Carver

"I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong."  - Abraham Lincoln

Who is really behind these new agendas: hiding/rewriting historical truths, destroying art that has been around for decades or centuries, and claiming current wrong toward a particular group or religion without physical proof?  Local citizens, tax payers, violent criminals, demographers/statisticians, hidden terrorist, unscrupulous politicians, marketing ploy, paid/faux activists, or someone else stirring the hate or paying for conflict?  Who is sponsoring this - who is really hiding behind some of those masks? Why is a small, loud group the reason money is being spent to remove statues, memorials, and monuments, as well as the names of streets, parks, and buildings?  Who is asking these questions?  Who is checking on and reporting the facts?  Why is everyone afraid to really talk about this?  Why are words being censored, but not unlawful or unethical actions?  

How to Make a Wrap Bracelet Using Memory Wire

Some of my most popular posts are on how to: make a stretch bracelet, buy braclets, or store bracelets.  With that in mind, I thought I would add other bracelet instructions to the blog.  Below is a vidoe on ho how to make a wrap bracelet using memory wire.

Often you will buy or make bracelets that just have a loop at tend but it looks more finished with a charm hanging on the ends.  The video includes this tip.  You can also finish the end by placing a metal bead inside the loop before turning in the loop, however you must be careful not to crush or bend the bead during the turning process. I plan to experiment with making a hook on one end and a loop at the other end of my next wire bracelet to create a closure for a single row bangle.

Buttons save ears when wearing facemasks, what about foggy glasses?

Facemask Holding Headband
I actually thought I was done writing posts about facemasks.  Afterall I shared posts making them, tightening them, proper wearing, and cleaning them.  Then someone shared the buttons and rubber bands video to improvise a way to attach the over-the-ear mask to your glasses to prevent ear strain from wearing one too long, especially when going back to work  Since we may be wearing masks for awhile longer, I felt this was a very clever no-sew idea to share.  Similar adapter videos include making a "button band" using a short piece of fabric or ribbon strip as well as the crocheted or knitted "mask helpers,"  Each method has buttons sewed on each end to turn the over-the-ear mask into a behind the head mask.  Another option is to buy headbands from Amazon or make your own version a headband by addings buttons to it to create mask-holder as shown in photo.  A needlework-less option might be to put a ribbon through each ear elastic and just tie it int the back, now it becomes a tie-on mask that adjusts to any size head.

Those video ideas take care of the ear pain.  If you are an eyeglass wearer you may also get fogginess from wearing your mask.  Why?  The mask is not tight enough on your nose to prevent your breath from fogging your glasses.  First, masks should be snug below or under your glasses to hold it down - not over them as that pushes out the mask.  If your mask does not have a nose wire/band as indicated in proper wearing post, use tape or band-aid as in Doctor Eye Health video.  Or try pulling the mask up high enough so that the nosepiece of your glasses and the bottom of your frame goes over it and makes it fit snugger.   You may have to experiment to get the best location and fit on your nose.

Off with Pajamas and On with Fashion!

Have you noticed how many men and women walk around the grocery store in their pajamas in recent years?  What about sweats, yoga pants, too-snug tights, or torn pants at the stylish department stores?  For the last few months, most of the world has been living in their PJs or work-out gear as we play, educate, and work from home.  Now we want to dig through our closets and find something different to either go back to work or go out with friends.  Will we turn from comfort wear to high fashion?  Will we go back to "dress to impress" rather than the embarrassing low self-esteem  "I just don't care" looks?

A few of the styles coming out as "the 2020 fashion" may make it into the business scene, but will most of it really be for recreational settings?  After reviewing Cosmopolitan Magazines's 16 Trends, I had to wonder.
  1. Puffy sleeves may look cute for casual wear or on a fancy dress, but seem ridiculous in the conference room.  
  2. Polka dots seem to always be fashionable, although the  size of the dots may change each year, but only small dots work on dresses for the office, although dotted shirts with a solid skirt are a good look.  
  3. Pleated skirts have always been acceptable for a professional looks, save the pretty flowy dresses and blouses for evening or church.  
  4. Trench coats are outer-wear to keep you warm during cold weather or dry when it is raining.  The style rarely changes - only colors, so why are we looking at it?
  5. I like yellow so I'm ok with the shade for fashion.  However, Pantone said the color of the year 2020 is blue, last year it was coral, yellow was the color in 2009.
  6. Maxi skirts hae been popular for spring and summer the past few years.  Happy to see the midi skirt is back? That skirt length does makes for more sense in the workplace than a maxi.
  7. Jumpsuits go in and out-of-style more often than skirt lengths.  Although they can sometimes look slimming, they are not office wear unless a jacket is worn over them.  They do however fit ok in a manufacturing setting or retail store.   Look for a good fit that is not too tight or too loose,  Too tight looks like you gained weight and too loose gives you a frumpy vibe.
  8. Leather at work?  Be careful here, it can get very hot.  Only consider it for outside of work hours and in an appropriate setting.
  9. Shorts at work?  Same cautions as leather and jumpsuits.  Only wear to work if your employer is ok with them because of the type of work you do or the environment where you work.
  10. Billowy dresses ?  As with puffy sleeves, not for work!  Too much fabric can get caught on other stuff.  Do you want to be the one to knock over something or worse - trip yourself?  Plus most of the loose styes make most women look FAT.
  11. 1/2&1/2 - really?  It is still color blocking, which has been in fashion for a few years since it can be a slimming look if done right.  
  12. Another 70s-80s look is back - boxy blazers.  So now those suits way back in the corner of my closet are once again in!  These look great over contrasting solids or matching floral skirts.  IF you prefer a more tailored look, you can belt the blazer to create an hourglass figure.
  13. Bra tops!  Where would anyone work (other than a bar or tattoo parlor) that would be ok with this?  Use it only for weekend wear at the beach and hope the local shops do not ban you for trying to wear your swimsuit inside.
  14. Streamlined men's-style trousers have been in style for women for some time, just the waistline and ankle-area changes.  Looks especially classy and slimming worn with a matching jacket as a suit.  For casual wear use with a pretty blouse, not tucked in but worn over the top.
  15. Maxi dresses continue to be in style, although some of the knits may be a little heavier that the lycra and tee choices of the past few years.  If you still love it, wear it!
  16. Cardigans have been popular through the ages.  However the length of both the sleeve and bodice keeps changing.   As long as it is no looking overly tired or faded, you can still wear it regardless of what may be considered fashionable.  
As you can see, the saying "everything old is new again" holds true for fashion.   Vintage clothing can be stylish.  What do you have in your closet that you can revitalize?  What do you have you should  give away or donate?  If you do not love it anymore, get rid of it.  If you still love it, figure our how to wear it considering the retro trend.

What is the difference in Spiny Oyster and Spiny Turquoise?

Red Spiny Oyster Outside
You have heard of Mother-of-Pearl (MOP) jewelry, which is made from the inside of the mollusk shell that can produce pearls.  The MOP is the same nacre materials as the produced pearl.  The MOP use in jewelry has been around for centuries.   The pearl-producing oyster is not the only organic gemstone used for jewelry.

Spiny Oyster Inside with Heishi Strand
The Spiny oyster, from Baja in California or Mexico, was popular
with Native Americans for jewelry.  As the desire for inexpensive or southwestern-style jewelry grew in the mid-to-late 20th century, the Heishe (pronounced Hee-Shee and also spelled Heishi) bead necklaces made from various white and cream-colored shells became popular.  Heishi beads are typically assorted rondelle-shape in most necklace and bracelet strands, but may be slightly tubular in older jewelry.  Spiny oyster is highly desirable  as it comes in natural shades of pinkish to red, medium purple, and bright orange to rusty.  These spiny colors are also popular as cabochons for  southwestern jewelry and to use in inlay Native American styles of jewelry set, which are typically bezel set in silver.

Multi Spiny Inlay
with Turquoise
NOTE:  When purchasing an inlay piece or multi--stone jewelry, verify whether spiny or coral was used with the seller as it is easy to confuse the reds and oranges.  Some corals are on the endangered species list, so they too have special harvesting restrictions and are going up in price.  If the jewelry piece has turquoise too, you may want to ask what type of turquoise it is for collectability and pricing  reasons.  If the seller is not the original designer, do not be surprised if they do not know the province or name for the turquoise.  If you like it and the price is right, buty it!

Spiny Turquoise Cabochon
Although spiny started as an inexpensive organic stone for jewelry, the price has gone up as harvesting the shells is now regulated although it is not yet an endangered species.  As a result in the increased price, it became important to save the remnants from making larger jewelry pieces for use in smaller inlays.  Another way for jewelry makers to use remnants was to mix them with turquoise and metal to make a new decorative stone.  This mix process was first developed my Kingman mines to form and color Mojave (pronounced moh-hah-vee and also spelled Mohave) in 1975.  The process was adapted to make Spiny Turquoise, which is very popular and currently fashionable with both Native American and high-end jewelry makers. The mix is usually made with orange spiny and blue turquoise, however other colors of spiny, as well as white MOP, may be present in the mix.  The turquoise and shell materials are infused with a melted metal and then compressed into the new man-made gemstone called Spiny Turquoise.

Other shells that are popular for jewelry making are the Lion's Paw which has both orange and brown, the purplish Tiger Cowrie, and silvery blue Abalone.  Pink or peachy Conch  and other shells have been popular for making cameos for centuries.

What is a bolo bracelet or necklace?

Men's Bolo Tie
In the last few years, you may have heard the term bolo in relation to a bracelet or necklace.  You may wonder how "be on the look out" team applies to jewelry?  Or you may be disappointed to find your favorite online store did not misspelled BOGO "buy 1 get 1."   So what does the term bolo refer to when speaking about jewelry?

The term bolo became popular for an ornamental men's tie, typically made for western wear, southwestern-style, or native American jewelry.  Basically the bolo necktie was a corded, twisted or braided piece of leather with a jeweled item that slide up-and-down on the cord.  The ornamental slide allowed the man to put it on over his head, lay under his collar, and then adjust slide to where he wanted it to sit in the front of his shirt.  These type of ties were popular in the 1950's through 1980's in the United States.  Just as it was falling out of favor in America, a version of these ties  became popular in other countries as well.  Other names for this type of men's tie ornamentation is bola, bootlace, cowboy, gaucho, lariat, shoestring, or  western.

Now you are thinking, ok that's interesting history.  What has it got to do with women's jewelry?  The  bolo, also known as a lariat or slide/slider necklace, was adapted for women by putting the ornamental slide part on a matching chain necklace.  The slide portion became a replacement for a pendant worn in the front of an outfit.  These necklaces were typically fashion wear instead of fine jewelry.  These were popular sometime after 1960 but gone by the 1980s as the slide often broke off or became  so loose it would not stay in place.  Ok, so why is the bolo for women in fashion again?

Women;s Bolo Bracelet
Recently, the idea of the bolo slide has been adapted to making adjustable bracelets and necklaces using a silicon-based material inside of a bead.  The bead slides up-and-down over 2-sections of chain to make the bracelet from large-to-small or make a necklace longer-to-shorter.  Necklace beads can be extenders at the back of a necklace or used as the decorative portion of a Y-necklace in the front.  This bolo jewelry may be found from fashion bracelets to fine gem necklaces - in faux-metals, steel, silver, and  gold. Supposedly, the silicon never wears out so the worry of bracelet being too big or necklace too long will no longer an issue.  Only time will tell on that though.

Want another fashion tip on the bolo tie?  Women are also using vintage men's bolo ties as BOHO fashion and for layering with turquoise for a new southwest style.  That look is really cool.  Makes me wish I had held onto one of my Dad's old ties!

The Proper Way to Wear a Face Mask

With the current health crisis, I have done posts on making, tightening, and cleaning face masks.  It never occurred to me to do a post on how to wear a mask since it has been demonstrated by the CDC and government leaders on television and in many of the videos in my prior posts.  However, lately I have seen some protestors not wearing masks and others in the news wearing it incorrectly.  Having a face mask is recommended for some protection of yourself and others.  However, if you are not wearing it properly, you are not getting much protection.  Therefore, below are two 1.5-minute videos on the proper way to put on and take off an over-the-nose face mask or a behind-the- head version in order to keep everyone safe.

Freedom of speech is a right, however endangering others is not a right - in fact it often is a crime.  When you put money over health, bad things will happen.  When you do not cover your mouth and nose when you should, then really bad things can happen.  Just because you do not have underlying health issues or do not personally know someone who has the virus, does not mean it is not a real issue.  People of all ages are getting sick and dying after both close and causal contact.    Enjoy and stay healthy!

NOTE: If you are using a blue and white disposable mask, the blue side faces out to prevent germs and allergens from coming in and the white side absorbs moisture so you do not sneeze or cough out germs. Regardless of rumors you may hear, these are not meant to be reversible or reusable/  An easy way to remember is blue goes out because it protects you from the outside.

Over-the-Ear Face Mask

Behind-the-Head Face Mask

How to Clean Your Reusable Face Mask

I posted on how to make face masks. As a result, I got questions on how to make masks fit tighter and how to clean masks for re-use.  There are a lot of different opinions out there on how to sanitize, wash, or dry a reusable face mask made from fabric or other materials.  However, it is recommended to make sure you have sanitized the mask before wearing it again,  I also highly recommend you have more than one mask so you always have a clean one available to wear.

Easy Options to Clean a Fabric Face Mask:
  • If the mask has tie straps, wash it on warm or hot in a washing machine with other laundry that can be cleaned at that temperature too, then toss in the dryer too.  To prevent straps from tangling around other laundry, tie all the straps  together with an overhand knot before putting into machine.
  • If the mask has elastic straps, put it in a lingerie laundry bag designed for delicates (or tie into a pillow case if you don't have a bag) to prevent the elastic from getting stretched and stressed. Wash in machine with hot water.   Then hang them to dry by the fabric portion of mask, this too is to prevent stretching out the elastic.
  • Hand wash either type of mask with liquid laundry detergent (ot if you don;t have that use an antibacterial dishwashing liquid) rubbing until it is lathered well.  Then let soak in hot water for 30 minutes.  Finally hang it up or lay it on a sanitized counter to completely dry overnight.  If you want to use this method, you may want to watch video at bottom of this post for step-by-step instructions.
Other suggestions I have heard, but not tried, include:
  • Placing a tie-on mask in boiling water for 10 minutes on-the-stove or for 30 minutes off-the-stove.  Do not do this with elastic as it may melt the rubber portion of the elastic.
  • Steam cleaning is recommended for N95 polypropylene masks per YouTube video.  However, OSHA does not recommend reusing this type of mask.  
  • Repro suggests hand washing method for reusable face masks containing filters.
  • Disposable and paper masks are meant for one-time use, so washing is not recommended as it will cause the mask to disintegrate.  However, if you need to sanitize them for re-use, Dr Parikh told Glamour magazine how to kill some germs “If you have a limited supply, we recommend placing the mask in a safe, isolated place, such as a paper bag, for three to five days and then reusing.”
  • Hanging a fabric or non-fabric mask outside so the sun's UV rays can kill the germs.  If you have allergies, you probably do not want to try this one.

Methods to Tighten Behind-the-Head Face Mask

My multiple options for making facemask post was very popular.  It was the most viewed post ever in a single week!  Some have told me one of the back-of-head elastic straps was not tight enough to fit their head well and wanted some easy methods to make them fit tighter without remaking masks.  The methods below should work with any behind-the-head mask, whether you made it yourself or purchased a mask.

Three Methods to Tighten Elastic Strap on Behind-the-Head Mask
  1. Tie an overhand knot (see video below) in the middle of the elastic strap that is too loose.  This way the knot is in the back of your head.  How far up the slip knot is in the elastic is determined by how short you need to make it to fit your head.
  2. With a safety pin, pin elastic straps together in center of each to form an X at back of head, which makes both straps seem a little tighter.  This works best if elastic is only a little-bit big. 
  3. Cut elastic in center of back to turn it into a tie strap instead.  This also will work if the elastic has gotten stretched-out from extended use aging it or multiple machine washing/drying.
If you are making additional masks for the same person, consider how much shorter to make the elastic before sewing the new masks.  The PDF pattern in the mask-making post shows standard sizes for adult and child masks, but not everyone has a standard size head.  After printing the pattern, I wrote the size elastic I needed for my lady's mask (2 inches shorter for behind-the-head and 1" smaller for over-ear) than the standard size which better fits most men.

Want more ideas to make the mask fit better?  See buttons save ears when wearing facemasks, what about foggy glasses post.

NOTE:  HuffPost recently conducted a Cambridge Univiersity study of best face mask materials (BTW denim is cotton).  Since most masks are 2-or-more layers, their tests are not really conclusive as they were based on only 1-layer of the materials tested.  They also misconstrue Trump saying scarves are better than masks.  The president suggests using scarves for protection due to mask shortage to save masks for medical purposes. However, HuffPost does offers multiple Covid-10/Coronavirus updates as information becomes available, so you may want to keep an eye on their blog for new links at the bottom of each posting and then double check their suggrestions.