DIY Face Mask (cover) with Ties


Note: I modified instructions below so that the straps come out the corners instead of sides.  This helps with a better fit.  This image has it coming out the sides.
Hey all!  I imagine you're here looking for a way to help your community or yourself and that is AWESOME!  This mask is ideally meant to be worn over an N95 mask.  It is not intended to protect from exposure all by itself.  Though, there may be times that this is the only option...in this case, this will add protection more than nothing itself. 

After seeing a few more complicated versions of masks... I decided to draft my own pattern for a tie mask because I wanted a faster sew that didn't include elastic.  This should be a good sew for even a beginner (that is my hope!).  It's not perfect and this is my first self drafted sew and my first attempt at documenting it.  Please feel free to comment with tips or suggestions or questions and I will try to help and/or clarify.  Thank you!!
**Edit to add: The fit will be better if you have the bottom tie go upwards.  Learning/improving as we go!

p.s. If you are looking for an easy elastic version, this is a great one Elastic DIY Face Mask.  Please keep in mind elastic won't hold up as well to heat and bleach during the washing/sanitizing process.

Materials:
-  Two 6" x 9" 100% cotton fabric pieces
-  Four 1.5" x 19" 100% cotton fabric strips (or four 19" bias tape strips)
-  Thread

Please note!!
- It is recommended to use lighter colored fabric (in order to help see if mask has been soiled).
- Pre-wash and dry all fabric on hot water/high heat before cutting/sewing.  

Step 1:  Cut Fabric to size 
a.  Cut two 6" x 9" 100% cotton fabric pieces.

b.  Cut four 1.5" x 19" 100% cotton fabric strips
Note: length of ties in pic is not correct.  Please follow cutting instructions above.



Step 2: Make fabric ties  (or skip this step if you have bias tape)
a.  Fold strips with right sides facing each other
b.  Sew or surge along the edge (1/4" seam allowance)


c.  Flip strips to be right side out (with seam on the inside).  You can do this using a straw and skewer.  (or google for help).  This is a great step for your non-sewer friends or family to help with!


Step 3: Attach ties to main body of mask.  
a.  With right side of mask fabric facing up, place tie across top face of mask with from the top right corner. 
b.  Place tie on opposite side in similar fashion.  Pin or clip in place. 
c.  Repeat for other two corners.  

Step 4:  Tack ties in place
a.  Sew across each of the ties locking them in place


Step 5:  Attach second layer of fabric
a.  Fold fabric ties into center of mask face

b.  Place second 6.5" x 9" fabric right side up on top of bottom layer of mask and ties.  (If you are needing to add a washable "filter" like interfacing, place it on top of this layer.  When folded right side out, the "filter" will end up between the two layers of cotton.)

c.  Pin or clip in place.

d.  Sew around perimeter of mask (make sure not to catch the length of the ties).  Leave about a 2" opening in the middle of the long edge.  You can pull the straps through to keep from catching the ties.
(Note: For a more streamlined sew, you can skip locking the ties in place and can sew the straps in as you sew around the perimeter.  Be sure to do backstitching at the ties to help secure them in place.)




Step 6:  Flip mask
a.  Pull ties through 2" hold and flip the mask right side out.
b.  You should now have the ties going away from the mask with one side being the right side of the fabric and the other side being the wrong side.  (This is intentional so that the user can keep sides consistent.)
c.  At your 2" gap, fold the raw edges inward (to match the rest of the seams).  This will be sewn closed later.

d.  (optional) Iron around edges of mask.  I prefer this as it will make the pleats easier.

Step 7:  Add pleats
a.  About 1/2" from the top strap create first pleat by pinching about 1/2" fabric and folding it up.  Pin/clip in place.


b.  Repeat on opposite side of mask.
c.  Add two more sets of pleats so that there are a total of three pleats on each side.



Step 8:  Edge stitch
a.  Edge stitch around perimeter of mask with 1/4" seam allowance.  This will lock the pleats in place and close up the 2" opening.



Step 9:  Close raw edges of ties
a.  The fastest option is to just tie a knot at the ends.  And, voila, done! :)

(or you can double fold the raw edge of the tie on itself and tack in place or fold raw edges inward and close with a 1/4' edge stitch.)


Step 10:  MAKE MORE MASKS!!  


Note:  This is not intended to be sold.  Please make this mask for personal use or as donation to your community or others in need of PPE supplies.  Again, it is not intended to protection from infectious diseases by itself.  It is intended to ideally be used in conjunction with an N95 or similar medical-grade mask.  Thank you!!


Shredded Chicken to Die For

Ladies and Gents!  I have found a new love!  It's name is the INSTANT POT!  It's aaaaamazing!

Okay. So, the first thing I tried was chicken.  Yuuuuummy chicken.  I've tried a few different versions and seasonings and cooking times.  I think I found a few magical combinations that are basically ready in about an hour (from frozen!).  The greatest thing is that this can be used in so many different ways... enchiladas, as a side, in a soup, on salads, in tacos or burritos, ...you get the idea!  SO- I thought I'd share with you!

General Note: The time you set for cooking time doesn't change if your chicken is frozen.  Basically, you will just have more time on the front end while it is coming to pressure.  Once it is at pressure, then the timer will start.


Shredded Salsa Chicken


p.s. I love this chicken to put in my enchiladas, for taco salad, tacos, etc.

Ingredients
- 3 large chicken breasts (frozen or fresh)
- 1 cup salsa of your choice
- 2 Tbsp. taco seasonings
- 1/2 cup water

Directions:
1) Place chicken in pot.
2) Pour in water, salsa, and taco seasoning over chicken
3) Lock on the lid and close pressure valve.
       - for tender but chunkier chicken, cook at high pressure for 15 min
       - for more tender and easy to shred chicken, cook at high pressure for 25 min
4) When beep sounds, switch to quick release
5) To shred chicken you can either shred it with a couple forks OR (my new favorite) bust out the hand beaters and shred it.
6) Aaaaand bam! enjoy!


Shredded BBQ Chicken 


p.s. This is perfect for pulled chicken sandwiches or even to the side of veggies (I'll do a separate blog post of how to cook everything on this plate all at once in the Instant Pot!)

Ingredients
- 3 large chicken breasts (frozen or fresh)
- 1/2 cup water
- about 1/2 bottle BBQ sauce (about 9 oz)

Directions:
1) Place chicken in pot.
2) Pour in water and BBQ sauce over chicken
3) Lock on the lid and close pressure valve.
4) Cook at high pressure for 25 min
5) When beep sounds, switch to quick release
6) To shred chicken you can either shred it with a couple forks OR (my new favorite) bust out the hand beaters and shred it.
6) Aaaaand bam! enjoy!


Whatever Flavor Shredded Chicken You're Craving

p.s.  I flavor it with all sorts of seasoning...great for salads!

Ingredients:
- 3 large chicken breasts (frozen or fresh)
- 1 cup water
- whatever your favorite seasonings are

Directions:
1) Place chicken in pot.
2) Pour in water and seasoning over chicken
3) Lock on the lid and close pressure valve.
       - for tender but chunkier chicken, cook at high pressure for 15 min
       - for more tender and easy to shred chicken, cook at high pressure for 25 min
4) When beep sounds, switch to quick release
5) To shred chicken you can either shred it with a couple forks OR (my new favorite) bust out the hand beaters and shred it.
6) Aaaaand bam! enjoy!

Hidden Inequality -- A Voice for Change

Little man decided to wake up at 5:30 this morning.  I rocked him back to sleep (p.s. he's two! ha.  the stinker...but I still love to soak those sweet moments in).  Anywhos, I went back to bed, but my mind was wide awake.

Friday night I saw "Hidden Figures" (plan to start the book!).  I don't know that words can really express the amount of emotion I felt while watching the stories of these women's lives.  Along with many other feelings, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  I felt gratitude for these amazing women who led the way for women of color in the sciences.  I felt gratitude that they led the way for women in general in the sciences.  They were/are women of amazing talent, but because of the color of their skin and their gender, they were seen as less.  They fought.  They used their voices.  They proved themselves to people that they shouldn't have had to prove themselves to.  I am so SO grateful that they helped lead the way for me to be a part of what I am a part of today - to be a strong woman in the sciences.  Because of them along with a close support circle that never once questioned my ability to succeed, I'm where I am today.
Image result for hidden figures real woman

 Image result for hidden figures motivational Image result for hidden figures motivational Image result for hidden figures motivational

I can't imagine what it must have felt like to be told that I couldn't attend a meeting because I was a woman.  I CAN imagine what it feels like to be the only woman in that meeting of 30+ men.  It's my reality.  I am the only woman within my R&D team at work.  I am currently blessed to have a supportive manager and supportive team of men surrounding me.  It hasn't always been that way; even in my short career so far I have already faced issues of inequality being a woman.

Within my first year, I attended a training with about 15 other men from my team.  I took the opportunity of not having to run around in the lab and wore a pair of heels (cuz I LOVE my heels!).  I walked in and a male colleague says in front of everyone else "Those are some nice CFMPs!".  I and the others laughed it off because I honestly didn't know what that stood for; call me naive.  During a 15 min break, I asked him what it stood for.  Apparently CFMPs = Come F*** Me Pumps.  I was at a loss for words/in shock that he'd even say that out loud.

A couple years ago, during an annual review, I was told by my manager at the time that because I hadn't been there a portion of the year (I missed a month due to maternity leave--the other two months being in the new year), I wouldn't be getting as much compensation for a raise.  Note: I was supposed to be protected by FMLA.  But, yup.  Today (or at the time 2015), things are still not equal.  Crazy, right?!  I wanted to tell him that what he just told me was illegal, that he can't say or do that!  Did I? no.  I still kick myself for not speaking up and using my voice.  It did, however, light something inside me.  I promised myself that the next time I faced a similar situation that I wouldn't sit silent.

A few months later, shortly after I had wrapped up the whole nursing/pumping challenge, I was told that my cleavage had been too much for an individual (who happened to be in a high position of power) -- this complaint came while I was still nursing.  In fact, I was told that they would be changing the dress policy to say "no cleavage" -- Let me remind you of the minority that women are here.  Now.  Please understand, I am not one that walks around with my boobs half-hanging out.  I am well-endowed, yes.  I had been nursing, yes.  I also happen to be built in a way that even with conservative shirts, I still have a small bit of cleavage -- more if I have the gall to cross my arms.  SO.  When I was told this, I fought.  I used my voice.  I wasn't going to sit quietly this time. I let them know that this wasn't okay and that they would be at a huge liability (especially because I had been recently pregnant and nursing).  And guess what, I "won".  Meaning, the policy was not changed in such a demeaning manner.  Honestly, though, I shouldn't have even had to deal with this.  Even though I knew I was right, it still affected me.  I became more self conscious and it took some time to move forward.

I work in a field that I have gained a lot of respect by having a degree.  I work in an area where (generally) morals are relatively high.  Because of this, I know that my negative experiences are likely just the tip of an iceberg for many others.

Why am I sharing this?  Because, WE HAVE TO HAVE A VOICE.  Even though there are laws in place that are supposed to prevent such experiences to occur in these days, they still happen!  Things are not equal!  It is by far better than what it was even just a generation ago, but it is still not equal.  The only way to create change is to have a voice.  To stand up and be heard.  Think Martin Luther King.  Think Suffregates.  What would have happened if they hadn't used their voices because people told them to shut up?  Just because you yourself may not have felt injustice or inequality, does not mean someone else hasn't.  Just because it is something that you yourself don't understand, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  Please. PLEASE. Take a moment to listen and learn.  Please don't criticize those who are choosing to stand up and use their voice.

Now, I know we don't all agree on all the issues out there dealing with Feminism.  That is okay.  We don't have to.  BUT to tell someone to shut up about something that has personally impacted their life...please don't.  Your experiences are not theirs. You don't know what they have faced that has brought them to that point.  I myself, don't agree with all the issues that were vocalized yesterday and that's okay.  BUT I would never tell them to shut up, sit down, and be happy.  Silence does not bring change and understanding.

Some facts (not opinions) that I would hope that every woman and man would fight for...
  • Fact: Our society STILL has a knee-jerk reaction to believe the perpetrator vs. the survivor of sexual assaul.  OR, they believe the survivor, yet, won't prosecute for fear of losing (my sister's personal experience) because of the still remaining social stigma with sexual assault.  OR they prosecute, but don't want to "ruin" the life of the perpetrator so let them off with very little consequence, while the survivor will fight years and years of emotional turmoil working to overcome.
  • Graphic demonstrating that out of 1000 rapes, 994 perpetrators will walk free. Out of every 1,000 rapes, 310 are reported to the police, 57 reports lead to arrest, 13 cases get referred to prosecutors, 7 cases will lead to a felony conviction, 6 rapists will be incarcerated.
    https://www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system
  • Fact: In some states (still today) tampons and pads remain taxed, while there are tax-exempt status on items including sunscreen, ChapStick, anti-dandruff shampoo, Rogaine, and, yes, sometimes even Viagra. Sadly, only five states have actively made decisions not to tax tampons: Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and New Jersey. 
  • Fusion_Tampox-Tax-State_1b
    http://fusion.net/story/142965/states-that-tax-tampons-period-tax/
  • Fact: Women make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes -- it's even worse for black and hispanic women.  In fact,  women have gained only 0.38 cents on average per year since the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963. The IWPR estimates that at that rate, equal pay won't become a reality for another 44 years.
https://www.fastcompany.com/3058802/equal-pay-day-is-more-complicated-than-cents-on-a-dollar

I didn't write this to start an argument or be all political.  This honestly, for me, has nothing to do with the man in office.  These were issues before him and we would have fought for change regardless (though, we may need to fight harder now).  I wrote this because it has been something that has been weighing on my mind for some time.  After seeing a few posts of people just not understanding what "those women" are complaining about, I figured I might as well try to share my perspective.  My hope is that by me sharing my small experiences of inequality, others may see that it is still an issue, an issue worth standing up for.  





Edit to add:  Though I've had the above negative experiences, I still feel very blessed to work where I work.  I have generally had very positive experiences and people that help me overcome the negative.  I am blessed to live in a country where I can receive an education and work as an educated woman.  I am blessed to know that I have a voice without fear of government retaliation.  But those negative experiences have given me the desire to make that voice louder.  I don't see it as a bad thing to try to make things even better. :)

My Mamma's Autumn Soup


It snowed today.  Like quite a bit!  And the thing I wanted most was my Mom's Autumn Soup.  This is one of those beautiful comfort soups that is delicious and nutritious and reminds you of home and family.  Basically, it is one of my favorite soups ever!  So, what did I do?  I made it!!  And now I'm going to share it with you!  I'll share both my mom's version and my modified version to fit better with lean and green.  Honestly, though, both are pretty dang yummy and good for you!  So, without further ado, I'll get right to it!


The Lean & Green Version:

Ingredients:
1 lbs. lean ground turkey (cooked, put in last)
2 cups water
2 (14 oz) cans chicken broth
1 med chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped cauliflower
3 stalks celery
1 1/2 cup chopped purple cabbage
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 cube beef bouillon
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 Tbsp Salt
1 bay leaf

Directions:
Brown the ground turkey, drain, and set aside.  Pour the water and chicken broth into a large pot.  Add onions, carrots, cauliflower, celery, and cabbage to the water.  Add the bouillon, cider vinegar, thyme, basil, salt, and bay leaf.  Simmer until veggies are tender.  Stir in the diced tomatoes and ground beef and allow to heat thoroughly.

Isn't that just so pretty?!!  It's just as good as it looks!  
I hope it brings as much warmth to your home as it did to mine growing up 
(and now to my own home and family).  


My Mom's Original Version:

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. ground beef (cooked, put in last)
5 to 6 cups water
1 med chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrots
1 lg. diced potato
2 stalks celery
1 cup chopped purple cabbage
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
3 cubes beef bouillon
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
1 Tbsp Salt
1 bay leaf


Directions:
Brown the ground beef, drain, and set aside.  Pour the water into a large pot.  Add onions, carrots, potato, celery, and cabbage to the water.  Add the bouillon, cider vinegar, thyme, basil, salt, and bay leaf.  Simmer until veggies are tender.  Stir in the diced tomatoes and ground beef and allow to heat thoroughly.