May is here and we enter into our next phase of fighting the monster among us — the coronavirus.
We really want to get back to our normal lives, but it is still an extremely dangerous time. The virus is still here. It’s extremely contagious. There’s no cure, and there’s no vaccine.
But we still know there are many things we can do. We’ve learned the art of washing our hands over and over again, using hand sanitizer, cleaning surfaces often, and physical distancing. But the one thing we can still learn to get comfortable with is to wear a mask when we are out in public. It is not so much to protect ourselves, but to protect others. If we are both wearing a mask, then we are pretty much protected. These don’t have to be the surgical masks or N95 masks. Cotton, washable homemade masks are very effective, too. As businesses start back up, many employees will have to wear them. It is a way to protect employees and customers. As much as we don’t like to have our mouths covered, and some people just can’t wear them for different reasons, we have to realize that — for most of us — it is the polite thing to do, the considerate thing to do, the healthy thing to do, and absolutely the right thing to do. It’s going to help us get back to our normal lives and save many lives in the process.
I have been making a lot of masks. I’m not used to sitting and doing nothing, so as I watch Mike’s daily press conferences, I make masks. I’ve been through all of my old fabric scraps and found lots of fun prints and plaids. I wash and iron them then cut out the masks. I look for tightly woven cottons, and sometimes flannel for inside lining. I’ve made well over 100 masks — for people that work for us, friends, relatives, pretty much anyone who asks for one. There are many YouTube videos online on how to make them — some of them very simple. Some require no sewing at all. They can be made from T-shirts. You can use a simple bandana, anything that will cover your mouth and nose. You can be very creative. I’m making some out of white T-shirts right now that I’m sending to my grandkids to decorate with sharpies. I’ve also been playing with some that say “Class of 2020” for our graduating seniors. It’s the right thing to do to protect others, but it can also be a fun thing to do.
These are the directions I have been using to make my masks. They were adapted from a recommendation from Deaconess Hospital, which has a pattern and sample video online at www.deaconess.com/masks.
How to Make a Face Mask
Two sizes: Adult or Child
What you will need:
— Cotton fabric, should be tightly woven.
Adult: 2 pieces 9” x 7” cotton fabric
Child: 2 pieces 7.5” x 5” cotton fabric
— Elastic — 1/8” or 1/4” wide. Cut the elastic 7” long.
1. Put right sides of cotton fabric together.
2. Starting at the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, then stop. Sew the elastic with the edge out into the corner. A few stitches forward and back will hold this.
3. Sew to the next corner, then stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner and sew a few stitches forward and back.
4. Sew across the top of the mask to the next corner. Again put an elastic with the edge out.
5. Sew to the next corner and sew in the other end of the same elastic.
6. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open. Stop, then cut the thread. Turn inside out.
7. Pin 3 tucks on each side of the mask. The tucks should be in the same direction.
8. Sew around the edge of the mask twice.
As I was thinking about this “monster” among us, I was thinking of something to give to friends along with the masks. And I thought of my recipe for Monster Cookies. It is really an oatmeal peanut butter cookie. They are monster size — you use an ice cream scoop to size them on the cookie sheet. I am making them very carefully. I’m wearing my mask, especially as they come out of oven and cool. Then each one can be put in a separate sandwich bag so no one is going be touching them. This recipe makes a very large quantity. You don’t have to bake all of them at once, but you can cut the recipe in half.
We have to defeat this monster among us. Wear your mask. If you do, others will as well. It’s the right thing to do. And when you take it off, enjoy a Monster Cookie!
4 1/2 cups brown sugar (2 pounds)
4 cups white sugar
1 pound butter
6 cups peanut butter (68 ounces)
8 teaspoons soda
1 Tablespoon vanilla
18 cups oatmeal (42 ounce box)
2 cups M&Ms
2 cups chocolate chips
Mix in order given in very large bowl. Use ice cream soup to dip onto lightly greased cookie sheet, 6 to a sheet. Flatten with a sugar coated glass. Bake 9-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes about 6 dozen huge cookies.
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.