Making masks, doing projects, and killing time on YouTube

Per request, here’s a picture of me donning a homemade mask:

masked me

This request came from none other than Brian of Bonnywood, who is encouraging we bloggers to set a good example and show our masked mugs to the world.

Masks are pretty easy to make (I used these instructions, with elastic loops rather than ties). Only I think I’ll use a different fabric for my next one as this design didn’t work out as well as I hoped.

I made the mask because I thought I’d need it to return to work this week. Then I found out the soonest I’d be back in the office is July – meaning another seven weeks of… um… what have I been doing for these last six weeks?!

Oh yeah!

For one thing, I painted my laundry area and laid new flooring…

It doesn’t show up too well in the photo, but in the before shot (left side) the floor is bare concrete and the wall has a sloppy paint job, like they were just trying to empty a partial can of white paint. I painted the wall turquoise and the shelves white. Husband put up the cabinets to the left of the dryer; they used to be in the kitchen but we had to remove them to make room for a new fridge. Once that was done, I laid the flooring.

As for the ugly sink? That’s concrete. If you Google “how to get rid of a concrete sink,” you’ll find people have really strong opinions on them. Apparently these laundry sinks are considered vintage?

I saw a number of YouTube videos on how to restore it but in the end, I decided it didn’t look so bad for something we mostly only use to clean up paintbrushes. (Though I might consider repainting its stand. Unsure on that.)

Anyway, we’ve turned it from a yucky “ugh-I-have-to-do-laundry” room into a charming “ugh-I-have-to-do-laundry” room, and that was the whole point.

Other than that, I’ve been getting in a lot of clarinet practice. I had a few goals I wanted to accomplish, such as: learn how to growl and how to do a vibrato.

Back to YouTube: there are a surprising number of people offering free lessons on clarinet, including how to growl and do a vibrato. The video I’m going to show you, it’s not that I found his advice all that helpful, it’s just that his accent is sooooo marvelous.

Also, the wrinkled sheet.

I mean, how bad is the view behind him that the wrinkled sheet is an improvement?!

Ain’t it great? (Personally, I could listen to him say “clarinet” all day long.)

I’m here to report that after viewing countless videos and spitting and spurting all over the place, I have accomplished the growl! I also have a good start on my vibrato, so I’ll need to figure out some new goals.

I’m considering trying to figure out the glissando, also called a smear. For that, I’ll be following this guy, who is great fun – and helpful! – in all things clarinet related.

Also, he wears cool glasses.

Another possibility: learn the laughing technique. Here’s another video, this one by a woman who puts more thought into her background than Oleg. Her name is Robin Seletsky and I’m a wee bit obsessed with her.

God, I love her tone. As well as her sweater. (I wonder where she got it?)

Of course, I’m also doing my normal practice, scales and arpeggios and all that.

Maybe in the weeks ahead, I’ll find a way to make peace with B major. He and I, we haven’t gotten along all that well. Maybe it’s time we bury the hatchet.

Moving on, here’s another project I completed — I cleaned and lubed my bicycle! (If you knew how close I came to not bringing her to Minnesota, you’d be shocked.) The fact is, I just wasn’t using her all that much in Phoenix.

But I’m ever so glad I brought her because, aesthetically speaking, she fits in so well here.


For those of you who care about such things, she’s a 1970 Raleigh Robin Hood 3-speed with both hand and coaster brakes. And  – you guessed it – there are YouTube videos for restoring old bicycles.

Fortunately my gal was in pretty good shape. Though to get her clean and sparkly, I  watched this guy’s video… which was oddly relaxing. In the end, his bike was practically sterilized.

I don’t keep my car that clean! (Then again, his bike probably cost more than my car.)

Now that the weather is warmer (62°!) I’m enjoying riding my bike. Yesterday we went to the park and learned from a man in a shabby red sweatshirt that one of the ducks had eight babies two days prior. So I headed on over to where he last saw them and delighted in their presence.


Nothing makes me smile more than the sight of baby ducks on the water.

Unless it’s a bear in water…

I think by now my secret is out — I’ve been spending (wasting) an extraordinary amount of time on YouTube.

But hey, I’ve also been writing — though as to what it will wind up being, I’m not quite sure yet. Only just look at my writing desk and you can tell I’m up to something, right?

writing desk

And that pretty much brings us up-to-date on my “COVID-19” projects. If you’ve been working on something of your own, let us know in the comments okay?

Meanwhile, here are some cat pics. Just because.

They clearly know nothing about social distancing. 😉

30 thoughts on “Making masks, doing projects, and killing time on YouTube

  1. You’ve done great! I haven’t done anything of much import, but as the president and treasurer of our condo corporation, there’s our fiscal year end to get ready for the accountant, as well as deal with all the cooped up residents that have nothing to do but find nit-picky things to complain about. I’m also still working part-time, as the designated in person employee in our office. Like you, the warm weather has been a mood booster, as I get out in the lovely fresh air and sunshine.

  2. You’re doing great. I’ve been doing stuff and posting cat pictures too. I found a youtube channel where the guy goes out in rain storms to flooded streets and unblocks the street drains. I found it while looking for videos on paint drying …

    1. Maybe I should make a video of the neighbor who picks up garbage cans the wind knocked over. I had no idea there was a market for that stuff! 😉

  3. Aww, you look quite fetching in your mask! (And thanks for the shout-out.)

    Why does it seem like Oleg is inserting quite a few extra syllables into “clarinet”? Maybe that’s me.

    I must confess that I once had a sweater very similar to Robin’s, many years ago. It would probably look like a tube-top on me now.

    Uh oh, I just realized that I now have to write a certain post, since you held up your end of our quasi-agreement. Um, I’ll have to get back to you on that… 😉

    1. I see what you mean about Oleg — he’s kind of doing a “clair-ee-nyet”. But really, just imagine him whispering it in your ear late at night. You could forgive him the extra syllable, right? And the questionable haircut? And the wrinkled sheet? …
      Yeah, okay, never mind.

      You had the sweater too?! *gasp* Did you have her haircut too? 😍

    1. I heard there’s been a shortage in elastic. I was lucky in that I already had some from a long-ago project I never finished.
      Good luck finding a place!

      1. I finally got some from Amazon. I’ve made about 30 so far by also found cutting a strip from the bottom of an old tee shirt pulls into a roll and is stretchy and comfy on your ears. Feel like it’s wartime and we’re making do!

  4. “As for the ugly sink? That’s concrete. If you Google “how to get rid of a concrete sink,” you’ll find people have really strong opinions on them. Apparently these laundry sinks are considered vintage?” . . . . Oh no! My very first thought when I saw the picture was I LOVE THAT SINK! 🙂 I can’t even begin to tell you how much I covet it!

    1. You’ll be relieved to know since I learned the sink’s history, I’ve come to appreciate it. 🙂
      And really the sink isn’t all that ugly, it’s mostly the metal stand. I just have to decide if I want to bother to paint it.

  5. You did an amazing job on the laundry room. Way to go!

    The bear video is hilarious!😂😂 For reals?!

    Sent the bike guy to hubby – thought I could use the pointers myself. Glad to hear you’ve given your gal a new lease on life. Love the basket (always wanted one of those).

    Seems like you’ve used your YouTube hours for at least one productive thing – becoming a better clarinet player. Awesome!

    I am busy planting my annuals. I was so happy the local greenhouses and nurseries opened this week. The farmers market opens tomorrow. Hurray!

    1. Our farmers market opened Saturday as well, local greenhouses too. What a great time to be alive!

      The bike guy’s video is quite helpful, though I can’t say I did anywhere near as thorough a job. He was pretty meticulous. And I loved his emphasis on the toilet brush being “NEW”. 😀

  6. It’s good to see you making the most of your free time, Christi. Besides my couch potato and blog reading time, I am doing a lot of hiking in the hills behind our house, and landscaping our side yard. I see some sketches and a box of crayons on your desk. That can only mean three more days until Bad Joke Monday!

  7. You have been busy. I feel that i am just perfecting my impression of a limpy couch cushion. Not sure what I have been doing when I’m not doing my 6.5 hrs work from home x 4 days. Wasting time i feel. I should be doing more but its just not happening. Stay safe.

    1. I’m not sure “busy” is the correct word for what I’ve been doing. The laundry room was pretty much completed in a weekend, the rest was vegetating in front of YouTube with occasional forays into my writing/practice room. But hey, if you want to call it busy, I’ll take it!

  8. Google wasn’t a thing yet when I bought my house – and its concrete sink. Nothing to tell me it was a collector’s item. For me, it was just an eyesore in an awkward place (not even next to the wall.) Brace yourself – a sledgehammer or splitting maul takes it out in no time. I also had the temerity to hack down the clothesline posts. Is there a purgatory for those who don’t respect “vintage” items?

    1. The sink wasn’t against a wall? That’s nuts! Don’t feel bad, Dave, I’m sure it deserved the mighty blows of your sledgehammer.
      The clothesline, though… 😉

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