I follow Nathalie’s blog. She designs the lovely rubber stamps she uses in her work.
I follow Nathalie’s blog. She designs the lovely rubber stamps she uses in her work.
Joann’s Fabrics has sent links for mask-making directions to all its email subscribers, so sewers can make protective masks for hospitals and for their families and friends. Unfortuantely, the directions I like best (see video below) call for 1/4″ elastic. There is no 1/4″ elastic to be found anywhere. (Amazon had no-name spools of elastic from 3rd-party sellers, but the comments indicated the quality was disappointing.)
So I opted to try this design with ties. I like it, but it took me an hour and a half to make one.
After making three of these, I thought, there’s got to be a quicker way. So I watched lots of YouTube videos, and decided to try this one:
I bought 4 packages of hair elastics at the dollar store. (I was very optimistic.) It took me 30 minutes to make one. (I guess I’m a slow sewer.) However, it’s very uncomfortable to wear; the ponytail holders keep slipping off my ears. So don’t set up an assembly line until you’ve made one and tried it out. (The purple and green one below.)
My original plan was to make a bazillion of these, first for my husband and me, then for our kids, and finally for our neighbors. Now I’ll be happy if I can just get a few more done before the pandemic is over (and I’m praying for it to be over soon).
I made one more mask last night. This time I used 1/4″ bias binding for the ties so I wouldn’t have to make them. It didn’t save me any time, since it was very hard to sew neatly on the skinny binding:
If you don’t like the masks I made, maybe you’ll like some of these.
The news program I watch has a segment about the remarkable people whose lives have been taken by this virus. Ordinary people who were loved by their families, communities, and coworkers, distinguished by accomplishments of excellence and kindness. Most were relatively unknown outside their own circles, but one hit me especially hard.
Ellis Marsalis, Jr. was born November 14, 1934. During high school, he played saxophone, but switched to piano while majoring in music at Dillard University. During the 1950s and 60s, he played professionally with jazz greats like Al Hirt and Cannonball Adderly. He was a greatly respected teacher at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (where one of his students was Harry Connick, Jr.), University of New Orleans, and Xavier University of Louisiana. He recorded 20 albums, and was the patriarch of a great musical family. You may have heard of some of his sons, including trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and saxophonist Branford Marsalis (who was the bandleader for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno for a time).
On April 1, 2020, Ellis Marsalis, Jr. succumbed to pneumonia brought on by the Covid-19 virus. Rest in peace. You are so missed.
This year I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time–I joined a photography club! At my church, there’s a group called Go See & Do. They meet once a month for an informal lesson on an element of photography and some show and tell of our photographs. Most months there’s also a picture-taking field trip. I was only able to go on one field trip this year, to a monastery. It gave me enough material for three blog posts. Maybe you saw them? There was one about the buildings, one about the icons, and one about the gardens.
Unfortunately, with the Covid-19 pandemic, all gatherings are suspended, including Go See & Do. However, the leader suggested we continue to take pictures, and he gave us a scavenger hunt as a potential assignment.
A few years ago, at an art festival, I saw the work of Brian Smith, who spent five years driving around the country in an RV, taking photographs of things that suggested letters to him. He puts images together to spell words that hold special significance for his clients.
I thought at the time I would love to try to do something like this; this scavenger hunt assignment was the perfect motivation.
Now, Smith took some pictures of actual decorative letters. I tried to avoid doing that, though it is so tempting to cheat by taking shots of signs.
Here are some “letters” and “words” I came up with:
Some of the letters are easier to “see” than others. It’s tricky to edit them so they come out the same size. This is a fun project that I will continue long-term.
Scott Joplin was born on November 24, 1868 into a musical African-American family of railway laborers in Texarkana, Arkansas. Studious and ambitious, he received most of his music education from Julius Weiss, a German-born American Jewish music professor who immigrated to Texas in the late 1860s and was employed as music tutor to a prominent local business family. Impressed by Joplin’s talent, and realizing his family’s dire straits, Weiss taught him from ages 11 to 16, pro bono. Weiss introduced him to folk and classical music, including opera, and helped his mother acquire a used piano. According to Weiss’ wife, Lottie, Joplin never forgot Weiss. In his later years, after achieving fame as a composer, Joplin sent his former teacher “…gifts of money when he was old and ill.”
While in Texarkana, Texas, Joplin formed a vocal quartet and taught mandolin and guitar. During the late 1880s he left his job as a railroad laborer and travelled the American South as an itinerant musician. He soon discovered that there were few opportunities for black pianists. Churches and brothels were among the few options for steady work.
He journeyed to Chicago for the World’s Fair of 1893, which played a major part in making ragtime a national craze.
Joplin moved to Sedalia, Missouri, in 1894 and earned a living there as a piano teacher. Two businessmen from New York published Joplin’s first two works, the songs “Please Say You Will”, and “A Picture of her Face” in 1895. On a visit to Temple, Texas in 1896, three of his pieces were published, including the “Great Crush Collision March”, which commemorated a planned train crash on the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad on September 15 that he may have witnessed. The March was described as an “early essay in ragtime.”
Publication of his “Maple Leaf Rag” in 1899 made him well-known. This piece had a enormous influence on writers of ragtime, a unique style marked by syncopation. It also brought Joplin a steady income for life, though he did not reach this level of success again and frequently had financial problems.
In 1901 Joplin moved to St. Louis, where he continued to compose and regularly performed. He created an opera company of 30 people and produced his first opera, A Guest of Honor, for a national tour. It is not known how many productions were staged, or if this was an all-black production. During the tour, either in Springfield, Illinois, or Pittsburg, Kansas, someone associated with the company stole the box office receipts. Joplin could not meet the company’s payroll or pay for its lodgings at a boarding house.
In 1907, Joplin moved to New York City to find a producer for a new opera. His second opera, Treemonisha, was never fully staged during his lifetime. In 1911, unable to find a publisher, Joplin undertook the financial burden of publishing Treemonisha himself in piano-vocal format. In 1915, as a last-ditch effort to see it performed, he invited a small audience to hear it at a rehearsal hall in Harlem. Poorly staged and with only Joplin on piano as accompaniment, it was a dismal failure to a public expecting the grand opera popular at that time. The audience, including potential backers, walked out. Afterward, Joplin suffered a breakdown. He was bankrupt, discouraged, and exhausted. Treemonisha went unnoticed and unreviewed.
By 1916, Joplin was suffering from syphilis. In January 1917, he was admitted to Manhattan State Hospital, a mental institution. He died there on April 1 of syphilitic dementia at the age of 48 and was buried in a pauper’s grave that remained unmarked for 57 years.
Joplin’s death marked the end of ragtime per se; over the next several years, it evolved with other styles into jazz and swing.
Joplin first entered my notice when The Sting came out. The movie starred Robert Redford and Paul Newman, and featured Joplin’s rag, “The Entertainer.” His grave at Saint Michaels Cemetery in East Elmhurst was finally given a marker in 1974, the year The Sting won the Oscar for Best Picture.
In 1976, Joplin was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his contributions to American music.
Scott Joplin earned the title of the King of Ragtime. During his brief career, he wrote over 100 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas.
Information for this article came from Wikipedia.
Our handbell choir, Ringing Praise, played “My Jesus, I Love Thee” in church a couple of months ago. I’m the short one in the back.