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Child and Doll Visors.

One of the joys of working with children is when they express their joy in seeing you.  That has been especially true this summer.  For many children, a visit to the dentist has been the first trip away from home and family this summer.  For that reason, some are really excited when they come to our office.

I recently saw one of my favorite patients.  While only eight years old, she has already expressed interest in being a dentist when she grows up.  She is always excited when she comes to the office.

That was no exception this summer.  Even with all of our extra protective equipment on, she was still excited for her visit.  In fact, she was so excited, that she went home and made personal protective equipment for her doll. So sweet.

Her imagination gave me the idea to make child and doll sized face shields like the ones I was making for my office.

Since I didn’t have any young children, I used the average size head for an eight year old and adjusted my STL file.  The shield I made was 6″ in diameter and fits a head 16-20″ in circumference.

Not having any dolls around the house (the result of raising four boys), I went on Amazon and purchase a doll for myself.  Perhaps I just want something to play with.  Or, perhaps I am planning for future grandchildren.  In either case, I now have a Journey Girl doll that graces my sewing room.  Measuring the size of the head, I adjusted the STL file to make a shield that is 4″ in diameter and will fit the head of an 18-20″ doll (American Girl, Journey Girl, etc).

To complete the  PPE ensemble, I also printed appropriate sized ear savers.

After printing a Doll set and a Child set, I gifted these to my patient.  She loved them.  Her mom sent me numerous photos of her pretending to be a dentist, complete with her doll as her assistant.

Given how much she enjoyed the face shields, I thought maybe other children would enjoy being like their mom or dad, or the favorite health care worker.  Thus, I have posted these on Etsy.  If you have someone who might like a set, you can purchase at the link.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/851392013/child-sized-or-doll-sized-face-shield?ga_order=date_desc&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=child+face+shield&ref=sr_gallery-2-22&organic_search_click=1&col=1

 

Becoming a Mom.

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Thirty years ago today, at 11:08 pm CDT, I became a mom.

That single day changed my life in so many ways.

Someone once told me that they felt sorry for the oldest child in a family.  Being the first child in a family kinda means that you are the “trial child”, the child on whom each parent learns what it means to be a parent.  Having no manual or rule book, we have to learn as we go.  However, while my oldest may have taught me the most, I feel that I have learned from each of my boys.

Over the past thirty years, I have learned patience, perseverance, negotiation, and many other life skills. These skills have helped me in all aspects of my life.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned that planning is very important to be able to accomplish everything that needs to be done in a day, all the while understanding that my plans may change at a moments notice.  This gave me the incentive to learn to be organized but adaptable – something that has been necessary over these past couple of months.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned how much energy they can have. This gave me the incentive to enroll them in sports and other activities and to help them to enjoy these endeavors.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned that having them play outdoors helped to keep the house cleaner and the boys to sleep better.  This gave me the desire to learn more about plants so that I could be gardening while supervising their outdoor activities.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned how to build forts.  This gave me confidence to build other things, like trellises and gazebos, and to tackle home remodeling projects.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned how much they could eat, and how expensive feeding them would be.  This gave me the desire to learn to bake, to cook, and to make my own preserves.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned how busy life can be.  This gave me the encouragement to daily find time for myself, something that is still important in my life.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly learned that I could not do things alone.  This has given me an appreciation for my husband and gratitude for his love.

Being the mom of four boys, I quickly realized that every life at every age is precious. This has given me a gratitude for the grace shown to us by our heavenly father each and every day.

Some days it feels like it was just yesterday that my oldest was a newborn baby.  Other days, it feels like it was so very long ago. There are many ups and downs being a mom. But, I would not change it for anything.  Happy Birthday, Tim!  I love you.

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Family & Birthdays

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Yesterday was the twenty third birthday of my third son, Ben.  Happy Birthday Ben!

We were blessed to be able to celebrate the day with him.  Well, okay, maybe just the evening. I have been spending most of my time writing up protocols (Covid-19 Business Plan, Respiratory Protection Plan, etc).  All the government regulations can be a bit overwhelming. Ben spent his day doing classwork on-line and preparing for finals.

But, since he is at our home and not in Brooklyn, I felt we needed to do something special for him.  So, he selected a recipe for me to make – Vegetarian Ramen (Bon Appetit), I did some shopping and together we made the recipe.  We did need to leave out some things due to my allergies. This did turn out very tasty.

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Some pecan pie for dessert and a long family conversation with my sons who live out of town was an enjoyable way to spend my evening.

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Frogs – In the Garden (& Clinic?)

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For those that are unaware, I am a pediatric dentist by profession.  I work with a group of seven doctors and 37 staff.  Nearly all of the procedures we perform (tooth cleanings, filling, crowns, etc) create an aerosol.  This is problematic in the current viral pandemic because the aerosol could put everyone at risk.  So, we know we will need to change our PPE (personal protective equipment) when we reopen our practice.

Because all of the PPE is being directed to medical facilities, as a dentist, it is nearly impossible to obtain face shields and masks.  In anticipation of this being a problem, when my son came home from NYC, I spent some time talking with him about 3D printers and how to use one to make our own masks and face shields.  I am very fortunate that, as an architecture student, he has lots of experience with several types of printers.

With his help, several weeks ago I purchased a Prusa printer kit. I ordered a kit for two reasons.  First, it was less expensive and I could get a better printer for less cost.  And, more importantly, the cost of the kit was just below the limit for having to pay import duties.  The kit took 18 days to arrive.  I am really glad I ordered when I did, because the estimate now is 5-6 weeks.

When the kit arrived, we needed to build the printer.  Okay, to be honest, it was mostly my son who put it together.  But, I did do a couple hours of the process.  The kit was like trying to build a house sold by IKEA!  The manual for putting it together was 225 pages long.  Fortunately the directions and photos were excellent.

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It was exciting when the build was completed.  The first thing we printed was one of the sample files that came with the printer.  It was a tree frog.

Since the plan is to print things for use in my dental office, I wanted to verify that the printed items could be sterilized in our office steam autoclave.  I took the frog to one of my offices and tested it in the  autoclave.  The plastic filament was not impacted by the heat or the steam.  However, I forgot that the frog was printed as a hollow form with air trapped inside.  So, when the air heated up and expanded, it caused the belly of the frog to pop out.  I now have a pregnant looking frog!!.  This should not be a problem with the other items I plan to print because they do not have a large space with trapped air.

I am in the process of testing out different face shield and mask ideas.  I’ll give an update on those in a few days.

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In the meantime, and keeping with the frog theme, I thought I would give some information about a new piece of garden art that is in my flower bed.  Over the winter, one of the glass projects I made was a really cute frog.

The construction of this was somewhat similar to the turtle that I made last summer (July 14, 2019 post). It has a copper understructure with copper wire legs soldered and the glass attached to the copper.  When making it, I didn’t want to mess around with creating a custom slumping mold to “shape” the frog.  So, I left the glass flat.  Once the flowers start growing, I think this will be really cute in my garden.

Who knew there were so many inspirational quotes about frogs (google it and see for yourself)!

The person behind the Mask

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Wash your hands, practice social distancing, stay home and, now, consider wearing a face mask when outside of your own home.  These are the recommendations from federal and state governments during this current pandemic.

While following this advise, we can loose connection to the people around us.  We all need to reach out to our family members – our older parents who have had their ability to interact with their friends severely limited, our children (even adult children) who are home schooling or working from home, our friends whom we can’t see but can certainly talk with over the phone and internet, and our neighbors.

Everyone has a story.  And, while we are wearing our masks, we should consider their story and do what we can to help where needed. 

With the current recommendation for mask wearing, my son asked if I could make a couple masks for his girlfriend who works part-time at Target.  Her story is that she is a high school senior.  Like so many students, she is now separated from her friends and doing on-line classes.  And, she will be missing out on all the fun activities of her senior year – senior prom, senior project presentations, graduation, grad parties, etc.  On top of that, two weeks ago I implemented a quarantine for our family.  So she has not been able to spend time with my son. She is also working very hard at her part-time job.  To help support her, the least I can do is make some masks. 

Using the pattern described at North-Memorial-Health-homemade-healthcare-masks, I made some masks.  My son wanted plain black.  His girlfriend wanted a red one and a yellow one. 

This pattern has an internal pocket to insert a piece of HEPA filter material to  improve the effective filtration.  I also modified the mask slightly to add a nose wire for improved contouring to the face.  After topstitching around the entire mask, I stitched a channel 1/2″ from the top of the mask.  A pipe cleaner folded in half and inserted it into the channel can be molded to the bridge of the nose.  

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Masks made from my fabric stash.

When thinking about making masks, I thought it would be nice to try to make some fun animal faces.  Using my Bernina DesignWorks software, I created a few patterns.

A couple cat faces:

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Black cat, Rabbit, Bear and Dog:

 

I may try some other embroidery ideas soon.

Home

Over the past days, the governor of Minnesota has issued numerous executive orders that have impacted my life, the latest of which is Emergency Executive Order 20-20.  This order directs Minnesotans to “Stay at Home” for the next two weeks. Since my dental office is shut down and my son returned from NYC,  I have already been staying home.

With some of my unexpected free time, I have finally finished a quilting project that I started a while ago.  The inspiration of this quilt came from my sister-in-law.  Last summer, she asked me to design a wall quilt of the Paris skyline for her to make.

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Brief directions to make the background of a skyline quilt.

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After I designed her quilt, I thought I would make something similar – a wall quilt of the twin cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul.  For the background of the wall quilt, I followed the instructions I had written for my sister-in law, except I used blue batik fabrics from my stash, rather than purple.

The background was loaded onto my quilting frame and quilted with evenly spaced horizontal lines.

For the skyline, I found several images on-line.  By combining ideas and removing most of the white areas,  I had a nice skyline of Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

After importing these images into my Cameo software, I cut the pattern of the skyline out of starched black cotton fabric that was sandwiched between Heat-N-Bond Lite and freezer paper.

These silhouettes were then ironed onto the background. Using several different quilting fill patterns, I then quilted detail to differentiate each of the individual buildings.IMG_4391IMG_4392

Because the Twin Cities are known for the numerous parks and parkways, I added  green fabric along the bottom edge to depict the landscaping of the cities.

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The wall quilt was then bound and ready to hang. 

Over the past week while looking at the wall quilt, I felt it needed something more.  Last night I augment the design with some “bling”.

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With the help of one of my sons, I found a Star Constellation Chart. Using 3 mm heat transfer rhinestones, I replicated the constellations that would be visible over the Twin Cities. I also added some rhinestone on a few of the towers. 

Hometown wall quilt complete!

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As I went for my walk this morning, I was reminded that this may be my “hometown” for now.  And, my home may be impacted by the events of today. But I need to look past today’s news and worries about tomorrow, and take comfort in the fact that my hope is not bound to the circumstances of this world. In short – this world is not my home – my home is indeed in Heaven. 

 

 

A New Norm

Vacation in Palm Springs, that is where I am supposed to be this week. That is obviously not where I am.

We decided last Thursday to cancel our trip. So, I am at home.

I originally thought I would be able to spend the week pretending I was already retired. Well, that hasn’t happened either. With the rapidity of change in our lives, I spent the last couple days on-line looking up information to help keep my office safe. Over the weekend, my partners and I made many decisions, including limiting treatment to emergency patients only.

So, I can now settle in to my week off. And, it looks like I will have more time off over the next few weeks.

Since I am, by nature, a planner, I have decided to make a schedule for myself. First thing each morning I am planning to get my 10,000 steps in either by going on a walk or using my stair stepper. After my walk, I will do a bit of house cleaning and organizing. After that, my crafts will be my therapy for dealing with the stress of these times.

I realized that these changing times can make all of us feel stressed and anxious. So, after my walk each day I will post an inspirational quote and a short message about my plans for my day.

I encourage my readers to add a comment about how you are spending your day or something uplifting and encouraging. Your comments may help others cope with the new norm we are all settling in to.

 

Free Hugs

It’s wond’rous what a hug can do.
A hug can cheer you when you’re blue.
A hug can say, “I love you so”
or, “Gee I hate to see you go.”

A hug can soothe a small child’s pain
and bring a rainbow after rain.
The hug! There’s just no doubt about it,
we can scarcely survive without it.

A hug delights and warms and charms,
it might be why God gave us arms.

Hugs are great for Fathers and Mothers,
sweet for Sisters, swell for Brothers.
Chances are some favorite Aunts
love them more than potted plants.

Kittens crave them. Puppies love them.
Heads of State are not above them.
A hug can break the language barrier
and make the dullest day seem merrier.

No need to fret about the store of ’em.
The more you give the more there are of ’em.
So stretch those arms without delay, and
Give Someone a Hug Today!
From – The Serious Teddy Bear

Happy National Hug Day!

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