- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Take professional seamstress and aerobics instructor Teresa Hickman of Vacaville, Calif., who is devoting much of her time to sewing two-layer cotton face masks, now that her classes are on hiatus.
Over the last three weeks, the wife and mother of two gave away 72 fabric masks to family, friends, neighbors and business associates—and their friends and contacts.
Now, as a public service project, Teresa is crafting them at cost, or for a donation of $5 each. She just purchased $45 worth of elastic, and another shipment is back-ordered.
Teresa doesn't do custom masks but “if I have it, I'll make something.”
If you're an entomologist or someone who loves insects, this could be a good time to wear a face mask adorned with honey bees or dragonflies. (In our household, we're bee-ing close to honey bees and bumble bees via our face masks.)
Teresa also sews masks geared toward sports fans, dog and cat lovers, food enthusiasts, gardeners, movie-goers and more. The pattern themes range from A (apples) to Z (zebra) for both adults and children.
“I began sewing professionally 19 years ago,” Teresa said. “I started because I was sick. I had to stop teaching aerobics and I needed another business to get me through.”
Alarmed by the coronavirus pandemic, Teresa began sewing the face masks three weeks ago. “They're helpful to people so they can stay safe. And it's something that's useful; I like to make useful projects. Everything I make has a purpose to it.”
She wears them outside her home and encourages others to do so, too.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is “considering altering the official guidance to encourage people to take measures to cover their faces amid the coronavirus pandemic,” according to an article published March 30 in the Washington Post.
The Post quoted Thomas Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, as recommending the general populace wear nonmedical masks and not the short-in-supply surgical and N95 masks for health workers.
The recommendation under consideration "calls for using do-it-yourself (DIY) cloth coverings, according to a second official who shared that thinking on a personal Facebook account,” the Post related. It's a way to help “flatten the curve.”
"Such DIY cloth masks would potentially lower the risk that the wearer, if infected, would transmit the virus to other people. Current CDC guidance is that healthy people don't need masks or face coverings."
That policy may indeed change. Fast masks can also serve as a reminder not to touch your face.
(Editor's Note: As of April 7, the face masks made by Teresa Hickman are now available only at Jackson Medical Supply, 506 Main St., Vacaville, 95688. For other inquiries, Teresa Hickman can be reached via “Handmade by Teresa” on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HandmadeByTeresa/)
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Now you can!
Those enrolling in the “Wax Working, Honey and Hive Products,” a first-of-its-kind class offered by the Elina Niño lab at the University of California, Davis, will learn how wax is made, how to collect it, how to process it, and how to make their own wax products such as candles and wax reusable food wraps.
The class, set from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7 in the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Center on Bee Biology Road, will be taught by Extension apicuturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty and director of the California Master Beekeeper Program, and lab assistants Robin Lowery and Nissa Svetlana Coit.
“Robin and Nissa will be leading us through the practical part of the wax working day,” announced Wendy Mather, program manager of the California Master Beekeepers Program. “This class is perfect for the hobby and sideline beekeeper and for other individuals interested in learning the basics of working with wax.”
The instructors said the class "will be a creative and science-based class learning the what, why and how of beeswax, making candles, lotion bars, beeswax food wraps, lip balm and dipped flowers to take home.” The products are wonderful for holiday gifting, they said.
As a bonus, the instructors will provide an overview of the honey extraction process, and learn bottling, labeling rules and regulations, and how to perform a honey tasting.
Class participants will have an opportunity to make candles with wicks, use molds, pour wax into jars or cans, dip flowers in wax, and make hand lotion, chapsticks, and wax reusable food wraps.
The two lab assistants are daily exposed to bees, beekeeping, and all things related to honey bee husbandry, said Mather. Lowery, a two-year beekeeper, assists with managing the apiary and the research at the E. L. Nino lab. "She has been making gifts for special occasions for over 15 years and looks forward to modeling how to dip and roll candles, make sealing wax, lotion and lip balm, and wax food wrappers," Mather said.
Beeswax is a natural wax produced by worker honey bees, which have eight wax-producing glands in the abdominal segments. Hive workers collect the wax and use it to form cells for honey storage and for larval and pupal protection. When beekeepers extract the honey, they remove the wax caps from the honeycomb frame with an uncapping knife or machine.
Beewax has long been used for making candles (they are cleaner, brighter and burn longer than other candles) and for cosmetics and encaustic paintings. Wax food wrappers, used to wrap sandwiches and cover bowls of food, are environmentally friendly, sustainable, economical, and a reusable alternative to plastic bags. Statistics show that globally, people use an estimated one trillion single-use bags every year, or nearly 2 million a minute. While beeswax is a natural wax, plastic bags and plastic bags contain chemicals, and there is concern that chemicals can leach into the food.
The $235 registration fee covers a continental breakfast, snacks, lunch and refreshments, and materials. Participants make and take two of each item. The registration deadline is Nov. 23, said Mather, who may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. To register, access https://registration.ucdavis.edu/Item/Details/589.