GratiTuesday: Simple Pleasures

Despite the current global crisis, it wasn’t too difficult to find things to be grateful for this week. Although I’d love to snap my fingers and make this all go away, I have found that – just like before – it’s often the simple pleasures that give me the greatest joy.

Masks Made

I am not an accomplished seamstress, but I do have a sewing machine and plenty of unused fabric. After watching a few YouTube tutorials, I was able to make several cloth masks for my husband and me, as well as for friends who don’t have the same resources.

Food Delivered

We recently signed up for home delivery of produce and other food items and had our first box delivered to our doorstep today. It’s not the cheapest way to go, but these regular deliveries will cut down on our need to go to grocery stores.

Smiles Provided

Like a lot of people, I’ve been spending way too much time on my computer. Fortunately, in between the worry and stress, I’ve found moments of laughter and reasons to smile. Here are a couple of my favorites (with links), in case you’ve missed them:

John Krasinski, the actor, delivers good news from around the world via his in-home Some Good News “studio.” He has recorded two episodes so far and they are delightful. I guarantee his news will make you smile.

Although the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles may be closed, they have found a way to encourage people to remain engaged with art by challenging their social media followers to recreate a work of art with objects found around their homes. The submissions are wonderful and often hilarious.  You can find the results all over social media, but here are a couple of links with examples.

The Iris (J. Paul Getty Museum blog)

My Modern Met


Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

90 thoughts on “GratiTuesday: Simple Pleasures”

  1. Good job on the masks, Janis. I am sure your friends greatly appreciate them. I am hearing how stores are running out of supplies and I am still on the fence whether I should “head out there.” We are day 23 completely social isolating and no stores. We have supplies although our fresh supplies are almost completely gone. Thank you for sharing a couple of your favourite smiles.🙂

    1. Produce was always the challenge with us. Although we have enough protein, starches, and such in our freezer and pantry, getting fresh fruits and vegetables meant going to the grocery store. Hopefully now we can avoid the lines and people who don’t seem to get physical distancing.

  2. We do have to find stuff to laugh or smile about. It’s keep us sane (at least sort of). I made some masks too. There will be a blog on that. Despite being a fairly good sewer back in the day, my heart wasn’t in it. I made several prototypes with things I had on hand. Some worked and some didn’t. I did end up with a few usable ones.

    1. I used to sew some of my clothes when I was younger but now, it’s mostly outdoor furniture covers and pillows. I bought a fancy sewing machine with several nice features last year, which makes sewing much more enjoyable. My biggest challenge with the masks is scaling the pattern down for my smallish face. I’m looking forward to seeing your results!

          1. I noticed how you did that. I had thought about the elastic going from side to side, not over the ears. Your way is definitely better. The masks I sewed I put ties on. That works, but the one I’ve been using is per CDC instructions. I folded a bandana and use two rubber bands in that same over-the-ears fashion. Works pretty good!

  3. Good for you for doing the masks! I have seen the first John Krasinski show but not the second yet. I’ll have to check it out. I like him a lot. We were getting Home Chef deliveries before I started following Keto and they were very handy to have.

    1. I’m not sure how long deliveries will be available but I’m grateful to get them. We tried to order through our local grocery store but we could never get a delivery time. Are you able to maintain Keto during this time? I’m glad you discovered John Krasinski too. He seems like such a nice man. You’ll love the second episode!

      1. Yes, following Keto is very easy for me. I am just limiting the carbs and sugar and doing some intermittent fasting (like I try to eat dinner before 7 PM and then don’t eat again until noon the next day or later).

  4. One bonus of being at home – our cats seem to be so happy – or is it just needy? There are some great youtube videos on sewing masks; I hope to get it soon!

  5. Hi, Janis – I love your homemade masks. You’re good!
    What food company did you order your food from? I’ve heard that some pubs and restaruants are now offering food bundles. Sadly, I don’t believe that this is an option in our area (although delivery and pick up from some grocery stores is in full swing)!

    1. We ordered from Imperfect Foods because we like their focus on reducing food waste. I imagine having those kinds of delivery would be a challenge on VI. Pick up and delivery from regular grocery stores is a challenge here… very hard to get a time slot.

  6. Congrats on your masks and finding creative way to stay safe. Fresh produce seems to always be available but one does have to battle the grocery store to get it. I’ll check out the good news because I really enjoy him in the Jack Ryan series. Stay safe.

    1. Fresh produce is still a little hit and miss around here so, rather than go to multiple stores at multiple times to get what we want, this seemed like the best way to go. I hope you enjoy SGN. He seems like such a nice guy (and I didn’t realize that he was married to Emily Blunt, another favorite).

  7. Isn’t it great that in times of crisis a few like John Krasinski step forward to help us all lighten the mood? And remind us that there is still lots of good in the world.
    Way to go on the mask-making! I have a sewing machine but no fabric or notions, as I no longer sew my clothes but just have it for repairs, hems etc. I ended up making myself a mask from a bandana and 2 elastics. And it works great, although I look like an outlaw🤣


    1. I’m am rapidly running out of elastic for the sewn masks. I found some elastic hair bands stuffed away that I used with cloth to make a no-sew mask like you are describing. It worked pretty well. I love looking like an outlaw! Kind of like Halloween 🙂

      1. Easy fix…use 1 inch strips of crosswise cut T-Shirt material; stretch it and it curls…for tie straps cut 4 at 15 inches each. Better than ribbons and elastic, too IMHO, as it’s soft and the stretch ‘gives and settles’ into individual heads!!! There now, go forth!

  8. I do enjoy your GratiTuesday posts. I am extremely grateful right now so I’m grooving on all that you said here. We’ve not tried home food delivery, having opted for order online then pickup at Kroger. I’ve been enjoying the recreate a work of art photo I’ve seen on Twitter but didn’t realize the source of the inspiration. All-in-all things are well here. Hoping it’s the same for you.

    1. For some reason, our local grocery stores don’t seem to be well dialed in as far as online ordering and pick up or delivery. Some offer it, but it’s almost impossible to get a time slot. I’m hoping that this will change as time goes on. We did have pizza delivered last week, which was wonderful. It felt so normal 🙂

  9. Great job on the masks, Janis. I’m sure your friends appreciate them. I don’t have a sewing machine so I plan to make masks from the bandanas, scarves, and hair elastics that I have on hand.

    1. The no-sew mask I made with hair elastics worked pretty well. The nice feature was that it was fully adjustable to accommodate different face sizes. I don’t use hair elastics anymore so I was grateful for my pack rat tendencies 😜

  10. Screen time is up, but it’s still less than when I was working and the variety is much better.

    Take care, enjoy the veggies.

  11. Awesome job on those masks, Janis! My sewing machine died years ago, but I have something I wear when inside stores. I’m grateful for our state that had the good sense to have us stay at home before most of the rest of the country. My new almost home state of Washington did the same thing.

  12. Good on you for those masks! My wife is 50% there on making them; she’s just waiting for one more thing to be delivered before she can start sewing. I too have been enjoying the extras being put out by people and organizations on the web. The Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame has always been stingy with their YouTube channel, but they’ve really opened up the vault to let us see things, including induction ceremony speeches and performances. – Marty

    1. I’m guessing that she is waiting for elastic? I tried to order more but found that I wouldn’t get delivery before late May or June so I decided to go with ties instead for future masks. That’s great that the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame is opening up like that. I want to look into some of the online classes that are being offered for free, or nearly free, now.

  13. It is inspiring to see you doing your part during our current crisis, Janis. The food delivery is keeping you off the streets, and your masks are stylin’. SGN is providing much-needed positive news content; and just watching John Krazinski is enough to cheer me up. Take good care!

  14. In a fitting example of turnabout, Janis, I cried through the John Krasinski show. How can so much good news bring so many tears? I also made masks this morning. With no elastic in the house, I poached some from old underpants (can’t believe I’m confessing this).

  15. Good for you making the masks Janis. I am ashamed to say I have a sewing machine and console in the basement that my parents bought me for Christmas in the early 70s and I’ve not used it in years; it is under a mountain of small banker’s boxes filled with various holiday decor – SMH. When I sprouted up as a young teen, there was no such thing as tall-sized clothing, so to avoid looking like my clothes belonged to my little sister, I learned to sew. I made all my own clothes (though my mom would hand sew, like hemming, basting in sleeves and sewing on buttons – she would say “so, do you tell people you make 100% of these clothes – I am just asking?”) I have seen the video of the bandana and have one which I will use with the hair ties so no sewing needed. I have seen a YouTube video using socks too. I did have a dust filter mask and wore that last Saturday – everyone at the Park wanted to know where I bought it – I said “years and years ago as I have Spring allergies to avoid a sneezing fit while cutting the lawn.” It was scratchy though – the soft mask is a better idea.

    1. Although I used to make some of my clothes, I now mostly use my machine for household projects now. I made some custom covers for our deck furniture and our BBQ which came out pretty nice. You should get your machine out and have some fun! My husband had an old N95 that he wore once to the store, but it wasn’t easy to breathe through (probably filled with dust since he had used it for construction projects) so I think we’ll be using the fabric masks when we go out again. It’s important to have a mask that is comfortable so you will wear it correctly for the best coverage.

      1. I need to do some clutter control in the basement – there was no room for it upstairs so it had to go down in the basement (which is finished but very cluttered). I did walk today using the dust filter mask but it is not all that comfortable. I will try the bandanas on their own or over the dust filter mask for added protection. I agree it should properly fit Janis and I heard today that we may be wearing them for quite a few months, perhaps into Fall.

  16. I wish you lived closer, so I could beg you for a mask! We don’t have any (yet) and will see what the situation is in Massachusetts. I think my mother-in-law has been sewing them as well, so we might be in luck. We will need them to go grocery shopping for her, as her online deliveries are not working out anymore.

    Like you said, Janis, happiness (and gratitude) lies in the small things. Who knows when I will ever be able to read a book on my hammock again!? Today’s highlight was finding fresh water at a fuel station to fill our totally dry tank.

    Stay healthy and sane!

  17. I am so impressed with your determination and skill in tackling what is touted as being an ‘easy sew’ task in making masks; but in reality is at least a mid-level skill set required. I especially dislike the pleats!
    Now then, once this Pandemic passes and/or we have a time where we can venture out before locking down again, you have the perfect excuse to peruse a cool fabric shop and replenish your stash, lady!

    1. When I went through my stash, I was reminded of what cool fabric I have. A lot of vintage (1950s) tropical barkcloth and some nice batiks. What I originally bought them for is long gone from my memory, but they are really pretty. I’ve always been attracted to 50s, tropical, and ethnic prints. Blugs back atcha!

  18. Thank you, Janis, for another lovely GratiTuesday post. That’s great that you could make some masks. My daughter is doing the same. She actually made several and left them in a box at the elementary school (where families can still pick up lunch for their children). She posted the location on our city’s community Facebook page and got such a kind response, including donations of supplies. It warms my heart. I also discovered the John Krasinski series and fell in love. I’ll check out the museum blog next. Take care and stay safe!

  19. Oh my you’ve been busy with such a variety of fun things. And all I’ve done is deep clean my house. (I was shocked to become familiar with how much muck had accumulated in corners and drawers and closets in 16 years!) And I was about to start sewing a mask or two for myself but my neighbor beat me to it by presenting me with a real beauty yesterday. I think we need to start having some mask contests. I LOVE the IRIS site, btw. Thanks for sharing that. Stay healthy and happy.

    1. Isn’t the IRIS site wonderful!? It was such a clever challenge and the creativity it unleashed has been amazing. I think that decluttering and organizing is the top activity for most of us the last few weeks. What a great opportunity to make a big mess pulling everything out, then putting it all (well, hopefully a lot less) back again. Stay safe also!

  20. Hi Janis! Happy Monday! I know it is long past “grati-Tuesday” but Monday’s are when I get my notice of your blog post for the week. 🙂 And look at you…sewing up a storm! I think the only thing I have ever “sewn” was back in home ec in High School. But we have also got creative with masks….Thom’s latest is taking an old t-shirt and using the sleeves…have you seen that one on FB. Quite creative. Anyway, I’m glad to hear you are getting food (and that looks good) and staying healthy. Let’s stay that way! ~Kathy

    1. There are a lot of great patterns for no-sew masks. The one we put together felt more secure than the ones I sewed. We don’t wear them walking around the neighborhood (do you?) since we stay well-away from others. And, since we haven’t been shopping lately, we haven’t worn them to the stores either. But, now we have gloves and masks so we are ready for anything!

  21. Thank you for sharing the links. I will check them out. I had heard about the Jon Krasinski good news project. We need to get in on the grocery store delivery wagon. Unfortunately, the store where we usually shop just canceled online ordering. Their system was overwhelmed. There are other places to shop, though.

    1. Yes, I think a lot of stores were caught flatfooted. They pushed delivery before all this happened, but didn’t have the infrastructure they needed (not that anyone could have predicted what they needed). I hope it will all work out as our isolation time extends. I hope you enjoy the links.

  22. Hi Janis, the good news project had me in tears, good cry though. The tributes to the health care workers, and the man singing with his wife . .
    Oh my, pass me the tissues.

  23. Thank you for the smiles this morning. You’re right on target to find gratitude in the simple things in life. One day at a time we’ll make it through this. And, like you, I agree, a break from social media is something to be grateful for as well! Take care and stay safe!

    1. Hi Shelley! I go through ups and downs like I imagine we all do. I find it helpful to look for things to be grateful for (and there are many) to help me get out of my funks. Taking care and being safe means sheltering in place. Not very exciting but I’m happy to have a nice place to shelter in. Enjoy your spring… hopefully we’ll all be able to get out and about soon.

  24. Congrats on the masks! I’m impressed. My daughter’s mom-in-law is a seamstress and provided us all with homemade masks. Those made in love are the best, aren’t they?
    I’m finding that I find even more to be grateful for during this difficult time. Our daughter supplies us with a box of fresh produce (from a local farm, like yours) every week. I’ve eaten more bananas and grapes and zucchini than ever before. 🙂
    I’m grateful to find so much LOVE and KINDNESS in the world as we all hunker down together. xo

    1. I feel like I’ve eaten more produce lately too, which certainly isn’t a bad thing. Just in time for the lock-down, our orange tree decided to produce big-time. It wasn’t anything we could take credit for; we had more rain than usual in the late winter and early spring. I’m so heartened by the kindness I’ve seen around me. Reading about the good makes it easier to ignore the uncomfortable or bad.

  25. Yes, we need to take pleasure in the simple things. I am impressed with the masks you have made and shared. I used to sew but gave my sewing machine away years ago. Husband had some masks he used when he sprayed chemicals if we needed them but they weren’t every comfortable. I found a scarf that works for me. We just have to take it day by day as this may go on for some time. Thank goodness for home deliveries.

    1. They have just changed directives where I live and now we are supposed to wear masks whenever we are out in public, not just when we enter stores, etc. I’m not sure how that will work with my neighborhood walks since there are a lot of hills and I usually breath pretty heavily (and I stay well away from anyone else). Maybe I can come up with a mask design that allows that while still acting as a filter. And, yes! Thank goodness for home deliveries! We’ve actually been eating pretty well (fortunately, we like to cook).

  26. Thank you for this post which I enjoyed tremendously. It was wonderful to see the home made creations from the Getty challenge. And we have been enjoying the Krasinski videos. The grown daughter of one of our friends does her own version of feel good news, broadcasting videos from her facebook page.

    Wonderful that you took the initiative to make masks and to share those with others. For the life of me I cannot even thread a sewing machine…!

    I could not agree more that it is, as always, the small things that make the difference.


    1. Hi Peta! I am constantly surprised at how many delightful, creative, inspiring videos and other postings can be found on the interwebs right now. I don’t know about you, but I really have to balance the scary news with things that lift me up, bring me joy, and make me laugh. It’s way too easy to get wrapped up in the negativity if we aren’t careful. I hope you and Ben continue to be safe and enjoy your new community.

  27. I like your masks and I have been enjoying home-delivered vegetables too. It is a great way to support the smaller farmer-based companies delivering food. I had a look at John K’s channel too. A great initiative to spread some smiles and positivity around.

    1. We don’t wear our masks if we are just walking around the neighborhood and are able to keep our distance (we bring them along just in case), but we do wear them, as required, to the grocery stores. We like the home delivery but we find that we still need to brave the brick and mortar stores now and then. It seems that we’ve had a couple of months to work things out so the idea of staying home a while longer doesn’t bother us.

  28. Hi Janis. We are not required to wear masks here, and I haven’t worn one yet, although I would if I had to go out somewhere that I couldn’t adequately use physical distancing. My good friend made masks for Rob, me, and the two of them from colourful Hawaiian fabric, so we’ll have to do a group shot of the four of us looking like bandits.


    1. I love how some people have made masks into fashion statements… why not? I have a few made out of Hawaiian fabric since I had some in my remnants and they make me happy. We don’t wear our masks very often, but they are required in stores around here. I always feel a little silly until I see that everyone else has one so it’s no big deal.

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