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  • Karen Tweedie

Play it by Ear

To say that we are in a strange time in our lives is stating the obvious. With time on my hands, I was thinking about my life and realized that “ears” have played an important part in my entire adult life. Odd, huh? Well, I was a teacher of the deaf for nearly 20 years. Deafness, ears. Yeah. While still teaching I started designing and then creating jewelry which I have been doing for more years than I wish to count. The pieces I make the most of, something I wear every day, are earrings. Ears, earrings. Yep. And that brings us to this strange, scary time we are currently in.

Less than two weeks ago I was spending more time than usual on Facebook. I admit that. I was browsing through the postings on our local community Facebook group and came across a request for people to sew buttons on to stretch headbands to give to local healthcare workers. It caught my attention because I had been sewing face masks for family and friends. I wasn’t aware that healthcare workers who have to wear masks for long hours, particularly the ones with the elastic loops that go around your ears, are having issues on their skin from the elastic.


That might not seem like a big deal but if you have irritated skin and have to continue to wear something that rubs and rubs while you are working, that quickly becomes an issue for you. Thankfully there is a simple solution to this problem and a woman in my community was trying to help. Headbands with large buttons sewn so that the elastic goes on the buttons, thus saving the ears, is a real help. Here we go with ears again!

In just two weeks’ time, a small group of volunteers has made headbands and sewn buttons and donated well over 2093 pieces. The project has a Facebook page: Save the Ears Project: NATONWIDE CAMPAIGN – Helping Those on the Front Line.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/645497586269455/


Our organizer has named us her Sewing Angels and we have a non-contact system of picking up bags of headbands and buttons and then returning them when completed. Hospital and other medical workers text in their orders and are able to have a no-contact pick up as well. A week ago the local Orlando news station did a story on this and since then we have gotten requests from about a dozen states with more coming in all of the time.

https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/local-group-makes-ear-relief-accessory-for-healthcare- workers-wearing-face-masks

In order to fill the demand, people have been donating buttons and headbands, ordering them online where possible, and donating fabric which some of us are cutting and sewing into headbands. We are very fortunate that some large companies are stepping up to help us out: U.S. Button Corp. just sent us 3500 buttons last week and we are waiting on a box of headbands from Scunci. We are waiting to hear back from some other large companies as well. Meanwhile, money that is donated is used to purchase headbands and buttons wherever we can find them as well as pay for postage to ship out orders. All of this is done by volunteers and no one is charged for the headbands.


Instead of working in my studio recently, I have been spending hours each day…sewing! I feel strongly about pitching in where I can to help out during this terrible time in our history. I am thankful for new friends made by being a part of this project. To continue to help, I am donating 25% of all sales from my website through May 15, 2020 to this project where I am confident the money will be spent on purchasing more headbands and buttons so we can continue to help our front line workers in this small way. Depending on how long there is a need, I may extend this donation period.

If you would like to help out by making a purchase from my website, I will make the donation in your name to The Save the Ears Project! As always, shipping is free within the continental US on orders.

So in this crazy time, we are all pretty much playing it by ear!


Best,

Karen

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