Blog #10
Feb. 5, 2021

By Emily Stehle

Today I’m writing about friends and how they’ve helped me. You remember that Beatles tune?

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends. Mmmm. I get high with a little help from my friends. Oh, gonna try with a little help from my friends.

This past week has been just like that. Friends and friends of friends have helped me through a wild week. And I can say with a huge sigh of relief, that today Mike and I waited in line in our car for less than 30 minutes and received our first COVID-19 shot! It was painless, and the process was unbelievably easy and efficient. Kudos to the organizers and medical team who made it happen!

We happened to get in line because my friend Carolyn and I (who have spent the past few weeks comparing notes on how to get an appointment), called Wednesday and asked for our emails, phone numbers and birth dates. A friend of hers had called HER and said a group through USF was compiling a list of 500 people (seniors) who need the vaccination and would add her name and our, too, to it.

Like magic, we received an email that night with the link and special code for the scheduling website. Excited, I could barely sleep! And this morning, we were in line early at Ed Radice Park in Tampa for our 11am appointment. We left there shortly before noon with bar code labels on our T-shirts, coded numbers and letters scrawled on our windshield and a Pfizer COVID-19 shot in our left arms.

I was humming this Beatles song to myself all morning. Now we can rest somewhat more easily, with our double face masks and safe distancing, as we go about our lives. We’ll sleep well tonight.

Go with y
our first hunch

Two of my friends who advised me last week about “the gnarly tails”

30 completed gnarly baskets; 11 Songs of Comfort baskets to go!

were right. Both Karen and Michelle went for the organic look of a basket with wild thread ends. I admit I preferred that look, too. But, I also thought that a cleaner, more finished appearance would be expected by viewers.

Facebook friends, many met through ukulele groups, gave thumbs up for the “little jeweled” baskets.

And then Gabriel weighed in tonight during our Google Meeting. “Don’t be afraid to go with your first hunch,” he said.

He also thought the juxtaposition of a rough (gnarly) baskets and smooth flat weavings would create an interesting tension.   Which makes me feel better since I had felt that all along. Just didn’t know how to express it.

Still I have to decide whether to keep the numbered tags on the 41 COVID-19 baskets. They might be too busy and not be a good design element. But then again, the tags might function as a label identifying the basket’s “comfort.” Decisions, decisions.


The Swinging Belles

This is the title of one of my 11 Songs of Comfort. Written and performed by the Swinging Belles, an award-winning Canadian trio, the song infectiously lifts up your spirits. At least, Mike and I feel energized and “glad to be alive” whenever we introduce this song with both banjoleles and my Wazoo kazoo.

The Kazoo Kazoo

We’ve had three live, outdoor gigs and had the pleasure to see audience members dance and jump around when we’re singing this happy tune. We’re adding “Attitude of Gratitude” to our “must-perform-every-time” song list.

You need an attitude of gratitude, quit that saucy baditude.
Be happy for what each new day brings. 

An attitude of gratitude puts you right back in the mood, in the mood for you to dance and sing!

A few weeks ago, I wrote a fan letter to The Swinging Belles on YouTube telling them this wonderful song was a comfort to me last year during the early days of the pandemic. And that I had performed it as part of a Cynthia Lin Facebook project 100 Days of Ukulele Songs… and was including “Attitude of Gratitude” in my Creative Pinellas Emerging Artist installation.

Yesterday I received a charming reply asking me to provide a link to the exhibit when up! So blow me down…famous people really DO respond to your comments on YouTube (and Instagram). I feel like I know them already!


So this week is one of major accomplishments. Forgot to mention, I will be teaching after all. Karen, my teacher friend, asked if I would teach basketweaving to her students. How could I say no? We packed up her car with boxes of food boxes, strips of paper, envelopes, odd things that art teachers and weavers (like me) use in strange creative ways.

We’re scheduling for March, either in person (second vaccine will be in late February) or via Zoom.

I’m proposing thee different projects: a box woven out of cardboard food boxes, a bookmark or placemat woven from shredded business rack cards, storage containers made out of soda bottles and strips of paper or my signature random woven bird nests. Whatever the kids want to make.

Reminder to self what I’m working on this week and next: Finish the 11 Comfort Song baskets. Buy wired fishing line. Buy hooks. Think about artist’s studio visit video. I don’t have a studio but work where there’s open table space.

Bonus Squeaky photo: I took this to show we use our iPad and television to watch two things at one time. I had no idea kitty ears would show up! As always, Squeaky makes me laugh!


Leave a Reply

Become a Creative Pinellas Supporter