CASA GRANDE — It took little more than a Rudolph nose and a magic marker for Denise “Lucretia” Shuttleworth to turn her ho-hum face mask into something that makes people smile.

Now she hopes to encourage others to do the same.

“I keep hearing about people not wanting to wear their face masks when they go to the store,” said Shuttleworth, 64. “I thought I’d do something to cheer people up.”

She transformed her standard store-bought face mask into a clown face by drawing a smile and attaching a bright-red nose. Then, she visited a Casa Grande-area store.

“I took a small horn with me too and I honked the horn at people,” she said. “At first I was a little embarrassed, but then I saw people smiling.”

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of 2 wear a face mask that covers the nose and mouth when venturing into a public place, including stores. Face coverings are also recommended when people are around others who don’t live in the same household, especially when staying 6 feet apart is not possible.

But some have resisted the idea of wearing a mask, although a city proclamation issued last month requires residents to wear a mask in public in Casa Grande.

“I’ve heard people give lots of excuses for not wanting to wear a mask. There are a lot of people with bad attitudes, but I think it’s such an easy thing to do to protect others and to protect the children,” Shuttleworth said.

She said she hopes to spread the word that wearing a mask can be fun.

“When life gives you lemons, why not make lemonade?” she said.

Shuttleworth, who has a compromised immune system, doesn’t leave home too often except to go to the store or run errands.

She said she wanted to make a difference and get people to think about face coverings differently. She hopes organizations and schools that work with children encourage young people to have fun with face masks.

“Life is a kaleidoscope. Why not have fun with it?” she said.

For face coverings to work most efficiently, the CDC recommends:

  • Washing hands before putting on a face covering
  • Placing the mask over the nose and mouth and securing it under the chin
  • Fitting it snugly against the sides of the face
  • Making sure the mask does not impede breathing

Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at