Saturday, March 21, 2020

DIY Barrier Masks #becausecoronavirus

I'm going to jot down a few notes on how I am frantically creating my own original design for homemade barrier masks for the COVID-19 health threat.  An avid sewer should be able to get the gist of my design from this, but I hope to come back as time permits to fill in details...


These are my ear bands.  Cut in half for men and women!  In thirds for kids.  Touch ends to the burner (on medium heat) to keep them from fraying.  (Dollar Tree has them up to 12 for $1 USD.)

7x9" lining can be cut 6x9 for a good all around fits all size.  3/8 seam allowance and a 1" casing at top.  (UPDATE: mens are better at 8x9.5"!!!!)


Lined.  One side is longer to create a casing.  Right sides together inserting elastic.  Trim corners to decrease bulk.

 Coffee bag twisty ties make the best posable nose piece!
Pleat them up like an accordion (I do 2 pleats) and iron and pin, top stitch through all layers. Try to arrange your pleats so that you have the same amount of layers to sew through the entire length of each side instead of having mountains and valleys.
(Kids and adults shown here)

One improvement I have been making (thanks to my EMT friend Jamie Brown!) for healthcare workers is where the lining creates a pocket so that a 3rd barrier could be inserted.


These apparently can be purchased to greatly improve the barrier.  (Photo credit Jamie Brown!)


Bonus for using novelty fabrics!  Keeping it kid-friendly and making a statement other than one related to illness.  




Sunday, March 15, 2020

doTERRA Essential Oil Limbo

Two of my dear friends are struggling with ailments.  They have recently had financial set-backs and can no longer afford their beloved, high-priced doTerra oils.  They lament how effective the essential oils had been as part of their treatment. 

On a recent visit, one friend named an oil that had been particularly helpful for her, and I said, "Oh!  I have some of that!  I will share it!" She was elated! 

I dug my bottle out of my stash while she thanked me for my thoughtfulness.  I assured her that I had been on a bit of a buying spree and had more on-hand than I could use myself in a lifetime! 

When she saw the label, she stopped me. She refused the kindness since it wasn't doTerra brand.  I asked her to compare the scent and quality before making a final decision.  But she would not even hold the bottle.  She is terrified to use anything BUT doTerra.  I know first-hand how our local group preys on fear and spouts outrageous propaganda, demonizing all their competitors.  So, I try to be sympathetic.

I ask why she feels so strongly that something she hasn't tried won't work.  She stammers vaguely about the harvesting and the testing and the potency and the matchless quality (repeating propaganda she has heard but never fully understood).

I told her that I have been using various brands and have had good results with most all of them.  I read labels, sniff-test, and I compare prices, just like I do for any industry.  I showed her that the bottle I was holding from Simply Earth as one example had a lot number, and a corresponding published test and suggested that she compare it to the doTerra equivelent.   No. Nothing I said allayed any of her fears.

Since she paid for the wholesale member status to get discounts, she feels like it would be disloyal to use another brand no matter the quality. And besides, this other friend of ours is in the same boat.  Can't afford doTerra, so they are going without essential oils altogether.  And there is some comradery in that.

 I wonder how many people out there are in doTerra limbo. 

Like any MLM brand, doTerra has to maintain high standards to maintain their reputation.  But where they really shine is in MARKETING!  Oils are their product; marketing is their business.  And Young Living is just their estranged twin sister.  They did not invent essential oils, they just developed a strategy to get people to buy it at inflated prices from their trusted friends and neighbors instead of shopping a store shelf at standard retail rates.

Do your research.  Be healthy.  Be balanced.  Don't allow a commercial entity or their followers bully you.  And don't make fear-based decisions.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

2nd Encounter with doTERRA Essential Oils

It may be difficult to believe that I got roped into a 2nd doTerra meeting after the insanity experienced at the first one, but I am living my truth as they say.

In my defense, my disgust had cooled.  And I reasoned that since they were accustomed to straight-forward commerce, I might find within their group, a suitable marketplace for my handmade rice bags (popular accessory for massage therapies), since it had been suggested during the "Symphony of Cells" demonstration weeks earlier that the protocol could be followed up with a warm rice bag or heating pad.

I had also been added to the team's facebook group and had pre-sold a couple of rice bags, and the meeting would provide a somewhat neutral territory, it being hosted at the public library, for delivery of my handmade goods.

(Rice bags are life itself, now that I have one!  I'll write another post soon detailing that!)

This meeting to highlight cooking with essential oils, was sure to be more enlightening than the spine-straightening massage demonstration so many weeks before.  And I wouldn't dare try that at home without any guidance, since essential oils are powerful medicine!  (More on consuming EO in a future post.)

The presentation was friendly and brief.  And we taste-tested a half-dozen or so recipes including a balsamic vinegar bread dip, non-alcoholic lime/mint mojitos, peppermint brownies, and watermelon balls sprinkled with spiced sugar.  We were sent home with a jar of either the spiced sugar or a lemon-grass/ginger salt rub.  I was very surprised that the salt was iodized table-salt, the sugar was plain white, and the mojitos had a soda-pop base.  There wasn't much health food there.  My health-nut family eliminated these foods from our diets long ago.  

While mingling with our snacks, I struck up a conversation with someone about kombucha (a health drink).  She seemed interested and asked what company sold it.  I explained that it is a fermented beverage that you can brew at home cheaply.  Once it registered that it was not a money-making scheme that I was about to let her in on, she shook her head like I was crazy and very rudely scoffed away.  She was networking hard and I was just telling people how to save money.  Clearly, that is not socially acceptable at a doTerra meeting.

The evening was winding down and neither of my rice bag buyers were eager to conclude our rice bag transactions. So I just smiled profusely, handed off the goods for inspection, and cheerily demanded payment.  They both reluctantly, and sluggishly made their payments to me.  And one said, "If you keep coming to these meetings, we will eventually convert you."

My mind chanted mechanically, "one of us.  one of us."  And again, I made a hasty departure.  

The group hosts a yearly craft sale, free to vendors within their group, so I figured that it was in my best interests to keep things friendly.  Besides, a great many of my personal friends now sell and use doTerra and I don't want to lose friendships or create drama.  Arguments to avoid:  politics, religion, and essential oils.   

I received regular notification from the Facebook group, and have only participated with likes and hearts or a brief comment being careful not to antagonize.

Then I started using a certain brand of essential oils and posted a couple of reviews on my own timeline.  (I'll tell you about the brand soon.)  After getting my son off to school, I went into the local doTerra team's Facebook group to see what was being said about Palmarosa EO as part of some research I was doing for my mother's well-being.  When I noticed the Join Group option, I realized that I had been quietly put out of the group that very day.  At least it has come to a quiet, painless end for both parties.


Friday, March 13, 2020

My 1st Encounter with doTERRA Essential Oils

Ever the die-hard natural remedies guru, my mother used essential oils for as long as I can remember.  She had a little kit with half-dozen basic oils...I only remember lavender, peppermint, & orange.  She massaged them on her temples for head-aches or on our bellies for nausea.  It was a low-key, unremarkable experience, that had little meaning for me until...

Recently, a school yard incident with my young son, brought me into a conversation with someone from my past.  Two mommies had to deal with an embarrassing situation so we met for coffee to hammer it out, hear apologies, and make nice.  I mentioned that things had been stressful in general lately, and so I was glad to have resolved this matter quickly.  The mention of stress, led immediately to her sales pitch on doTerra essential oils.  She demonstrated on my wrist what seemed to be (and most likely IS)  rather convincing proof that the oil immediately enters the bloodstream, gave me a sample to try at home, and invited me to a doTerra meeting at our public library.  

I used the sample of "Balance" that week and at times felt as though I wanted to lick it off of my wrist because the aroma was so appealing!  At other times, the aroma smelled rather unappealing.  I was perplexed and attended the meeting, hoping that someone might explain why I was having such hot and cold reactions to the product.

I was greeted warmly, and helped into a seat.  The presentation started.  It took many turns including an almost prayerful thanking of God for the abundance of natural remedies housed in his vegetative Creation, a tearful bit on moms in third world countries who can send their children to school thanks to the high wages they are paid for collecting herbs for doTerra, personal anecdotes of cures and symptom reduction for all sorts of ailments, and of course the sales pitch itself.  

I received a free roller-bottle mixed by the presenter that smelled divine and was given a flyer and marketing material. 

Now, my father was an Amway distributor, grandma sold Jafra, and I sold Park Lane Jewelry.  So I understand the MLM (multi-level marketing) business model fairly well.  I know that the products have amazing quality.  I know that the prices charged for these amazing product are directly related to the pay structure of all the up-line folks taking their cut, not the cost of ingredients.  The VALUE of the product lies heavily in the consumer's conception, carefully shaped by well-trained salespeople who seemingly worship the life-giving (or at least life-altering) product and it's company.  Belief in the company is indispensable, since the expectation is that every consumer become a devotee and join the great cause.  My uncle was once approached about Amway and his reply was, "No thanks.  I have my own religion."  

With doTerra marketing material in hand, I began to mingle.  I had been researching essential oils independently and had heard Neroli was good for tension and mood, so I hoped to sniff test it to see if I would enjoy it's use or not.  The mommy who had invited me ran around the room systematically rifling through the purses of her entire doTerra sisterhood looking for a sample.  Now, maybe this is just a person boundary, but from my viewpoint, the contents of a woman's purse is sacred.  I would not presume to invade the purse of my best friend, my mother, my sister; and I would be appalled if I knew they had been in mine.  And NOT because I have anything to hide or embarrass at the contents!  It is just a thing you don't do; a place you don't go.  The term "sister-wives" came into my mind, and of course, out of my mouth--I couldn't help it!

Well, Neroli could not be located, so I decided to look into the description and price of "Balance" (the sample I had been given).  That was promptly produced.  I read the ingredients list on the label and realized that this proprietary blend is diluted with coconut oil!  I was perplexed, since the presentation had demonized other "unscrupulous" companies that cut their essential oils and pass them off as "pure."  The presenter insisted that the potency of an essential oil is of paramount importance to do the miraculous healing they promise it will do.  Afterall, "a single drop of lemon oil contains 40 trillion molecules--enough to treat every cell in you body many times over!"

What miraculous healing did they claim?  Well, if I stayed for the following presentation, a member who had attended a "Symphony of Cells" seminar would be sharing her notes and demonstrating a massage that would (and reportedly has) cured a number of spine ailments.  I heard one woman ask another how a blend she had prepared was working on an unnamed condition.  The other woman said it gave him a horrible rash, so she only tried it once.  She was reminded that "our bodies have a natural inflammatory response, so a rash is a GOOD thing!" and exhorted to "KEEP using it!"  I had to pick my jaw up off of the floor.  The woman was also standing in disbelief, so I frowned and shook my head to discredit this insane advice--which medical advice, by the way, was dispensed and presumably practiced without a license!  I overheard at least two others telling attendees to avoid the medical profession whenever possible.

My grandmother has 10 compression fractures in her spine, so I thought I ought to stay for the extra instruction. Slides of a curvy spine were shown before and after shots in a powerpoint presentation.  Then, a male volunteer received a generous oiling from the base of his neck to the soles of his feet.  I started to write down the protocol in my notebook, but the 15 drops of this and 10 drops of that followed by handfuls of coconut oil seemed never-ending, and I could not possibly keep up with the flow of information.  Besides, they were giggling about the generous spilling that was happening on the massage table and surrounding carpet.  The honorary massage 'therapist' recovered by ensuring the crowd that since the oils were natural, there really was no way to make a mistake, and that the protocol could be adapted to utilize any oils purchased from doTerra.  

My friend asked me what I thought at this point.  I had already run amok with the "sister-wives" comment, so I only dared to ask what investment would be required just to accomplish this protocol, and to remark that this single treatment seems very expensive--especially if repeated frequently.  But inside I was screaming, "if a single drop of essential oil treats every cell in your body many times over, then WHY were they bathing this man in essential oils?!?!? And if I need to buy the most potent, pure, concentrated, weaponized, expensive products in this market--why would I also need to buy doTerra's fractionated coconut carrier oil to dilute it?!?!"

I finally found an exit, and booked out of that library!  I was a bundle of nerves, and felt as though I had just escaped a dangerous encounter with...with...with...it would take me 'til the next morning to find the word: CULT.

My husband had been calling the whole essential oil industry "snake oil and voodoo," and I was forced to admit to myself that demonizing all competitors, discouraging people from seeking medical care, the playing on emotions, the intense devotion, and the weird bond they all seemed to have definitely seemed to have strong religious (even cult-like) overtones.  

Weeks later, I was convinced to attend a 2nd meeting (which I will try to recount for you soon), where a saleswoman said to me, "I know you are skeptical, but keep attending our meetings, and we'll eventually convert you."

The funny thing is, I was NEVER skeptical of essential oils UNTIL my brush with doTerra!  The truth is, I might have just encountered one localized, rogue team of over-zealous, well-meaning men and women who over-stepped the scope of their work and mis-represented their company.  But I went seeking a product, and was sold a lifestyle that I cannot afford.  I am writing this several months after the encounter, so I've had time to reflect, but my discomfort with this company hasn't subsided.  I haven't given up on essential oils themselves.  I research.  I read labels carefully.  And I do not buy from brands that promote unsafe practices, nor do I buy from the brands claiming to be the only trustworthy source.  We have got to learn to detect and reject grandiose propaganda.  DoTerra did not invent essential oils, and they did not perfect them either.  God did that.  

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Level Up! Participating Maker: Twisted Lacquer

Wendy from Twisted Lacquer is offering 3 fun shades to members of Polish It Off! during our "Level Up!" Indie Group Buy event May 24-31.  Buy them at $9 each or to maximize your savings, buy all three for only $25 AND get a FREE holographic topper!!!!!

"Toxic Sludge" is a shocking lime green loaded with holographic glitter!  The result is a highly textured, eye-catching color bomb!  It has a good translucence, so I had to try my hand at a leafy pond mani as seen here.  Proper swatching photos will be available soon.


"Pink Is My Happy Place" is a cheery medium pink with light holographic glitter and sparse metallic hot pink glitter.  Texture is mildly gritty due to the elements if interest, so you will want a plump layer of topcoat for a smooth finish.


"Summer Vibes" is a white crelly with mixed chunky neon glitter.  It will be amazing for accent nails on all sorts of neon designs this summer.  One crelly to match all the brights in your collection!



Bonus:  "Holo Is Life" is your FREE gift for purchasing all 3 shades featured above!  It is transparent with just the right amount of holographic glitter to use atop any shade.  It dries gritty so be sure to use a plump topcoat.  This topper is a mani-fixer!  Think of it as duct tape for nail art!  If you ever ferl your manicure is kinda "meh" slap on a coat of this and it will come alive for you!  A must-have for any new nail artist!
15ml

Level Up! Participating Maker: Passion Nail Polish

Melissa Lattin of Passion Nail Polish has brought 3 bold shades to our Level Up! Indie Group Buy event May 24-31 hosted by Polish It Off!

"Pretty Things" is a high metallic, opaque or nearly so in one coat.  It stamped well so it is a natural choice for nail art.  Similar shades in my collection dull as they dry, but the high shine remained and was much less streaky than I anticipated!


"Passion Pink" has a sophistication you don't find in hot pink cremes and I think it is because she leans ever-so-slightly toward coral.  High shine and beautifully self-leveling.


"Sun Daze" is a sunflower or goldenrod yellow creme.  Glassy, high-shine finish.  Nearly opaque in one coat.  Dried a shade darker than it appeared in the bottle.  It is a great color for yellow centers of flowers and butterfly wings!  And I bet you have nothing like it in your collection!  I haven't taken a proper swatch photo yet...but it stamped nicely in this manicure:


Each shade is $10, but I suggest buying all 3 featured shades to get a FREE All Clear topcoat/basecoat during the Level Up! Indie Group Buy Event!  It is a very glossy, high-shine product that smooths ridges and did not smear artwork for me. 14ml bottles.

Bonus:  you can add ANY shade from PassionNailPolish.com to your Level Up! order to enjoy combined shipping!

Level Up! Participating Maker: Dream of Glitter

Now is your chance to sample polishes from Canadian Maker Chelsea Longe of Dream of Glitter while enjoying USA shipping rates!  Three shades are available during the Level Up! Indie Group Buy event hosted by Polish It Off!  May 24-31.

"Bubble Gum" is a purple to pink thermal (color-changing) nail polish!


"Dark Lover" is a warm black translucrnt polish with holographic microglitter!  A must-have for galaxy nails and those sexy sheer black nail designs!


"All I Need is Space" is a translucent purple polish with holographic micro-glitter!  


Dream of Glitter is re-designing their labels, so we look forward to seeing the finished bottle design!  All polish is 5-free formula and 15ml.

Level Up! Participating Maker: Pin-Up Paint

Jenni Evans of Pin-up Paint has discounted 3 featured shades from her Dancehall Collection for Level Up! Indie Group Buy event May 24-31 hosted by Polish It Off!

"Patti" is a deep black-purple with a lot going on!  Its shifty with iridescent and metallic purple micro-glitter.  This would be a natural pick for galaxy nail art.  $7.50 (normally $10).


I actually gasped when I first swatched "Linda H." because she has a gray to pink shift and deposits little surprizes everywhere you move the brush!  Great translucence to build on with each coat! $7.50 (normally $10).


"Eleanor" has a beautiful peach to gold shift, a lot of translucence, and loaded with surprizing elements.  I would recommend an opaque color beneath for designs other than sheer, since you would need many coats for full opacity.  She could be considered a heavy topper in my opinion.
$7.50 (normally $10).



The entire Dancehall Collection along with 3 shades I've previously swatched: Kate, Sammy, & Bettie will be available for combined shipping during Level Up! at the price of $10 ea.  PinUpPaint.etsy.com

All polishes are 10 free and 10.5ml.

Level Up! Participating Maker: Soothing Soul Nail Lacquer

Helene Tapp of Soothing Soul Nail Lacquer is offering three NEVER before SEEN shades of polish to our Polish It Off! Facebook group during the May 24-31 "Level Up! "Indie Group Buy event!

"Sophie" is a rich, complex rosey plum shade that is somewhat metallic.  It has a bit of translucence allowing dimension to build with each layer, but is opaque or nearly so in 2 coats.


"Waterfall Mist" is a complex metallic teal green with a subtle holographic microglitter just translucent enough to build complexity with multiple coats.  


"Moon Rise" is described as a blurple with pink purple & blue micro-glitter.  This creation is so new that i was unable to even obtain a prsample!  Hot off the polish lab!  It is definitely on my wishlist!



These will eventually be available at tssnails.com, but you can get them 1st at Polish It Off! 

All are 7-free formula, 15ml.


Friday, May 3, 2019

"Level Up!" Indie Polish Group Buy hosted by Polish It Off! May 24-31 2019

For those wanting to "Level Up" your polish game by dipping your toes in indie nail lacquer, this is the event for you!  Kinsmade wants to introduce you to some artisan indie polish makers like Soothing Soul Nail Lacquer, Pin-Up Paint, Dream of Glitter, Twisted Lacquer, & Passion Nail Polish.  So, we are hosting a group buy through our Facebook group Polish It Off!  May 24-31, 2019 these fabulous makers will provide our group with discounts and incentives to buy selected products during this event.  This event will allow you to buy from any or all of the participating makers while saving money on combined shipping!  Order 5 different brands; get it all in 1 shipment!

To participate, you will have to join Polish It Off!, and message Mesa Sena with the email address associated with your Paypal account for billing purposes.  Find the "Level Up!" event and indicate that you are interested or going.  Each brand will have its own post, and their products will appear in the comments of those posts.  You can indicate which items you are committing to buy in comments or message Mesa Sena privately. 

More details can be found on Facebook, and will continue to be unrolling and updated as the event gets closer.  We hope this buy will give you an opportunity to learn more about the indie maker passion for their craft, and how each performs against their mainstream counterparts. 

"Being a small fish in a big pond can give you the freedom to make products the likes of which the industry has never seen!"--Mesa Sena


I am Ditching the Bulky Sweater for the Sleek Pashmina!

Have you ever left your bulky sweater home in warm weather only to find yourself walking into an over-air-conditioned, frigid environment?  Pashmina offers broad, lightweight, and surprisingly warm coverage and it fits neatly into a purse pocket with a few quick folds.  Chilled at church, movie theater, or frozen food section at the grocery store?  Want to keep your hair from tangling in the wind?  Fill the gap between your neck and coat collar on a cold evening.


There are many ways to wear a Pashmina--you will have fun Googling different styles.

We all know wool is warm but itchy.  Traditionally, wool is made from merino sheep.  But cashmere is made from cashmere goats and is much softer.  Your Pashmina will be luxuriously soft and drapes beautifully!!!

I bought mine from a thrift store who did not fully appreciate what they had, or its true value, so I bought up all of the inventory I could afford to bring you these cuddly soft, intricately woven fashion accessories! 

I would have loved to have used these when I was a nursing mother as a cover-up.  You will have fun Googling and YouTubing all of the versatile uses of Pashmina!

Approx. 25" X 40" *Buy Pashmina Here*

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Use "Dark Lover" by Dream of Glitter to Create Galaxy Nails

Chelsea Longe of Dream of Glitter creates beautiful, long-lasting indie nail polish.  She sent me "Dark Lover" to swatch.  It is a warm black, slightly translucent so the holographic microglitter builds with each coat.  The laters dry so quickly that I didn't mind painting on 4-5 thin coats to maximize the opacity and build the complexity--especially since I knew it would be the perfect base for a galaxy-themed manicure!


The polish self-levels to a buttery smooth finish without brushstrokes.  Her formulas are 5-Free and lasted extremely well even though I had used a cheap basecoat.  The artwork in these photos was performed on day 6!  When I saw how minimal the wear was at that time, I decided there was no reason to start with a fresh manicure.

Notes on my technique for Galaxy nails.  Use a small, torn piece of make-up sponge and tweezers to pounce on a nebulae cloud in a white creme finish polish with good coverage.  Make certain the white is irregular in shape, feathered outward, and smaller than you want your finished galaxy to be.  I chose a pink creme, a shifty blue-green shimmer, and a shimmery yellow to sponge on in quadrants of the nebula being sure to do so irregularly and fully covering the white cloud base, feathering out onto the "Dark Lover" base slightly.  Next, blob on a bit of black and white mixed glitter over the cloud.  This mix of black and white dots creates depth important in creating a believable galaxy.  The high-gloss topcoat makes it all pop.  Experienced nail artists will tell you "Never judge a galaxy nail before its topcoat!"

View the complete Galaxy Nail Tutorial at https://youtu.be/T1JlNy6P8bY


While it is true that you can use any black polish for a galaxy nail, "Dark Lover" by Dream of Glitter will take it to a whole new level, making your DIY manicure dance and sing in the sun with twinkling holographic microglitter!  The long-lasting formula will extend the life of your galactic nail art experience!