My Seasonal Depression & Contradictions in Mental Illness

I am an anxious person. I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and OCPD at nine years old. This means that my mind is constantly running at 110, even if it looks like it isn’t.

However, every so often, my mind will go blank, the fatigue will set in, and I have to remind myself that I need to do things like eat, drink water, and shower.

Yes, I’m talking about seasonal depression. Not the cutesy tumblr winter blues (don’t come for me, I love tumblr, but it all can have incredibly skewed views on mental illness), the true Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, as it’s appropriately named). Except, I have never felt flat out sad because of SAD, so it’s a bit of a contradiction.

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2quirky4me, sigh.

In fact, the whole idea of seasonal depression didn’t quite mesh with me when I was first informed of the idea of it. I had experienced strong reactionary depression before to certain traumas, but nothing like this.

It came out of nowhere. I’m the type of person who felt very comfortable labeling myself as a sufferer of severe anxiety, (or someone who was challenged with severe anxiety, as my friend’s therapist insists upon phrasing it).

But anxiety in itself was a contradiction to depression, in my mind. How could I actually have anxiety severe enough to consider it a disorder if I became depressed to the point of not caring enough to recognize my ongoing anxiety? It swirled around in my head like a whirlpool, at a time when I really shouldn’t have been analyzing my mental health issues.

I’ve been able to realize why it affects me the way it does a bit more clearly, now that I’ve had the time to analyze it while not being afflicted with it over the years.

I live in a place where we have very defined seasons, mostly when considering Winter and Summer. Often, Autumn and Spring are super short, barely lasting a month. My SAD affects me most often Summer going into Autumn, as the temperatures turn cold. When I was in school, it affected me more when the Winter transitioned into Spring. And last Summer I had it happen when we were turning the AC on and off “every other day”. That made me realize a little more of how it was a mental reaction to a physical situation, and it started to make more sense.

So, during these very short transitional periods in the weather, I get extremely fatigued and mentally just weak. Occasionally, on really bad days, I get lovely “behind the eyes” migraines when I literally just have to chug water and Tylenol and sleep. In general, I cannot concentrate, and I often spend time just phased out during the day. The thing about that it is normally when I daydream or don’t concentrate on what’s happening around me, it’s my anxiety making itself known to me. My mind running 110, as I like to describe it.

With SAD, there’s nothing.

I feel the need to do… nothing.

I wait it out, and use the periods when it isn’t hitting me as hard to do as much as I can.

But motivation is so hard to find when there isn’t anything there. When nothing feels like it matters or will ever matter again.

And believe me, seasonal depression is no joke when you realize you’re feeling it. Because it just makes you angry that you can’t snap out of it. And in my case, it kicks in my anxiety.

“Why aren’t you strong enough?”

“You have so much you could be doing!”

“You have to do that now! Everyone is relying on you, you have to succeed!”

“Just do it, there’s nothing stopping you.”

But my anxiety is wrong. My Seasonal Affective Disorder is stopping me, berating me, making everything harder for me. And there’s no shame in it. I shouldn’t have to ignore it, to fight it, for it to be valid. It’s a part of me like my dry skin or my bad posture (since I quit choir years ago). Just because they aren’t positive things doesn’t make them the end of my world, or the world.

The thing about mental health issues is that they don’t care if they don’t make sense to you.

You can live your entire life mentally ill not understanding why you have it, or how or why it affects you the way it does.

And it’s scary. When they inflame, it feels like there’s nothing left to hang onto. To tether you.

But in the end, it passes. It changes, it metamorphosizes, it varies. Everyday.

Despair isn’t the only answer. It’s never the only answer. Because we are strong. We build ourselves up everyday, we face ourselves everyday. Even on days when we don’t want to move, to get out of bed, we think of how it would be if we were better. And that reinforces us. It gives us hope. And that’s all we need to face the struggle as it ebbs and flows.iinrxqx

~//~

This is my experience with SAD, of course, and there are tons of people who experience it a lot more severely than I do (even though I sort of downplayed it for the narrative’s sake here). I just thought it may be interesting to share it because I have a different experience with it because I have severe anxiety. They work in tandem and against each other in different ways for me than most.


Today’s Music Pick:

Hostage – Danrell X Småland

I love this type of song. Over the past few months, I’ve been going back to it over and over. The first 10 – 15 seconds has such a strong hook, and then it transitions into this softer easy listening type of vibe. It builds up to a strong chorus, and it’s mixed electronica with  pure vocals pulls me in like I’ve never really experienced before. So unique! As I’m listening to it, it sways past me with it’s easy listening vibe and then it’s over and I don’t know where the time went. All of the pieces fit together so well, almost too well, with how it just flows despite the contrasting styles. [ My Music Playlist ]

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Super Jennie vs Lunette // First Impressions & Comparisons

Otherwise titled, “I got my first new menstrual cup in nearly five years and I’m excited!”

I’ve used my old faithful, my orange Lunette small, for nearly five years now. It was my first foray into RUMPs (reusable menstrual products), and I still have liked it and used it incredibly consistently since Summer 2012.

So, after I prepped my new Super Jennie yesterday, I tried it out for overnight (dangerous game, I know, but I feel like my cycle has been super light the past day or two, so no worries, I think it’s about to end). I have a low cervix, as an FYI.

My Lunette 1 was the same firmness from rim to base, with prominent concentric circle grip rings. I removed the stem about 5 minutes into the experience with a cup, no way, I just don’t need it. Thinking back, it was a bit comical to me at the time how long the stem was, but it would be totally useful for people with high cervices who may struggle with removal.

SJ is nearly the exact same size in terms of body size, BUT it is less conical than the Lunette (comes to less of a point at the base). It’s more rounded out, like a true bell shape. I think I’ve enjoyed that, because it really hasn’t irritated anything like the prominent grip rings on the Lunette occasionally did (not enough for me to hate the cup or even dislike it, at all).

Just a note, it was so odd to feel a brand new cup. The Super Jennie’s medical grade silicone has a different feel to it than what I remember my Lunette feeling like when it was new. … How to explain it… the only way I can make sense of it is like comparing glossy magazine paper to matte photo paper. The SJ has an almost tacky slick finish on the silicone, where the Lunette was matte, no shine at all. The silicones both feel like good quality, just a different type.

Also, I’ve always had a nearly opaque cup in terms of color (my orange / Aine Lunette). This is a bit odd in terms of experiences (as many people start with a clear cup, like the Diva). It was so cool to see the Super Jennie maintain a pretty teal colour while still being translucent. Fun, different experience!

The Super Jennie seems to be firmer at the rim and softer at the base. Which is kinda like a double edged sword for me now, while I’m getting used to it! I can get it inserted, it pops open partially, but because I have to pull my cups down and push them back up into position around my cervix to activate the suction (low cervix problems), I’ve had to fandangle with the cup a little bit because the base is softer, and it takes me maybe two or three seconds more to get it back up into place. I think if the whole cup has the same softness as the base, I’d be out of luck, not able to use it at all, but the firmer rim really does it all for easier insertion.

Wear time was great, I really do feel the difference in ml capacity with the SJ, even if it is only around 7ml. It will totally be useful for heavy days! The rounded out bell shape is great, and I’ve even been able to keep the stem on! Ah! Because everything at the base of the cup is so squishy and soft, and the actual stem design is great (ball stems 4 life now!) it hasn’t irritated me at all.

All in all, I think the Lunette 1 is a lovely, reasonable, reliable beginner’s cup. I think the Super Jennie is a great option for those who are a bit more experienced with cups and know their bodies better. Both are good quality cups, but after using it for about 18 hours over the past two days (washed and reinserted this morning), the Super Jennie is feeling like my Goldilocks. 💙

p.s. I found this lovely video by Rosey at Rosey Reusables on YouTube as I was doing my research on the Super Jennie and I found it incredibly helpful from a nonbiased POV. My writeup, above, is about my personal experiences and impressions. While that can be helpful, it’s always great to have a nonbiased, fact based definition of the differences as well. 😄
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Full Face of Makeup for a Week “Challenge” + Foundation Routine

For someone who’s makeup obsession has been so real and so consistent over the past half decade, I really don’t wear makeup often enough! I have a small collection in comparison to most people who love makeup as much as I do, but every product I do own, I use and enjoy. Each product gets researched online for a considerable amount of time before it is purchased.

Truly, this is why I fell in love with makeup. I love reading, I love things (#materialism), and I love the voice that beauty bloggers can achieve. However, that isn’t me. I don’t really feel the need to collect makeup while enjoying makeup culture. No one is going to come up to me and say, “WHY DIDN’T YOU BUY THAT”.

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As a person who has never been wealthy in any way, makeup culture is a fun thing to watch. It’s like a spectator sport meets a soap opera. Does anyone remember the Lorac MegaPro fiasco back in Holiday 2014? Damn, I may be someone that thrives off of positivity and a bubble of no drama around me IRL, but I love good old fashion makeup drama fest. And I don’t mean drama in between people, like fuck off Jeffree Star, idgaf. I mean like when companies fuck up or when things don’t live up to expectations or their price tag and the drama is 100% justified.

^^ For example, this video is by Zabrena (formerly MacShadowCombos). I love her, I’ve continued to watch her for years before and after this video. But this is like my favourite video from her. Like yas, SMACKDOWN Lorac. ^^

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In general, makeup is interesting because it ties in with so many of my interests in themselves. It never crossed my mind to change my appearance using makeup. I never turned to makeup because I needed to wear it to feel confident in myself. Not to say that that’s wrong, if makeup is something that makes you feel more confident, that’s 100% fine. I’m all for crutches to help with your mental health on a day to day basis. (However, I am not self aware enough to have bad self esteem, I am who I am 😂).

This got a bit existential, but in terms of makeup, I am so freaking boring. Doing makeup in itself is fun for me, so it just doesn’t matter what the end result actually looks like. I got to really get down and dirty over this week and actually try out products and techniques that I haven’t felt up to in a while.

For example, the Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hr Foundation. It’s awesome! But alas, the second lightest shade, 101 Classic Ivory was too dark, and I ended up swapping for the lightest color in the line (which worked! Yay!). The more I try from Rimmel, the more I love their brand!

I also got to solidify my preferred foundation routine, which was totes fun. I have very few issues with my skin apart from redness (Germanic roots- grr), so I’m into color correcting. Not to mention how trendy it is, but I am not one for the extreme color correcting. It’s totally fun and creative, but I am not used to having that much product on my face, boo!

Image Credit // shefinds.com

I got to try out the NYX Color Correcting Concealer palette, which was amazing in it’s own right. I use the green between my brows, my forehead, my cheeks, and my chin. This may seem like liberal application, but I go slowly, and apply in the red areas as necessary. I combine the salmon and yellow under my eyes as I have both blue and purple toned undereye circles. I apply the purple around the rest of my face anywhere there’s dullness or overtly yellow areas. I then bump it all out with my Real Techniques Mini Eraser sponge one area at a time (undereye -> purple -> green).

For me, color correcting gives my face a more blank slate than if I were just to apply foundation directly. Foundation is next!

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Image Credit // Ulta Beauty

I actively use the tinted moisturizer technique to make my foundation more natural looking, and feel better on the skin! I combine the same amount of foundation I would normally use and an equal amount of moisturizer (my favourite is the Garnier Clearly Brighter w/ SPF 15). I then paint it all over my face with a flat paddle foundation brush and bump it out with my Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge. The two liquids combine to make this nice beautiful skin like appearance that isn’t too dewy and isn’t completely matte. Aka, demi matte. God bless America.

Image Credit // thebeautyinbox.com

Then I pop the Catrice Liquid Camouflage Concealer in 010 Porcealain under my eyes to brighten them and cover the undereye corrector. I’ve also taken to applying this down the center of my face when I apply my contour and / or bronzer to create some more dimension to my face and it works lovely for that as well! (Though, I am tempted to get another in a shade lighter to make it even more visible).

Image Credit // PettyAir

I then set my undereye with the Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Transparent. Because it’s great. But you probably already knew that! It’s amazing!

I don’t set my entire face with a full on layer of powder, but I will take a BIG fluffy face powder brush, tap lightly into my powder, and blend the powder all over my face. This is mostly just to take away the slight tack that my foundation mixture can leave behind. It helps with bronzer and blush application and keeps it from skipping across my skin. If I plan to use a cream cheek product, I will wait to set my face until after that is down and done!

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I also got to experiment with false lashes this past week, but I think that is enough rambling for one blog post! It was fun to experience what it was like to have to wear makeup. However, by the end, I just felt the need to wear neutral makeup. It had taken a bit of the fun away, having to put it on. I understand why people who work in an office environment, or even the healthcare field, often wear such minimal makeup (having to wear it every single day, outside of appearance requirements).

Oh! And one final note, I got back to removing my makeup with melted coconut oil and I had zero issues with the texture or appearance of my natural skin changing. Thumbs up to coconut oil from me, I still love it years later. 😁

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How I Told My Family & Friends I Started A Business Without Being Terrible

The following passage is what I posted on my personal Facebook to finally tell them that I had started my own business without sounding like I wanted to sell them anything. I also didn’t want to be so vague as to give them no details, but I just don’t want them buying from or gossiping about my business. It is what it is, of course, but I respect my close friends and family too much to impose any feelings of guilt on them. However, in the same vein, I’m not good at keeping my own secrets, and I hate not sharing the things that make me happy with the people I love. So, this was the compromise I came up with to share my enthusiasm and optimism about the whole situation, while not emotionally manipulating anyone.

” Okay, this is a positive post, on a positive topic, but I’ve been trying to find a way to post this on Facebook to share with all of you without being annoying and doing that, “I’m doing something, but I don’t want to share any details and drag people along because I’m looking for attention”. 😬 Basically, I may be good at keeping other people’s secrets, but definitely not my own anymore, so y’all are getting this post. Enjoy!

Many of my closest family members know this (mostly because Mom has shared it with them, which is totally fine), but over this past month I’ve started up my own (super) small business sewing custom items! I don’t really want to go into a ton more detail than that, but I do work with a lot of quilter’s cotton, so if you see a pretty one be sure to send it my way  Anyways, I’ve had a ton of fun with it, and I’ve actually made money (surprise, surprise). I currently have three custom orders open now worth over $100, and the photo below is some of my orders over the past month ready to go out to customers.

I never thought I would be a “business owner”, and I’ve never been the type to enjoy capitalistic marketing, but it was just a natural progression. Most of the things I enjoy making have super bright, positive, honest, and active communities.

It’s all fun to me, sewing is fun, buying fabric is fun, communicating in the online space is fun, promoting my products through photography is fun! I took to sewing very quickly, and the fabric buying process even quicker!  It has fit me well, and it makes me happy to have a purpose day to day without pushing my boundaries (too much). I think making a little money to put in my savings account is just a bonus. Especially at 19, I don’t have any major regrets in my life, and I think that this little business that I’ve built is a turning point for me and my mental health, among other things. Feeling like a productive member of society does that to you, I guess!

And thank you to Amy and Mom in particular for being incredibly supportive over this past month, and dealing with my whining. It’s well appreciated by me, believe me. And thank you for reading this beast of a post, if you did. It means a lot for the people I care about to support me, and now that I think I’ve mostly whittled down my Facebook to people I care about, it makes me happy to be able to share things like this. Have a lovely week, y’all.  “

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Cloth Pads 101 | Basic Construction & Fabric Breakdown

*If you have no idea what this is even about, check out this blog post for more information from NPN.*

* In this post I will be addressing all in one cloth pads. These are the easiest for beginners to make, and most concise. To be honest, I don’t have much experience with base and liner or pocket style pads. I find them very fidgety and in general, unreliable. To each their own, of course, but I have the most knowledge of all in ones / turned + top stitched pads and that’s the information I will be providing for you today! * 

Despite the fact that I have only recently opened my budget cloth pad shop, I have been on the reusable scene for nearly six years! I’ve seen rising and falling trends in almost all areas of making cloth pads (save perhaps plastic KAM snaps 😉). So… I figured it would be good to share my knowledge, and write my version of a “concise” guide to the various fabrics and notions that are normally involved in the making of cloth pads.

Turned and topstitched cloth pads are made of 3 defined layers. These are the topper, absorbent core, and a backer. There are also a few other components that I’ll also be addressing within this post. Here we go!


Topper

  • Quilter’s Cotton
  • Flannel
  • Cotton / Bamboo Velour
    • Organic = OCV or OBV
  • Cotton Knit
  • Athletic Wicking Jersey
  • Minky

In terms of toppers, it is a wide and varied world. Most common materials are quilting cotton (flat cotton, like what you would make a pillowcase or a true quilt with), flannel, cotton or bamboo velour (soft natural velvety material), cotton knit (slightly stretchy clothing material), athletic wicking jersey (a stay dry fabric), or minky (a polyester manmade material usually used for baby blankets).

Flannel, as a PSA, will show more pilling and wear quicker than other materials, but some people enjoy flannel for it’s softness and how easily liquid is pulled through it.

Many others are possible toppers, but they must allow liquid through them (no coated or water resistant fabrics, as liquid will just roll off and not go down into the core). The main concern for toppers is stain resistance.

Polyester fabrics like minky are normally completely stain resistant. Cotton based fabrics stain easier, but this is usually based on the colour and pattern of the dye job.

Light colours like yellow, baby pink, and particularly light blue are particularly common for staining to occur. Or rather, will be more difficult / take more work to remove. However, when considering colors like purple, royal blue, red, black, brown, hunter / forest green, dark pink, or dark orange, there is very little chance of staining.

But, however, like in normal cloth fabric, it’s rare for a stain to be completely unremovable. And, as always, stains won’t affect the quality / function / usability of the piece. In comparison, the reason why we take the time to choose pretty and unique patterns is to keep them pretty. So, you, as a cloth pad user, need to decide if you’re willing for the stain removal process to be more intensive (almost all colours and prints), or if you’d prefer to keep it simple and minimal (darker, busier prints that will hide possible staining or prevent having to stain treat to begin with).

It’s up to you.


Absorbent Core

  • Flannel
  • Zorb
    • Zorb 1 (pure Zorb fiber, no prewash as it will disintegrate)
    • Zorb 2 (fiber quilted with a natural fabric on the outside, requires prewashing)
      • Diamonds
      • Dimples
  • Terry
    • Bamboo
    • French
    • Cotton
  • Bamboo Fleece
    • Organic Bamboo Fleece
    • Heavy Organic Bamboo Fleece
    • Super Heavy Organic Bamboo Fleece

Absorbent cores are a bit easier to address because we don’t see them! An absorbent core can be made out of almost anything, as long as it absorbs. However, they are an important component, and really affect the feel of a pad. A thick plush core will create thick plush pad, and a thin floppy core will contribute to a thin floppy pad.

They are also important because they allow us to determine if the absorbency if light, moderate, or heavy and all that comes along with that.

The most common material for cores is flannel. Flannel (like the warm pajama material) is very absorbent, but very thin. This requires many layers to create a viable core. For flannel, it’s common to include one inner layer for a liner, two for light, four – five for moderate, and 6 – 8 for heavy. As you can imagine, once you get up above six layers, the stack of fabric begins to get a quite thick, and almost unsewable. That’s why we often combine flannel with other more absorbent materials. The most common absorbent bases are terry, a material called Zorb, and organic bamboo fleece (OBF, HOBF, SHOBF).

Terry cloth is the same material that makes up bath towels. However, because terry varies in thickness, it can be hard to determine an absorbency value. Often terry bought at a fabric store will be very thin, and require 2+ layers to create a moderate when sandwiched with flannel on the outside of the core. However, normal bath towels are quite thick, and can be made into a moderate core with only one layer sandwiched with flannel.

I feel comfortable, as a general “rule” using two layers of terry, placing a layer of flannel in between, and sandwich the outside layer with another on the top and bottom. Believe it or not, this creates a fine, fairly thin heavy core. In my mind, my all flannel moderates are 5 layers of flannel, so tossing in two pieces of terry definitely bump it up to a heavy.

Zorb is a specialized material made for the cloth diapering industry. It’s a material that can absorb 10x it’s weight without leaking, much like a sponge. However, like a sponge, when compressed it can become subject to compression leaks. This is also why we, *say it with me* sandwich it with flannel. With a moisture resistant barrier on the back and / or being sandwiched with flannel, there is nothing to worry about in terms of leaking. Compared to flannel, Zorb absorbs incredibly quickly, and can prevent some issues that tend to arise in flannel only pads.

Zorb is the preferred material by many because it makes for very trim pads. One layer of zorb is moderate, two is heavy. It’s not recommended to include more than two layers of zorb because it’s simply a waste in terms of absorbency! It’s just unnecessary, even for the heaviest of postpartum bleeding. You would be much better off in terms of thickness, and effectiveness, to add a few layers of flannel comparatively.

There are an abundance of other options for absorbent core materials like organic bamboo fleece (OBF), microfleece, or even hemp. OBF has grown in popularity recently for being a reliable core for very heavy flows! There have been issues for others in terms of heat, when combined with a fleece backer. The important thing here is that it literally absorbs and holds liquid, and won’t create a core that is too bulky to go through your sewing machine.

Otherwise, again, it is completely up to you.


Backer

  • Fleece
    • AntiPill
    • Polartec Fleece
      • WindPro
      • PowerShield (-Pro)
  • PUL
    • Pure
    • Hidden (With another material covering it.)
      • Corduroy
      • Cotton
      • Flannel
      • + Fleece
  • Wool

In terms of backing material, it is more limited than the other categories of materials. This is because the backer is the baseline, it’s what allows us to use cloth pads like we would plastic and paper disposable pads. The two general areas of thought are, “Waterproof or Water-resistant”.

(You can also just use a topper material for your backer alone to sandwich the core in place, but! You will have to  change much much more frequently to be sure you won’t leak. I truly don’t advise this option to the majority of people. A water resistant barrier is necessary for realistic use, in the real world.)

Fleece.

PUL.

They are the standard options, and I’ll be going into both as well as alternatives.

A general note about fleece is that many people find it to be a great option for cloth pads in particular because it catches well on cotton undies and stays in place. Fleece has two different basic options, and they are AntiPill and Windpro. They each have different variations as well.

The majority of fabric stores (and stores that have a reasonable fabric selection) have their own brands or types of anti-pill fleece. Normally, these types will work for cloth pads. The most proactive thing you can do to make sure it will work is to feel your fleece for the weight and density. It should be a solid piece of fabric, almost like a fleece sweater.

One of the most common standardized types of AntiPill fleece is Polar fleece. Because it is a standardized weight, it is a super reliable type to buy online. The majority of the AntiPill I use is Polar. The biggest thing to keep in mind about AntiPill is it is only water resistant. For a lot of people this will be fine. The importance in using AntiPill is making sure that your core is dependable and realistic for the flow, as well as changing out your pads with reasonable frequency (as most people already do!).

Polartec is a well known brand in the Reusable Cloth industry. They are known in particular for creating a fleece backer called Windpro, amongst others (ie PowerShield), that are incredibly water resistant compared. Most people consider Windpro to be waterproof, but it is still a noncoated fleece, and is only water resistant.

The other common option is PUL (pronounced “pea you elle” letter by letter by most, or pull) or Polyurethane Laminate. This is a coated material created for use in hospitals. It has a plain fabric side (normally a cotton) and a side with the shiny polyurethane / plastic. You can create a backer with just PUL. The important thing in this case is that the fabric side is on the outside, and the shiny side is toward that core. An important tip if you find you leak with PUL, try not to use pins with your PUL (or leave excess and pin outside of your sewing line and trim after you attach you backer to your core and topper).

Many people also choose to make pads with hidden PUL. All this means is that the layer of PUL also has another layer of fabric covering it (that is touching the underwear). The logic of this is that the material will give you better grip than any possible cloth backing on your PUL. Types like corduroy, flat cotton, flannel, or even AntiPill fleece. Those who desire the catch and “keep it in place-ability” of fleece but need a truly waterproof lining can create pads that have hidden PUL covered by fleece. The most common fabric to hide PUL is flat faced cotton.

Other natural options like dense cotton fleece or wool are viable options for those who would like to avoid polyurethane and plastic based fabrics. There are a few more downsides in these fabrics, but they are definitely options for those who try to avoid materials in other types of backing. The only other type of backing fabric that comes to mind is Nylon, but that is rarely in use by home makers (unless upcycling something like a Nylon windbreaker or raincoat).


Closure

  • Snaps
    • Plastic
      • KAM
      • Babyville
    • Metal
      • Hammer On
      • Sew On
  • Velcro (Hook + Loop)
  • Buttons
  • Bra Clasp

There are many options for closure, though in the commercial cloth world it is dominated by snaps. Oddly enough, I find that many mainstream cloth companies (Lunapads, Party in my Pants, Sckoon Reusables, etc.) use metal snaps in their finished cloth pads, while the majority of, if not all, WAHM or small business makers use plastic or polyacetal resin snaps. The major difference is likely due to ease of application by mechanical vs by hand methods.

The next most popular option for at home created pads is simple buttons. Many people find putting on buttons a bit tedious, as you have to sew the buttonhole by machine and then hand sew the button on. However, buttons are renowned for being flat and not able to be felt when wearing the pad.

Hook and loop closure, or Velcro, is also common among those who are making a small stash for themselves.  Trimmed adhesive backed Velcro is added to each side of the wing and sewn down to make it maintain a close hold and long usability.

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Bra front clasp style closure (for those who didn’t quite get my bad description).

The other most common that spring to mind is the bra clasp method, ribbons, and pins.  The bra clasp method utilises a front style bra clasp as closure. Others will poke holes and thread ribbon through, or even diaper pins. Personally, I think using safety pins and the like is a bit unsafe, with there being sharp parts that you won’t have access to to fix 24/7.

Otherwise, the world is your pickle, do as you wish for closure. Or even none at all, if your undies are snug enough (which is also a method used by part of the cloth community, often known as wingless).


Thread

The only other thing I’d like to note for beginners is the type of thread you use as you are creating your pads! The most common thread in general use used to be cotton thread. However, this type of thread should not be used for cloth pads. Why is a bit of an ingenious idea that shocked me like, “That makes so much sense, but I never thought of that.”

Cotton thread will wick any liquid in your pad to the back and onto your underwear and clothing, much like a candle wick. This normally occurs in the topstitching, as most cloth pad makers do not sew through all of the absorbent layers to the backing. Polyester thread creates a non absorbent (aka water resistant) barrier that prevents needle point leaking.


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[ Pixie’s Pretty Stitches ]


So, that is my writeup on Cloth Pad layers 101! I hope that this is somewhat helpful for beginners. I tried to reign in any rambling to keep this as educational as possible!

If you have any questions, or if anything is unclear, please let me know and I’ll respond ASAP. 😊❤️

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Using a Sewing Machine | First Impressions & Commentary on Creativity

I got a sewing machine for my 19th birthday on the 22nd of September.

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What did you think when you saw that? Because I definitely get how that sounds.

I told you, I’m basically 65 in my soul.

And I’m completely unashamed about that.

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Here’s my new baby, a Brother JX 2517. Unfortunately they don’t have a name yet, but I’m feeling Denise. Maybe Marta? Hmm, gimme suggestions please! I honestly chose this machine based on the abundance of good reviews (and the ease of use for beginners stated within said reviews).

I’ve gotten into fabrics over the past few years, ever since I’ve gone reusable for a lot of my household goods! I figured this was a natural progression, making my own everything (within reason).

I also knew that there may be a strong learning curve with using a machine, no matter how user friendly a machine is reported to be.

I had used a sewing machine a total of maybe two times before getting my own. Each of those times, someone else set up, threaded, wound, (etc.) everything for me.

However, I am happy to report that I watched threading instruction videos (for both the upper thread and the winding and threading of the bobbin) I was able to easily thread my machine with no issue at all.

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to do so without help, as most people say that’s the most difficult part of using a sewing machine. Maybe this style of machine is more simplified than those models, but I was surprised at how big of a deal it wasn’t!

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The first thing I made with my sewing machine, some double sided face cloths. They have microfiber on one side and flat cotton on the other. Useful for learning how to deal with toweling AND straight lines.

In terms of materials, I mostly have been using scraps. Old fabric napkins no one uses, used up old towels, even stretchy tshirts.

However, a few weeks ago, when I was anticipating getting a sewing machine, I decided to go and pick up a bit of fabric from my local Hellmart. And it was so fun, let me tell you.

As someone who is obsessed with patterns, designs, and textures, buying fabric in real life is so pleasing for my aesthetic and my need to feel things.

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The fabric I got! Some prepackaged quilting fat quarters, a yard of that gorgeous DOTD Sugar Skulls cotton, and two yards each plain flannel and black anti-pill fleece. (Also featuring some food for a friend’s puppers underneath!)

As you can see, I am thoroughly enjoying the things surrounding the action of actually sewing. Sewing itself is a bit better than okay. There hasn’t been a lot wrong with the experience. It’s cool to make things!

I never truly thought of myself as a creative being. I enjoy being analytical, learning new information, and presenting that information. My specialty is United States History.

However, there’s an issue with having that as a hobby. There really is nothing physical to represent that. That changes when you have a hobby that creates physical objects. You can quantify how much you’ve done by looking at what you’ve fabricated with your own two hands.

There’s something so incredibly rewarding in that sense. And as someone who, for some reason unbeknownst to me, enjoys praise and validation from others, it does a hell of a lot for my confidence.

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On a lighter note, I’m very much not a fan of certain parts. It can be super boring. Pinning, tracing and cutting fabric, clipping edges and turning and poking out seams, it’s just so boring!

But I guess that comes with the action of sewing with a machine. And any annoyances I have with the sewing prep are definitely overridden by the fun I have while actually sewing and having the final product. And I think that is the moral of the whole experience, and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to learn it. ❤️

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Mascara 101 | Application: Stationary Wand + Blinking vs Brushing Upwards

There seems to be two schools of thought when applying mascara to the upper lashes.

  • Pulling the wand upwards through your lashes (with possible wiggling at the base to provide extra darkness before brushing through the length of your lashes).

OR

  • Keeping the wand stationary at the base of your lash line, and blinking your lashes through the product against the wand.

The Difference Is…

Completely up to personal preference, as well as the look you’re attempting to achieve with your lashes.

I recently discovered the difference and it actually fascinated me, and changed a misconception that I had in place for years.

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My lashes are definitely okay. They are medium to long and fairly dark. I have medium / dark brown hair, so that already gives me a bit of an advantage to those who have light or blonde hair in terms of lashes. I can more easily use darker colored mascaras and have it look natural. But, I do struggle with maintaining curls as my lashes prefer to direct downwards like a pointed roof. I think that type might be more useful in keeping things out of my eyeballs, but definitely is not my desired look when I actually want to put makeup on. I use waterproof mascaras purely because I have particularly watery eyes in general AND I cry. A lot. Regardless of the related emotions, I’m always crying. So waterproof mascara is a must have for me.

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I always curl my lashes with my beloved BH Cosmetics eyelash curler. This has inclined me to use the first method of moving the brush through my lashes, as I can visually see the extent of my lashes. However, I am not a fan of clumped lashes. I would prefer long thinner darkened lashes over clumped “voluminous” short insect leg lashes. And I find that often when I am using the brush through method, I am much more likely to end up with clumpy lashes.

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I recently, however, discovered the blink through method for myself. I had occasionally seen people applying mascara this way, and it always seemed uncomfortable. But, realistically, anything going that close to my eyeball is going to be uncomfortable. So I figured it was worth giving it a try to see if I liked the effect.

And to be real, I really have liked the look of it! A lot!

The blinking through helps deal with excess product, prevents clumping, and makes my lashes truly feel long and look dark.

As I have semi hooded lids, I struggled with accidentally tapping my eyelids with the mascara wands when having to manually lift the wand through my lashes. Somehow, magically, I don’t struggle with mascara smudging in areas where I don’t want it with the blink through method. I think it has something to do with the curvature of my lashes after I curl them.

I believe that it keep the wand from having to go through up towards my lid as I’m blinking down, AND keeps my lashes from tapping the lower lash line with wet just applied mascara before I can get my eyes open again.

If you have pin straight lashes and don’t curl them, I think you may struggle with the blinking method. If you curl your lashes and have never tried the blinking method, I highly suggest it, even if to just try it and see if you like the effect. You may be pleasantly surprised, like I was.

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My go to mascara routine is combining two different mascaras. They are my favourite mascara formulas of all time, but they just weren’t the most realistic for my original routine, and I was rarely satisfied by the outcome. However, now that I’ve discovered the magic of the blinking method, they are both working even better for me, and I am really enjoying the look of my lashes now.

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Maybelline’s Full and Soft Waterproof is a great naturalistic mascara. The standard natural bristle wand is nice for both separation and adding a bit of texture. I love the way it makes my lashes feel, and it is a nice everyday mascara. It lays down a nice base layer for days when I want a little more, and helps maintain the natural look and feel.

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Maybelline’s the Rocket Waterproof has a rubber bristle wand. This is a truly volumizing formula, but I love it more and more for the design of the separation on the wand between the bristles. This is an awesome topper mascara to finish off your lashes. It separates the lashes, while building coats effortlessly.

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Overall, like all makeup, mascara is an incredibly personal thing. Your preferences will be king for you. But, like all makeup, it can be wiped away. You can try again tomorrow.

Always know that makeup is inherently creative. Like art, there are no rules. You should always wear your makeup the way you enjoy it, and don’t let anyone shame you for it.

Have an open mind to your makeup application! It can be so easy to get in a rut with what “works”, and you may never be able to open your mind to the possibilities.

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