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Kindred Gifts' Blog

Quote of the Week - Walt Disney wisdom

Posted in 'Quote of the week' on September 18, 2011, 4:12 pm

The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique - Walt Disney


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Celebrate Sustainable House Day with our top tips for stylish, eco home decor

Posted in 'Sustainable fashion, architecture and design' on September 11, 2011, 7:54 pm

Celebrate Sustainable House Day on September 11 with our top tips for stylish, eco-friendly home decorating

Sustainable House Day gives people the chance to have a good look inside houses that have been designed, built or fitted out with sustainability in mind as well as talk to owners for unbiased advice. The day provides a chance for people to exchange ideas and learn from each other, and all visits to the houses are also free of charge, so it costs nothing to see how easy and economical the move to greener living can be.

The aim of Sustainable House Day is to provide an enjoyable, informative day that contributes to local community awareness of sustainable living. Education is indeed key, as many Australians wouldn’t be aware that each year the average Aussie household contributes 13 tonnes of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere—enough to fill more than 700 balloons every day – while each household also draws an average of 73,000 buckets of water a year, enough for around 12 baths a day! Sustainable House Day is a fabulous day to celebrate and learn about greener living.

In that theme, we thought we’d put together a blog with a few of our own ideas about styling your home with sustainable, yet stylish pieces that look great but are also better for the world.

  • Choose sustainably sourced timber products

Forest loss, or ‘deforestation’, is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, so by choosing wooden products from sustainably managed forests (where trees are replanted as they are felled), we can all help to tackle this problem. Wood products that come from sustainably managed forests are kinder to the environment as more trees are planted in place of those cut down, and in fact, well managed areas generally store more carbon than those that are not harvested.

A great example of a beautifully designed piece which uses sustainably sourced timbers is this Homesum ‘Frond’ fruit bowl, $79.95.

  • Choose products made from recycled materials

Recycling is vital in order to reduce the vast amounts of material that are sent to landfill every year. By supporting businesses that use recycled materials, you also support the environment, as well as having the opportunity to source one-off and limited edition pieces, each with their own unique history. Choose stylish home accents and accessories made from recycled timbers, steel, papers, bike parts, vinyl records, materials, china plates and more!

Have fun styling your home with these 60’s inspired solar powered night lights (from $64.95), made from recycled steel by The Original Metal Box Company  or get people talking at your next dinner party with these funky Resource Revival Bottle Openers, $14.95, made using recycled bike chains!

  • Choose products made from environmentally friendly fabrics such as bamboo, hemp and organic cotton

A great way to go green is to choose products for your home that have been made using natural, chemical-free, and renewable materials such as organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo. These materials are fantastic in many ways – they’re good for you, good for your family, and good for the planet. Organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides or fertilisers, which not only affect our health, but which also cause environmental damage when they pollute the soil, air and water. Hemp and bamboo are both people and planet friendly, due to the fact that they require far fewer chemicals than cotton, and are some of the fastest growing plants in the world (meaning that they can be replaced with new plants much more quickly than a new tree, for instance, can grow).

Brighten up your home with eco friendly accessories such as these Manor12 hemp tea towel packs, $79.95, or these organic cotton Blizzard cushion covers by Fluf, $69.95 each.

  • Choose products that use alternative energy sources such as solar power

A fantastic way to not only help the environment, but also save on your power bills, is to take advantage of the great range of solar powered products now available. Using the power of the sun (by converting sunlight into electricity), solar products are becoming more readily available every year due to their dual benefits.

Choose from a wide array of beautifully designed, solar powered products, such as these pieces from Lexon – the Safe Bamboo Wall Clock, $149 and the Greenman Solar Lamp, $99, for indoor or outdoor use.


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Quote of the Week

Posted in 'Quote of the week' on September 10, 2011, 11:47 am

"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see" Mark Twain





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Quote of the Week - Father's Day

Posted in 'Quote of the week' on September 4, 2011, 7:08 pm

Happy Father's Day to all those fantastic Dads out there. Here's a quote to celebrate the impact that our great Dads can have on us:

'My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, "You're tearing up the grass." "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply. "We're raising boys." ' - Harmon Killebrew



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20 Easy Uses For Bi-Carb Soda - the cheap and cheerful way to clean a home naturally.

Posted in 'Tips and Helpful Hints for Life, Work and the Home' on September 1, 2011, 8:15 pm

20 Easy Uses For Bi-Carb Soda - the cheap and cheerful way to clean a home naturally.
Used by households around the world Bicarb sodafor generations, bicarbonate (or bi-carb) soda is natural, easy on the earth, and definitely easy on the pocket. An affordable cleaning solution for any home or work environment, bi-carb soda is a must have pantry staple. Throw out all those nasty, chemical laden, and expensive cleaners, and buy a big box of bi-carb for your house instead. You'll not only help the environment, but also your whole family's health, and save money at the same time!

Here are our top 20 uses for bi-carb in the home or office:

1. Unblock your kitchen sink by pouring 1 tbsp of bi-carb plus 3 tbsp of vinegar down the drain. Allwo to fizz and then pour boiling water (a full jug's worth) down the drain.

2. Pop a small container of bi-carb into the fridge to absorb strong odours.

3. Use bi-carb to remove tarnish from your silverware by applying a paste of bi-carb and water with a damp cloth and then rubbing clean.

4. Sprinkle bi-carb onto a damp cloth and then wipe over the inside of cups and mugs to remove tea or coffee stains.

5. Soften your skin by adding 1/2 cup of bi-carb to your bath.

6. Use bi-carb to clean multiple surfaces around the house. Add it to a damp cloth to remove stains from bench tops, soap scum from showers, baked on grease from ovens, and rust from sinks.

7. Soak greasy, food-caked pot and pans overnight in warm water and 2 tbsp bi-carb soda.

8. Sprinkle inside shoes to deodorise.

9. Add bi-carb to kitty litter to absorb odours.

10. Soak food and drink containers, or porous surfaces such as chopping boards, in a mixture of bicarb soda and water to remove strong food odours.

11. Sprinkle bicarb soda over the carpet to deodorise carpets. Leave for a few hours and vacuum as usual. (You can also add a few drops of essential oil to the bi-carb before sprinkling it over carpets for a fresh smell).

12. Use baking soda to relieve the itch and sting from mosquito or ant bites, or bee stings, by simply applying a paste of bi-carb soda and warm water to the affected area of skin.

13. Remove liquid stains from carpet by pouring a liberal amount of bicarb on the fresh stain and leaving to dry, before vaccuming off.

14. Add bi-carb to your wash to soften and whiten clothes. To whiten clothes add 2 teaspoons to half a bucket of cold water, soak the clothes for 30 minutes and then wash them as normal. Freshen up your laundry by adding half a cup of bi-carb to the rinse cycle of your laundry which will give your sheets and towels a nice freshness.



15. Mix three parts bicarb soda to one part water for a gentle facial scrub that won't strip oils from the skin. (You can also create an exfoliating facial scrub by adding three parts ground oatmeal to the mix).

15. Use bi-carb as a pre-soaker for soiled nappies; or to help get rid of stubborn mould, grease or oil stains. Simply dissolve 45 grams of the soda in a bucket of warm water, let the clothes soak for half an hour, then wash in hot soapy water and dry in the sun.

16. Remove the smell of baby spit or stale milk from your shirt or jacket by wiping it with a damp cloth dipped in baking soda.

17. Help your children to alleviate the itchiness of chicken pox by soaking them in a bath that is filled with slightly cool water and a cup of baking soda.

18. Create your own homemade skin acne treatment by mixing a little bit of both baking soda and water to form a paste. After washing your face first, apply this natural acne cleanser as a mask to your entire face, taking care to avoid getting it in your eyes. Leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse off with warm water.

19. Clean the dirt and insecticides off your store bought fruits and vegetables by washing them in a sink full of water mixed with ¼ cup of bicarb soda.

20. Use a paste made from bicarbonate of soda and water to clean walls and wallpaper of crayon and other dirty marks.





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The Other Benefits of Yoga - Guest Blog Post from Suzanna Culley

Posted in 'Health and happiness' on August 27, 2011, 11:44 am

Suzanna Culley from Red Door Yoga in Brisbane, a teacher with over fifteen years of yoga experience in the UK and Australia, gives us an insight to the other benefits of yoga - beyond the physical and mental release.


The Benefits of Yoga.

It doesn't normally take me months to write a blog post.  I usually get inspired in a daydream or through an experience, mull over it for a while and then write the bulk of it all in one go, leave it for a bit, then give it one final massage and voila, doneskies!  Writing the first take of this post was no different until I went through some life changing 'stuff' which meant I didn't get back to my 'final massage’ until recently and decided when I started to review what I had written that during my ‘blogging vacation’ I had shifted the compass a little and wanted this post to head in a new direction too.

I figured if you really wanted to read about the mainstream benefits of Yoga you could Google it and you would find umpteen articles about how fabulous Yoga is for increasing your flexibility, helping you lose weight, improve sleep and muscle tone, focus your mind and increase your levels of concentration…the list goes on! These are all valid and certainly get people through the door but in my mind they are also rather 'generic' and not necessarily all encompassing of what I promote the benefits of yoga to be.

I’ve always been a ‘systems thinker’ and try to hold a holistic perspective across all things in my life and as I started to rewrite this post I began writing down the benefits of yoga beyond the amazing muscle tone, increased bendiness and general wellbeing and came up with a some what ‘different’ list of my top five benefits of yoga:



1.     Diversity!  It’s the people you meet – Doctors, Firemen/women, Police men/women, Corporates, Mums, Dads, Engineers, Scientists, Journalists, Politicians, etc..  These are just some of the multifarious people I have done yoga with both as a teacher and student..  Yoga brings all types; it is non-competitive and doesn’t discriminate.


2.    The unique spaces and places that you get to go to and practice yoga.  Let’s face it, how many of you have snooped upstairs at your local lawn bowls club lately?  Are you sure there are not a bunch of Yogis up there?

3.    The relationship that you build with your teacher(s).  A good teacher that you see regularly should be able to ‘read’ your body and notice if you are a bit ‘out of sorts’ and feeling ‘heavy’, tired, happy, sad or indifferent.  My absolute favourite teacher of all time is fabulous at this, she ALWAYS connects with me in a way not many people are able to reach me.  She reads my energy and even though I know she ‘reads’ everyone else in the room too, she always seems to dish up the appropriate folding, twisting and stretching right where I need it.

4.    Quite simply, yoga makes you a kinder person (I can feel you all signing up your bosses and in-laws now!).  As you take time for yourself to reconnect your mind, body and spirit, you take this from your mat out in to the world and it is reflected in the way you interact with others, your friends, family, colleagues, etc.  I find myself significantly less irritable in the most stressful of situations since taking my first Yoga class fifteen years ago.

5.    Anonymity – you know those times when you profess that you want to be by yourself, but you don’t REALLY want to be by yourself, just not with people you know?  Always wanted to sneak in to that ‘other’ Yoga studio you pass whilst walking the dog/on your way to work/going for a jog, etc?  This is the time to do it!  Get going!  No explanation necessary, true Yogis do not pry as to why you are there, they welcome you with open arms and send you off after class full of love.

There are many more benefits of yoga on my list, but as you go about your own yoga journey I am sure you will find your own that go beyond the physical postures.  I will however, leave you with the best benefit of all, you can start your own yoga journey right now!  It is never too late, there are no prerequisites.  No matter what age, shape, culture, level of fitness you are, you can develop your own unique relationship with yoga.

Stay bendy,
Suzanna

Suzanna is a Yoga Teacher, PhD student, vegan and sustainability evangelist based in Brisbane, QLD..  She has been practising Yoga for more than fifteen years and first qualified to teach twelve years ago in the United Kingdom.  She and her husband Tate run Red Door Yoga uniting their local community’s mind, body and spirit.

Has Suzanna helped inspire you to become more involved in Yoga?

We've discovered the inspiring and unique way to stabilize your foundation when doing yoga postures on holiday - Yoga Paws. This revolutionary mini travel mat design provides solid support, extra padding, and peace of mind and fits in your purse, pocket, or travel bag. Going somewhere? No need to lug that mat around with you anymore 'cause these things are ideal for travel!

Yoga Paws are the perfect option for anyone looking for interesting and practical gifts for the yoga lover or novice alike. They make fantastic birthday gifts and Christmas gifts, and are suitable for both men or women.









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Quote of the Week

Posted in 'Quote of the week' on August 27, 2011, 9:57 am

"Many people have gone further than they imagined they could, because somebody else thought they could"
Anon





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