Using Selenite Crystals to Enhance the Home

Most  people are familiar with the use of crystals in jewellery, such as necklaces, pendants, and rings, but did you know that using larger crystals as home accessories can contribute to an overall sense of well-being and harmony? Not only do crystals make really stunning decorative features, they can also enhance your environment and even clean your space and lift the energies of a room, thereby contributing to a more healthy home.

One such stone that is becoming  increasingly popular is Selenite. Selenite has a very fine vibration and a kind of ethereal quality. It is said to be excellent for meditation and spiritual work. It can help to bring clarity of mind, introducing a calming and gentle feel to a room.  In the current times we live in life seems to be more hectic than ever and after a busy day at work it is often hard to relax and wind down.  A large piece of Selenite placed in a room brings a peaceful atmosphere, creating a quiet space for some quality downtime.  It is also great in children’s rooms and soothes the atmosphere when tempers are high and helps to settle and solve disagreements.

Polished Selenite Pillar
Selenite Pillars create an atmosphere of calm in the home

Translucent Selenite is the most commonly used form of this stone and it can be found in a range of shapes: pillars, spars, polished palm stones and eggs, blocks, wands and hearts and even lamps and tea light holders. Not only is it attractive, Selenite also acts as a disperser of energy and works in a supportive capacity offering protection from electro-magnetic smog when placed close to sources of radiation , such as wifi, laptops and computers, TVs and other devices. It helps to create a safe space, protecting from outside influences and is one of the most powerful crystals for the new vibration on Earth.

Selenite Heart, Wand, Block and Small Spar
A Selenite Heart, Wand, Block and Small Spar

Small pieces can be purchased for as little as £2 as it is easily obtained and found in a number of countries, including the US, Mexico, Russia, Austria, Greece, Poland, Germany, France and even England, though I have not been fortunate to find any myself.

One thing to note:  Selenite needs to be kept away from damp environments such as bathrooms or kitchens as steam and moisture generally can cause it to dissolve or flake.  It is more accurately a chemical sedimentary mineral than a stone, and is only a 2 on the Mohs scale of hardness.  If dropped on a hard surface, such as a tiled or stone floor it will likely shatter.  Since it is readily available though, it is not difficult to replace in the event of a mishap.

What are your favourite crystals? Do share your ideas and experiences.

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My Eco Home

My new home is a project and a half:  An older, 17th century stone cottage in need of a lot of TLC.  It stood empty for about a year and had been seriously neglected prior to that. The cobwebs would have made Miss Haversham green with envy.  It does have great potential, though, and I am busy renovating with a view to creating  a quirky yet stylish living space and at the same time a healthy home.

One big attraction to the property in spite of it’s rundown state, is the fact that it predates the use of modern, building materials.  I am a great lover of green low impact living and this enables me to keep my carbon footprint low and the amount of chemicals in the home to an absolute minimum by using eco-friendly organic lime based natural paint and plaster to repair and update. Auro natural paints, decorating and finishing products are fantastic and easy to order online, with fast delivery.

By using natural materials I aim to keep embedded energy values as low as possible.  Stripped back style is one that really appeals to me, with elements of ‘industrial’ thrown in, and Country Living’s Special Edition Modern Rustic Magazine, Issue 2, has been one of my sources of inspiration.

Where to start? Using the Permaculture principles enabled me to come out of overwhelm and start to take some action. Principle 9, Small and Slow Solutions, was my starting point: moving in and making gradual changes would enable me to keep costs to a minimum as I had been living in rented accommodation while looking for a project. It didn’t take long to decide that the 80’s style gas fire needed to go, to be replaced by a traditional log burner.

log burner in gunmetal grey
Log Burner in Gunmetal Grey

Continue reading “My Eco Home”

What about Organic Bamboo?

Organic Bamboo

Are you as confused about the pros and cons of bamboo textiles as we were?  Modern, high tech production and processing methods mean bamboo textiles are rapidly gaining in popularity.   But is bamboo really a sound environmental choice?

First the excellent reasons why you might want to consider buying bamboo clothing or products for the home:

  • The fibres stay naturally fresh due to their unique anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties, which remain even after frequent washing.  The fabric is ideal for those with skin reactions or allergies and fantastic for all sorts of products for the home as it will not develop mould even when exposed to moisture for long periods of time.
  • The fabric is cool and comfortable to wear in hot weather due to its cellular structure which makes it extremely absorbant and able to evaporate perspiration in seconds.  It allows air to pass through, remaining cool to the touch and never feeling sticky, meaning skin can breathe.  It is 3-4 times more absorbent than cotton, keeping you drier in a heatwave
  • Naturally blocks 91% of UVA and 98% of UVB rays providing screening from the sun’s rays, and making it ideal for curtains and soft furnishings
  • Silky soft and extremely comfortable to wear and a great choice for those with sensitive skin conditions or those who have had allergic reactions to fabrics in the past.  It is also anti-static.
  • Bamboo is fully biodegradable by microorganisms in the soil and by sunshine thanks to its natural cellulose composition and therefore can contribute to reduced environmental impact
  • As the plants grow without pesticides, herbicides or chemical additives of any kind soil balance is maintained
  • Protects the environment as it needs no irrigation other than natural rainfall
  • Highly sustainable:  bamboo grows very fast, sometimes up to 3 feet in a night.   It also does not need to be replanted, rather the stalks are cut off above the ground and will continue to grow and sprout new shoots.  In addition  it’s vast root system helps to prevent soil erosion and it balances the atmosphere,  producing the most oxygen of all plants and consuming the most carbon dioxide.  All of which reduces the impact of the textile industry.

At the present stage in the technology of fibre production, the only way to turn bamboo into a soft yarn fibre is to dissolve it using chemicals like sodium hydroxide, and then solidify the extruded filament using a chemical such as sulfuric acid.  It is important that these strong chemicals are neutralised and not returned to the water system untreated.  Look for a supplier who uses methods, for example enzymes, that ensure that the waste water is cleansed after processing and meets high environmental standards. Our supplier, OEcotextiles, is constantly vigilant and working to further neutralise the effects of present production methods and overcome the less eco-friendly aspects.

Overall bamboo’s positive environmental and health benefits make it a strong addition to the range of fibres available.   Something tells me we’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more of bamboo in the future.  Feel like sharing your experiences of this fabulous new fibre?

10 Reasons to Get Excited about Hemp

Have you ever had a favourite outfit that you loved so much you wore it to death and you have never been able to replace it?   Whatever happened to timeless elegance in the rush to conform to the High Street command of “get the latest look”?  How much money would we have left over for that holiday we have all been dreaming of if our clothes lasted more than one season?

Organic Hemp is now available in a range of beautiful colours

Well, hemp fabric could be the answer.

Here are 10 reasons why we should all get excited about hemp

  • Hemp is stronger than cotton.  It is the most durable natural fibre with the highest abrasion resistance and tensile strength amongst all of the natural fibres, providing maximum wear and use
  • It becomes softer with use.  The inherent lustre and light reflecting qualitites of hemp are enhanced by washing
  • The fabric breathes as well as linen and better than cotton, and is as effective an insulator as wool.  It feels cooler in summer and during cool weather it retains body heat
  • Hemp resists staining by releasing a microscopic layer of cells with each laundering, exposing a fresh surface.  In effect, this means that hemp retains its sleek sheen every time it is washed, that it never dulls and that it releases stains more easily than other fabrics.  It becomes finer and more luxurious with use.
  • It will not stretch out of shape, so it will always look good
  • The fabric is very porous, making it highly absorbent and quick drying.   Hemp absorbs more moisture than cotton and much more than synthetic fibres, and faster.
  • It is naturally resistant to mould, mildew and bacteria, and naturally mothproof, and has natural antimicrobial properties, so it does not need to be treated with chemicals and is therefore better for you and your family’s health and well-being
  • Hemp blocks UV rays more effectively than any other fabrics with less fibre degradation from UV exposure than any other natural fibre, making it especially good for window coverings and a wide range of eco soft-furnishings
  • With a longer lifespan than other natural fabrics, it can render a lifetime of service,  is biodegradable and easily recyclable and even more than any other eco fabrics lends itself to re-fashioning and upcyclling.

Wow!  And if  you thought that hemp fabric and eco textiles means a return to the dark ages and the days of sackcloth, look again.  With ever better production methods, fibres can be polished and finished to much higher standards than ever before, meaning that it is possible to be indulgent and kind to the environment at the same time.

Anything we’ve missed here?  We’d love to hear from you…….

Healthy Home

The fact that we are all now striving to reduce our heating costs by increasing our levels of insulation, installing double glazing to make our houses airtight, and that we barely open a window in the winter months means that we are suffocating in a toxic brew that is almost certainly endangering our health.  Each individual regulation on its own may well be under the limit when tested, but when you add the cocktail together the results are staggering!  And it’s not just sensitive adults, what about children and young babies?

It is quite usual that in the excitement of welcoming a new baby into the world we often choose to decorate the room in preparation for the new arrival.  This may just be the worst thing we could do.  Offgasing from chemicals in new furnishings can be a source of respiratory irritants and more.  On top of carpets, sofas and upholstered chairs being treated with flame retardant chemicals, and curtains often being treated with formaldehyde to make them crease resistant or containing residues of heavy metals (read more in our post of 6.12.2009 https://888lorna.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/eco-for-health/ ), bedlinen and clothing are often impregnated to make them ‘easy care’.  Are these combined levels of airborne pollutants really safe?   I recently came across  an article about the potential harmful effect of chemicals on children’s hormones through plastics and skincare products http://greenpeopleorganicskincare.blogspot.com/2009/11/home-life-may-be-affecting-childrens-hormones Just what are we exposing our children to?  We’d love to hear your comments or your experiences.

Organic fabrics offer a healthy alternative.  In partnership with OEcotextiles we can supply a range of organic fabrics for all your soft furnishing needs.  Find ways to create a healthy home at www.designercushionsandthrows.co.uk

Curtains in organic linen by OEcotextiles

Eco for Health

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Ever wondered why you get a headache or become mysteriously ‘off colour’ when you go on holiday?  Not so long ago I treated myself to a short break with a swimming pool, sauna, gym and yoga classes and was so looking forward to relaxing and regenerating my batteries.  I had hardly been in the hotel room more than an hour or two when I developed a headache and felt really ‘off’ and ‘liverish’.  I put it down to a reaction to having been stressed and tense for so long previous to that.  Now I’m not so sure.

Ever since making some curtains for a hotel and a nursing home I have known that fire safety regulations dictate that fabrics used for making curtains and the covering of furniture such as sofas and chairs be coated with flame retardant chemicals to reduce the risk of fire.  I imagine it’s the same for carpets.  Now I have experienced first hand just what this means in terms of human health and well-being.

I shall give where I next go on holiday some very careful consideration.  Camping anyone?

For  more information about eco textiles and eco soft-furnishings visit www.designercushionsandthrows.co.uk/natural-organic-fabric

Cushions and Curtains is 'Hardy Organic Hemp' - colour Alabaster and Mist Grey

Eco at Home

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Our home is an extension of our body, an outer shell.   How we furnish our home environment is as important as the quality of food that we eat and the quality of the air that we breathe.

You may be surprised to know that, in our ‘modern’ world it has become usual to preserve home furnishings in the same way as foods, as a means to improving wear or maintenance, texture or appearance.  Additives such as formaldehyde are used to make fabric ‘crease resistant’ or ‘easy-care’ and remnants of chemicals used in the dying process such a dioxins and even heavy metals are often present.  Even many so-called natural fabrics have been treated with potentially harmful chemicals, either during the growing cycle, to improve crop resistance and increase harvest, or as applied finishes.  These chemicals can pose a threat to human health and well-being.

Non-synthetic fibres such as cotton, linen wool, jute, sisal, coir, hemp, bamboo can be processed in ways that demand less treating although cotton is a very thirsty plant and does need large amounts of water to grow sucessfully.    These fabrics can also be coloured with natural dyes which have far less impact on the environment.  They are also biodegradable and can be recycled.   Hemp for example has a very long life, being very hard wearing, and its texture actually tends to improve with age.

For some examples of how to become more green and take the first steps towards using eco fabrics in the home, visit http://www.designercushionsandthrows.co.uk

Cushions in 'Hardy Organic Hemp' from the Emily Todhunter Collection at OEcotextiles
Cushions in 'Hardy Organic Hemp' from the Emily Todhunter Collection at OEcotextiles