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.

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”

Why are Sofas drenched in Fire Retardant Chemicals?

According to recent findings in the US it may be that:

  • Chemicals that are used in household furnishings such as sofas and chairs to inhibit them from catching fire do not work.
  • Some fire retardant materials used over the years may pose serious health risks and have been linked to cancer, neurological deficits, developmental problems and impaired fertility. Most modern household furniture is saturated in flame retardant chemicals which escape from the furniture and settle in dust. That’s particularly dangerous for toddlers, who play on the floor and put things in their mouths.

It would appear that our furniture first became full of flame retardants thanks to the tobacco industry.  A generation ago, tobacco companies were facing growing pressure to produce fire-safe cigarettes, as so many house fires started with smoldering cigarettes.  Flame retardant furniture, rather than safe cigarettes, was put forward as the best way to reduce house fires.  Cigarette lobbyists organized an advocacy group which succeeded in covertly manipulating bodies of fire professionals, educators, community activists, burn centers, doctors, fire departments and industry leaders. to push for measures to be introduced.  The Citizens for Fire Safety group has only three members, which also happen to be the three major companies that manufacture flame retardants.  Surprised? Apparently a prominent burn doctor’s misleading testimony was part of a campaign of deception and distortion on the efficacy of these chemicals. The chemical industry “has disseminated misleading research findings so frequently that they essentially have been adopted as fact,” the authors wrote.

Organic Linen and Cotton Canvas for upholstery in four colours
Winthrop Organic Linen and Cotton Canvas for Upholstery in Four Colours, White, Grey and Delphinium and Sandwash Blue

So how do we create a more healthy home?  Fortunately companies like OEcotextiles are making it possible to furnish a home safely.  The new Two Sisters range of natural eco fabrics for soft furnishings is now available in the UK and can be found at www.designercushionsandthrows.co.uk.  If you are thinking about recovering a sofa or some chairs and want to safeguard your family’s health and well-being, the organic linen and cotton canvas blend upholstery fabric is an exceptional quality weave with tightly twisted yarns that comes in a range of 17 colours, something to complement every design scheme.

For those with children and small babies concerned about chemicals in the home, you can read more here

Whats is GOTS?

If you are at all concerned about the possible health implications to your family of the number of chemicals in the home and in particular used in the processing of textiles for clothing and home furnishings you may have already come across the letters GOTS. But what do they stand for and what does it mean to us as “shoppers”.

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a tool for an international common understanding of environmentally friendly production systems and social accountability in the textile sector;  it covers the  production, processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, exportation, importation and distribution of all natural fibres.  In brief, this means that all dyestuffs are free of AZO colorants, heavy metals and other chemicals of concern, and no chemicals are used during weaving or finishing which might harm you, so you can use any fabric which has been GOTS certified knowing that it is safe for you and your family.  For a full list of things that are specifically prohibited and much more go to the Global Standards website.

A fabric which is produced to the GOTS is more than just a fabric.  It’s a promise to keep our air and water pure through high standards.  Mills are required to treat wastewater and return it back into the system at drinking water quality. At  this point in time an organic fabric processed to these standards is the safest, most responsible choice possible in terms of both stewardship of the earth and preserving health for both ourselves and future generations by limiting toxicity and reducing carbon footprint.  Growing organic fibres also helps to maintain balance of the soil. Thank goodness for companies like OEcotextiles who are committed to producing fabrics that are safe for our families and for the world.

Organic hemp curtains and cushion
Organic Hemp Curtains and Cushion in Mist Grey and Alabaster White – fabric by OEcotextiles

Finally the standards ensure that workers are treated well and are paid fair wages. Working conditions are good (such as air purification systems, adequate light and ventilation) and child labour is not permitted.  Hard to believe that this is not always the case in the 21st century!

Surely we all want the same thing, a healthy home for our children to thrive in.  There is great power in our decisions, in the choices we make every day.  Sometimes it seems as if our lifestyle is in direct conflict with the well-being of the planet and all eco systems. How can we become more green in the home when it fells like there is limited time and income at our disposal?  But it is important to remember that we do have a choice, and by choosing where we spend our money we make a direct contribution to the changes we wish to see in the world, we must be the change.

Prefer natural fibres? Alpaca wool is great for cushion fillings

Do you have allergies to feathers or dust mites?  Do you prefer natural fibres to fibres derived from petro chemicals?  Do you look for quality products that last, rather than something that has to be replaced every 6-12 months?  Cushion inner pads in 100% natural Alpaca wool could be an alternative.

Looking for ways around dependence on the oil industry and also to reduce carbon footprint of the business I came across locally based Spring Farm Alpacas.  A visit to the farm introduced me to these delightful animals whose wool is naturally soft and cuddly, and it rapidly became obvious that the high standards of animal husbandry at Spring Farm ensure that their herd’s fleeces are exceptionally lustrous and full of bounce.

Alpaca Wool Filling
Alpaca Wool Filling

Wool is naturally flame retardant and does not need to be treated with any chemicals therefore making it an ideal material for people who experience allergic reactions to a wide range of substances in the home.  In addition, Alpaca wool is said to be particularly hypo-allergenic.

Alpaca Wool Cushion Inner
Alpaca Wool Cushion Inner

Test driving the cushion inners throughout the cold winter months revealed that not only are the fillers soft and comfy, but they also bring a warm glow to the back on cooler evenings.  Using organic cotton for the covers completes the chemical free experience.  I have started with cushion fillers in 16″ size as this is the most popular.  However, any size could be made to order.

Baby Organic Cushion
Baby Organic Cushion

Using textiles and fibres in the home that are free of chemical additives is particularly beneficial where there are young children or a small baby.  There are hidden pollutants in many furnishings.  Or if you  just want to become more green and move away from products dependent on the oil industry,  towards things that are renewable and biodegradable, then choosing wool fillers and cushion covers in natural fabrics such as organic hemp, linen and wool will help to put you on the road to a healthy home.

Cushion in Organic Hemp in Alabaster White with Pink, Feather Filling
Cushion in Organic Hemp in Alabaster White with Pink, Feather Filling
Sea Foam Blue Green Organic Hemp Cushion with Alpaca Wool Filling
Sea Foam Blue Green Organic Hemp Cushion with Alpaca Wool Filling