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      Candle Talk.....

      Candle Talk.....

      Candles make a moment. That’s why fancy cafes use candles at their dinner tables. The ambiance they create is undeniable.

      Candles play a big part in our evening meal. It’s a rule at dinner we eat as a family, and we make that time as special and pleasant as we can, such as lighting a candle. Every night with my family is a special occasion - and lighting a candle makes it so :)

      A candle can be so nice and romantic too. I use both soy and bees wax in my home. From distant spaces I will use both, but close proximity or long burns where I am near it I tend to use bees wax ( did you know that they are a natural air purifier? )

      In our shop we make sure that all candles are Fair Trade or locally made.

      They make a beautiful heart felt gift. A candle gift that says "you are worth special moments".  In fact when I give candles as gifts that's exactly what I write on the gift card. I LOVE receiving candles too.

      In store I get asked all the time – Which one is better soy or bees wax.

      So here goes with me trying to explain soy vs beeswax candles. So we can burn candles that are right for you and your needs.

       

      Firstly, why are ‘normal’ (Paraffin) candles bad for air quality?

      Most (cheep) candles are made with Paraffin wax (or a mix of Paraffin and another wax), and Paraffin is essentially a by-product from the refining of lubricating oil. So, when you start burning a paraffin candle in your home, you also release toxins such as toluene, benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein and soot. These toxins – that are quite the same as the toxins you get from burning diesel fuel – end up in the air of your home. **YUCK** . This is particularly not a good situation when your home is not well.

      That is why we stock only soy or beeswax candles. Because these candles are less polluting.

       

      Now to answer the question- What is healthier: soy vs beeswax candles?

      There are three mayor difference that make beeswax preferable ( for health reasons):

      1. Many soy wax candles will still contain (a bit) of paraffin and pesticides. Otherwise they cant work as well. And most of the times it is hard to identify how much paraffin there is in a soy wax candle. A candle advertised for as a ‘soy wax’ candle can very well still have quite a part of paraffin in it.

      The majority of soybean crops are genetically modified and are grown using pesticides. Some soy wax manufacturers process their soybean oil to filter out any genetically modified material as well as any "potentially present herbicides or pesticides" (source: www.ecosoyabrands.com). Unfortunately, most soy wax manufacturers do not do this this though (to my knowledge) which means a good portion of soy wax candles have the potential to emit chemicals into the air from herbicides and pesticides.

      2. Beeswax candles clean the air by releasing negative ions into the air. These ions bind with toxins, thereby improving the air quality. In fact, some people with allergies are very positive about the effect beeswax candles can have. I use in my bedroom beside me before I sleep and it helps with my sinus.

      3. Beeswax candles tend to be more natural, because no colour and scent needs to be added. Beeswax candles already have that delightful honey colour and a subtle smell of honey.

      Note:  To colour a soy wax or beeswax candle or to give it a perfume, something needs to be added, and that can very well be artificial.

       

      Which wax is best for scented candles?

      A beeswax candle already has a nice honey smell to it. However, you can also sent your soy candles yourself with essential oils. If you just melt the wax down, you can mix it with the essential oils you prefer. And that’s lots of fun 😊. So if you like to play with the candles scents soy is better.   

       

      Which candles (soy vs beeswax) are best for the environment?

      Soy wax comes from soybeans, and soybean production involves a lot of pesticides and a lot of water, and promotes rainforest deforestation. And many soy is genetically modified.

      Beeswax comes from bees – and since bees are under pressure, it can be helpful the environment to buy bees products. My view point is that the more request there is for bees products, the more bees farms and the more bees there will be. The process of making a beeswax candle is bee-friendly ( I have checked).

      That means that beeswax mostly is the best choice for the environment.

      As an addition to that: we would argue against using tea lights in aluminium cups, due to the waste of the cups.

       

      What is cheaper: soy vs beeswax candles?

      Quite some bee-work is needed to make beeswax, and that makes it the most expensive of the three alternatives (paraffin, soy wax and beeswax). It is however also the most natural option. So you are also buying a more qualitative product.

      A good quality soy though will burn for longer with same sized candles. So if you want a very long burn then soy maybe the way to go.

      So now you might be thinking "Oh no! My paraffin and soy wax candles are toxic? What do I do now?" First of all, the waxes are not harmfully toxic (as far as I know). Both waxes have to pass a series of tests and meet certain standards before they can be marketed as a wax that is safe for use in candles.

      The key is...MODERATION. When it comes to your health, this is the rule for just about everything...medicine, junk food, alcohol, chocolate...all of these things are fine in moderation. If you burn your candles in a well ventilated room, with a properly trimmed wick that doesn't kick up a lot of soot or smoke, chances are you will never see any negative effects on your health from (the not so healthy type) candles.

      Hope that answers your question 😊. At the end of the day just be considered and mindful with your purchase.  

      Love,

      Yvie xo

      Meet the Makers – Of Our Maximus Elephant Paper Items

      Meet the Makers – Of Our Maximus Elephant Paper Items

      Maximus in Sri Lanka saw both the need for employment in rural areas and for the conservation of the endangered Sri Lankan elephant.

      Maximus Elephant Dung Paper started in 1997 with the intention to marry the interests of job creation, wildlife protection, elephant conservation and rural empowerment through the production of beautiful stationery handmade from 100%waste material.Initially employing just 7 people, this Fair Trade and sustainable company now employs more than 200 people.

      The production of the paper brings the elephant into the economy of the village while providing full time sustainable employment in rural areas where there is conflict between the wild elephants and farmers. This employment further reduces the need to clear more land for subsistence farming in these important elephant migration corridors.  Maximus is trying to change the perception of rural Sri Lankans so that they come to value the elephants an economic asset rather than as a agricultural pest.

      Maximus won the BBC World Challenge, a global competition for small businesses that have shown enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level. It has also won the Green America Green Leadership Award for its efforts to build a more socially just and ecologically sustainable economy.

      Production of the elephant dung paper also contributes to the Millennium Elephant Foundation which provides a sanctuary for aged elephants and respite care and medical services for working and temple elephants.

      Paper from elephant dung?

      Well it’s not as crazy as it seems. Elephants are vegetarians, spending 17 – 19 hours a day feeding. An adult elephant eats up to 180kg of plant fibre every day and goes to the toilet 16 times a day producing about 100kg of dung. This dung is rich in cellulose and is ideal for making paper using traditional handmade paper making methods. In fact you could call the elephant the world’s largest living pulp mill.

      So how is the paper made?

      Using natural resources – First the dung is sun dried and then sterilized by boiling it at 120 degrees in a sealed high-pressure boiler.

      The pulp is then mixed to break up the fibers. Recycled office waste is then added for consistency, before being spread on to submerged screens to create sheets of paper. No bleaches or acids are used in the production of the paper with salt dyes used to create the beautiful colours.

      The whole process is sustainable. Bore water that is used in production is then put through a filtration system so that can be reused.

      Nothing is wasted. Even the small pieces of pulp paper that drop to the bottom of the tank are used to create the cut-outs which decorate our finished products.

      This process takes 13 days to complete, leaving a soft, naturally textured paper. And in case you are wondering…No, it does not smell!

      So here’s to the elephant an amazing tree free paper making machine, providing a clean, green, sustainable industry in rural Sri Lanka.

       

       

      About the Corr the Jute Works

      About the Corr the Jute Works

      The makers of our garlands and ceramic pots: 

      CORR-The Jute Works is a registered Fair Trade Trust of producing and marketing handicrafts incepted in September 2, 1973.  It is also a pioneer member of World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) previously known as IFAT.

      The aim was to provide rural marginalized women with work at home. Our goal was not only to rehabilitate them, rather to extend them in sustainable development with their family. CORR-The Jute Works was providing the means of income generation for these groups of women through producing handicraft items made out of a locally available raw material jute and other such as grass, leaf, cane, bamboo, clay. During its last 40 years journey CORR-The Jute Works was trying to upgrade the socio-economic condition of poverty-stricken rural women artisans. The organization has its well-defined mission, vision and philosophy.

      Now the organisation has 23 production areas in the country, all producing a diversified range of handmade jute, grass, leaf and terra-cotta products, which are being exported to different countries of Europe, America, Australia and Asia.

      The producers are organised in cooperative groups.They are fully autonomous in managing group affairs with the assistance of our Education Team as required and follow the cooperative principles. At present, there are 220 co- operative groups with 4856 female and 160 male producers in 16 districts of Bangladesh. In the field,volunteer supervision of production by group leaders and regular follow up visit by the Education Department ensure that the women receive a fair distribution of job orders.

      The producers make delivery the products timely and receive fair wage for their work. Problems in production, if any, are sorted out by the groups or reported to CORR-The Jute Works to make up the anticipated shortage from another group.  Job orders are given, according to the number of producers in the group and their skill. Producers learn how to save a portion to their earning on a regular basis for future gainful investment. Since the producers are the main concern of CORR-JW, all its efforts and resources are gear to their needs and benefits.

       

       

      About Colombian Mola Art

      Molas were shown at the Bogota Gold Museum's exhibition 'Molas: Layers of Wisdom' from September 2016 to July 2017 | © Clark M. Rodríguez - Gold Museum, Bank of the Republic

      Molas are a piece of artwork each one is a one of a kind. They are created in fabric in a technique commonly called appliqué.

      Molas originated from the indigenous community of the Gunadules (also known as Kuna people group), located around the border between Colombia and Panama. In this community, women are the ones in charge of the design and sewing of Molas, which they then wear as a fundamental piece of their garment. In fact their Mola is so important, that they are buried with their Molas.

      Molas are colorful, detailed and beautiful pieces of stitched artwork, but they also carry significant cultural meaning for indigenous communities in Colombia. 

      Interesting fact; You will not ever see molas available to tourists as clothing items as the Kuna people consider this to be sacred and they prefer to not have tourists wear the garments in the traditional ways. 

      A Colombian designer who now calls Australia home has created the best way to enjoy and wear this amazing art.

      The Mola Boot.....

       

       

      #ChooseToChallenge - 8th March International Woman's Day

      #ChooseToChallenge - 8th March International Woman's Day

      The global UN Women theme for International Women's Day (IWD) 2021 is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”.

      To be honest I found it hard, this year, to write about this theme. Because I want equality, but by merit, and women’s justice issues lead by both men and women, not numbers or ratios of men to women. Perhaps, I have the luxury to feel this way because I am surrounded by amazing men who treat  me as their equal.  So, I am not going to throw stats about the lack of representation because in my world men can represent and speak up for women too.

      BUT, we must recognise that this can only happen when men are raised well and are not misogynists. Therefore, we need to recognise the importance of raising self-assured boys and fierce girls who can become a voice to forge a gender equal world that accepts and encourages girls into leadership roles.

      Firstly, to do this we need to raise girls (and men) in a way that proves to them that they are equals. We must teach girls to  believe 'We can do anything that men can do.' But, we also need to teach our boys to say, 'We can do anything that women can do."

      Below are a few ways we can be leaders to facilitate this:

      • Celebrate and support women who are in male dominated fields, to create role models for the girls and lift the stereotyping.
      • Celebrate and support men who take on their fair share to care for children and at home duties.
      • Attend games and watch sports of both men and women. If there is to be fair pay in women’s sports the general public need to support it, and that is you and I.
      • Speaking up and encourage women to pursue their goals without bias or barriers. Such as raising the awareness of the importance of building a workplace that enables women to thrive. This is not about special treatment for women, but about the implementation of integrated gender diversity strategies. For example, we need educate our leaders of the future both men and women to speak up and say that a “‘masculine’ or ‘blokey’ culture that is non-inclusive and has a higher tolerance of behaviours that could be viewed as sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination” is NOT OK – EVER (Australian Human Rights Commission, Women in male dominated industries – a tool kit of strategies, 2013).
      • Equal pay for an equal day of work. Why is this so hard ????!!!!
      • When there is an obvious skew of lack of representation of women to men in a particular field or organisation it needs to be discouraged and seen as a business failure and this should be brought up for attention. And those who raise awareness  should be praised  as champions for equality.
      • Wear Fair Trade. By supporting Fair Trade you are supporting organisations that believe in gender equality and the empowerment of women. For example, at Global Mamas the women are encouraged to become business owners. To see how Fair Trade changes the life of these women go to the Global Mamas website

      One of my female heroes is Malala Yousafzai, an activist who at the age of 15 was shot because she stood up for her right to an education and despite almost losing her life  she still fights. She became this amazing leader because she had a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school.  He told her she can! Malala’s father highlights the need to tell our children they can be leaders to facilitate change to create a better, more inclusive world.

      Malala's courage to speak up has highlighted that one of the biggest challenges facing women into roles of leadership is educational inequality. Unfortunately, globally there is still a belief that women are not  worthy of the same educational opportunities afforded to men. Poverty, geography, and other factors contribute to huge disparities in education, but it is traditional patriarchy that justifies this denial of opportunity. Education is power and we need to ensure that both the enlightened men and women of the world stand up and voice to the patriarchal societies, that women have the right to education and that there needs to be policies to facilitate education at a governmental level. UNICEF is one organisation that is doing something about this issue, to find out more go to https://www.unicef.org/education/girls-education . 

      #choosetochallenge #IWD2021 #BeTheChangeYouWantToSee

       

      Global Mamas

      Image: source https://www.globalmamas.org/MeetTheMamasByTechnique

       

      Khadi, Natural Dyes & Block-printing are our passion - This is why :)

      Khadi, Natural Dyes & Block-printing are our passion - This is why :)

      All our designs for our inhouse label of clothing “Awear social re-design” are made by hand weavers. My taste runs to the more rustic woven cloths that have a subtle texture- the handwork involved is obvious in the subtle variations of the hand spun thread and the small changes in tension that happen as the weaver goes through the day.


      What can be the charm of khadi could also drive someone nuts, it does have little slubs and bumps in it sometimes, there can be subtle differences in tension of the weave from weaver to weaver. However, this is something I find absolutely charming as the fabric tells a story.


      What makes khadi production even more beautiful is that when done ethically, it produces much needed work in poor rural communities.


      Our label uses natural dyes because we want to protect waterways and protect producers and the community from toxic chemicals.


      “With landfill and plastics at the forefront of our minds, dyeing is often overlooked when it comes to fashion’s impact on the environment. But our desire for colour is quite literally toxic, and plays a key role in the argument for more sustainable style.” (https://www.vogue.com.au/fashion/news/5-ways-to-fix-fashions-biggest-pollution-problem-dye)

      Due  pollution caused by textile production, the river Noyyal in India is so contaminated it has been rendered useless for other purposes, in fact it is so bad that its not even suitable for irrigation. 

      Villages downstream from Tirupur on the Noyyal are the worst affected. Perfectly arable land has turned barren though there’s no shortage of water. In fact there is an abundance of it. Its just polluted. 

      Our philosophy is that clothes that do this kind of harm are ugly, no matter how aesthetically pleasing to the eye. 


      Our clothing is beautiful in every way that matters - visually and the way it feels on your skin, but most importantly  it is kind to the environment and those making it. Our clothing is special. And thus requires special and kind treatment, such as gentle washing in cold water and drying in the shade. Doing this you will get years of wear.


      Natural and non-toxic dyes will fade gracefully over time. Indigo will still rub for a wash or two and will slowly fade. We assure you though, that they will fade gracefully with age. We use AMA Herbal GOTS certified natural dyes for reliable quality.


      The block prints we use are water based, solvent free printing inks, they are permanent. All block printing is done by hand. Minimal water is needed to clean up after printing.


      Artisan made, environmentally kind clothing is a display of love that flows between the maker and the consumer. It creates employment, improves quality of life and preserves cultural skills that have been passed down for generations. It improves social design, and that’s what our label is all about.

      Lots of love,

      Yvie :)

      Owner, dreamer and doer @ Aware...the social design project