Spring is here with Duchy Eco gardening tools

March 24th, 2010

Spring is here and it time to get planning and planting!

Here at good green gifts we stock Duchy Original Gardening tools from eco pruning shears, trowels and forks to heavy duty (but not too heavy) digging spades and forks.

Duchy Original gardening tools are part of the Prince of Wales’ collection of products that are committed to sustainability.

The wooden handles of these garden tools have been specially designed for comfort and ease and are made from sustainably sourced straight-grained ash sourced from the Duchy of Cornwall estate. This guarantees high quality wood from a renewable source.

 They are then hand barrel waxed – a natural protection method. The tool heads are manufactured in steel by craftsmen and hand polished. All the profits go back into the Prince of Wales’ charities.

So if you are looking for some special and beautiful gardening equipment (and just a little bit posh!) to start your digging, pruning and weeding, then these eco garden tools come highly recommended.

Make your own eco friendly clearning products: White wine vinegar

February 26th, 2010

Vinegar is a dilute solution of acetic acid, which cuts through grease, deodorises and acts as a mild disinfectant and is non toxic.

Although, we mainly chomp it with our chips, it is actually a very good eco friendly cleaning product which is literally, cheaper than chips!

The best type to use is white wine vinegar as it doesn’t leave an odour like malt vinegar. For a general cleaner 50% vinegar 50% water is a good start – although if stains are a bit tougher leave the solution on a bit longer or add a bit of extra vinegar.

White wine vinegar is an especially good eco substitute for window cleaner and can also be used to clean windscreens and windscreen wipers.

It is also a great descaler. If you want to clean shower heads you can pop them in a bucket of undiluted vinegar. If you want to clean your kettle, fill it up with vinegar and leave it overnight (but don’t boil it and make sure to rinse it out thoroughly!). For taps, soak paper towels in the vinegar, wrap around the taps and cover in plastic bags for a few hours and they’ll look brand new.

Vinegar is a great way to do less damage to the environment and means that you can spend a few less pennies on chemicals.

What is Kuba cloth?

February 1st, 2010

Despite its vast potential wealth, the Congo is one of the poorest countries in the world. Years of conflict have created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises leading to extreme poverty, mass homelessness and terrible health, nutrition and education circumstances. Oxfam gives a full report on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

With such extreme problems, supporting people in the Congo through the purchase of Kuba cloth offers a tiny solution to a tiny number of people, yet it offers this handful of Artisans both an income and a way of keeping their traditional crafts alive when so much else has been lost. Our Kuba cloth cushions tell a story, are striking, comfortable but are cushions that give peace of mind, knowing that you are relaxing amidst a sofa full of cushions that have made a difference to other people’s well being.

Kuba cloth is is a plain square of raffia cloth transformed into an amazing and intricate hand made textile with a rich ancient cultural history. An entire social group is involved in the production of the cloth, from gathering the fibers, weaving the cloth, dyeing the decorative strands, to applying the embroidery.

The square of Kuba cloth, the ‘mbal’, is woven by men on a loom while traditionally women decorate the cloth, using local plant dyes to colour the raffia, a needle to weave the raffia through the cloth, and a sharp knife to cut and tuft the raffia. Each square can take a month to complete.

The patterns in Kuba cloth are very traditional, representing aspects of the local geography or traditions.

Our Kuba cloth cushions have been supplied by a two person band – who are buying Kuba cloth directly in the Congo at fair prices, and are then transforming it into cushions. We have seen similar cushions for sale on the Kings Road for over £200 and hope that the money is being returned to the Congo to support communities. This is extremely rare cloth, and makes for the most stunning cushions with an amazing story behind them.