Friday, February 27, 2015

Five creative DIY crafts for your garden

Post by Amanda Walters for the Kind Kindred series.



Whether you have a tiny patch of lawn or acres of land, there are many things you can do to make your outside space pleasing on the eye. It’s all about creativity and imagination, so if you’re feeling inspired check out these five exciting DIY crafts:

Create a miniature garden

Miniature gardening is the latest craze from across the pond which is both fun and surprisingly addictive. Like the name suggests it essentially involves creating a downsized garden (complete with accessories of your choice, be it chairs, birdcages, trellises and such like) before displaying it on your patio – or even bringing it inside. The possibilities are endless and with mini garden items available from sites like BakkerSpalding Garden Co., you won’t be short of choice.

Paint your garden bench

Want to bring your old garden bench back to life? Then why not paint it a different colour or go completely crazy and paint each slat a different hue? If you’re working with a wooden bench, it’s a good idea to sand the surface down to bare wood before you start as this will give you a smooth surface and help the primer adhere well to the wood. To finish, apply a quality exterior primer followed by an exterior latex or oil-based paint.

Make your own wind chime

Wind chimes play a beautiful, soothing melody on a breezy day, so how about making your own? You’ll find plenty of inspiration online but if you want to get the kids involved a tin can wind chime would be ideal. To do this simply gather an array of empty, clean tin cans of various sizes, tape the rims to prevent any cuts and decorate them with paint, glitter or anything else which takes your fancy. Next, punch a hole in the top of each can and thread a long length of yarn through. Attach two washers to the string, one to keep it in place, the other to bang against the inside of the can. Tie your cans round a branch so they overlap each other and hey presto, you’re done!

Make an outdoor chandelier

Who says chandeliers are just for inside the house? They look great outside too and you could even turn one corner of your garden into a tranquil area for peace and relaxation. To do this all you really need is a wire basket with a handle and a flat base. Once you have a suitable container, pop an array of candles inside (they can be coloured or clear depending on your taste) and decorate the basket with old jewellery such as crystal-look necklaces or clip on brooches – this is where it gets fun.

Make a painted wheelbarrow planter

Got a rusty old wheelbarrow lying around? Great! This can be turned into a fantastic planter with just a bit of elbow grease and artistic freedom. To get things started, thoroughly wash and scrub the metal to remove all dirt and sand it down. Cover in primer before spray painting it a colour of your choice. After that you can decorate it with bright stencil designs or whatever else takes your fancy before finishing with varnish. Finally, pop some soil inside, plant some colourful flowers and you’ve made yourself a garden feature piece.

These ideas are sure to spice up your outside space, so go ahead and give them a go!



Amanda Walters is an experienced freelance writer. Graduating with a 2:1 in Journalism and creative writing in 2009, she has since enjoyed five years of creating strong relationships with a range of site owners and is now a regular contributor to Huffington Post. 

She loves to read, and has a passion for all things weird an wonderful. She strives to reach others through her writing. 

Follow her on Twitter
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Finding the kindness of the wild earth

Post by Jodi Sky Rogers for the Kind Kindred series.


photo courtesy of pixabay

I stood looking out at the wetland before me. Moorhen sailed smoothly across the water, silent, serene and seemingly unaware of my pain. My heart ached. My mind could not make sense of what was happening. In a vulnerable moment of desperation, I sent out a silent pray to the Universe. To the Earth. To anyone who was listening. My Spirit needed lifting. I needed help to understand and heal. At the time, I had been trying to come to terms with a deep sense of betrayal. A close family member defrauded me. They ended up in court and were being charged for the crime.

Just as I offered up my desperate prayer, a wind rushed through the three mature trees that stood tall beside me. The branches shook and a shower of beautiful golden leaves danced and swirled as they fell to the ground around me. I was overcome with an incredible sense of peace. I knew in that moment that I was being held. Held by the kindness of these sister trees, held by the kindness of Mother Earth and held by the love of the Universe. I knew once more that I would find a way to be okay, to let go and to release my pain and anger.

I developed an affinity for Nature from a very young age. Throughout my childhood, the natural world was the healing sanctuary that I escaped to when life in a toxic home was hard. It was the healing balm that soothed the emotional wounds from unkind bullies who picked on me. It was the one place where I felt safe and at peace. Yes, it is true that Nature has a hard exterior that can make one perceive it as harsh, destructive or violent. But when you delve below the surface, you find its softness – a delicate interior that emanates a hush of beauty, stillness and sacred wisdom. Its softness wants to hold us in warm embraces of wild comfort.

As I grew older, I learnt to perceive Nature as a sacred space where spirit dwells. Mother Earth is a powerful teacher and healer. Each aspect of nature is a mirror of what lies inside of us. She teaches us how to live from our heart centre and how to love unconditionally. She teaches us what real freedom of spirit and inner peace is. Each leaf, tree and stone is imbued with Divine Spirit. They are wisdom keepers. They are love notes and instructions from our Creator.

When ancient cultures and early peoples first began to develop a conscious sense of spirituality, they looked to Nature. They saw the sacred in the earth, the trees, the rain, the sun and the stars. They connected with the unseen forces of Nature for wisdom, guidance and healing.

So when you are next visit a natural space, be it your garden, a park, the beach or the mountains, take a moment to be present. Invite the wisdom and healing energy of the Earth into your life. Be open to its kindness. You may be surprised at what shows up.


Jodi Sky Rogers is an Eco-Intuitive & Writer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. 
She is a flower charmed and nature loving soul who loves quiet moments in lotus position, dreamy sky-scapes and the magic of the Universe.
Website | Twitter | Facebook
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

3 Weird Lessons I Learned When I Got Rid Of Everything I Owned

Post by Damien Dante for the Kind Kindred series.



photo courtesy of Vincepal on Flickr

Have you ever felt that need?

The need to leave everything behind you and just wander into the unknown…?

I know I have. One day I decided to act upon that craving. Why?

I wanted to completely change my life. Start fresh. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and write it down however I want.

So I packed only one small backpack, bought a plane ticket, and moved to a different city. Hell, it was a different country. A different continent. Basically I ran as far away as possible.

Before that decision, my life was based on living in a nice apartment, eating in nice restaurants, meeting my good-looking friends and owning nice, new objects.

I ended up alone, owning nothing (besides a bed bought at Ikea, a rice cooker and couple books), trying to find the way to happiness and a mind-blowing life.

This journey took me about three years.

Wanna know what I discovered about the essence of living during that period?

Here are 3 weird lessons I learned when I got rid of everything I owned.

1. Why owning things is actually good

We often need to lose some things in order for us to appreciate them.

Getting rid of all my stuff was necessary for me to understand that there’s nothing wrong in owning them.

As long as you know WHY you think they make you happy.

Behind everything we want stands an emotion pointing us to something that we truly need.

We might want money because in the end it makes us feel secure. But we can switch that idea and find a source of security somewhere else.

We might want to lose weight because we believe in the end it will make us feel significant. So what you want to do is find healthy ways to fulfil your need of feeling special.

I wanted nice objects around me because I connected them with the emotion of feeling loved.

Now I know how strong that need to be loved was in me.

Now I fulfil my this need in a healthier way. I find it in improving other people’s lives. I find it in gratitude. I find it in saying, “I love myself” every day.

What emotion stands behind the things you think you want to have or want to accomplish?

Are you meeting your emotional needs in a healthy way?

2. Escaping works!

Most motivation gurus will tell you that there’s no sense in escaping.

That’s nonsense.

There’s nothing wrong with escaping if you want to change. There’s nothing wrong with escaping if you feel like a change of place will do you good.

Escaping works; however, only in the short term. In the long term, nothing will change. If you understand, you can win this game.

That extra boost, that new beginning, that breath of fresh air, can help you and move you forward. It will motivate you to change your life and help you reinvent yourself. Change of place and change of way of living are great fire starters.

But without work, dedication, and everyday small steps towards improvement, the old demons will hunt you down.

Sometimes you need to get lost for a moment in order to find yourself. But to stay on the right track you must know where the right path is and follow it.

What do you really want and what one small thing you can do today to make it happen?

3. The key to kindness is not where you might think

When you have little (like an Ikea bed and a rice cooker), you find people around you who want to help you.

Most often people think they can help you by giving (money), sharing (a moment of conversation), and preaching (word of advice).

But when you have little, you don’t need any of these.

Don’t get me wrong. Of course it’s great to feel compassion, bond, and experience the care around you. And if you lack money - receiving them will help - for a moment.

But these are not the things that will help long term.

If you want to help others, GIVE THEM A CHOICE.

In the long term, you’re not gonna help the hungry kid on the street by giving him money or food.

What that kid really needs is CHOICE.

Choice means the ability to pick your own path. In the modern world it means having a fair start. For some, that might mean getting access to job opportunities, for others it might start with access to education or clean water.

Those who helped me most were the people who told me “I want to make you an offer…” and then invited me into their life. They didn’t see me as anybody worse or different just because I had less than them.

Then we became equals.

How to own more than you can imagine

In the end, we all want to feel the same emotions. Love is the strongest of them all.

The best gift you can give is the possibility of being loved.

When you feel love, you don’t need much more. You don’t need objects, accomplishments. All is swept away by the experience of being in state.

How can you have more than you can imagine?

Become like a tree.

On a hot sunny day, a tree doesn’t judge who it gives shade to. It doesn’t matter if the person who seeks a moment of relief is a good or bad person, what he/she did in the past, what were their committed sins...

The tree gives shelter to anybody who needs it without judgment, no matter who that person is.

That kind of love is what I hope you and I can give to someone else, for the rest of our lives.

I think it would be great if someone else treated US this exact way.

Wouldn’t you like that?



Damien Dante is a writer and life-traveler obsessed with one question - how can we make the world around us a happier place. 

He shows you how to live a mind-blowing life in his new book.
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Only you can bring you peace



photo by Jenny Ingalls Nelson

Talk to anyone who looks like they can "do it all" effortlessly, and you'll pick up on a deep sense of peace. It's a grounding force and it comes from within.

Sure, they may practice yoga or meditate or walk in nature or pray or any number of external things, but the core of that peace comes from inside. These external activities nurture and support it.


So how do I get in on that peace?

Start slowly. Start observing yourself. Notice times that you don't feel at peace. Notice patterns. Just notice.

Gentleness is key here. As Pema Chodron teaches, the most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.

When we have the courage to practice gentleness and observe ourselves, we gain knowledge. This knowledge of self is just like any other knowledge - it enables you to do things differently. Learning about the places within us where we don't feel at peace provides the key to unlock that deep sense of peace that can only come from inside.

Thanks for being on the journey with me.

❤, Lara
CLICK TO TWEET Nothing can bring you #peace but yourself. @KindOverMatter via Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Time is our own creation

Post by Sherina Mayani for the Kindness in Business series.


photo courtesy of geralt on pixabay

There never seems to be enough time to do the things we want and need to do. We all too often get caught up in the constraints of time -- or at least what we imagine to be the constraints of time. In reality, time is an illusion we’ve created to add structure to our lives, to help us better understand a limitless universe. The idea that time is our own creation is a concept that was at first difficult for me to grasp. Time seems so real, after all. We have seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years. Night turns into day, winter gives way to spring. How can time be an illusion?

It took me awhile, but I finally understand this concept and how it can help us lead more fulfilling, successful lives. I want to share with you some important lessons I’ve learned to help you not only maximize your time, but also to help you see better results in your business and life.

  1. All we have is now. Forget the past and the future. What’s done is done, and to fret over what’s to come is simply a waste of time and unnecessary stressor. You must focus on the present to make the most of your time -- it’s all you can really control, and it’s what most matters. When you live in the now, time slows down. You stop and breathe, you focus your attention on the task at hand, at your surroundings. We are in control of our time, and we can extend it by being present in the moment.
  2. Perception affects reality. We each have our own unique perceptions of the world -- our own realities. Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. The way we think has more of an effect on our lives than most realize. If you don’t think you have enough time, you’re right. You don’t. Allow yourself to have the time you need. It all begins from within. Think abundantly. When you believe you have the time to do all the things you want and need, your outer world will reflect those thoughts.
  3. Don’t let deadlines dictate your life. Setting goals for yourself is necessary for productivity in life and business. Deadlines are important, but too often they create unnecessary stress. You don’t have to lose your peace of mind over what you perceive to be a strict timeline. Push that pressure aside and breathe. It’s incredible how much we can actually achieve when we give ourselves the time we need. Putting so much pressure on ourselves with deadlines can end up slowing us down and keep us from reaching our goals. Chances are you’ll be right on time anyway -- so why stress?
  4. Remember to breathe. This is perhaps the most important practice anyone can follow. We live in such a fast-paced society, we often forget how to properly breathe. Stop what you’re doing right now, and take a deep breath. Do it over and over again, and focus on the rise and fall of your chest, the way you feel as you inhale, and then exhale. It feels different from the way you normally breathe, doesn’t it? Remembering to breathe and breathe deeply goes hand in hand with living in the present. It’s a calming, grounding practice that brings us back to where we need to be. If time feels like it’s just speeding away, stop and take a deep breath. 
Learning to be in control of our time doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a work in progress. But if you can take just one of these lessons with you and start today, you’re on the right track. Start small, but dream big. Life is what we make it, so make the most of it by making the most of your time.


Sherina Mayani is a Business coach who guides feminine spiritual leaders to their most powerful, independent, high-vibrational selves and success in life and business. She is here to uplift and empower women who may feel trapped and restricted in their present environment, show them new heights, and allow them to soar to their highest calling so they can see the possibility of creating the life they know they are meant for.
She is a certified Divine Living Life Coach. Her biggest desire is to assist women who know they have a powerful spiritual calling, and who want to own their excellence by allowing themselves to shine in both their beauty and businesses.  
Web | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Peak




It would seem the waking hours were often spent

chasing an unreachable high

one that could only be found when all of me

was carved out in wood in the same corner

of the ceiling at the same exact time

and how rare was this that also

those below would have had to speak

in hushed tones because it was as if they knew

that there was someone there, someone who

had possibly reached some sort of pinnacle

that not dare be disturbed or interrupted

and I know I would be grateful because

if I had to start all over, there would be a chance

I would not hit this peak again and then

the restlessness would drive me mad and I would ache

oh god that ache, the deep, deep ache –

then the falling, the dozing would come eventually

and I would always wake up minutes later

exhausted and confused


Published author and eclectic Earth-Based Spiritualist, Renee Avard-Furlow, the “Unique-tivity Guide", has formed a Holistic and Spiritual endeavor focusing on bringing out the unique and creative side each person already has inside them. 
By offering guidance sessions to restore harmony and to show all how to allow their Star inside to lighten Life outside, she imparts the wisdom needed for everyone to usher in whimsy and embrace an amazing truth: we are ALL worth catching. 
She can be found at: www.reneeavardfurlow.com, on Facebook  and Twitter.
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