You Can Get Creative On Redbubble

Redbubble is an online store where people create their own original designs and artwork that you can have printed on various items such as t-shirts, bucket hats, phone cases, coasters, mugs, drink bottles, pet beds, shower curtains and more!

Anyone can create a design on Redbubble, as long as you aren’t plagiarising someone else’s work, or impacting on international copyright laws then you can upload your artwork as a digital file. It’s a potential side hustle that can bring in some passive income. And it’s a great way to let your creative side come to life. Think outside the box and design something that you would love to own.

I’ve printed out some hats and shirts from Redbubble already. The clothing quality is fantastic. The fabric is soft and durable. The coasters are brilliant! They have a cork backing and are properly sealed to protect the artwork from spills.

Check out my original designs at my Redbubble online store: https://www.redbubble.com/people/fullcupwellness/shop

Have you designed or bought anything from Redbubble? What did you think? Comment below!

Why Do I Have A Carbon Footprint And Why Does It Matter?

With all of the discussion around the climate crisis and environmental health, you may have heard the term Carbon Footprint. Your personal carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases, that you produce through your actions.

The release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from human activity is a measurable impact of our effect on the environment. As mentioned in the satirical movie Don’t Look Up, all of the data is there in front of our face. We cannot ignore it. Now is the time for action.

All of us can do our part for our future and the preservation of our gorgeous world. Small actions put together make huge progress.

Be Aware Of Your Environmental Impact

Often there is an indirect environmental impact when you are buying particular clothing or a more direct impact like choosing to travel by plane or train.

Transportation:

This one might be the most obvious but every time we fly a plane it produces massive amounts of greenhouse gases and other pollutants that are released into the atmosphere. Choosing to take a train or carpool for shorter distances is a better option for the environment.

Ditch the car for a walk up to the shops if they’re only a few blocks away. Enjoy your walk outside and make it part of your self-care routine. Instead of setting aside time to exercise or go to the gym, you’ll find this incidental exercise much more enjoyable and it doesn’t cost money to put on your walking shoes and a backpack with your shopping bags. Don’t forget your reusable drink bottle!

Clothing:

This one is surprising… the clothing industry accounts for 10% of all global carbon emissions annually. That is more than the flying and shipping industries emit each year. When you purchase an item of clothing you are accepting all of the steps involved in producing that t-shirt or pair of socks. Some companies may offset their carbon emissions by purchasing “Carbon Credits” however, there is a lot of controversy around carbon credits as this can be seen as an excuse to continue with less environmentally-friendly practices. This is also sometimes referred to as “Greenwashing” or making something seem better for the environment than it really is.

To reduce your environmental impact when purchasing clothing, you can choose to support companies that are transparent with their business practices and environmental considerations. Purchasing less clothing is also very important. If you select higher quality items that last longer, then you will spend less money in the long run because you won’t be buying more items to replace your torn t-shirt or jeans. In-turn, you reduce the amount of resources used around the world, many of which are in limited supply.

Additional Environmental Note: A massive amount of water is used in the production of denim jeans. The best place to purchase denim (and other clothing) is at a second-hand shop.

Purchasing Power:

Where you spend your money is one of the most important decisions you can make when considering your impact on the world. Many of the banks and superannuation funds that hold your money are using the money to invest in particular companies and projects, including those that pollute the environment, such as coal mines and oil companies. You can research the investments of each of the companies and make your decision to put your money where you would like it to be used best.

The main place where you’d put your money, other than the bank, is at the shops! Buying lower quality items from companies that use unsustainable practices to produce their products means that you support the actions of these companies. The cheap knock offs might seem okay but look behind the price and cheap materials to see the real priorities of the people who are taking your money and using it to continue their unethical practices.

Food Waste:

When you compost food properly then the right bacteria breaks the food down and it is converted into a nutrient-rich fertilizer containing the forms of nitrogen and carbon necessary for plants to grow. When food waste is sent to landfill the lack of oxygen and the right types of bacteria prevent the composting process from occurring as normal. Huge amounts of greenhouse gases are produced when food rots in the rubbish dump instead of being composted under the correct conditions.

The best way to reduce food waste going to landfill is to be more conscious of your purchasing, take stock of the food you already have and use it up before it goes bad and is thrown in the bin. Use a shopping list when doing the grocery shop for the household. Don’t buy more than you will use up before it expires. Freeze extra food before it goes bad. Use up leftovers! Share your food saving tips in the comments.

Repair, Reduce and Reuse before you Recycle:

When recycling materials such as plastic bottles there are a lot of resources used up in the recycling process, such as water and electricity. The recycled plastic then loses its integrity and can only be used for certain applications. Recycled plastic can’t be recycled back into the same strong plastic it was before. Even with plastic recycling programs available, only a small percentage of all plastic is recycled. The best option for the environment is to refuse plastic and other types of low quality items, rather than trying to recycle all of the plastic that is produced.

When you purchase clothing and footwear of good quality you will find that they not only last longer but you can often repair them to extend the life and prevent more waste going to landfill. This is also true for some larger items like furniture and appliances.

Thank you so much for joining me today in learning more about our carbon footprint and why it matters.

Have a read of my previous post on reducing the waste you produce in your home and some simple swaps you can make to help the environment. Visit my online store for some handmade environmentally friendly, low carbon-footprint products.

Comment below with your tips on reducing your environmental impact!

Featured Image credit: Shutterstock

The joy of handmade

Nothing beats making something yourself. The sense of accomplishment alone is rewarding enough. The time and effort you put into a creative project is worth it because not only have you created something with your own hands but you have also developed your skills. Every minute you spend on your hobby you are improving and honing your skills.

Being creative and enjoying your hobbies has a positive effect on our mental health. It lowers stress and increases feelings of self worth and self confidence.

I’d love to share with you this project I recently completed. For those of you who don’t know I have a passion for crochet. I tried a new crochet pattern and I modified it slightly to create this super adorable Santa Hat bralette.

Crocheted Santa Hat Bralette Handmade By Queeenvk. Crochet pattern modified from https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/muy-caliente-bikini-top

I made this bralette top in a size small but the straps are long enough to fit a medium too. The cups fit a C-D. Feel free to send me a message to order a custom crocheted bikini top, or something else that you might need. I also have a passion for making weighted therapy items so reach out to me if you are interested in ordering a crocheted commission piece from me.

Please check out my online store with some of my crochet creations. My repertoire ranges from small stuffed toys to large ottomans. Bikinis are relatively quick to crochet but cardigans are slow going, just to give you an idea.

Thank you so much for your support. You can find me on Instagram and YouTube by searching for me, Queeenvk.

Digital Decluttering For Digital Hoarders

Do you have collections of things like photos and files and little mementos that evoke fond memories? I’ve always been a collector of things, especially when they have sentimental value.

Sometimes a collection can get out of control if you don’t trim it and organise it. If it becomes an overwhelming hoard it can cause stress and mental exhaustion. However, it’s usually difficult to see the hoard of digital clutter when it’s tucked away in your hard drive, photo gallery, archived files and all of those forgotten USB sticks stashed in the junk drawer of your kitchen/desk/storeroom.

It’s a good idea to regularly de-clutter the digital storage locations of your life, otherwise it becomes more difficult to store and locate the things that you need in your life. Think of how long it takes for your computer to search through large amount of data. As you add more data, more processing will be required to sort through the data.

Tip 1: Unsubscribe

There is no need to stay subscribed to marketing emails if they are just cluttering up your inbox. When you find yourself deleting the marketing emails instead of actually opening and engaging with them, that is a good time to locate the Unsubscribe button. Each email you receive in your inbox takes up time and mental effort from another task. Make your email inbox work for you by setting up filters for certain emails. You can also create all different folders in your inbox to sort your emails and make it easier to locate important information. For example, I have a folder for any emails that contain details and documents required for my next tax return. That way, when tax time comes around, I just open the folder and then I have what I need to fill out my tax return, including receipts and invoices to be claimed back.

Tip 2: Cull photos

Now that we no longer have to print each photo we take just to view it, it becomes easier to take more photos of the same thing. I know I have a lot of duplicate images, some more in-focus than others, so it’s easy to delete the duplicates without worrying about losing any information. Delete your blurry photos and any duplicate images that aren’t useful to future-you. Make sure to cull the photos in your phone, computer, tablet and any other photo storage locations. Even if you are removing the photos from your gallery and transferring them to a cloud-based storage location you should still consider de-cluttering the photos saved on the cloud. First, it will be much easier to look back through the photos once you’ve condensed your collection to just the meaningful images. Second, storing data on the cloud doesn’t mean the data isn’t taking up space anymore, it’s just not taking up space on your PC or phone. The cloud actually stores the data in a physical location which takes up space. The virtual storage space is not infinite so there are concerns about where we will fit all our data in the future, as all the data just keeps piling up every day.

Tip 3: Organise your Computer Desktop (or phone homepage)

When you’re at your computer, do you save all of the new files to your desktop? And is your desktop now so full you can’t fit anything else or find what you need? We all know someone who has all of those icons filling up the desktop so that you can’t even see the background image.

First, make sure that the files you save are saved to a meaningful location. You can make your own folders within folders to sort everything! Then when you need to locate the file again and you’ve forgotten which folder it’s in, you can search the entire PC or the approximate file location and the path to the desired file will be revealed. And the search won’t take as long because you’ve already decluttered all the blurry and duplicate photos that were clogging up the memory on the hard drive.

On your phone homepage you don’t need to store all of the icons for all of the apps. Just select the handful of apps that you constantly open up and only add those shortcut icons to the homepage. Or you can even find a widget or 2 for your homepage to help you out and increase productivity. For example, I use a note taking widget that I have pinned to my homepage that shows me all of my latest To Do tasks and reminders at a glance. I no longer need to write reminders on scraps of paper or the back of my hand!

Tip 4: Delete obsolete documents and uninstall programs

Just like keeping all your old school work, it can be tempting to keep all of the essays and reports you wrote for those undergrad university assignments. But what if I need to refer back to it later?! Sure, if there are documents and topics that are related to your career, hobby or important life event then you can store them in a way that makes it easy to locate and sort through the information, eg. In folders or in an app. But if you’re just keeping your first year chemistry assignments because you’re proud of them then it’s time to let go, be proud of the memory of your time at university. You can keep the graduation certificate but not the assignment about valence electrons.

Any old programs and apps that you’re no longer using on your computer and phone can easily be uninstalled in a few clicks. Be careful about uninstalling programs on your computer if you don’t know what they do. One time when I was just a teenager I thought I’d declutter my slow PC by uninstalling some programs I didn’t need. Alas, I deleted the sound card drivers and had to restore my computer to a previous date to fix my mistake. What a n00b.

Thanks so much for reading. I hope you found this content useful. If you’d like to show your support please subscribe to my Youtube Channel. And feel free to reply in the comments with your digital decluttering tips!

The Short and Long Term Effects Of Laughter

You know it feels so good to have a long and intense belly laugh but what is really happening in your body when you laugh?

There are both physical and emotional effects on the body and mind when we laugh. You may have even heard of laughter therapy which encourages forced laughter and also uses humour to reduce feelings of stress and depression.

Scientific research on the effects of laughter indicate that laughter from tickling even forced laughter has a lasting benefit on the body. So whether you’re laughing with someone or just releasing some pent up emotion, the act of laughing will help you to feel better.

Some Short and long term health benefits of laughter:

  • Enhances cardiovascular function by improving blood-flow through our vasculature system.
  • Strengthens immune and endocrine systems by lowering levels of the stress hormones in our body such as cortisol and adrenaline. Ongoing low levels of stress can cause cortisol levels to remain in the system for extended periods, laughter can help reduce stress and cortisol levels.
  • Laughing together with someone else is more rewarding that laughing at them and it promotes a feeling of togetherness. Laughter occurs in many animals too. It is understood that laughter helps to strengthens social bonds between humans and animals alike.
  • Massages and exercises the muscles of the abdomen and diaphragm. Like a very gentle workout.
  • Feels like a physical release similar to crying or screaming but makes you feel good
  • Feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine are released both during laughter and smiling. The brain will respond by providing you with happiness hormones even if you force yourself to smile. Amazing!
  • Improves your sense of humour and outlook on difficult situations.

There are many physical and mental benefits of laughter and science is revealing more and more of them as we incorporate MRI and other technology in our research worldwide.

Thank you so much for reading. Stay happy and keep smiling.

Please visit my Youtube channel, TikTok and Instagram to show your support by liking, following and subscribing.

Crafting People Are Happy People

How good is it to just sit back for a relaxing crafternoon (crafting in the afternoon)? It feels so rewarding when we finish a project and stand back to admire our handiwork, so it is no surprise to hear that there are emotional and neurological benefits of learning a new skill and letting your creativity loose.

Scientific research shows that crafting lowers stress and can help reduce feelings of anxiety. Levels of the stress-hormone cortisol decreases during and after performing creative craft activities.

While you’re crafting you are connecting to the present world around you instead of being stuck in the worries of the past or future. Your brain power is taken up by something far more productive and useful for your health. Some people use art as a therapeutic or meditative process to clear and calm the mind.

Inventing new ideas and exploring old ones in a different way can be so rewarding. It brings on those feelings of self accomplishment as well as expanding your mind to see new perspectives.

You’ve probably heard that doing crossword puzzles staves off dementia by helping keep the brain active. Basically, when you don’t use it – you lose it, so if you’re making new connections in your brain you’re keeping it active. Whether your hobby is crossword puzzles or creating a new piece of art, you are keeping those neural connections in working order.

There are many different types of crafts that are available for you to try. Find one that resonates with you and practice it, letting your mind flow with creativity.

My favourite craft at the moment is crochet. It took me a bit of practice, but once I got the hang of it, it just clicked for me. The repeating movements are quite soothing, as long as you take breaks to rest your hands! Here are some of my previous posts related to crochet crafts.

Here is a list of some other crafts you might like to try, maybe there are some you’ve always wanted to try or maybe you will find something new that you never considered before:

Origami/paper art

Painting

Sewing/needlework

Yarn crafts such as knitting, macrame, etc.

Scrapbooking

Lettering/calligraphy

Clay sculpting/pottery

Resin pouring

Flower pressing or flower arranging

Origami cranes

Reply in the comments with the crafts you love and the crafts that you’ve always wanted to try. Which crafts interest you and which crafts have you tried but didn’t like? For me, I’ve tried sewing and embroidery but they are too complex and confusing for me to grasp, whereas crochet clicked in my brain and I understand it a lot easier. Isn’t neurology so fascinating?!

Please visit and subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more from me, QueeenVk. ❤

Therapeutic Benefits Of Weighted Blankets, Plushies and Lap Pads

The weighted blanket craze has been opening up the conversation around mental health and anxiety. People of all different backgrounds and neurotypes are experiencing the benefits of weighted therapy items. Therapy toys can be used by people of all ages as they can help anyone who is experiencing difficulty with coping day to day.

Me having a doona day, in my lounge wear snuggling the woma python I designed and crocheted.

I combined my passion of crochet with my desire to help people and make people smile to come up with a few cute weighted plushie designs. The featured image at the top of the post is the cute crocheted weight crocodile I created.

Me getting cuddles from the crocheted weighted crocodile plushies I designed and made.

There is a lack of colourful and lovable lap pads and weighted blankets out there. These therapy items can be so enjoyable and soothing. So I decided to design a lap pad with stimming bits to preoccupy your hands while watching TV.

A progress shot of my stimming lap pad while I was sewing the seams up. It’s a sky and sea theme with (clockwise from top left) 2 clouds, a sun, sea anemone, star fish and a bubble.

I filled the centre of the lap pad with foam so it has structure while it sits on your lap.

You can email me at fullcupwellness1@gmail.com to order your custom crocheted therapy items. All ideas are welcome. Let’s get creative together.

See my crochet creations that are up for sale here (including the weighted crocodiles!)

Check out my YouTube channel for more The Full Cup Wellness with me, Queeenvk

Nutritious Delicious Fungi

Mushrooms are the meat of the vegetarian world. But they are neither meat nor vegetable. They are classified as fungi because of a few specific characteristics, for example, the cell walls are made of a material called chitin. This is why mushrooms are more nutritious when cooked because those chitin cell walls are too tough for us to digest to reach the goodness inside.

Fun fact: The mushroom part that pops out of the ground is actually the fruiting body of the fungus. You’re picking the fruit!

Types of mushrooms that you can eat:

Make sure you only eat mushrooms that have been picked by a professional. There are many mushrooms that contain toxins that they use to protect themselves from being eaten since they can’t run away from predators. Sometimes these poisonous mushrooms look very similar to safe mushrooms, which can prove fatal if you eat them. There have been recent reports of families being poisoned after they picked mushrooms in Australia that look almost exactly like the safe mushrooms from other countries. It is vital that you don’t go and harvest your own mushrooms without the proper knowledge.

There are so many types of good eating mushrooms all around the world. They all have different flavours so I encourage you to explore the exotic mushrooms at your grocery store. Some really delicious mushrooms you may have heard of are:

Enoki or enokitake

Shimeji

Shitake

Oyster mushroom

Vitamins, minerals and other benefits of eating cooked mushrooms:

Vitamins B1, B2, B12, C, D, E, folate,

Trace minerals such as potassium,

Amino acids,

Low calorie source of fibre and protein,

Antioxidants, especially when grilled or microwaved.

Best ways to cook mushrooms:

Grill or microwave mushrooms to get the most nutritional value out of them. These methods leave the antioxidant activity in tact (Source). You can also fry, boil or bake mushrooms to enjoy the beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Fun fact: The largest organism in the world is a fungus that spans a few km across in a forest in Oregon, USA.

What are your favourite ways to prepare mushrooms? Do you stuff them? Fry them with butter and garlic? Those are my favourite ways to enjoy mushrooms.

You’re worth more than a number

[Listen to me read this post out for you on Spotify]

You’re worth far more than any number on a scale.

If you don’t have to, seriously, NEVER weigh yourself.

Is it actually useful to know your weight and how it fluctuates daily, weekly, monthly? Be honest.

Instead, it’s far more useful to note how your body is feeling. How are you feeling at the moment? Are you a bit bloaty? Are you in pain? Are your clothes tight or uncomfortable?

If stepping on the scales makes you feel so crappy that you lose motivation then remove that toxic bitch from your life!! No BODY has time for that negativity.

If you’re losing confidence and beating yourself up because of those scales, get yourself out of that depressing cycle.

You have the power to remove those negative influences in your life and become more productive in your journey through life.

And remember, our weight fluctuates so much that we weigh differently at different times of the day. The amount of water you drink or whether you’ve emptied your bowels will make a lot of difference. Even the amount of sleep you get will change your weight!

So weighing youself day to day doesn’t actually matter. You know what does matter?

How strong you are becoming as you train your muscles to lift weights.

Holding that yoga pose or nailing your pilates routine.

Reaching your goal of running a few km or completing a marathon.

Feeling confident when you look in the mirror.

Loving yourself because you’re worth it!

It’s rare that I check my weight anymore. When I do, I accept the number that appears on the dial. It’s only a number.

Working towards fitting into a pair of jeans or a slinky dress is a great goal, but you deserve to love yourself and feel worthy in the clothes you are already in. No matter the size.

The health benefits of deep restful sleep

Sleep is linked to multiple aspects of our health because it affects different organs and hormone levels throughout the body. Deep restful sleep is also known as slow wave sleep and occurs as the third stage of non-REM sleep. The REM stage of sleep comes after this deep sleep stage. During deep sleep the brain detoxifies itself from harmful proteins that build up during the day and sorts out your recent memories. We cycle through the stages of sleep multiple times during the night. However, people who snore or have sleep apnea are less likely to reach the deeper stages of sleep as they are waking themselves up multiple times during the night.

For the adults, you want to make sure you’re having 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night. Everything is better in moderation. Teens and babies need different amounts of sleep depending on their age.

Less than 7 hours of sleep or poor quality sleep can cause:

Your blood to thin leading to an increased risk of low blood pressure and dizziness. Fewer red blood cells are made so your blood ends up being thinner than it should be.

Reduced cognitive abilities. Lack of sleep can affect you in the same way as too much alcohol. Don’t drive while sleepy, it’s as bad as drunk driving!

Poor memory recall as your recent memories aren’t effectively processed by the brain.

Difficulty in maintaining weight due to disruption of levels of hormones involved in hunger (ghrelin) and feeling full (leptin). Studies have shown that less than 5 hours sleep cause a decrease in leptin levels. This is probably because your body wants to make sure you last the fast of the night but if you have a shorter sleep then your body thinks you need less leptin to keep you feeling full. Unfortunately ghrelin then comes in and makes you feel hungry before a meal. It isn’t affected by your sleep but I have noticed that if I’m not asleep by midnight I get those hunger pains that make it difficult to get to sleep without having a snack first. In the long run it becomes harder to maintain your weight if you’re always eating a second dinner before bed (which was me back in the day when I was up late studying for uni exams).

Lack of deep restful sleep to clear the build up of toxic proteins in the brain that cause Alzheimer’s. Current research indicates that Alzheimer’s might be caused due to build up of tau and amyloid-beta proteins in the brain that are created during the daytime. These proteins are cleared from the brain during deep sleep so it’s very important to deal with insomnia if you can.

Life span can be affected by poor quality sleep. Studies have shown that shift workers may have a decreased life span. Disruption to sleep patterns can cause insomnia as our circadian rhythm is a daily cycle consisting of different hormones released during certain times of the day.

Too much sleep can lead to:

Thicker blood which leads to increased risk of stroke and high blood pressure. More sleep doesn’t necessarily make you feel more refreshed. It can leave you feeling more drowsy if you sleep longer than around 9 hours.

Tricks to beat insomnia:

I know everyone says this one but it’s absolutely true: AVOID CAFFEINE. Caffeine has a lasting effect in the body so limit your intake to the morning and no more than one cup of coffee per day. Black tea contains less caffeine but it’s still there so limit cups of tea or make them weaker.

Blue light filter: Exposure to blue light suppresses your body’s natural melatonin levels. Melatonin is the hormone that increases in your body during the evening, telling your body that it’s time to go to sleep and recharge. The release of melatonin helps to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and sleep cycles. Blue light is emitted from your TV, computer and smartphone screens. Use the blue light filter function on your smart phone after the sun goes down. You can set them to turn on and off at your chosen times. Personally, my smartphone’s blue light filter is set to switch on at 9 pm and off at 6 am. If your TV, computer or laptop doesnt have a blue light filter function you can purchase blue light filter glasses that look just like regular reading glasses. Search for them online. There are specialty online stores that focus on these light filtering glasses.

Meditations: Yoga nidra for sleep and mindfulness meditation. These types of meditation are like a brain training exercise to keep your thoughts on the present moment. Insomnia can sometimes be caused by us dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. When we’re in the present moment we’re free to control our thoughts into something more productive. Specifically with yoga nidra mediation you will focus on each part of your body individually, making sure it is totally relaxed and ready for sleep. You willl often find that you’re only a quarter of the way through before you fall asleep, it’s surprisingly effective! Give it a go, there are guided meditation tracks online or in my favourite free meditation app Insight Timer.

Supplements: There are some supplements you can purchase from your pharmacy off the shelf. I like velarian root supplements. I’ve also tried melatonin with some success. Personally I haven’t experienced any side effects of using these but ask your doctor for more advice on these supplements and if they’re right for you.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Visit my Youtube channel, QueeenVK, for more Full Cup Wellness.

Keep your cup full!