37 Coutts Street
Kilbirnie
Wellington
  • Products and Services
  • Curtain Clean

    Curtain Clean specializes in cleaning all types of curtains, Roman blinds, Duet blinds and others.

    Cleaninfg & MOULD REMOVAL

    We are industry specialists in removing mould and mildew from curtains, drapes & blinds.

    Local Agent

    The Wash House. 37 Coutts Street, Kilbirnie,

    Curtain repairs.

    At Curtain Clean we can repair your curtains, replace the linings and alter the curtains.

    Ronman blinds

    We can do repairs to Roman blinds. We can add new roller rails to your Roman blinds.

    New or replacement Lining

    We replace old torn linings and can make you new linings or add an extra lining to your curtain.

    Fire Retading Fabrics.

    Many curtain materials are flameable . We can Treat them with flame resistant solution. Keep safe.

    DOOR TO DOOR SERVICE

    If you are unable to get to an agent we can arrange to have your curtains couriered to us.

    More Info?

    See our website for more. www.curtainclean.co.nz
    Chat available during office hours.

    BE HAPPY

    Happines is clean, fresh curtains.

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4 days ago

Things to Consider When Exploring Blind & Curtain Ideas

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

Hoping to buy blinds or curtains but feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the choices? You might walk into a store with great curtain ideas but it’s easy to lose focus when you see all the options on the shelves.
Did you know that blinds and curtains can be energy efficient? Did you know there are… View more
Hoping to buy blinds or curtains but feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the choices? You might walk into a store with great curtain ideas but it’s easy to lose focus when you see all the options on the shelves.
Did you know that blinds and curtains can be energy efficient? Did you know there are more types of blinds that the typical shutters? There’s so much to consider!

To help you narrow down your options, here are some tips to pick the right blinds and curtains that work best for you:

1. Colour
Your choice of colour will be among the main priorities when choosing the ideal blinds or window curtains. Getting the wrong colour can ruin the aesthetic value of the whole room.
The wrong colours on the wrong windows can also lead to quick degradation. If you use strong colours like blood red on windows where the sun shines often, the colours could fade quickly. Go around this by choosing blinds or curtains with nude or neutral light colours, ensuring they’ll still look good even after fading a bit.

2. Measurements
Your second step is to make sure you get the right measurements. The general rule of thumb is that your blinds or curtain panels should be longer and wider than your windows. Drapes should go down to the floor.

If you want to make your windows and walls look bigger than they are, include a few inches above the window. Hanging your curtains 4-5 inches above the window frame creates an illusion of length.


3. Material
Blinds come in all shapes and sizes. Generic blinds like shutters or slats use aluminium or wood. Sheers use glass and these are great if you want to filter out light and striking glares in the room.

Curtains, on the other hand, come in too many options. Most use cotton, wool, silk, and linen. Thicker curtain fabric is great if you want to control temperature and prevent bright light from seeping into the room. Lighter fabric is better when you want to keep the airflow circulating.

Material choice will also affect your budget. It goes without saying that the stronger and more functional materials will cost more.

4. Style
Getting the right fabric, right measurements, and the right colour won’t do you much good if the style of the blinds or curtains doesn’t click with your personal preferences.

There are a lot of stylistic blinds and curtain ideas to choose from. Do you want to stick with plain colours and a sleek design for a modern look? Will you go for deep colours, embroidery, and frills for a Victorian or Edwardian aesthetic?

Blinds can be boring, white with no style at all, or as unique as vertical sheers using rotating glass materials.

5. Ease of Use
Generic blinds are easy to use; you have one line to pull to open or shut the blinds and another line to rotate the individual panels. Cheap curtains require you to pull them open by hand and then tie them manually but you may find a few affordable choices with their own rope.

In short, make sure you check if the curtains and blinds are easy to use. You don’t want to spend more time than you have to only to open your window and look outside.

6. Safety for Kids and Pets
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7 days ago

All About Curtain & Upholstery Fabrics

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

There are five different styles/category of fabric that form the foundation for the vast array of curtain and upholstery fabrics you see on the market today. Each fabric style outlined below has its own unique characteristics and are produced using different techniques. Some of these fabric types … View moreThere are five different styles/category of fabric that form the foundation for the vast array of curtain and upholstery fabrics you see on the market today. Each fabric style outlined below has its own unique characteristics and are produced using different techniques. Some of these fabric types will be well known to you like plain and printed fabrics, while others less so.

You may be wondering why cotton and linen for example are not included here – this is because they are a type of composition that falls within one of these categories below.

Here we give you a high-level overview of the styles of fabrics available to you for your home interior or commercial interior project.

PLAIN
Plain fabrics are characterised by simple weaves and textures not showing any complex design.
Simple weaves are for instance – hopsacks, twills, herringbones and satins. Common fabric compositions used for plain fabrics include natural fibres (cotton, linen) as well as synthetic fibres (polyester, acrylic, etc.)

Plain interior fabrics take on a simple and paired back aesthetic. Ideal for a minimalist décor, you can complement plain fabrics with more textured and tactile textiles for added interest to your home décor.

PRINTED
Printing is the process of applying coloured designs and patterns to a woven textile. One or more colours are applied to the fabric in specific parts only, using thickened dyes to prevent the colour from spreading beyond the limits of the pattern or design. In quality printed fabrics, the colour is bonded with the fibre so as to resist loss of dye from washing and friction (crocking). Printing is an ancient textile manufacturing technique of which there are five print production methods you can use:

Burn Out Printing:
A process which uses chemicals, rather than colour, to burn out or dissolve away one fibre in a fabric. The purpose is to achieve a sheer design on a solid or opaque fabric. The chemicals used during production can make this fabric sensitive to ultraviolet degradation when hung in direct sunlight.

Digital Printing:
Rapidly becoming a popular and commercially viable printing method due to its flexibility, precision and consistency. With this new printing technique it is now possible to print any design, even with photographic detail, onto fabric. There are no restrictions in the amount of colour that can be used.

Engraved Roller Printing:
The printing method used for the majority of fabrics worldwide. The colours are printed directly onto the fabric. There must be one roller for each colour used in the print. The more colours used, the better the print definition and depth of colour. The number of colours used is printed on the left hand selvedge of a fabric along with the brand.

Hand Block Printing:

The oldest form of printing. Print designs are created by transferring dyestuffs onto fabric with the help of wooden, linoleum, or copper blocks. Artisans hand craft individual blocks to carry each different colour in a design and perfectly match block placement to create the all-over design.

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12 days ago

Level 2 - Open

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

We are open for Level 2! Please follow Covid safety guidelines!

31 days ago

Repairs and Alterations

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

At Curtain Clean we take care of all types of repairs!
- Repair undone hems
- Repair rips and broken bartacks
- Repair ripped sides of curtains
- Shortening of curtains


If you have curtain problems we can probably fix them! Call us on 0800 579 0501 if you have something you would like to … View more
At Curtain Clean we take care of all types of repairs!
- Repair undone hems
- Repair rips and broken bartacks
- Repair ripped sides of curtains
- Shortening of curtains


If you have curtain problems we can probably fix them! Call us on 0800 579 0501 if you have something you would like to discuss with us, or click the link to contact us by email.

14 days ago
34 days ago

Curtain Hooks & Replacement parts for sale

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

We sell ALL SORTS of replacement parts - from hooks to tilters to end caps to blind weights and everything in between! Pictured are our most commonly requested parts, but we have many others in our workshop for all types of blinds and brands. Get in touch with us if you need something - 0800 579 … View moreWe sell ALL SORTS of replacement parts - from hooks to tilters to end caps to blind weights and everything in between! Pictured are our most commonly requested parts, but we have many others in our workshop for all types of blinds and brands. Get in touch with us if you need something - 0800 579 0501 or email us on admin@curtaincleaning.co.nz!

42 days ago

The Green Side of Wool

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

We have a soft spot for sheep. For many, sheep are symbolic to New Zealand culture with the rearing of sheep being the backbone to the economy for many years.

Sheep farming was established in New Zealand by the 1850s and has played an important role in the economy ever since. For several … View more
We have a soft spot for sheep. For many, sheep are symbolic to New Zealand culture with the rearing of sheep being the backbone to the economy for many years.

Sheep farming was established in New Zealand by the 1850s and has played an important role in the economy ever since. For several decades wool accounted for more than a third of New Zealand’s exports by value with the sheep population peaking at just over 70 million in 1982.

This number is significant when comparing it to New Zealand’s human population. By 2020, sheep numbers dropped to 26 million, following a decline in profitability compared to other types of farming, particularly dairying.

While also farmed for their meat, today’s article focuses on sheep wool and its environmental attributes.

Wool is a natural and renewable resource and as long as our beloved sheep are eating the tasty green pastures from New Zealand farms they will always produce wool. Wool has amazing properties that make it ideal for many applications from home textiles through to incontinence underwear.

At this point in time, cotton and synthetic fibres are the most commonly used and produced fibres globally, however their performance does not come close to wool, in particular the environmental benefits.

From wool to yarn: The wool clip (total yield of wool shorn during one season from the sheep) is sent to the scourers where the wool is cleaned and dried, and from there to a woollen spinner where the fibre is spun into yarn. The yarn is then sent on to the manufacturer of textile products where many different processes are involved.

The yarn is wound onto dye cones and dyed to the required colours. Next the yarn is warped onto beams. These warp beams are then threaded through the looms so that the weft yarn can run across the warp to create a woven fabric.

The fabric is then inspected and then washed and dried. Very few chemicals are used in the processing, typically only water and heat.



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46 days ago

Before and after cleaning

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

These curtains are looking as good as new after being treated for mould removal. If you have orange or black spots on your curtains - that is most likely mould! It loves a combination of dust, damp, and heat. It can smell very musty, especially if left to grow. We are experts in mould removal and … View moreThese curtains are looking as good as new after being treated for mould removal. If you have orange or black spots on your curtains - that is most likely mould! It loves a combination of dust, damp, and heat. It can smell very musty, especially if left to grow. We are experts in mould removal and ensure curtains are treated with no colour loss - if you have any questions feel free to give us a call and we can have a chat. 0800 579 0501

48 days ago

What is Yarn: What It’s Made From, How You Make It and More

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

When researching or reading about different fabrics, you are likely to see the word yarn mentioned a lot. ‘Made from spun yarns’ or ‘with synthetic yarns’ are a couple of examples. But what is yarn? What is spun yarn? Are there other types? What does it all mean, and how much relevance does… View moreWhen researching or reading about different fabrics, you are likely to see the word yarn mentioned a lot. ‘Made from spun yarns’ or ‘with synthetic yarns’ are a couple of examples. But what is yarn? What is spun yarn? Are there other types? What does it all mean, and how much relevance does this bear to your final fabric? That’s what we are here to look at in a little more detail.

What is Yarn?
Yarn is a length of fibres. That’s the simplest way to explain it. It is a continuous length of fibres which are interlocked, and it’s used to produce fabrics, as well as in crocheting, knitting, embroidery and ropemaking.

This means that we can split yarn into two different ‘categories’ of sorts. The thread that is used for embroidery or in sewing machines, as well as yarn (commonly known as balls-of-wool) used in crafts such as knitting or crocheting, are long lengths that are bought as yarns.

The alternative would be a yarn which is then knitted or woven into a fabric. The textile is then bought as fabric, in lengths, rather than the yarn itself being purchased separately. This second description is the one that we will explore further in this post.

What is Yarn Made From?
Yarn can be made from such a variety of different fibres. This includes both natural and synthetic fibres. The most common plant fibre is cotton, however, you can also use other natural fibres such as bamboo. Alongside cotton, the synthetic polyester fibre makes up the two most commonly used fibres. Animal fibres are also often used, such as wool, harvested from sheep, as well as cashmere (harvested from goats) Angora (from rabbits) and silk (from insect larvae).

What is the Difference Between Spun and Filament Yarn?
Spun yarn is made by twisting staple fibres together in either an S or Z twist, to make a single thread. The process of twisting the fibres together into yarn is called spinning and it was one of the first processed to be industrialised. Spun yarns can contain a single type of fibre, or you can spin various types of fibre together to give you a blend.

Filament yarn is made up of filament fibres which are either twisted together or simply grouped together. It can either be composed of one filament, which is called a monofilament, or it could be made of more than one, in which case it would be known as a multifilament. This can be as few as two or three filament fibres, or even up to 50, or more.

Keep reading: www.curtainclean.co.nz...

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51 days ago

Make a Living Wall

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

If you enjoy growing your own potted plants and would like a stylish way of displaying them inside the home, then this month's project could be just what you need. I've been admiring living walls and hanging gardens for some time now, and decided to create an achievable small-scale … View moreIf you enjoy growing your own potted plants and would like a stylish way of displaying them inside the home, then this month's project could be just what you need. I've been admiring living walls and hanging gardens for some time now, and decided to create an achievable small-scale version to house small pots and fresh herbs in my kitchen. These shelves are affordable and easy to make, and ideal for apartments and smaller homes without much garden space.

For this project you will need:
• 1 length of untreated pine 20mm thick and 120mm wide
• Hand saw or skill saw, sandpaper
• Drill with 72mm hole saw drill bit and 7.5mm drill bit (for 7mm rope)
• 9 x 9cm terracotta pots
• White synthetic general purpose rope 7mm x 10m, 8 x white plastic cable ties
• Resene Colorwood Whitewash, speed brush or synthetic paintbrush

• Various herbs or small plants

Step one: Cut your length of pine into three pieces, each 600mm long. You can do this with either a hand saw or a skill saw. Once cut, give them a sand.

Step two: Measure out the placement of your holes that will hold the terracotta pots. I spaced mine out at 150mm centres. Repeat these markings for all three lengths of timber.

Step three: Using a drill with a hole saw attachment, cut out 72mm (D) sized holes to fit your terracotta pots. I practised first on a spare cut of timber I had lying around, to make sure that the hole I was drilling was the right size. For my 9cm pots, I found that 72mm ensured a good fit. Tidy up each hole with a light sand.

Step four: Now you need to cut the holes for your rope. Measure in 20mm from each corner and mark your drilling spot. Use a 7.5mm drill bit to make one hole in each corner (the size drill bit you use will depend on the thickness of the rope you are using to hang your shelves – adjust accordingly). Repeat for all three lengths of timber.

Step five: To achieve a fresh, clean look I used Resene Colorwood Whitewash interior wood stain. There are lots of colours to choose from, so you could pick whichever best suits the timber you are using and where the finished project will be hanging. I applied two coats of Whitewash using a speed brush, or synthetic brush.

Step six: Cut your rope into four equal lengths and thread each length through the corner holes of your shelves starting from the bottom. Tie each length of rope into a knot on the underside of the bottom shelf, so the bottom shelf rests on these knots.

Step seven: Adjust the placement of your shelves until you get them evenly spaced. Make sure you allow room for the pots to sit in the shelves, and room for your plants to grow of course. I spaced my shelves at 200mm apart. Secure the undersides of your remaining shelves with cable ties, they are a good solution because they aren't hugely visible and they don't budge. Trim the long ends of the cable ties once in place.

Step eight: Add your pots and plants, and hang in your chosen spot. Make sure that you use hooks that can safely take the weight of your shelves.



DIY with pictures: www.curtainclean.co.nz...

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55 days ago

How to Make Hemp Rope

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

Knowing how to make rope was once a critical skill for survival and self-sufficiency on the frontier. Early settlers were able to make rope from a variety of materials, but the main thing they used was hemp.

A rapid growing plant, hemp is perfect for making rope. Hemp grows fast. It produces up … View more
Knowing how to make rope was once a critical skill for survival and self-sufficiency on the frontier. Early settlers were able to make rope from a variety of materials, but the main thing they used was hemp.

A rapid growing plant, hemp is perfect for making rope. Hemp grows fast. It produces up to 75 tons of dry matter per acre per year. It thrives in poor soil, needs no fertilizers or pesticides to succeed, and gobbles up atmospheric CO2, stymieing the greenhouse effect. It produces more fibre per pound than either cotton or flax, and these fibres are easily extracted in order to make hemp rope, twine, or cord.

Hemp rope is easy to make. Some methods involve using a rope machine, but fortunately such an investment isn’t necessary to the process. All you really need is some hemp fibre or hemp twine, and a short piece of wooden dowel. Our hemp rope maker, available in our shop, will really streamline the process for you if you plan on making lots of hemp rope.

Step one: Separate the hemp fibres or unwind the hemp yarn and cut into lengths approximately twice as long as the desired length of the rope. Continue cutting until you have a bundle of fibres approximately half the size of the diameter of rope you’d like to make.

Step two: Grab the bundle of fibres and fold it in half, securing the fold by placing a dowel rod through the resultant loop and into the ground. Smooth the fibres of this bundle down by running your hand along the length of the cord.

Step three: Divide the bundle in two, holding half the fibres in your left hand and half the fibres in your right.

Step four: Twist each bundle clockwise until the cord you are creating begins to kink and loop. Pull as hard as you can while twisting.

Step five: Twist the two cords together, wrapping one over the other in a counter clockwise motion, to form a rope.

Step six: Secure the ends with overhand knots beginning with the end in your hands. Once the first end is tightly tied, slip the rope off the dowel rod and tie it as well.

To make a cable, repeat steps 2 through 6 and twist the two ropes together. This process can be repeated as many times as you like, making thicker, stronger cables as you go.

Enjoy making your own hemp rope! This technique can be used to make hemp twine, hemp cord. and hemp yarn as well. It all depends on the size of the fibres you start with. Need some ideas for what to do with your newly made hemp rope? Try using a piece as a clothesline, for air-drying your clothes. Make a hemp leash for your pet, or keep your hemp twine petite for use in jewellery making.

Making rope is a great way to be self-sufficient and eliminate the supply chain requirement. Everything you can make yourself is one less packaged product– in this case, one less coil of synthetic rope– that needs to be manufactured for you. Have fun!

58 days ago

Curtains & Blinds: Which types are best?

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

When it’s time to replace your curtains, most of us only worry about cost and style. But did you know this choice can make a massive difference to how warm and comfortable your home will be over winter? We tested which types were most effective at reducing heat loss in your home.


The … View more
When it’s time to replace your curtains, most of us only worry about cost and style. But did you know this choice can make a massive difference to how warm and comfortable your home will be over winter? We tested which types were most effective at reducing heat loss in your home.


The problem: If you have an insulated house, you can lose upwards of 45% of your heat through your windows. This drops to 30% in an uninsulated home, since it’s easier for heat to escape through the walls, ceiling and floors. This shows the importance of choosing wisely when it comes to your curtains or blinds; the right window coverings can save two-thirds of the heat lost through your windows.


Our test: We measured heat loss through an aluminium-framed single-glazed window fitted with different window coverings. The window was fitted to a mini-room inside our Thermal Comfort lab. The lab temperature was reduced to 4°C to simulate a chilly winter night, while an electric heater inside the mini-room beavered away to maintain a temperature of 20°C.


The different window coverings were tested for at least three hours and we measured the total power usage from the heater, along with the difference between indoor and outdoor temperature. These readings were then used to calculate how effective each window covering was at stopping heat escaping.

Reverse chimneys: Cool air is denser (heavier) than warm air. When it’s cold outside, the inside air close to a window pane is cooled and tends to sink. As this cooled air sinks, it gets replaced by warmer air from other of the room. This creates a circulating air current that cools the room parts.


Curtains that aren’t sealed at the top or bottom to stop these air currents can make the situation worse by forming a channel between the window and curtain. This allows cooled air to flow continuously and chill the room faster.


We tested two types of curtains, thermal and heavy lined, cut to both sill and floor length. The thermal curtains were in a single drop and had a plastic coating bonded to the fabric. You might have expected the thermal curtains would perform better, but the extra layer of fabric in the pricier heavy lined curtains made them better insulators. If you’re getting curtains fitted, opt for floor-length as they keep in heat better than ones that sit at the sill.


Which blinds are best?
We tested five types of blinds: honeycomb, roman, roller, and aluminium and wooden venetians.
Our blinds were installed within the window frame (with the exception of the romans), so there was no gap (like the one between the back of the curtain and the window frame) to allow a reverse chimney to form. Honeycomb blinds easily topped our testing for all window coverings. Air is a good insulator, as long as it’s not moving, and the honeycomb structure creates a large, still air gap between the cold window pane and the warm inside air.
Also, the honeycomb blinds fitted closer to the sides of the window frame than our other tested blinds, which also helped reduce heat loss.


While their public baths may have gone out of fashion, roman blinds are still going strong. Roman blinds were the best window covering after the honeycomb blinds and secondary double-glazing options. A roman blind’s good performance comes down to the close fit it has over the window frame. This good seal, along with a close fit to the wall at the top, helps retain heat.


Keep reading: www.curtainclean.co.nz...

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62 days ago

Movie Magic at Home

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

If your child is a real movie lover, then here are some Movie Magic activities to keep them busy over the school holidays.


Think outside the box (excuse the pun!), and create some real movie magic in your own home. Here are a few indoor ideas to get you started.


At home movie theatre … View more
If your child is a real movie lover, then here are some Movie Magic activities to keep them busy over the school holidays.


Think outside the box (excuse the pun!), and create some real movie magic in your own home. Here are a few indoor ideas to get you started.


At home movie theatre experience: It’s always nice to go out to the movies, but you can recreate that movie theatre feel at home, and turn an ordinary DVD, or streaming movie, into a real experience. Not only will your children have lots of fun, but with so many things to organise it will entertain them for a whole day or more.


Firstly choose a movie, and have your kids make a movie poster to advertise that it is ‘Coming Soon’ to your ‘at home’ theatre. Stick the poster to your lounge window, or if you’re really brave – to your letterbox.


Make invitations to attend the official premiere, and send them to your children’s friends with details of date, time and occasion. If you want, ask everyone to dress in fancy clothes so that the premiere can be extra special.


Set your lounge or theatre room up with rows of chairs, cushions or beanbags, and roll out a red carpet for your guests. If you don’t have a red rug, make a pathway with garden stakes up to your door, and tie on lots of red balloons. Make sure the curtains are closed, so the room is dark like a real theatre.


As your children’s guests arrive, greet them with a bag of sweet ‘n salty popcorn or a chocolate dipped ice-cream, and usher them to their seat with a torch. The premiere will be the talk of tinsel town!


Make your own movie: Think you might have a budding peter Jackson in the house? Have your children make their own movie with a video or sports camera, or even on your mobile phone. They can do the post-production editing using free phone apps, or there’s simple, free software you can download onto a desktop computer.


They will have to come up with a storyline first, and then spend time putting it together. You can even take them right through the process of drawing a movie storyboard and writing a short script. Of course there will also be the grand opening premiere at the end.

In some cities there are ‘movie making’ holiday programmes available, specifically using the computer. Start by asking your child’s school if they know of any movie making workshops, or check out your local computer shops. If all else fails, advertise at your local polytechnic, university or high school for a capable student who can help out. Give your child a few hours with an expert, and you’ll be amazed by what they come up with.

Hollywood ‘Walk of Fame’ paver: Nothing says Hollywood like a ‘Walk of Fame’ paver, and there are two ways to make one depending on the age and stage of your child. You can either buy a concrete paving stone and simply paint on their details, along with painted hand prints, or make a concrete paver right from scratch.


To make a mould, cut the bottom off a plastic bucket so you’re left with a dish approximately 5 cm deep. Mix up some quick set concrete and pour it into the dish. Using a stick (or the end of a paintbrush), draw on the Hollywood star and write your child’s details, then have them press their hands into the centre of the star.

Decorate the paver by pressing in pieces of coloured glass, tiles, old coins, marbles or shells. After 24 hours, or once the concrete is completely set, remove the paver from the mould and it’s ready to grace your ‘Walk of Fame’.



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67 days ago

Staying Warm for Less

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

Brace yourself. Severe weather is on its way for parts of the country and experts predict at least two days of icy temperatures, howling gales and torrential rain. Get the temperature up while keeping your power use down.

Our energy-saving tips will help reduce your overall electricity … View more
Brace yourself. Severe weather is on its way for parts of the country and experts predict at least two days of icy temperatures, howling gales and torrential rain. Get the temperature up while keeping your power use down.

Our energy-saving tips will help reduce your overall electricity consumption, meaning you won’t feel guilty for having a toasty home.


1. Don’t fear the electric blanket: they cost little to run (just over $10 per winter if used every night), especially compared to electric heaters. But only sleep with it on if it has a delay timer that can switch it off after a few hours. And it’s important not to neglect heating your bedroom – the World Health Organization recommends keeping bedrooms at 16°C.


2. Break out the crock pot: running a slow cooker all day uses a third of the electricity compared with cooking a roast in an electric oven for two hours.


3. Check your heat pump filter: it needs vacuuming every three months. The good news is it’s easy – just slide the cover off the front of your heat pump, lift out the filter and hoover away. If you haven’t cleaned it all year, you’ll immediately notice the difference. You don’t need to pay for a pricey heat pump service to get this sussed.


4. Clean your clothes dryer’s lint filter: don’t put your vacuum cleaner away just yet. Remove your clothes dryer’s lint filter, then give it a lux as well. This can significantly improve your dryer’s energy efficiency, thereby reducing its running costs.


5. Draught-proof your home: are your door hinges loose or your window latches rattly? Grab a screwdriver and tighten them up. This reduces the chance of nasty draughts blowing through your home. If that doesn’t work, buy some vinyl strips that adhere to the insides of the window frames to achieve a better seal between the window and the frame.


6. Cheapo double-glazing: you don’t have to be made of money to improve the heat retention of your windows - DIY window film, which fits across your frame and sits a little off the pane, can cost less than $10 per pane. You simply fit it to the frame to create an insulating layer of air between your room and the cold glass. Alternatively, taping bubble wrap to the window frames will achieve the same effect.


7. Light smarter: switch from your old incandescent, halogen or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs to LEDs. They use far less energy and last much longer.


8. Check your power deal: visit Powerswitch.org.nz to see if you could be getting a better deal for power elsewhere. If you’re on a spot-based tariff, consider switching for the winter to avoid the high spot prices currently experienced on cold winter evenings.


9. Shower smarter: grab a 10L bucket, chuck it under your shower and start timing. If it fills in less than a minute, your showerhead is a water-waster. You can snag a low-flow, energy-efficient showerhead for less than $100.

10. Revisit your childhood with a wheat bag or hot water bottle: it costs next to nothing to fill a hot water bottle or heat a wheat bag, and they’re a great way to keep the bed warm in a pinch.

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68 days ago

Rainy Day Holiday Activities

Robert Anderson from Curtain Clean Wellington (The Wash House)

Rainy days are the one thing parents do not need during the holidays, but they happen. We have great ideas for free or low cost rainy day activities when the kids must play indoors.

In a perfect world, every school holiday would be filled with blue skies and sunny days, but unfortunately … View more
Rainy days are the one thing parents do not need during the holidays, but they happen. We have great ideas for free or low cost rainy day activities when the kids must play indoors.

In a perfect world, every school holiday would be filled with blue skies and sunny days, but unfortunately that’s not always the case – especially during Winter! It’s a good idea to have some inside activities up your sleeve for those ‘stuck indoors’ times. We’ve put together our favourite rainy day ideas for you to have on hand, just in case.


Let’s Get Physical: Just because you’re stuck inside, doesn’t mean the kids have to blob out and do nothing. In fact if one rainy day rolls into the next, they’ll be itching to move about and use up some energy. Try some of these ideas to get active while you’re stuck indoors:


•Make your own Ten Pin bowling alley by using plastic soft drink bottles and a rubber ball. Put a cup of sand or gravel in the bottom of each bottle to give them a bit of weight, and then arrange the ‘pins’ into a triangle shape at the end of the hallway. Children stand at the other end of the hall and take turns to bowl.Use your Ten Pin alley to fill in half an hour here and there, or arrange a whole tournament to take place amongst your children and their friends.


• Create an obstacle course that traipses through the whole house. I know it sounds like a nightmare to clean up, but it will keep the kids occupied for ages. Not only do they get to create the course, they then get to do it over and over. They can time each other to see who can do it the fastest, or experiment running the course backwards, blindfolded, or with their hands behind their backs. You’ll need to make sure the course is safe, so check it out before they launch into their races.

• Dancing is a great way to burn off some energy, so turn on some music and start moving that body. If you have a house full of kids, you could play musical games like statues or musical chairs.


Create your own Board Games: Board games are a great way to while away a few hours, but if your children are tired of the games you have at home, why not get them to make their own. Give them a large sheet of poster card, some felt pens, old magazines, scissors and glue, and let them go to it.
They’ll need to create their own rules, cards, counters and dice, and trust me – you’ll be amazed by what they come up with. The whole family can take turns playing each other’s games.

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