Taxes, Chaos and Comfort...

By: Friendly Accountant for Fiber Queen

A month ago I finished wrapping up another year's journey through the tax code. YIKES. Though I am getting better at navigating the world of taxes I generally find the whole thing to be an arduous pain in the neck. I read just the other day the tax code is nearly 75,000 pages long! Even though Turbo Tax is amazing, give me a progressive flat tax. Perhaps tax reform may be something both parties could agree on this year.

Taxes, Chaos and Comfort

Where to spend my refund???

Well, on the positive side of things, the last few years have been more fruitful and I am pleased to say my credit cards are in check and I have my refund in hand thanks to electronic filing. Prior to beginning the annual tax return I had been thinking about things to beautify my home with my refund. I'm not a homebody but when I come home from a long day of work and activities with the kids, I want my home to be a refuge from chaos!

There was a great article on the web called '15 Ways to make your Home a Personal Sanctuary' - tips and advice from the writers at Cooking Light. I saved this story in my favorites as an incentive 'post-refund' to begin creating a couple of special places in my home.

The article had some great ideas, some of which I thought would prove useful when accessorizing my home in the future. Included in the list of suggestions were some basic themes:

  • Finding an Object that means something to you
  • Create Coziness
  • The Right Accents
  • Smart Layout
  • Fresh Air aka have plants...
  • Set a Mood
  • Mix it Up - the ability to use the same piece in multiple ways
  • Color Choice
  • Lighting
  • Texturize
  • No Rules

The complete listing of concepts and design images are below but many of these ideas seemed easy, affordable and flexible enough for my style and tastes.

15 Ways to Make Your Home a Personal Sanctuary

Turn your home into a personal sanctuary with tips and advice from the experts at Cooking Light

The Spend!!!

I found some of the home accessories I'd been wanting on the websites of Crate and Barrel and Room and Board, particularly some lighting and a set of comfortable chairs for my guests.

Still while looking around the web further I wandered to - a site I had previously added to my favorites as well. On this website I found a range of home accessories that would further create the sanctuary I was looking for.

The site has items that create coziness, are smartly designed, set a mood and have texture. Best of all the PRODUCTS have NO RULES.

There are beanbags and cubed seating which are un-conventional yet stylish. There are products the kids will enjoy while playing video games (with headphones of course!). There are also textures of many sorts including traditional sheepskin products, Tibetan lamb and luxurious ALPACA throws.

I enjoy quietly reading when I want to get away from a noisy world. I have now decided I want to do this activity in style and comfort. Last week, I purchased the Ivory Bean Bag Chair and a luxurious Teal Alpaca Throw with the dots pattern. I definitely felt I was ticking off a few bullet points on my 'personal oasis' hit list. The products arrived yesterday. The bean bag instantly created coziness, texture and set the mood. Spring where I live has been a bit delayed and the Alpaca throw has been the perfect accent in my 'oasis room' with its vivid color... but that being said I seem a bit like Linus in a Peanuts cartoon carrying my blanket/throw to every room in the house.

I suppose the best thing about these products is the fact they are unique and therefore it will feel nice to create a different sort of sanctuary for myself and in a way break a few RULES. Hey, it's small comfort to spend my tax refund wisely after dealing with 'The Man' aka the Tax Man.

A Bean Bag like no other

Fibre by Auskin Sheepskin Bean Bags

Blog by Hemita's Interior Design

I follow many designs over the years for bean bags and home décor items and love the changing seasons. But I wanted to talk about the bean bag by Auskin. No one really knows this but the Auskin bean bag is made from sheepskin. The entire bag is a leather product with natural fibers designed as an adult chair! Now most bean bags are made from faux or synthetic material and yes Target and Pottery Barn may be selling them for a lot cheaper but it is a bit like having a Toyota for a car vs a BMW.

You will see from their online store that the bean bags are priced at $1200.00. So this is a bag not just for anyone, you have got to have the money to spend on this luxury item. Question: is it worth it? Well, here is my personal experience with this bean bag.

The touch and feel of it

Touching the processed sheepskin by Auskin is super soft, it is luxury for your skin and body. I mean if you sink your toes into one of their sheepskin rugs, you simply indulge your toes in heavenly softness. I have seen people with sensitive skin not react to the fiber material as well. Sheepksin has a tendency to have connotations of making your skin itch but this one has been made in such a way that all you have to do is sit in it and the last thing you want to do is get out of it. Your body just sinks into it and I guess you could say this bean bag is "hypoallergenic". Of course the manufacturers can't admit to this but I have seen this as a real life thing... of course if you are allergic and know you are not going to have the same positive reaction, stay away from this material.

The look of it

It is termed a large bean bag measured at about 3'. Is it bulky? Not really. It may be a feature item for a loft or apartment but a perfect chair size in a larger living room type setting. In fact you could almost have two of them in a standard size living room to compliment your sofa set.

Is it suitable for all seasons?

Yes, absolutely. Did you know sheepskin keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter? When I found this out, it was just perfect. Here is a natural product, fur or fiber-based, all natural that you can use all year round. I actually have had mine out on my patio during warmer days and it has been great to just lounge in a bean bag that simply oozes comfort in any position you end up sitting.

What about cleaning the bean bag?

Being a natural fiber it is easy cleaning because it is self-cleaning. Lets say you drop some wine on it. Spot clean it with gentle soap and water. If you drop food and there is a stain, try the same thing. At the end of the day spotting and stains stay if it is not dealt with on the spot. I have had this experience and spot cleaning works just fine. I would not use harsh materials such as bleach-based product on the bean bags.

Can it fit two people?

Well for the most part it depends on your size. It really is great for parent and child to share but couples who can fit into one certainly have a great snuggle and add a Baby Alpaca Throw into the mix, you could almost watch a movie together in the bean bag and possible doze off - it really is that comfortable. But here is a better idea: to get a his and hers bean bag, either the same color or different and put them side by side. Have a glass of wine each and some appetizers on a Friday night, perfect bliss for a nice relaxing evening. Luxury in a bean bag.

At the end of the day, there are thousands of bean bag choices out there but I have fallen in love with the Auskin bean bag because of the luxury it brings to my home. It really is an outstanding product and I think both comfort and luxury for my busy lifestyle are two things that mean a lot on an everyday basis. Happy shopping with Fibre By Auskin and if you want to know anything else about Fibre by Auskin, just send in your questions.

See this amazing sheepskin bean bag

Gaming... with sheepskin!

Gaming with Sheepskin

By: Fiber Queen

Well, hopefully people have read my last blog about sheepskin bean bags and my overall LOVE for them. Well... if anything, my daughter read it, and now I am in trouble! She is a gamer, and when she saw the pictures of the beanbags, she wanted one immediately as a gaming chair. Now, not being a 'gamer' myself, I wasn’t sure what a gaming chair is. I had to do my research and thought she had hit the nail on the head; it would be an awesome chair to play games in.

I then started thinking... what else would you use to play video games on? Why not sheepskins? Kids love lying on the floor! As we get older, it's harder to drag ourselves off the floor, but kids think it's one of the most comfortable spots in the home. What would be better than having a big sheepskin rug in front of the entertainment center and being comfy and cozy wrapped in the soft wools of natural hides taking out the zombie horde or building your empire?

That was it, I was buying one for my daughter, so she could test drive it! I researched sheepskin, trying to figure out what would work out for her room. I went back to (my ultimate fiber reference website) to look for the perfect rug for the kid. Her room wasn't large, but I knew I could find something she would love, then there is was...

Quarto Black Sheepskin Rug

The Quarto Black Sheepskin Rug! I knew that this was it! I had ordered it right away and couldn't wait to put it down on the floor to see what I thought. One week later, my rug arrived, so while my daughter was in class, I laid it down on the floor in her room, and let me tell you, one word...COMFORT!

The wool (a.k.a. fiber) was so extremely soft and cozy that I knew I hit it out of the ballpark. I couldn't wait for her to come home. Two hours later, I hear:

Kid: OMG mom, you bought me a sheepskin!

Me: Well I thought you could be my test subject to see if this would make your room the ULTIMATE gaming area.

Kid: Well duh, have you felt it yet?

The 'really Mom your killing me' look made me confident I had hit the mark. These days I have a hard time buying things my daughter wants so I get great satisfaction when I know I have found something she LOVES.

Over the next week, it took all my strength to remove my daughter from the rug. She moved it to the top of her bed to lie on instead of using it as a rug on the floor, and I have to say... great idea kiddo! This is now her favorite spot in the house. Whether it's playing games, doing her homework or hanging with her friends, that is now her spot, or so she thought...

Once the dog and cats found the rug, the fight was on! I didn’t think I would ever hear an argument between a human and a cat, but it was hilarious. I have to say, any family member would love this, from kids to cats, natural sheepskin rugs will be the most sought after space in the house.

Kids on Sheepskin Rug

Mom, can't you buy another sheepskin?

I poked around the internet after my purchase and found this shot of kids on a sheepskin. They are on the floor playing their games and enjoying each other's company. They are enjoying their sheepskin and playing the latest game in comfort. Funny thing though, I realized I was a Super Mom buying the quad because I have found two gamers can play in ultimate comfort on my daughter's bigger rug.

Sheepskin Bean Bags

Sheepskin Bean Bags

Not just for kids anymore!

Blog by: Fiber Queen

Bean bag chairs have been around for quite some time now. They had gained quite a following during the 1970's being made with groovy fabrics and vinyls. Currently, the juvenile market has taken the beloved bean bag and has started marketing it to kids worldwide, but it isn't just for kids! Everyone, young and old, deserves the womb-like relaxation of a sheepskin bean bag.

Fibre by Auskin has taken the bean bag from kiddy cute to grown up cozy with their natural fiber bean bag chairs. It is the perfect nest to snuggle in to read your favorite book or watch television. The main challenge is, once you get inside this orb of deliciousness, it is hard to leave it! This will end up being the most cherished piece of furniture in your home!

At first I was confused on the word FIBRE... what is FIBRE? Fibre by Auskin specializes in natural fiber / fibre materials. Due to their international exposure, they spell 'fiber' as FIBRE. But either way Fibre = Natural Fibers from around the globe.

I personally believe the reason that Fibre by Auskin beanbags are the most comfortable beanbags you can own. It is because they are all natural and as such, their soft sumptuous texture cannot be matched. There is no comparison between natural fibers and a faux or synthetic bean bag.

Natural fibers are:

  • Soft to the touch, with silky textural wools.
  • Breathable - wool has the unique property to act as an insulator. It keeps your body at an even temperature and does not conduct warmth. During hot or cold weather it will keep you at a comfortable temperature. This is something that synthetics or faux cannot do.
  • Filled full with premium polystyrene bean bag beans for complete comfort. Fibre by Auskin doesn't half-fill their bean bags, which makes them perfect to sink into!
  • Fibre by Auskin's bean bags are well designed with 2 shells. They have a fabric inner shell that holds the beads and the outer sheepskin shell for comfort. This is double-wall construction making it easy to add or remove filler for you to find your perfect firmness.
  • Naturally self-cleaning. Due to the fine loose fiber of sheepskin, it's easy to keep your bean bags clean! Just get a wire-haired dog brush and brush out the bean bag for a brand new appearance, free of dust.

I had an opportunity to test drive this bean bag while traveling to the east coast and I have to say I'm hooked on Fibre. The guys at Auskin know their stuff, producing amazing home décor that embodies warmth and tactile comfort for the home. When you think of bean bags, don't let your imagination go to the kitten and bunny kiddo fabrics, think instead of the soft, luxurious, natural fiber yumminess of Fibre by Auskin.

See our sheepskin bean bags


Natural Fibre: Quantity and Quality

Natural Fibre: Quantity and Quality

Did you know there are 15 different kinds of natural fibres?

Well there are.

Produced by both plants and animals, each type of natural fibre has it's own individual characteristics and ideal use. Plants fibres include both materials ideal for textile and clothing, such as cotton, flax, hemp and ramie, and other more coarse varieties. Sisal and jute are popular for rugs and other furniture. Coir, from the outer shell of a coconut, is used to make rope and brushes, among other things. And Abaca has been recognized as an energy-saving replacement for glass fibres in automobiles.

But the most luxurious of the natural fibres are those produced by animals.

Imagine the softness of a cashmere scarf as it brushes across your skin. Or the smooth coolness of silk. These materials simply exude quality.

Mohair is renowned for its luster and sheen, giving it a silk-like feel. It comes from the hair of the Angora goat, and is nicknamed the "diamond fibre." It's used to make textiles.

Camel hair can stand alone or blended with another fibre, such as wool, to make textiles. It comes from the two-humped Bactrian camel - both the fine, soft undercoat and the more coarse outer coat, or guard hair, can be used. It's collected when the animals naturally shed during molting season.

And of course there is wool. There are three kinds: alpaca, angora and sheep. Each are used to create high-quality materials, and are highly durable. Wool is perhaps the most widely recognized of the animal-produced natural fibres.

But in spite of the quantity of options, why use natural fibre?

It's the quality.

Natural fibres offer a multitude of benefits beyond their sumptuous feel. They provide ventilation intrinsically, whether it be heating or cooling, and many have natural antibacterial properties.

Let's look at sheepskin, as an example. It has an incredibly soft feel, ideal for both garments and home decor. It has natural stain-repelling properties and doesn’t absorb odors, so less worries about wine spills and cooking smells. It's durable, hypoallergenic, and sustainable. The quality is, literally, built in.

Similar accolades can be said for each of the other varieties.

So given the option between synthetic and natural fibres, keep it real. With so many options and the high standards they each meet, there's no reason not to.

Amy Lynne Hayes

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Blog by Hemita's Interior Design

Blog by Hemitas Interior Design Fibre by Auskin

It is always nice living in countries where there are changing seasons and with fall and winter taking its grip in the USA and Canada I just love this time of year. The colors, the warmth and crackle of fire places and traditional meals bring my family closer together. So I have been looking at Fibre By Auskin's range of products and have decided to blog about it because I think many of us with the passion for interior design will enjoy the storyline behind their products.

Firstly it is all natural, I looked into these products further and learned that AUSKIN meets all the international standards required of an ethical firm and in-line with the natural classification. I have actually touched and felt their products and there is nothing out there like it. For the price range, I have never been able to find anything out there for this kind of quality and texture. For $400 you can get a 4x6 all natural sheepskin rug in various natural color tones... your feet will simply soak into warmth, and like I tell my friends, my dog simply falls asleep like a baby! I have compared some other brands and nothing comes close to products made by Fibre By Auskin.

Cleaning has been painless also, with kids in the house and a dog, I sometimes cringe at the dirt and stains going on the rug but just a wet rag and off it comes, no problem. In fact, my dog had a fur ball the other day and choked and yup out it came on the RUG! Just got a wet rag, some mild detergent and a wire brush it was all cleaned up. No smell or stain.

The other amazing thing is I always thought WOOL would be itchy on the skin but somehow miraculously this is not the case. I can lie down for hours and have done so on my bed where the fiber is so soft and smooth - most importantly no itching! I wish I could learn more about how they do that because if garments could be made this way, people might wear wool more often!

I am going to share with you some ideas on to combine their products to create the most beautiful ambiance in any home. Going to take my dog for a walk now and be back to think about what goes with what for this fall and winter - hopefully it might help you get the home all cozy before thanksgiving.

MadeByGirl Design Blog

MadeByGirl Design Blog Sheepskin Rugs

Sheep skin rugs are something I really love in the interiors as they are beautiful and totally affordable and create effortless and relaxed yet glamorous look. You can lay them on the floor or put over the furniture for even more coziness and, they match any style and add a bohemian, warm feeling to the space, making it more eclectic and personal. I love them most in simple spaces matched with colorful accessories and vintage pieces of furniture.

Visit / MadeByGirl

Icelandic Sheep Farming

Icelandic Sheep Farming

The Icelandic sheep breed probably stems mostly from Norway and has not undergone much cross-breeding since being brought to Iceland during the settlement. The Icelandic breed is a representative of the horned, short-tailed sheep of northern Europe, and most closely resembles the Norwegian short-tailed sheep.

While white wool is the most common colour in Icelandic sheep, a great many sheep have other colours or mixed colours. Both horned and polled animals are present, regardless of sex, and four-horned sheep also exist. Leader sheep make up a special line within the Icelandic breed and have always been held in great esteem.

In Iceland, sheep ears were marked to identify the animals for their particular farm through its officially registered earmark. This method of identifying property was used in a much more conclusive manner in Iceland than in other European countries, with clear examples displayed here in the earmark register.

From the time of settlement (in the late ninth and early tenth centuries) until nearly 1900, raising sheep was Iceland's most important field of employment. This country's farming society adapted itself to the needs of sheep: lambing in spring, making hay in summer, slaughtering in autumn and working with the wool in winter. People and sheep lived in a close relationship, frequently in the face of extreme hardship.

Today, sheep farming remains a significant part of Icelandic agriculture, even though its economic importance has decreased as the country's society and economic activity have diversified.


New Sheepskin Cubes

New Sheepskin Cubes

Sheepskin cubes are a versatile and stylish addition to the contemporary home. Form and function meet to create a stylish piece of furniture with the soft natural comfort and eye catching appeal of natural sheepskin. An innovative and contemporary way to provide additional seating to the living room, bedroom or den.

Explore / Sheepskin Cubes