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Bed Styling Tips: Featuring Photos from 6 Fun Home Stylists! July 1, 2021 13:57

 

Bed by @restoring_home

We'd all love to have our bedrooms look as incredible as the ones we see in home decor magazines or blogs.  Luckily, it's not too difficult to learn how to make up your bed like a pro.  In this article, we'll discuss our 5 steps to bed styling success, and each tip will be paired with a fun photo to help get you inspired.  We'll be featuring some of our favorite home stylists active on Instagram, so get ready to fall in love with some amazing bedrooms!

1| Start with amazing sheets.

 Bed by @stylizimoblog

If you don’t want to iron your sheets, remove them from the dryer as soon as possible to prevent wrinkles. When purchasing sheets, choose ones based on feel and personal comfort rather than thread count or material - it's your bed, so you should be comfortable!⁣

2| Layer blankets for extra warmth, if desired.

Bed by @nataliemyers

Add a breathable blanket or two over the top sheet, depending on the climate and season.⁣ 

"Do it with Bates" Pick: Kineo Woven Blanket

3| Choose a topper.

Bed by @hunted_interior

Are you a bedspread or a duvet person? Whichever one you prefer, the topper sets the tone for your bedroom, so choose one that you like!⁣

Because of their interesting textures and layer-ability (see step 2, layer blankets!) many home decorators are turning toward more “old-fashioned” bedcovers, like our bedspreads and coverlets, to spruce up their bedrooms in interesting, inviting ways.  The options are endless.

 

"Do it with Bates" Picks: Diamond Matelassè Coverlet or Americana Coverlet (pictured here in Linen)

4| Style your pillows.

Bed by @designthusiasm

While there are no strict rules for pillow placement, there is a formula that never fails!  Place your regular sleeping pillows against the headboard first, then place European shams, if you use them. Standard shams come next, in front of the Euro shams. Finish off the look with a few smaller accent pillows.⁣ @designthusiasm highlights a variety of textures in her white-on-white setup. 

"Do it with Bates" Picks: Diamond Matelassè Sham or Martha Washington's Choice Shams in white.

5| Add an accent throw or quilt. 

Beds by @studiomcgee

Place a folded throw or thin quilt at the end of the bed for a final touch.⁣  Check out this sweet children's bedroom!

"Do it with Bates" Pick: Spirit of America (pictured in white).

We hope you enjoyed these styling tips!  Have a picture of your beautiful bed featuring Bates?  Share it with us on Instagram by tagging us @batesmillstore.


The "Grandmillenial" Fad: We're Stylish With Every Generation! April 21, 2021 10:37

If you follow emerging home decorating trends, you may have noticed a style called “Grandmillenial” appearing over the past couple of years.  Also called “granny chic” this trend embraces everything familiar and nostalgic, while finding new ways to style “older” or more traditional pieces into your home.  Especially popular among Millennials, or people between 25-40 (hence the name "Grandmillenial") this trend is taking the internet over by storm as younger generations endearingly turn to "old fashioned" ways of styling interiors.  

While the beauty and quality of our products surpasses trend, we got a kick out of putting together an official Bates "Grandmillenial Starter Pack"!  Read on to see our top picks.

1| Martha Washington's Choice Coverlet

First up on the list is obviously our fabulous Martha Washington's Choice Coverlet.  While the terry weave and design are both beautifully nostalgic, the shorter length and cute ball fringe add an element of hipness. Add shams if you'd like!

2| Snow Drop Pillow Shams

Even if you don't have one of our Snowdrop Bedspreads, these adorable pillow shams can be added to any bed for a stylish pop of texture! They're available in 6 different colors, so it's easy to coordinate with any color scheme.

3| Lisa's Choice Throw

We've covered the bedroom, but how about the living room?  Our matelassé Lisa's Choice Throw is decked out with an all-over floral pattern that's just as sweet as your grandmother's couch.  Toss this mid-weight throw over a chair for an instant blast into the past!

4| Lattice Blanket

Our Lattice Blanket has a slightly more modern look, but it's lofty, waffle texture and solid color allow it to easily fit into any interior.  Plus, it's a great balancer if you have more densely decorated objects in the same room.

5| Abigail Throw

Last but not least, we're including our Abigail Throw on this list.  The Abigail is one of our older styles, based around an elaborately decorated floral medallion.  Even at its smaller scale, the throw includes the whole medallion, giving the elegant nature of this design a hint of adorableness. 

We hope you enjoyed our fun list of "Grandmillenial" picks!  We love that our products can be found trendy by every generation.  Here's to many more years of Bates style!


Terry Bedspreads: Heirloom Textiles for a Modern Home February 5, 2021 09:28

Our most iconic style, Martha Washington's Choice, has been around since 1940.  That was over 80 years ago, and yet this beautifully woven terry design continues to be our best seller.  Many people purchase terry bedspreads from us because they're nostalgic - people remember sleeping under similar vintage chenille bedspreads when they were children.  Others are hoping to finally replace an old, worn out spread that they've had for years.  For a long time, textured hobnail fabric was seen as a style of the past.  It's gorgeous, unique, and sentimental, but not necessarily trendy.  

A vintage advertisement for Martha Washington's Choice, pulled from Bates archives.

In recent years, that thought has been changing. Interior design trends are embracing unique, artisan weaves that showcase natural materials and the hand of the weaver.  Lush rooms with lots of pattern and texture play are replacing the clean, minimal interiors of a few years ago.  There is a renewed interest in craft, driven by a desire to reconnect with where our objects come from, and who made them.

One of our Bates stitchers assembling Martha pillow shams.

Interestingly, the original creation story of the Martha Washington's Choice bedspread is similarly inspired - even though it was so long ago.  On a visit to George Washington's estate, a Bates representative was struck by the beauty of a bedspread he saw there.  It was woven entirely by hand, using an ancient knot-weaving technique, but he was determined to see if it could be recreated at Bates.  Bates designers and loom technicians were indeed able to resurrect the technique, and two years later the first Martha Washington's Choices were in production.  Although the fabric was mechanically woven, its nubbly texture honored the craft of hand weavers hundreds of years before.

Martha Washington's Choice weaving on our looms today.

Incorporating high texture textiles (like our terry bedspreads or throws) into your home can add subtle, elegant visual interest without being overwhelming.  They also add warmth to a room and make it feel inviting.  In 2021, we want to see and feel the hand of the maker in what we buy and use everyday.  Our Martha Washington's Choice, and other styles in our terry collection, have truly become heirloom textiles fit for the modern home.  


Bates Family Heirlooms: Long-Term Care Tips January 14, 2021 13:48

Here at Bates, we truly believe in making quality products that can last for generations!  We often receive phone calls, emails, and reviews from people who have owned a Bates bedspread for many, many years and continue to enjoy it (side-note: if you are the proud owner of an antique Bates bedspread and would like to know how old it is, check out our blogpost "How Old is My Bates Bedspread? How to Estimate the Age of a Bates Bedspread").  Even though our products are built to last, proper care can go a long way in helping keep your bedspread, blanket, or throw in tip-top shape.  Read on to learn our recommendations for caring for your beloved Bates long-term.

1| Basic Care

Washing Machine

A little goes a long way - even just doing the basics will help ensure that your bedspread or blanket has a long life!  Brush up on our general care tips (for Bates items new and old) here.  We also provide suggestions for tackling stain removal, and list some storage tips.  Luckily, our 100% cotton products make washing and drying at home easy!

2| Above & Beyond: How to Stop Shedding, Pilling, Lint & Fuzz

Cotton is a durable fiber, but it does naturally pill a little bit with washing.  Extra fuzz from shedding cotton fibers is most common with blankets, since the yarns are chunkier and more loosely spun.  We've put together an extensive guide for reducing pilling and lint on cotton blankets and bedspreads, which we'd encourage any Bates owner to read.  It's important to note that any pilling should reduce with each successive wash/dry cycle, too.  While drying, we recommend emptying the dryer lint trap several times to allow maximum removal of the excess fibers each cycle.

3| Performing Repairs 

In our current "throwaway" consumer culture, it can be tempting to toss something out as soon as it's a little worn.  We are strong proponents of encouraging people to care for their Bates products so that they'll be around for a long time - and sometimes that means taking on a repair project or two!  

HOLES: If you have an antique Bates bedspread still in use, you may have a hole or two you'd like to fix.  For some detailed instructions on mending holes, check out our blogpost "How to Fix a Woven Bedspread or Blanket".  These tips may be especially useful if you have a Matelassé bedspread, coverlet, or throw that needs attention. 

PULLS: Terry bedspreads and some looser-weave blankets have weave structures that make snagging more likely.  If you get a noticeable snag or pull, you can get it back into place yourself fairly easily.  To do this, grab the material several inches on either side of the pull (in the direction of the pulled thread) and give some firm tugs.  Then, using tweezers, slowly work the pulled loop back into the fabric.  We've made a video describing this process using terry fabric, but the same process applies to a blanket pull.

Caring for and repairing your things not only helps reduce the amount of waste going into landfills (the EPA estimates that landfills received 11.3 million tons of MSW [municipal solid waste] textiles in 2018), but many feel that it's beneficial psychologically, too.

We love this graphic, "Top 10 Reasons to Mend" from Visible Mending. "Visible Mending" is a popular trend in clothing, so why not bring it into the realm of home textiles?

In conclusion, our Bates products are built to last, but to truly become a family heirloom they'll need a little help to look and perform their best!  We hope this guide to caring for (and possibly repairing) your bedspread or blanket will help you in your mission to keep it in your home for(almost)ever.


5 Favorite USA Made Home Furnishings for Winter 2021 December 10, 2020 14:25

Are you looking to upgrade your bedroom with a few new American made items this winter?  We've compiled a list of some of our favorite made-in-USA home furnishings that you might consider adding to your life in 2021.  American made items are known for their quality and durability, so whatever you choose, you'll be able to enjoy for years to come.

1. Certified Organic Cotton Pillow by Lifekind

Photo Credit: Lifekind

Lifekind's Certified Organic Cotton Pillows come in 3 different firmnesses (light, medium, and full) and are available in standard and king sizes.  If you have a Bates bedspread or coverlet (or even if you don't!) you can purchase sham covers to complete your set with these pillows.  All of their items are handmade in California at their Eco-Factory.

2. Maine Camp Bed by Maine Bunk Beds

Photo Credit: Maine Bunk Beds

Maine Bunk Beds is dedicated to handcrafting custom wooden beds for kids and adults that are toxin-free and eco-friendly.  Their workshop is located in Buxton, Maine.  Pictured here is their Maine Camp Bed in a Queen size.

 3. Maine Cottage Addy Bedside Cabinet

Addy Bedside Cabinet

Photo Credit: Maine Cottage

This adorable, Shaker-inspired bedside table offered by Maine Cottage is made-to-order and available in a very large variety of colors.  Maine Cottage partners with woodworkers, upholsterers, and painters across America to create their furniture.  And each piece is signed by the craftsperson who made it!

4. Lamps by NoEnd Designs

Photo Credit: NoEnd Designs

If you're in the market for a floor or table lamp, NoEnd Designs creates uniquely beautiful lamps with wooden shades.  Their light fixtures are handcrafted in their workshop in Atlanta, GA.  They keep their production volume low to ensure the lamps they make are only of the finest quality.  Pictured here is the Slatewood Arc Table Lamp with a Birdseye Maple shade.  

5. Woven Blankets by Bates!

Last but not least on our list are our very own woven blankets (pictured here is our heaviest blanket option, the George Washington's Choice Blanket).  Use one of our blankets as an extra layer with a comforter, bedspread, or coverlet, or just by itself with a top sheet for warmer nights!

Do you have any awesome home furnishings that are made in the USA you'd like to share?  Spread the love by dropping your favorites in the comments below! 


Made in Maine Holiday Gift Guide 2020 November 25, 2020 08:00

It's getting to be that time of year again - shopping time!  In our last post, "5 Reasons to Buy American Made for the 2020 Holiday Season" we outlined several reasons why it's more important than ever to support local businesses.  Since we're based in Maine, we decided to compile a fun list of gifts that are made right here in the pine tree state.  Bonus during this era of social distancing: all of these businesses have websites where you can purchase their goods without leaving your home, so there's no need to go out boutique hopping.

1| Five Islands Body Co.

Five Islands Body Co.'s skincare products are made in small batches without any toxic ingredients.  Maine-made ingredients are used whenever possible, and the packaging was designed by a Maine artist!

Photo credit: Five Islands Body Co., Hand Cream with Shea & Aloe pictured.
 

2| AP Curiosities 

If you enter the AP Curiosities online shop, you will find an interesting collection of whimsical handmade artisan goods inspired by nature.  We love their large jellyfish air planters!

Photo credit: AP Curiosities, Large Jellyfish Air Planter pictured.
 

3| Elves and Angels

Elves and Angles has been specializing in heirloom quality wooden toys for over 30 years.  Made in Machias Maine, this 350 Piece Deluxe Building Set contains two forts, with building directions and extra pieces to allow for creativity. 

Photo credit: Elves and Angels, 350 Piece Deluxe Building Set pictured.

 

4| Bates!

Of course we have to include ourselves on this list!  Give the gift of warmth and choice this holiday season with a Bates gift card.

  

5| Brant and Cochran Axes from Maine

Many families in Maine have wood stoves, so someone on your list might appreciate a heavy duty log carrier by Brant and Cochran.  They'll also service old axes, so if a loved one has a favorite ax that needs sprucing up, they're the ones to call.  They're located in South Portland, Maine.

Photo credit: Brant and Cochran, Log Carrier pictured.
 

6| Maine Heritage Timber

This gift is for those cold, snowy mornings when no one wants to get out of bed!  Maine Heritage Timber's beautiful products are made from wood they've salvaged from the bottom of the Penobscot River.  Because of this, every piece has a unique character.  We're featuring their Breakfast in Bed Tray, but they also make cheese boards, bread boards, and cool floating shelves.

Photo credit: Maine Heritage Timber, Breakfast in Bed Tray pictured.

 

7| Silver Paw Tags & Dr. Pussums

Let's not forget about the furry family members on your list!  Silver Paw Tags makes hand-casted, customizable stainless steel pet tags that are chew and bend proof.  For your feline friends, have no fear: Dr. Pussums is here!  Their festive Nip Nog Party Pack is filled with treats that will drive your kitties wild.

Photo credit: Silver Paw Pet Tags, Stainless Steel Bone ID Tag pictured.

 

Photo credit: Dr. Pussums, Nip Nog Party Pack pictured.

 

We hope you found some great Maine-Made options on our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide!  Do you have any favorite local places for holiday shopping to add?  We'd love to hear from you: drop your go-to local and small businesses in the comments below!


5 Reasons to Buy American Made for the 2020 Holiday Season November 13, 2020 10:39

The 2020 holiday season will certainly look different than other seasons’ past.  Our country has been hit hard by the pandemic, with no American left unaffected in some way.  As we enter into an uncertain winter, please consider supporting the local small businesses in your area and your favorite American manufacturers, if you are financially able.  In their article “Why Buy America is Critical to Helping the U.S. Recover Post-Coronavirus,” the Alliance for American Manufacturing states “One of the long-term lessons from the coronavirus crisis must be to reshore much of our critical manufacturing, and support the American manufacturers already doing [the] work here.”  As polarizing as times have been, it’s critical to remember that we are all experiencing crisis, and with our sustained and united efforts, we can heal and re-grow from it together. 

Photo Credit: Lewiston Sun Journal

With most holiday shopping moving entirely online this year, it’s more important than ever to intentionally seek out small businesses and American-made goods in the noise of cyber space.  American-made products are often a little more expensive, which we understand could be more difficult to back in these times of financial hardship.  However, there are many reasons why spending a little extra on local products goes a long way to help us as a country, and you as a consumer.  We hope you enjoy and are inspired by our list of reasons to buy American made products this holiday season.

By buying American-made gifts, your dollar is:

1| …putting money back into the local economies.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, for every $1.00 spent on manufacturing, $2.74 is added back into our economy.  Furthermore, every person working in manufacturing is creating 5 jobs in other industries - that means that an American manufacturer's impact on the economy spreads far beyond their own value chain.  

Read more of NAM's manufacturing facts here.

2| ...bolstering the middle class and working people.

The Alliance for American Manufacturing notes,

"For years, the U.S. economy has relied on cheap imports, as many corporations opted to shift production overseas...but all that offshoring led to tens of thousands of factory closures and millions of lost jobs."

A 2018 article from the Pew Research center illustrates that America's middle class is stable in size, but the income gap between it and upper-income households continues to widen. In 2018, the Pew Research Center estimates that 52% of American adults were middle class, 29% lower class, and only 19% upper class.  By purchasing American made, you are helping to support middle and lower income workers (according to the 2018 data, that's 81% of us!) and their families.  

3| ...helping in the effort to re-grow and sustain America's supply chain.

The coronavirus pandemic has taught us how critical it is for a country to be able to manufacture things quickly and independently.  In their article, the Alliance for American Manufacturing points out that "the economic devastation [of moving production overseas] has been covered extensively, of course.  What has gone largely unnoticed is the impact offshoring had on America’s critical supply chain, and its ability to make the things it needs in a crisis."  As a consumer, you can help encourage reliance on our own supply chains by putting money directly in the hands of manufacturers who have the same goal.

4| ...getting high-quality products that last.

Made in America products are known for their quality.  By maintaining complete control of their product, American manufacturers know what goes into every step of production.  They can ensure the use of hand-picked materials, maintain safe working conditions, and creatively solve problems that may arise along the way.  When production moves overseas, companies are sadly removed from the creation of their own goods.  When buying American made, you can be assured that you are getting a product that has been considered each step of the way.  In addition, high quality items made in the U.S.A last longer, and which saves money in the long run.

5| ...supporting companies who care about fair labor practices and the environment.

American manufacturers adhere to strict laws that keep their employees healthy and safe.  This is not always the case elsewhere.  The Unites States also has rigid environmental protection laws that manufacturers must abide by (you can learn more about regulations in American manufacturing industries here).  Buying from American manufacturers who are operating under these laws is a much more sustainable and humane choice than having your dollars go towards companies who may not comply to similar practices.

We are in unprecedented times, and it's more important now than ever to show your love and support to friends, family, and fellow Americans.  The holidays may feel different this year, but the spirit can be stronger than ever.  We hope our list might inspire you to seek out local businesses when purchasing gifts for you loved ones.  Your dollar will be allowing another American family to do the same!


Our 5 Favorite Cold Season Styles November 2, 2020 12:07

Old Man Winter is knocking on our doors!  The crisp, bright days of fall are sadly coming to a close, with the dreary days of November rapidly approaching on the horizon.  Luckily, re-uniting with winter favorites always brings a little spark of joy and brightness even as the days get darker and shorter.  Just like you would reconnect with a special cozy sweater or pair of warm slippers, it's time to bring back all your warmest blankets to snuggle in!  

If you already have some Bates items in your collection, then you'll know our premium cotton blankets last season after season with the proper care.  But if you're looking for some new options this winter, or want to add another heavyweight American-made blanket to your home, here's a list of our 5 favorite Bates styles for the cold season.

1. GEORGE WASHINGTON'S CHOICE BLANKET

A true classic, the George Washington's Choice blanket is one of our heaviest blankets.  It's thick, warm, and comes in several color options.  If you're looking for winter bedding blankets, shop our bedding sizes (available in Twin, Full/Queen, and King). George Washington's Choice is also available in throw sizes, and makes a perfect heavyweight throw blanket to pair with your favorite chair or couch.

2. LATTICE BLANKET

A fairly new addition to the Bates collection, our Lattice blanket is sure to become a winter favorite.  This woven cotton blanket has a unique, cushy texture that makes it extra cuddly while still being breathable.  Pictured in pure, snowy white, the Lattice Blanket also comes in Natural if you want a warmer tone.

3. SPIRIT OF AMERICA THROW

If texture is your thing, a heavyweight terry option might be for you!  Our Spirit of America throw truly lives up to its name.  Like the rest of our products, this beautiful and nostalgic cotton throw is manufactured right here in the USA by a small, passionate team of family and friends.  Spirit of America is also available as a bedspread.

4. CATHEDRAL BLANKET

If you're looking for something a little more modern to cover you on cold nights, our Cathedral blanket could be your choice.  Sleek while still being warm and sporting a timeless chevron pattern, this woven blanket is incredibly versatile.  Buy a bedding size if you'd like an extra layer while you're sleeping, or grab a throw size to wrap yourself in while watching a movie.

5. EVERGREEN THROW

Bring some nature into your home with the Evergreen throw's year-round foliage!  This decorative but cozy matelassé throw will spruce up your home for the holidays and beyond.  Although technically one of our "mid-weight" cotton throws, the Evergreen throw is still one of our top picks for cold season.  Sometimes you just need a little greenery to get you through those long winter nights.

Whether you're looking for a thick winter bedding blanket or a heavy cotton throw blanket, Bates has lots of cold season classics to pick from.  We hope you enjoyed this list of our 5 favorites!   


Fun & Cozy Gifts for the Home | 6 Fabulous Made in New England Gift Finds November 21, 2019 09:17

Brrr, the dark days and chilly nights are here!  Luckily, we have the the holiday lights and festivities to look forward to.  If you're searching for the ideal gift to cozy up the home this holiday season, we've got 6 awesome options all made in New England.  Check out what each state has to offer and shop local!

 

1| Vermont - Vermont Lamps

Light up a room!  Vermont Lamps creates unique laser cut wooden lamps and nightlights.  Custom designs are possible, but we think this jellyfish one is super cool!

 

2| Massachusetts - Zooguu Faux Taxidermy

There's nothing like a little humor to warm the soul!  Zooguu Faux Taxidermy makes these hilarious faux taxidermy heads completely by hand in Massachusettes.  Perfect for kids (or the whimsical adult!) these awesome wall trophies will always excite a smile.

 

3| Maine - Bates Mill Store, of course!

Our George Washington's Choice Blankets and throws are our heaviest blanket, so they're perfect for snuggling up on the couch during the cold winter months.  Plus, there are several colors available so there's an option for every home decor color scheme!  

4| New Hampshire - Cogworks

Based in an old cutlery mill in New Hampshire, Cogworks makes absolutely gorgeous items out of wood, like this delicately engraved Herb Lazy Susan. If you have a home chef you're shopping for, they also make beautiful cutting and cheese boards.

 

5| Rhode Island - Colonial Mills

Colonial Mills of Rhode Island is known for its braided rugs, but did you know that they also make unique storage baskets?!  This high-contrast basket will pop and add functional flair to any room. 

 

6| Connecticut - Woodbury Pewter

We just love this adorable ring handle coffee scoop from Woodbury Pewter, based in Woodbury, CT.  Since it began in 1952, Woodbury Pewter has been handcrafting pewter pieces using the same tools and methods originally used in the in the 18th & 19th centuries.  

 

We hope you enjoyed this list of New England-made gift ideas!  If you have your own to add, please share it with us and our readers in the comments below.


Something For Everyone | 5 Maine-Made Gifts to Make Your Holidays! November 6, 2019 20:32

It's nearly that time of year again!  With the days getting chillier and Thanksgiving around the corner, we're starting to feel the holiday spirit.  Sometimes, it can be tough finding the perfect thing to gift your loved ones.  That's why we've put together a list of our top 5 Maine-Made gifts that are completely unique, and crafted right here in our beloved home state!  Don't worry, no matter who you're shopping for, we've got you covered. 

1| For The Outdoorsman 

If you're shopping for a fellow Maine-ah and they love spending time in the great outdoors, chances are they're into ice fishing.  If they are, check out Jack Traps.  Each trap is hand crafted in their facility right down the road from us in Monmouth, Maine. 

2| For The Homebody 

Our Cathedral Throw Blankets make the perfect gift for those who'd rather stay in with a good book than go out - or for those who love beautiful-but-practical accent pieces for their living rooms!  These 100% cotton throws are cozy, durable, and feature a classic chevron weave. Prefer more color? Check out all our options in our Throw Collection.

3| For The Foodie

Fiore Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars opened their first tasting room in Bar Harbor, Maine in 2009.  In the last 10 years, they've added 5 more locations around the state, and it's easy to see why.  With the most amazing selection of specialty oils and vinegars, the only problem with giving your foodie friend a bottle or two for the holidays means they won't ever be able to by anything else!

 

4| For The Traveler 

Got someone who's always on the go? Seabags Chebeague Weekender Bag is made from recycled sails and is designed to fit most carry-on requirements. Plus, the strap is removable, so this bag can be carried by shoulder or by hand.  Cool!

 

5| For Children

We absolutely LOVE this delightful wooden toy paddle boat.  If you have wee ones in your family, this is sure to make bath time a hit!

Do you have favorite Maine-Made items you wish were on this list? Let us know what we missed in the comments below!

 


3 Tips for Layering Your Bed with Blankets During the Winter October 21, 2019 11:26

With the winter months quickly approaching, it’s time to add an extra layer of warmth to your bed, and blankets are the obvious choice.  With so many options, though, how do you choose which type of blanket is right for you? To help set yourself up for the best night’s sleep you can possibly get, consider the following details when picking out your blanket this year.

1 | Decide on a Material

Everyone has a personal preference for how warm they prefer to be while sleeping.  If you like to be toasty warm, wool is a great fiber option because it’s extremely effective at trapping your body heat.  Layering with a wool blanket such as the Glacier National Park Blanket from Pendelton is the perfect choice for staying as warm as possible.

On the other hand, cotton is a great fiber choice if you like to be warm, but not too warm. Cotton is a breathable fiber, which is great for keeping warm but not allowing you to overheat which will make you restless which ultimately results in a poor night’s sleep.  At the Bates Mill Store, we have a lovely assortment of Made in USA cotton blankets to choose from. 

2 | Consider Weight

The weight of your blanket is also a very important detail when considering adding that extra layer.  If you don’t like to feel weighed down, or your top cover is already quite heavy, you’ll want to look for a lightweight blanket.  A great choice for a lightweight blanket that is also warm would be the Peaceful Touch Fleece Blanket by American Blanket.

If you prefer a bit of weight on you while you sleep, however, a great blanket choice is our very own Kineo Blanket.  The thick, heavy yarns in a tight weave make this blanket a generous seven pounds (for the full/queen size).  At this weight, the Kineo Blanket will hug you while you sleep, keeping you comfortably secured (and at just the right temperature) all night long.  

3 | Function vs. Style

When the blanket is serving as an extra layer, with another cover on top of it such as a bedspread or coverlet, the style itself isn’t quite as important as the function.  You can easily go with a neutral blanket that serves the purpose of warmth but isn’t overly flamboyant in style or color, such as our Cathedral Blanket.  The simple chevron pattern is subtle, and the solid color options of white or antique (off-white) will pair well with any top cover you choose - without overpowering it.

 

Alternatively, if the blanket that you’re using is also going to serve as your top cover, you’ll most definitely want to consider the styling of the blanket because it will be a major centerpiece of your bedroom.  We really like the collection of patterns and colors available through Faribault Wollen Mill Co. and Maine Woolens.

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We hope you’ve found these tips to be helpful in picking the best blanket for you this winter. If you have a favorite blanket or tip for choosing one, please share it in the comments below!


Antique Weaving Traditions: Our Week at The Marshfield School of Weaving September 9, 2019 13:12

The Marshfield School of Weaving

The Marshfield School of Weaving is situated in the gorgeous, mountainous town of Marshfield, Vermont.  Founded in 1974 by Norman Kennedy, the school predominantly specializes in teaching the time-tested textile methods of 18th century Britain and early America.  They proudly house a large collection of antique four-post looms and other equipment, which the students learn to use during their instruction.

Our designer was able to spend the last week in August there, surrounded by breath-taking hills, mooing cows, and the sound of clacking looms.  We hope you enjoy this photo collection as much as she enjoyed her stay there!

1| Location + School:

Directly outside the school, the surrounding view is spectacular and inspiring!

One of the main weaving rooms is located within a beautifully remodeled barn.  This photo shows only three of the many barn frame looms at the school, along with a small table top loom used for smaller projects.

On the opposite side of the main room are two antique dobby looms.  The dobby mechanism, which allows for more complex patterning, is the iron contraption which sits on top of the loom frame.  If you've ever been to our mill in Monmouth, Maine, you'll notice some interesting similarities and differences in machinery!  Even though time has changed the technology, so much of the process remains the same.

2| Process:

Our designer set out to make a small set of towels using the traditional methods taught at Marshfield.  The first step was to make the warp.  To do so, she used a free-standing warping board and a spool rack, which allows multiple threads to be warped at once.

 

Here is the finished chained warp, ready to be moved to the loom.  Crisper weather inspired the autumn-like color scheme.  But there's still lots of green there, though, so don't fret - we're not rushing winter or anything!

 

At Marshfield, bobbins for adding filling (also called the weft) are wound on large wheels, like the ones pictured here.

 

Finally time to weave towels!  A flexible measuring tape is pinned to the side to keep track of how much fabric is woven per towel.  This warp is long enough to make four towels.

Our designer usually uses table looms for development projects at the mill, so weaving with a floor loom was completely new to her!  Sometimes notes taped where they're visible is a must.  Pictured here are also two end-delivery shuttles, one filled with green yarn and one with orange. These are used to pass the weft threads through the shed.

This photo shows the underside of the loom and the treadles.  On a floor loom, the weaver controls the lifting of the harnesses (and thus, the pattern produced on the fabric) by pushing down select treadles with their feet.

3| Finished Material:

It's very satisfying to complete a weaving project!  Here are the final towels we ended up with.  Our designer was able to practice different techniques on each one.  It's amazing the variety of color and pattern that can be produced on a single warp.

For more information about The Marshfield School of Weaving, please visit their website.  If you're interested in taking a weaving, spinning, or dyeing class of your own, they may be a great fit!


Bates Mill Today: Baxter Brewing Company August 16, 2019 13:41

When you visit the Bates Mill in Lewiston today, you can still hear the falls that powered the original textile machines that called the mill home for over a century. The booming sound of hundreds of looms may have disappeared, but the mill is still alive with the sounds of another kind of production, beer brewing!

Baxter Brew Pub in Bates MillBates Mill Canal

Photos: The entry to the Baxter Brewpub tucked behind the mill next to the canal. if the weather permits, be sure to enjoy a beverage on the patio where you can hear the falls of the canal that powered the mill for over a century.

Started in 2010, the Baxter Brewing Company has grown from a small production brewery to one of the largest craft breweries in Maine. Baxter is an innovative leader in its industry as the first New England brewery to can all of its beer (a more sustainable and also easier to drink choice!). 

 Bates Sign in Baxter BrewpubAir Compressor in Bates Powerhouse - Baxter BrewpubBaxter Brewpub Pipes

Photos: Housed in the original powerhouse of the Bates Mill, Baxter embraced the history in the design of its new brewpub, "The Pub." Rather than remove or hide the old equipment, Baxter features them throughout the pub as a subtle nod to mill's past.

Recently, we had the opportunity to visit our original home in the Bates Mill to tour Baxter’s production facility and new brewpub located in the original mill powerhouse. We had a great time visiting with Baxter’s Marketing Director, Adam, and sharing stories of the mill back when the powerhouse was still operating and the millworkers were still toiling away around the clock crafting America’s finest bedspreads.

Baxter Brewery ProductionBaxter Brewery Production

Photos: Behind the scenes of the brewery.

While we may have moved our weaving operation up the road to Monmouth, we’re proud to see the old Bates Mill has not lost its innovative manufacturing soul as Baxter carries on the tradition proudly. If you’re making your way up to visit us, we encourage you to stop by Baxter for a tour of the original mill and to sample another of Maine’s finest creations, Baxter Beer.

Update: We also recently learned that Baxter's founder, Luke Livingston, is retiring from the brewery. He will retire on Sept. 13 on the day that Baxter brew's its 100th barrel of its signature Stowaway IPA. Congratulations, Luke!


Barn Frame Loom Reconstruction Adventure | Part II: Making String Heddles July 24, 2019 17:00

Part II: Making String Heddles

It's been a crazy spring and busy summer, but don't fret-- we haven't forgotten about our Barn Frame Loom Reconstruction Project!  While we wait on getting some parts, our designer has been slowly making replacement string heddles for the loom (read more about heddles and their function in Part 1 of our Barn Loom Reconstruction series). If you are a hand weaver and are interested in making your own string heddles, or if you're just interested in general (because it's neat!) we've created a small tutorial for how we've been creating ours.

1| Gathering Supplies

The first step is to create a small jig to make the heddles on.  A narrow piece of wood, 6 nails, a hammer, and a ruler is all you need! There is a good description of how to construct a jig here.  Once you have your jig, you'll need some thin but strong cotton twine and a pair of scissors.

2| Making Square Knots

Square knots are used to make heddles! If you're not sure what type of knot a square knot is, follow this tutorial on how to make a square knot here.

3| Starting the Heddle

To begin the heddle, first cut a piece of twine - 3 times the length of your jig should be enough.  Fold the piece of twine evenly in half, and drape it around the top-most nail, as pictured in diagram 1.  Next, tie your first square knot around the bottom of the second nail.  A close up of this knot is shown in diagram 2.

4| Making the Middle Eyelet

The 3rd and 4th nails are what make the heddle's eyelet.  This is what holds a warp thread on a loom.  To create the eyelet, tie a second square knot under the third nail (just like you did under the second nail), as shown by the red arrow in diagram 3.  Make sure the twine is kept taught.  Next, tie another square knot under the 4th nail, creating a small circular opening with the twine (diagram 4).

5| Finishing the Heddle

To finish the heddle, we're going to tie two more square knots! Tie one underneath the 5th nail (location shown by the red arrow in diagram 5) and a final one under the 6th nail (diagram 6).  Trim off the excess twine when finished - we like to leave a small tail, just in case.

6| Counting Strings and Finished Bundles

As you make more and more heddles, it can be useful to keep track of how many you have. Using a contrasting color string, tie off the heddles in bundles as you make them (we like to do bundles of 10 to keep it simple).  We've found that about 40 heddles fit on our jig, so 4 bundles of 10.  We'll need a lot more than 40 heddles for our Barn Frame Loom, so until we get enough we're storing them in tied off groups, using safety pins to keep the ends in order.

We hope you enjoyed this string heddle tying tutorial! Stay tuned over the next couple months and we'll share how it goes installing the heddles we've made onto the barn frame loom. 

 

 


Monmouth Community Garden: Open for a 5th Season! June 25, 2019 11:43

After a very wet, rainy, and chilly spring, the Monmouth Community Garden is finally ready for planting! 

This summer marks the 5th season that the Bates Mill has hosted the garden by providing the physical space and supplying the water on-site.  Although it's already mid-June, things are just beginning to get going - Mother Nature has not been too cooperative this year.  Thank goodness for the sun we've been having recently.

If you'd like more information on the MCG, please visit our brand new webpage, Monmouth Community Garden.

Many of our meetings and garden events are open to the community, and we encourage anyone interested to get involved!  Any special dates will be posted in our "NEWS, UPDATES, & EVENTS" section, so please check back.

One such event will be an on-site Walk n' Talk with UMaine Extension Associate Professor Caragh Fitzgerald on Wednesday, July 17th from 6:00 - 7:30PM.  Join us to discuss current and upcoming vegetable garden challenges (such as pests!) and what to do about them.  Even if you don't have a plot in our garden but have your own elsewhere or just a general interest in gardening, we welcome you to attend.  There's lots to learn, so mark your calendars and bring your questions!

We still have 2 plots available if you (or someone you know) is interested in renting a 10' x 20' plot for the 2019 season.  It's not too late to hop on board!  If you'd like to join us this summer in growing your own vegetables, contact us here.


Bed Blankets vs Throw Blankets June 18, 2019 10:03

We get lots of questions regarding the difference between bed blankets versus throw blankets and thought a guide would be a helpful resource as you're shopping for blankets for your home. There are two major differences between bed blankets and throw blankets - size & use. Below, learn more about each area to help you decide what you're looking for as you're shopping for a blanket.

1. Bed Blankets vs Throw Blankets: Size

Perhaps the most obvious difference you'll notice when you begin shopping for a bed blanket or a throw blanket is the size of the blanket.

For bed blankets, the sizes typically come based on standard bed sizes - twin, full, queen, and king. It's important to note that it's much more common to find the full and queen combined as a "full/queen" option for blankets versus simply a full and queen. You can be confident that the "full/queen" size will fit your full or queen size bed comfortably and appropriately. Standard measurements are listed below. It's important to note that the width tends to be consistent throughout the industry but length can vary slightly based on the style.

  • Twin: 66" x 96"
  • Full/Queen: 90" x 96"
  • King: 108" x 96"
  • Note: Width is listed first followed by the length in the dimensions.

Kineo Bed Blanket

Photo: The Kineo Bed Blanket is a great as an extra layer to keep warm or as a simple modern top of bed option as shown in the photo above.

For throw blankets, these are smaller than your standard bed blankets and will not cover a regular size bed as a bed blanket would. The standard range of dimensions for throws are listed below. It's relevant to note that there is often a wider range in throws based on style and the flexibility of their use (more on this in the section below):

  • Throw: 48" - 54" x 64" - 74"
  • Note: Width is listed first followed by the length.

Photo: The Cable Weave Throw Blanket is a great lightweight option for the warm season.

2. Bed Blankets vs Throw Blankets: End Use

Beyond size, the end use of bed blankets versus throw blankets will probably be the most important part of your decision process.

The larger size of the bed blankets makes them most appropriate for use either as an extra layer on your bed or even a modern simple top of bed option. Picking the blanket that matches your bed size is the most straightforward way to find what you're looking for.

Photo: The Lattice Blanket makes for a great extra layer in between a sheet and bedspread or a nicely textured top of bed layer.

Throws are a lot more versatile from both a decorative standpoint and a practical standpoint. If you're looking for a blanket that you can add as a decorative piece on the end of your bed or couch, the throw is going to be your top pick. From a more practical standpoint, a throw blanket is also a great option if you're looking for an extra layer to have available to snuggle with on the couch or outside by the bonfire on a cool summer night.

Photo: Available in a range of colors, the George Washington's Choice Throw Blanket (left) and the Kineo Throw Blanket (right) make both great decorative and practical throw blanket options for any season.

3. Bates Bed Blankets vs Bates Throw Blankets

While we may be most known for our traditional bedspreads, our cotton blankets are great options for simpler styles or for added layers on your bed. To see all our bed blanket and throw blanket options, please visit our Blanket Collection.


    A Look at “Loom”: A Merrymeeting Arts Center Exhibit May 29, 2019 07:49

    Textiles surround us in our everyday life.  In fact, many of us are using a textile right now simply by being dressed. The towel you dried off with this morning?  A textile. The sheets you slept under last night? Textiles. Maybe even the chair you’re sitting on at this very moment has a textile covering.  Whatever role they play in your life today, know that textiles have been a part of human culture for centuries.

    In Maine, textiles have played an integral part in shaping our states demographic, culture and even landscape.  This was mostly due to the large scale manufacturing of textiles, but Merrymeeting Arts Center in Bowdoinham also appreciates textiles as one of the many forms of art that can enlighten and enrich our lives everyday.

    This summer (May 5th - August 15th) they will be hosting a new exhibit called “Loom”.  The exhibit features the textile works of the late Luke MacFadyen and Delaney Bullock.  Luke and Delaney both learned to weave at the Putney School in Vermont, some thirty years apart. They met last summer and were planning on working together to help Delaney continue her weaving while attending Bowdoin College, where Luke worked as a chef. Sadly, their partnership was cut short by Luke’s sudden death. This exhibit brings together examples of their work.

    We attended the opening reception on May 5th and will provide a sneak peak in the pictures below:

    Blankets designed by Claudia Brahms and Luke for Brahm Mount Textiles, a Maine-based textile manufacturer.

    A textile designed by  Delaney, a student at Bowdoin College.

    Vests designed by Luke while studying at Boston University Program in Artisanry.

    Visitors enjoying the music, food and company at the opening reception for "Loom".

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    We encourage you to visit the Merrymeeting Arts Center this summer and experience this exhibit for yourselves.  If you've already visited, share your favorite part in the comments below!

     


    Behind the Blanket: Maine Cabin Masters Makes a Bedspread May 1, 2019 10:31 3 Comments

    Recently, we had the wonderful opportunity to welcome the designer from Maine Cabin Masters, Ashley, into our facility to find a bedspread for one of their historical cabin renovations.

    For those of you not familiar with the show, Maine Cabin Masters (airs on DIY Network on Mondays at 9pm EST) features cabin renovation projects that are led from start to finish by brother-sister duo, Chase & Ashley. They travel throughout the state with their local team of builders breathing life back into cabins in need of some fixing up.

    For a recent local renovation in Gardiner, they were tasked with renovating a historical cabin back to its original state in the episode, "A Legacy Preserved" that featured one of our most historic bedspreads, Martha Washington's Choice. Ashley not only came to us to find the perfect period-bedspread to feature in the cabin, but she also wanted to dive in to make it herself. We had a blast showing Ashley our process, and it was a great opportunity for viewers to see the work that goes into every cabin renovation that they do.

    We hope you enjoy taking a tour "behind the blanket" through the photos below. 

     

    These first two images show our warp tender, Rene, demonstrating to Ashley how we prep the yarn for the looms. When we first receive yarn, it is on small cones which we must prepare for weaving by winding it onto large steel spools, called warps.

    The next step is to actually weave the bedspreads on the looms. Below, you'll see a few images of our lead weaver, Dot, showing Ashley how the looms work.

     

    Once the material has been woven, it is then cut and stitched. Below, one of our stitchers, Diane, shows Ashley how we finish the bedspreads with fringe.

    Once the bedspreads are stitched, they are sent to the washroom and then onto inspection where they are folded and packaged. 

    To see the rest of how the bedspread was made, be sure to tune into one of the upcoming airings of this episode: A Legacy Preserved

    Thanks again to the MCM team for visiting us!


    Barn Frame Loom Reconstruction Adventure | Part 1: Welcome, Loom April 22, 2019 17:07

    Part 1: Welcome, Loom

    Last October, an antique barn frame loom came into our possession at the Bates Mill. These large, historic looms got their name from the mortise and tenon joints used in their construction - one of the same types of joinery used in post and beam barn framing. From what our research turns up, it seems as though many of these looms were built some time between the late 1700's and early 1900's. Because of their size, these looms were too large to be used indoors and were often set up in barns. This point gives us another possible reason behind their name. Every part of a barn frame loom was constructed by hand, making each loom completely unique. Pegs and beams are hand carved, so every joint has an individualized fit, and the string heddles on the harnesses were hand knotted out of a strong cotton twine. It's very impressive.

    A barn frame loom fully set up (above).  This beautiful loom is a result of Boothbay Railway Village's Barn Frame Loom Restoration Project.

    Our beloved "new" loom arrived disassembled, after being in storage for quite a few years. In the coming months, our designer hopes to get it back up and running in a cleared out corner of her office (lucky for her, her office is one of the biggest in the mill...because this thing is huge! And we don't have a barn to store it in.)

    The first step in the slightly daunting task of reconstruction was to do some research and to go through the parts pile (because of course, there are no assembly instructions included!). Most everything looks in good shape, however, we do have a few things to clean up and possibly replace before getting started. The most important piece that we're missing is the cloth beam. This part helps lock the frame into place and is what the finished cloth rolls onto during the weaving process. We have several leads for obtaining this long-lost part, but we're not sure how it will play out just yet.  

    Of course, there is plenty that can be done to work toward our goal while figuring out the best route to take with the cloth beam. One fairly monotonous task will be remaking some of the heddles, which we plan to do in the traditional fashion. To get into a little loom anatomy, the heddles serve to separate warp threads as the harnesses (or shafts) go up and down. This up and down motion creates the shed, which is what the weft yarn must pass through during the weaving process. Each warp thread is threaded through one heddle eye. All of the heddles are located on the harness frames, as shown in the photo below. Stay tuned for Part II of our "Barn Frame Loom Reconstruction Adventure" blog series, which will include our process of making the heddle jig as well as the heddles themselves!

    The string heddles on our loom harnesses.

    We'd like to recognize and thank the Marshfield School of Weaving, which has been an incredible resource for us as we've been getting our bearings. Pictured above is a book written by Kate Smith of Marshfield on warping and dressing barn frame looms, which should come in handy! We'd also like to thank Boothbay Railway Village for taking the time to meet with our designer last fall and allowing her to take photos of their barn frame loom all set up - the pictures will be a great reference of what-goes-where.

    If these historical looms and their use in New England is something that interests you, please follow our summer/fall blog series documenting the adventure of reconstructing and setting up our loom - if you haven't already guessed, we're kicking the blog series off with this post! Additionally, here's another similar blog post series from 2016 on the subject, which we found very inspiring.


    Spring in Maine: It's More than Mud! March 22, 2019 07:40

    Today marks the official start of Spring, although it may not look like it just yet in Maine.  Still, the days are getting longer and the weather is slowly warming up. Mainer’s like to joke that we have a fifth season that falls between Winter and Spring… mud season!  The melting snow and rain makes our back roads and hiking trails a bit soft and mucky, but there’s still plenty to love about this time of year in Maine!

    1 | Free Admission to Acadia National Park

    On the first day of National Park Week (April 20th), admission is free to all national parks, including our very own Acadia National Park.  This natural gem is an absolute must-see when visiting Maine. Make sure to drive, bike or hike up Cadillac Mountain for panoramic views of the surrounding area.  When you’re done, catch a bite to eat and do some shopping in the popular town right outside of the park, Bar Harbor.

    [Source: The Maple Moose]

    2 | Maine Maple Sunday

    Held on the fourth Sunday in March (this Sunday!), Maine Maple Sunday is a true celebration of Spring!  Over 100 sugarhouses throughout the state open their doors to the public, offering an opportunity for us to see how that sugary sweet liquid gold is produced.  Oh, and did we mention the free samples?

    [Source: Stevens Farm & Greenhouse]

    3 | Greenhouses Galore

    Spring is also when we all start thinking about decorating our yards and homes with fresh flowers.  Maine has numerous greenhouses, big and small, where you can find just what you need to give your home that colorful Spring curb appeal.  If you visit Stevens Farm & Greenhouse in Monmouth, we’re just up the road - so stop by our factory at the same time and make a day of it!

    [Source: Main Street Maine]

    4 |  Coastal Boutiques

    Who doesn’t love a little shopping trip now and then?  There’s something special about shopping the small boutiques of coastal Maine towns - brick buildings, ocean air, friendly faces.  On a warm, sunny Spring day take a pleasant stroll through the shops of downtown Belfast, Rockland or Boothbay Harbor (to name a few!).

    --

    What is your favorite Maine springtime activity?  Let us know in the comments below!


    Winter Wonderland on Main Street in Monmouth, Maine February 18, 2019 21:15 2 Comments

    Winters in Maine can be long and cold, but when the snow blankets our small town, it can turn into a beautiful winter wonderland. We hope you enjoy taking a winter walk through our small town with our designer, Adrienne, who walks Main Street just about every day regardless of the weather. 

    Our first stop is our front yard. Freshly plowed after one of the many snow storms we've received this year. Now, out to Main Street we go!

     

    Our next stop takes us to the most famous building in our town, Cumston Hall. Built in 1900, Cumston Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Today, it houses the local library and a beautiful theater in which local companies perform a variety of plays throughout the year.

    Right next to Cumston, we find the Monmouth Center Cemetery. Like many small towns in New England, cemeteries dot the countryside reminding those who pass by of the folks who came before them that shaped the communities of today.

    A few more steps down the road, we'll find the Monmouth Museum (Adrienne's daily turnaround spot!). The Museum comprises several buildings that walk you not just through the town's history but also through life in rural Maine throughout the past few centuries. 

     

    On the way back to the mill, Adrienne always stops for a fresh hot cup of coffee at the Monmouth General Store. General stores are common fixtures in communities throughout New England including our own.

    We hope you enjoyed a walk through our winter wonderland, but if it made you miss the warmer months, be sure to take a look back at our blog post featuring the community garden we host each growing season here. Spring will be here before we know it!


    Pineland Farms | 5,000 Acres of Year-Round Activities in Southern Maine January 28, 2019 11:12

    Tucked away in the hills of rural Maine is a 5,000 acre campus and working farm that offers a public venue for recreation, education, business, special occasion celebrations and more. If you live in Maine, you may have seen their cheeses and natural meats at your local grocery store (we highly recommend the smoked cheddar), but Pineland Farms has so much more to offer than delicious cheeses and meats (as if we could ask for more than that!).

    Source: Pineland Farms

    1 | Recreational Trail System

    Perhaps one of the most alluring aspects of the Pineland Farms campus is its' 30 kilometer trail system. The trails are open to visitors year-round for hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing with equipment rentals available at their Outdoor Center.

    Source: Pineland Farms

    2 | Disc Golf, Tennis, Bocce Ball, Skating and Sledding

    In addition to the extensive trail system, Pineland Farms also offers three tennis courts available on a first-come, first-serve basis, an olympic-size bocce ball court, and two disc golf courses (one pro-level and the other more geared toward intermediate competition). In the winter, visitors can enjoy ice skating on the farm pond and kids will absolutely love sledding on the groomed sledding hill.

    Source: Pineland Farms

    3 | Education Through Hands-On Participation

    One of the major goals of Pineland Farms is to foster an appreciation for agriculture and our natural surroundings through hands-on education. As part of this goal, they offer classes through their family programs and adult programs such as wild mushroom identification, butter-making and maple-sugaring, to name a few. Pineland Farms is also a great destination for school field trips, accommodating all ages from pre-k to adults.

    Source: Pineland Farms

    4 | Memorable Birthday Parties

    Instead of the standard bowling alley birthday party, why not create a memorable and educational experience with Pineland Farms? Kids will have the opportunity to get up close with farm animals, collect hen eggs and possibly even milk a cow. How fun is that?! But you don’t necessarily have to wait for your birthday for this experience, the educational Farmyard is open to the public year round from 10AM-4PM.

    Source: Pineland Farms

    5 | Activities for Disabled Veterans

    Through their VAST program (Veterans Adaptive Sports & Training), Pineland Farms hopes to promote the health and well-being of our disabled veterans through physical activity and camaraderie.  VAST offers free, year-round activities to our veterans including rifle shooting, archery targeting, fly tying and much more. The program is funded in part by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, but if you’d like to help support the program and our veterans, donations are always welcome.

    Source: Pineland Farms

    6 | Weddings, Corporate Gatherings and Special Occasions

    With everything you could possibly need for an unforgettable event, from lodging to catering and everything in-between, Pineland Farms is a great choice for your next family or company gathering. With the rural, peaceful setting, it won’t feel like you’re only minutes away from two of Maine’s biggest cities, and their experienced staff knows how to make your event run smoothly.

    Source: Pineland Farms

    7 | World Class Equestrian Center

    The state-of-the-art Equestrian Center at Pineland Farms boasts indoor and outdoor arenas, housing for athletes and stabling for up to 30 horses.  They train, breed and promote Morgan horses, which happen to be the first true American breed of horse. Riding lessons are available and the center hosts livestock shows throughout the year.  The facility is also available for events, and offers a banquet hall and conference room in addition to the arenas.

    Source: Pineland Farms

    8 | The Market

    Before you leave, make sure to stop at the market!  Bring home delicious local food, beverages and gifts. You can also eat in-house at their kitchen & deli.

    Source: Pineland Farms

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    Do you have an experience at Pineland Farms that you’d like to share?  Did we forget one of your favorite parts? Tell us in the comments below!


    Love & Toasters: 5 Vintage Christmas Advertisements that'll Give you a Laugh December 16, 2018 13:30

    We had so much fun looking at vintage Christmas decorations last week that we wanted to dive into the world of vintage Christmas advertisements this week! From an edgy Bates ad from our archive to the helpful advice of a little crying, we hope you enjoy these festive blasts from the past.

    1. Bates Manufacturing Company

    We love the look and sass of this vintage Bates ad from the 1960s. This was actually one of several ads that featured beautiful women donning bold bedspreads that were popular in the flower power years.

    Source: Pinterest

    2. Ouija Board featuring the Pressing Questions of 1962

    We love this ad featuring the classic board game, Ouija, and the pressing questions of the 1960s. From flying saucers to the everyday concerns of teenagers, it's amazing how some themes hold through the years.

    Source: CBS

    3. Cry a Little for Appliances

    We were torn between featuring this ad with the advice to cry a little but not too much, and this other ad that features miniature versions of gifts you could slip into his pocket. We think the advice of a little crying may be more productive and like that no purchases are required... We'll ignore the constant reminder of women's place in the home though. By the way, Bates is a proudly women-owned and -operated company - thought it may be a good time to mention this. ;)

    Source: Jezebel

    4. Please a Lady... With a Toaster

    Another vintage ad, another appliance for us ladies. Who knew such a simple appliance could bring us such joy? We do have to admit, that is a good looking toaster, and we do wish our husbands would appreciate all our appliances like that man in the ad appreciates that toaster.

    Source: Buzzfeed

    5. Hoover, 1959

    While this image does say it all, the magic is really in the text in this one: "She cares about her home, you know, so if you really care about her..." Nothing says love like a new vacuum! That being said, we have been eyeing those new robot vacuums the last few years so maybe these vintage ads aren't so off... 

    Have your own favorite ad from the past? Share in the comments.


    5 Vintage Christmas Decorations & Where to Find Them Today December 9, 2018 14:30

    We love looking to the past for design inspiration - especially around the holidays! In this blog post, we round up five of our favorite vintage holiday decorations, and the best part, we found where you can get them again (new or vintage!). Whether these items bring you back to your childhood or you love the feel of a vintage holiday, we hope you enjoy checking out these festive blasts from the past.

    Source: Atomic Ranch

    1. Aluminum Christmas Tree Illuminated with Color Wheel

    The Aluminum Christmas Tree was first introduced in the 1950s (during World War II, all metal was used for the war so even the hanging part of traditional ornaments was made from paper versus metal!). Illuminated by a color wheel, these festive trees were quite popular until 1965 when A Charlie Brown Christmas depicted them as the symbol of the commercialization of Christmas. They've since made a comeback as a fun vintage throwback holiday decoration. 

    Where to buy?

    New Tinsel Tree & Color Wheel

    Vintage Aluminum Christmas Trees (Tip: There are also some vintage color wheels, but you're probably better off buying one of these new as the electronic components seem to not stand the test of time as well as the actual trees!)

    Source: Bless Your h'Art! Pottery Paint Crafts

    2. Ceramic Christmas Tree

    Ceramic Christmas Trees became popular in the 1960s and 1970s when ceramics was a popular hobby. During that time, there were lots of local pottery shops across the country where folks would go for classes (like paint night today!) and as molds became bigger and most sophisticated, the Ceramic Christmas Tree became possible. Now, these vintage decorations are some of the most cherished of Grandma's holiday hand me downs.

    Where to buy?

    Make Your Own Ceramic Christmas Tree Kit

    New Ceramic Christmas Tree

    Vintage Ceramic Christmas Tree

    Source: House Beautiful

    3. Indented Bauble Ornaments

    Indented Bauble Ornaments first came to be during the Victorian Times as they were created to reflect the candlelight of the Christmas Tree (hard to fathom actual candles on a tree these days!). They became popular again in the 1950s before less ornate decorations became more on trend. 

    Where to buy?

    New Indented Ornaments

    Vintage Indented Ornaments

    4. German Smoker Incense Burners

    German smokers are actually incense burners and became popular in the 19th century when smoking started to become socially acceptable. They were made by the same toymakers that made their more famous Nutcracker counterparts. For the smokers, the craftsmen made everyday figures like hunters, peddlers with toys (see photo above), chimney sweeps and bakers. Typically, Nutcrackers depicted officials versus folks from everyday life. Today, you can find many smokers that are more traditional Christmas themes like Santas and Snowmen.

    Where to buy?

    New German Smoker Incense Burners

    Vintage German Smoker Incense Burner

    Source: Q is for Quandie

    5. Finial Topper

    Finial Tree Toppers were especially popular in the 1960s. These are often simple glass tree toppers with ornate features that replaced more traditional tree toppers like stars and angels. Collectors often like to feature them not on just the top of the tree but as sets on mantles and other surfaces.

    Where to buy?

    New Finial Tree Toppers

    Vintage Finial Tree Toppers


    Have your own favorite vintage Christmas decorations? Be sure to share in the comments!