Treat Yourself: 5 Adult-Friendly Halloween DIY Activities October 22, 2018 07:51
Kids' costumes ready? Candy bags hidden away for trick or treaters? Sounds like it's time to treat yourself! Whether you're looking for your own little escape this Halloween or want to surprise some friends with some adult-friendly fun, the five projects below are a great place to start for a festive afternoon of DIY.
1. Halloween Bath Bombs
As the weather is getting cooler and the craziness of the holidays starts to build, who doesn't love a relaxing bath at the end of the day? Bath bombs are easy to make and the options are endless when it comes to creativity. We love these adorable miniature Pumpkin Bath Bombs and can't help but smile when we see these spooky Jack Skellington Bath Bombs.
2. Halloween Cocktails
Martha Stewart put together an incredible list of festive Halloween cocktails that features 22 options from the simple & easy to mix to the more complex craft cocktail. Our favorites? We love the Pina Ghoulada that brings us to the beach or the Blood-Red Hot Chocolate that can be served with or without alcohol.
3. Halloween Muddy Buddies
Sitting down for a scary movie marathon? Up your snack game with some Halloween Muddy Buddies! Easy to make and with a little something that everyone will deem their favorite part, these snacks will be a welcomed treat that will keep you and your friends fueled for all those movies. Bonus: Easy to make in bulk, this is a great option if you want to bring a festive treat to the office.
4. Leftover Pumpkin Candle
Ready to get rid of your jack-o-lanterns and move onto the next holiday? We love the idea of repurposing our pumpkins into a festive candle for the Thanksgiving season. Learn how to make this easy Leftover Pumpkin Candle here.
5. "You've Been Boozed"
Bring some smiles to your friends this Halloween with a bottle of wine (or put together a little gift basket featuring the mixers from one of the cocktails on Martha's list above!) and add the tag "You've been boozed!" They'll appreciate the gesture and you'll get to enjoy some festive cheer together. We encourage you to make your own tags or you can simply print the bottle tags here.
Have your own favorite adult-friendly way to celebrate Halloween? Share in the comments!
5 Fun Fall Crafts for a Festive Autumn Home October 10, 2018 14:47
Fall is a nostalgic time of year for many of us, filled with traditions and celebrations. Crafting is a great way to bring a seasonal touch into your home - after all, you'll be spending more time inside as the weather cools down. Get your creative juices flowing with one of these 5 Fun Fall Fabric Crafts!
These acorn pot holders are as functional as they are festive. They are sure to add a subtle splash of fall to your kitchen decor.
These adorable fabric pumpkins are great because you can personalize the look with your fabric selection. For example, the remnant fabric at our factory store would give your pumpkin a chic, country fall look, or you could go with a classic Halloween print for a fun, spooky vibe.
These fabric pumpkins are the same idea as above but geared towards those of us who haven’t quite mastered the art of needle and thread. No excuses here, these precious fabric pumpkins can still adorn your home.
Okay, maybe these ghost lamps aren't technically a craft, but they were too cute not to include. This makes us want to put up light posts for this specific purpose!
This craft will provide a festive but classy addition to your seasonal decor - and it’s super easy! The hardest part will be finding a cool old frame to upcycle.
Have you tried one of these crafts before and some helpful hints? Do you have a suggestion for another fun fall fabric craft? Share your ideas in the comments below!
5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Apple Season in Maine August 30, 2018 09:04
In Maine, the apple picking season begins in August and runs through late October. For many Mainers, the opening of the apple orchards is a sure sign that Summer is coming to a close. But that’s okay - we’ve compiled a list of apple season activities to keep you distracted from the inevitable onslaught of winter.
1 | Pick-Your-Own Apples
The number one activity during apple season is (of course!) apple picking. Maine has apple orchards speckled throughout the state, so no matter where you are, there is a pick-your-own option relatively close-by. Check out this map of apple orchards in Maine to find one near you.
2 | Eat Fresh Apple Cider Doughnuts
It’s possible that there is nothing better than a warm apple cider doughnut on a brisk fall day. We hear that the doughnut shack at McDougal Orchards is the place to get fresh cider doughnuts - but if this location isn’t convenient for you, don’t worry - lots of other orchards have farm stands/stores where you can purchase these sweet treats as well. You could even try to make your own with this recipe from Downeast Magazine.
3 | Solve a Corn Maze
Corn mazes are great fun for the whole family and there are several to choose from throughout the state. Most folks are able to finish the maze unscathed, but in case you’re worried about your fate, check out these corn maze survival tips beforehand.
4 | Visit an Agricultural Fair
Maine has 25 licensed agricultural fairs with a handful operating during the apple season. Agricultural fairs are more than just rides, games and food - they are a great source for fun and education. Check out this list of agricultural fairs in Maine to find one that works for your schedule or trip.
5 | Schedule a Family Photo Shoot
That’s right! Apple orchards make a great seasonal backdrop for family photos. You can snap your own shots, or hire a photographer who is willing to travel to your desired location. Treworgy’s Orchard in Levant even has a photographer on hand for mini-sessions, but they do recommend making reservations.
Do you have a favorite activity for the apple picking season in Maine? Share it in the comments below!
Made in USA Bedding Checklist for the College Dorm Room August 15, 2018 08:31
Whether it's you or your child's first year away at college or fourth, making sure you have all your bedding covered is important to guarantee a good night's rest. Use this list of Made in USA bedding options to help make this part of your to do list extra easy during this busy time.
Before we dive in, be sure to check with the school to confirm if their dorm rooms are outfitted with regular twin size or XL twin size beds.
1. The Base - Made in USA Sheets
Bedding always starts with the sheets! We recommend getting two sets of sheets to help you or your student make sure they keep theirs fresh. Be sure each set consist of the following, and you should be all set for the school year:
- 1 Fitted Sheet
- 1 Top Flat Sheet
- 1 Pillow Case (typical for a twin size set vs other sizes)
Our Made in USA recommendations are all great quality but vary based on the design preferences of your student:
- Made in USA Sheets with Color Options: Authenticity 50
- Made in USA Sheets in Natural (leave the personality for the top of bed!): Bates Mill Store
2. The Comfort - Made in USA Pillows
You'll want to make sure to find the perfect pillow for yourself or your student to get a great night's sleep. With a twin bed, one standard size pillow should be more than enough to keep their bed comfortable. Our Made in USA Pillow picks:
3. The Top of the Bed Style - Made in USA Coverlet or Comforter
The top of the bed is really where you or your student can show off their personality. One top of bed layer should be plenty for your student as these don't need to be washed as often as your sheets.
We recommend coverlets over comforters since they can be washed in a regular washer or dryer and don't need a separate duvet cover, but it's really a choice to be made based on comfort and style preferences:
- Made in USA Cotton Coverlet: Bates Mill Store Coverlets
- Made in USA Cotton Blanket: Bates Mill Store Blankets
- Made in USA Comforters: Pure Living Space
- Made in USA Duvet Covers for your Comforter: Authenticity 50
4. Optional Extra Layer - Made in USA Blanket
If you or your student is heading somewhere that has a cold season, we recommend adding an extra layer to their bedding list to ensure they can stay warm when the temperature drops. Our Made in USA Blanket picks:
- Made in USA Cotton Blanket: Bates Mill Store Blankets
- Made in USA Wool Blankets: LL Bean Washable Wool Blankets
5. Optional Accent - Made in USA Throw Pillow & Throw Pillow Covers
The last part of the bedding puzzle is of course, a throw pillow. This is another way for you or your student to express their personality. We recommend starting with an insert so you or your student can switch out their throw pillow covers from season to season (a pillow cover may also make a great holiday gift when they return after their first term!):
We wish you and your student a fantastic school year! Let us know if you have your own bedding favorites that work well in the dorm room in the comments below.
What's Growing in the Monmouth Community Garden? August 09, 2018 12:50
Wow! August already?! How did that happen?
The Monmouth Community Garden is about ready to burst for it's 4th consecutive year. Located on the fertile lawn of the Bates Mill Store, the MCG consists of twenty 10' x 20' plots that are planted and maintained by a crew of enthusiastic local gardeners during the summer months. It's around this point in the season that everything starts to go wild! We're excited to share photos of just a small portion of what's growing in the garden this year.
The garden isn't only for vegetables. We've got some beautiful flowers going this season, including a bright patch of sunflowers for all those driving by to enjoy.
It's been a hot and humid summer in Maine, perfect for growing bell and hot peppers alike!
No garden is complete without some of these beasts. At this time in the season, most are easily 4-5 feet tall (or more!) and spilling out of their cages. Not many red fruits yet, but soon there will be more than anyone knows what to do with!
Many people know about canning salsa or like to make it fresh, but if you're looking to try something new and perhaps learn a new kitchen skill, you can also ferment the spicy stuff. Sound gross? A cool recipe might change your mind. We're excited about giving this fermented salsa recipe from Cultures for Health a shot.
Of course, you've got to have zucchini. And more zucchini. Oh, and what's that I see? Another zucchini...
6. Winter Squash
For all those long, cold months when a mouthful of roasted squash or warm squash soup is pure heaven. These babies have a long way to "grow" (ha ha ha...bad pun alert) but they're coming along nicely!
7. Herbs and Spices
Perfect to use fresh, or to dry to use all winter long.
Some beautiful crowns of broccoli are just starting to look ready to harvest.
We hope you enjoyed seeing what's growing as much as we enjoy hosting the garden and watching its progress throughout the season! If you are interested in being involved in the Monmouth Community Garden next year (2019, yikes!) please feel free to stop in the Bates Mill Store to enquire.
If you have any favorite recipes incorporating fresh garden produce, please share them in the comments below!
Planning a Visit to the Bates Mill Store in Maine? Consider adding these 7 local spots to your itinerary. July 23, 2018 09:00
We love welcoming our many visitors that make the trip to Maine during the summer! If you're planning on making the trip up to our small town of Monmouth, we encourage you to add one (or all!) of the following places to you itinerary.
1. Apple Valley Bakery - 829 Main Street ~ Monmouth, ME 04259
The Apple Valley Bakery is just a few minutes from our mill and is a great place to stop for a delicious pastry, donut or cup of coffee. We recommend anything that catch your eye - you'll be pleased with your choice. There are a few tables to enjoy your pick inside. To check their hours (closed Mondays) and to see some photos of their creations, visit the Apple Valley Bakery Facebook Page.
Source: Theater at Monmouth
2. Cumston Hall | The Shakespearean Theater of Maine - 796 Main Street ~
Monmouth, ME 04259
One of Monmouth's architectural and cultural icons is Cumston Hall. The building was constructed in 1899 and was added to the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1976. Throughout each summer, a collection of classic Shakespearean plays are performed by local and visiting actors. Tickets are available on the Theater at Monmouth website.
If you enjoying hiking or have your pup with you, we encourage you to take a trip up Mount Pisgah. We recommend the shorter Tower Hike (0.7 miles one way) to get to the top where you can climb up the Fire Tower (no longer in use) for incredible panoramic views of the area. For a map and details on how to get to the trailhead, visit the Mount Pisgah Fire Trail website.
4. Jack Traps 151 Ridge Road ~ Monmouth, ME 04259
If you love fishing, you may recognize the name "Jack Traps." Jack Traps is America's premier manufacturer of ice fishing traps and happen to also be located in Monmouth. We encourage you to check out their factory store where all their traps are made and to also get the best local fishing advice if you plan to get some time on the water. For store hours, visit the Jack Traps website.
5. Grateful Grain Brewing Company - 26 Rt. 126 ~ Monmouth, ME 04259
The best way to wrap up a day of visiting is a nice cold locally-brewed beer at the Grateful Grain Brewing Company. Recently opened in 2018, the brewery has become one of Monmouth's most popular places to visit. Be sure to check out the Grateful Grain Brewing Company Facebook page for their operating hours (Friday-Sunday) and to see events they may be having (live music, food trucks, etc).
6. Chalky & Company Headquarters - 1111 Main Street ~ Monmouth, ME 04259
Another wonderful family-owned business whose doors are open for visitors is Chalky & Company. Located just a minute down the road from us, Chalky & Company is a great place to visit if you love crafting and getting creative. For hours and to learn about their newest releases, be sure to visit them on the Chalky & Company Facebook Page before planning your trip.
7. Monmouth Museum - 749 Main Street ~ Monmouth, ME 04259
If you love history, you'll love visiting the Monmouth Museum. Located right on Main Street nearby Cumston Hall, the Monmouth Museum houses artifacts from throughout our town's long history. There are 8 buildings that do an amazing job of taking you back in time to learn about life in rural Maine in the 19th century. For hours and events, be sure to visit the Monmouth Museum Facebook Page.
Have a recommendation to the list? Be sure to share in the comments below.
Bates Bedspreads at French's Point June 18, 2018 10:22
We love catering to the hospitality industry and, dare we say, our fans in the hospitality industry love working with us too. The design, durability and generous sizing of our bedspreads seems to be the perfect fit for many inns, retreats and bed & breakfasts throughout the country.
French’s Point on Penobscot Bay, right in our own home state of Maine, is one of those places.
Nestled on 14 acres of oceanfront property with two beautiful homes surrounded by 100 acres of State Preserve, French’s Point offers a private and peaceful seaside setting for visitors and guests to enjoy.
The property has a long and rich history dating back to the mid 1700’s. The Farm House shown above was established in 1764 and the neighboring Retreat House established in 1885 serve jointly as a large vacation rental property for families and weddings, accommodating up to 50 guests overnight with 20 guest suites (wow!).
The Brooks family purchased the property in 2002 and have since restored and transformed the estate into a setting for milestone gatherings and events. French’s Point hosts only one group of guests a weekend, affording each group privacy and exclusive enjoyment of the estate. French’s Point is not just a place to stay - it’s an experience.
Needless to say, we were very excited when French’s Point reached out to us during their search for new bedding - and they were proud to be able to work with fellow family-owned Maine business for this need.
We love how their team incorporated the Colonial Rose Bedspread into their guest room decor, adding a splash of color with harmonized throw pillows and duvet.
The light shining in on the picture above shows the subtle, puffed texture that our Matelasse Bedspreads are known for.
If you or someone you know is planning a wedding or other milestone event, you may want to consider this unique property. You and your guests are sure to have a wonderful, memorable experience.
Have you stayed at French's Point? Do you own a Colonial Rose Bedspread? Let us know about it in the comments below!
Bates at the Maine Innovation Expo 2018 May 31, 2018 08:52
We were recently invited to participate in the Maine Innovation Expo hosted by Museum LA at our original home, the Bates Mill in Lewiston. The expo was a fantastic event that offered families the opportunity to learn about all the innovative work companies are doing throughout Maine.
Our booth focused on teaching visitors about weaving and how innovations in weaving helped build the city of Lewiston through the Bates Manufacturing Company.
During the industrial revolution, entrepreneurs sought to harness the power of rivers in order to build their factories. In 1850, Benjamin Bates found that power in the mighty Androscoggin River of Lewiston. Innovations in weaving from mechanized looms to specialized types of weaving (like the Bates patented "terry weave") helped build Bates into one of the textile industry's most recognizable names.
To keep things fun for the children visiting our booth, we brought in lots of colorful yarn. While we no longer dye our own yarn, Bates used to not only just dye the yarn, but actually make the yarn from raw cotton. Today, we rely on a network of partners for these more specialized parts of yarn production.
Be sure to check out photos from the expo below, and if you were able to attend, be sure to share what you learned in the comments. Thanks again to Museum LA for inviting us to attend and share our craft with the community.
Store Manager, Katie, at our booth at the Maine Innovation Expo.
Left: Colorful yarn. Right: Bates Designer, Adrienne, show attendees how the table loom works.
The view from our booth at the expo early in the day. It was amazing to get to be back in the old mill, and if I'm sure the walls could talk - they would be pleased to see a loom again.
Celebrate the Unofficial Start of Summer: 5 Fun Activities for Memorial Day Weekend in Maine May 10, 2018 00:00
Memorial Day is just around the corner and that means the unofficial start of summer in Maine! The snow is gone (finally!), and we're ready for some fun in the sunshine. We gathered up our five favorite activities to do in Maine on Memorial Day weekend below.
1. Memorial Day Parades & Celebrations
Just about every town in Maine will be hosting a parade sometime over the weekend to celebrate the lives of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice during their military service. If you're in our area, consider attending the Memorial Day Parade in Lewiston on Saturday, May 26th. All are welcome.
The unofficial start of summer often means opening weekend for the many campgrounds throughout Maine. Luckily, there are lots of great options throughout the state of Maine including in our local area. Our favorites? The Birches Campground on Cobbosee Lake and Beaver Brook Campground on Wilson Pond. Most campgrounds have planned activities ready to keep your whole family entertained for the weekend - the hardest part for you will just be getting there.
3. Ice Cream
Summer in Maine means our seasonal ice cream shops throughout the state will be un-boarded and open for business! Just about every town has a local shop, but one shop that has becoming especially popular in our area in recent years is Fielder's Choice. This family-owned shop started in nearby Sabattus and has since expanded to other locations throughout the state including Old Orchard Beach, Auburn, Manchester and Brunswick. With a large menu (including dairy-free options!) and great prices, your whole family will be thrilled with this activity.
For some, a long weekend means time to shop! Maine has two great cities that are known for their outlet shopping - Kittery and Freeport. Both towns are great places to spend a day of shopping and exploring. If you're more interested in a variety of stores, we recommend making the trip down to the Kittery Outlets. If you're bringing your family, you may want to consider Freeport which is also home to one of Maine's most famous places - LL Bean. Featuring an indoor trout pond and other wildlife scenes, LL Bean brings the outdoors inside making it a great stop fo keeping your entire family entertained while you shop.
5. Explore the Great Outdoors
With the snow gone and the warm weather finally here (fingers crossed!), there's no better time to get outdoors, and we're lucky to live in a place that has so many options for outdoor fun! If your family loves animals, we recommend visiting DEW Haven - a fantastic place full of both local and exotic wildlife. More into plants and flowers? Consider checking out the Maine Botanical Garden in Boothbay. And lastly, if you prefer to explore your own backyard - nothing beats a hike through the forest or long walk on the beach. To find out great walks in your area, check out Maine Trail Finder.
Did we miss anything? Be sure to share your own favorites in the comments!
Weaving 101: Handweaving Fun on a Table Loom April 26, 2018 07:38
Before any of our products can be manufactured and sold, they have to be designed and sampled. This process is incredibly labor intensive, but it's also exciting and rewarding. Our mill currently has looms set up for 3 different types of weaves: matelassé weaves, terry weaves, and general blanket weaves (also called dobby weaves). How we go about the design process ultimately depends on which weave we're working with, and what our end product is going to be.
For both terry and matelassé styles, a design is first created on the computer and then test woven on one of our large jacquard looms. Terry and matelassé are "compound weaves," meaning that they have a complex structure. Because of their complexity, we jump straight from conceptualizing on the computer to sampling on the production loom. To read a little more about these weaves, check out our FAQ section here.
In contrast, our blanket styles are made of simple weaves that can easily be replicated on a small hand loom. This is where the fun really starts! When creating a new blanket, we weave small sample pieces by hand on table looms before sending final patterns to our production looms downstairs. This way we can work out any problems on a small scale, and make decisions about texture and color without wasting extra time and materials.
Any handweaver will tell you that preparing a loom for weaving takes a lot of planning. Although each person has their own methods and tricks, the main process remains the same. Here we have a basic overview of the process, illustrated with a fun rainbow warp!
1| Making the Warp
First, all the warp threads for the project are measured and counted out on a warping board.
2| Winding the Warp
Once the warp has been created, it needs to be wound onto the back beam of the loom. This can be a little tricky-- the key thing to pay attention to is an even tension across all threads. Weavers have developed a lot of different techniques to make this process easier, especially when working by yourself.
3| Drawing in the Warp
After the warp is securely wound onto the back beam, each thread is brought through a metal or string eyelet called a heddle. The heddles sit within metal frames called harnesses, which rise (or lower) during weaving. These elements work in combination to determine the pattern in the finished cloth.
4| Sleying the Reed
The reed is a long metal strip with small, vertical slats that is attached to the loom's beater. If you've ever seen people weaving, the beater is what is used to pound weft threads into the woven cloth. After each warp thread is brought through a heddle, it is drawn through a corresponding slat in the reed.
5| Tying into Front Apron Rod
To be able to weave smoothly, the warp must be held under a tight and even tension. Collections of threads passed through the reed are tied onto the front of the loom to create this tension.
Finally, the part we've all been waiting for! It takes a long time and a lot of patience to set up a loom, but the results are well worth it. The possibilities are endless!
We hope you enjoyed this brief overview! If we haven't scared you off and you're interested in learning to weave, there are some ways that you can get started without a lot of fancy equipment (or frustration). Frame looms are easy to build yourself and are excellent to learn on. We love this tutorial by The Weaving Loom, "Create Your Own Frame Loom: No Tools Necessary!!"
Mother's Day: Made in USA Throws for Every Kind of Mother April 17, 2018 10:26
Mother's Day is just around the corner (Sunday, May 13th)! Whether your Mom loves a classic design that reminds her of her childhood or a more modern design that fits in with her on trend home, one of the Made in USA throws below will certainly make her smile this Mother's Day.
For the Mother that Appreciates the Classics of Yesterday
We receive so many emails from customers that love sharing their memories of the Bates bedspreads that their grandparents had when they were young. The Martha Washington's Choice Throw is a great gift idea for mothers who love to remember the "good ol' days."
For the Mother that Loves Simple Modern Design
If your mom leans more towards modern design, she may be far more into a simple pattern like the Cathedral Throw. Featuring a chevron weave, this beautiful throw will be perfect for cuddling on the couch or as an accent on the end of the bed.
For the Mother that's Always Cold
For the mothers that are always cold, our thickest throw may be the best option. The George Washington's Choice Throw features a heavyweight cable weave and comes in 6 colors so not only will she appreciate the extra layer, but you'll also be able to find her favorite color.
For the Mother that Appreciates Tradition & Craft
The Hampton Roads Throw is our most popular gift item. This throw is favored for it's simple yet elegant design that is quite versatile for any style of home. If your mom especially appreciates tradition and craft, the Hampton Roads Throw will surely be a throw she will proudly display in her home.
For the Mother that Dreams of the Beach
Don't we all wish we could whisk our mothers away on a sunny beach vacation every Mother's Day? While a beach vacation may be just out of reach, the Cape Cod Throw is a great option for moms who love the sea. Featuring a beautiful lattice pattern with seashells, she'll love how this throw reminds her of some of her favorite things - the coast and you!
Still can't decide? Let her pick with a Bates Mill Store gift card.
Spring & Summer's Favorite Bedding: Cotton Bedding April 05, 2018 10:18
It's that time of the year when the temperatures start to warm, and we're looking for ways to stay cool and comfortable through the night. While winter loves wool, everyone knows spring and summer love the breathable freshness of cotton. Below, find 4 great cotton bedding options to prep your bed for the warm season.
1. Cotton Sheets
The first place we start is your base layer. Cotton sheets are an ideal choice for the warm months as they keep you covered but allow your body to breath comfortably. There are many cotton options available so it's important to choose a sheet set that is good for the warm season (versus cotton flannel which is more ideal for the cooler winter months). We recommend our own Made in USA Cotton Sheets in Antique (Natural) or if you prefer a pop of color, consider exploring Authenticy 50's Signature Made in USA Sheets in 3 colors.
2. Cotton Blanket
Depending on where you are located, temperatures can vary widely throughout the day and night. For this reason, sometimes it's good to have options for layering in the warm months and cotton blankets are a great choice to have on hand (for especially warm nights, a cotton blanket alone you may find most comfortable!).
For those preferring a lightweight option, consider our Cable Weave Blanket. For those looking for a little extra heft (and more color options!), check out our most popular blanket, the George Washington's Choice Blanket.
3. Cotton Coverlets
For the top of bed, we love the wide variety of options for cotton coverlets (if you're more into comforters, please check out the duvet covers below!). Cotton coverlets are breathable plus easy to care for so you can easily keep them fresh all season just by washing them in your home washer and dryer. Our picks for this season? For the modern home, we like the Diamond Matelasse Coverlet. For the more traditional home, we recommend the classic Martha Washington's Choice Coverlet.
4. Cotton Duvet Covers
For those who prefer a little more fluff to their top of bed option, cotton duvet covers are a great way to freshen up your bed for spring and summer. While a flannel duvet is a great pick for winter, we recommend cotton duvet covers for the warm season! Coming in a wide variety of colors and prints, duvet covers can be a great way to not only be comfortably but also to add a pop of personality to your bedding. We recommend checking out the bright, cheery options of Lime & Leaf's Made in USA Duvet Covers.
How do you prep your bed for the warm season? Share in the comments below!
5 Tips to Prep Your House for Spring March 20, 2018 08:52Spring is officially upon us and we are very excited for the weather to start warming up and for the buds to begin blooming. After a long winter stuck inside, there are plenty of projects to get done around the house. The good news? The sooner you tackle these tasks, the sooner you will be able to kick back and start enjoying the warm weather.
1 | Inspect Exterior for Damage
Winter can be rough on the exterior of our homes - especially if you live in an area with snow. Look for things like missing roof shingles, cracks that need to be caulked, worn out weather stripping, or damaged siding, gutters, and screens. Make a list of things you can repair yourself and the ones you need to hire out for - and prioritize (get an easy check list here: how to prioritize your inspecting your home's exterior).
2 | Clean Exterior Surfaces
Decks, walkways, patios and even vinyl siding can benefit from a quick power-wash after a long, wet winter. Clearing the dirt and grime away from these surfaces is like giving your house a face lift! You can rent power washers, but they can also be fairly inexpensive to buy so you can have it on hand for other tasks like washing your car! If you're considering buying, check out this list of 2018's best power washers to find one that would fit your needs best.
3 | Clear Your Yard of Debri
Winter storms and wind can leave your yard cluttered with leaves and branches even if you did a good job cleaning up in the fall. After you pick up all the branches you can probably mulch the leaves into the grass with your lawn mower. Don’t forget to clear leaves away from the foundation of your home and existing flower beds.
4 | Clean & Store Your Winter Linens
Many of us change out our bed linens with the seasons. Making sure you take the proper steps to clean and store your seasonal linens will mean they are fresh and ready to use once the cold weather (inevitably) rolls back around.
5 | Plan Your Garden
Spring is the time to plan and prep your vegetable gardens. Prep the soil with fertilizer and tilling, order your seeds and maybe even create a map of your garden layout. If you do not have space for a garden at your home, consider purchasing a plot from a community garden, like the Monmouth Community Garden located at our facility.
Do you have any tips for prepping your home for Spring? Let us know in the comments below.
Coverlet versus Quilt: What's the Difference? February 19, 2018 17:03 1 Comment
We get lots of questions from customers about the difference between our woven coverlets and traditional quilts. In this blog post, we're going to explore the differences between these two popular bedding options and help you find just the quilt or coverlet you're seeking for your home.
Coverlets versus Quilts by Definition
A quilt is a textile that is actually made up of pieces of cloth stitch together in two layers with batting in between. A quilt is often reversible and is used as both a top of bed option or as a readily available extra layer lying decoratively at the end of a bed.
Woven coverlets are made from a single piece of material woven on a loom. Rather than stitching pieces and layers together like one would do to create a quilt, a coverlet is simply cut and hemmed to size after the fabric for the coverlet has been woven. Coverlets tend to only be a top of bed option and may be paired with a blanket underneath the coverlet for extra warmth.
Coverlets versus Quilts in Practice
Quilts can come in a variety of patterns and colors, but are often considered to have a more traditional aesthetic than coverlets. They are often hand-stitched and due to their pieced together construction, they require much more delicate care than a strongly woven coverlet.
Coverlets have a little more versatililty in terms of design due to the flexibility of the patterns in the weave. In addition, woven coverlets are often machine washable making them a great choice for folks who prefer to have an easy to care for bedding option.
If you find you prefer the complex beauty of a quilt, we recommend you check out the variety of options from Amish Country Lanes. You'll find a vast array of options and can also even commission a unique quilt custom made for you.
Source: Amish Country Lanes
For woven coverlets, we recommend checking out our array of woven coverlets. The Diamond Matelasse Coverlet features a beautiful geometric perfect for the modern home. For a more traditional home, we recommend the Martha Washington's Choice Coverlet in our terry weave and finished on three sides with a classic pom pom fringe.
Still can't decide? You may consider the fact that our most popular woven coverlets are actually made with a matelasse weave that was actually invented to replicate the puffy texture of a quilt. It's the best of both worlds!
How to Pair Colors and Textures to Make Your Bedroom Yours January 16, 2018 15:26
When decorating a bedroom, it’s important to keep the purpose of the space in mind - it’s a place to sleep. It’s also important, however, to decorate the room in a way that reflects your personal style. Express yourself with colors and textures. After all, you spend roughly a third of your life sleeping in your bedroom!
1 | Feature Your Favorite Colors and Textures
Your bedroom is YOUR space. Don’t be afraid to incorporate your favorite color and textures. You love red? Great! It’s a bold color, but it can still be added as an accent wall or with accessories. Love ruffles? Splendid! Feature an intricate bedskirt or ruffled throw pillow (maybe both).
2 | Consider Incorporating Wallpaper
A tasteful wallpaper that is strategically placed, can do wonders for a bedroom. It adds color and texture in a way that paint simply cannot. When choosing a wallpaper, always keep your overall plan in mind to make sure it’s cohesive with the rest of the room.
3 | Have Fun With Textured or Patterned Rugs
Another great way to bring a splash of color and texture to your bedroom is with an area rug. You can be more subtle with a solid colored rug that has lots of texture, or you can go bold with a fun a pattern.
4 | Be Thoughtful With Your Accessories
Throw pillows, lamps and curtains are just some of the mainstay accessories in a bedroom that can be carefully and purposefully chosen during the design process. The key is to find accessories that balance out the space and play off one-another in both texture and color. For example, if you have a shaggy pillow, but there is no other shag in the room, make sure that it’s color coincides with and compliments the rest of the room.
5 | Add Color and Texture with a Bates Bedspread, Blanket or Accessory
Our bedspreads, blankets and accessories are beautifully woven in Maine and offer several unique textures and six classic colors. From traditional to modern, we’ve got a pattern, texture or color that is perfect for your space.
Have some ideas on how to pair color and texture in the bedroom? Feel free to share in the comments below!
3 Fun Christmas Traditions & Where They Came From December 22, 2017 07:25
With just days to go until Christmas, we thought it'd be fun to learn more about where some of our favorite traditions come from. From the stockings on the fireplace to the decorating of a tree, each of these cherished traditions have a beautiful origin story that we hope you'll share with your own family this holiday season.
1. Christmas Stockings
Today, many of us have a colorful stocking that only comes out around this time of year and only serves the purpose of collecting small toys and treats. But like all our traditions on this list, Christmas Stockings have a much more humble beginning.
The story goes that a recently widowed man was worried about the marriage prospects of his three daughters. He was concerned because they didn't have much as a family, and he was worried that that would deter would-be suiters.
On Christmas night, St. Nicholas had heard from the local townspeople the sad story of the family who had recently lost a wife/mother, and he decided he wanted to help. Later that evening, he snuck into the home through the chimney and found the recently washed stockings of the young girls drying over the fireplace.
In the stockings, he put 3 gold coins. In the morning, the family woke to this wonderful surprise and the man's concern faded as he realized there would be a future for his three daughters thanks to the generous St. Nicholas. From this point on, it was a tradition to hang stockings in the home so that there was a place for St. Nicholas to put his gifts.
2. Christmas Tree
The Christmas Tree tradition dates back to our pagan ancestors. Many ancient groups believed that the sun was a god and in the weeks preceding the winter solstice, they would worry that the sun was sick because of the shortening days. After the winter solstice, the days would get longer and many believed that because of the longer days, it meant that the sun was feeling better. To help the sun get through this tough time, people across many cultures would collect the boughs of a tree that could last through all seasons, the evergreen.
The collection of these boughs becoming today's Christmas tree took place in 16th century Germany when Christians would combine the collection of the evergreen boughs with the celebration of Christmas in the form of a decorated tree. It is believed that Martin Luther was the first to add candles to his boughs when he was walking home one evening and remarked on the beauty of the stars in the night sky.
German immigrants began bringing the Christmas tree to America in the 18th century, but it was not until late into the 19th century that the tradition caught on.
3. Cookies for Santa
It is believed that the tradition of leaving cookies out for Santa is actually rooted in ancient Norse mythology. Children would leave out treats to encourage the supreme god, Odin, and his horse to stop by their home to leave them gifts during the Christmas season. In fact, in many Nordic countries; children still believe Santa Clause rides on a horse versus a sleigh.
In the US, it is believed that this tradition was popularized during the Great Depression as a way to teach their children to be generous and to learn to be appreciative of the gifts they received from Santa. We love the idea of sharing this valuable life lesson with our children in both times of hardship and prosperity!
What are your favorite holiday traditions? Do you know their history? Share in the comments!
'Tis the Season: 5 Clever Ways to Give Gift Cards December 13, 2017 10:51
Gift cards are a funny thing. People love receiving them, but as the gift-giver, they can leave you feeling a bit lackluster, like you did not put in enough effort - and no one wants to come off as a lazy gift-giver!
We’ve got 5 solutions to that very problem! Step-up your gift-card-giving game this holiday season with one of these 5 clever ideas:
1 | Create an Origami Card Holder
Add a personal touch with a DIY origami gift card holder. You can find easy instructions here.
2 | Make a Themed Arrangement
Personalize the vessel for your gift card based on the theme of the gift card itself. For example, if you are giving a gift card from a coffee house, put the gift card in a coffee cup.
You could do a cute display with a disposable cup like the one shown above or add to the gift with a reusable travel or at-home mug. We love the selection of fun mugs available on Etsy.
3 | Presentation is Everything
Part of the fun about gifts is the presentation. Simply putting some extra effort into a beautiful or unique wrapping job will elevate your gift card a couple of notches.
Start by gathering some inspiration from Good Housekeeping’s article, 35 Genius Gift Wrap Ideas for Prettier Presents (psst… we like #9).
4 | Include a Shopping Bag
If the gift card is to a brick-and-mortar store where the recipient can go shopping in person, include a reusable shopping bag for them to use on their shopping trip!
You can purchase reusable shopping bags at your local grocery store or online, or you can make one at home. This tutorial shows you how to make a folding shopping bag and includes plenty of step-by-step pictures to help you through the process.
5 | Make the Purchase Easy
Make it easy for your recipient to use their gift card! Provide a catalog or brochure from the business where the gift card is intended to be used.
At Bates Mill Store, we have a helpful brochure and fabric swatch package which will make picking out the perfect bedspread, blanket or accessory easy! Simply request one in the special instructions box when placing your order for a Bates Mill Store Gift Card.
Have another fun idea for giving gift cards? Share it in the comments below!
'Tis the Season! 7 Maine Traditions to Kindle the Holiday Spirit December 02, 2017 17:35
The days may be colder and the nights may be longer, but this is one of the brightest times of the year in Maine. We're experienced in combating a 4:00PM sunset, dropping temperatures, and impending snowstorms with a vast array of winter and holiday activities to keep our spirits on the rise. If you'd like to add some new traditions to your list this year, we've put together a few ideas for you to celebrate the chilly weather and the holiday season.
1. Go Sledding or Snow-tubing
Sledding and snow-tubing are fantastic ways to get some fresh air in the wintertime and enjoy something that many of us curse more often than not-- the snow. Plus, the whole family can go!
2. Visit a Maine Craft Fair
This time of year is filled with weekend craft fairs as vendors set up their handmade wares just in time for the gift-giving rush. Check out this directory of fairs & festivals to find the closest one near you, or if you're up for a road trip, just pick the one that looks the best!
3. Pick up Goodies from Top-Notch Bakery
A family-owned business since 1995, Standard Baking Co. offers artisanal baked goods made from 100% Maine-grown grains. Stop into their shop on Commercial Street in Portland to grab some loaves for your holiday dinners, and maybe some warm pastries for the road.
Photo Source: Lauren Loves to Eat
Bakery Website: http://standardbakingco.com/
4. Go Ice Skating
If you like to skate, Maine has a TON of skating rinks, both indoor and outdoor, depending on your preference. If you're skating outdoors, just be sure to call ahead to make sure the conditions are suitable for being on ice! Check out this list to scope out all the locations: Maine Indoor and Outdoor Skating Rinks.
Source: Maine Vacations
5. Pick out a Tree at a Local Tree Farm
Searching for a Maine-grown Christmas tree? Most tree farms open up the weekend after Thanksgiving, and stay open until Christmas Eve. Some offer additional activities like sleigh rides and visits from Santa-- and some even let you cut down the tree of your choosing. To find a place near you, visit Pick Your Own Christmas Tree.
6. Knit (By the Fire, if You Can.)
Nothing screams "KNITTING!" like a winter evening when snuggling up on the couch is the only comfortable option. Mother of Purl Yarn in Freeport Maine has a "Knit Down to Christmas," where you can knit a new Christmas item each week leading up to the big day. They'll deliver free patterns to your email inbox. They also have Holiday Knitting Classes, if you need a little extra help getting started. We love to support our local yarn stores.
Source: Mother of Purl Yarn
7. Take a Tour at the Maine Heritage Weavers Factory
We love visitors and are happy to give tours of our production floor. If you need to get out of the cold and are interested in Maine weaving and textiles, drop on in during our hours of operation.
What are your favorite Maine holiday traditions? Please share them with us in the comments below!
Never Arrive Empty Handed: 5 Hostess Gifts that'll Guarantee Next Year's Invitation November 16, 2017 11:41
One of our favorite parts of the holidays is hosting and attending festive parties throughout the season. If you're planning on attending a get together, we encourage you to consider one of the Made in USA hostess gifts we've highlighted below. Your host or hostess will certainly appreciate the gesture (don't be surprised if you get an invite back next year!), and they'll love the retelling the unique story behind each of these gifts.
1. Wine Bottle Holder
While most hostesses probably have a corkscrew readily handy around their home, a wine holder can be a fun gift that can be as simple or complex as you'd like it to be. We love to give the simple counter-balancing wine bottle holders that have been popular at craft fairs in recent years. The holders are typically a simple block of wood with a hole in it which begins as a mystery item until you pull out a bottle of wine (ta-da!). The counter-balancing holder seems to almost work like magic as it perfectly balances the bottle. We love the simple design of this made in Maine wine holder from SoulfulDesign.
2. Set of Tea Towels
Tea towels are great for so many tasks around the home! They are also widely available and come in a variety of options which can give you a great opportunity to find a set that reflects the personality of the hostess. From sassy quotes to fun colors, a set of tea towels makes a great stand alone gift or, if you find a locally made set, be sure to pair your gift with a thoughtful greeting card about the artisan who made your set. From farmhouse chic to holiday cheer, we love the array of festive tea towel designs from DesignAndDandyCo.
3. Fresh Plant or Flowers in a Vessel
For many, flowers are the go to gift, but how many of us have given or received a bouquet of flowers only to be stressed about finding a vase or other vessel to put them in? We recommend solving the scramble by gifting the flowers or plant in a vessel. We recommend finding a local florist wherever you may be visiting to get the best quality flowers and a thoughtful touch. We love these gorgeous Made in Maine vases from Georgetown Pottery.
4. Winter Medley Throw
Who doesn't love to snuggle up in a cozy throw while the snow falls outside? Our newest holiday throw is designed to be a festive choice for the holidays but subtle enough to be appreciated throughout the winter months. Your hostess will appreciate the unique texture of our signature terry weave and will keep them cozy long after the holidays are over.
5. Locally Made Artisan Chocolates or Candies
With the resurgence in the craft of fine candy and chocolate taking place across the country, you won't have to look far for a locally made edible gift. Our Made in Maine pick is the super cute Thanksgiving Collection from Black Dinah Chocolatiers. Who wouldn't love a to receive a chocolate hedgehog or beautiful pumpkin truffle? If you're feeling ambitious this holiday season, you could even dive into creating your own delectable treats in your kitchen. Here's a great tutorial to get you started: 35 Heavenly Homemade Food Gifts.
Have your own go-to hostess gifts or a favorite gift you've received? Share in the comments!
Holiday Season 2017: 3 Ways to Shop Made in USA November 12, 2017 13:14
The holiday season is fast approaching! If you want to give the gift of American-made this holiday season, you'll want to play ahead to be sure to find the perfect present for everyone on your list (it is possible!). Check out our tips below for how you can keep your entire holiday shopping list Made in USA.
Source: FEZtival of Treez, Kora Temple
1. Local Craft Fairs
Craft fairs are fantastic places not only to buy beautiful Made in USA gifts, but most of the time you'll actually get to meet the craftsman or woman behind the item you're purchasing. To make the most of the craft fair season, you'll want to check out local community calendars to schedule out your shopping trips to all the fairs in your area (they start popping up as early as the first weekend in November). In some places, you'll even find craft fairs that coincide with other events making a day trip that is festive for the whole family. Our local favorite holiday event and craft fair combination takes place in Lewiston, Maine: Kora Shriners' FEZtival of Trees.
2. Small Business Saturday
Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, small businesses across the country open their doors for a special day of holiday shopping. For our team, this is one of the highlights of the year as we open our factory doors to welcome folks from across New England. We encourage people to shop great deals on bedspreads and blankets as well as tour the factory floor so they can see where the items they are purchasing are made. Learn more & RSVP to our Small Business Saturday event here.
To find out local businesses that are hosting Small Business Saturday events in your area, we encourage you to check out the Small Business Saturday Map from American Express OPEN to plan your day of shopping small and shopping made in USA.
If you don't enjoy the crowds or are simply too busy to shop in-person, we encourage you to look online. Simply use your favorite search engine to find specific items with the "Made in USA" phrase at the front of your search. Another place we love to browse for Made in USA gifts is the ever-popular marketplace, Etsy. In addition, our own state has a great organization, Maine Made, that supports local businesses in a variety of ways including an online directory that helps connect them to customers shopping year round.
We recommend signing up for the newsletters of your favorite artisans and small businesses to ensure you get their emails throughout the holiday season as many (including us) have their best sales of the year during the big 3 holiday shopping days: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday (It's not just an in-person event!), and Cyber Monday.
Be sure to sign up for our newsletter here, and keep your eye out for our special holiday releases and promotions.
Where do you love to shop for American made gifts? Ever received a locally made gift you just loved? Share in the comments.
5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Halloween in New England October 27, 2017 16:50
Fall is one of our favorite seasons here in New England, and Halloween is a big part of the celebration. No matter where you find yourself, there is sure to be a Halloween activity close-by. From scarecrows to haunted zoos... pick your poison from our list below and get started!
1 | Pick-Your-Own Pumpkin
Sure, you can buy a pumpkin at the supermarket… but why do that when you can pick your own straight from the pumpkin patch? Treworgy’s Family Orchard in Levant, Maine has this and so much more. When you are ready to carve your pumpkin, check out these 30 Easy Pumpkin Carving Ideas for inspiration.
2 | Go to the Zoo
You read that right! The Southwick Zoo in Mendon, Massachusetts hosts their annual Zoo Boo Days, where kids can trick-or-treat and the animals play with pumpkins!
3 | Walk through a Corn Maze
Corn mazes are a classic fall activity in New England and are great for the whole family (although some corn mazes hold night-time events for those seeking a thrill!). If you are looking for a lengthy adventure, check out the largest corn maze in New England.
4 | Haunted Houses, Haunted Walks, Haunted Rides... oh my!
Houses can be haunted any time of year, but during October in New England anything is liable to be filled with ghouls and goblins... even the woods! A quick internet search will turn up all kinds of haunted houses, walks and rides. If you find yourself in Wallingford, Connecticut for Halloween though, make sure to check out their Trail of Terror… if you dare.
5 | Go on a Scarecrow Hunt
During the month of October, the streets of Portsmouth, New Hampshire are teeming with scarecrows. Print the map above and set out to find them all. Learn more about Scarecrows of the Port here.
Do you have a favorite Halloween event that you like to attend? Share it with us in the comments below!
Monmouth Community Garden: Final Harvest and Clean-Up October 02, 2017 08:13
5 Tips for Storing Seasonal Bedding September 01, 2017 10:42
Bedding, like so many things in life, tends to change with the seasons. With cooler weather on the horizon, we thought this would be a good time to share some tips for storing your warm-weather bedding until Spring.
1 | Proper Cleaning
Before storing your linens for the winter, run them through a proper wash and dry cycle. That way, they’ll be fresh and ready to throw on the bed come spring. For larger linens, like bedspreads, you might consider going to a laundromat where you will have access to large capacity washers and dryers for the most thorough cleaning.
2 | Breathable Packaging
When dealing with natural fibers (like cotton), it is good practice to let the fabric breath while in storage. That means storing it in a container which is also made of natural fibers (again, like cotton). These under-the-bed containers by Household Essentials® are made of cotton canvas and designed to be used with cedar planks for added freshness and protection from moths.
3 | Picking the Best Location
Where you store your blankets is just as important as how you store your blankets. Of course, the location of storage will depend entirely on the space you have available. But no matter where you tuck them away, the most important thing is that the space be cool and dry. If the storage area is warm, moisture can build up leading to mold and mildew. If you let that happen, then you will be spending your valuable time finding ways to save the fabric.
4 | Saving Space
If your home does not offer a lot of extra space for storage, you may be forced to get creative when packing away your seasonal bedding. One space saving idea is to store your seasonal bedding in a cedar chest, which offers a dual function of storage and seating.
5 | Prepare for Winter
Before storing away your summer bedding, make sure you have your winter linens ready! We have plenty of heavyweight bedspreads and blankets that are sure to keep you warm all winter long.
Do you have a storage tip that works for you? Share it in the comments below!
Monmouth Community Garden: Ready for Harvest August 20, 2017 14:17 1 Comment
Check out what's growing on the Bates Mill Store + Factory lawn!
The bees have been loving the acorn squash flowers! It makes us happy to see them out and about pollinating.
The red cabbage is almost ready for harvest. Just a few more days!
The Monmouth Community Garden isn't just for veggies. Audrey always plants a selection of flowers on the edge of her garden plot. These marigolds are actually a natural way to help keep pests away.
The rainbow chard could be made into a bouquet of it's own.
Tomatoes are just beginning to turn red. These guys have come a long way since we last snapped their photo.
A spindly tomato seedling from our first post. They grow up so fast!
You know how it is: plant just a few zucchini seeds in the spring and you'll have them coming out of your ears in no time. Looks like many of our gardeners will be eating zucchini every day for the next few weeks! Need cooking inspiration? We found a list of 46 Sweet and Savory Zucchini Ideas from Crazy for Crust. How many of these dishes can you make by the end of the season? We challenge you!
Have your own garden-harvest recipes to share? We'd love to hear your favorites. Tell us all about them in the comment section!
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