5 Ways to Observe Memorial Day Weekend in Maine May 14, 2017 09:34
Memorial Day weekend is the official “unofficial start” to Summer in Maine. The weather is warm, the birds are singing, and flowers are blooming. It’s only natural for us to want to get outside and enjoy it all! At the same time, we want to respect the real reason for Memorial Day, which is to remember and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may enjoy freedom and liberty. Below are 5 ways to observe Memorial Day while still leaving yourself plenty of time for barbeques with family and friends.
1 | Participate in a 5k Fundraiser
This is a great way to get outside while supporting a good cause. Look for a 5k where the proceeds benefit soldiers and their families, like the Miles for Mills 5k in Augusta.
2 | Bring the Kids to a Parade
There’s no shortage of parades on Memorial Day and kids love them! Check out this list of parades in Maine to find one near you.
3 | Attend a Memorial Day Service
Memorial Day services often go hand-in-hand with parades, but there are plenty of ceremonies where you can avoid all the fanfare if that’s not what you’re into. Look for flag-raising ceremonies, wreath laying ceremonies and guest speakers.
4 | Volunteer for Cemetery Clean Up
Towns will often clean the local cemetery and place flowers or flags on the graves of fallen soldiers during the month of May and specifically on Memorial Day. Check with your local town office for opportunities to assist.
5 | Observe the National Moment of Remembrance
This is one that everyone can participate in, no matter where you are or what you are doing. At 3:00pm local time, take a moment to participate with the rest of the country in a moment of silence to reflect on sacrifices made for our freedom.
How will you be spending your Memorial Day Weekend? Share in the comments.
Welcoming Monmouth Community Garden's Third Year May 03, 2017 11:00
Spring is a notoriously fickle season in Maine. Some years, we're still getting snow showers mid-April, and other times it's practically already summer come Easter. Luckily for us, this year the latter seems to be (more) true. Grass is green, and though temperatures have yet to really rise, we've been spoiled by a warm day or two. In any case, it's May now...so we've moved past the danger zone!
With warmer weather definitely on the way, Bates Mill Store is getting ready to kick off a 3rd year of hosting the Monmouth Community Garden, a project we've greatly enjoyed supporting and seeing grow over the last few summers.
The garden, which is located on the large front lawn of the Maine Heritage Weavers factory building, is managed by a small group of community members who are dedicated to tending their garden plots and keeping the operation running smoothly year-to-year. The land space, tilling, and water (right on site!) is donated by Maine Heritage Weavers.
Plot spaces are signed up for as singles (12'x30') or, for the avid gardener, as doubles (24'x30'). Gardeners are responsible for the upkeep of their own plots, and for working respectfully with their plot neighbors to ensure a harmonious and successful season.
Below are some photos from last year's crop. It explodes fast!
We were very fortunate to have water available to us right on site, considering last year's drought conditions. Clearly, this jungle was well-watered, and had plenty of sun!
If you, or someone that you know, is interested in having a small garden plot this year, please spread the word and like us on Facebook. We still have 6 open plots available (if taken as singles-- less if doubled up).
You can read more about last year's efforts in the Monmouth Community Garden project in the Kennebec Journal.
For questions or to inquire about available plot spaces, Please contact the garden coordinator, Chad Wright at 207-446-9685 for additional information.
Those interested in signing up for a plot can also get in touch with Laurie Walker at the Monmouth Town Office. She is the official go-to for plot registration and can be reached at the regular town office hours.
Here's to another excellent growing season! We look forward to all the fresh veggies.
Bates Employee Attempts to Dye Easter Eggs With Pantry Ingredients, Decides to Keep Day Job April 14, 2017 07:54
Nobody knows for sure where the tradition of dying eggs for Easter began, but there are several origin stories. If you didn’t grow up participating in this activity, then you might view the whole thing as a bit wacky, but for many of us it is a favorite Springtime activity.
When dying Easter eggs, it is standard practice to use food coloring in order to create an array of fun pastels. In recent years, however, the internet has been filled with tutorials on how to make natural dyes from normal pantry items. The dyes are said to offer a palette of earthy, natural hues. One of our employees decided to try her hand at this new method. Did it work? We will let her tell you how it went.
I decided to try this natural method for dying eggs on a whim, so I was limited to what I had on hand. I was able to scrounge up the following ingredients that I suspected might do the trick (photo above: left to right): paprika, ginger powder, Beyond Coffee (a yummy coffee alternative, Made in Maine!), soy sauce, maraschino cherries, spinach and cherry tomatoes. I had high hopes for the paprika, spinach and coffee because those were mentioned in some of the tutorials I had reviewed. If nothing else, I was certain the cherries would work because they already have an actual dye in them.
After reviewing several sets of online instructions for the easiest possible method, I decided to wing it. I filled the jars with boiling water from the tea kettle and added a tablespoon of white vinegar to each.
I allowed the dyes to cool slightly before adding my boiled eggs and then stored them overnight in the refrigerator. The picture above shows the eggs before entering the dye baths. Would they be an array of fun colors in the morning?
Not quite. The eggs from the "coffee", soy sauce, carrots and ginger changed to a slightly darker (but still normal) egg color, while the egg from the spinach did not change at all. The egg from the paprika had only a very slight red hue, and my sure-fire cherry egg was barely pink. What did I do wrong?
After carefully reviewing the instructions, there were a few things I could have done differently that might have helped my chances. Please don't let my experience deter you from trying! Learn from my mistakes:
1) Boil the dye ingredient in water for at least 5 minutes.
2) Strain out any solids from the dye liquid.
3) Use white eggs so whatever color does show is more prominent.
4) Use fresh vegetables (I used frozen spinach and tomatoes).
5) Allow the dye to cool completely before adding the eggs."
All is not lost, however. I know someone who will still enjoy the eggs. :)
Have an egg dying recipe of your own? Please feel free to share it in the comments!
3 Tips to Designing Your Bedroom in the American Colonial Style March 26, 2017 15:38
Whether you just purchased a new Queen Elizabeth Bedspread or you inherited a George Washington's Choice Bedspread from your grandparents, completing your bedroom in the classic American Colonial Style can be a great way to highlight your new bedspread. From which colors to choose to picking the perfect accents, review our 3 tips to decorating in this classic style below.
1. Colors: Choose Natural & Neutral
Much of the American Colonial style is dictated by the practicality of the era. Most items were handmade of natural materials so when it comes to colors, you tend to see neutral and natural colors. Check out the pallet above to see examples of some of the muted colors popular from the era. We recommend considering these colors when it comes to the walls, floors and window treatments.
Source: DanandDeeDesigns on Etsy.com
2. Accessories: Choose Pewter, Brass or Tin Pieces
Accents and accessories give you the opportunity to really make your bedroom yours. If you enjoy visiting flea markets and antique stores, we recommend seeking out some pieces from the era. Another option would be to modernize the American Colonial Design aesthetic by selecting pieces handmade pewter, brass or tin pieces that lean toward a more modern motif.
Source: Eldred Wheeler
3. Furniture: Plain & Classic
As noted above, much of the American Colonial Style is dictated by the practical and that includes furniture. Furniture in this design tend to be functional and versatile. Antique furniture in great shape can be quite expensive from this era, but fortunately, there are lots of options when it comes to American-made reproductions including the beautiful work of Eldred Wheeler in Massachusetts.
Whether you love the hunt of antiques or you prefer well-reproductions, decorating your bedroom in the American Colonial Style can be an adventure or as straightforward as you want to make it. Have fun and be sure to share your finds and tips in the comments below.
Cotton Throws for Every Home Decor Style March 14, 2017 04:24 2 Comments
Decorating your home is like perfecting a favorite food dish: You start out with a basic recipe, then creatively tweak it here and there depending on your taste. We had fun browsing through Dwell Candy's list of common interior design themes to put together this week's blog post. No matter what you have chosen as the starting "recipe" for your house styling projects, a cotton throw is a versatile, practical, and attractive addition to any room. Today, we're sharing our own list, pairing our favorite cotton throws with 10 major home decor themes.
1) Shabby Chic - Martha Washington's Choice Throw
Shabby Chic design is soft, feminine, and vintage. Our Martha Washington's Choice throw is the perfect pairing, with its classic candlewick weave and time-honored surface patterning.
2) Nautical - Seashell Throw
Being located on a coastal state, we have quite a few designs that tip their hats to this sea-faring approach. Marked by blue and white color schemes and naval-related accessories, this design theme can be boldly adventurous or peacefully cozy. If you love an organic true to life design, we recommend the Seashell Throw. However, if you prefer more classic geometric designs, you may want to consider the Cape Cod Throw.
3) Rustic - George Washington's Choice Throw
The rustic look honors handcrafted or homespun items and natural textures. The chunky, heavyweight weave of our George Washington's Choice Throw truly allows the material itself to shine.
4) American Colonial - Abigail Adams Throw
Our Abigail Adams Throw (both in appearance and name) exemplifies the American Colonial decor style, which draws upon the formal and intricate design themes of-- you guessed it-- Colonial America. This beautiful throw was inspired by the bed coverings that President John Adams himself used while living abroad in France, making it the ideal choice for those who strive to replicate this style.
5) Art Nouveau - Colonial Rose Throw
Art Nouveau is characterized by curving, flowing lines, heavy ornamentation, and stylized floral motifs. Our Colonial Rose Throw is a fantastic lightweight option which contains all of these elegant, organic design elements.
6) Modern - Cathedral Throw
Possibly one of the most popular current design trends, Modern homes are simple, spacious, hard-edged, professional, and tranquil. The Cathedral throw features a clean-cut chevron weave which is simultaneously fresh and classic.
7) Art Deco - Dyer's Wynd Throw
The Art Deco room strives to create an atmosphere that, as described by Dwell Candy, "borders on the bombastic." This design theme calls back to the roaring 20s, and is saturated with luxurious textures and flashy geometrics. Our Dyer's Wynd Throw would be a great fit here. With its large and exciting, paisley pattern, it is certainly a piece to be remarked upon.
8) Victorian - Queen Elizabeth Throw
Classy excess characterizes the Victorian style. The pairing of subtle color schemes with vintage patterns (especially damasks, satins, and florals) gives this design theme a high-end feel. The Queen Elizabeth Throw design is an authentic reproduction of an original hand-woven masterpiece dating back to the Elizabethan era. Its ornate center medallion and all-around grace makes it a perfect fit for this home design theme.
9) Country Cottage - Americana Throw
Our Americana Throw features an all over pattern of geometric stars, reminiscent of classic quilt patterns. This aspect of it's character fits right in to the Country Cottage decor style, which is cozy, cheerful, and utilitarian.
10) Southwestern - Spirit of America Throw
Inspired by Native American design, the Spirit of America throw features sharp angles and a bold geometric medallion. This makes it the perfect addition to a home decorated in the Southwestern style, which centers around design themes that reflect the natural environment and traditional heritage of the American Southwest.
What style of home decor is your favorite? Or do you prefer an eclectic mix? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Needle Felting Supplies in Maine March 01, 2017 05:30
At Bates Mill Store, we work with yarn all day long - and we LOVE IT! On our off-hours, though, we like to play around with different types of media. A fun little hobby we recently discovered is needle felting, which consists of shaping loose wool fibers into 3D objects using a barbed needle. This scrumptious little bunny was one of our first accomplishments in needle felting.
The idea of needle felting may sound a bit unusual at first, but we think you’ll find it to be strangely addictive and supremely satisfying...we did! Just LOOK at that adorable little face and tell us you don’t want to make one of your own!
Naturally, when we set out to start our adventure in needle felting, we searched for a local supplier because that’s kind of important to us. Our search led us first to Purple Moose Felting of rural Sidney, Maine. They are an online supplier, but they have offered classes locally and are very enthusiastic about all things felted.
We got started with their Needle Felters Fantasy Kit, but you can also start small with a beginners kit. Another great way to get started is an instructional kit for a specific design, like the Spotted Cow Fuzz Butts pictures below (love that name!). The step-by-step instructions will help you understand the basics of needle felting for your first go-around.
In our search for local needle felting businesses, we also came across FiberThyme of Sumner, Maine. They offer needle felting supplies, kits and classes from their rural farm, A Wrinkle in Thyme, where they like to do things the “old fashioned way”. They even have a fiber CSA where you can choose the actual sheep your wool comes from.
The kits offered by FiberThyme are different from those offered by Purple Moose Felting because you end up with a flat image, or felt “tile”, rather than a 3D object. This method is great for home accents like wall hangings and throw pillows. We haven’t tried one of their kits just yet, but we plan to! We think the Lobstah Tyme Kit, pictured below, will be a good place to start.
Do you know of a needle felting supplier in Maine that should be added to our list? Let us know in the comments below!
Antique Textiles: Our 4 Favorite Textiles from Antiques Roadshow February 16, 2017 10:27
Every week, we receive notes from folks all around the country who find themselves in possession of antique Bates bedspreads. Whether they receive them as a family heirloom or stumble upon them at an estate sale, there is nothing like finding a beautiful antique textile and then researching its origin. Below, we explore PBS's Antiques Roadshow archive to go beyond Bates and share our 4 favorite antique textile finds on the show.
Source: Antiques Roadshow
Our first antique textile is a beautifully made quilt that was originally hand stitched in New Jersey back in 1863. The owner received the quilt as a family heirloom - amazing to think that's its passed through so many generations in its over 150 year existence. From a time where we often remember in black and white, we love to see the vivid colors that are very representative of the period that the quilt was made. Valued $6000 - $8000.
Source: Antiques Roadshow
This Slave Quilt is another hand-stitched piece from a darker side of American history. Produced by an African-American slave in the South in the early 19th century, the quilt is a stunning example of a piece that strongly represents the culture of the makers native country in both color and motif. Interestingly, this particular quilt has incredible documentation that links it back to the estate of President Polk which raises its value even more. Valued $40,000 - $60,000.
Source: Antiques Roadshow
Our next antique textile is an incredible piece from Native American history that had been passed down to the owner through his family. A gift from Kit Carson to a family member, one would simply think that provenance would make this blanket a national treasure, however, the story doesn't end there. This Navajo blanket is incredibly important historically as well as artistically. It comes from the very beginning of Navajo weaving and was made for a Ute Chief in the mid-19th century. In addition, it is made of incredibly fine wool and the finest dyes used at the time of its creation. Adding to its artistic value, it also has some repairs dated to the late 19th century that is representative of the great skills of the Navajo weavers. Valued $750,000 - $1,000,000.
Source: Antiques Roadshow
This Jacquard Coverlet is beautiful example of the intricate weaving that was made possible by the invention of Jacquard looms. It is truly a beautiful piece passed down through generations. This particular coverlet stood out to us as it clearly inspired our own designers as they imagined the classic Bates design, Tuscany. Valued $800 - $1200.
Source: Maine Heritage Weavers
We love learning about antique textiles from our customers and on shows like Antiques Roadshow. Share your own stories and favorite finds in the comments.
5 Unique American-Made Coffee Tables to Love February 02, 2017 10:49
Sometimes, when you're shopping for a new piece of furniture, it can be hard to find just the right thing. With so many options out there, it's difficult to even know how or where to begin! If you're in the market for a new coffee table, then look no further! We've put together a list of 5 American-Made options that we're about ready to purchase ourselves...
1. For the Family: Multipurpose Coffee Table Nesting Set of 4
This ingenious design is perfect for an active household with multiple members. Everyone gets a piece of the pie! Split it up into slices for individual use, or stick it all together on family game night. If you're tight on space, the sections are stackable and fit nicely into the corner of a room.
2. For the Bargain Budget: Montauk Coffee Table
It's not often you see a wooden folding table! With it's exterior finish, this table has the option of being hauled outside for summer entertaining. It's foldability makes it easy to transport or store. If you're really feeling excited, you can buy a matching set of chairs to go with it. Beautifully made and modestly priced-- can't get much better than that!
3. For the Design Enthusiast: Artless Coffee Table
Sleek and simple in its design, this coffee table by Artless comes in two different sizes. Take your pick of a Black Walnut or White Oak base-- we love them both.
4. For the Color Lover: Slim Cocktail Tables in Colors
If your room needs a brilliant pop of color, then this steel table is for you. Available in 12 different colors, this 2-level table is both bold and useful. Work off of the top, and store some extra stuff underneath!
5. For the Big Spender: Lava Coffee table
This molten-rock coffee table is a sure show-stopper! The unexpected combination of textures and materials makes this table both rugged and glamorous. And hey, if you can't afford it right out-- they've got payment options!
Do you own an American-Made coffee table that you'd like to add to the list? Please share it with us in the comments below!
5 Time Saving Hacks to Get You Out the Door On-Time January 30, 2017 09:57
Odds are that at some point in your life, you’ve struggled with getting out the door on time in the morning. For some, this is an occasional mishap, while for others the cramped morning rush is a cycle they can’t seem to break. Whether you simply want to improve on your current morning routine, or you’re a habitual offender of the snooze button whose morning routine needs a complete overhaul, these steps are a good place to start.
1. Relocate Your Alarm
If you can reach the snooze button without opening your eyes, that is half of the problem. You’re less likely to “abuse the snooze” if you have to physically get out of bed to activate it. Try placing your alarm clock across the room, or you can invest in one of these alarms specially design for snoozers.
2. Prep Your Coffee Maker
Save time and get the caffeine into your system faster by prepping your coffee maker the night before. Come morning, all you'll have to do is hit the go button! Want a cup ready and waiting as soon as you roll out of bed? No problem! Check out these automatic coffee machines.
3. Plan Your Lunches
When you make your grocery list, don’t just plan your dinners, plan your lunches as well! You’ll not only save time in the morning by planning ahead, you’ll save money by cutting down on all of those impromptu lunches out. Pick a recipe off this list of 15 make ahead lunches to get started.
4. Plan Quick, Quality Breakfasts
Getting a boost of healthy, sustaining nutrients in the morning is the key to a productive, happy day. When we are crunched for time, we often find ourselves settling for an unhealthy option (donuts, anyone?) or skipping breakfast altogether. Try keeping your fridge stocked with healthy, grab-n-go options (like one of these healthy protein shakes).
5. Get a Key Rack
Nothing you do to save time in the morning will matter if you can’t find your keys (assuming you drive to work). A mad-dash through the laundry basket and couch cushions can be stressful and time consuming. Avoid the hassle by installing (and using) a key rack. Start your shopping by checking out this made in America key rack.
Do you have a time-saving hack that helps you get out the door on time? Share it with us in the comments below!
Made in USA Sofas for All Price Ranges January 19, 2017 00:00
Whether you just moved or are looking to upgrade your home, there are many options for Made in USA sofas at all price levels. As your explore your options, we recommend getting started with these three companies highlighted below. Happy sofa hunting!
1. Budget - CoolSofa.com
Based in Southern California, we were delighted to find CoolSofa.com's vast selection of American made sofas at a reasonable price (under $1000). Their design aesthetic leans more towards modern, and they offer lots of different custom options including colors, textures and accessories. Their mid-century modern sofas stand out in their collection as timeless options for both the modern and classic home alike. Pictured: Greenwich Studio Sofa in Marlow Asphalt (From $695).
2. Mid-Range - Carolina Chair
Carolina Chair is a family-owned furniture company based in North Carolina that has been making furniture for 3 generations. Their assortment features classic sofa styles that are a great fit for traditional American homes. Their array of plush styles look incredibly comfortable and like the perfect place to watch a movie or to enjoy an afternoon nap. Pictured: Lewis Sofa (From $1875).
Source: Carolina Chair
3. Luxury - American Leather
Nothing says luxury sofa quite like leather. American Leather has a vast collection of both leather (and upholstered) sofas that are made of the highest quality materials in timeless designs. In addition to their beautiful furniture, we also love American Leather's dedication to American manufacturing and innovation. Pictured: Braxton Standard Sofa (from $2385).
Source: American Leather
We love hearing about other American manufacturers! Share your own favorites in the comments below.
Build Your Own American-Made Bedding Set December 22, 2016 08:27 1 Comment
It's winter! And although you probably think fondly of your bed year-round (and you should!) it's especially inviting during the chilly months. Considering the average person spends 25 years of their lifetime just sleeping, it's important that your bed is outfitted to your liking. Check out this list of our favorite American-made bedding essentials. You'll be building a bedding set to love in no time!
1) Made in USA Sheets
Many people experience skin irritation and/or allergies during the night. This can make sleeping comfortably difficult, especially if their sheets contains irritating substances. NoFeathersPlease.com offers a vast selection of organic cotton sheets, all created with these sensitivities in mind.
2) Made in USA Pillows
Pillows are essential to getting a quality night's rest. Many of us keep our pillows for years and years, and overtime they get flat and ineffective. This can lead to those awful cricked necks in the morning, and who wants that? We love these natural options from Nest Bedding.
3) American Made Bedspreads/Coverlets
4) American Made Blankets
Everyone can agree, blankets are a must especially when it's cold outside! Nothing is better than snuggling up in a favorite blanket after a long day. Blankets are the heart and soul of a bed, and warm us both physically and emotionally. Our limited release Mt. Kineo Woven Cotton Blanket is sure to be a comfort for years to come!
5) Made in USA Baby Bedding
If you have a little one on the way, you'll be wanting to think about bedding for them, too! New Arrivals Inc. carries crib bedding sets that are all made right here in America out of carefully selected nursery fabrics.
Have a favorite part of your own American Made bedding set? Let us know in the comments.
5 Unique Christmas Trees That You’ll Love or Hate December 15, 2016 12:58 1 Comment
Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, it’s likely you have an image in your mind of what a Christmas Tree is supposed to look like. That classic, aromatic evergreen fir adorned with an array of dangling ornaments and twinkling lights. And while we love a good, traditional Christmas Tree, we believe there is room in the world (and our hearts) for those trees that simply refuse to conform.
#1 | Upside-Down Christmas Tree
It’s not the color that makes this tree unique (silver actually was a popular color for Christmas Trees in the late 50’s and early 60’s). The upside-down Christmas Tree only wants to help. Plus, you can fit more presents under it!
Source: Christmas Central
And if you’re really cramped for space, you can go with the upside-down, cut-in-half Christmas Tree!
Source: Christmas Central
#2 | Naked Christmas Tree
Brrr.. it’s cold outside! Good thing this skinny little tree is an indoors-dweller. It does have a sort of Charlie Brown appeal to it, though.
#3 | Self-Sufficient Christmas Tree
So, this one has a pretty traditional look to it (besides that top hat), but the fact that it comes pre-decorated landed it a spot on our list. Who has time for all that decorating stuff, anyways?
Source: Improvements Catalog
#4 | Rainbow Christmas Tree
This is a Christmas Tree of another color (several, in fact). No decorations needed on this one.
#5 | Tropical Christmas Tree
We know a few snowbirds who would love this tree! (“Snowbirds” is a phrase Mainers use to describe other Mainers who spend winter in warmer climates).
Source: AllModernAnd there you have it, some of the craziest trees we could find on the world wide web. We want to know your thoughts! Do you love ‘em, or do you hate ‘em? Let us know in the comments below.
10 Made in USA Holiday Gifts for 2016 November 30, 2016 07:39
We love giving American made gifts during the holiday season! Not only does it feel great to support local businesses and artisans, but it also often means you have a great story to share with the lucky recipient about the origin of your gift. Below, you'll find 10 of our favorite Made in USA gifts for the 2016 holiday season. Be sure to share your own finds in the comments as well. Happy holidays!
One of the most cherished traditions of Christmas is hanging your stocking and emptying it on Christmas morning full of treasures! These heirloom wool stockings from Merry Stockings are a beautiful gift that will be cherished for years to come and with over 15 designs to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect one for each member of your family.
Heralded as the "Greatest Hoodie Ever Made," American Giant's line of American made sweatshirts have expanded over the years to include everything from t-shirts to sweatpants. Their variety of colors and range in prices will give you some great options for even the most difficult to shop for person on your list (including the teenagers!). An extra bonus: all their products have a lifetime warranty - "return any item, any reason, anytime."
Now that everyone has a high resolution camera right in their pockets on their smart phones, it's easy to have a picture that is gift worthy. Frame USA offers lots of different options for frames made in America. They even have the very trendy reclaimed barn wood frames that are especially popular this holiday season.
Source: Rickshaw Bagworks
Based in San Francisco, Rickshaw Bagworks offers a variety of bags, totes and pouches that are beauitfully made in a wide array of patterns and colors. We especially love these pouches and dopp kits that make great gifts for the travelers on your list.
Source: Footwear by Footskins
5. Sheepskin Slippers
Who doesn't love a nice pair of slippers to relax in on Christmas or any other day of the year? Footwear by Footskins is a company based in Minnesota that specializes in leather footwear - including sheepskin slippers in a variety of styles for men, women and children.
Made in Ohio since 1965, the Berlin Flyer Wagon is the classic red wagon that will delight young ones throughout their childhood. Whether it serves it's practical purpose outside or is more of a decorative piece to store toys, the wagon comes in a variety of sizes to suit all kinds of needs.
7. Bates Woven Throw
We can't make a Made in USA gift list without one of our own crafted throws! Our most recent additions to our throw collection comes from our woven blanket collection. The new throws are perfectly sized for cuddling on the couch or as an accent on the end of the bed and like all our blankets, they are machine wash and dry making them a practical choice for a gift.
Source: Liberty Bottleworks
Based in the stunning Cascades of Washington, Liberty Bottleworks has been making their quality metal water bottles since 2010. These bottles are a great pick for the hard to shop for person on your list. They offer a variety of designs from National Parks to city maps, and if you can't find the right one, you can even make a custom bottle with your own artwork.
Source: Darn Tough
Darn Tough is a family-owned and -operated company that has been knitting socks in the Green Mountains of Vermont for nearly 40 years. Their socks come in a variety of colors and patterns for children and adults and come in variety of styles for a wide range of activities.
Source: Purrfect Play
10. Pet Supplies
Purrfect Play specializes in American made pet supplies and donates 5% of their sales to rescue organizations. They offer a variety of toys and treats for cats and dogs that will certainly make your holiday special for your favorite four-legged friend. For the holiday season, they've made it extra easy to spoil your pets with their treat and toy filled baskets that are available in several sizes.
Have your own favorite company or craftsperson you love to buy your Made in USA gifts from? Share in the comments!
5 Fun Games to Play with Your Family on Thanksgiving November 21, 2016 07:25
Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for many as it brings family and friends together to remind them of the things that mean so much to them. While it's easy to have fun just by relaxing with loved ones and eating delicious food, playing games can also be a great festive addition to the day. If you're the host, it can also make your life easier by giving your guests (including the little ones!) something to do while you finish up cooking and setting the table.
Source: Bloom Designs
1. Turkey Hunt
Turkey Hunt is inspired by the ever popular egg hunts of Easter. Each child receives a card that features 12 turkeys (each having a number 1-12). The 12 turkeys are hidden throughout the house and the first player to find all 12 turkeys wins! We recommend this game once all the children have arrived before dinner or if the adults would like to relax, it's a great option to play after dinner - just remind the kids there are no turkeys hidden where the adults are relaxing!
2. Roll the Gourd
This is an active game and makes for a great pre-meal activity. You will need a gourd or pumpkin and two brooms, and we recommend setting things up outside or in a large open area. Set up two players (each with a stick though children may be better off using their hands) next to each other. The goal is to use the stick to push the gourd or pumpkin to the finish line however far away you decide. This can also be done in teams. Roll the Gourd is a great way to get folks outside to burn off some energy before dinner.
3. Guess Who is Thankful?
This game requires easy guest participation. When guests arrive, ask them to write on a piece of paper what they are thankful for this year. After the meal when everyone is relaxing, folks can take turns reading each piece of paper and guessing who wrote it. We recommend letting guests know about the game as they arrive as it will encourage a little more creativity then the more simple answers to this often asked question. Another take? Use the answers for charades!
Source: Texas Farmers Market
4. Pumpkin Golf or Ring Toss
After the game of Roll the Gourd, hollow out the pumpkin or gourd and play a game of pumpkin golf. Players must try to hit a golf ball into the pumpkin. This is a fantastic game for the competitive folks in your family! Don't want to hollow the pumpkin out? Use the stem or whole pumpkin for an easy game of ring toss. Have extra large pumpkins? Use hula hoops! We recommend playing this game outside to avoid any mishaps indoors.
5. Pin the Gobbler on the Turkey, Hat on the Pilgrim, Brain on the Scarecrow...
Play a fun Thanksgiving theme take on the classic game of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey." You'll just need a large piece of paper to feature the target and then as many small pieces of paper to act as the item being pinned. We recommend using tape to avoid sticking anyone with pins.
Have any classic games that you play each Thanksgiving in your home? Please share in the comments.
Small Business Saturday: 5 Reasons to Shop Small this Holiday Season November 08, 2016 12:18
2016 marks the 6th anniversary of the national shopping holiday, Small Business Saturday. The day encourages folks to "shop small" versus visiting big box stores on Black Friday or Cyber Monday for their holiday shopping.
Since it began, Small Business Saturday has quickly become a focal point for both small businesses as well as customers throughout New England - including for us! Below, we share 5 great reasons to "Shop Small" this holiday season.
Source: Joe Phelan, Kennebec Journal
1. Support Local Communities
Studies show that 91% of small business give back to their local community either through direct cash donations, volunteering or in-kind donations. The Bates Mill Store and its manufacturing partner, Maine Heritage Weavers, is proud to be an active supporter of a variety of local organizations and events including the Monmouth Gardening Club, Theater at Monmouth, Monmouth Police Department Special Olympics, Monmouth Museum, and Monmouth Academy.
2. Help Create Jobs
In addition to direct contributions small businesses make to their local communities, they also are the number one source of jobs in America. According to the SBA, 68% of new jobs are created by small businesses in the US. Since moving to our new space in Monmouth, we're proud to say that we've made 7 new hires and plan to continue hiring locally as we continue to grow.
3. Meet the People Behind the Products
When shopping at local small businesses, customers get a more personal experience when it comes to service and many times you may be working directly with the owner themselves or a family member! For our team, we take great pride in our customer service and making sure each customer is 100% satisfied with their purchases. When you visit us on Small Business Saturday, you'll get to meet the faces behind the voices you may have chatted with on the phone that helped you place an order, and you'll also get to shake the hands of the craftsmen and women that make each of our products.
Source: Russ Dillingham, Sun-Journal
4. The Story & Experience
When you purchase from a local maker, you don't leave with just a beautiful hand-crafted gift. You also leave with your own personal connection and story to the item and people behind it. When you visit us on Small Business Saturday, we encourage you to take our factory tour and to speak with our craftsmen and women about the making of our products. We really enjoy showing each part of the manufacturing process to our customers, and some of our favorite moments from the event are often just seeing the faces of visitors seeing looms weaving for the first time!
5. Savings - It's a Shopping Holiday!
Just like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is also about the sales! Many small businesses will be offering great deals on their products to honor the day and encourage customers to shop small this holiday season. When you visit us on November 26th, we'll be offering great discounts as well as selling items only available on this day! If you're planning on joining us, be sure to RSVP on Facebook and invite your friends.
Can't make it to Maine? Share where you'll be shopping small this holiday season in the comments below.
Our Future is Woven by Our Past: One of Maine’s Oldest Industries Honors the State’s Oldest Park October 13, 2016 09:21 1 Comment
MONMOUTH, MAINE: One of Maine's greatest natural treasures, Acadia National Park, is celebrating its centennial this year, and Maine Heritage Weavers is excited to be a part of the celebration in the way they know best, a woven heirloom. Woven by their team of expert craftsmen and women, the newly released commemorative throw celebrates the beauty of Acadia in its design while also honoring the state's rich textile heritage in its quality.
“We’re very pleased to have Maine Heritage Weavers as an Acadia Centennial Partner,” said Stephanie Clement, Conservation Director for Friends of Acadia. “Their contribution through the sales of their commemorative throw will go directly to important park projects, such as maintenance of the trails and carriage roads. It’s a gift to help launch the park into its next century.”
Linda Cloutier, President of Maine Heritage Weavers, adds, “Given the history of both Acadia and our industry here in Maine, we believe this collaboration also perfectly embodies the Centennial’s tag line - “Celebrate our Past, Inspire our Future.” She continues, “We’re thrilled to be a part of the celebration and to be able to support park projects that will help preserve Acadia for future generations with one of Maine’s oldest crafts.”
Those wishing to purchase the Acadia National Park Centennial Throw can do so through Maine Heritage Weavers' retail partner, Bates Mill Store (www.batesmillstore.com). The throw is available for $59.99 with 10% of all proceeds being donated Friends of Acadia for park projects.
About Maine Heritage Weavers: Maine Heritage Weavers is a family-owned and -operated textile company that is proud to continue the weaving tradition of the historic Bates Manufacturing Company (est. 1850). Founded by former Bates President (Fred Lebel) and his daughter (Linda Cloutier) in 2002, this team of veteran Bates craftsmen and women use the same equipment to weave superior quality bedspreads, blankets, and accessories for the home as taught to them by their parents and grandparents.
About Friends of Acadia: Friends of Acadia preserves, protects, and promotes stewardship of the outstanding natural beauty, ecological vitality, and distinctive cultural resources of Acadia National Park and surrounding communities for the inspiration and enjoyment of current and future generations.
About The Acadia Centennial Partners: Acadia Centennial Partners are at the heart Acadia’s Centennial celebration: More than 400 organizations, businesses, and individuals from Acadia’s surrounding communities and beyond that have joined together to create a community-based and world-welcoming celebration. ￼￼
Old Wagon Wheel: Bates Blankets & Vintage Western Style in Montana Cabin Retreat October 04, 2016 10:56
Source: Old Wagon Wheel
The Old Wagon Wheel is an idyllic cabin retreat located in the ski town of Whitefish, Montana where guests can go to relax and enjoy all the beauty this area has to offer. We absolutely love the way that Innkeepers Linda and Ted have chosen to decorate their cabin with vintage items that pay homage to the frontier past of the Big Sky State.
When seeking an extra layer for their beds, Innkeepers Linda and Ted chose two of our most popular cotton blankets, the heavyweight George Washington's Choice Blanket (in Linen) and the lightweight Cable Weave Blanket (in Antique).
Source: Old Wagon Wheel
Source: Old Wagon Wheel
The Old Wagon Wheel's accent pillows with their beautiful Native American design add a great touch of color to this bed while also keeping with the Old Wagon Wheel's distinctive theme. We also love the way a simple switch in the accent pillows can give the beds a subtle fresh feel from day to day.
Source: Old Wagon Wheel
The distressed wood on the walls and colorful quilt on the end of the bed perfectly rounds out the theme in this room while also adding a welcoming touch of color and warmth.
While we were putting together this post, Linda and Ted were on the road visiting family and heading to a vintage fair in Texas - we can't wait to hear about the treasures they find! If you're heading to Montana and looking for a unique place to stay with fantastic hosts, be sure to consider the Old Wagon Wheel.
From modern white matelasse coverlets to natural woven blankets, we love seeing the various ways our partners and customers decorate their bedrooms with their favorite Bates products. Have a favorite pairing in your home? Share in the comments or send us some photos. Your room could be featured next!
Museum LA Exhibit Feature - "Covering the Nation: The Art of the Bates Bedspread" September 28, 2016 08:45 1 Comment
Several months ago we were approached by Museum LA of Lewiston in regards to an exhibit they were putting together featuring the history of Bates Bedspreads called "Covering the Nation: The Art of the Bates Bedspread". While they already had attained a wealth of knowledge regarding the history of the mill itself (they maintain a permanent exhibit featuring the local mills), they turned to us for an expert view on the in’s and outs of weaving these historic designs.
We were excited to hear of their plans and to help out, so as you can imagine, when the doors opened in August, we planned our visit as soon as we could. Today we want to give our readers a sneak peak.
Throughout the decades, Bates experimented with various design styles including embroidery and screen printing. The exhibit allows you the opportunity to view unique samples of the techniques used throughout the years.
This shot of a vintage Queen Elizabeth Bedspread on display in the permanent exhibit really shows the puffed aspect of a matelassé weave.
These massive pieces are called silk screens. They were used to individually apply each color in the screen printed designs manufactured at Bates. Truly a sight to see!
The museum staff members were very knowledgeable and available to answer all of our questions. In this scene, our group was pondering the inner workings of an antique loom in comparison to the looms we run today.
The exhibit runs through April 2017, so make plans to visit before then! Have you already been? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Interior Design Trends: Shabby Chic August 29, 2016 12:07 1 Comment
Shabby chic is an interior design style which became popular more than 20 years ago, ushered in, many say, by Rachel Ashwell - owner of Shabby Chic Couture. In her blog, Ashwell says that her inspiration for shabby chic came from a desire to create a space of imperfect beauty, comfort, quality, and timelessness.
Traditionally, this design style will have romantic undertones and feature soft colors, floral prints and vintage furnishings. However, decorators everywhere have been putting their own personal spin on what it means to be “shabby chic”.
Source | Olivia’s Romantic Home
The combination of off-white and soft pink shades give this room a romantic edge. The use of fresh flowers is also a common shabby-chic element and is an easy way to change up your space periodically.
Source | From My Front Porch to Yours
A basement bedroom turned into a shabby-chic getaway! Notice the use of ornate mirrors with the frames painted white - a classic shabby-chic design touch. A super plush bed, also seen here, is a common feature that can easily be personalized to your own taste.
Source | Shabby Chic Paw Prints
The choice of color in this room adds a fun twist to traditional shabby-chic design. It’s a great example of how to blend bold, modern colors with vintage elements. Chandeliers, like the ones seen here, are also a fun way personalize your shabby-chic space.
Source | Ruby Lane Blog
The kitchen shown here makes use of the two most popular colors in shabby-chic design, white and ecru. Another classic “rule” of this interior design style is to decorate with items that are actually useful (as opposed to simple knick-knacks). You can see evidence of this, here, as actual kitchen utensils are on display as decorative pieces.
Source | Creating A Life
Although blogger Jeanette doesn’t personally describe her style as shabby chic, the vintage furniture and color pallet in this picture can certainly transcend into the category. This picture also provides strong inspiration on how to incorporate a Bates Bedspread (in this case, Queen Elizabeth) into vintage or shabby chic interior design!
If you have a shabby-chic design tip, please share it in the comments below.
5 Tips | Decorating with Family Heirlooms August 11, 2016 08:03
We all have that one quilt, bedspread, or blanket that has been in the family for years. Passed down from one generation to the next, our treasured heirlooms connect us with our forbearers in special ways. Old-fashioned bedding is often as beautiful as it is durable, but sometimes it can be hard to know how to mix these beloved inheritances with the rest of our home decor. However, with a little extra consideration, traditional bedding styles can add elegance, allure and character to your home decorating projects.
1 | Color Schemes
Vintage bedding can bring an entirely new, inspirational palette of colors to a room. Play around with the balance of these colors, and their relationships to one another-- done well, the effect can be quite impressive!
2 | Accent Pieces
3) Mix and Match Patterns
Especially when in comes to quilts, old-fashioned bedding is chock full of elaborate patterns and visual texture. Sometimes, this can feel overwhelming, but if you like getting extravagant, don't be afraid to mix and match. Tasteful blends of patterns liven up spaces and appeal to the eye. It's like looking at a colorfully arranged shelf in a candy store!
A pattern mash-up can be subtle, too, as currently demonstrated on our Bates Mill Store display bed.
4 | Strike a Visual Balance
Balance is always key! If you have an elaborate piece, such as our John Adams Bedspread, consider pairing it with clean, simple lines.
5) Embrace It's History
Share the love of where your heirloom came from! Sometimes, this can provide the biggest inspiration and the best direction as to how it deserves to be showcased.
If you have any home decor projects that feature some of your treasured heirlooms, please tell us about it in the comments below, or share a photo on our Facebook page.
Caring for Cotton Bedspreads & Blankets | How to Stop Shedding, Pilling, Lint & Fuzz July 27, 2016 09:57
When it comes to bedding, there are several different natural fibers on the market for consumers to choose from. Silk is treasured for its elegant luster, linen is favored for its durability and wool is preferred for its exceptional warmth. Then there is cotton: breathable, soft and easy to care for.
Of course, there are downsides to each option as well. Silk and wool require extra tender, loving care and linen is prone to wrinkling. Cotton? While it is easy to care for and cleans up well, it does tend to shed – and this shedding can drive some folks absolutely bonkers!
Luckily, there are several ways you can combat shedding. In addition to following the manufacturers care instructions, we recommend adding some of these tips to your care regiment.
1) Harness the Power of Vinegar
There are countless applications for vinegar in our everyday lives, one of which is the power to reduce shedding in cotton blankets and bedspreads. Add ¼ cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your wash to help battle the build up of lint.
2) Accept the Harsh Reality of Softener
Fabric softener may sound like a good idea, but cotton is soft enough on its own. In fact, fabric softener can actually weaken cotton fibers and cause them to break, resulting in an increase in the amount of shedding. So, whatever you do – be sure to avoid fabric softener and detergents with softener additives.
3) Keep Cool
Much like fabric softener or harsh detergents can damage cotton fibers, so too can hot water. Preferably wash cotton fabrics in water that is cold or, when necessary, merely warm.
4) Kick-it Old School
Some of us can live with a little bit of lint and maintain our sanity, but those of you who go crazy over the persistent hitch-hikers might want to consider hand washing your cotton blankets and bedspreads. Less agitation during the washing process = less shedding overall.
5) Do Not “Set It and Forget It”
The dry cycle plays a crucial roll in the fight against shedding, so don’t simply walk away! Empty the lint catcher several times throughout the dry cycle to allow as much lint to escape as possible. The newer the blanket or bedspread, the more frequently you will have to empty the trap.
6) Call for Back-Up
Keep a soldier on the front lines while you wait to empty the lint trap. By “soldier”, we are referring to an object that attracts lint away from the blanket or bedspread and onto itself. It can be something simple like a piece of corduroy or you can invest in some dryer balls.
7) Shave It Off
If you find that your blanket or bedspread still has loose fibers or pilling after proper laundering, you can use an electric shaver to finish it off. Unlike synthetic fibers, where pilling is typically permanent, pills on cotton fabrics can be removed.
While shedding of cotton fabrics may never completely cease, the above tips should help to minimize and reduce it over time. If you have any tips of your own, please feel free to share in the comments below!
Time Warp! Bates Manufacturing Co. Summer, 1942 July 22, 2016 04:36
The year was 1942: The United States of America had just entered the second World War. Casablanca premiered in theaters. Instant coffee could be found for the first time in kitchen cabinets. Bing Crosby released the classic song "White Christmas," and the cost of a stamp was ₵3. But what was Bates up to, 74 years ago, in the summer of '42? Below are a few fun, illustrative photos from a Bates catalog distributed during that time.
Old Academy Bed & Breakfast: Bates Abigail Adams Bedspreads July 14, 2016 00:00
Source: Old Academy Bed & Breakfast
Located in the beautiful Lowcountry of South Carolina, the Old Academy Bed & Breakfast gives you a chance to stay in an old schoolhouse that was built back in 1834. Innkeepers Don and Jean Sterling bought this gorgeous property back in 1990 and opened it as a bed and breakfast a few years later in 1996. Given the great history of the inn, the quality and classic style of Bates Abigail Adams Bedspreads were a great pick for their rooms:
"We have been using your bedspreads for years. They are very warm and inviting. Our guests love our linens."
- Jean Stearling, Old Academy Bed & Breakfast
Source: Old Academy Bed & Breakfast
The photo above displays a beautifully crafted headboard that is elegantly paired with the Abigail Adams Bedspread, a heavyweight matelassé bedspread that was introduced back in 1977. The scallop fringe border adds a nice touch to complete the beds look from top to bottom.
Source: Old Academy Bed & Breakfast
The pictures above and below show a guest room that is a great example of a bed completed with the entire Abigail Adams Collection which includes the bedspread and matching Abigail Adams Pillow Shams. We love how the antique headboard peaks up above the shams to give a regal feeling to this guest room.
Source: Old Academy Bed & Breakfast
Thank you again to Jean and Don at the Old Academy Bed & Breakfast for featuring our bedspreads in their beautiful guest rooms as well as for sharing their Bates story with us.
Feel free to share your favorite inns featuring Bates bedspreads or blankets in their guest room in the comments, and they may be featured next!
Vintage Bedspreads: A Look At Chenille and Hobnail July 01, 2016 08:59 1 Comment
Vintage bedspreads of all styles and types are coveted by collectors and homeowners alike. These pieces of woven nostalgia are beautifully crafted, highly decorative, and have the tendency to last for generations within a family. We often get inquires about how to care for antique Bates spreads that have been passed down -- so many, in fact, that we wrote up a short article about How to Care for Your Bates Blankets & Bedspreads.
Many of our styles, though manufactured today, honor the traditional patterns and weave structures of our history. Our Terry (or Hobnail) Bedspreads, construction is perhaps one of the oldest. The most famous design by far is Martha Washington's Choice Bedspread.
If you've ever had interest in vintage textiles, you may be familiar with the term "chenille." Chenille bedspreads have been around since the early 20th century, but reached the height of their popularity in the 1950's. Today, vintage chenille spreads are often restored and sold in online stores like Ebay and Etsy.
Although some people use the terms "chenille" and "hobnail" interchangeably, they differ slightly in appearance. Chenilles and hobnails are an evolution of candlewicking, an old embroidery technique used by the American colonists. Traditional candlewick designs were created using the yarn for candlewicks (who would have guessed?) This thick, cotton thread was stitched onto bedcovers in a decorative fashion.
In the hobnail (or terry) weave, large loops of heavy yarn are raised to form the design. The same principle applies to chenille spreads, except the loops are clipped, giving the bedspread a fuzzy, "caterpillar" look. Sometimes, you will still see the name "candlewick" used to describe a hobnail or terry bedspread.
Part of the fun in owning a vintage bedspread is knowing the rich history behind it. These treasured heirlooms not only contain memories and family stories, but chronicle fascinating evolutions of specified craft.
Do you have a Bates bedspread that has been handed down? Please share in the comments below!
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