The Bedding Snob

Cultivating relaxation need not leave you starving for style …

Snobbish Thoughts June 2011

Botanical beauty for your bedroom and wardrobe!

Monet Bedding

Impressionist art for your bed!

One of our favorite things about summer is the abundance of flowers. It’s finally starting to warm up here in Maine, and we’re spending much of our free time working in our gardens. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can bring the beauty of the outdoors to your home with our exclusive Monet Bedding. Inspired by Impressionist art, these luxuriously soft sheets add a cheerful touch to any decor.

Impressionist sweater

Wearable art for summer

We also love the idea of brightening up our outfits with lively floral prints. Summer is the perfect time to have fun with your wardrobe, adding bold accents of color, vibrant patterns, and unique textures. With its vivid botanical print, our Maryn Impressionist Sweater pairs perfectly with solid skirts and pants for a refreshing summertime look. Plus, its lightweight knit makes it a great layering piece.

What are your favorite ways to update your home and wardrobe for summer?

Facebook Giveaway Contest Today!

Pima Cotton Blend Nightgown

Pima Cotton Blend Nightgown

Pssst! We are giving away this incredibly soft pima cotton blend nightgown on Facebook today!

Head on over for a chance to win – all you have to do is share your 4th of July plans with us on Facebook, and we will enter your name into a random drawing to win this size small nightgown, featuring an exclusive Asian-inspired print, wrist length sleeves, mid-calf length, and comfortably generous fit. 96% cotton/4% spandex.

The drawing ends at 4pm today, and the winner will be announced by 4:30, so be sure to get your comment in on time – and good luck!

Long-lasting Linen: A Warm Weather Staple

Cuddledown's Italian Linen

Cuddledown's Italian Linen

Flax, flax, fabulous flax! Did you know that flax is one of the oldest farmed plants in history?  Not only isit ancient – being traced back as far as the 4th millennium BC – it also has a wide variety of uses.  According to Wikipedia:

Flax is grown both for its seeds and for its fibers. Various parts of the plant have been used to make fabric, dye, paper, medicines, fishing nets, hair gels, and soap. Flax seed is the source of linseed oil, which has uses as an edible oil, as a nutritional supplement and as an ingredient in many wood finishing products. It is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens.

But perhaps our favorite use of flax is to make linen! Linen itself has a long and royal history, used to wrap and preserve the mummies of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs, being considered a symbol of purity. Yahoo’s Encylopedia provides a condensed look at linen’s history:

Linens more than 3,500 years old have been recovered from Egyptian tombs. Phoenician traders marketed linen in Mediterranean ports. Worn by Egyptian, Greek, and Jewish priests as a symbol of purity, it also typified luxury as in the phrase “purple and fine linen.” Flax was cultivated by the Romans and introduced by them into N Europe. The production of linen was encouraged by Charlemagne, and linen became the principal European textile of the Middle Ages. Flanders has been renowned from the 11th cent. for its creamy flax and fine thread. French Huguenots excelled in working flax and carried the art abroad, notably to Ireland, where Louis Crommelin established (c.1699) a manufactory at Lisburn, near Belfast. Ireland is still the largest producer of fine linen, with Belgium, Japan, and Russia producing somewhat lesser amounts. The first flax-spinning mill was opened in England in 1787, but only in 1812 was linen successfully woven with power looms.

Linen has also been used in currency in ancient times, and to some extent, continues to be used today – US currency is actually comprised of a cotton/linen blend!

It’s kind of amazing that we are still using a material that was used thousands and thousands of years ago.  It must be some pretty special stuff then, eh? Indeed, there are several benefits to using linen:

Many fabrics are not breathable, but linen possesses high air permeability and heat. The heat conductivity of linen is 5 times higher than wool and 19 times than silk. This means in hot weather, people dressed in linen clothing are found to have a lower skin temperature than others wearing silk or cotton garments. One more thing, interesting about linen – according to some studies, a person wearing linen clothes perspires 1.5 times less than when dressed in cotton clothes, and twice less than when dressed in viscose clothes. Meanwhile, in cold weather, linen works in reverse, proving ideal for retaining warmth.

Which is why our Italian Linen is one of our best selling bedding products. Offered in both plain hem and triple hem styles, our Italian Linen is medium weight, sturdy, softens with every wash, and temperature regulating.  Best of all, right now, it’s on SALE.

Not sure linen’s right for you?  Check out our guide on how to choose the perfect sheeting, the first step to getting a great night’s sleep.

In need of a cuddly companion?

Cats love Cuddledown, too!

Cats love Cuddledown, too!

Did you know that June is Adopt-A-Cat-Month®? Sponsored by the American Humane Association, this initiative aims to place shelter cats in loving homes.

If you’re thinking about adopting a cat, here are 10 helpful hints, courtesy of the American Humane Association:

  1. If you’re thinking about adopting a cat, consider taking home two.
  2. Find a cat whose personality matches with yours.
  3. Pick out a veterinarian ahead of time and schedule a visit within the first few days following the adoption.
  4. Make sure everyone in the house is prepared to have a cat before it comes home.
  5. Budget for the short- and long-term costs of a cat.
  6. Stock up on supplies before the cat arrives.
  7. Cat-proof your home.
  8. Go slowly when introducing your cat to new friends and family.
  9. Be sure to include your new pet in your family’s emergency plan.
  10. If you’re considering giving a cat as a gift, make sure the recipient is an active participant in the adoption process.

If you’ve already adopted a feline friend, provide them with a pet bed so they’ll have a cozy place to rest. Tell us, do you have any pets?

Come sail away…

Windjammer "Bagheera," Portland Schooner Co

Windjammer "Bagheera," Portland Schooner Co

Most coastal-living Mainers have either been on a sailboat or enjoy watching them bob up and down the bay. This is the perfect time of year for sailing with crisp ocean breezes and warm, summer sun. Even if you don’t own your own boat, there are still opportunities to enjoy the power of the wind and sea as it was back in the early 1900s with a windjammer cruise with a group such as the Portland Schooner Company. Whether its joining a group for a sail around Casco Bay or chartering your own cruise – windjammers are a great way to experience sailing.

Cuddledown's "Mer" bedding collection

Cuddledown's "Mer" bedding collection

Even if you live nowhere near a coast, and have no desire to sail, you can surround yourself with nautical decor with our Cuddledown “Mer” bedding in shades of deep ocean blue. “Mer” is the French word for sea or ocean, and with the crisp 350 thread count percale fabric trimmed with jaunty, white piping, you’ll feel like your bed is on a yacht sailing around Cape Cod, or even perhaps Casco Bay!

 

Love to Shop? Go Eco-Friendly in Style!

Reisenthel Collapsible Shopping Basket

Reisenthel Collapsible Shopping Basket

What’s one really easy way to go green? Just say NO to paper and plastic bags at the grocery store! As we mentioned in this blog post on re-purposing household items, watching Bag It:The Movie is probably enough to convince anyone to swear off plastic bags forever.

But if you don’t have time for a full-length film, the website ReuseIt.com has some equally sobering quick facts on both paper and plastic bags in the articles Fast Facts on Plastic Bags and Myth: Paper is Better than Plastic.

Our favorite eco-friendly alternative to disposable bags? The chic, ultra-convenient Reisenthel collapsible shopping basket. Sure, it’s stylish, which we love, but it can also carry up to 66 pounds. It beats out flimsy plastic bags any day!

Alternately, if you’re the crafty sort, you can make your own reusable shopping bag out of just about anything from milk cartons to an old t-shirt!

After you have your shopping accessory of choice, then comes the hard part: remembering to bring your handy, eco-friendly reusable shopping tote with you to the store!

Centering Yourself: Meditation Tips

meditation by AlicePopkorn via Flickr

meditation by AlicePopkorn via Flickr

It’s easy, especially during the busy summer months, to get a little frazzled.  No doubt there are vacations to pack for, summer programs that need to be scheduled, and day-trips to take.  But summer is also the perfect time to re-center yourself.  Beginner meditation can take as little as 10 minutes a day, allowing your body & brain to relax & de-stress.  Psychology Today states that the benefits include “a reduction in stress, an increased ability to enact mindfulness, greater concentration and a lowered tendency toward immediate and excessive emotional dysregulation.”  Who wouldn’t love to feel clearer, more mindful, more at-home in one’s body?

Best of all, all you need is yourself & a quiet space.  The Conscious Life provides a simple guide for beginners, breaking down the process into 4 easy-to-swallow parts:

  1. Choose a conducive environment. Find a nice, quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for fifteen minutes or longer. Sit down, relax and rest your hands on your lap. You can sit on the floor cross-legged with the support of a meditation cushion, or on any chair with your feet resting on the ground. It’s not necessary to force yourself into a lotus position if you’re not used to it.Regardless of how you sit, it’s important to maintain the natural curve of your back. That means no slouching forward or leaning backward — either of which can strain and hurt your back. People with chronic back problem may find a kneeling meditation bench useful, especially for prolonged meditation.
  2. Breathe slowly and deeply. Close your eyes softly. Begin by taking a few slow and deep breaths — inhaling with your nose and exhaling from your mouth. Don’t force your breathing. Let it come naturally. The first few intakes of air are likely to be shallow, but as you allow more air to fill your lungs each time, your breaths will gradually become deeper and fuller. Take as long as you need to breathe slowly and deeply.
  3. Be aware. When you are breathing deeply, you’ll begin to feel calmer and more relaxed. That’s a good sign. Now, focus your attention on your breathing. Be aware of each breath that you take in through your nose. Be mindful of each breath that you exhale with your mouth. Continue focusing on your breaths for as long as you like.If you find your attention straying away from your breaths, just gently bring it back. It may happen many times. Don’t be disheartened. What’s important is to realize that you’ve wandered and bring your attention back to where it should be. As you develop greater focus power, you will find it easier to concentrate.
  4. Ending the session. When you are ready to end the session, open your eyes and stand up slowly. Stretch yourself and extend your increased awareness to your next activities. Well done! You’ve done it!

Goodlife Zen is another resource, with a handy list of 10 tips.  I particularly like this tip regarding focus:

In ordinary consciousness we are hardly ever present. For example, sometimes we drive the car on autopilot while being preoccupied with thoughts. Suddenly we arrive at our destination and don’t remember anything about the drive!

So, meditation is a wonderful way of waking up to our life. Otherwise we miss most of our experiences because we are somewhere else in our mind! Let’s take a look at what focus is. In ordinary life, we tend to equate focus with concentration. That’s like using the mind like a concentrated beam of light. But in meditation, that kind of mind isn’t helpful. It’s too sharp and edgy. To focus in meditation means to pay soft attention to whatever you place in the centre of awareness. I suggest using the breath as a focus. It’s like a natural door that connects ‘inside’ and ‘outside’. Zen Master Toni Packer says:

Attention comes from nowhere. It has no cause. It belongs to no one

(I am incredibly guilty of driving on auto-pilot.  Both literally & figuratively.)

Essentially, it all boils down to posture, breathing, & focus.  Being someone who has a constant monologue running through her brain, taking the opportunity to let go of that jumble of thoughts & simply be, is enormously refreshing.  What do you do to gain some inner peace?

 

Free Your Toes! …Espadrilles, the hot trend of summer 2011!

Cuddledown Red Espadrille

Cuddledown's Red Vida Espadrille

Summer has now reached the entire country and our toes rejoice!  Why you may ask, are our toes so happy?  Because, of course, they are now able to be freed from their leathery shoe prisons and enjoy pedicures and polish!  And what better way to celebrate their freedom than in a comfy pair of Espadrilles, summer of 2011′s hot trend!

Not normally known for being a “hot” fashion item, this summer, from flirty, sexy and toe-revealing to charming and comfy cotton classics, Espadrilles are seemingly everywhere!  A little known fact about perennial favorite Espadrilles, is that they were first invented in the late fourteenth century in the Pyrenees mountain region of Spain known as Catalonia. The word Espadrille derives from the local wild grass called Esparto, which was woven into the shape of a sole (with a rubber or even wooden heel sometimes added) and stitched to an

Cuddledown's Petit Floral Espadrille

Cuddledown's Petit Floral Espadrille

upper made of cotton or hemp canvas. The shoes’ comfort and durability made them popular in ancient times for workers, and apparently even the King of Aragon’s foot soldiers!

Eventually Espadrilles became famous worldwide for their versatility and casual simplicity, so perfect for warm weather wear. And for those ancient Spaniards, our toes are muy grateful!

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