Articles from November 2014

How To Avoid Being Short Sheeted

Make sure you are getting the quality you expect.

Make sure you are getting the quality you expect.

Short sheeting is a prank that siblings and college roommates play on one another. The sheets are tucked into the bed so that the person going to sleep can’t get in the bed.  While short sheeting in dorm rooms is a funny prank, being short-sheeted in the marketplace is not fun. If you are not careful, you can be short sheeted, by getting a lower quality product than you expected, when buying sheets.

It can be hard to find good, quality sheets at a low price. Don’t be fooled by labeling. Crafty wording can make you feel like you are getting a great deal on a quality product. Be sure to look at all of the fine print before you make a purchase.

Tricky Phrases

Often sellers will use catch phrases such “Egyptian quality” in their descriptors or labels. This makes the buyer assume the sheets are made of Egyptian cotton, when really the sheets are not cotton at all. They may be made of polyester or some other fiber.

Sellers can also inflate the thread count. Thread counts much higher than 500 do not necessarily mean better quality. Claims of 1000 or more can make the buyer assume they are getting a durable, ultra soft sheet. However, these claims can be based on how the fibers were counted, rather than a significantly higher number of fibers in the sheet.

Read the Fine Print

To avoid bringing home a set of sheets that is not what you expected, be sure to read all of the labels. Look at the materials so you know what the sheets are made of. Look at the care instructions as well. You don’t want to be surprised with dry clean only if you are expecting to be able to wash them at home. When you are buying online, you may want to look at reviews of the brand before purchasing. You should also find out what the return policy is in case you are unsatisfied with your purchase.

What You Pay For

A low price is not always the best deal. While there can be reasonable prices on sheets, cheap prices often indicate inferior quality. Buying American made, organic, or custom sizes may cost a bit more, but you will have peace of mind knowing you are getting exactly what you want.

Tips to Keep In Mind

Keep these tips in mind to avoid being short-sheeted:

  • Be wary of phrases that don’t convey accurate information about the sheets.
  • Read all of the fine print such as materials and care instructions.
  • Avoid the impulse buy and do your research to get the product you want.

What do you look for when buying sheets? Have you ever been misled by what you thought was a great deal?

Image: “New Sheets” by Tony Alter

How to Wash Handmade Quilts

Give your special quilts extra care.

Give your special quilts extra care.

Handmade quilts are a meaningful part of many home linen collections. They come from your own hard work, grandparents, friends, craft fairs, or are handed down through the generations. They are often given for special and significant events, such as the birth of a baby or as a wedding gift. It may be tempting never to use these treasures for fear of ruining them, however, quilts are made to be enjoyed.

At some point you will probably need to wash your quilt. Even if it is hung on the wall for display, eventually it will gather dust. Here are some tips for cleaning your special quilt without damaging it or causing too much wear.

Hand Washing Laundry Tips suggests checking your quilt for color fastness before you wash it. Take a white rag and wet it with cold water. Rub the rag over all of the different colors on the quilt. If any of the colors are picked up by the white rag, the quilt is not colorfast. You will want to avoid washing it because the colors will run or fade. Instead you can spot clean the quilt with water and mild detergent.

The best way to wash your quilt is by hand in the bathtub. Fill the tub with water and use a very mild, fragrance and dye free detergent. Work the quilt through the water for a few minutes. Then drain the tub and refill it to rinse. You may have to repeat the rinse process several times until the water runs clear.


To dry your quilt, lay it flat in a large space. You can use towels to soak up some of the excess water. If you lay your quilt outside to dry, keep it out of direct sunlight and cover it with an old sheet to keep the colors from bleaching in the light. Do not hang your quilt to dry because this will put a lot of pressure on the seams and could cause damage to the stitching.

Machine Washing

Quilting 101 recommends washing a quilt in the delicate cycle of a machine, preferably one without an agitator. Again you should use fragrance and dye free detergent and avoid softeners. You can add a half cup of vinegar to the wash to soften the fabric. After the cycle is done, run it again with no detergent to ensure that the quilt is thoroughly free of any detergent.

Quilting 101 also states that you can dry a quality made quilt in a machine on low, just like you would any other cotton clothing.

Less Is Better

As with any piece of fabric, the less often you wash it the longer it will last. Wash your quilt as little as possible and handle it with extra care and it will last for generations to come.

How do you care for your special linens?

Image: “Wrinkly Oz Logs quilt” gina pina

Eating Breakfast to Reduce Stress

An important part of sleeping is waking up. If you sleep well, it is easier to wake up in the morning. Often people wake up stressed from the start, having hit the sleep button too many times, they are in a hurry and skip breakfast, in order to make it to work or school on time. However, some studies are showing that taking a few minutes to eat breakfast may reduce your overall stress level.

Healty Breakfast

Taking a few minutes to eat breakfast may reduce your overall stress level.



Lower stress throughout the day may help you sleep better at night, allowing you to skip the sleep button, and end the cycle of ever increasing stress levels.


The Study

A study done by Cardiff University in Wales showed that eating breakfast cereal lowered stress levels. Stress was measured objectively by monitoring salivary cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that helps the body cope with stress. According to the study, high cortisol levels were associated with high stress. Volunteers who ate breakfast cereal had consistently lower levels of cortisol both throughout the day and the week the tests were conducted. While it is likely that the cereal itself has some effect on cortisol levels, eating breakfast is also a common indicator of a healthy lifestyle. Many people who eat breakfast may also consistently make other healthy choices that lowers their overall stress level.


Healthy Choices

Whether it is the breakfast cereal itself, or regularly making healthy choices that reduces stress, if you are experiencing high stress levels, breakfast seems like a good place to start for some relief. You don’t have to take time for anything fancy, just a bowl full of cereal can help. To avoid the sleepy feeling after a sugar high, avoid sugary cereals. Choose a cereal that is high in fiber, and add fruit instead of sweetener for continued energy during the morning.


Getting Started

You can start by setting your alarm clock a few minutes earlier, so you have time to eat some cereal before you leave for the day. You may find you enjoy the morning ritual of breakfast. Relaxing a bit in the morning, instead of rushing around, may help you feel more relaxed throughout the day, ultimately resulting in a better night’s sleep.

Photo “Strawberries and Cereal” courtesy of Ralph Daily

Tips for your Turkey Table

Tips for Setting Your Thanksgiving Turkey Table

Make your Thanksgiving get together memorable.

Are you hosting a big group of family or friends for Thanksgiving?Here are some unique tips to help make your Thanksgiving fun and memorable.

Place Cards

While it may feel like extra work or too formal to make place cards for Thanksgiving they can be really helpful. If there is anyone in your group who is new or may not know other people, a place card can eliminate any awkwardness. You can also avoid any holiday drama by placing guests next to people they will get along with.

Place cards can be simple. Write names with permanent markers on small decorative pumpkins. Place a leaf cut out with a printed name on plates. Stick a small slip of paper with names written on them in a pine cone.

Decorating the Table

Avoid fussing over the table and have your guests help decorate. Send kids outside with a paper bag and a scavenger hunt list. Have them collect dried leaves, twigs, berries, grasses, acorns and any other items. When they come back encourage the kids to use their finds to decorate the table. This will help your table feel earthy and homey and give your younger guests something fun to do while the dinner is cooking.

Interactive Placemats

These printable placemats from My Sister’s Suitcase will keep kids busy while adults are enjoying dinner and conversation. Set little packets of crayons next to the kid’s places. You can even cover your table in paper or set out extra coloring sheets to keep everyone entertained.

A Cornucopia

A cornucopia is a traditional symbol of abundance that we associate with Thanksgiving. However, how often have you seen a real cornucopia on a Thanksgiving table? Lily Shop offers a step by step tutorial for making your own cornucopia. It is a simple project that can be made from store bought pizza crust dough. Fill your cornucopia with fruits, breads or chocolates and you will have a stunning, edible centerpiece.

It is the little touches that can make a Thanksgiving memorable. It is also time spent with family and friends that makes a Thanksgiving special. These tips can help you enjoy one another and share an unforgettable day.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving Day traditions and recipes?

Image “Thanksgiving Table” by vxla

How to Make a Sofa Bed More Comfortable

Sofa beds, also called pull-out-couches, are a great way to accommodate guests when bedroom space is limited. They allow you to welcome guests into your home when your living space is limited and does not include a guest room.

Even though sofa beds may not have the same comfort level as a conventional bed, there are ways to enhance the comfort of a sofa bed.


Depending on the style and quality of the mattress, you may need to add a mattress topper for added padding. This is especially important if the sofa bed frame contains a support bar under the middle section of the mattress. Since sofa bed mattresses are typically four to five inches thick, the bar can sometimes be felt through the mattress.


Slip and Slide

Often, regularly sized sheet sets will not fit a sofa bed. They are either slightly too large, causing uncomfortable wrinkles in the bed or too small causing the corners of the fitted sheets to come off while your guest sleeps.

Just the Right Size

Ordering appropriately sized sheets will create the perfect space for you guests to enjoy a relaxing night of sleep. Cozytown Linens offers sheet sets designed specifically for sofa beds. They are available in either 8 inch or 6 inch pocket depth, so be sure to measure your sofa bed before you order. The flat sheets included in these sheet sets also have a fitted bottom so that they stay in place while your guest sleeps.

Extra Softness

In addition to sheets, a mattress pad will provide extra comfort for your guests and protect your sofa bed mattress so it can have a longer life. The metal frames of sofa beds can often be felt through the thinner mattresses of the sofa bed. This leaves a guest feeling an uncomfortable metal bar across their back during the night. To prevent pain and an uneasy night of sleep you can add a foam mattress topper to the sofa bed. Cozytown Linens sells a foam mattress pad that provides extra cushioning to prevent discomfort.  The thick foam pad has a quilted surface to provide a soft place to rest. It is attached with thick anchor straps at each corner to prevent the mattress pad from slipping.

Go Out of Your Way

Help your guests feel welcome and get a good night’s rest by providing an inviting, cozy sofa bed. They may not have their own bedroom, but you can help them feel comfortable with luxurious, stay-put sheets, a soft mattress pad and a warm comforter. Going out of your way to make up a nice bed for your guests will help them feel at home. What other ways do you help guests feel welcome in your home?

Photo courtesy of Cozytown Linens

How to Freshen Your Sheets Without Harsh Chemicals

how to freshen sheets without harsh chemicals

With fall kicking off and the weather cooling down, flannel sheets are starting to make their way out of the storage closet. When sheets have been in storage for a season they can develop a musty or stale smell. If you like to use laundry detergent that is free of scents or harsh chemicals, it can be hard to get rid of unwanted smells and freshen your sheets. Here are a few tips for freshening your sheets without using harsh softeners or added chemicals.

Lavender Water

Apartment Therapy  suggests using lavender water to freshen laundry. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil or other essential oil to water in a spray bottle. Spray the sheets generously before you load them in the washer. They should retain just a hint of the fresh scent after they are washed and dried.

Wool Dryer Balls

Felted dryer balls are a good chemical free alternative to dryer sheets in your dryer. The wool balls soak up moisture and redistribute it as humidity as the load dries, reducing static and keeping your laundry from wrinkling. Crunchy Betty provides step by step instructions for making felted dryer balls. The dryer balls require old scraps of wool, and yarn or wool roving. You can roll them into a tennis ball sized ball and wash them with hot water in old panty hose. Wash and dry them again until the balls are nice and tight.  Once your dryer balls are complete you can add a drop or two of essential oil to the balls to give your laundry your favorite fresh scent.


White vinegar has endless uses around the house. One use is to freshen laundry. DIY Life recommends adding a half cup of vinegar to your laundry at the start of the cycle along with your regular detergent. The vinegar will get rid of the musty smells and will not leave any vinegar scent behind. It will also help your sheets stay soft without the use of fabric softeners.

Avoiding Chemicals

Your skin spends a lot of time in contact with your sheets. If you have sensitive skin, try to avoid the use of harsh chemicals on your sheets. These three tips can help you freshen your sheets for the winter season without the use of fabric softeners, dryer sheets or scented laundry detergent. You can wash your sheets and feel confident that you won’t be sleeping on any harsh chemicals, and you won’t have to smell overwhelming scents that often accompany laundry detergents and softeners. How do you freshen your sheets?

Photo “Untitled” courtesy of Anthony Woodside

3 Fabulous Fall Leaf Crafts

Autumn leaves make beautiful fall crafts.

Autumn leaves make beautiful fall crafts.

With Autumn well underway the leaves are beginning to rain down from the trees. Here are three ideas for crafts that use colorful collected leaves. These crafts can add to the homey fall feel of your own house or make excellent gifts.

Most leaves will need to be dried before using them for crafts. This takes time, but it will help your crafts last longer. The simplest method for drying is placing flat leaves between two pieces of wax paper or newspaper. Place them inside a heavy book with several heavier books on top. This method can take 2-3 weeks, so get started right away.

1) Candle Jars

This craft comes from Gingerbread Snowflakes. This blogger suggests coating a mason jar with Mod Podge then placing the leaves on the jar and applying another layer of Mod Podge on top. Continue adding layers of leaves and Mod Podge until you have the look you want. Keep in mind light will not shine as brightly through the thicker layers. Put the ring around the top of the jar without the lid and place a tealight or small candle inside.

2) Leaf Relief

Cassie Stevens, an art teacher, used this project so all of her students could create beautiful art successfully. You do not need dried leaves for this project. Use spray glue to fix collected leaves, vein side up to a piece of matte board. Then add another layer of spray glue and lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the top. Rub the foil until you have an outline of the leaf. Then, spray cheap black spray paint over the top.  Once it is dry, gently rub it with steel wool to create your desired look. You can paint another piece of matte board to work as a background for your leaf.

3) Leaf Lantern

Imagine Childhood offers instructions for making a leaf lantern. These would be great decorations for an outdoor fall party or a fun way to light a night hike. Use craft glue mixed with water to dip strips of white tissue paper. Apply the tissue to an inflated balloon leaving about six inches at the top. After you have applied one layer add in fall leaves coating them with the same craft glue. You can then apply another layer of white tissue over the top. Make sure you have several layers. Let the lantern dry overnight. Then pop the balloon. You can attach a handle made from craft wire. Place a small tealight inside or use LED tealights if you prefer not to worry about an open flame.

These three crafts are sure to brighten your fall days. What other leaf crafts have you done this year?

Image: “Leaves” by Oregon Department of Transportation.