Monday, March 23, 2015

DIY Spa Basket Items

I've been thinking about what to put in my teenaged daughter's Easter Basket and it's a surprisingly delicate thing.  She's really too old for these things, I know.  But there is a delight in giving and receiving that we both want to hold on to, I think. 

So these last few years, I've tried to focus on something she enjoys. I've done gardening themes, art themes and cooking themes. This year I'm making her a spa basket - and it's been really fun!

I looked on Pinterest (where else??) and found lots of great ideas that inspired me to create a board, too.   Check out our Easter Spa Baskets Board, featuring fun Gilden Tree items. 

Our washcloths are perfect for making little bunnies and our orange washcloth is a great little carrot - and they've both so easy.

I took some home and got just a bit carried away!  But they were fun to make and would be a great project for kids.

You're welcome to use my simple instructions for making bunnies and carrots.

To make it even easier,you can just order a bunny with a classic waffle washcloth kit or a bunny with a modern washcloth kit.  


Friday, December 13, 2013

Brown Paper Packages, Tied up with Strings...

What do brown paper packages tied up with strings and the Wells Fargo man have in common? 

Yes they are both from musicals (two of my favorites) and a tiny bit dated, but what are they really about?

What can make you sing about string, paper and a delivery truck? 

I think it's the thrill of the unknown.  In those delicious few moments before you open a package - especially a gift - it can be absolutely anything. That shivery excitement is almost better than anything in the package could ever be.

Evolution dictates that we have a desire to see new things, try new things, search for the unknown, and seek out mysteries - to feel that shivery excitement that is a part of the unknown.

Gift giving is part of every culture. Anyone can give big, expensive, ostentatious gifts, as long as they have the cash.  But really thinking about someone - really trying to delight them in some way with a special gift - that's hard.

Purple Poppy Mallow - photo by Alma
My friend Alma walks every day on a trail in Omaha. We both love wildflowers and she sends me photos she's taken of them.

On my last birthday she gave me the most amazing gift.  She'd carefully collected a few seeds of Purple Poppy Mallow - a stunning Nebraska wildflower that's one of my favorites, hand-made a tiny seed envelope and gave them to me in a small gift bag.  I was so delighted - it's one of nicest gifts I've ever gotten.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that "thinking" is a big part of gift-giving.  That you don't have go crazy of buy something really expensive to make it an unforgettable gift.

I hope that a gift of something from Gilden Tree will give someone as much delight as those Purple Poppy Mallow seeds gave me and will give when I plant them next Spring.  A gift that's meaningful will never be forgotten.

Our gift guides are always designed to try to inspire you, but if you ever need help - call us.  We'll try to help you figure out the perfect gift.

Then you can wrap it up in brown paper and tie it with a string, and hum as you give it!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Welcome Spring and Home from BRAN!

Last year for the first time, I physically challenged myself harder than I ever have before, on BRAN, the "Bicycle Ride Across Nebraska."  It took everything I had to finish the 450 mile ride - and I have never been prouder of not giving up - even after riding into a god-awful headwind for 4 hours one day.

This year, my husband Kumy and I, our son Samir, daughter Maya and nephew James rode, with support from my brother Mark (who rode last year.)  Even though it was the first week in June again, it was a completely different ride.  Last year was hilly and hot, this year was cool and mostly flat.

What stayed the same was the challenge of waking up at 4:30 am, getting ready for another day in the saddle and then hitting the road with the sunrise.  Those moments before and during sunrise are just magical.

Along the way, we stopped and made new friends, saw beautiful parts of Nebraska just off the beaten path, met people from friendly small towns and ate way more pie than I should have.  (Ask any rider - Nebraska, Pie and Bike-Riding form a sort of holy trinity.)

What I learned from BRAN:

Whatever else you're doing these days - don't wait to take on a big physical challenge.  Push yourself to do something hard - whether it's running, swimming, walking or biking.   Train for it, be properly dressed and outfitted, but do something that challenges you physically and mentally.  You can't buy that sense of accomplishment.  It changes how you see the world and how you see yourself.


Monday, December 10, 2012

My Favorite Thing about the Christmas Crunch!

Although the fourth quarter is crucial in terms of sales, it's also important for another reason.  It's a time when we create connections - between ourselves and our customers, between our customers and the people that are important to them, and also amongst ourselves here at Gilden Tree. 

It's like ringing the starting  bell on a race that starts on Thanksgiving and doesn't end until the last shipping day before Christmas.   It does get crazy and a little stressful at times, but I love it - mostly because of the wonderful, dedicated people we work with.

I've been places where asking to have something special done with an order is considered being a "pain in the you know what."  I've also been places where there is no flexibility so there's never a need to do anything more than what's required.

But call us at Gilden Tree.  Ask someone to do something special for you.  Prepare to be delighted.

It's not that I'm some kind of miracle worker, cheering people on, or running out and doing everything myself.  I don't think Kumy (my partner and husband) and I can take any credit for this, except for perhaps having the extraordinary good luck of finding truly fine people to work here and somehow being able to make them want to stay.

But there is something quietly amazing about the way that everyone pitches in, stays late, makes emergency supply runs, or even brings in treats during crazy busy weeks.  Getting orders out, getting gift-wrap done (and it always looks gorgeous!) taking care of returns, or just helping people navigate our websites is always done kindly, carefully and thoughtfully, even when there are a million orders piled up.  (I wish!)

And nosy me, I love seeing the little notes people include in their gift orders.  I love how good people feel  about sending a gift from Gilden Tree to someone far away, and that we try to do our part to make it the most magical moment of the day for the person who receives it.

Finally, where else can you really be yourself and speak heart to heart with people you only know through the web? Although my posts are few and far between, I always feel like I'm just writing to a friend I haven't seen in a while. 

So enjoy the craziness, the challenges and the special requests in life during the holiday season, and recognize that crazy times are an opportunity to bring out the best in us all.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Our Father's Day Gift Guide

Whether he's your Dad or a man who's been like a Dad to you, finding a really great gift for Father's Day can be hard.

He'll say that he doesn't need anything.  "Just let me play golf" or "let me snooze on the couch, and I'll be happy" he'll say.  And the crazy thing is - he probably would be.  Most Dads are fairly low maintenance, and more inclined to do something for you.

But it's important to mark these days.  It's important to let him know that you appreciate him, and that you wanted to do something special for him.  It's good for the soul both to cherish someone and to be cherished.  So make him breakfast in bed, or take him out for a meal.

Buy or make him a card, and if you want, get him a little something that he'll appreciate.  Here are five ideas he'd love.

1. Is he a runner or bicyclist?  Give him a jar of Gilden Tree's Nourishing Foot Cream, a case of  power bars, and a bike/hike trail map of your city or area.
 2. Is he interested in camping?  Give him a set of waffle weave towels to use in camp.  The hand towels are lightweight, big enough to use as a bath towel, and dry incredibly quickly - always important when you're at the mercy of the weather.

3. Does he like to garden?  Get him a really nice pair of work gloves and a nice new bucket.  You can never have too many gloves or too many buckets.  Tuck in a jar of Shea Butter Balm and a hearty bar of soap for a great, simple, practical gift.

4. Is he a lounge on the deck kind of guy?  Give him a lightweight summer robe  - our most popular robe is the classic waffle weave kimono style robe. It's soft, comfortable and very generously sized - perfect for any man, and when you add a beverage of his choice - he'll think he's died and gone to heaven.

5. Does he go to the gym?  Get him a Complete Healthy Feet Kit.  It has a terra-cotta Foot Scrubber, and small jars of foot soaks, scrub, foot cream and balm - just perfect to tuck in his gym bag.

Don't worry about gift wrap.  We offer it for just $5.00, and we always offer a free gift message. Items are placed in a nice brown kraft gift box, and tied with a real green ribbon, and we'll tuck in your gift message, too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gilden Tree's Green Wedding Gift Guide

It used to be so easy.  Young couples would register for china, crystal and silver, or they'd go to a big box store and fill out a wish-list.  All you had to do was go to the list, choose something and the store would wrap and send it for you.

These days, it's a bit harder because most couples already have their own households, either separately or together, or it's a second marriage and they don't need the basic items which used to fill those lists.

Many couples are skipping formal items altogether and are instead making a conscious decision to consume less and choose more sustainable goods.  It's a wonderful way to start a new life together, but can make make the question of what to give the newlyweds all the more perplexing.

Over the years, our creative customers have had us send lots of beautiful, eco-friendly wedding gifts.  So, to help make it simpler, here are three of our favorites!

1. Classic Waffle Weave Bath Towel Sets ($84.99)  and Modern Design Waffle Towel Sets ($84)

Even if they already have towels, they'll love these soft, eco-friendly waffle bath towels because they dry so quickly and because they're made of Natural Cotton that's Oeko Tex Standard 100 Certified.

One of our best-selling wedding gift items - these sets include 2 bath towels, 2 hand towels and 2 washcloths. (Classic set also includes a bath mat.) White is definitely the most popular color, and it's an even split between Modern Design and Classic Waffle Weave.

These are amazing flat weave towels that are soft, super-absorbent and dry so quickly that couples just fall in love with them.  For an extra personal touch - get them monogrammed.  

2. Waffle Weave Throw Blanket ($44)

The joy of consciously choosing a simpler life is reflected in these soft blankets and any couple will find so many ways to use one.

They're perfect for cuddling up in front of the fire, as a car blanket or light camp blanket. You can even take them to the beach, because sand just falls right off and they're machine wash and dry.

Tuck one in with an old-fashioned picnic basket, for a picnic blanket - they're so  soft, warm and easy to live with.  In Sage Green, White, Slate, Orange, Espresso, and Cream.
59" x 77"  Suitable for monogramming.

3. Honeymoon Robe Gift Set ($145)

It's a little bit of luxury that helps make the honeymoon even more special with robes that will last for years.  Two beautiful white waffle weave robes are packed in a chic pandan box, with a candle, chocolates, a cd of romantic music, Shea Butter Balm and Massage Stones (includes easy massage instructions.)

If you've ever traveled in Europe you'll know how soft and comfortable a really good quality waffle robe can be and these are the nicest, thickest kind we've ever seen.  Call or email and and let us help you choose just the right sizes.

We'll be happy to Gift Wrap your gift for just $5 and our gift messages on a pretty card are always free.  Call us toll-free at 888-445-3368 or email us at for help finding the perfect gift.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Simple Joy: Celebrating May Day

Yesterday we offered a May Basket to all our customers (with a Crazy 4-Hour Sale) "tucked" in the basket.  I wonder if anyone else still carries on with the tradition of May Baskets?

I have always loved May Day, and in my neighborhood, we still exchange May Baskets.   We made May Baskets when I was growing up and  the rules were quite simple.  You created a small basket out of paper, and added a few pieces of candy and a little bunch of flowers. 

Then you had to hang the baskets on the recipient's doorknob, ring the doorbell and quickly run and hide, since if the recipient saw you they could kiss you.

Yesterday after work, I rushed home and helped my daughter Maya put together our May Baskets. We were in a time crunch so we just used colorful little paper cups and blue ribbon with Smarties and sprigs of Lilac tucked in. Maya and the neighborhood kids raced all over the neighborhood delivering them and no one, I believe, got caught. 

I love sitting on the front porch watching the kids dash around the neighborhood - lurking behind bushes and cars while they wait for the baskets to be found.   How simple a delight and how unforgettable. 

If you don't already celebrate May Day, maybe it's time to start a new tradition! Next May Day, make May Baskets and deliver them - but better be quick or you might get kissed!