Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Feeling the Call of Spring and Summer

If half the pleasure of an event is the anticipation, I've got to say Spring can't come soon enough!

I don't know why, but I never really feel like making a resolution for the New Year.  Rather I feel it in the Spring, and am often motivated by an image, or a song.

Normally in this blog, I try to share something about Gilden Tree that I think you might find interesting or inspiring. But recently, I came across an old family photograph of a picnic at a park or someone's farm that made me catch my breath and I decided to share it with you.

I believe that's my grandmother Clara on the far left and my great aunt Evelyn right beside her looking at the camera, when all of them were impossibly young.

I love all the women in their print dresses, and the man in his white shirt and hat, no doubt at the men's end of the table.

The lunch was all home-cooked and probably delicious, since they were all wonderful cooks.

The silverware and dishes - all real -  would be gathered up in a wooden picnic basket, taken home and washed. The tablecloths would be washed, ironed and kept away for next time.  (I even see a little mason jar of something on the table there, too.)

There is something permanent and real in this photo that calls to me, and I have a sense that it's all coming back again.  We've gone from using real to relying on disposable. Could we finally be coming back round to real again?

Let us strive to savor the simple pleasures of a picnic with real food, and people we love. I am going to air out the old picnic baskets from my grandmother and my mother, and fill them again.

Whatever it is that signifies Spring and happiness for you - I hope you find it and follow it. Let's celebrate the real and create these amazing moments together.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Arnie Sanders Uses Home-made Spa Soaks for Professional Athletes!

Just finished reading a great article by Jen Murphy in the Health & Wellness section of the Wall Street Journal.  Click Here to read the original article.

Arnie Sanders, VP of Sports Performance for the Minnesota Timberwolves, has taken a remarkably holistic approach to helping his athletes treat tired, sore muscles, using customized home-made soaks, and creating a relaxing environment for using them.

Basically, Arnie suggests creating your own customized soaks at home, using high-quality, organic, pure ingredients.  He focuses on tried and true ingredients like epsom salt, sea salt, baking soda and essential oils.  He recommends soaking in them for 20 minutes.

But he takes it a step further and says that to reap the maximum benefit, you need to do so in a quiet, relaxing environment, perhaps lighting a candle, letting your heart rate slow down and just listening to your own breathing.

He creates a base mix of:

1 cup epsom salt
1 cup sea salt
2 cups baking soda

He mixes and stores his base mix in an airtight plastic container.  You could probably put them in a pretty glass jar by your bath, too if it has a good seal.

Then he customizes the soak, depending on how it is going to be used.

For a Rejuvenating foot soak, he uses:

1 cup base mix
1 drop of peppermint oil
1 drop frankincense
1 drop ylang-ylang oil

For a Relaxing foot soak, he uses:

1 cup base mix
1 drop sandalwood
2 drops of myrrh
2 chamomile tea bags
(You can also steep the tea bags in a cup of boiling water for 4-5 minutes and add the very strong chamomile tea to the foot bath.)

For a Recovery Bath Soak, to help reduce inflammation and calm muscle tissues, he uses:

2 cups base mix
4-5 drops liquid arnica
8-10 crushed aspirins

He also suggests 5 minutes of gentle stretching afterwards.

To create a Rejuvenating or Relaxing Bath, you can just double the the Foot Soak recipes.

It's so delightful to see someone using simple, DIY home spa recipes to help serious athletes.

We've been creating fresh, home spa recipes for years - and would love to share them with you.

Check out our fresh Home Spa Recipes.    And send a little mental thank you to Arnie for sharing his wonderful recipes!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Back to College & First Apartments!

Classic White Waffle Weave Towels
Last year, our second oldest son Samir went off to college and one of the amazing new "suite" dormitories. Go Big Red!

His room was spacious and his roommates were great guys. What a change from the traditional dinky dorm rooms that we lived in!

We worked hard to make sure he had all the basics to live comfortably in a shared environment. It seemed like a mountain of stuff, but it all worked and all came home again this summer, mostly in pretty good condition.

This year it's a new challenge. He's moving into a house with roommates, and suddenly we're figuring out how to move his bedroom furniture and any extra furniture we have to fill up their house.

One thing is clear - he'll still need his waffle weave bath towels!

With roommates and  any guests all sharing a single bathroom in the house, he probably won't want to leave his bath towel in the bathroom. Fortunately, waffle weave dries so fast he'll be able to store it on a hook in his room, without worrying about it getting mildewy.

Lots of people in tiny apartments have fallen in love with waffle weave bath towels for that very reason - because they dry so quickly!  Read more in

Want to get towels for your college-bound student?  Click here!  Or check out our Back To School section - with lots of great items.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Two New Colors in Waffle Bath Towels!

Have you ever wondered how companies choose new colors for things like towels?

One way is to look at color forecasts, looking at the colors that Pantone® and other color companies believe will be most popular in the coming year, which they base on extensive and thorough research.

Or you can look at trends in home improvements sales - for instance are warm, earth-toned tiles popular or are vivid, jewel-toned tiles selling better?  (Both are probably true at the same time.)

For a small company like Gilden Tree, bringing in a new towel color is a big commitment.  So, we debated - do we try to dig into the research and choose a color the experts say is going to be big, or do we follow our hearts?

 Of course, we went with our hearts, since we're inspired by the same things that inspire our friends and customers.

In my case, it was a visit to Sanibel Island a couple of years ago, where I fell hopelessly in love with the blue-green colors of the ocean, and the rich, velvety blue of the night sky at the shore.

Suddenly I was noticing those colors everywhere, and realized that blue was the color we've really been missing.

So, we found a wonderful shade of Seafoam, and another dark, rich Midnight Blue and added those colors to our waffle weave towel line.

We used Seafoam in our Classic towels and Midnight Blue in Modern Style towels. We're delighted with all your great comments and knowing how much you love these new towel colors.

Some people couldn't even wait for them to be listed on the site and ordered them sight unseen!

So, be sure to take a moment to check out our new colors and if you feel inspired - bring these beautiful new blue towels into your home.

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're 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.