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What (and when) is National Tartan Day?

Did you know April 6 is National Tartan Day? It’s true! National Tartan Day is a relatively new holiday in the United States. The U.S. only began celebrating it in the last 20 years. (Oregon Tartan Day is April 12, so we Oregonians have double the chances to celebrate.) Keep reading to learn how to celebrate National Tartan Day, get tartan outfit ideas, and more.

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Why April 6?

April 6 is a pretty momentous day in Scottish history. (Think of it as Scotland’s 4th of July.) On this day in 1320, Scottish officials signed the Declaration of Arbroath, signifying their independence from England. Some historians even say it inspired America’s Declaration of Independence!

What happens on National Tartan Day?

 National Tartan Day celebrates Scotland’s freedom, as well as Scots’ impact on America’s history and culture. (Did you know that many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were of Scottish descent? Today, roughly 6 million Americans say they’re of Scottish descent.) To celebrate, people wear their family tartan (or simply their favorite), and there are parades and events in various cities with bagpipers, Highland dancing, Scottish food…and plenty of kilts, of course.

Wait, what are tartans?

Here’s a quick refresher on tartans. In a nutshell, a tartan is a plaid that’s been officially listed on the Scottish Register of Tartans, most likely due to familial significance. (All tartans are plaids, but not all plaids are tartans.) Most tartans are worn by Scottish clans to show their family pride. Here at Pendleton, we create blankets and clothing in famous tartans like Black Watch. We’ve also created some of our own tartans, like the Pendleton Hunting Tartan, registered in 1999:

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Here are a few well-known tartans—Black Watch, Rob Roy and Black Stewart:

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What to wear for National Tartan Day

 Tartan, obviously. But beyond that, if you need outfit ideas for National Tartan Day, we’ve got you covered! There are lots of plaid Pendleton shirts to choose from, some of which are also tartans:

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Left to right: MacLeod Tartan, Douglas Tartan, Murray of Atholl Tartan, Stewart Tartan

Pendleton offers plenty of women’s tartan clothing as well, from shirts and blouses to skirts and dresses. And if you just want to curl up under a cozy tartan blanket, Pendleton makes those too, from machine-washable blankets to a luxurious, supersoft throw. Having a party for National Tartan Day? Serve up some smoked salmon or haggis on these lively tartan plates:

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Once you’ve got your festive tartan, celebrate by reading some poetry by Scottish writer Robert Burns, listening to bagpipe music or Auld Lang Syne, finding a parade in your area or simply wishing someone happy National Tartan Day!

How will you celebrate National Tartan Day this year?

BodyVox and Pendleton

BodyVox, the innovative Portland dance company, creates work that breaks boundaries in the most beautiful ways. From their website:

Breathtaking productions rich in imagery, athleticism and humor: Led by Emmy Award-winning choreographers Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, BodyVox is known for its visual virtuosity, distinctive wit and unique ability to combine dance, theater and film into breathtaking productions rich in imagery, athleticism and humor. Since its founding in 1997, BodyVox has toured to critical acclaim on stages around the world, developed 9 award winning films, 30 original shows and 3 operas, featuring more than 200 original dances.

We were delighted to open our BodyVox 2017 calendar and find some beautiful shots featuring Pendleton. March takes flight with this image.

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Photo courtesy BodyVox, used with permission

Of course, you all recognize the Original Board Shirt made famous by the Beach Boys. The blanket is the Water Blanket from our series that benefits the American Indian College Fund.

Water Blanket

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Inspired by a blanket in an early 20th-century photograph by Edward S. Curtis, this blanket is inspired by the peerless weaving of the American Southwest. It incorporates classic Navajo elements in an eye-dazzling pattern. The central dragonfly, an emblem of water, symbolizes life.

Later in the calendar, we found this gravity-defying hackysack game.

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Photo courtesy BodyVox, used with permission

You can check out our accessories here: Pendleton Accessories

You can see The Original Board Shirt here: Board Shirt (original Blue Surf Plaid)

And see the Water blanket here: The College Fund Water Blanket

 

Happy International Women’s Day

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We celebrate today with a blanket based on Hopi basketry. Stand strong on this day and every day. See the blanket here: BASKET DANCE

Like beloved Pendleton blankets, Hopi baskets are passed from generation to generation and offered as gifts from friend to friend. These intricately woven baskets and the ceremony associated with them inspired our Basket Dance Blanket. Its design celebrates Hopi craftsmanship and traditions. A Hopi basket is offered as a sign of kinship, friendship and sharing. Autumn is the time of the Basket Dance, a harvest ceremony performed by women of the Lakon Society of basket weavers. The women first gather in a kiva to fast, pray and chant. They then emerge chanting and dancing while raising and lowering baskets to the four directions of the compass. Traditionally the women toss many baskets to onlookers afterward. This harvest dance of sharing and generosity ensures rain and bountiful crops the next spring.

Basket-Dance

The Hopi culture is built around honorable, peaceful reverence for life and nature. You can read more about their beliefs here: The Peaceful ones & Gift of the Earth

Thanks for the beach image by FireHawk:  Timeless Earth Wisdom

 

Five myths about wool, debunked

Ever decided not to buy a wool item because it was itchy or dry clean only? Good news: Thanks to fabric innovations, wool is better than ever, and some old myths about wool aren’t true anymore. Read on to learn the truth about wool.

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Myth #1: Wool is scratchy.

Admittedly, some wool is softer than others. Rough, scratchy wool exists, but so does silky, fluffy wool that feels wonderful next to your skin. It all depends on quality, the type of sheep, and how the wool is spun. Some of the nicest, softest wool is superfine merino.

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Merino wool (from merino sheep) is famous for being smooth and luxurious. The fibers are very fine—thinner than human hair! It is wonderful woven or in knitted accessories, like the mittens above.

But quality matters: The best merino is virgin wool (not recycled) from healthy, happy sheep (yes, that makes a difference!). Finally, wool is softer when it’s worsted. That means the fibers are long, smooth and parallel, rather than fibers of different sizes in different directions.

For Pendleton’s softest wool, try our 5th Avenue throws. They’re woven of superfine virgin merino and incredible to snuggle up with!

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And men should try our Sir Pendleton wool shirts, made of worsted merino for a refined feel. A mile of yarn goes into each one! These aren’t the itchy wool shirts of the past.

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Myth #2: Putting wool in the washing machine ruins it.

This is true of some wool, but not all. Many people have accidentally shrunk wool sweaters in the washer, not knowing that heat and agitation cause felting. The spin cycle mats the wool fibers together, bonding them. This video explains:

Thankfully, some wool can go in your washing machine! Our Eco-Wise Wool blankets and throws undergo an anti-felting treatment, so not only are they washable, but they get softer with every wash. This treatment prevents the fibers from locking together and felting. Now you don’t have to run to the dry cleaner whenever your wool blanket needs refreshing!

Myth #3: 100% pure wool is better than wool blends.

In some cases, it’s true—a sweater that’s 100% merino wool will be nicer than one that’s mostly acrylic or polyester with only 5% wool.

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Wool sweaters are cozy and comfortable and a lot less likely to pill or fuzz. And a high wool content makes for a wonderfully warm blanket that naturally keeps the heat in on cold nights. But sometimes 100% wool isn’t ideal. Wool socks are more comfortable with a little stretch, so nylon or spandex is often added.

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Pendleton baby blankets are mostly pure virgin wool with a bit of cotton to keep them soft and fluffy (they’re also napped for a cozy feel).

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Myth #4: Wool is heavy and bulky.

This depends on the breed of sheep. For example, wool from Icelandic sheep is rugged and coarse, often used to make carpet. In contrast, wool from the Rambouillet breed—a relative of merino sheep—is very fine, perfect for soft, silky clothing. Fabric innovations have made wool lighter, like Pendleton’s Wool-Lin fabric. It’s pure virgin wool that feels like linen but doesn’t wrinkle nearly as easily. (Perfect for spring suiting.)

Myth #5: Pendleton only makes wool blankets.

grace_adams_10_2015_home_f15-7While Pendleton is perhaps best known for our first product, wool blankets, we began to branch out into apparel in 1927 with our first men’s shirts. Our line has grown to include wool sweaters, shirts, blazers, skirts, accessories and much more. We also use other natural fibers, such as silk and cotton, for comfortable, quality clothing year-round.

So there you have it! Any other questions about wool? Ask us in the comments below!

Thanks to the wonderful Grace Adams for her Brand Ambassador photography.

See more of her work here: Grace Adams Photography   

And follow her on Instagram here: @grace_adams

 

 

Another adorable tiny home with Pendleton

We found some Pendleton touches in another tiny house, this one on Apartment Therapy.

We were intrigued by this particular structure because it’s a conversion. Most tiny homes are built to be tiny (like Tam and Sean’s, featured earlier this month), but this one is a converted outbuilding–a garage, to be exact. With its loft and 250 square feet of living space, it has much of the aesthetic of a home that was built small, but it’s charmingly square. The plank walls and rustic rafters give this home a real cabin feel, and the exposed lathe-and-plaster over the bed is another charming touch.

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(source-Apartment Therapy)

img_8984Name: Coralie Hews
Location: Northeast Portland, Oregon
Size: 250 square feet, including loft
Years Lived In: 7 months; Rented

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img_8785-3Though she was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Coralie Hews has always possessed a Southwestern sensibility, especially when it comes to matters of interior design. Her beloved New Mexican textiles, cacti, and earth tones have always had a prominent place in her design palette, so it’s no surprise that all of those tasteful elements come into play in her dreamy, 250-square-foot cabin.

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img_9031Because Coralie downsized from a spacious one-bedroom apartment to a much smaller, lofted, one-room garage-turned-cabin, she was forced to edit all of her furniture and decor down to only her personal must-haves; she loaned a few pieces to friends, got rid of things that she had no use for, and put some bulkier odds and ends into storage. What she was left with is a charming juxtaposition: a bohemian blend of desert-inspired textiles and ceramics with a well-loved collection of Pacific Northwest relics.

img_9038-3Coralie rents the space from Emily Christensen, the Portland-based clothing designer behind Filly and Beeek, who lives in the main house. Three years ago, Christensen turned the garage on the property into a cabin which was originally listed on Airbnb, but eventually became home to year-round renters. Coralie was lucky enough to hear about the space through a good friend who was a previous tenant and was able to settle into the cabin in the spring of this year.

Though it does take effort for Coralie to keep such a small space simultaneously functional and aesthetically pleasing (i.e., keeping the place clutter-free), it is a challenge that she gladly tackles each day. The contentment she finds in living in her cozy, tiny cabin is a worthy payoff. Thanks for sharing your lovely space with us, Coralie!

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For virgin wool Pendleton fabrics woven in our own USA mills, see us at our Woolen Mill Store, or shop here: FABRICS

If you love the vintage Harding blanket on Coralie’s sofa, check out some of our beautiful black & white Pendleton blankets here and here. Oh, and here, too!

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Brand Ambassador Mikal Wright

 

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(shirt)

Ed. note: We are going to be featuring our fantastic brand ambassadors over the rest of this year, telling their stories in photos and words. Today we are profiling Mikal Wright of Pendleton, Oregon.

What kind of photography do you specialize in?

Photography is something that I started taking seriously about eight months ago. I purchased a drone and would go out and shoot aerial shots every chance I had.

Now that I’ve purchased a DSLR camera, I’d have say portrait photography is what I’m currently shooting as much as possible. I’ve been fortunate to have a solid network of friends who are professional photographers. They have guided me along the way.

Most of my shoots are in the Pacific Northwest, so you’ll see quite a bit of nature in my photography, but I’ve been challenging myself to get into the city more and shoot.

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(sweater)

What’s your dream shoot location and why (and don’t say Iceland—everyone does)?

This question literally made me laugh out loud because you are so right! Out of all the beautiful places in the world, everyone wants to go to Iceland. So I will change it up and choose El Nido. It’s a Philippine town located at the most northern tip of Palawan, an island that has a coastline dotted with over 1700+ islands and islets! I’ve read that the electricity there only runs 12 hours a day, so you have no choice but to unplug and explore the beauty of the island.

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(men’s sale coats)

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You scored many points for choosing somewhere original, Mikal. Where does your affinity for heritage brands come from? 

First and foremost, I was born and raised in Pendleton, Oregon. From my earliest childhood, I remember going to my grandparents home and falling in love with the blankets hanging on their living room walls.

Fast forward to the present, I’m now working for the company that I grew up loving! There’s something extremely special about Pendleton, the fact that it’s constantly evolving as a brand even after being around for over 100 years is amazing. That helped pave the way for my brand affinity.

Its also shaped the way I go about my photography. I definitely consider Pendleton as “The Outdoor Lifestyle of America” but I also see Pendleton as a high-end fashion brand.

We agree, and we love your photos that show this side of Pendleton.

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(sale coats)

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(sweater)

Growing up in Pendleton, and working for Pendleton, we wonder if you you have any family stories about Pendleton?

There’s one story that sticks with me the most. I was in the 7th grade and my family and I were heading back home after visiting my aunt and uncle in La Grande, Oregon. I remember there being a lot of snow that winter. The roads were extremely icy. A few cars ahead of us, a man lost control of his vehicle and flipped sideways into a ditch.

My dad and a few other cars immediately pulled over to see if he was okay.  My dad was always prepared for emergencies, and he kept an old Pendleton Camp blanket in the trunk of the car, which he gave to the man to keep warm until the ambulance arrived. I remember telling all of my friends at school the next day, “If it wasn’t for my dad’s old blanket that guy would have froze to death.” So I’d like to think that our Pendleton blanket saved a mans life that day.

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(shirt)

Your brand ambassador work comes from a unique place—you are actually a Pendleton team member. What do you want to say about the brand with your shots?

Each and every day, I have the opportunity to communicate with our consumers on a personal level. I get to hear their thoughts and I also have the chance to keep them informed and up-to-date with what we’re doing as a company. In return, I get a sense that they feel more involved and invested in our brand.

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(sweater)

I think the best artists and photographers create work that is a reflection of who they are. Pendleton is who I am and I truly hope that when people see my images they feel a sense of authenticity. This brand also has so much history and with every photo I take I want to make sure that every garment that I’m photographing is presented in a way that when people see it they know automatically that it’s a Pendleton, a brand that’s iconic in so many ways.

Please enjoy this movie by Mikal, featuring his muse and model, @brandyisthecatsmeow .

Follow Mikal on Instagram for more wonderful photography: @atribeoutwest

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What is virgin wool? And is it better than recycled wool?

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Here at Pendleton, we use pure virgin wool for our famous blankets and shirts – but what is virgin wool, and why does that matter? Keep reading to learn the difference between virgin and recycled wool and what each is best for.

Virgin wool

Virgin wool is simply wool that’s never been used before–but that difference matters. It’s better than recycled wool because it’s stronger and higher quality. Pure virgin wool is naturally breathable in both cold and warm weather, water-repellent, durable and insulating. It also resists wrinkles, stains and odors. Even though you can dry-clean wool shirts, many people simply hang them up and let them air out, finding that to be just as effective.

Since virgin wool fibers haven’t been shredded like recycled wool, they’re more resilient—they don’t break or wrinkle as easily and can provide more stretch. A shirt made of virgin wool can last for decades—some Pendleton customers pass down their Board Shirts through several generations. Not something you can say about cotton or synthetic materials, right?

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Recycled wool

You wouldn’t necessarily think of wool in the same category as paper bags, aluminum cans and plastic bottles, but like those three, it’s recyclable. Recycled wool got a burst of popularity during World War II, when fabrics were rationed because wool was needed for military uniforms. As a result, civilians would recycle wool blankets into coats, or use the yarn from wool socks to knit sweaters. Very resourceful, right?

Recycled wool is also called “reclaimed wool” or “shoddy wool.” Recycled wool is exactly what it sounds like: wool that’s been used to make one product, then used to make something else. Recycled wool is great for insulation, cloth diaper covers, DIY rugs, polishing metal, applying wood stain, absorbing spills and more.

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However, recycled wool isn’t the best for clothing and blankets if softness is your goal. To recycle wool, the fibers are torn apart and respun, which lowers the quality. Recycled wool can be “a little more harsh or fuzzy,” explains a wool crafting site. Adds one yarn site, “Most recycled wool goods have a harsh feel to them.” At Pendleton, our goal is soft, premium wool clothing and blankets, which is why we exclusively use pure virgin wool.

Today, companies are legally required by the Federal Trade Commission to specify if wool is recycled. So if a wool garment isn’t specified as virgin or recycled, it’s probably virgin wool. Now the next time someone wonders, “What is virgin wool?” you’ll know the answer!

For pure virgin wool blankets, clothing and accessories designed to last for decades, shop Pendleton at pendleton-usa.com.

Pendleton in Adidas Originals ad

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(Board Shirt/brown-tan ombre)

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(Buckley shirt/navy-blue plaid)

When our friends at Greenspan’s posted the shot below a few months ago, we only knew that Mark Gonzales and Snoop Dogg were wearing our shirts. Love those old school Adidas Originals.

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We didn’t know it was for this commercial seen on the Grammys last night; edgy, interesting and powerful. If you  missed the show–after all, only 26 million people did–you can watch now!

 

Tiny Home Living with Sean, Tam and Pendleton

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Sean and Tam, a Canadian couple, have recently started on a new adventure: residence in a tiny home. As part of their plan to live more and own less, they’ve chosen have quality, beautiful items that work hard while taking up as little space as possible. Fr their bed, they chose an unnapped Pendleton blanket in the Los Ojos pattern, and agreed to share their photos and perspectives on tiny home living with us. 

When did you decide to try tiny home living?

About 4 years ago we stumbled upon a tiny cabin being sold on Craigslist by a company called Driftwood Campers.  Something about that little camper sparked a light in us about alternative ways of living.  We discussed buying the camper, but decided that we just didn’t have anywhere to store it as we owned a small apartment with one parking stall.

The conversation died down a bit until we saw the documentary “Tiny”.  As we watched we kept looking at each other saying “we should do that!”  Something just made sense about this style of living.  That was the turning point for us; we had made up our minds.

We started researching tiny houses, and over the course of two years, we sold off almost everything we owned.  It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but definitely became a freeing change.  It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate that in some way or another starts to defines us.

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Is there anything about who you are as people, as a couple, that made you think that this was the perfect solution for you?

Sean and I have never really felt at home anywhere we have lived.  For us, having the ability to move around seems very normal and somewhat comforting. Sean spent a lot of time moving around when he was young.  His parents were semi-hippies and they lived in a RV in Florida when he was a kid.

I think what makes this work so well is that we love adventure and things that are out of the normal routine of life.  We didn’t just want to spend our lives living pay cheque to pay cheque.  Life is so short; we want to make the most of it.  Living tiny has allowed us to actually start experiencing all the things we once only dreamed of.  It’s almost as if a weight has been lifted off out shoulders.  For the first time in our lives we finally feel at home.

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Can you tell us a little about the type of house you chose to build, and where it is sited?

Sean and I designed the layout and look of our house.  We spent countless hours in shipping containers, taping out floor plans and moving things around, and visiting numerous tiny houses to see how different spaces worked for us.  Since neither of us have building experience, we decided it was best for us to have the house built by a company that specializes in tiny houses.  It was important to us to have a house that was as nontoxic as possible and built using some reclaimed materials.  We wanted the look and feel of the house to reflect us and our fun and quirky personalities.

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How long did it take to bring your plans to fruition?

It took about 3 years from when we decided that building a tiny house was the right move for us to selling off all of our stuff, including our apartment.  We officially moved into our tiny house in October of 2016. Currently we are parked just outside Vancouver B.C. Canada.

The tiny house builder that we chose to work with is located on Vancouver Island in B.C. Canada. They stated it would take approximately 2-3 months to complete the build of our tiny house.  It took us about 6 months to finally get the house from them and then another 7 months for us to fix all of the deficiencies/problems the house had.  It was a total nightmare.  All in all it was just over a year for the house to be done from start to finish.

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Your décor is beautiful! We are proud that you used our Los Ojos blanket. Did you have a concept or theme in mind? How did Pendleton work in with that?

Thank you!  I am a bit obsessed with interior design and knew what feel I wanted for the house from the very start of the build. We did a lot of work sourcing things out to give to our builder.

It was really important for use to use some reclaimed product with a bit of a rustic feel.  Our floor is actually from an old barn that was torn down in Philadelphia.  Our live-edge kitchen counters are from a Black Walnut tree that was ethically removed from a heritage house in New Westminster B.C.

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I think it’s the small details of decor that really make a space special and in the end it was well worth all the time and effort.

I have always loved Pendleton and the rich history the company embodies.  It was something we knew we really wanted to incorporate into the house.  I am inspired by Navajo art and prints so when we thought about the décor of our bedroom, we immediately thought of Pendleton.  We didn’t just want to go out and get a blanket; we wanted something high quality that would last for decades.  Everyone who comes into our house always says, “That blanket is gorgeous! Where did you get it?”

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(You can get it here)

Do you see this as a long term, sustainable lifestyle for you?

The plan for us is 7-10 years.  We are saving too hopefully by a small piece of land in Tofino, B.C. Canada.  We would like to build a small eco-friendly house.  We will keep the tiny house for road trips and for friends and family to stay in when they visit.  Spending our days surfing, cooking and riding motorbikes!

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So many people are drawn to tiny home living, but struggle with the idea of such a major downsize in space. Has anything disappointed you about your choice?

Nothing about living here has disappointed us, but we were most disappointed by the experience we had with our builder.  The whole process was very disheartening.  We hope that no one has to go through what we went through.  I think if we could do it all over again we would have just built the house ourselves and hired help as we needed it.

What has surprised you about tiny home living?

The most surprising thing is how comfortable we are in the house.  We have just what we need and know where everything is, which is a really nice feeling.  We spend a lot more time outdoors living life than inside watching T.V. or on the computer.

What has delighted you about tiny home living?

I think that fact that we are doing this together is the best part.  It’s been an adventure with a lot of adjustments and things to get used to but we wouldn’t trade it for anything.  It’s definitely brought us closer together.  If you can live with your partner in a tiny house you can do anything together. We are in it together for the good, bad and the tiny!

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We want to thank Tam for answering our questions, and both Sean and Tam for sharing their life with us in words and photos. Photo credit: @irisandbloomphoto

Follow  @tinyhouseholisticliving for more from Tam and Sean.

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Herreshoff Design, Pendleton Patterns

Ed. note: We love getting letters from our friends. Today’s is from Terry, who was an account manager for Pendleton for decades. Now retired, he’s living the good life in Montana. And that includes spending a lot of time in this gorgeous boat.

Here is Terry’s letter.

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Hi Friends,

I was a Pendleton Salesman for 40 years. During that time I was always enamored with the Native American part of our company’s history, how in the late 1890s, Pendleton Woolen Mills started weaving those beautiful intricate Native American patterns into blankets that became the impeccable standard.

I met Greg Morley, who owns Morley Cedar Canoes at Swan Lake, Montana, in 1996 .  He crafted a canoe for me at that time, and I have become very close friends with the family since. Greg Morley worked at the Forest Service out of Salem, Oregon, in the late 60s. Before leaving to build canoes in Swan Lake, Greg was designated to source the Oregon Trail. It took him two years, but he tracked and documented it. He brings that same precision to boat building.

Steve, Greg’s son, has carried on the trade, and built this Herreshoff Design row boat for me. He invited me up to pick out each individual cedar strip for the boat. I brought one of my Pendleton blankets along, and he inlaid the pattern right into the boat. It is a banded Robe from 1920s. You can find the blanket in The Language of the Robe by Robert W. Kapoun on page 53.

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Here is a moody shot of the boat on gorgeous Swan Lake, the Gateway to Glacier National Park.

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All the best,

Terry

All photos by Terry Ball, used with permission.

See our inspiring blankets here: SHOP

And enjoy your weekend.

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