Blog
  1. Christmas Poinsetta TreeMillions of people around the world can only identify with Christmas as simply a season of celebrating.  Many may not even understand the significance of the season.  I was born and raised in rural Jamaica and in a society that celebrated Christmas in a big way but yet in a simple and fun filled way, at the time.  Christmas Carols were played on the radio but the music of Christmas was not just on the radio, it permeated the air in the churches, schools and homes.  People also expressed themselves by whistling Christmas music on the go. “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” was music to the ear but none of us knew what snow was or even why Christmas was white.  We had no candles and neither was there a Christmas tree.  We had no electricity!
     
    The atmosphere however was electric and it was not just with the fresh cooler air that is consistent with the season.  People were in a happier mood and there was a large amount of cheerfulness.  People would decorate their homes and yards in simple ways and everything was clean and bright.  The lower portions of trees were painted white and paint was also applied to select rocks or prominent objects in the yards. There were commercials on the radio, newspapers and magazines but they were mainly heard or seen by those with access and most never had access.  There were no televisions, internet, flyers nor daily newspapers and there were no urgings for us to buy this or that for Christmas.  There were decorations made of paper, all imported from south East Asia. There were also balloons and firecrackers. We identified with the concept of giving gifts, a precedent set by the three Wise Men over two thousand years ago.  However, Christmas for us was a different reality.  There were no chimneys for Santa to descend into the house nor were their stockings with goodies for the season.  Many children saved their coins over a period of time and would treat themselves to that special item just before Christmas Day.  If we were lucky, our parents would give us a treat and that would make us feel really special.
     
    At Christmas, we all looked forward to the return of those who had left home and came back to visit with family and friends and to celebrate the Season in that special way.  There was a very large social component attached to the celebration of Christmas and the Day is always memorable because of the music, dancing, food, drinks and merriment.
     
    But circumstances have changed in many ways but although many of us have expanded our horizons and now celebrate the season in a much different way, we have never forgotten nor given up the reason.  In our hearts Christmas is still a special time of the year and the reason truly remains the same.
  2.  Bamboo, Versatile Plant:

    The bamboo plant is proving to be one of the most versatile plants in the kingdom.  Those who are familiar with it will agree that you that either love it or hate it because it is strong and it makes its presence known.  It practically has a mind of its own.  You can chop it down or even burn it out and that will not be enough to destroy it.  You can harvest from it and within a few years, you can harvest from it again.  The plant is easy to cultivate.  It requires almost no attention.  It grows very well without the use of fertilizer, irrigation or any such support typically given by farmers to their crops and it will thrive almost anywhere.  This plant will thrive and survive in almost any tropical or sub-tropical environment and on most terrain. Its root system is very binding in the soil and as a result, it is very difficult to get rid of it but that feature makes it a suitable plant where loose soil and landslides are problems. Bamboo is extremely hardy and has an amazing ability to replenish itself without man’s intervention. These are major contributing factors to its sustainability.
     
    Various regions of the world have long adapted bamboo for its multiplicity of uses.  In some cultures, bamboo is a source of food, building material, transportation, furniture,  musical instruments and many other house- ware products.  Bamboo is widely used for landscaping, others use bamboo to make tools and utensils.  For some, it is a source of firewood for cooking purposes.  However, one of the most modern uses of bamboo is the conversion the rayon from its fibers into fabric.  People, the world over are gradually becoming more familiar with commodities made from bamboo.  I recall my surprise the first time that I saw flooring made from bamboo.  Then I realized that clothing items, bed-sheets, diapers and many other household items were also being made from bamboo.  It makes sense that this plant is seen for its purpose and value and also why clothing and bed sheets are becoming such popular items.  It certainly is having a big influence on our every day lives.
     
    In many of the agricultural sectors in Jamaica and the Caribbean Islands, bamboo is used effectively to support certain farming practices. To aid their cultivation of yams ( not potatoes)  subsistent farmers use varying lengths of the bamboo plant to provide support for the vines of this popular food item.  Whereas other woods can be used by the farmers, bamboo is usually the chosen mainly because of its replenishable quality.  Bamboo is also used by many of these farmers to construct huts or tiny houses in their gardens for the purpose of providing shelter from the elements as well as storage as needed.  Interestingly, sometimes these bamboo stakes will take root depending on how green or fresh they were when installed and in time will establish themselves as substantial trees in the landscape.  Although unintended, these young shoots soon mature to become a functioning part of the environment.
     
    Another interesting use of bamboo is in the transportation sector.  One aspect is where lengths of bamboo are bonded together to form a floating platform or raft   These rafts are sometimes equipped with seating feature thereby making the raft a comfortable means of transporting people, particularly tourists but not necessarily tourists only.  These rafts are used to traverse native waterways, especially along river systems.  River rafting is a great way to see the interior of countries especially for those who are interested in the eco-system and wants to be away from thehustle and bustle of the beaten paths.  
     
    The bamboo plant is proving to be one of the most versatile plants in the kingdom.  Those who are familiar with it will agree that you will either love it or hate it because it is strong and it makes its presence known.  It practically has a mind of its own.  You can chop it down or even burn it out and it will take more than that to destroy it.  You can harvest from it and within a few years, you can harvest from it again.  The plant is easy to cultivate.  It requires almost no attention.  It grows very well without the use of fertilizer, irrigation or any such support typically given by farmers to their crops.  This plant will thrive and survive in almost any tropical or sub-tropical environment and on most terrain. Its root system is very binding in the soil and as a result, it is very difficult to get rid of it but that feature makes it a suitable plant where loose soil and landslides are problems. Bamboo is extremely hardy and has an amazing ability to replenish itself without man’s intervention. These are major contributing factors to its sustainability.
     
    Various regions of the world have long adapted bamboo for its multiplicity of uses.  In some cultures, bamboo is a source of food, building material, transportation, furniture,  musical instruments and many other house ware products.  Bamboo is widely used for landscaping, others use bamboo to make tools and utensils.  For some, it is a source of firewood for cooking purposes.  However, one of the most modern uses of bamboo is the conversion the rayon from its fibers into fabric.  People, the world over are gradually becoming more familiar with commodities made from bamboo.  I recall my surprise the first time that I saw flooring made from bamboo.  Then I realized that clothing items, bed-sheets, diapers and many other household items were also being made from bamboo.  It makes sense that this plant is seen for its purpose and value and also why clothing and bed sheets are becoming such popular items and how they are influencing our every day lives.
     
    In many of the agricultural sectors in Jamaica and the Caribbean Islands, bamboo is used effectively to support certain farming practices. To aid their cultivation of yams ( not potatoes)  subsistent farmers use varying lengths of the bamboo plant to provide support for the vines of this popular food item.  Whereas other woods can be used by the farmers, bamboo is the fastest to replenish itself and therefore more widely used.   Bamboo is also used by many of these farmers to construct huts or tiny houses in their gardens for the purpose of providing shelter from the elements as well as storage as needed.  Interestingly, sometimes these bamboo stakes will take root depending on the soil and in time will establish themselves as substantial trees in the landscape.   Although unintended, these young shoots soon mature to become a functioning part of the environment.
     
    Another interesting use is the transportation aspect of bamboo.  One application is where lengths of bamboo is bonded together to form a floating platform or raft.  These rafts are even sometimes equipped with seating feature thereby making the raft s more comfortably suitable as a means of transporting people, particularly tourists along native waterways, especially along river systems.  River rafting is a great way to see the interior of countries especially for those who are interested in the eco-system and wants to be  away from the hustle and bustle common to the beaten paths.  On one occasion while on vacation in Jamaica, we took time out to experience rafting on the Rio Grande, a river on the north coast.  A similar experience can be had on the Martha Brae, a short distance east of Montego Bay.  The use of the rafts by the Locals is a way of self employment and sourse of sustenance and a refreshing part of the tourists vacation experience.  Its use on the river is a beautiful combination of having fun without causing damage or destruction to the environment.

    Sustainable
    Bamboo is fast becoming very well recognized around the world because of its multi-faceted role as an organic, environmentally desirable, sustainable plant that is conducive to a healthy and friendly environment.
     
    Over time, bamboo will impact some aspect of your life, be it in your home, office, restaurant or in the fields.  You will appreciate its strength, flexibility and adaptability.  And the experience of its fabric against your skin will be your horizon to a whole new lifestyle.
     
    Few plants or trees can be used to the same extent as the bamboo.  It is a survivor in the plant kingdom. 

    For more information, visit www.bamboosheetsplus.com
  3. This year, the local area seems a lot brighter, feels warmer and appears to be more attractive than I can ever remember it to be.  The trees are really showing off their colours.  That has lead me to formulate an opinion regarding what I have been noticing with the tree this fall.
     
    Trees and shrubs have their own response and preparedness schedule for the winter. I know that there is a reason and a schedule, which are all in-sync with other natural formulas.  In my own observation, not anything based on any scientific fact, I have concluded that there are primarily four general categories of trees based on the ways they seem to prepare themselves for winter.
     
    The first category of trees covers those that appear to be cautious and seem to give the impression that winter is imminent.  At the first sign of the cooling weather, they shed all their leaves and are now standing bare against the autumn sky.  They barely allowed their leaves to change colour.  They are not willing to take any chances with the cold weather. 
     
    Evergreens or coniferous trees are totally unconcerned about the change brought on by winter.  They seem to be saying, “bring it on baby!”  They exude confidence in their abilities to absorb whatever winter brings, cold, rain or snow. They are cool, strong, resistant and solid and they make their statement by being unshaken and unscathed in any winter condition.
     
    Then there are those trees that appear to be reluctant in preparing for winter.  They allow their leaves to change colors but at a slower rate.  As a result, the leaves on these trees vary in color from green to yellow, orange or even burgundy .They add texture to the palate and are contributors to the beauty of the forest.  It makes you wonder if those trees have knowledge that the other trees lack.  Whatever they know, it is obvious that they operate with some kind of gauge that lets them release their leaves, fruits or seeds in a timely manner.  It makes you recognize that nature has its own plans for all the trees. 
     
    Some of the other trees can best be described as having attitude. They, in my opinion, are the peacocks of the forest.  They are magnificent in their color range.  They appear to be confident in their presence, are flirtatious, demonstrative, bold, colorful and beautiful. They hold on to their leaves right up to the end and release them in a timely way to the rain or winds. These trees are the subjects in the paintings of the forest that yield such wonderful atmosphere to the surrounding landscape.  Their remarkably changing colors give warmth and attractiveness to the outdoors.  They take center stage in the forest and their short-lived beauty is what makes fall such a beautiful time of year.
     
    I think that there is a message from these trees about life, even our own lives and how we live or when we die.  Not unlike ourselves, those beautiful life giving and supporting trees do serve a purpose.  Annually, they regenerate themselves by yielding their leaves and fruits to the scavenging animals while at the same time providing nourishment to the soil.  It is a perfect plan for reproducing their kind and sustaining their specie. 
     
    The colors of fall are an indication to us of harvest time to which we respond.

  4. Bed Art Swan
    How Important is Bed Making!
     
    Although bed making may appear to be mundane and for some, even useless, it is important and is almost an industry in itself.  Many residential institutions, military as well as the travel industry take the matter seriously and to some extent, their bed making practices even helps to define who they are and what they represent in society.
     
    Look at the travel industry and the extent to which resorts, hotels, motels and even bed and breakfasts places will go to attract customers.  Usually, the centerpiece of their advertising is the bedroom with a bed meticulously made, projecting luxury, peacefulness and comfort. They even categorize the service around the bedroom as housekeeping.  The workers in the kitchen are referred usually as kitchen staff.  But, much effort is placed on housekeeping because a clean room and a beautifully made bed are all major parts of the attractiveness of the institution.  The travelling public demands that aspect of their stay at that institution and anything less a definite turn off for those who expect more.  As travelers, we expect clean sheets, warm comfortable beds and covers amongst other services in the bedroom and when housekeeping is negligent or tardy in that department, it is testament of a poorly run institution for those who expect more. 
     
    The hotel industry knows the importance of having beautiful beds and they not just make beds, housekeeping staff is trained to create works of art by making figures or images from towels, flowers or from materials native to the area to enhance the beauty of the bedroom.  It is usually an applied added artwork to help transform and renew the appearance of the room each day. They remind me of the way mother made the beds in my younger years but with the exception of the added touches from the now trained housekeeping staff.
     
    Bed making goes beyond the commercial aspect as seen in the hotels and resorts around the world.  It applies to basic domestic rules of living even though it not necessarily adhered to by everyone.  Teenagers for one usually are the exception when it comes to making their beds.  Amongst the first pieces of advise a realtor will offer his client who is getting the house ready for the market deals with un-cluttering and further that each day the beds should be refreshed and made.  Many prospective buyers will make a judgment about the house by simply observing the housekeeping aspect.
     
    Having beautiful bed sheets and accessories is an important part of beautiful bed making.  It can be assumed that if someone makes the effort to acquire good quality bed covers, they will also take the time to make the beds each day, because it is the means of demonstrating and appreciating the investment.  It exhibits a degree of taste, comfort and pride in the home setting, attributes that lead towards peaceful sleep and rest.
     
    Is the making of bed an important part of your daily routine?
     
    Visit www.bamboosheetsplus.com for more information on quality bed sheets.
  5. Woman sleeping on Bamboo Sheets Set ForestWhat are bamboo sheets?

    This is a question that has been frequently asked of us and I can clearly understand the reason for such a question. One person asked if the sheets are hard while others are in awe that such beautiful bed sheets can be made from bamboo trees.  Really, the matter can be perplexing. If sheets are made from cotton and the fabric is soft, it is kind of understandable why bamboo sheets can be thought of as being hard. But to the contrary, these products are made from the viscose of bamboo fiber. Indeed, the exterior of a bamboo plant is hard but the inside fibers are soft and porous.  These are some of the qualities that give bamboo sheets their respected attributes of breathability and being hypo-allergenic. Also, the resulting fabric is very soft, durable, has a luxurious feel like silk or cashmere, is easy to manage and looks great on the bed.  Bamboo bed sheets are a healthy and green alternative to almost anything in the line of products presently on the market.  But heck!  I did not know this either until a few years ago and I am still learning.  We all have to begin somewhere. Visit www.BambooSheetsPlus.com to learn more.