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Monday, July 14, 2014

My Cal. King fitted sheet dilemma, my bed-making routine, and lavender linen spray

The dilemma

For those of you who have read my posts religiously, you know that I've been scrounging for a solution to the worn fitted sheet for our Cal. King bed for several years now. It began in early 2012 with a worn spot in the bottom sheet, which I patched with Wonder Under. That kept everything together for almost 2 years. Then a new worn spot and a tear erupted. Again, I used Wonder Under and kept that tattered sheet holding together for another 5 months. At this point, the fitted sheet was simply too worn to use.

I've been shopping for a new fitted sheet, but the best price would mean ordering through Penney's for about $40. I'm considering that option. But here's my dilemma. We've been talking and talking and talking about getting rid of this Cal. King bed, and putting in a Queen bed. Cal. King's are hard to find linens for. They take up a huge chunk of the room space. And the sheets themselves fill the entire washer each week. I'm just annoyed by their huge size. It wasn't my choice, but was willed to me. I had a perfectly good Queen-size, 4-poster frame all set for this room (still in the attic), needing a mattress and box frame. But the Cal. King came to us, and we've been living with it for 12 years now. So, I've been putting off buying anything new for this bed, with the hopes we could down-size soon.

My temporary solution

In late spring, I came up with an old-time solution. I used 2 large, cotton flat sheets. I tucked the largest (King-size flat) in as much as possible, for the bottom sheet. Then I used my next largest  (Queen-size flat)  cotton sheet to use for the top sheet. It just barely fits, but works well-enough. This is simply the way all beds were made for generations, -- 2 flat sheets, one thoroughly tucked in for the bottom, and one on top, tucked at the sides and foot.

With using a flat sheet in place of a fitted, I do have to smooth and re-tuck the bottom sheet every day. But I don't find that to be bothersome, as my bed-making routine incorporates this step.

My bed-making routine

So, I wash the sheets once per week and the pillowcase twice per week. It's soooo nice to have fresh pillowcases mid-week!

Everyday, when I make up the bed, I pull the top sheet off to the foot of the bed, straighten and re-tuck the bottom sheet. Then I give a spritz of lavender linen spray over the sheet and make up the rest of the bed. The lavender linen spray is just one of those lovely things I do just for me. The whole room smells fresh, and the bed is delightful to slip into at the end of the day.

I don't stop with the spritzing of the sheets. When I change the pillowcases, on Wednesday and Saturday, I give a spritz of lavender linen spray on each side of the bare pillow, before slipping into the fresh cases. At night when I lay my head down on the pillow, I am relaxed by the lovely scent of lavender.

Homemade lavender linen spray

You could buy some pricey lavender spray. L'Occitane sells a 3.4 oz bottle of lavender pillow spray for $22.00. It is lovely, indeed, but overpriced for what you get.

I got hooked on lavender linen spray, several years ago, by a gift of expensive linen water. When I ran out, I decided to make my own. It's super simple to make, and for the price of 1 bottle of linen spray from the department store, I can make about a dozen bottles. If you check the label of any of the commercial linen sprays, the number one ingredient is WATER! You are basically paying for the bottle with a little fragrance thrown in.

Here's how I make mine:

  • 2 ounces 91% isopropyl alcohol
  • 4 ounces distilled water
  • 15-20 drops lavender essential oil (not lavender fragrance oil which may contain synthetic ingredients)
  • 6 to 8-ounce bottle with a fine mist spray (I reused my old linen spray bottle, but you can find suitable empty bottles in the cosmetic section of the drugstore) 
  • optional--coloring (in a small dish, combine 1 drop red and 1 drop blue liquid food coloring with 1 tablespoon of distilled water.  Drop 1/16 teaspoon of this colored mixture into the bottle of lavender spray, at a time, until the desired color of finished product. Remember, keep the color very, very light. It's just to "suggest" the fragrance of the product, not color your linens.)
Add the first 3 ingredients to your spray bottle, and shake well. Add optional food coloring, until desired tint. Shake well before each use.

*if you're really afraid that you'll botch the coloring, here's how I came up with the tint that I like. I made a sample faux-liquid, using just water and the coloring. After, I mixed up the 1 tablespoon distilled water with red and blue coloring, I filled a glass measuring cup with 6 ounces of water. I added 1/16th teaspoon at a time of the color into the plain water. I dropped 1 drop of this colored water onto a square of white cotton, to make sure it wouldn't stain. I decided on just under 1/8th teaspoon total of the coloring/water mix for each 6 ounces of spray. Then, I used that amount (shy 1/8th teaspoon) of coloring/water for my lavender mixture.

Later this week, I'll tell you where I buy my essential oils, a little more info on lavender, and a little giveaway.


Live and Learn said...

I hope it works into your budget soon to be able to downsize to a queen bed. It sounds like you would be much happier for many reasons. In the meantime enjoy your big bed and your lavender spray.

CTMOM said...

I'd move back to the Queen bed, sell off the CA king (Craigslist? consigment?)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe for the lavender linen spray! I am going to make this soon.


Cat said...

Great solution to your sheet dilemma! The lavender linen spray sounds lovely. I think I have everything but the spray bottle so may pick one up next time I'm out to give this a try.

Lili said...

Hi live and learn,
Soon, hoping for soon. Other, more important expenses, keep popping up. But in the meantime, I will try to just enjoy what I have.

Lili said...

Hi Carol,
I hadn't even thought what we might get by selling the bed. We use Craigslist a lot to unload things quickly. Will definitely put the bed on there when the time is right.

Lili said...

Hi Angie,
You're welcome! I love this spray for the bedroom, but also will spray towels, or add a capful to the rinse water in the landry when towels get that funky smell in the summer heat and humidity.

Lili said...

Hi Cat,
I wish I could give you one of my bottles. I have a couple from body sprays. Those bottles have a nice mist to them. Maybe you have a similar bottle laying around your house?

Jayne said...

What a wonderful idea to change the pillowcases mid week! I will definitely start doing that. As for the lavender spray, that's not possible with my husband's allergies. But I do love the idea. it's these little niceties that make such a big difference. And the fact that you can make your own spray is terrific. Kudos to you, yet again, Lili.

Lili said...

Hi Jayne,
Personally, I'd change the pillowcases everyday, if I had the time, inclination and supply of cases. It's so nice to have a fresh pillowcase, IMO!
I agree, doing little things like this for ourselves makes our lives so pleasant.

Lili said...

One other thing, Jayne. You know that I have significant grass and weed allergies. However, lavender essential oil doesn't bother me, at all. I searched to see if lavender essential oil causes hay fever-like symptoms. What I did find was many people claimed that lavender essential oil actually helped with hay fever. BUT, I couldn't find a "medical" site that supported this. So, a YMMV sort of thing. Just thought I'd throw that out there, in case you'd like to use an all-natural room freshener with pure essential oil of any variety (not fragrance oil or oil blends). It's possible that pure essential oils would not aggravate your hubby's allergies.

There are other nice room fresheners, though, that wouldn't pose any problems, such as cinnamon stick and clove "pot pourri", or tiny dishes of pure vanilla extract in rooms needing freshening, or cut lemons left out on a plate.

Kris said...

I thought I was the last person (besides my mom) who laundered my sheets weekly. My friends have all given me that "you do WHAT?" look when I mention changing sheets on a regular basis. But it IS nice to get into a crisply made bed. Maybe that's one of those things those of us who are home more take the time to do?

I'm not a fan of the scent of lavender so I won't be joining you in spritzing my sheets but it's a nice idea.

I'm with the above commenters--when you get time/money, I'd try selling the old bed and use the proceeds towards the mattress/box springs. But it sounds like you have a perfectly serviceable temporary solution.

Lili said...

Hi Kris,
Wait a minute, do you mean that it's odd that we launder sheets as "often" or as "seldom" as once per week? If it's as "often", I can't imagine not changing the sheets once per week. My mom, also, always washed the sheets once/week. I just thought that was the norm. Maybe not? Everyone's different. But I do love that freshly made bed feel.

My plan, now, with the bed, is to time it for when I can also paint the room, w/o the bed in there. Get rid of the old bed (I'll save the headboard, as it was my parents, and goes with the rest of the bedroom furniture. I'll offer it to my kids. They can always use a regular King mattress with it.). Then paint, replace the window in the room and hopefully the carpeting a well, then bring in a Queen bed. It's too big of a project for me to mentally handle right now. But that's the plan.

Kris said...

I know about projects being too big to mentally handle! Sometimes ya gotta wait till the timing is right.

Regarding the sheets ... I meant "often". Apparently it's the norm with many people I know to go two, three, or more weeks without laundering them. If I'm feeling really stressed and cramped for time, I'll go two weeks (I'm in one of those time periods right now--it's been a busy season) but I don't really like doing that. I suppose it's only really "necessary" for those with allergies (dust mites, etc.).

EcoCatLady said...

I'm allergic to lavender too... actually, my allergist told me that lavender is one of the most common causes of contact dermatitis - obviously it's not an issue for you, but just an FYI that people might want to proceed with caution.

Anyhow, I have a California King sized waterbed. I use it without a heater and just vary the amount of padding under my sheets as the seasons change. It's SOOOO wonderful to sleep cool in the hot summertime! Anyhow, I've always just used flat sheets instead of fitted ones. I bought some 100% cotton ones, but they didn't last too long. However the poly blend sheets that I got at the thrift store 15 years ago are still goin' strong!

Anyhow, you might want to check your local thrift store to see if you can find something to at least get you through while you decide whether to switch to the queen sized bed or not. Also, I've never tried this since the waterbed mattress keeps the flat sheets fairly snug in place, but I've seen these little elastic dingbats that are designed to clip onto the corners and turn a flat sheet into a fitted one. Here's a link at Bed Bath & Beyond, but I'm sure you could find them cheaper elsewhere, or even make some yourself:

Good luck... I'm sure you'll come up with a creative solution - you always do! :-)

Lili said...

I guess you do what you're most familiar with. I personally wouldn't want to sleep in my bed if it had been 3 weeks since I washed the sheets. But maybe that's just me. Changing the cases mid-week helps with pollen and dust mite allergies, for me.

Lili said...

Hi Cat, wow! That surprises me -- not that you are allergic to lavender, but that I'm not! My eczema is dermatitis induced, things touching my skin. I have to be careful with laundry detergent (now just use soap for laundry), shampoo/conditioner and all make-up (even lipstick/gloss). So it surprises me that lavender being a common allergen wouldn't bother my skin.

About those clippy things -- I'm just too cheap to actually buy a set. But. . .I was reading about the Great Depression. One common solution to holding the bottom sheet in place -- the elastic waistbands from worn out men's briefs sewn to the corners of the sheet. Apparently, the elastic from men's briefs is sturdy stuff. The rest of the underwear goes long before the elastic gives out.

Amanda said...

I like your temporary solution! Very creative :) I've lucked out finding sheets at the thrift store several times - it might be worth taking a look before you go to Penney's.

Lili said...

Hi Amanda,
So far, it's working okay. I have been checking second hand, and I'll keep checking. So far, no luck. Cal Kings are hard to shop for, apparently. I never would have guessed, as they seemed the norm when I was growing up in Calif.
Thanks for the suggestion!

Anne in the kitchen said...

I thought I was the only one who washed pillowcases between sheet washings. If I washed a load of whites daily I would wash them every morning. As it is, each time I do whites or even lights I stick them in to wash.
I am also a sheet spray person, but I am fond of lemon verbena so that is what I use. I had never thought to spray the pillows. I am washing them this week and as soon as they are clean I will start spraying with every case change. Thanks for the brilliant idea!

cathie3914 said...

love the idea of changing pillow case half way through the week ;) thanks

I love lavender -- I mean seriously love it, hubby not so much so I won't be put it in our bed but I think I will make some spray for me for the house. Thanks for the recipe

Lili said...

Hi Anne,
Doesn't changing the cases make such a difference?!! New pillowcases make the whole bed feel fresh every night.
Oh, lemon verbena would also be lovely. Lemon is part of my favorite fragrance blend for the main part of the house. So fresh!

Lili said...

Hi Cathie,
I hope you love how fresh your bed feels mid-week, as much as we do. It's such an easy thing to do, and as I have a regular load of wash every Wednesday, it's a no-brainer to put the cases in, too.

Cat said...

Unfortunately, I don't. My one body spray bottle has spray in it, nearly full in fact. I am a scent minimalist and this is my only perfume. When it last ran out, I found a set on ebay, of all places, with the perfume and body spray had been tried but apparently the recipient had not liked it. I know that's more story than you needed but you're the type to appreciate the frugal purchasing of even a favorite scent. :) In the meantime, Target sells some very nice fine mist spray bottles for $1 or less. I have all sorts of homemade concoctions in them: essential oil flea repellent for our dogs, bug repellent for the humans, etc... .

Cat said...

Interesting you bring this up. In fact, I use lavender dabbed lightly on sinuses to help with seasonal allergies.

Lili said...

Hi Cat, You're absolutely right -- I do appreciate mindful and frugal spending in making purchases, even with fragrances.

Lili said...

Hmmm, when I read online that lavender had helped some people, I didn't think much about trying it myself. I may give it a shot next year. I need to try something, as allergy season wears me out every year!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning that you sometimes use the spray for towels. Since I now make my laundry soap and use white vinegar for fabric softener, I sometimes miss the laundry having a scent. Now, it smells clean but unscented. I think I would enjoy adding the scent of lavender sometimes.


Anonymous said...

I love the way you reason! I had a bed cover that was beyond repair but I made yarn from the parts that are still good.

Lili said...

Hi Maria,
Wow! That must have been quite a project. I hope you blog about what you make with this salvaged yarn.

You may appreciate this -- In the Great Depression some women saved all the string that bound flour and sugar sacks closed, then crocheted bed covers from the string. I imagine those bed covers took years and years to save string for, and then crochet!

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