Detours on the Road to Paradise

It’s been a couple months since I posted, what with the holidays and all. Then, what with all that happened on Jan. 6, it didn’t seem appropriate to post about frustrations with bath towels.

It still doesn’t, but that’s all I’ve got. Last you heard from me, I had a plan for my master bath that included painting it the same color as the master bedroom, Garden of Paradise green. Something in me must have foreseen how I’d need the refuge of this beautiful color! We never know what detours we’ll encounter, do we?

My plan for the bath is pictured above, and MOST of that plan has come to fruition. I found a nifty and secure way to hang that five-pound bowl on the wall, the hamper came and looks/functions perfectly, and I ordered custom-printed fabric from Spoonflower and made the shower curtain myself (albeit with a few hiccups).

Most importantly, hubs painted the bathroom as promised with the green paint leftover from the bedroom, and we both love it.

Notice anything left out?

Ah yes! Those gorgeously colored, striped towels–“Rhythm” from The Company Store. They finally came in mid-December after a long backorder, which I anticipated. But sadly, they were unsatisfactory, and I have returned them, which I did NOT anticipate.

It’s not they weren’t beautiful to behold…

It’s that they weren’t as described–not the hand towels (left) and bath towels (right), and not the colorful coordinating washcloths, shown in the basket on the bottom shelf in the photo on the left.

The Company Store website claims the bath towels are 30 by 54 inches. All four of mine were 28 inches wide and varied in length from 50 to 52 inches. Had I paid $6.99 for them at Target, I wouldn’t have complained. But these bath towels were $34 each.

The website stated the hand towels would be 16 by 30 inches, whereas all four of mine measured 15 by 29 inches. The washcloths were advertised as 12 by 12 inches, but mine were 10 by 11–not even square! Hand towels priced $16 each should be AT LEAST the advertised size, as should washcloths going for $8 apiece.

The final straw…

Then I started having skin irritations after I began using the towels. I first noticed it Christmas Day after using the towels for about a week. Then, when the washcloths arrived and I started using them, it got much worse. That’s when it hit me that THE DYES must be the problem!!

I admit to having skin sensitivities to fragances and to some dyes, and so I use scent/dye-free laundry products. In the past I’ve had orange towels, sea green towels, light and dark gray towels, as well as tan towels, and NEVER had dye irritations. But the dyes in these towels must have been the culprit because when I stopped using them the irritation went away.

Making it right…

I contacted The Company Store regarding the size, and to their credit, they offered to reorder for me and measure before delivering, or I could return them for a full refund, even though I had used them. However, it took them three weeks to respond. I cut them a little slack because of the Christmas rush, but they were nowhere near their promised “two to three business days” response time.

They also suggested that perhaps I hadn’t followed the care instructions–cold water, gentle wash/dry cycles–and I caused the towels to shrink. That wasn’t the case, as I read the care instructions and followed them. I did not, however, measure the towels until after laundering and using, when I noticed they seemed a bit skimpy. The washcloths were smaller from the get-go.

Now honestly, should a $34 bath towel shrink? I’ve NEVER had a towel SHRINK, period. I bought a towel once with embellishment sewn onto it, and when I laundered that towel–also in cold water and on gentle wash/dry cycles–the embellishment shrank but the towel itself did not.

I understand the use of cold water at first to prevent dyes from fading, but shouldn’t a towel be constructed to stand up to hot water and heavy-duty dryer cycles?

And the return? Also fraught with detours

It took several weeks to be processed, and when it was, The Company Store charged me a $2.95 restocking fee. NOT $2.95 period. NOT $2.95 per order for my batch of two orders. NOT $2.95 each for towels, hand towels and washcloths….

But $2.95 for each of four towels, each of four hand towels, and each of four sets of two washcloths, for a total of $35.40!!! I plan to call them back and try to renegotiate that, since the email I received said I would receive a FULL refund. But my energy is waning.

One thing I know for sure: I will NEVER buy anything from the over-priced Company Store again. You can’t believe what they tell you about their products.

So what do I replace them with?

This sure messes up my beautiful design plan.

For the time being, I’ve put my tan towels back to work. I’ve considered replacing with solid white or ivory, pear green, yellow, or a verdigris/turquoise color. If I want embellishment, I can embroider a design along the banding.

I do like good towels, but I don’t like to pay a fortune. I strayed from that philosophy with this purchase–four sets of these towels plus eight washcloths cost nearly $300–and it didn’t turn out well.

Cannon Royal Velvet have always been my standby, and I didn’t mind paying extra for them, though I worked the sales. But Cannon was sold and Royal Velvet isn’t being produced anymore. A quick look at what’s available on-line shows that just about EVERYTHING is too expensive right now because of the stress COVID-19 is putting on the supply chain.

So design-plan be damned for now.

I do know a good towel when I FEEL it, so I’ll wait until the virus is under control and I can shop safely in person. Form must follow function, and The Company Store’s towels CLEARLY don’t function as they should for that pricepoint.

Onto some of the successes of this room…

My South African sgraffito bowl looks gorgeous. I tried a few different ways to hang it securely but finally found this nifty “Display Buddy” hanger:

It uses six points of grip connected by a bungee-type cord you can adjust to fit the curves of your bowl so it hangs flat to the wall and securely.

With shipping it amounted to around $20, but if it keeps my bowl secure (and it has), it’s worth it. I also like the look of this Moroccan frame hung in the grouping with the bowl and the towel rack…

I found it on ebay and had it leaning against my dresser mirror in the bedroom. I removed the glass and hung it in the bathroom without framing anything except that gorgeous Garden of Paradise green color. It’s absolutely perfect here, and even Chris commented on the architectural quality it adds.

About that hiccup with the shower curtain…

The custom-printed shower curtain fabric from SpoonflowerBoho Sunshine Palm Leaves on Mustard Green, a design by Julia Schumacher–was ALL I expected and more! The fabric and printing was right up there with the best home decor drapery brands I’ve worked with.

I was a bit concerned after I received my fabric that the lightweight cotton twill would be too heavy paired with a lightweight liner, and I considered reordering in a different fabric. But first I ordered a sample pack from Spoonflower for $7 that shows printing on all of their fabrics and wallpapers. It was a good investment for future projects and helped me decide to stick with what I had.

The heavier twill actually helps keep the outer curtain outside the shower so the lighter-fabric liner stays inside my shower floor ledge.

Because I was making a shower curtain that would eventually need laundered, I preshrunk my fabric. The fabric is not permanent press, so I also ironed out the wrinkles before laying it out for cutting.

Cutting is where I fouled up. I had meticulously drawn out my sewing plan, complete with cutting and finished measurements listed. Then I proceeded to cut it using the finished measurements. #@$%!! A stupid mistake, I know. Just distracted with trying to keep my youngest cat, Scout, out of the way. I eventually shut him in the bedroom while I worked in the kitchen. But by that time, my brain was frazzled.

But I managed to scrimp here and there and lower my shower curtain rod a bit to make it all work. The heading and the hem aren’t as hefty as I’d like, and I wouldn’t want you to look closely at the buttonholes I made to insert the shower curtain rings through, but it works.

I also did something I’ve never done in my whole lifetime of making buttonholes. When I cut one open with a seam ripper, it slipped, cut through the stitching, and sliced into the fabric. I restitched several times to reinforce the boo-boo so it wouldn’t ravel out when washed.

I hung it, and used a steamer to finish press it and lay in gentle folds. Time will tell how it wears. But until then, I’m not showing closeups–only how lonely my bathroom looks without the colorful towels I’d planned on!

If you want more…

Or even if you don’t, I’m planning one more post on the odds and ends that finished up my master bedroom and bath redo–styling, window treatment, lighting and what-not.

You can also check out my other posts on this project:

Then I’ll give you all a break from Garden of Paradise green while we try to put our country back together.

Soothe your anxiety by listening to one of my favorite performers, Joni Mitchell. Indeed, “…we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.”

Stay well. Stay safe. Stay home. Stay sane.