Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cultivating Linens

Worlds collide when our grandchildren visit. Not in a bad way, mind you. But somehow values can change drastically over three generations! When the air clears after the house has gone quiet again, I get busy setting the house straight and tending my linens.  

Laundering, ironing, and cleaning frees me up for mindfulness. Much the way gardening does, I imagine. (And I have to imagine that, because I do very little gardening! Haha!) Here it is spring, and I am cultivating linens instead. Always acquiring, developing, and maintaining.

I keep a rather old world vibe about this place. And I have some old world values. (One eats at a table, for instance.) But I was a little worried that my darling granddaughter (age 10) might feel too concerned about marker stains (permanent) that she had made on the tablecloth while drawing one day. (Am I too fussy?) In the end, I felt glad that she understood that it matters to me. We try to be sensible about pretty table linens. They are for enhancing real life, not interfering with it. 

Anyway. . . when I'm done messing with and admiring my clean linens (and philosophizing), the ones I use most regularly get casually stowed nearby, like in this old crate which sits near the table.

Or this huge basket that lives in the dining room taking up too much precious space. It sits close to the table, taking its place at the corner like some permanent guest for which allowances must be made. 

These are the hues and textures of our daily life. The colors that most often feed our senses at the table. 

And when worlds collide, it's probably best to remain somewhat neutral.

 . . . At least at the dinner table!

I hope your own world turns out beautifully this week!

Thanks so much for always stopping by!


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  1. I have no grands to come for a visit. But, our funky little cottage is decorated to be lived in. My mother had so many lovely things that she kept stored away (good for me now), but she never used so much of what she had.

    I like the idea that your tablecloth now tells a story to share when your granddaughter is older about how she used permanent marker on one of your favorite pieces.

  2. Jacqueline,
    Life is full of eventful happenings...most of which are good. I would imagine each time you see the marker, you will also see a precious face that comes with a memory of a day spent with your grandchildren.
    I, too, can waste away the hours washing, ironing, sorting linens. They are forgiving, peaceful things that bring me comfort on the lonesome Prairie.
    P.S. This week is dedicated to "Spring Cleaning".

  3. Sigh.. I too fall in that mindful mode.... Luckily, I am new to the grandparent thing and have had no such mishap. I will have to remember this post should such a think happen to one of my dearly collected pieces of linens.
    Happy today Jacqueline.

  4. Lovely linens. I haven't experienced yet with grandchildren but am expecting my first granddaughter towards end of April and am so excited.

  5. I love "reading" you... when you write like this, i just get totally sucked into the whole experience...


  6. I guess I don't experience the grands visiting often enough to think on such things but when they do, I still leave out the breakables in some spots but clear the coffee table. Last year when they were home I had a basket on the table filled with disposable diapers at the ready. :) The change pad and wipes were nearby on the floor. Oh, the things we do eh? And I don't use the good table linens when they're here once every year or two, it's plastic placemats! My grands are under 3 so that's a good reason right? :)

  7. I think it was a teachable moment for your granddaughter to remember to take care. There will be many moments in her life when she will be called upon to be aware of precious things and what better place to learn than with a loving and gentle Grandmother! I do love to contemplate life while performing these little rituals - I think you have expressed this very poetically. I don't have grandchildren yet, but I want them to learn to take care the same way. It's a valuable life lesson! You might try hair spray to remove the stain, (but you probably know that already). Your linens are so lovely. xo Karen

  8. Your whites are so serene and restful. Thank you for a lovely little break this evening.
    Oh, and I eats At A Table. (having just eaten on the couch...but I digress..)

  9. The neutrals, the textures, the woven baskets, the shine of the porcelain, always make me feel peace. It's the simple of purity anyway or at least it used to be. Yes, times have changed. I find that with my nieces and nephews and sometimes it drives me crazy. I keep thinking I won't be that way with my grandchildren. I don't see them much. But maybe I will. Anyway, it is a different time. I've become quite adjusted to the quiet and when the kids bust in, I have to adjust. yikes!

  10. They are so clean and well tended. I'm afraid in our house they wouldn't end up that way so much! I love living a bit vicariously through you!

    I long for the day when we have grandlittles coming to visit. Maybe I'll set a spot for them in the art room -- a safe zone!

  11. I love linens but don't have an abundance of them. Weaving a story into sharing your linens is very creative! Love it!!

  12. I am part of a younger generation who greatly values electronics/internet/gaming, and it disturbs me that the value of eating together- at the table- every day- has been lost. I make a point of having a proper dinner with my husband and children every single evening; and I wish others in my generation would too! But alas, we all have our own lifestyles, and our own priorities. :)

  13. Hi J,
    Well I guess you have a White Thumb instead of a Green Thumb, either way you are a quite a cultivator!
    It is always a pleasure to see and admire your linen collection!
    I do like your healthy attitude about enhancing life / not interfering... SO TRUE!!

  14. Just Lovely Jacqueline,
    Caring for vintage linens is beautiful. I love to see a perfectly folded pile of white pretties with old wicker and porcelain. You present this so beautifully and your grands are soaking this up when they visit. I don't have any little grands yet, but hope to pass on this love, handed down to me to them!

    I also love to launder and iron my linens, hand press and fold. It does take you to a different place. A calm and peaceful moment away from the electronics and a step back to a sweeter time. I can still see those gorgeous linens waving in the wind at my grandmas.
    Happy Wednesday!

  15. I love to visit your blog. So peaceful and serene. Love your soft color palette. I hurry through the ironing when it's my husband's shirts, but there's something about ironing linens that slows me down and is so peaceful. I, too, have stacks of old linens that I love to use.
    When my children were little (I don't have grands yet), I would let them drink tea out of my vintage teacups (with lots of milk and sugar!). They were so careful, knowing it was a special treat. In all those years, I was the only one who broke anything! It's a balance between having people understand and respect and take care of things, and knowing that people are more important than things. The marker stain will be a sweet memory.
    I may have to borrow Bella's comment about having a white thumb!!! b/c I don't garden much either!

  16. Incredible linens and a wonderful message. I believe children should learn about special passions. They will absorb some of it, I hope.

    Think about what we know as antiques, some children don't even know what they are or what they were used for.

  17. I really enjoyed reading this beautiful post Jacqueline ....I feel the same about vintage linens. I like the idea of storing them in full view, their worn, simple beauty, whether ironed or not speaks for itself...N.xo

  18. I enjoyed this post very much and it is great that you granddaughter has a value system. Many children don't now a days. Love all of your vintage linens and the crate and basket. So very charming. By the way, we believe sitting at the kitchen table too.


  19. Lové your teachings, I too pass on to my daughter the history in all things that cross our paths, it's such a good and pure thing to keep history living.

    Love your linens beautiful,
    You are the queen of beautiful whites lady "J"

    See you soon, have a beautiful weekend.


  20. Oh, I love looking after my linens, too, Jacqueline. Ironing truly is a chance to be mindful. (Or as I like to say: a mindless activity that allows you to think AND accomplish something lovely, all at the same time.) It's difficult to walk that line between wanting to instill values in our little ones and wanting them to not feel constrained by them. But I think my grandchildren really enjoy being in Grandma's company and experiencing all the rituals and finery that attend the every day chores and activities in my cottage. I hope they will have good memories of that, and that some of those rituals will stick with them as they grow older. Your basket and crate are a brilliant solution for often-used linens. Happy Spring!


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