Sharing passion and love
for linen fabric

13
Mar
2017
0

7 Ways to Celebrate the Coming of Spring

There’s been a definite spring-like smell in the air these past few days. The evenings are stretching a bit longer, the hens are laying more, wild birds are chorusing, bulbs are pushing stems gleefully up through the earth. It’s a time to celebrate renewal and rebirth, so we thought we’d give you 7 simple ways to herald in the new season. So sit back, pour yourself a cup of tea, open a window and drink in the beautiful spring.

1.Declutter

Allow the fresh air and light to circulate around your home by getting rid of things you don’t need or use. Do the 15-in-15 challenge: walk around the house for 15 minutes with a bin bag and collect 15 items that you no longer need in your life.

2.Plan a holiday

For the sun-starved planning a holiday can bring a sense of anticipation of summer that is restorative in itself. Spend some time browsing the internet or guide books and find something that works with your budget and timeframe. Even a two-night city break can be rejuvenating, or perhaps a week spent under the stars in a gypsy caravan. Whether you return to the same place each year, or like to try something new, planning a holiday now means you get more choice and availability, and you may still bag a bargain.

3.Plant some wildflower seeds

Wildflowers are essential in the lifecycle of bees and other pollinating insects, yet they are disappearing from our wild spaces. Throw a packet of seeds over a tricky corner of your garden and watch it turn into a stunning mini-meadow in a matter of weeks. Wildflowers like rough, poor soil so they are perfect for those places where nothing seems to grow.

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4.Get new bedlinen

Nothing makes a bedroom feel fresher than some brand spanking new bedlinen. Choose clean whites or muted rose to reflect the glorious morning light and brighten up your space in an instant. Pure linen sheets and duvet covers are eco-friendly and will regulate your body temperature and keep you comfortable all year round.

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5.Take a blossom bath

Gather some pretty petals and scatter them into your bath for some natural luxury bathing. The scent will gently diffuse into the water, reminding you of balmy summer days.

6.Eat outside

Make some pastries (cinnamon buns are our faves) or cake and eat them outside. Bring blankets or light a fire if it’s still chilly.

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7.Celebrate the Equinox

March 20th marks the day when the day and night are equal length. Invite friends and family over for an informal seasonal feast. These vegetables are in season and at their best this month: asparagus, rhubarb, cauliflower, new potatoes, purple sprouting broccoli, watercress and spring greens. This chart is really handy for finding out what is in season, helping you to eat local and slow food.

 

For more ideas on picnics and how to choose bedlinen go here and here.

24
Feb
2017
0

Introducing Our Fabulous New Blog Series: A Simple Path

We are so excited to announce the launch of a new monthly series of interviews with creatives and people who share our love for simple, sustainable living and beautiful interiors! A Simple Path is intended to be a place of inspiration, inquiry and insight into the lives and lifestyles of people who are doing more, with less. From photographers to stylists, B&B owners to apothecaries, we will bring you a smorgasbord of loveliness and fascinating ideas on how we can live life better.
Our first guest, Camilla Jorvad from the stunning Danish island of Aeroe, is special not just because she is the first in the series, but also due to her incredibly thoughtful answers and inspiring outlook on life. We sent Camilla some questions, and here’s what she replied. We think you are going to love her story (and her images). We are already packing our bags for a trip to Sigridsminde now…
Can you tell us what you do, and how you came to be doing it?
I am a photographer and owner and manager of Sigridsminde (www.sigridsminde.com), a Danish farmhouse and private venue for intimate down-to-earth weddings and elopements and soon to be country B&B. I also host creative workshops here. I am a creative being through and through. I spent most of my childhood and youth drawing and painting, mostly portraits, and then got very interested in my dad’s old Pentax camera. When I was 20 my then boyfriend now husband bought me a camera of my own, and later my first digital camera.
After studying English at the University for 5 years, I photographed a friend’s wedding in 2008, and found it very stimulating. So when we also moved to the Danish island Aeroe where my husband is from and I discovered that a local wedding planner did not have a photographer to collaborate with, I offered my assistance and we have been working together ever since. The elopements I documented for her couples slowly turned into destination wedding photography and I have been lucky enough to shoot in some wonderful places around the world.
It has been a beautiful adventure, but also one that left me feeling very stressed and cut in half – split between my wanderlust, my need for freedom and a desire to succeed on my own terms, and on the other side my obligations as a mother to two small kids and as a partner to my husband. Over the next few years I am slowly phasing out the wedding part of my photography business, focusing more and more on lifestyle photography and the many interesting collaborations and creative projects involving Sigridsminde. At this time in my life I feel that I have spent enough time alone on the road. Now it is time for home in every sense of the word.
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If you had one piece of advice or wisdom to pass on to your younger self, what would it be?
I firmly believe our journey is our journey, and that I have been who I was supposed to be at any given time during my journey so far. But I have been through some dark times at a young age, and I would be happy to give my 17 or 21 year old self a bit of comfort and tell her that things will turn out alright and that she is worthy of love and allowed to feel joyful.
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What is it about the simple life that you find appealing?
That it is exactly that: simple. When you are in the midst of stress and busy’ness it seems impossible to cut down, it seems like there is nothing you can do without, and nothing you can say no to. I felt trapped and deeply unhappy. I was always exhausted but never tired and always had trouble sleeping at night. The simple life can be hard work, physically, but it is uncomplicated somehow. It feels more natural to me, than many aspects of modern society does, and I feel more and more the need to get away from it and submerge myself in physical labour and fresh air and just ‘be’. It is not at all about returning to some 1890’s kind of country living, because I seriously doubt they practiced meditation or had a yoga routine back then, nor did they eat sushi, shop online or enjoy slow mornings. It all has to be balanced out and realistic but at the same time considered and intentional.
I think my daily life is slower than the majority of people, but in the end it is not so much about slow or simple as it is about intentional. That instead of just following along we have stopped and really thought hard and felt deeply what it is we want to add to our lives, and what it is we want to pull out of it. The more you say ‘no thanks’ to, the more you cut away, and I mean that both physically in terms of ‘stuff’ and mentally in terms of things you feel you need to do, the easier it gets. I have lived in a big city, but I grew up in the country, and have always known that I wanted the same kind of life for my own kids if I ever had any. Many hours spent outdoors, being around animals, having time and space to play and be physically active without being a bother to anyone and also helping out with the tasks at hand so they feel that they are a part of it all, that they matter. Our kids always prefer playing outside now, and I have to drag them inside at night for dinner no matter the weather, and I love that :-)
The simple life to me very much involves the food we prepare and eat too. The whole industrial food system is far too complicated, inhuman and toxic for me to grasp. Food-wise I am very passionate about meat especially, I will never be a vegetarian, so it is extremely important to me that the animals we eat in our home have had the absolute best, happiest, most natural, and peaceful life possible. Our chickens all have names and are basically treated as pets, but we do collect their eggs with joy every morning, and we do eat the birds themselves as well. My husband hunts and goes fishing. We make our own apple juice that lasts all through winter in the freezer and this year will be the first year that my vegetable garden will be used 100% all summer long because I won’t be travelling very much and I am so looking forward to that.
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How can we counter the pulls of content-sharing and curating images of our lives with the need for being in the moment?

I think it is impossible to be in the moment all the time. At least I have learnt to forgive myself for not being able to do that. As a creative I cannot stop creating, it is in my DNA, and of course I love to share what is in my heart and to connect with others who share my values and creative impulses. But social media and content sharing is very addictive, especiallly if you are a perfectionist, and at first I had to really force myself to put away the phone and step away from my computer. The screen was like my default-mode. But as with everything else, practice makes perfect, and now 2½ years after my stress really got the better of me, I love spending time offline.
I always leave my phone inside when I go out and work in my garden once the kids are home from kindergarden and school. I have all notifications turned off, so that I decide when and where I want to dive into that rabbithole. And I take specific both longer and shorter breaks from posting throughout the year. I also think it is extremely important to choose your platform. Limit it and then do that really well instead of feeling like you have to be everywhere, because that is literally impossible.
Instagram is where I have found most of my kindred spirits online and because I am a photographer and it is a highly visual platform it is the perfect match for me. For others it could be Twitter or Facebook. But choose the one(s) that feels most natural to your personality, interests and the kind of content you like to share. I also think it is worth pursuing turning online relationships into real life ones. That happens alot if you are open to it, thus bringing a more physical, real and present element into it instead of it just taking place on a screen.
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Who inspires you?
Oh this is a hard one. There are SO many people that inspire me for so many different reasons…
Within “my” field and in the Instagram community I am very much inspired by artist @jonnajinton who lives alone in Northern Sweden in the most stunning natural surroundings. By Danish standards we already live quite far from anywhere, but we don’t really have any wild nature around here, and I miss that, and her photos always make me want to go live even further away from civilization.
Within the realm of business I love Marie Forleo and Creative Live. I have learned SO much through both sources.
Writer Elizabeth Gilbert is just amazing!
Luckily for me I have many inspiring independent creative women in my life and one of them is my friend and in many ways business partner Louise Moloney who is the wedding planner I started working with 8 years ago (www.danishislandweddings.com). Aside from being a wonderful business woman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, she is also the most kind, fun, energetic, positive, caring, loyal woman I know, and I feel so lucky to know her.
Whenever I feel stuck creatively, I usually watch for Chef’s Table on Netflix, River Cottage, Jamie Oliver, Gardener’s World or the Danish tv-series Bonderøven, because all are areas I have a passionate interest in and are areas of creative and highly visual expression, but they are also very far from photography so there is no direct correlation and thus it sparks all the right things in me without the possible negative impact of comparrison and feeling of insecurity.

What are your essential homeware items/ things you couldn’t do without?

Hmm… I am glad to say that there are fewer and fewer things I couldn’t live without.
– The number one thing, though, would be my camera. It is like an extension of my eyes and my heart
– My linen apron (similar here)
– Wooly socks and a wool dress or poncho is indespensible around here during autumn, winter and most of spring, and our fireplace which is just the best thing to have in an old house
– My roasting tray from De Buyer is probably the most used item in my kitchen. I prefer to cook things slowly so I can leave them for hours in the oven or on the stove and do other things while they tend to themselves and just get better and better :-)
– A few of my favourite books: Grown & Gathered, Virginia Woolf’s Garden, Jamie at Home, Big Magic – Creative Living Without Fear, The New Homesteader, A Kitchen in France, The River Cottage Cook Book
– My gloves from Crud Sweden that I use in the garden and for physical work around the farm and garden (https://www.crudsweden.se/en-GB)
– And my Akubra hat from Australia which is just great for outdoor work in high summer (https://www.akubra.com.au/shop-product/hats/cattleman—fawn)
– My Rose and Lavender hand cream from local maker Harmoni (http://www.harmoni-aeroe.dk/en/products/)
Most other things in our home are flea market or vintage finds.
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What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?

Ten years from now my kids will be grown and close to moving out, and I suspect my daily routine will be drastically different than it is now (life with small kids never goes according to plan). But this year I am laying the seeds for what will hopefully be my life in 10 years time: a daily work life full of creativity (I suspect the camera will always play a role in my life but I think I will also return more to my drawing and painting), lots of time spent outdoors, I would like to be almost fully self-sufficient at that point through our animals, vegetable garden, and hunting and fishing. Sigridsminde will hopefully be a blooming location for our B&B, intimate weddings, workshops, open garden, and so much more.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever done?
The wildest thing I’ve ever done was believe enough in myself and my abilities and creativity that I dared to start my own business from scratch and dared to keep it going despite many years of ups and downs.
Thanks so much Camilla for all your time, energy and such a wonderful glimpse into your life. Best of luck with all your creative endeavours!
All images copyright Camilla Jorvad. If you love Camilla’s pictures follow her on Instagram @sigridsminde for more.
21
Feb
2017
0

9 Brilliant Podcasts to Brighten Up Your Day

If you like to listen to something while you commute, relax in the bath, travel or do the washing up, we’ve got 9 brilliant podcasts that are just the job. On a range of subjects, from books to architecture, there is something for everyone in this list. Episodes range from short bursts (perfect for listening to while you’re folding the linen) to longer segments that really delve deep into a topic. Wherever you are, you will want one of these to hand.

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1.Moth Podcast

Fascinating stories recounted to a live audience. Little snippets of true life explored, shattered and exposed. Wonderful.

2.Backlisted Podcast

This charming podcast explores books from the backlists: forgotten, overlooked or just no longer newsworthy. The hosts provide an amazing amount of literary knowledge as well as hearty helpings of banter with their guests. Guaranteed to inspire you to pick up a book.

3.On Being with Krista Tippett

These in-depth episodes examine the big questions of what it means to be alive. From discussions with scientists, theologians, writers and musician, Krista Tippett unpicks important issues in a thoughtful, engaging way. One for when you are feeling lost or anxious about the world.

4.Dear Sugar

Hosts Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond offer advice on all sorts of issues and problems. Strayed, best-selling author of Wild, gives suggestions and help in a refreshingly honest and straight-talking way, for example: ‘“Forgiveness doesn’t sit there like a pretty boy in a bar. Forgiveness is the old fat guy you have to haul up a hill.”

5.Hashtag Authentic

This new podcast is aimed at creatives, bloggers and Instagrammers and offers advice on all aspects of pursuing an online career whilst not selling out. Hosted by Insta-queen Sara Tasker, this is a gentle, informative and inspiring podcast.

6.99% Invisible

For all those interested in design and architecture, this fascinating podcast examines the often overlooked design that is all around us, and explores how it shapes the world we live in.

7.Splendid Table

Crammed full with culinary delights this podcast, previously hosted by food writer and radio journalist Lynne Rossetto Kasper, will get your tastebuds tingling. Can’t wait to see what the new presenter, Francis Lam, dishes up for us!

8.Modern Love

If you haven’t heard any of these beautiful stories then you must rectify that immediately. Based on the New York Times Modern Love column, these weekly episodes reveal heart-rending stories read as essays by well-known actors and personalities.

9.The Slow Home

Host Brooke McAlary explores how to live life more slowly and intentionally. With different guests who all have a similar outlook on life, there is much to inspire and enlighten about living well in our 24/7 world.

 

So, grab your MP3 player, slap on your headphones and tune into something that might just change your life.

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For ideas on what else to take on your travels beside your headphones, go here.

 

13
Feb
2017
0

Come find us on Instagram!

Hello lovely folk. Hope your month is shaping up to be a glorious one.

Just a quick note to say that we are now on Instagram, so come on over and find us: @linen.beauty. We will be sharing images that celebrate our love for linen, simplicity, slow living and beautiful interiors.

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If you know of any great Instagram feeds we should follow, leave us a note in the Comments so we can check them out.

Can’t wait to see you!

21
Jan
2017
0

Cleaning linen the old-fashioned way: Urine, sour milk and elbow grease!

If you thought doing laundry was a chore, we’ve got some fascinating historical facts about how people cared for linen before modern washing machines and Persil made an appearance. Linenbeauty.com met with textile historian and museums officer Emma O’Connor, of Sussex Past, a charity which runs several historic sites in Sussex, England, and learned some pretty eye-opening things about caring for linens the old-school way. Here’s what she told us:

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LB: Thanks so much for agreeing to talk to us about how linen was used in the past. Could you tell us a bit about the different uses and how people cared for their linens?

EO’C: Well, you may know the word ‘line’ comes from the Latin for linen, ‘linum’, due to the threads in the fabric. Our word ‘lining’ also has a historical root in the linens that were worn as undergarments to protect outer layers. In the past, going back to the 16th and 17th Centuries, most working class people wore coarse woollen clothing which would never be washed. Instead they would wear linen underwear because the fabric was washable, durable and more comfortable than the itchy wool they wore on top. This would have been perfunctorily washed.

LB: And what about the wealthier sections of society? Was linen used much by them?

EO’C: The nobility and aristocracy did use linens in their big houses, as well as for cuffs and sleeves which could be detached and washed. The grand, stiff silk dresses would not be washed so using interchangeable linen ruffs and collars meant the worst of the dirt around the places with most wear could be removed. Household linens like tablecloths and bedlinen would only be washed once or twice a year, during the ‘Great Wash’. You would need a huge amount of room to store all the linens until then, as well as many staff to launder the linens, so this was really a big deal. It required money!

LB: How long would a Great Wash take?

EO’C: At least a week. It’s a very lengthy process. There comes a point when it stops being about having clean clothes – the whole process becomes a way of demonstrating wealth and status. The lower classes just didn’t have the time or the fuel to heat large coppers. To wash the household linens they were first soaked in urine (men’s preferably! [there ensued a rather off-topic discussion of the reasons for this, which we don’t need to go into here…]) for a few days, then spots or stains were scrubbed in more urine. The ammonia in the urine acted as a cleaning agent, and it was known as ‘night water’. People would go round collecting it!

LB: And then what?

EO’C: Next the linens were put into a ‘bucking tub’, where they were pounded in lukewarm water. A piece of linen or muslin was stretched over the top of the tub and onto that was put homemade lye (made from fat and ash, and sour milk was added for a brighter colour). Water was poured through this lye over and over again – 8 to 12 times. You can find recipes for lye in books offering women advice on how to keep a good home dating back to the late 16th Century. The linen was then agitated with a washing dolly (a kind of four-legged pogo stick) or board, and then rinsed several times. Finally, it would have been laid outside to dry. Sunlight helped with bleaching them as white as possible. The whiter your linen, the grander you would appear. After several days drying the linens would be ironed, using flat irons heated over a fire and that would need scoring and greasing. Starch was made from potatoes or candle grease.

bleaching ground tenier detail

LB: You can see why so many people were involved! What a huge task. And I thought my piles of daily washing were tedious!

EO’C: Things changed during the 18th Century, when people moved into the towns. There were communal laundries and drying fields, which took some of the work out of it. There was also a growing social pressure on the working classes to be sent o be washing their clothes. We’ve got a photograph of a very poor family of charcoal cutters living in a shack with nothing, and in the photo you can see a pristine white piece of clothing or linen drying on a line.

LB: More work for the women then.

EO’C: They were very clever with their linens too. From the late 18th Century, in line with mass production, you see more heirloom linens being passed on through families. You can see in wills that linens were bequeathed, and by the late 18th early 19th Century working class homes would often have ‘best’ linens that would be used on ‘high days and holidays’. Any linens that began to wear out were cut and re-sewn: sheets were turned ‘top-to-toe’ and stitched down the middle, other linens were cut into rags or retrimmed for different uses. The durability is what makes linen such a popular choice, as well as environmentally friendly.

LB: Where would most of these linens that were being used in Britain come from?

EO’C: Ireland and Europe mostly. Places where the climate was right. Dutch linens were popular as they were seen as very fine and very white – possibly due to the geography of the region providing large, flat drying fields. In the late 18th Century we see the birth of mail order, meaning women could get hold of linens that matched their budgets.

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LB: Thanks so much Emma, this has been so fascinating.

 

In fact, it was so interesting that Emma has agreed to get together another time and make a video showing how these old linen cleaning techniques worked, including making our own lye (though we may draw the line at using urine!). We thought we could wash one linen tea towel the modern way, and one the old-fashioned way, and then compare the results. We will keep you posted with news of our cinematic début!

For more on how to clean your linen, go here or here.

(Images above: Lewes castle in Sussex with linens drying amongst ruins, courtesy of Sussex Past; detail of bleaching grounds from painting via http://www.oldandinteresting.com/drying-outdoors.aspx; and painting of Dutch linens drying by Jacob van Ruisdael via learner.org)

 

 

19
Dec
2016
0

7 Ways to Look After Yourself Over the Holiday Season

This time of year is hectic. All that time spent running around getting things for other people, finding costumes for Nativity plays, baking things, throwing parties and trying to keep the peace within our families. And whilst it is the season for goodwill towards others, it is so important to look after yourself as well. If you are feeling overwhelmed or daunted by all that Christmas and New Year brings, here are 7 ways to make sure you have the energy to keep going, and to stay happy.

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28
Nov
2016
0

Christmas Gifts for Stylish Kids’ Rooms

Christmas needn’t be a time when your home gets flooded with plastic clutter. Instead, pick gifts that will bring fun, style and beauty to your children’s rooms. We’ve shopped around and come up with an edit of chic gifts that will enhance your child’s bedroom, and that will last. From night lights to wall decals, be imaginative and playful. Just like your kids.

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24
Nov
2016
0

More Christmas Gifts Ideas: For her

If you checked out our previous post you’ll know that we are compiling three handy gift guides to help steer you though the madness of Christmas shopping. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday approaching we’ve hunted down some fabulous gifts that will add beauty to your home, and those of your loved ones.

Today our edit focuses on Christmas gifts for the woman in your life. Plus, we’ve got some super-duper discount codes for you to cut the cost of your shopping, as well finding some cracking gifts. I know, we’re nice like that.

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21
Nov
2016
0

Christmas Shopping Made Simple: Gifts for a beautiful home

If the thought of Christmas shopping fills you with horror, we’ve got good news. We have curated a careful selection of gifts that will add beauty (rather than clutter) to your loved ones’ homes. Over three separate posts we will give you ideas for Christmas gifts for him, her and the kids. And the best bit? These products will all have big discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you can save precious pennies as well as buying fabulous presents. We will put up promotional codes just before the sales goes live. Who said Christmas shopping was stressful? You can have it all done and dusted by Monday.

Aaaaand breathe.

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4
Nov
2016
0

Inspiration and Advice on Decorating a Nursery

Decorating the nursery is one of the loveliest tasks when preparing for the birth of a child, but it can also feel overwhelming. Do we go for pink or blue? What furniture will we need? How do we make it cosy without being cluttered? We’ll help you address all these questions, as well as give you some useful tips on creating the perfect space for your baby to grow into.

Here’s what you need to consider when decorating a nursery:

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