Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Linen and Lace

I love linens and lace.    I have a couple of my grandmother's damask tablecloths and napkins and I have a beautiful lace cloth of Husband Jim's mother's.     These were the start of my "collection".

The drawers of napkins are bulging and the drawer of tablecloth are full.    Extras are stored upstairs (and often forgot about!)

Sunday dinners were always taken in the dining room.   The table was always covered with either a damask or a lace tablecloth.    Real napkins (which were used for every meal) were at every place.

Estate Sales are a wonderful resource for old linens.    Years ago they were mere pennies.    Today, they're a bit pricier and often more than my meager purse will allow.

But with bulging linen drawers, there is really no need for additional linens.     We can have a houseful and offer a linen napkin to each guest!      But at each estate sale, I am always drawn to the "linen room"

A few weeks ago, we went to an Estate Sale -- it was the second day and so everything under $100 was half price . . . 

And the "linen room", I found . . .

A tray cloth -- mother always insisted that a cloth be placed on a tray before use.

A very fine linen tray cloth with a monogram.

A loner -- a single!

One damask napkin with the same monogram in the corner.

True treasure -- a big pile of damask napkins!

And a pile of napkins -- all monogrammed.

Fine napkins come in three sizes -- small breakfast ones, medium size luncheon ones and extra large dinner ones.

Notice how much bigger the dinner napkin is than the luncheon napkin

There were seven of the luncheon napkins and 12 of the dinner ones!    And I don't have any napkins as large as these -- they'll be great the next time we have company for dinner.

And the monogram?

A wonderful full monogram

Are they wedding linens where Miss "T" (Emma Rose) filled her linen cupboard with finely embroidered damask napkins in preparation of her marriage?

Are they napkins that the "T's"(Edgar and Ruth)  bought later in their marriage, after college and perhaps law school and embarking upon a successful career felt the need to entertain and so ordered linens so that they could?

I'll never know but I simply adore the "T's" napkins!

And the price?    For all of them?    $5!!!

For every day at every meal, there is

Always a napkin in a silver ring

Always a linen napkin in a silver napkin ring.    Whether it is just us or we have company.    When it is just us, we'll use the  the napkin for several meals.    For company, they get used just once.

And the lace?

A lace tablecloth perfect for company.

Tablecloths for almost always when we dine, the table is covered with a pretty cloth.    We prefer white -- whether lace

A "bridge" cloth is a perfect tablecloth for breakfast for the two of us.

Or linen.

Whether it is . . .

I use lace more because it requires less ironing!

For company

Lace is good for a casual breakfast as well.

Or just us.

We do treasure our vintage linens at Linderhof and enjoying using them on a daily basis and also enjoy their care (although if we've had a lot of company in a week, a small mound of napkins that need ironing seems almost as big as a mountain during a busy week!)

I'm sharing my linens for Show and Tell Friday with Cindy at My Romantic Home


Rowan said...

I love old linens aa well though I only have a few bits and pieces. They are very collectible over here and prices are high for really nice ones.

Pat said...

A beautiful, interesting post. I always love seeing photos of your house too. Your dining room is stunning. Thanks for the visit and kind words at my post.

A fellow Kansan,


Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Lovely linens. My mother in law grew up in a family in Europe that used napkin rings, and when she went to boarding school she had to bring her own silver including monogrammed napkin ring with her. But the napkin was used for a week and the rings were to identify ones own napkin. (Her silver and napkin rings were not monogrammed with her initials, but with her student number which always fascinated me.)

LauraC said...

My Mother gave me a Quaker Lace tablecloth when she downsized. I was not a tablecloth person, I prefer place mats for everyday, BUT I fell in love! When I sit at the table with that tablecloth, I cannot keep my hands off of it. It is so soft--nothing like what I imagined lace to be like. I found another quite large one at an antique co-op for $30, and now a collection has begun! I know that you love Quaker Lace too.


Tea Party said...

I am always learning something from your posts. Thank you for showing the different sized napkins...
Beautiful, as always...

podso said...

Right now I have my mother's old lace tablecloth on our dining room table. Have always loved it. Old linens are treasures that speak of another time. We too use cloth napkins and are distinctive napkin rings tell us which one to put by which place at the table!

megan said...

Martha, you will shake your head at me. I received lovely damask tablecloths and napkins for engagement and wedding gifts in the sixties in England. I gave away four beauties when the fad for modern linen came in. I kept one afternoon cloth in white damask.
I love tablecloths and napkins and wish I had kept them. The funky one I bought in the sixties with pomegranites on it, is still used by my daughter.
I have since added to my collection, especially when I visit home.

On Crooked Creek said...

Lovely linens! I, too, collect vintage linens. I, also adore the many new fabric placemats and napkins on the retail market front today! Something about table "dressing" ( as my MoMa called it) tha makes a meal have the comforts of home. I remember the day when dining out at local restaurants where each table was set with a fine linen table cloth! Enjoy your new finds @ Linderhof!

Michelle said...

Super finds! And 12 of those big dinner ones! I always love looking (and buying) vintage estate linens...and it seems like they are often passed over. The photos of your tables are beautiful.

Michelle said...

Martha, you would be the one to ask...I bought a crocheted tablecloth (a long rectangular one) at an estate sale a couple of months ago. After I wash it, how do you recommend drying it so that it doesn't stretch out of shape? I thought about drying it "Kate Hepburn" style...she used to lay out her whites on the lawn to dry in the sun. I'm curious as to how you would do always have such good advice!
Thanks so much for any ideas!