Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vintage Textiles for Spring and Summer

Yesterday, here in South West Scotland, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and my washing line was festooned with nice, white, newly laundered damask tablecloths and napkins. Today there are great soft lumps of snow falling in a steady stream, it's cold, wet, dark and spring seems a long way off. Typical of Scotland, at this time of year.

However, yesterday gave me a bit of a push - after a February hiatus, while I worked away steadily at a final draft of a novel called The Amber Heart, which is finally with my agent, and which you can read a bit about here - and I reactivated my eBay Shop, the Scottish Home, and revamped it for spring. My plan is to add linens, in particular, pretty steadily now - I've been stockpiling them a bit and have some lovely tablecloths and napkins waiting to be listed.

All of which has made me think about spring, summer and picnics. Our lovely friends, John and Brenda Kevan, who are - among many other talents - wedding photographers, always have wonderfully civilized picnics. Brenda is a designer with flair, and she loves to 'set the scene' with textiles and brightly coloured picnic ware. In summer, weather permitting, she serves meals in a gorgeous 'outdoor room', a little courtyard at the back of her period house, and again, she manages to mix old textiles and antique and vintage dining ware with modern pieces and with candles and candle lamps, to create a truly enchanting atmosphere.

I often think that some of my antique and vintage textiles are very suitable for outdoor living - brightly embroidered linen tablecloths from the 1950s, vivid checks on linen and cotton from the 1960s, or even older linen supper tablecloths - all of them are reasonably priced, easily laundered, very forgiving, and excellent for picnics or al fresco lunches. Somehow, dressing the picnic table or the outdoor dining room  in this way seems to make the food taste even better.

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