Using Pretty Linens Everyday

One of my favorite decorating books is Rachel Ashwell’s  Treasure hunting and decorating.

Even though my taste has changed some since I first read this there are elements of this book that I still love.

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I remember reading this for the first time many years ago and admiring her sharing that she uses her pretty dishes and napkins everyday.

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Oh my using pretty linens and dishes every day?Why had I not thought of this!Well ever since reading that I do just that!

I use my napkins for our everyday meals.

I don’t use my pretty dishes everyday.Since they are vintage I was concerned about  lead.But I do use them.

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Do I worry about stains? No I don’t. We use these pretty white linen napkins even when we eat pizza.

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And spaghetti!

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So much nicer than using paper napkins don’t you think?

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And so much better for the environment too! I have many that I love to use.

I pick them up whenever I see them at thrift or antique shops.

Do you like to use linen napkins and pretty dishes?Or do you save yours for special occasions?

I hope I convinced you to use them everyday.

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Comments

    • Anne says

      I don’t know really.But we use these for every meal for real! I do use shout and stain release tide when I wash.I don’t use bleach.When we have company they are always hesitant thinking these will be ruined.It’s never happened yet!
      xx
      Anne

  1. says

    :-) Clap… clap!!! I am so happy to hear you say this. I /we do the same. I have , well quite a few dishes ( had someone over today as a matter of fact and they thought I was nuts. I cycle the dishes through every 6 to 8 weeks. 3 sets at a time, by the end of the year, most would have been cycled through) , and lots of inherited and purchased sets of linen and cotton napkins. I have brought up 2 lads ( sigh… now young men) using ‘good ‘ dishes and napkins everyday. Yes… pizza ans spaghetti, curries and lasagna .
    Lets do our part :-)
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs, Gee

    • Anne says

      So glad to hear you enjoy doing this too! I think every meal should be special! We even use these at lunch and breakfast!
      xx
      Anne

  2. says

    I have so much laundry as it is that to use cloth napkins every day would be a nightmare. It’s all I can do to keep up with the dishes that need to be washed. LOL! I’m sure your family enjoys using them though. To be honest, I don’t even use cloth napkins very often during special times. I just like to toss them when we’re done with a meal. The napkins you use are very pretty though! They also really do help make a prettier table too.

    • Anne says

      I have lots of laundry too and there are only three of us LOL! But I still love using these.I have done this for years and it really has not made any more work for me.
      xx
      Anne

  3. says

    Your vintage napkins are just beautiful! I would definitely save those for company. I pick up pretty white ones at thrift/antique stores quite a bit and use them when it strikes me…I hate laundry. But we do have a few bigger family dinners several times during the month and I like to use my better dishes and cloth napkins.

    XO,
    Jane

  4. says

    I love that book, too, Anne! Sometimes we use our linen napkins, but not often enough. Yours are so pretty – love that edging.
    Happy 1 year blogaversary!

  5. says

    Your photos are so pretty! I love pretty vintage linen napkins, but must admit I don’t use them every day. I have a large set that belonged to my aunt, and I do enjoy looking at those because I keep them out.

    • Anne says

      Thank you Betsy!Oh use them that’s what they are for.How nice to have some that were handed down to you!
      xx
      Anne

  6. says

    It seems like a lot of work, but I admire your cleaning and ironing reminds me of my parents and the way I was brought up. I know if I did that my spouse would use one for a rag to clean up some grease on a car.

  7. says

    Hi Anne
    Love R/A designs, her work looks so effortless and Romantic :)
    Love all your photos, so soft they calm the soul. I love vintage to new as long as they look to have history. I love my linen napkins fresh from the spring line drying, like days gone by.
    Wrinkled and relaxed is the way I love them best :)

    Have a beautiful week to come, let each day inspire you that much more then the last.
    Xx
    Doré

    • Anne says

      Yes her style is amazing!Thank you so much for your sweet comments too!I don’t iron so if they are wrinkled they are wrinkled.This is the way these came out of the dryer.It ‘s just the material :-)
      xx
      Anne

  8. says

    I so love to use pretty linens but haven’t been doing as much lately as I used to. The staining can be an issue. You know what I tried recently while trying to get a stain out of my husband’s shirt? I opened up the cabinet under the sink and just grabbed the Murphy’s Oil Soap. Worked great. It’s supposed to be natural and it works on just about anything! Not just cabinets.

    Lynn

    • Anne says

      I am going to remember that Lynn! I never heard of that but it I ever have a stain that won’t come out I will give that a try!
      xx
      Anne

    • Anne says

      You should Jennifer! I have been using these for years.It really is no big deal to wash these and this girl does not iron ;-)
      xx
      Anne

  9. says

    Anne, my mother had an interesting philosphy when we were growing up…. unusual for her time…. the good china was our everyday dinner ware and we had a pretty tablecloth on the table that one of my ancestors had made. We were taught how to behave at the table and what cutlery to use. Sure, there was the very occasional accident where there would be a spill or a dish broken, but every household has that. I guess what I’m saying is, we were taught to appreciate beautiful things from a young age and to be confident using them. When I was doing the washing up as a kid, I didn’t know the monetary value of the china, but I did know that my mum loved it and took very good care of it. I then raised my girls the same way. It works for us.

    • Anne says

      And now you have sweet memories of this.My daughter was brought up that way too.When she was small I never put my pretty things away.I decorated her room with very fragile things but she learned to take care of them and appreciate them.And she never broke any of her things.And if she did it would not have been because she was being rough but accidents happen.Why have pretty things if you can’t use them.I love Rachel’s philosophy of decorating!
      xx
      Anne

  10. says

    I’m off and on about using linen napkins for everyday. I do it for a while until I get tired of keeping up with the laundry. I think I would be more motivated to use them everyday if I owned so pretty ones like you have shown. They are gorgeous. How do you keep them looking so pretty?

    • Anne says

      Honestly not a thing other than wash them.And I don’t iron.If I get a stain I spray some shout on them.If you have them use them :-)
      xx
      Anne

  11. says

    I use my pretty dishes every day, but I don’t have any linen napkins. Hmmm…maybe I should be on the look out for some. I have that same book.

    • Anne says

      Oh so glad to hear you use your pretty things!Napkins can be found so cheaply just check out thrift and antique shops :-)
      xx
      Anne

  12. says

    I’m so glad you use your lovely linens every day. I use my vintage linens and my china all the time. I will admit that my linens aren’t as pretty as yours, but I enjoy using them, especially those that belonged to family. And even though I’m concerned about lead, I try to use my china often, not only for eating, but in other ways as well (old saucers as soap dishes, coffee mugs as pencil holders, etc.). These pretty things were meant to be used, not packed away in boxes, or in the back of the china cabinet or linen closet.

  13. says

    Anne,
    I love that you use your vintage linen every day! I am sure it makes your meals together that much nicer. I do use my white vintage plates every day. Why have them if you aren’t going to use them! Life is too short not to enjoy the special little touches each day.
    Kris

  14. says

    Those linens are beautiful, Anne! My thing is vintage pillowcases. They’re fragile, but I use them anyway. If they wind up ripping, I just repurpose them into something else. There’s just something about thinking about the people long passed using these beautiful things that I love. :) Gorgeous pictures, Anne!

    • Anne says

      Oh I too love finding vintage linens.They are harder to find(for me). I also love finding and using vintage blankets and tablecloths too!
      xx
      Anne

  15. says

    Anne, I was inspired a long time ago reading the Shabby Chic books too. I have been using vintage china and cloth napkins ever since (love that it’s environmentally friendly), I mix and match patterns, mostly in shades of white, cream and blue. The other think I do is use vintage/antique silverware everyday, that I run through the dishwasher (If I remember correctly, Rachel Ashwell suggested this too). At typically $1 a piece, it’s easy to replace and add to as necessary. Life is too short to save items for ‘a special day’, every day is special! Enjoy!

    • Anne says

      Kris I am so glad you enjoy using your pretty linens and dishes too! Yes It too use silver but not everyday.My silver was getting funny when I was washing it too often in my dish washer.The only vintage thing I don’t use everyday.But I do use them often.It nice to make every meal special.
      xx
      Anne

    • Anne says

      Thank you Sherry! Yes she is amazing! Although my tastes have changed a bit I still use some of her style in my home.
      xx
      Anne

  16. says

    I LOVE this idea … and really do think it’s these little things that can really make a difference in a basic meal. I don’t have a “nice” set of dishes, but might need to pull out the linens once we get moved in somewhere.

    • Anne says

      Thank you Karah!Oh I hope you will get settled soon.I know how it is when you are moving! Things will get better soon!
      xx
      Anne

  17. says

    We eat by candlelight every night (even on salad night) and use cloth napkins. Yes we get some stains, but it is only fabric. I make a lot of our napkins, or I look for good deals. It makes dinner a special event. We sit and talk and share our day. I find myself saving things to talk about rather than just dropping a comment here and there. If I really want to talk about it then dinner is the time for the discussion.

    • Anne says

      Yes meal time is so important.We all sit together every night and talk about our days.The good and the bad :-) .You are so lucky that you sew.I find so much pretty fabric that I would love to make napkins with but I don’t sew.
      xx
      Anne

  18. Gina says

    I have been using cloth napkins everyday for years and love it. I also use my pretty dishes. I just love this post!!!

  19. Diane says

    Anne, what a lovely sentiment to use good dishes and linen napkins. I do use the napkins frequently, but they certainly aren’t white. :) As a matter of fact, some of my favorites are a red and white plaid and black buffalo check as I enjoy using them with solid white dishes. Thanks, too, for sharing your lovely photography with us.
    Diane

    • Anne says

      Thank you Diane.Not all of my napkins are white either.I have quite a collection.But these are my favorite! I will be sharing more soon!
      xx
      Anne

  20. says

    I always use the good dishes and the napkin and the tablecloth. Everybody says they’re going to be ruined or broken and so what? If they always are in the cupboard, what was the point buying them? Life is too short to use paper napkins… except when they are really pretty!

    • Anne says

      Yes I agree! You can always replace things and it is not costly either! Glad to hear you enjoy your beautiful things!
      xx
      Anne

  21. says

    I use my “good stuff'” pretty much every day. It’s too pretty NOT to use and I don’t want to be one of those people who have it sit in their cupboards year after year without ever using it. I think that’s ridiculous. LOL! I actually sold all of my Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic books a few years back. Now I am wishing that I hadn’t! I found the original one (like yours) at Target again for super cheap and bought it. Now I have to collect them all over again. Darn it! Thanks for sharing!

    • Anne says

      Oh I am so glad to hear you use your pretty things every day! Her books are my favorites.And even though my taste has changed a bit I would never part with them.I think her look is timeless.
      xx
      Anne

  22. says

    Anne, I remember feeling the same way when I first read this book-revelation! : ) I was also influenced back then by Tracey McBride’s “Frugal Luxuries”. A few days ago I used my white napkins for chocolate cake at a birthday celebration, and my friend had the hardest time with it. They’re washable, for goodness sake! Your linens are lovely, and I applaud you for adding a little pretty “finery” to your every day.

    Jeanette @ Creating A Life

    • Anne says

      Thank you ! Yes when I first started to do this my family thought I was nuts LOL.But years later they all get it and enjoy the beauty of these pieces.
      xx
      Anne

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