My lovely grandparents on my Dad's side were organic growers well before the word organic was born. They worked with the land, prepared their own manure, kept bees, chickens, grew apples, plums, pears (had damsons at one stage but pop made out they had a disease as he did not much like picking them and they were chopped down). It was only many years later he admitted to this erhm little bit of subterfuge). They grew all their own veg, grew strawberries, raspberries and picked blackberries and wildings from the hedgerows. My father was very adept at catching wild rabbit and so that used to feature on the table quite a bit and they also kept their own pigs and Geese who are the best guard dogs going and one was always on the table for Christmas lunch. They worked with the land. They had two vegetable plots. Only one per year was in production as the other was allowed to be fallow or rest and new compost used to be dug in the soil to enrich it for the following year. Even the compost heaps had marrows growing out of the top of them as they are greedy plants at the best of times.
Working this way was the well trodden path of growing your own crops and providing for your own during the cold winter months. It was hard work but it actually worked. It was very much the Cottagers way of living and I believe very much that to this day we should have the option of doing this even if only on a small scale to make sure that we can feed ourselves at all times.
My Grandparents had a lot of apple, plum and pear trees. Both eating and cooking. They were always put into store over the winter period and gradually used. They were always stored in the garage in latter years together with all the onions, veggies, and preserving equipment. There was always the smell of apples hit you whenever you walked in the side door no matter what time of year. I was taught from a very early age how to handle the apples. As a young one I was never allowed up the ladders but it was not long before we were up there helping the adults. We were up and down them like yo yos. Nan always made apple wine (and lots of other wines as well from both veggies and from the fruit from the garden as well as the wild harvest). Nan also sold the apples from the gate a stone at a time and the eggs. Selling the eggs paid for the corn for the chickens and helped it pay for itself.
Anyway I digress.
Years ago things were used, from a practical point of view rather than whether they matched what you had and you took advantage of whatever came your way. I remember striped flannelette sheets. The sheets were warm and practical but oh I so hated those stripes. We had thick candlewick bedspreads which were covered in tufts to create very elaborate patterns. As a child I hated that as well and started plucking the one my mum had!
This one is very much like the one I plucked!
The one below is probably the type that most people are accustomed to and I think my mum had one like this but I think she passed it on to a jumble sale one duvets came in.
We also had thick eiderdown quilts and thick wool blankets to cover us especially during the winter months and as I have said before nothing was really matched (you only got white cotton sheets or the striped flannelette)- in later years you used to be able to get in plain colours. Everything used to be mixed with everything else for practical use and as long as you had clean towels and clean bedding and clean tablecloths you were indeed very blessed and lucky. Everyday table used to have mixed up china and the best was always reserved for Sunday night tea or when visitors came. This jumbling up however in today's reality is known as "Shabby chic". What my grandmother would have made of that phrase I shudder to think as she was a rather practical down to earth sort who soon spoke her mind if she disapproved of something. So Shabby chic it is in today's day and age, but for me it is making mis-matched things work with each other. I use this approach with glassware and china and with linen and bedding. I have two rose flower tea sets both different but both complement each other mixed in with some plain pink plates and it looks lovely on the tea table.
There is nothing nicer than clean fresh linen for the bed. As I have said I grew up with thick flannelette sheets in the winter months where we used to shuffle down the bed and pull the covers over us quickly and lovely cotton during the winter months which used to be very light and cool during the warmer summers. We always though had pretty cotton pillowslips. Some plain with a crochet edging, others embroidered with flowers but always pretty.
I always remember that when Great Aunty Ivy passed her home was split between the family and we received some of the crochet edged pillowslips (she had crocheted the edgings herself). I think I still have a couple of these in the cupboard with my ever growing collection of vintage linen some of which is soon going to be put into use with my new bed.
So you don't have to have everything perfectly matching. You can mix it up a bit and probably save yourself some pennies in the long run. For me it is something which I have grown up with and something which I still use in this day and age. And really at the end of the day if it works for you and you like it then that is all that really matters.
Do you mix up things and if so what do you mix up.
Catch you soon.