Embrace the wrinkle

2016-01-29-19.07.16.jpg.jpegNo, no worries. This tubby, late middle-aged old fart — is there such a thing as a middle fart? — is not going to start handing out anti-beauty tips. One day, maybe one April Fool’s Day, I’ll do a post on Lava soap as the world’s greatest exfoliator or exhort you to throw out all those nasty, germ-laden face creams and go truly natural, let the world see you as the wrinkly old rhino you really are, but not today.

No, today I’m going to write about how I seem to have fallen down the linen-lined rabbit hole.

It started when my friend Jennifer convinced me that what I really needed were some of her cotton-linen towels. Jennifer Gaudet, for those of you that I have not yet bored to tears with all this, is on a mission to revive the handlooms of Turkey. You see, there is a mass migration from the countryside to Istanbul, something to do with the perception that the jobs are in Istanbul. They aren’t really, not in any great quantity anyway. The result is that Istanbul is growing by leaps and bounds. It is filthy in places, has serious pollution problems and folks are living crammed right next to one another, with not so much as a balcony to grow herbs on. It’s a bad situation. So, Jen and her looms are keeping hundreds of people out in the countryside, able to earn a good living and have a kitchen garden, to boot. She then markets the resulting products as the luxury goods they are. Did I mention the organic cotton? Good for the planet, good for society and good for us, too.

So, the towels. They are incredible and, as you can see above, it’s a whole different aesthetic from the Charisma/Frette/Merona usual. To get back to the point, the bath towels are just like bath towels, albeit very nice ones. The linen makes them more absorbant, not wrinkly. The cotton pestamels, though — that’s the blue one — they wrinkle. I for one am not going to spend time ironing my towels, nor do I want to give up the best summer towel ever. So, the creased camel’s nose appears under the tent.


Next came a summer sale at Bon Marché. On sale were these incredible Italian, hand-stamped, heavy linen Bertozzi whatever — sheets, tablecloths, aprons, you name it, there have been enough sales now that I’ve got it. The fabric really is very heavy, so it doesn’t exactly wrinkle, but it doesn’t exactly lay flat, either. I guess you would say that it’s pleasantly rumpled. But oh, those sheets, nothing better when it’s crazy hot outside, even at night. Rumpled or wrinkled, I’m keeping them and I think they are great.


Finally came my personal anti-Louis-Louis campaign. I outgrew damask a long time ago, I guess when I dumped the boyfriend that had a house full of it. Then one day I bought a house that might actually like a little damask, in the right place. But no, thar be bad juju. I kept looking for an alternative. Finally I stumbled down the rue Jacob, land of stunning antiques and designer shops, onto Caravane. The photo above is in the Caravane showroom. They do iron their linen, so their stuff looks a lot better than my stuff will. It’s real linen. It doesn’t rumple, it wrinkles. If you should visit some day, check out the sofa, the coordinating chair and the guest room bedsteads. You’ll see what I mean.

I love the stuff anyway.

20 thoughts on “Embrace the wrinkle

    1. I think the trick is to get heavy linens. In one of my previous lives I tried cotton-linen blend sheets that were almost as thin as plain cotton. Within a couple of years they self-destructed. I would find great masses of them in the lint catcher. Finally they literally came apart at the seams. These new guys will be around for ages.


  1. so let me see if I understand this….. you would iron a towel or a sheet so it looks great, then use it and voilà it has wrinkles again. so unless you have a chambermaid to change out all your sheets, towels, and whatnot every time you use it, you are living with wrinkles anyway.

    of source, if you had a chambermaid, then she could iron, n’es pas?



    1. Chambermaid? Gerard, that’s so Downton Abbey. You’re on the right track, though. Over here a lot of washing machines are too small to handle sheets, so people send them out. They come back ironed and yes, after one night’s use they are wrinkled again. I don’t get it.

      It’s different over here. M. Wonderful and I just bought a washing machine. There was much discussion about the relative merits of a washer/dryer combo vs. separate units. He totally could not understand why I would bother with separate units and gave in only because I promised that if I got them I would wash the sheets at home. Of course now that they are here, he thinks they are a great idea. With what it costs to send sheets out, the dryer will have paid for itself by the end of the year.


  2. Hi there stranger… Haven’t been around for a while, loved to read this post. I’m a sucker for linen sheets in summer – we have a few survivors of the great-grandma’s sheet collection, that must be getting on for a hundred years old, they are fabulous.


    1. Great Grandma’s? Oh. My great grandmother was the absolute salvation of my sad little childhood. She would have loved this house – and the linens and the little tub of duck fat that
      I use for cooking. She would have loved it all. I never thought of that. Anyway, on those sweltering nights, send a little thank you to the great grandma. And watch for those Bertozzi sales! With any luck those sheets will be around for your own great grandchildren to enjoy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry to have stirred up memories for you so early in the morning… maybe if she would have loved it, you are like her in some way. That’s a comforting thought.
        She was my children’s great-grandma; she died when she was 102, and we rescued the sheets from a trip to the dump. You know the ones, old, heavy, embroiders with the initials of other past generations. Just a sheet for some, family heirlooms for others…


          1. People do strange things after the departure of loved ones. My version of “strange” was bursting into tears and hugging her jam pan; I think I was the only person to see it and the sheets as ‘valuables’.


    1. I have the stash, at least, but the budget? After what this little project will cost? If one turns up, you’ll know I’m exploiting a refugee, something along those lines.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ok, now stuck with pondering those kitchen shelves from Caravane website photo. Would so suit our French/roughluxe/boho/Artnouveau/industrial/ecclesiastical kitchen
    Trevor will be just delighted when I add creating some of these to his list..

    I will blame you


      1. Hmmm, I think I am tying him in mental knots right now.
        The old chapel altar is now not destined for freestanding kitchen work unit, I’ve decided I want him to use the frame for my (note the “my”) dining bench.
        I’ve sketched it out… what does he want, he chose to live with a a creative person?


          1. This dump thing. Second time today I’ve heard that. Where is my exploitable refugee? Somebody needs to stake out the local dump. Obviously there is some great stuff out there.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Our French Dechetterie is staffed by a very macho type who bares his muscley arms in a sport vest, winter & summer. He won’t let me carry anything from car to tip; that’s a man’s job.
            I love La France Profonde, the last shreds of chivalry are still alive out there in deepest Aude.
            Most immaculate and well sorted dump I have ever visited

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