Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gray & Loving It

Funny thing happened at the shop today. Well, it was funny only because of my plans for the blog update tonight.

I have found it quite amusing that, periodically, as I'm heading to the hairdresser for a trim, my husband will ask me to put some blonde highlights in my hair. For the record, I am gloriously gray and loving it. I don't pretend to be anything other than the age I am and that is that of a grandmother. I don't think I look any different than I did at 40, when I was doing yoga daily and taking ballet classes and had quite striking short, red hair. I just feel 'riper'.

The reason I find my husband's comments amusing is precisely because I love my gray head and everything it represents - a life well lived; beautiful, healthy children; a grandchild; crises survived; friends and family loved and lost. And I love the freedom to be who I am without care of how others judge me. If some should look at me and think "older", I'm fine with that. But, apparently, my husband isn't quite so.

I do believe that men don't accept aging with quite the relish that we women do. I suppose if I were to be able to get into his head (which I would never pretend to be able to do), I would see a man struggling with his own aging. Where he sees his life winding down; I see my life winding up. I have accomplished life now it's time to accomplish my dreams. Ergo, I am so completely happy with my age because it has brought me to this point. I care not one bit for the past, other to remember it fondly. Bring on the future. I have much to accomplish.

Because I suspect my husband is not quite happy getting older, I assume he sees this gray-haired woman on his arm and thinks others see him as old. I wish he would realize that others see the beauty in the gray. Which brings me back to the funny thing that happened today.

A new customer came in to the shop today and, in the course of chatting, she commented on how much she liked my hair. She had a wondrous head of white/gray hair also which was quite elegant. We shared our thoughts on how freeing it is to go 'au natural' and we were quite surprised that both of our husbands had urged us to colour. As always, I get such strength from other women and today was no different.

We all should be comfortable with however we choose to live out life's final third; colour / no colour; cosmetic treatments or no, as long as we are realizing our dreams, we should go with pride.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spent a wonderful week with our granddaughter in Vancouver in September. She is almost two and a delight to the eyes and ears. She can't quite say "grandma" so I'm known as "jamma". I can't think of a more perfect name since I sell jammas.

I think there should be a universal rule that says grandmothers should live within a 25 mile radius of our grandchildren. I have to be thankful for video cameras, blogs and all of the other ways to communicate that weren't open to my parents and grandparents. There is something so wonderful about seeing a young child coming flying across a room yelling "hi Jamma" when she knows I'm on line.

Still, I have a strong feeling that, for all of our technology, we just aren't in touch with people as we once were. I feel as though I share the highlights of my life with those far away instead of sharing my life with them. This applies to old friends as well. Once we may have enjoyed a daily or weekly walk together and chatted in a natural way, telling of the minutiae of our lives and getting instant feedback. Now we are lucky to schedule an hour convenient to each other for a telephone call or e-mail exchange.

I think I will go back to pre-internet days when writing long, newsy letters to my friends was a weekly practice. Writing down my thoughts and experiences for them was almost as good as having them walk by my side. I can't wait to begin writing letters to my Izzy. Maybe I'll begin now and her mother can read them to her at bedtime. It's not a bad thing to introduce these techno kids to a great old way of communicating.

Monday, August 31, 2009

My "Favourite Things"

Oprah has her "Favourite Things" and now so do I. After telling customers for two years how wonderful it is to be surrounded by beautiful things every day, I think it's time to highlight a few of my favourites in each of the product categories I carry. These are items I use myself and have grown to love.

So, here goes.

Clothing - definitely the bamboo clothing from Dreamsacks. It's soft, light on your body and stylish. No more polyester for my yoga class! Natural fabrics are the way to go.

Nightwear - nothing compares to the breathable cotton of Simple Pleasures. The styles are feminine and cover all of the lumps and bumps making me feel beautiful and looking forward to getting into it at the end of each day.

Bedding - hands down it's Pine Cone Hill.

Sheets - the brand is not well known but is called Filari Lara. The Egyptian cotton is 400 thread count; imported from Portugal and my toes loving scooching around in them. I'll warn you, though, they wrinkle like mad.

Throws - again Dreamsacks wins. Their silk fleece throws in solid colours are the softest, most luxurious throws to wrap yourself in.

Duvets - St. Geneve's Lajord. Raised by generations of Hutterites, this 800 loft, white goose down is the most prized of all domestic downs raised in North America. Covered in a 354 Thread Count Long Staple Cotton. This duvet is so light on my body but still plush and cushy to curl under.

Soaps - Acca Kappa takes the award in this category. Creating their beautiful soaps since the 1880s, this Italian company's soap is beautiful as a gift but should be enjoyed by everyone. I've convinced my husband that one of my bars lasts three times as long as his commercial bar of soap.

Surround yourself with your "favourite things" and see how lovely life can be.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Linen Cupboard presents the Original Reusable Designer Bag

As this is the year that we all have to change our shopping habits to reusable bags, it has become clear that the changeover is not as entrenched for us yet as for those who have always shopped this way in Europe.

Many women have said they often forget their shopping bags in the car or at home. We have even discussed how long it takes for a new practice to become a habit (seven times for my dog). Personally, I often walk to the grocery store or stop in after work on foot and realize my shopping bags are in the car at home.

Imagine my delight, then, when I found these amazing, little fold up bags from Envirosax (as seen in Canadian Living). They take up no room in your purse, unwrap to hold up to forty pounds (although none of us should be carrying that much weight), and can be washed by hand and hung to dry. How much more perfect can it get?

Add amazing style and colour and you really have the perfect little bag for always having on hand. At $9 each, it's worth picking up 2 or 3 in case you're like me and always seem to leave the store with more than you planned on getting.

So, shop with attitude and style while being thoughtful about our environment.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Summertime Living

As June rolls in with warmer and longer days, my daily routine seems to change without any conscious thought on my part. Days now begin with early morning walks to the lake and my laundry is once again on the line. Dinners are later and lighter (not a bad thing) and evenings often include time spent on the porch swing.

My bedroom changes too. The duvet comes off for the summer - a cotton blanket is all that is needed now. The plum coloured shams and toss pillows are replaced by more seasonal celery greens.

The display bed in The Cupboard now wears its summer, cottage look from Pine Cone Hill. The soft sky blue of the sheets and chenille blanket create a soothing backdrop for the blue, chocolate, vanilla and white stripe of the duvet cover and shams. A vintage style bedskirt in eyelet lace makes this a perfect bed just waiting for whitewashed pine walls and windows overlooking the lake.

Pine Cone Hill linens are multi-textured and offer style options for every taste from graphic colours to soothing tone on tone looks.

This month's bed is complemented beautifully by the artwork of Elke Clarke (, our resident artist. Her piece "Puzzle #1", with its geometric, modern squares is a nice juxtaposition with the classic look of the stripes.

The soft lace robe on the dressmakers model reminds us of a more elegant era gone by.

Here's to great weather, leisurely days and lakeside views.

Friday, May 22, 2009

When I was first married, my mother and mother-in-law showered me with beautiful nightwear. I felt lovely in them but really took them for granted. At that time, I didn’t give a great deal of thought to the importance of feeling good about myself. Those wise, older women understood too well.

As the years went on, nightwear spending was at the bottom of the list as children’s clothes, work clothes and household stuff became the priority. I began wearing t-shirts to bed with long johns bought for cross country skiing. While I wouldn’t say I completely stopped worrying about how I felt about myself, it definitely became secondary to everything else in my life. I didn’t feel lovely but feeling lovely was not a priority during those years. Daily life was all about managing schedules, trying to get enough sleep to keep going and putting our children first.

As my husband and I are once again playing house alone together, the true joy of “dressing up” for bed has emerged. Of course, dressing up now means breathable fabrics and styles a little less revealing to flatter my more mature figure. The great discovery I’ve made is that nightwear can be both attractive and a pleasure to sleep in.

I’ve had great fun sourcing the nightwear lines I carry in The Linen Cupboard. Each line has different features providing something for everyone.

Whether you like the classic look of egyptian cotton nightshirts and nightgowns; bright colours and tailoring in cotton pajamas; the silky feel of bamboo and silk or the breathable comfort and feminine look of woven cotton, I encourage you to treat yourself.

And, if there’s a young woman in your family, treat her to something special to wear to bed. We even have nursing nightwear that will make all new moms feel lovely.

Remember, feeling good about yourself is for you.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Pleasures of Scent

Customers entering The Cupboard usually comment on the lovely scent in the store. They almost seem to pause and take an “aaahh” moment.

The funny thing is, I didn’t set out to create a special scent when I opened the shop. It’s simply the result of the combined testers and samples open. The triple milled soaps, lavender filled items, drawer liners, scented candles and diffusers in the store all join together in a very pleasing way.

This continual comment from customers has convinced me that we need to do more to have the same feeling in our own homes. What better place to bring scent in to your home than in the rooms where you let the day slide away; your bedroom and bath.

Begin as I did – leave a few bars of your favourite soap on the counter in the bath and let their delicious scent greet you when you open the door. A few bath tablets or bath salts left open in a dish by your tub will contribute their own delicate scent. A scented candle lit during bath time will have you well on your way to your own “aaahh” moment as you ease into a hot tub.

Create an overall scent for your bedroom with a diffuser or direct your pleasure in specific ways. Lavender pillow spray or a pajama wrap filled with lavender under your pillow will ease you to sleep. Ancient Romans understood the healing properties of lavender. Its ability to calm seems even more important in the 21st century.

It’s not difficult to have a similar ‘scentual’ experience to that in the store, whether it occurs accidentally or you are deliberate in your efforts.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Open the Cupboard

Welcome to The Village Linen Cupboard blog. Through this blog, we'll encourage you to add a little beauty to yourself and your home.

Our homes should surround us in the energy we need to face the world (and recover from it). This can only happen when we are thoughtful in the choices we make of what goes in our rooms. It takes time to create rooms that nurture us. Don't hurry the process. Enjoy the finds along the way. But always remember, when we add beauty to ourselves and our homes, we face the world with confidence and joy.

How do we do this? We'll share our thoughts with you to perhaps remind you of or introduce you to beautiful ways to enhance your life.

Bonne nuit.