Tricia Rose 
Owner, Rough Linen - San Rafael, California U.S.A.
My grandmother lived in a small, solid stone cottage with views of the sea from the back dormer windows,and some of my most vivid childhood memories start there.
Tricia at home
There was a range in the back room, and built-in "presses" (cupboards), and an old-fashioned built-in bed, cosy on winter nights.  We loved staying with her, loved the soups she made, the stories she told, and the songs that were sung around the fire while my grandfather read and my aunts and grandmother sewed and knitted.  There was a sense of order and industry in that house, the sweet smell of tea brewing, ticking clocks and the mysterious barometer only my grandfather could fathom.  Roses and vegetables grew in the...

Marsha Harris - Houston, Texas  U.S.A
Marsha won a 100 gift certificate in l&l's Anniversary Give-Away, June 2011

I sent Marsha a few questions and she graciously invited us in to her world:

lb:  Tell us about your family:

I am still legally married, although my husband has been institutionalized with Alzheimer's for 2.5 years (by his 4 adult children from 2 previous marriages), he is near death and doesn't know anyone, not even our beloved poodle, FiFi, who lives with me.  So a lot of changes thrust upon me by people who had absolutely nothing to do with my life.  However, life does go on.  I have 2 adult children of my own, a son, who is a commercial photographer who is married and has 2 beautiful children, Archer and Sheriff, my adorable grandchildren; and a daughter who is a spa developer and who is still hoping to have a family one day.   Lesson in this:  if you are a 2nd or 3rd wife make absolutely certain EVERYTHING is in writing and done legally, even guardianship issues, home ownership, etc. 

lb:  Where do you live?  What is it like there?

Marsha:  I live in Houston, where I was born, so I have a huge circle of friends and a very active and interesting social life and volunteer commitments.  Houston is now a very large, international city, spread out like Los Angeles.  It would take someone an hour, or more,  to drive across Houston in any direction, but to those of us who are locals we seem to all live in close proximity to each other and to Houston's famed Galleria shopping district.   Houston is friendly, very friendly, and easy for people to meet other interesting people.  We have a huge restaurant scene, with many well-known chefs and restaurants.  Lots of dining out around these parts.  And, lots of at-home entertaining.  For example, yesterday I had lunch with one of my favorite couples, then the woman and I went shopping, I raced home and immediately met one of my guy friends (he's like a brother) for a casual dinner in our neighborhood.  So, I'm never bored. Far from it.   Houston is totally completely geographically flat.  Very uninteresting terrain, however, we have beautiful old oak trees, pine trees everywhere, so it's very very green...huge homes on vast lawns, neighborhoods where everything is over $1 million (for an ordinary house), captains of industry living next door, and women on the international best dressed list who are well-known to everyone.  In this way it is completely unlike L.A.  Here everyone is friendly.  Barbara Bush pushes her own grocery cart at Rice Epicurean and says hello to everyone.

lb:  What are you most passionate about?  i.e. your interests/life pursuits?

Tom Brady, love NFL football.  Creating beauty out of anything.  Making something out of nothing.  Flowers in my little gardens, fresh flowers all over my home.  Entertaining friends at home.  Understanding international affairs, politics and our economic situation in the USA.  And, designing my collection of jewelry and other accessories for women.  Now, I would love to mentor troubled, young women, giving them the wisdom I have earned during my years of making all the usual mistakes.  Imparting goodness into them, and showing them that out of that goodness comes success.  I'm working on this.  I do volunteer fund raising for our performing and visual arts foundations and for Texas Children's Hospital, a part of the world-renowned Texas Medical Center located here.  

Before my husband became ill we attended every University of Texas Longhorn football game, no matter where it was being played (he was passionate about fact, his 1st love), as well as the games of the Houston Texans, the NFL team here.   I kinda miss that.

lb:  Where do you like to travel? 

I feel travel is vital. How can we know about our world if we don't see it up close and personal?   My husband loved the French Riviera, for all the normal reasons, he loved the excitement of being out and about, so we were there every year for a month.  He took me to Paris, the Riviera, Monte Carlo and Portofino on our honeymoon.  How could anyone top that?  But we were there because he loved it.  My favorite place on earth is the Amalfi Coast of Italy.

I crave being there, and if I could live and work there I would move in a heartbeat.  My heritage is part Italian so maybe it's calling to me.  I also love NYC, being "in" the city, knowing some of the local places which are totally cool, not just being a tourist.  Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans, Palm Beach, Newport.  And, a tiny little place on the Gulf Coast of Alabama called Fairhope.  An easy drive from Houston. 

lb:  What would you say is your favorite place when you travel ---a specific spot you really enjoy/go back to?

Italy.  No doubt.  The lake country, Venice, Portofino, Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi...all places with water.

lb: What is your favorite place when you are home.  It can be a room or a spot in your garden...the place you enjoy most and why?

My big kitchen which is completely open in the back, huge floor to ceiling glass walls overlooking my patio/garden.  I have a big sitting area, TV, music, tables laden with my jewelry work or food sometimes, and always my 2 doggies...FiFi, my 6.5 lb poodle who is 12, and Bono, my rock-star Maltese, who is 3.5.  Cannot live without my dogs.  Really.  They are my constant companions, even when I go to the hill country, they go.  When I travel FiFi used to go with us everywhere because my husband wanted her around.  She has her international dog passport.  Now that I have 2, I can't take both of them on the plane so they stay with my daughter or with my friends.

When Marsha was asked (by another blogger) to describe herself in one word:, her reply:  


Even from just these little snippets it is easy to see that is true.  

Thank you so much, Marsha.  A big hug to you!  xo~LeAnn

For more on Marsha and to view her beautiful jewelry creations, visit her blog:  

. . . .

Lone Egelund Olsen - Odsherred, Denmark
Won the book In Search of Paradise - (click book title to see Lone's post) 

I live in a small country town in Denmark.  Our town has about 4000 inhabitants.  I'm married to Peter and we have two teenagers Camilla and Casper and then we have our Samoyeds dog Bølle.  

I have been blogging since September 2010 and I write about what interests me most:
(View Lone's blog here:  Krea-Krampen.)
an example of Lone's beautiful artwork
This one presented as a gift to  Lene of  The Essence of the Good Life

I enjoy being creative in the garden, painting pictures and making fun different things with my hands.
. . . . .

Lone apologized for not sending more information saying that her English wasn't great, but nonetheless it was easy for me to see what a talented, creative individual she is.  When I learned that she knows Lene -one of my favorite bloggers (The Essence of the Good Life),  I decided to contact Lene to see if she could give us a little more on her friend Lone.  I was particularly interested to know the correct translation for Lone's blog name.  Here's what she sent me:

Lone writes a gardening blog, something I also do, and she lives in Denmark. Although I live in Norway, I own a farm with large garden in Denmark. We got to know because we started giving each other comments on our respective blogs. Later we wrote e-mail to each other.

Lone painted abstract pictures, which I also do. My greatest desire is to learn flower painting, so I asked Lone if she could paint flower pictures, as my favorite flower painter, Anne Just from Denmark, who died in 2009.

Lone was also enthusiastic about Anne Just, so she would therefore try to paint like that. It was very successful, and she gave her first big flower picture as a gift to meMy husband Niels and I visited Lone and her husband Peter in Denmark at Easter 2011, and they will come to Norway to visit us.

The title "Krea-cramps" means; creative spasm, cramp or convulsive fit.   It is really an appropriate name for the blog becauseif there is anything Lone has, it's creative spasms or convulsions!  Both when it comes to painting and gardening. She makes the most beautiful garden shapes of branches and other things from the garden, and she can really paint many diferent ways and is very talented - wish it was me ...

A Big Hug and THANK YOU! to two amazing, creative ladies.  Another example of this wonderful blogworld bringing kindred spirits together.    All my best to you both!  xoxo ~LeAnn

. . . . .

Kathie Engstrom Gottlieb - Carbondale, Colorado USA
(Won $100 Gift Card Give-Away August 8th)

I am 61 years old, and a recently retired RN which was my career from the age of 21.  I specialized in critical care nursing. I am married with a 22 year old son in his last year of college who is studying the environment/ecology.

Both my husband and son are musicians and singers so there is always lots of music in the house.  We have had many a bluegrass-picking party here but I have to admit my son started off playing metal music.  He now likes jazz and funk.  -I survived to tell the story :)

I live outside of Aspen, Colorado in a town called Carbondale.  I have always loved growing flowers, shrubs, trees, and vegetables.  I used to have a side business in my 30's designing perennial borders on my days off from nursing.  I did all the physical labour myself.  Currently I am passionate about xeriscape landscaping and growing orchids. I have had a passionate interest in orchids for over 30 years and my orchids flourish even in this no-humidity environment.  

I also have woven on looms off and on throughout my life. I currently have 2 looms.  I learned while living in Mendocino California, at the Mendocino Arts Center when I was in my 20's  

We recently remodeled our house and it was a dream to be able to design what I wanted.  I have been interested in decorating since my early 20's and have always stayed in the earth tones and neutrals with pops of red and purple and a little orange and yellow.  

I still have items and furniture in my house from my 20's, timeless pieces: earthy antiques, sterling silver platters, antique indian baskets along with a French antique secretary and carved side tables, copper pots. Velvet and handweavings abound.  

My china is ivory with gold trim and was all picked up from junk and second hand shops.  My collection contains many different manufacturers but I always stayed in the same palette so it all works well together.   All my crystal as well was purchased in junk shops, garage sales and second hand stores...It all looks very chic now.  I bought my first wine glasses at a junk shop in Laguna Beach when I was 21.  

My grandmothers were my decorating inspiration  One was born in Belgium and the other was born in Sweden and they were both very "old world."  I still have linen sheets woven by my Belgium grandmother when she was living in a convent.  I use them too, but had to sew them together to fit on the bed. And I inherited my Swedish grandmother's button collection when she sewed gowns for old Hollywood in the 40's.

I'm also inspired by my cousin Kimberlee. She was just born with the flair for fashion.  She has always been in on the latest trends in fashion and very creative in her decorating and gardening.  

I have saved articles in magazines forever on color combinations and styles of decorating.  If you had to pin a style on me its eclectic and earthy, antique and environmentally conscious. -Always has been.

It's no wonder when I discovered blogs, I ended up on linen and lavender.  I collect old linen and grow lavender so the name piqued my interest immediately.  I feel at home on this blog.  In the morning I'll make some coffee and sit on my brocade chaise lounge in the sunroom surrounded by my orchids and old china cabinet and look at my computer. I have ordered about 8 of the books that LeAnn has on her site and I will look through those as well, and dream of far away chateaus and homes from other countries.  Linen and lavender has allowed me all of the traveling I need right now.

I love to camp and be out in nature for my vacations.  Love the Utah desert as well as the forests of the Rockies.  I have been to Europe and San Francisco is my favorite American City,  but right now I am just enjoying my home.  Health issues have forced me to slow down.  

I love to read both fiction and non fiction and keep a list of books that I need to read.  My favorite author is Wallace Stegner I also enjoy vocal jazz with Stacy Kent, Ella, and Melody Gardot being my favorites.  Brandi Carlyle is my favorite new artist and -big surprise- I have CD's from Francoise Hardy. I also love Xavier Rudd, Jack Johnson, Johnny Hartman, Bruce Springsteen, John Coltraine Yo-Yo Ma and the list goes on. My all-time favorite recording artist is a toss between Joni Mitchell and Ella.  Joni's music was the roadmap to my life.  My favorite flowers are the sweet pea and crimson colored geraniums. I like to make yeasted breads.

I still am in shock over winning the $100. gift certificate but in some ways it's not a surprise.  The style of the blog is my style in so many ways, and it's sort of a validation for me to think that through all of these years of doing my own designing and collecting that there are other people out there with the same aesthetics in their environment as I have.

Thank you LeAnn.  My very best to you and my deepest gratitude for this very generous gift.  -Kathie Engstrom Gottlieb.

. . . . .

Meet Tiffany F. from Southern California
-the first winner of linen and lavender's 3-part anniversary celebration give-away. 
She received a 1 year subscription to one of my favorite magazines: 

. . . . .

Meet Kristi Delfino of Northern California 
who won "The Home Within Us" by Bobby McAlpine in linen and lavender's anniversary give-away.

a few of our favorite things

a few of our favorite things
click image to view all items

Italia! per sempre

Be Love.

l&l collection no. 11

l&l collection no. 12 - It speaks to me.


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Fireworks from the Ponte Vecchio

Fireworks from the Ponte Vecchio
Giovanni Signorini (Firenze)



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