Thursday, February 12, 2015

Shopping as it used to be.

Last week we made the trip to our nearest big town, we make this trip about four times a year, mainly to stock up on Organic butter but always try to coincide our visit with other needs only available from a larger town.
 This visit I needed some material to recover our bedhead. I had vaguely been aware of  a drapers shop in town but had never visited it.
 From the outside it looks small, rather scruffy, and somewhat outdated, however when you go in you are greeted by an Aladdin's cave of haberdashery. Stacked floor to ceiling, every type and colour of ribbon, lace trim, cord trim. Buttons! not the type that come in inconvenient amounts on a card so you are forced to buy more than you need, buttons sold loose, from tubs, so you can have exactly the amount you require.
 As you walk down the aisle you realise that this is not a small shop, it is a Tardis. The wool section must be forty feet long at least, stacked high with every type of wool you can imagine, including Organic wool. They sell webbing for reupholstering seats, every grade of hessian, from the very fine for tapestry to the coarser type used for sacking.
Then I discovered the upholstery section, I was spoilt for choice, however, at that stage a male assistant appeared, ( rather like the genie out of the lamp) and asked if he could be of assistance. I told him that I wanted to recover a bedhead, Oh, we  sell material especially for this , he said, come this way. Although I have been making soft furnishing for years I never knew there was a special material for bedheads! They have just about every colour you can imagine would be used for bedheads.
We selected a soft lilac colour in crushed velvet. This is a shop I will certainly be returning to, if only to give me inspiration next winter for a new project.
The bedhead is now done, it complements the new paint work beautifully, and I have sufficient material to make a couple of throw cushions for the bed, a project for the next rainy day.
Every one of the broad beans Simon planted in the root trainers germinated, they are now being slowly hardened off. The raised bed that they will go into has been covered with black polythene, this serves three purposes.
 1. Weed strike, the warmer temperature under the plastic will help germinate any weed seeds lurking in the soil, they can then be removed before planting out the beans.
2. Slugs, any slugs around will be tempted by the warmth under the cover, they can then be dispatched.
3. The black polythene will warm up the soil and give the beans a good start.
By coincidence I had a news letter this week from the GIY network. (Grow it Yourself) One of the topics was raised beds. Apparently the ideal size  is 42 inches wide, including the wood, and path ways should be 32 inches wide to allow for a wheel barrow to pass easily and to give sufficient width to be able to kneel down for weeding and planting. Simon had not measured anything, he just worked with the materials available. By luck or maybe some judgement the beds just happen to be 42 inches wide and the pathways 32 inches!
On our way back from a new farmers market last weekend we decided to make a small detour, it is in fact a new bypass road 13.5k long and cost 60million to build, the powers that be said was much needed to by pass a small town which is already dying. However there has been some nice landscaping done along it and some very nice willow sculptures.
The road was somewhat lacking in traffic and we managed to photograph a couple of the sculptures, a donkey
and a hare, unfortunately we missed the best one, a pig, but I will make sure to get a photo the next time we use this road.
 It was a lovely day, sunny but a bit chilly so again we took a detour on our way to deliver eggs to one of our customers,
our trip took us past Lough Gara with the Curlew mountains in the distance. It is a very scenic and peaceful  area,
I doubt it has changed much over the last few hundred years although at one time it would probably have been surrounded by oaks.


  1. These willow sculptures are just amazing. I haven't seen anything like them before. I cool that someone take the time and effort to create something so beautiful and then displays for others to share. I bet there is quite a competition between makers.

    So where is the photo of the bed head? I'm waiting. I think i could waste more than just a few hours in that store and i think i would have to be very very careful not to walk out with arms full of goodies.

    1. Willow weaving is very popular here Lynda, I must ask a friend of ours if she know who made them.
      I will post a photo of the bedhead when I've done the cushions, the room is still not finished as it's been very dry here so the garden takes priority.

  2. I read somewhere that raised beds and 'lazy beds' got the measurements from the width of the axle on the dung carts when the farmers planted potatoes year a go. Love the sculptures!

    1. Lazy beds date far beyond that Dave, they have been used for thousands of year by indigenous tribes long before the wheel was invented. Raised beds really started in the 70's as it was found that with lazy beds you get a lot of run off of nutrients, the width is supposed to represent how far you can comfortable reach from either side of the bed to the centre so you never have to step on it.

  3. We thought those willow sculptures were just a Christmas thing, but they look to be staying. We approve. That wool shop / haberdashers? Could you give us a clue. Liz is desperately seeking some 'Sirdar' wool of a specific batch to finish a pullover we under-estimated.

    1. Given the length of time it takes to make a sculpture I would very much doubt that they were just for Christmas, just to make a living willow dome takes me over a day, the willow arches even longer. I don't know what the life span of the sculptures would be.
      Main Street, opposite the parking in the square, I didn't notice if they sell Sirdar wool but I have my doubts if you will get the same batch colour, but who knows, you might get lucky.

  4. What a brilliant find the shop was, I would be in there all day mooching around! I love the willow sculptures, especially the hare

  5. I had been aware of the shop for years Chickpea but I'm one of those rare people who hates shopping or browsing so I have to have a reason to go into a shop, this is however one shop than will become the exception!

  6. I also hate shopping but would most definitely make an exception for a real traditional haberdashery. I will let you know when we are coming over.
    The willow sculptures are beautiful, indeed anything made from natural mediums are. I have a thing about hares, love them. We eat rabbit but I won't eat a hare.
    Looking forward to seeing your bedhead.

  7. We breed rabbits for the table Irene, we do eat hare but only road kill, I cant stand to think that such a lovely animal will go to waste. Have sent you a message via Google connect, I hope you get it, I'm not sure if I did it right. Anyway I see you are coming over next month, you would be most welcome to stay here for a couple of days. Nearest airport 'Knock'

  8. Hello Anne,
    Yes got your comments and thank you.
    Would eat road kill, but surprisingly not come across any for a couple of years.
    We are hoping to come over next month, have not made definite plans (best laid of mice and men) so could be April. Thank you so much for your kind offer. It will be our first visit to Ireland and it is always nice to know that one has a friendly contact. May have heaps of questions to ask after our visit if not before.

  9. Love the description of entering the haberdashery, sounds magical! Useful info about covering the beds too, I´m always learning! x

  10. Replies
    1. We have discovered more of them Ian, but did not have the camera with us, I will make sure to take it with us next time we go that way.