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My “Homage to Eileen Gray” (Updated)

My “Homage to Eileen Gray” in Irish linen

I am delighted to tell you that my “Homage to Eileen Gray” in Irish linen is being launched  this week end at a wonderful shop in Nassau St, Dublin, called “House of Ireland”. so hop down and have a look if you can. The Collection consists of table runners and napkins, in colours of sand and white,  which is very contemporary  and are great together.  I am thrilled how everyone has loved it so far.

I would like to thank Mrs Galligan, Mary, Marieanne, Pádraic and all the staff at House of Ireland.

If you are far away from Ireland you can view them online at http://www.AgnesHDesign.com

AgnesLinen_Web-128  AgnesLinen_Web-126 AgnesLinen_Web-125 AgnesLinen_Web-131 AgnesLinen_Web-126 AgnesLinen_Web-124 AgnesLinen_Web-127

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History of Linen

Linen is woven from the Flax plant (Linum Usitatissimum). It is one of the oldest and loveliest textiles known to man. It dates back over 5,000 years and was used by the Egyptians. The plant is grown in deep loamy soil and is one of the few plants to have a “true blue” coloured flower.

Flax is environmentally friendly. It needs only a short growing period, very little fertiliser and the whole plant is used. The seeds produce Linseed oil, which is used in painting, French Polish and varnishing. Seeds are edible as flaxseed which is a good source of omega 3. Cold pressed oil is suitable for human consumption.

Flax was planted all over Ireland, north and south and since the Linen Board was set up in 1711 offering prizes to manufacturers of linen, we can assume that our history with linen goes back much further than this. The Irish Linen Board, published a list of nearly 60,000 individuals who were growing flax in 1796 in Ireland. Spinning wheels were awarded based on the number of acres planted for example; one acre awarded the planter a spinning wheel, while five acres awarded him a loom. Fabric is made from inside the stem or stalk of the plant and it is from this that it gets its distinctive texture and beautiful quality.

A great friend of our family remembers his grandfather removing the outer stalk of the flax to expose the fibre inside. This was done by hand then, and was very hard work.

Jute tape, rope, sacking, and paper are also produced from this fine plant.

Linen is made from natural fibres. It is very beautiful, hard wearing should last for many years and can be passed on from one generation to the next. it may have what looks like small imperfections which may be a change in the weave this is normal.
Linen is a natural product and a woven cloth so each piece of linen is unique in itself and has its own character. This is why it is so beautiful and sought after.  AgnesH

the-flax-plant-linum-usitatissimum

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My “Homage to Eileen Gray” in Irish linen

My “Homage to Eileen Gray” in Irish linen

I am delighted to tell you that my “Homage to Eileen Gray” in Irish linen is being launched  this week end at a wonderful shop in Nassau St, Dublin, called “House of Ireland”. so hop down and have a look if you can. The Collection consists of table runners and napkins, in colours of sand and white,  which is very contemporary  and are great together.  I am thrilled how everyone has loved it so far.

I would like to thank Mrs Galligan, Mary, Marieanne, Pádraic and all the staff at House of Ireland.

If you are far away from Ireland you can view them online at http://www.AgnesHDesign.com

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Cookery & Cures of Old Kilkenny. Ireland

Cookery & Cures of Old Kilkenny. Ireland

Photo shows; Ballaghtobin House 1778 Kilkenny, Ireland. Furse bushes and linen from- Agnes H Design.

I came across this recipe in an old book I have had for years. It draws from the past…..and is
a collection of cures and recipes dating back for generations, from hand written diaries and manuscripts collected from the very old houses and castles along the Nore valley, in Co Kilkenny and the book is designed and laid out by Susan Mosse and Susan Taylor.
The earliest Kilkenny recipe goes back as far as the 14th century and is taken from a book called “The Red Book of Ossory, translated by Canon C Adrian, Empey of Kells.
This little book is a lovely piece of Irish heritage, giving great insight into the social history through the generations in Ireland.

The recipe I want to share with you is;

How to wash fine lace or linen;

It reads;
Take a gallon of furse blossom and burn them to ashes. Then boil six quarts of soft water. This when fine, use in washing with suds as occasion may require and the linen etc will not only be exceedingly white but has done with half the soap and little trouble.

Would you take a chance and use this recipe on your white linen?

How did they even think of burning yellow furse ?
and why would you add ashes to the washing?
Is there a science behind it ?
Hope you enjoyed reading and let me know if you have any ideas on the above?
Kindest Regards,
Agnes H

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New Designs for Spring /Summer and “Busy Bees”

We have been “busy bees” here in Wexford, Ireland in the past few months and as a result ….

We have a lot of new tabletop designs in fine Irish linen, including runners and tablecloths  for Spring /Summer about to hit our web site http://www.AgnesHDesign.com in the next week. The reaction so far has been terrific! so we are delighted with that.

We hope you like them too. In cool blues and pale pink, they are perfect for the summer wedding, all fine dining,  a  St Valentine romantic dinner for two, not to mention dining alfresco. 

Some of our designs depict the very traditional Irish boat called the “Galway Hooker” named, not for reasons that spring to mind! But because it was used to hook fish long before the introduction of fishing nets. (Sorry to kill that other thought!) 

Its shape and design has given inspiration to many modern sailing vessels built in America  in recent years as it is a master in rough seas.

Other designs depict our trad cottage here in Ireland and my favourite is the pink abstract flower on pink  Irish linen.. this is sooo.. nice.!

There is one more ( not shown here) that I am working on and am very excited about. I will keep you posted when it is finished.

Don’t forget to drop by our web site to see our great offers! at..

http://www.AgnesHDesign.com

Let me know what you think?

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Christmas Past and Present

Christmas table
Christmas table

I love this time of year and it brings back so many happy memories from my childhood ……………..

Dad taking the list for Santa,

Roaring fires and the lights on the Christmas tree and feeling warm and cosy and safe.

Mrs Roche a wonderful wonderful woman who was always there for us, Who taught me to sew and knit . Who minded the family and loved us all.

My dad putting up the Christmas tree and that the lights to his dismay! Always seemed to be in a  tangle  in the box.

Mam making the most delicious cakes maybe 14 or more, beautifully iced and giving them as gifts and of course one extra for the raffle.

To putting on your Sunday best and raiding the warm cooked ham after coming from church on Christmas eve.

Mam taking a lovely Irish linen table cloth and setting a beautiful table and then cooking the  most gorgeous food

Mam and dad delaying Christmas dinner until I arrived home from work.

Watching  TV with mam and listening to “Bing” sing “White Christmas”

Dad making hot ports.

Uncle Andy trying to make us laugh during prayers, with Holy Mary Mother of God.- Going to school is only a cod!  and mam saying behave with a “Look”

Now I take a lovely Irish linen tablecloth and dress the table and prepare for Santas arrival.

Roaring fires, the lights on the tree, with my family and friends and all are warm  cosy and safe

How lucky we are!

Have  safe and Happy Christmas.

x Agnes