Where'd everything go???
Traffic was light, the sky was clear, the sun was shining, and the book on tape was great. All this on the drive to Wrenthem yesterday to visit With Heart and Hand. http://www.withheartandhand.net/ The shop is actually in the little town of Norfolk, just across the line from Wrenthem MA. We almost passed it. Haven't been there in four or five years, I guess. My memory was of an old building with a front porch filled with country wares, bittersweet, rocking chairs and the like. Yesterday, there was only a mannequin out front sporting a hat and shawl. I thought we were in the wrong place. But up the steps I went. Once inside, I recognized the owner who was surrounded by lovely displays of silver jewelry, beautiful handbags and gorgeous shawls and jackets. What's up with this? Not what I was expecting. I trekked upstairs to the loft looking for their formerly huge stock of fabrics. To my shock and surprise, the loft was full small wares, quilts, lampshades and odds 'n ends on sale. Although their website says, "over 500 bolts of homespun, decorator weight, toile and crewel fabrics," only a small stash of fabric bolts was visible. My heart sank. After chatting with one of the owners, I learned that the store has been going through some of the aches and pains of other small businesses so changes had been made. With Heart and Hand still makes custom curtains, table runners and the like. But the bolts of cotton civil war prints, homespuns, and fabrics so unique, I just could not find them anywhere else were gone. I sadly picked out two prints from what was left and bought enough of each for four new aprons. Back downstairs, I ventured into the rear of the shop where the furniture displays had always been. (The rear of the shop is actually a 200 year old house.) I was relieved to see a high back Sheraton love seat and several wing back chairs upholstered in familiar colonial fabrics. A huge, pine, dining table was flanked with black Windsor chairs and decorated with greens and Christmas fancy. Lots of reproduction cupboards all decked out and beautiful Christmas trees with ornaments so pretty, I was hesitant to take any of them off to purchase. I found a treenware bowl for the new table that hubby is making and a good stash of the new, 3 watt candle light bulbs that I use in our windows at home. But I couldn't hide my disappointment over the change in the front room. Most of the space was taken up with boutique items. Turns out, the shop is doing as well selling scarves and jewelry as they once did selling primitive and colonial wares. The juxtaposition of the two eras in one building was a bit disconcerting to say the least. Thankfully, Linda of Behind My Red Door http://www.behindmyreddoor.blogspot.com/ had tipped me off earlier that morning in a blog comment, that With Heart and Hand was not what it once was. So, I was somewhat prepared but still terribly disappointed.
Not to be denied, hubby and I had lunch next door at the Eagle Brook Saloon. Now there's a place that hasn't changed a bit. It really feels like an old time saloon inside. Lunch was terrific so we ended the day on a high note.
This was not the first time I've been surprised and somewhat disappointed by either a drastic change or a complete closing of a favorite shop. I guess all good things must come to an end. But, I'm running out of places to go!! More online shopping is in order.
On a happier side, I finished an apron that I just adore. The fabric, as you can see, is a gorgeous shade of Ochre. It looks very old fashioned so I added a row of tiny pleated ruffles across the top of the bib. I think it's the sweetest apron I've made yet. Click on the picture for a closer look and check it out in detail at http://www.apronsgonewild.etsy.com/