Follow-Up Resources from our November General Meeting, by Patty Ryan

November 24th, 2014 by

NovGM2We had a fabulous turnout for our November General Meeting, flower arranging by new member, Myriam Rico de Casso. She is clearly knowledgeable and passionate about flowers. It was interesting to see how the arrangements are created.  There is a great deal of planning and preparation that goes into making the arrangements before Myriam begins to place the flowers.NovGM1
The good news is that you creative types can try this on your own. You can get together with several friends and place a large order with Myriam. Many shops don’t have one-off items for sale. You must purchase or order large quantities of certain items. Note too, that many garden centres are carrying decorative live moss right now because the nativity scenes that everyone creates for the December holidays call for it. The rest of the season you’ll need to order it.
Those of you that are non-creative with flowers (like me), you can call Myriam and ask her to create an arrangement for you. NovGM4Just don’t wait until the last minute for any of this. It all takes time and planning. Usually a week or more to order items, do plan accordingly.
Below are Myriam’s contact details and a few shops where you may be able to purchase items directly.

Myriam Rico de Casso
Myriam’s Secret

* A6 carretera de A Coruña:
ALAJARDIN, Jardinería Creativa.
Autopista de A Coruña Km. 21,222
28230 Las Rozas – Madrid
Take exit 19 (via de servicio) towards A Coruña
Phone: 91 637 01 72
From Mon to Fri: 9am – 7pm
Sat&Sun: 9am – 2pm

* Madrid Center:
Calle Condes del Val 9
Madrid 91 457 48 47

* A1 carretera de Burgos
SHANGAI viveros
c/ de los Dominicos 42
28050 Madrid
Phone: 91 383 85 50
Hours: from 8am to 8pm

Lagartera, Spain, An Embroidered Table Linen Paradise, by Elaine Samson

November 4th, 2014 by

Looking for great gifts, new family heirlooms, or a makeover for your dining room? In Lagartera you can find all that, and support a dwindling community of artisans.

Lagartera embroidery is a world-famous style of embroidery and pulled thread work. The village of Lagartera is a 1-hour, 45-minute drive from Madrid on the A-5. It is just 2km from Oropesa, which has a lovely Parador.

The town of Lagartera has a municipal museum (open Tuesday-Saturday) with displays on the town’s history, and artist Marcial Moreno Pascual. During the feast of Corpus Cristi, which takes place each June, every doorway is converted into a mini shrine with wallhangings, and statues. Everyone dons the traditional, elaborate costumes.
The village has a cafe, a restaurant, 2 banks with ATMS,and a variety of shops selling embroidery along the main street calle Fray Juan de los Angeles.


At #20, is the shop of Julia Pino and her daughter Paloma Suela Pino. They specialize in the most traditional Lagartera designs and can create custom orders to match your good china, at amazingly good prices.

At #18, is Bordados Garcia, run by Antonio Garcia Sanchez and his brothers. They offer an extensive inventory of tablecloths in a range of colors with more modern/neutral designs.

At #61, avenida Maestro Guerrero just as you enter town is Bordados de Lagartera. This shop carries heirloom-quality table and bed linens. Prices are correspondingly higher for these intricate and beautiful items, but still a bargain when you consider the number of hours required to make them.

A pottery town close-by is Puente del Arzobispo. Spanish ceramics galore. If you get an early start and manage your time well, you can squeeze in a stop to “Puente”, just a few miles from Lagartera. Puente is home to a dozen or so ceramic factories/showrooms of Talavera pottery. The most popular/well-known designs are blue & yellow, medieval hunting scenes, and delicate florals. If you arrive during the lunchtime closing period, many of the showrooms have a sign/buzzer and someone will come to open up for you. Fabrica de Ceramic Cruz is one of the most well-known, and periodically sells at craft bazaars in Madrid.
Back in Madrid, seek out, Antigua Casa de Talavera: Ceramics Nirvana. Located on Calle Isabel la Catolica in Madrid, near metro stop Santo Domingo, this is a family-run shop in operation since 1904 and run by the family’s 4th generation. If you are looking for a special souvenir or are a certified ceramics maniac, don’t miss this shop. It carries the most extensive collection of all of Spain’s best Talavera ceramic producers — many now out of business, casualties of the economic crisis. It has many unique pieces in a wide variety of styles: yellow & blue, medieval blue, Toledo “dry cord” designs, Granada Moorish patterns, copper/metallic glaze, cobalt & green, and many more. The owner can tell you the history behind each design and the artist who made it. Prices for individual pieces ran from 12 euros to several hundred, depending on: size, intricacy of design, age/rarity of the piece, and the artist.
casa cermaica

Casa Hernanz- The House the Espadrilles Built – by Ashley Wehmeyer

January 28th, 2014 by

Casa Hernanz- The House that Espadrilles Built

Former Madrid resident and INC member Ashley Wehmeyer explores the art of buying Spain’s national shoe–the espadrille

“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;
“Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there.”

alpargateria-casa-hernanz-madrid_919851 casa Hernanz 384932-casa-hernanz-seda-lazo-abierto









I was reminded of this poem, The Spider and The Fly, written by Mary Howitt (1799-1888), as I waited my turn to enter the Casa Hernanz espadrille store. I had heard about this store from some of the American ladies living in Madrid. Before returning to the United States, my friend, Nickie bought several pairs for herself and her girls. I’m so glad she got to go before she left Spain. She and I had been talking about going for months, especially when the weather turned warm. She told me how you stand in line and look at all the styles in the window before entering. She and the other ladies who went with her took pictures with their cell phone cameras in order to show the clerks exactly which shoes they wanted. Then you try and buy.

Here is what one magazine wrote about Casa Hernanz :
“It started over 150 years ago selling espadrilles in four colours. Their affordable price, lightness and, above all, the feeling of coolness they provided have led fashion icons like Yves Saint Laurent to include in their collections this shoe, originally worn by peasants. Espadrilles are timeless and Casa Hernanz is proof of it, selling up to 100,000 pairs in a year at their store on Calle Mayor. Their shop is so busy that the lines can even be seen from Plaza Mayor, a phenomenon which has been captured in the pages of the prestigious newspaper The New York Times. They currently sell espadrilles –with a jute sole and made of small pieces of fabric sewn by hand- in 36 colours just for the flat ones, sizes 18 to 47. Over time they have incorporated new fabrics, like cotton, canvas and silk, as well as new prints, although their cosy shop and their charming counters are still a part of the most traditional Madrid.”

When my in-laws came for one of their many visits, we went into Madrid, as we usually did. Once I’d seen Nickie’s shoes, I knew I wanted to go check out Casa Hernanz for myself, and my mother-in-law seemed pretty interested as well. Women and shoes…the cliches really are true ! So while the two of us waited in line, the guys walked to Plaza Santa Ana for some coffee. With my digital camera, I snapped pictures to show the clerks and yes they do take credit cards !

This clerk’s no nonsense approach reminded me of the famous Seinfeld episode, “The Soup Nazi.” No smiles, but at least I never heard her say, “No zapatos para ti!” (No shoes for you!)

We showed our clerk our choices on my camera, and now we wait…I felt a little bit like Cinderella…

Score…two pairs for me and two for my mother-in-law…

I went back with another friend, and got another pair. They didn’t have them in my size last time. We got the feeling that since they make the shoes right there in the back of the store, styles, sizes, and colors may vary from week to week…

Do you have a favorite espadrille store here in Madrid? Please share your favorites with us!

Casa Hernanz, Calle de Toledo, 18 28005 Madrid (near the Mercado San Miguel)

Tel. +34 913665450   Hours : Mon.-Sat. 9:00 am to 1:30 pm/ 4:30 pm-8:00 pm