Sunday, December 15, 2013

God Bless us, everyone!

  

                                       

That is the last sentence of Charles Dicken's      'A Christmas Carol.' A well known story and often read every year. First published 17 December 1843, it is a well known tale of a bitter old man who is transformed. Dickens' Victorian England mixed the struggles between classes and often reflected a picture of charm, quaintness and character.

During Christmas, in part, because of A Christmas Carol, we think of London and the England. So living in London during Christmas it is fun to stroll the streets and think of days of old.



Walking the streets and by-ways there are so many reminders of  the Christmas season. Roasting chestnuts, markets, shop windows and lights. At night you see the silhouette of the Victorian era chimneys against the Christmas moon light.




 

Where else will you
see a Brussels Sprout
Christmas Tree... or
fresh game rabbit, duck, goose, pheasant, and so much more. Both in Borough Market. There are fresh Christmas Trees and Carol Singers.






This was one of my favorite Christmas window displays (Purdey's of London). It has so many items that Jackie and I love... light fixtures, fabrics, suitcases, hat boxes, books, benches, shelves, among other treats that have become hidden by an early snow and frozen in time.



Walking throughout London at Christmas, the lights draw you down streets and lanes and shops. 
 














Or perhaps, if you walk and seek long and hard enough you can find the reason for the season,

 This Christmas Season  may your door be welcoming...
and the warmth of your home bring peace and joy...


Merry Christmas and God Bless us, everyone!
Jackie and Beth





Friday, November 15, 2013

Selfridges: A Century of Regal

"The admiration and appreciation of remarkable and enduring finery" is how I would describe my response to my investigation and discovery of Selfridges Department Store on Oxford Street in London.  The iconic neo-classical landmark was built and opened by Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1909, turning Oxford Street from "undesirable backwater" to the the trendiest fashion shopping destination in London.


In May of 2012, Selfridges was crowned the World's No. 1 Department Store by IGDS (Intercontinental Group of Department Stores) and after an entire century, continues its in-store experience, elusive quality, and grandiose setting, and "steadfastly glamorous solution to any of your shopping needs.", says Idol Magazine.

Selfridges' Department Store
"The Selfridges brand has gone from strength to strength worldwide, and this prestigious retail award recognizes its true value as a performer and innovator," said Selfridges' owner Galen Weston. The remarkable history and continued success of Selfridges produced and continues to headline in Vogue Magazine, The UK Independent, Forbes, not to forget the TV series "Mr. Selfridge", and adaptation of the book by Lindy Woodhead "Shopping, Seduction, & Mr. Selfridge", now nominated for a Primetime Emmy and available online through IMDb, an Amazon.com company.

What really intrigued me during my search and discovery of Selfridges' history was the PBS special entitled, "Secrets of Selfridges". The special is a tribute to the Department Store's adaptability, innovation, and excellence, let's not forget Harry Gordon Selfridge, who's legacy remains a world leader in fashion and experience.

Remarkable, isn't it? The credits, headlines, and pedigree continue and yet......I want to take you back to nearly the beginning of the Selfridges' legacy......
For London’s women it was particularly liberating. For the first time they could go out alone and still be respectable and comfortable. Incredibly, Selfridges was the first ever store in Britain to provide women’s toilets. Soon the suffragettes, campaigning for the female vote, found a key ally in Selfridge and his store. Selfridge also broke down entrenched British class barriers. His innovation of discounts and the bi-annual sale are taken for granted now. In 1910 it had upper class ladies and working women scrambling for the same goods. He took the risk of bringing cosmetics out of hiding and placed it right by the ground floor entrance.                
At this time in history, Selfridge seemed to key into the needs of women and I'm quite sure our amazing cabin trunk (in stock at FMF Compagnie) was used by those same women in London who had a need for travel accessories.


This spectacular travel piece has large wooden ribs surrounding the body of the trunk, used to protect the trunk's contents while traveling. The corners and trim-work are leather and the original latches are brass, full of character and appropriately tarnished!


Imagine how stunned Beth and I were to find the trunk's original key, with the Selfridges' tag still intact! 


What an amazing treasure to find, hand-written on one side with the description, "Larger C.C. Cabin Trunk". Someone, maybe Ms. Pemberton, as the name stamped on the top of the trunk indicates, took excellent care of their travel trunk.


One thing we know for certain, this trunk and its owner were well-traveled.  Take a look at the wonderful original antique travel stickers on the trunk.

Let's take the North Eastern Railway to Chalfont & Latimer or Hamburg, shall we?


The interior of the trunk is delicately beautiful. You can see the quality in the workmanship and detail.


Do you suppose Ms. Pemberton's trading cards or other important information was tucked safely under the interesting lattice of string?


And the serial number marked in the leather handle along with the stork in the brass tag are stamps of pride by the original manufacturer. (I am still doing research on the original maker of this trunk, so if you have any insight, I would love to hear from you: jackie@fmfcompagnie.com.)

When it comes to great design, Beth and I agree, using something today that comes with such amazing history and significance adds to the charm of our homes.

Like the Selfridges legacy reminds us, give your home elusive quality and be steadfastly glamorous!

You can find this trunk along with a great selection of steadfastly glamorous antiques and vintage pieces on our website:  www.FMFCompagnie.com.

And now, it's your turn! Please share your story with us! Is there a wonderful trunk or train case that you use in your home? Do tell! We'd love to hear about it!

xoxo

Jackie

Friday, November 1, 2013

Little Orange Hearts for Jackie

As the days grow dark in England and the sun sets lower in our sky, I am reminded of fall in Scottsdale with the warm temperatures coming down to the 70's but still sunshine every day....oh sunshine!



At our home we had over 24 orange trees on the property and we named our adobe home, La Finca de Naranjas because of the beautiful grove surrounding it. We squeezed fresh oranges every day starting in late November and early December. I used to give a jug of fresh squeezed juice as Christmas gifts and my tag always had a little orange skin heart hot glued on as an embellishment. So, today as I was thinking of Jackie preparing her Arcadia Citrus Grove line, I cut little hearts and started drying them. I also cut up all the left over scraps of the skin and let them dry as well. Ultimately, I will use the hearts on ornaments I make, or on gift tags. All of the little tangerine scraps I will mix with orange skin scraps, dried crushed cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon to make holiday sachets. I am going to mail some of the little hearts to Jackie for her to use on future embellishments on her products.I just can't help myself participating long distance with the Arcadia Citrus Groves product line......so I nibbled on some tangerines at lunch today!


Peeling an orange or a tangerine is one of those gifts from God. The burst of fragrance and the spurt of citrus juice are a sensory delight! I have always loved oranges and used them through the years to decorate with in our home. Miss having them right out my front and back doors.

There is a new product that Jackie just finished this week...here is your sneak peek!!! Every time you use her orange liquid soap it is going to be just like peeling  a fresh orange! What a treat as you wash up!


She has also designed the most precious orange sachet out of burlap and filled with a mixture similar to mine with oranges, cinnamon and nutmeg. Wonderful in a kitchen drawer with your daily dish towels.


I am just too far away in England.....as Fall arrives here and the seasonal darkness comes in....I am dreaming of being in Scottsdale with Jackie working together on the Arcadia Citrus Groves line and with our vintage and antique pieces. We have a fun project in the works, partnering with a local spot in Scottsdale.....but more on that later!

Jim and I have been trying to get out and about in London on Saturdays and Sundays after church to see as much as we can while we live in the City. After being in London for three weeks we continue visiting  different neighborhoods that are special. Recently we went to Shoreditch which is a very trendy spot for clothes shopping. They are quite well known for a shopping center that is constructed from large shipping containers and housing 'pop up stores'.



















We also visited Brick Lane....totally vintage clothing heaven.



One store after another and the people watching was some of the best I've seen in a long time,especially if you love quirky fashion! Again, a lot of pop up shops in patios and basements.



















We fell in love with this one lane we just happened upon that was quiet and had town homes in beautiful old brick, three stories, and simple shutters adorning the windows. It reminded us of colonial neighborhoods in the States. We would have loved to have moved right in!!! I especially loved this one with the mouse back grey brown color on the door and shutters with the old brick.




Once you find these neighborhoods, every lane has something that lures you in, especially when it comes to trendy fashion. I love clothes, but I love interior stores more and I am finding it really hard to find innovative interiors in the City. But I am determined, and will continue to look.

Looking at all these orange pictures, I'm needing a citrus snack. Cheers from London...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall Bursts Into Color

Sometimes I wonder how anything could be more beautiful and breathtaking than the amazing display God designed to be "Fall". Here in Arizona, you might say we live for fall to rescue us from the heat of summer and in many ways, bring life back to the Valley.

Having grown up in the Midwest, fall meant frosty temperatures, the end of my mother's beautiful vegetable and flower gardens and a bountiful harvest waiting to to be gathered in from the fields. It meant bonfires and hayrides with hot cocoa and cider. My heart is filled with warmth just remembering those wonderful times with family and friends. 

Fall Leaves in Wisconsin

My dear friend, Lorie, took this photo looking out into her yard from her home in Antigo, Wisconsin, our home town. The fall season never ever lasts long enough, and now since I live in the desert, it has taken on new meaning for me and my family. We get our fall "fix" by heading up north to visit Mom & Dad Funkhouser in the mountains where we enjoy fall colors and cocoa by the fireplace.

As Beth mentioned in her last post, London is alive with social gathering spots where a good cup of coffee wards off the brisk air. One of these days we will share one together once again. However, I doubt we will need coffee to give our conversation a little "buzz"! This is one of those really "juicy" ....hehe........fun things I love about sharing a passion for beauty and design with Beth....we get to create together!  And create we have done!


The Arcadia area in Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ, is now coming alive with bursts of citrus colors as fruit begins to ripen, one of the desert's own bounty is again available by the bushel. As we blogged about previously, this unique fall display is the inspiration for our new line of products, everything Arcadia Citrus Groves!


Mike and I love to enjoy fall by getting out in the early morning on our bikes. This past weekend, we enjoyed a "hot" cup of coffee and stopped at the market. 


After we returned home, I began working in my studio and of course, Frank had to nestle in and help. I'm not sure he was really any help at all, but he's a funny little guy, always curious and ready to pounce on anything he deems the need to conquer. In spite of the extra entertainment, I was able to complete our design of some really fantastic Arcadia Citrus Groves tote bags. They are made of either burlap or white linen, are fully lined, and we love the old orange and grapefruit crate labels on the front.




This is fun, too, they are our Sweet Orange soaps, made especially for FMF Compagnie's Household Goods Division! ;) The soaps have a layer of oatmeal and settled down inside the orange layer is a loofah. The loofah makes the orange appear to have sections. This has become my new favorite foot scrub!  I love this soap!


You can't have soap without the towels! Ours are 100% cotton and have been finished with dotted trim and rickrack (isn't that a fun word?!!). We are loving this ode to our neighborhood and the history of our citrus groves.


Beth and I will also be adding Sweet Orange liquid hand soap, Arcadia Citrus Groves orange and grapefruit crates (in two sizes), dried boxwood floral pieces, Arcadia Citrus Groves pillows, fresh squeezed orange juice from none other than .....  you guessed it.........Arcadia Citrus Groves, and we can't wait to share our ACG Orange Honey and Orange Scones with you (sorry......these food items will only be available at the Prince of Peace Bazaar).

Remember, everything Arcadia Citrus Groves and FMF Compagnie Household Goods. You will find them on our website soon: www.FMFCompagnie.com, on our Etsy site, and also at the upcoming Prince of Peace Craft, Book & Bake Bazaar. Come check out our new line of products along with some amazing antiques and vintage pieces! We look forward to seeing you there!