Saturday, July 27, 2013

Land of Hope and Glory


"Land of Hope and Glory is a traditional patriotic British composition by Edward Elgar (lyrics by A. C. Benson) written in 1902 (and part of the trio including Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1). It was written at the bequest of King Edward VII. While "God Save the Queen" is accepted as the national anthem, many people embrace Land of Hope and Glory as a representation of their patriotism to the United Kingdom. After living in England over nine years, my heart of allegiance is very split between my beloved America and the United Kingdom. I have returned to Santa Monica, California to my parents beautiful beach house (which the gardens make me feel like I am right back in England!) and will be here for the next four and a half weeks till I take our youngest back to Penn State University and then on back to Castle Combe. England makes my heart soar with it's beauty in gardens, history, scraggly rock walls, sheep and pigs and all my friend's wonderful accents!!! I am home sick all ready and it has been only a few days in California, but it is wonderful to be with my kiddos, parents and see Jackie.  I am going to embrace every moment while in the States. I will plan on   listening to Elgar's "Land of Hope and Glory" while in California, because.........                            






it will take me back to my sweet, quaint village in the Cotswold.  Our beautiful church and the bell that rings every hour on the hour reminding us of it's towering presence. The tiny lanes that ramble through gardens. Our Union Jack flags that soar at the Manor House and War Remembrance. The By Brook that streams through our valley and quietly in the evening sings us to sleep. It is this "story book" village that makes my heart soar and all the history that goes hand and hand with the story.









Our village was originally part of a large manor with the owner living in this magnificent estate, now a Small Luxury Hotel. The village homes, once part of the estate and occupied by millers and farmers are now homes to so many friends; each unique and special.








It was a milling village, using the wool from sheep grazing the hillsides and valley. The By-Brook provided the power for the mill.







The Manor House raises some of its own food and produce and these are part of our village life.

 

Time has transformed much of England and much of the history has been lost. But our village is a timeless reminder of that by gone era. I know many of you will now have a better understanding why I am so passionate about  finding history in books, fabric, furniture and accessories and sharing them with you. Next time you hear " Land of Hope and Glory " you, like me will be reminded of that history with fondness.


This is a very old photograph of Castle Combe's market square. Back in these days there would have been a regular market here at the square where the farmers and merchants would come to sell to the village people. This may look very familiar to many of you, because this is where Steven Spielberg filmed scenes for War Horse. In two days Jackie and I will be setting up as merchants to sell our "wares" at the Santa Monica Antique and Collectible Show at the Santa Monica Airport. Years go by, but traditions of selling continue on!!! Please come see our collection on Sunday July 28th.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Oceanside ~ Scottsdale ~ Santa Monica

Fine Linens and Antiques


What a fun week we have had here in Oceanside, California!  My husband Mike's family has taken a week each year to meet for family time at the ocean.  This tradition was started by his grandparents and they have continued it for 45 years!  Each year we come, the children get a little more grown up (of course, we grown ups never get any older) and it is such a wonderful time to catch up with everyone. Mike and I are fortunate that this year Taylor and Nico have joined us, but we have missed Phillip's presence.  He is back in Wisconsin baling hay and taking care of his beef cattle, something he loves to do! 

While this has been a week of vacation, my mind has never been far from FMF Compagnie's venture and our upcoming market debut in Santa Monica!  As a matter of fact, one week from today, we will be loading our treasures and driving to Santa Monica to set up and get ready for the show.  

This week I've spent hours just watching the surf, the waves, the sand, all while soaking in the sun. The beach and ocean are majestic, powerful, beautiful, and so inspiring! I've enjoyed time to catch up on some reading and it was fun to find some Coastal Living magazines at our condo.  


It was fun to peruse through them!  I love the rough hewn beams on this gazebo and the light pastel colors, including the amazing Fortuny fabrics on the pillows scattered on the banquette.  


I loved this article, too... the beautiful black bamboo chairs in the background were found in one of Beth's and my favorite shops in Santa Monica, Rooms & Gardens, but even better, we have a sweet little antique black "bobbin" corner chair that is coming to the Santa Monica Airport Antique & Collectible Market with us that is reminiscent of this stunning pair from Rooms & Gardens.  Beth also found several large wicker trucks and hampers just like those you see above, also to be found at our market in Santa Monica. 


The sling chairs you see here certainly caught my eye and immediately reminded me of the vintage Welsh sun chairs we will also have in Santa Monica with us!  I wish I had one here in Oceanside with me this week!

I've been taking photos of some of the beautiful things I've seen throughout the week while here at the ocean. I have really appreciated the colors, patterns, and intricacies of each of the lovely flowers........




Remember the vintage and antique French and English floral fabrics Beth sent over?  I think the talented craftsmen who created them were inspired by flowers just as I have been this week!


I am always in awe and reminded of the beauty around me, not only in things, but in people and I am so fortunate to be part of a beautiful family!  They make me smile, laugh, and be thankful for all that we have been given.  They are a blessing!

The Nelson Funkhouser Family
July 2013
Our family departs Oceanside tomorrow, and Mike and I head back to Scottsdale in the morning with Nico and Taylor.  The next week is going to be full of finishing touches for Santa Monica and what an exciting week it's going to be!  Until then..................

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lovely Lavender and DE-STRESSING Day!

It is hard to believe I will be flying to Santa Monica in eleven days and then trying to be ready for the Santa Monica Antique and Collectible Fair four days later. I will definitely be napping on the beach getting used to the eight hour time change from England to LA! As I said last week, the nerves are nibbling away at the ol' brain about our first antique show with our FMF Compagnie collection of antiques and linen soft goods, so Jim and I decided today would be a good day to breathe in some lavender and de-stress! Truly, lavender has medicinal qualities and  is helpful to relax by slowing the brain. After a hectic week in London for Jim and the same for me in Castle Combe, breathing in some lavender sounds like a fun way to spend Saturday morning.



I have always thought of lavender being associated with France and a dryer stone soil and lots of sunshine. But to my surprise in England, there are many fields of lavender throughout the country. Lavender has had a presence in England since  it was introduced in the Middle Ages for washing, medicine, cologne, and house keeping. Queen Victoria was a great enthusiast of lavender and had a conserve of lavender she expected on her royal dining table whenever she ate. She also requested from her gardener that she have a bouquet of lavender year round in her bedroom....that had to be a difficult task in England! Today almost every cottage garden and the large estates feature different types of lavender mixed with their roses and other flowers.


Somerset Lavender Farm, FMF Compaigne

Today we set out for the Somerset Lavender Farm about forty minutes away. It was a glorious day of blue crystal skies and a lot of warm sunshine. There is no prettier country than England when it is sunny in the summer!!!

We arrived to the Somerset Lavender Farm, which is right in the village Faulkland off the main road and down a country lane through some old barns. The setting is charming with five acres of lavender set on a hill with the English countryside view extending for miles. The farm has fields surrounding it that are filled with horses grazing. When we arrived the owner was on his lawn mower buzzing around cutting the grass near their beautiful well organised vegetable plot. We walked the plot first admiring their potatoes, lettuce, herbs, sunflowers and roses and then wandered to the lavender fields that we could see in the distance. The fields were in full glorious deep purple blooms. We could smell the lavender scent in the air as the wind shifted the long stems. We walked to the top of the hill and sat underneath a large tree where we could peruse the entire field and take in the medicinal qualities to de - stress........that lasted about ten minutes! Typical of Jim and I, both type A's....that was enough de-stressing! On down the hill to their farm shop where we purchased some lavender plants to add to our cottage garden and four bags of their wonderful lavender for Jackie to use in our sachets and drawer liners. I'll tuck it in to my suitcase!!!



With flowers on my mind right now, I wanted to share some pieces Jim and I found last weekend that will be coming over on the Fall shipment. I love old English floral patterns in fabrics, ceramics and wood and these were extra special. England is all about flowers.





We also found some very romantic tins that once held candies and biscuits. All the images have a wonderful sentiment about them and rust patina that adds to the charm.



One of our best finds recently has been this set of old floral drapes in a background color of blue cornflower and then sprays of flower bouquets all over. The fabric is an old Sanderson print which is an English make. I am so excited about these that I may just have to put these in the suitcase for the Santa Monica Antique and Collectable Fair too!!!

 Well, the lavender worked on Jim! He is the cocoon in the hammock in our cottage garden! Lavender dreams forever.........


If you are wondering why Jackie is not writing the blog this week, the lucky gal is at the ocean on a well deserved holiday break. Have a great week Jackie!

Please peruse our selection of antique French linens re-purposed as sachets and drawer liners on our Etsy site: http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/FMFCompagnie

 Now I know we could sell them also as de-stressors......just plop them on your head, close your eyes and imagine English lavender fields.....new product Jackie!!!


Saturday, July 6, 2013

The British are coming....and one lone Yank!

22 days till the market......the countdown is on for FMF Compagnie setting up at the Santa Monica Antique and Collectible Market July 28th!


To be very honest, the nerves are starting to nibble at the old brain and questions arise continually through the day. One key concern has been the arrival of the container in time for the show. We still have some odds and ends to finish once it lands, like changing electrical from British to American, getting some frames filled with mirror and some chairs upholstered with Jackie's creative eye. (Wasn't the gold ottoman a transformation to a beautiful swan!!!) So, timing has been of the essence and luckily last night Jackie received a call from the driver and he was hoping he could deliver it a day early!! YAH!!! It has arrived.  Jackie and I have been joking it is Christmas in July in Scottsdale today. In sweltering temperatures, definitely not Christmas weather, she is opening, unwrapping and beginning to price all the one and only's from England. Bless her for all her hard work on that side of the pond and continent.

Jim and I have been on the hunt for treasures to send back since March and Jackie has only either heard about the items or seen photographs of some, so I have been a bit nervous about what she will think of all of our purchases. Today, I know she is opening all the boxes and I am wondering what she is thinking as she opens a box of British Skittles??? Does she think Beth is going a bit "batty" in her ol' age!!?! I've imagined her unwrapping one - thinking, what is this? Unwrapping the 2nd - guessing they are looking similar to bowling pins? By the 7th, 8th, and 9th plus a few wood balls, I am on pins (no pun intended!) and needles hoping she is as enamoured with them as Jim and I were when we bought them.They are old weathered wood bowling pins distressed from many games of clanking and banging together that has only added charm along with the losses and victories through many years of play. A fun odd collection to display in one's home.


Another concerning purchase has been four lawn boules that I tucked in a fishing basket that went on the container. (We fill every nook and cranny.)  Hope Jackie likes these too. Another sporting item from the British Isles that evokes lazy summer days on manicured lawns with glorious gardens surrounding the players "field". Definitely not a strenuous sport, so wonderfully mixed with Pimms and casual conversation while rolling boules around on the grass. Of course, I love the balls because of this lazy imagery and how beautiful they are.This set is jet black, still quite glossy and has handsome inlayed numerals and initials. I especially love the idea of setting them up on a long desk area showing the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4.....Jackie is probably coming up with another brilliant idea for their display in a home......hope so!






It is nearing tea time in England (that means dinner time here!) and I am anxiously awaiting an email from Jackie about the boxes she has opened and what she thinks.......one container landed and we are still on the hunt in England. Yesterday we went to a wonderful antique show and got some unique finds. Just wanted to give you a little tease of some of our new purchases for a Fall ship date.




California here we come....22 days and you can find us in Santa Monica. We hope to catch your attention as you enter the market with our collection of British flags flying in the air. Look for the Union Jacks and you'll know the Brits have arrived and the lone Yankee! We look forward to meeting you and sharing our collection with you. Cheerio till Santa Monica Antique and Collectible Market.