Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy Boxing Day!

One of our favorite adopted traditions from living in England was celebrating Boxing Day, December 26th.  As we all know the festivities of Christmas Day come and go too quickly; but not in England.


There are many tales of the origin of Boxing Day; on Christmas the Aristocracy exchanged gifts and the following day was the day to tip or gift to laborers. Laborers would show up and collect boxes. A version, that we prefer is during Victorian times the Aristocracy had fabulous meals and parties and their servants worked all day and were not able to be with their families. So the day after Christmas became the servants holiday. As the servants left the house, the owner of the Manor House would give each servant a box to take home. The box had food, gifts and maybe a bonus. I can just imagine the anticipation of the family waiting by the fireplace in a stone cottage to open the box and see what it contained.

We would our Boxing Day by going on long hikes through the English countryside, playing board games, reading a Christmas story, maybe watch a classic Christmas movie, have friends in for a drink and then have a special dinner of Christmas Goose! And of course a special box for each of us to open at the table... what fun! what memories!


Even though we returned to the United States in October, we will be celebrating Christmas and Boxing Day along with many of our adopted English Traditions.

Maybe you'd love to adopt Boxing Day for your family and the spirit of Christmas for at least one more day.


We just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary at the Biltmore Hotel in Asheville, North Carolina. http://www.biltmore.com  It is on an 8,000 acre site and features the 179,000 square foot house built in the late 19th century. There are 33 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and 65 fireplaces!
We enjoyed a candlelight tour of the historic home. It is a stunning home but decorated for Christmas, it is beyond description. Garlands, tress, wreaths and candles graced every room.


As we strolled the halls and rooms we were lead to downstairs servant quarters and kitchen where you could almost hear the clanking of pots and pans and smell the fragrances of the Christmas feast. It brought to life the Christmas' of the Vanderbilt family and their servants.







Wherever you are and where you go this Christmas, we hope you enjoy family, friends and food. May your traditions bring memories and joy.

Jackie and I wish all of you a glorious and blessed Christmas and hopefully, a special new tradition of a Boxing Day.

Love,
Jackie and Beth


Monday, November 17, 2014



Give Thanks

Recently I was able to spend two incredible weeks in my home town in Wisconsin, enjoying time with my sons and family. What a joy it was to have that amount of time to bask in the glory of just being together. What a blessing it was!

Now with Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, I can't help but count my blessings past, present, and future!


I want to share some of the moments I encountered during my trip; moments that made my heart sing with Thanksgiving.

Sunset on my first evening home
Fall Leaves and a Rustic Little Birdhouse
Fall Colors
Country Roads
Real life "Friday Night Lights" during small town high school football games

My Dad in His Tractor
This was a familiar sight, my dad perched up in his tractor. I had to drop off his lunch that day. It was a day like most, where he ate his lunch while continuing to work. My parents have always worked incredibly hard. It makes me thankful for the example they have set. 

This summer they hosted the county June Dairy Month celebration, "Breakfast on The Farm" and they always participate in the local Fourth of July Parade by handing out milk and cheese along the parade route. (That's my cute mom, front row in the sun glasses! :) )

Nagel Dairy Farms
Family and family time...precious! This is my sweet niece, Lexie. She gave me a little trombone concert while we were together! :)

Lexie and Me "Selfies"
Puppies
My son's dog had puppies and guess who got to puppy sit for them?! Me! :)

Corn Fields
Driving by these corn fields made me feel like I was driving by a painting! The weather that day was cloudy and sunny all at the same time and in a way I had never seen before.

I was able to stop in to see my sister's classroom at the high school in town. Jolynne is the Agriculture teacher there. She also manages the school greenhouse as a learning center and a source of fund raising for the school students. 


High School Greenhouse Project
The Future Farmer of America
Jolynne is also the advisor for the Future Farmers of America Chapter where her boys are very much involved in the local FFA events. This was one piece of Chapter history on display in her classroom. 

I love the first line of this beautiful description of a farmer: 

"The Future Farmer of America As I know Him...
He believes first of all that he lives in the greatest country in the world and he willingly accepts his share of responsibility for keeping it great." 

My family is the epitome of this creed! I am so proud of all of them! 
Old Barns and Farm Land
On another foggy morning I left the house early to visit a friend. During the drive, the fog was overly careful to hide the beautiful countryside, but I caught little glimpses of it here and there.

Foggy Sunrise
Antigo Public Library and Historic Deleglise Cabin
Once I got into town, the fog was lifting just a bit and I was struck by this sight. These buildings are true landmarks in our small Wisconsin town, the Deleglise Cabin is the first home constructed in Antigo. Charming!

That particular foggy morning was the beginning of a special, yet somewhat difficult day. 


The friend I went to visit has been in my life since I was a young girl. The impact of her life on mine is an overwhelming blessing. I felt so fortunate to have a window of time to visit her in her quiet little room, it was so different from the busy house she once lived in. She remembered me and while she didn't know it, I spent most of the time we were together with tears of thankfulness flowing down. 

At the end of our visit, she blew me a kiss and told me she thought she would have me for the rest of her life. She may not realize it, but she really does. 

I don't have photos of everyone that I was able to spend time with while visiting, but every single minute was precious and treasured. Most of all, I came away humbled by the amazing young men I call my sons.


They live their lives with intent and purpose, to be the good and make a positive difference in the lives of those around them. God bless them!

I couldn't think of anything to be more thankful for!

xoxo
Jackie


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Among The Ranks...

That's where I've been the past couple of weeks, among the ranks of some very talented Interior Designers (and aspiring to be more like them).

Last Wednesday the local Arizona Chapter of IFDA (International Furnishings and Design Association) held it's VIP Kick Off Party at the Calvin Charles Gallery in Scottsdale to reveal all of the amazing chairs designed by local artisans and partners of the Chapter.

Calvin Charles Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
IFDA Take a Seat Chair Exhibit
Ingenious creativity surrounded us during the evening. I really enjoyed meeting the other designers and learning more about their designs. 

IFDA Arizona Chapter Take a Seat Exhibit



See what I mean?! Imagination explosion for sure!

Each chair has it's own story, kind of like you and I actually; made with a vision and purpose in mind, seen through the Creator's eye and individually beautiful!

Our chair has a fun story. If you hadn't seen our past posts about it, the chair was found at an Estate Sale and came with a funky green satin brocade. It was somewhat hard to see through the shield of fabric honestly!


But we knew the style and frame of this chair matched the design we had brewing in our heads!

Here are some of the other components we used, old black leather belts, large brass nail heads.....


1940's vintage Naval shoulder board epaulettes by Hilborn Hamburger.
1940's Navy Epaulettes
Martens Bread Advertising Pennants
These vintage felt pennants were once included in loaves of Martens Bread. They depicted World War I U.S. Naval Ships.

Here is the great description of our finished chair:

IFDA Take a Seat, FMF Compagnie
So, what does all of this add up to you ask? This......

"For Their Honour"


The IFDA Gala Auction will be held this Saturday, October 11th, at The Legacy Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ.

 IFDA Take a Seat Gala Auction

The majority of the event's proceeds will benefit our local heroes at Military Assistance Mission (M.A.M.) whose mission is to provide financial and morale aid to our current Arizona active duty military, their families, and wounded warriors regardless of overseas deployment status. 88% of all funds given to M.A.M. go to those in need, allowing us to make the biggest impact on their lives. Learn more about how this amazing organization helps those who serve for our freedom.

 Military Assistance Mission

Beth and I are so thankful to live in this great country! None of this would be possible without the HUGE sacrifices of our service men and women, my son, Sailor Nico J. Elwardt included. Our hearts are indebted indeed!

The best part.........our chairs are on display in galleries for the Scottsdale Art Walk again this Thursday, October 9th, from 7-9 pm.


You can see our chair at Art One Gallery on Marshall Way in Old Town Scottsdale (I will be there, too).

Click here for a map of the Art Walk locations.....it will be a feast for your eyes!



And don't forget to attend the Gala Auction to support M.A.M. and take home your favorite chair!

See you there!

xo
Jackie


Friday, September 26, 2014

Old Books and Reading Nooks


Are you like Beth and I? We are crazy about fall! The sweaters, the leaves, the root vegetables, the corn stalks, the bonfires, and curling up in your favorite spot with a hot cup of tea and a favorite book or magazine.

 Emily Bronte

As I've confessed in the past, I'm not as much of a reader as I'd like to be. Looking ahead, I believe that is going to be my 2015 New Year's resolution.....if I may, to read more.  Beth, on the other hand, is an avid reader and she taught her children to love reading as well. She recently gave me a couple of great book suggestions, and I can't wait to get to them.

With fall in the air (even here in HOT Arizona), my attention has been drawn to creating a quiet, peaceful space, an "eremos topos"... a place to be quiet, to refresh, to pray, and to be thankful. I've often wondered if it was easier for someone like Emily Bronte, who lived in England in the early 1800's and best known for her authorship of Wuthering Heights, to find a peaceful place to think, and in her case, to write her novels and poetry.

The concept of creating this space is so inspiring to me. I've been saving ideas of things I'd love to include.

I love old books like we have in our FMF Compagnie inventory.

 Old Leather Books, Cathedrals and Churches from England

These large old leather books were found in the Cotswolds and have beautiful displays of English Churches and Cathedrals. How glorious to page through and dream of seeing firsthand the statuesque old buildings against the English countryside.

I love displays of library shelves filled to the brim with old books. I wonder where this traveler was heading? Maybe his adventures took him across the globe, carrying his leather suitcase with old book maps in tow.




And the secret door......maybe that's the key to the peaceful, quiet spot, keeping it a secret?


I just can't imagine my reading nook without a pair of old funky glasses. Truthfully, I want a pair like these!! It will be a renewed fashion revolution and I love them!!

Perhaps I will need a desk with a quirky yellow chair also?


Or a private collection of files holding hand-written transcripts of secret journals and writings?


Couldn't you just see our Old Leather Book Lamp here in this space?!

Antique Leather Book Lamp, FMF Compagnie
Our French Leather Daybed would be a great lounging spot, too.

 French Leather Daybed
Antique French Leather Daybed, FMF Compagnie
Maybe the space should be light and bright, fresh and refreshing?


Is there anything more comforting and comfortable than down pillows, beautiful old linens, and cotton? Somehow that old science chart reminds me of our vintage school map scrolls.

Vintage School Map, FMF Compagnie

This space provides an outdoor view with plenty of rays of sunshine. I can imagine it at night with the fireplace roaring and crackling.  How cozy!

Or should it be rustic.....


I love the wood panel doors that surround the space, the unique pendant lighting, and the leather cushion / industrial pallet that offers a one-of-a-kind resting place.

But really, I don't think anything would speak to me more than a cozy spot on the porch during a fall afternoon.



We've just released several sets of old leather books into our inventory at FMF Compagnie. We also have a gorgeous leather-topped antique Partner's Desk, and a fabulous, large mahogany filing cabinet that are available at our shop inside of Scottsdale Marketplace. They would all be terrific additions to your formal reading space or office.

Before I go, here is my autumn reading suggestion for you. Bountiful is a beautiful recipe book, featured in the LA Times Home & Garden section.

 Bountiful, recipes inspired by our garden

It is filled with wonderful fall entertaining and recipe ideas.  I know you will enjoy it as you rest in your own reading nook!


Until next time.

xoxo,
Jackie Funkhouser