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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Goodbye Rain! Hello Colourful Columbia Road

We have just had the most beautiful weekend in London. It was welcomed by all! When the rain goes away, you may wonder where the umbrellas go...

These are found in a courtyard near Borough Market. Their bright colours against a blue sky are stunning. One of the many lessons we have learned during our time in England is get off the main path. Go done the alleys, lanes with hedge rows, take the path less traveled. Treasures and treats await for those who venture away from the more popular sites and paths.

Sunny weather and warming temperatures are like magnets drawing Londoners out of doors. The streets and parks were overflowing with people from all walks of life. After such a long period of grey, it is wonderful to see colour. It is such a  joy to our hearts and eyes.

Today, our destination was Columbia Road and its famed flower market. Columbia Road is off Hackney Road, in the borough of Tower Hamlets and presents a Victorian-era style street with shops. On Sundays, it converts into a flower market.

Columbia Market was established in 1869 as a covered food market. The Huguenot immigrants (French Protestants) introduced an interest and demand for flowers. Today, the market is only open on Sundays and many of the traders are second or third generation sellers in the market. In the early days with traders arriving in London from around the world, caged song birds were popular, hence the logic of the local pub being named... The Birdcage...
The market becomes a festival with street musicians playing, classical music, french jazz and current pop.
Behind the flower market are wonderful boutiques selling unique clothes, handmade papers, crafts, art and food.
Suck and Chew not surprisingly is a candy (sweet) shop. They sell 'penny' candies... well 5p individual sweets from large jars.  
As we wandered in and out of shops we were impressed by the colours.
One of our favourite shops was J&B The Shop, owned by 2 Welsh girls and brings 'a little bit of the Welsh Countryside to the City.'
Off on the side streets are courtyards, only open on Sundays and filled with booths selling fabrics, food, antiques and oddities.
After walking about, a cup of coffee or cream tea and scones or cake are in order. We found the Cake Hole
Creatively, they use Scrabble tiles to label their cakes and scones...

The Cake Hole, is actually a quaint tea shop in a small room behind Vintage Fabrics, run by Margaret a lovely Irish woman. Her shop is filled with vintage dishware, very carefully displayed by colour with clever vintage books tucked in here and there and vintage tea towels and linens. It was in the rear of the store that we found a gorgeous pair of 1940's floral curtains.
We definitely were inspired with this find....colorful Spring rain, lots of sunshine and the Columbia Road Flower Market. The rain will return one day, but until it does, we will search and discover new treasures in all this glorious Spring sunshine!!!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring into Pinning

Springtime... another season... a period of growth. New life is springing up. I loved seeing the new life that Jackie designed in to the antique dining chairs by sanding them down and creating a weathered blond wood tone on her last blog.  I can see them fitting in to a room designed with soft color tones that seems to be the predominate look on Pinterest

And then her beautiful bouquet is so similar to pin after pin I am seeing daily on Pinterest as I open our FMF Compagnie site and I get to view the new pins from so many of you as Spring is on all our minds. Hoping Jackie will put her beautiful designs up on our site, so many more pinners will get to see her beautiful creations that Spring has inspired.

It was not too long ago that I barely knew how to turn on my computer. This past year I have learned how to blog and this Spring I have learned how to pin!!! I am moving up in the computer world....little clicks here and there! My daughter, Daryn Dree told me about Pinterest after she was reading our blog and knew I was getting a bit more comfortable on the computer. She remembered my dream files, folders and notebooks that I had saved of old magazine pictures, craft ideas, recipes and articles that were important to me. She said Pinterest was an 'e-version' of what I had been doing all these years and I would be blown away with the creativity I would find on the site. I was eager to explore.

Jackie also helped give me a push on to Pinterest, by asking me to pin on a regular basis because she was busy with some projects and she was hoping I could help market our antiques through Pinterest. I am so grateful to Daryn and Jackie for opening this huge world of ideas, design, and creativity to me. I am hooked and I am having to make sure I don't get addicted!!! It is so easy to begin to explore and the next thing I know I have been on for hours. I recently found out that my family was all ready discussing my Pinterest addiction and I wondered how did they all know I was on the site so much? Then Daryn explained that she and her sister follow FMF Compagnie and get a feed of all my pins!
One of my favorite things about  Pinterest is seeing antiques that Jackie and I have purchased and then seeing how other Pinners have used them in homes or displays. Jackie and I have a collection of antique monogrammed white French napkins.

( Inventory)

It seems that there are endless ideas of how you can use these beautiful heirloom linens.

These ideas are so beautiful and we created a Board on our FMF Compagnie Pinterest site called Antique Linens Re-Designed and above I have picked a few of those pins that are so beautiful using old monograms. It is inspiring to see sachets, book covers, chairs upholstered and shower curtains designed to name just a few of the ideas on Pinterest about monograms. I love going back through the board pictures and admiring the beauty of the collection of pictures and the inspiration. In Jackie's blog last week that was exactly what had happened. She had seen a pin on our board and created those charming rooster pillows with her own interpretation inspired from the pin.
I recently went to the Bermondsey Antique Market in London and found some old Victorian period Christmas candle clips. They are so charming. Some clips have the color of red, green and gold still shimmering after many years of use. I can only imagine a Christmas tree filled with these clip on candle holders glowing in celebration of Christmas in bygone years. As I was perusing Pinterest I saw several charming ideas of how others had used these Christmas clips in new ways. I wanted to share these ideas with you to inspire....and know that we have some beautiful ones in our inventory that are available for sale......eighteen in total!

( Inventory)

In Spring, I love to see the sprouting of daffodils and tulips. One of our highly followed boards on Pinterest is Flower Shops.

Wandering around London, every neighborhood seems to have a florist or at least a flower stand.

I will be adding these pictures to our Florist Shop board on Pinterest. There are so many fabulous ideas of how we each can dream of some day having a florist shop or possibly design some ornaments from vintage crystals from a chandelier.  As the year progresses, I will share some of my own ideas on some crystals.... FMF Compagnie just found some beautiful ones for our ever changing inventory! You can be sure I will be Pinning inspiring on these chandelier crystals soon!

Thanks to all who inspire Jackie and me. While I have started to blossom with Pins this Spring, I will continue to grow throughout the year. I love the treasures of FMF Compagnie and I think I am truly becoming addicted to Pinterest....

Sunday, March 9, 2014

May the Road Rise Up to Meet You...

During this month of March as winter begins to slowly bode farewell, I am reminded that the fresh new life of spring is waiting patiently, yet anxiously to show itself. 

This traditional old Irish Blessing signifies for me the journeys that lie ahead, not only this spring, this year, but in our lives in general. How incredibly important it is to love and support each other along those winding paths.

One of many such moments in my life was upon my graduation from high school.......(oh so very long ago). My class curriculum during high school was a mix of business classes and the arts and music. (I just re-read that and had to laugh to myself as most of you will understand, creative minds usually have to have a means to financially support themselves....thus the business and arts mixed together. Am I right?!)

It so happened that our amazing and very talented choir instructor, Mr. Wayne Anderson, (who taught us not only about music, but about life and gave us great opportunities to grow and "become"...) designated myself, my dear friend Denise Fleischman Hale, and Jim Klement to perform a version of this Irish Blessing for our fellow graduating class and alma mater. I was honored to have the opportunity, but also share the blessing with everyone in the auditorium.

That day marks a special memory for me. The words of this Irish Blessing still ring melodiously in my head and I couldn't help but share them with you as this St. Patrick's Day approaches. Truly........."May the road rise up to meet you..."

This video of the Irish countryside reminds of some of the new Pinterest pins that Beth has been adding and also our recent posts on Facebook.  You must know without a doubt that we love spring! We are ready to enjoy evenings on the porch, planting in the garden and tending to our flowers. 

 Summer Porch

Isn't that family of hens just so darn cute!?!

I love changing the color pallets around me as the seasons change, don't you?! I went to the market this week and found myself lost among the fresh flowers, loving everything about the delicate artwork in their petals, the light, fresh scents, and of course the beautiful pastels for spring. It didn't take much to talk myself into bringing home a few bundles so I could enjoy them at home. 

I do love hydrangeas. They are just a classic beauty.

...and snapdragons and of course, tulips!

I really enjoyed building this arrangement in my zinc pot.

And the sweet little bird's nest, ready to burst with new life.....I'd love some baby chickadees! 

It's been a busy week here in Scottsdale! I have things getting upholstered, mirrored, sewn, photographed, and the long list goes on......but one of the fun new re-design projects I've been working on is a pair of dining chairs. They are Kindel Chairs, made by the Grand Rapids Furniture Company in Grand Rapids, MI. This one has been partially sanded to remove some of the finish and I've taken the old seat fabric off. 


I'm anxious to get them completed but after using them to showcase the flowers in these photos........I rather like the raw and rustic look! I will keep you posted on that....

Here are a few darling linen soap bags that will be added to our Etsy site this next week. Wouldn't they be fun to tuck into an Easter basket for a special one-of-a-kind surprise?

The soaps are handmade from goat milk and I only wish there was a "scent" app for this photo......they smell heavenly!

While I've been working on a lot of this and that, Beth has been getting ready for the spring antique shows that happen throughout the countryside in England. We are also getting a new shipment in sometime next week, so be on the look out for new items on our website soon! more thing before I go..........

Remember last week's post about the wonderful ASID event that was held at Scottsdale Artists' School? Remember the photos of some of the paintings that I enjoyed during my visit? This rooster in particular......

I found out after the event that my friends Gary and Adrienne Hart loved this colorful bird as much as I did. I have a feeling it might be showing up on an office wall sometime soon!

So I was inspired this week to complete a rooster pillow that I had begun a while ago. I found the vintage rooster print at a sale and the coordinating striped linen is actually German mangle cloth. German mangle cloth was once used in a "mangle" to wring and press linens.

The fabric is buttery soft, sturdy, and so lovely!

I had been inspired by a particular "pin" that Beth saved to one of our Pinterest boards and decided that a version of these pillows was what I wanted to attempt with my vintage rooster fabric.

Of course, as I create...........nothing stays the same!  No matter how hard I try, it ends up being my own version. So much for following a pattern! 

So, there you have it.........a colorful end to a very busy week! (This one is for you, Gary & Adrienne!)