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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.

Jackie Funkhouser

Thursday, September 11, 2014


September of 2002, we moved from Scottsdale, Arizona to a small village in Kent, England.

We arrived and all three of our children started school two days later. Of course our emotions were all over the place with excitement and nerves. But September 11, 2002 stirred an ache in our hearts and a choke in our throats that we were so far from our homeland, the United States on such a monumental day in our country's history.

As I dropped the kids off at school,

I knew we were all home sick to be with people, our fellow Americans that we thought, only they could understand our feelings about this day.

But, we were so wrong!

This is the beginning of my love story with the United Kingdom.

As I left the kids at school, the BBC radio was reliving the day through their eyes and their people, their loved ones that were sadly connected to the same horrific day. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened and tried to drive on the "wrong side" of the road and through roundabouts. Luckily, arriving safely for my first Women's Bible study at a church in a nearby town. I almost didn't go in because I had mascara streaming down my cheeks and it was obvious I had been crying, but I pulled myself together and as I entered a petite woman with a British accent was speaking at the front of the church. She was telling her story of living in a small town in Connecticut and her husband working in the World Trade Center on the day of 9-11-2001. How I was humbled that God had me right where I needed to be to be comforted. I was surrounded by women - all British - who were touched, grieving, empathizing and supporting America.

Our British allies did not stop grieving with our family or America or just at that church. My kid's schools had prayers for our country and Jim's office had a memorial service for lost employees in the World Trade Center. Yet, it was the service at St. Paul's Cathedral in London (see it here on c-span video) that we watched on television where the British held their remembrance for 9-11-2001 that will always be a beautiful and heartwarming memory for me. At one point in the service, 3,000 white rose petals were dropped, one for each victim that swirled downward from the dome's 99 foot high gallery on to a BRITISH flag that had been found amongst the ruins of Ground Zero!

A British flag was there on that infamous day right alongside our American flag!

To say the least, I have been forever touched by this out pouring from our strongest ally. Oh how I appreciated their steadfast love and support for the U.S.A. and our little family!

For those of you that follow us, you will now know why I am so fond of the Union Jack flag and why we keep an eye out for vintage Union Jack flags, which are getting harder and harder to find. Here are three old ones coming on the next container.....two U.K. and one American.

GOD BLESS America and all the entire United Kingdom.
 September 11, 2001

Over the last 12 years I have grown in my love of British history and antiques. Here are a few of our recent finds.

I hope you love them too...