Wednesday, February 29, 2012


A peek at Jimmie Rae's inspiration board.
Hey, Y’all! Today I have the distinct privilege of interviewing one of my favorite junkers. Someone so  obsessed with every garage, yard, barn, rummage, flea market, estate, and thrift store SALE sign she sees that it often impairs her common sense and gets her into a whole mess of trouble.  But her heart is in the right place.  Her name is Jimmie Rae Murphy. She moonlights as an antique dealer at Blessings From the Past Antique Mall in Niceton, Texas.

Blessings Antique Mall is located in the turn-of-the-century Old First Baptist Church on Niceton's downtown square. Jimmie Rae and her best friend, Maxine Bea Huntington, share booth space in what used to be the choir loft.   
The statue, "Pippa," from Robert  Browning's poem,
"Pippa Passes," located in front of the
Armstrong Browning Library on Baylor's campus.
Jimmie Rae has had a rather ordinary life. She lost her parents at a young age and went to live with her grandparents when she was seven. She grew up in Niceton and graduated from Baylor University where she met her now ex-husband, Joe. When she's not junking, she works at the
Armstrong Browning Library
Live oaks at Baylor University.
However, recently Jimmie Rae was involved with the murder investigation of one of her  fellow antique dealers at Blessings. Thanks to her keen sense of observation and what others may call her stubborn independent streak, she found herself caught up in a scheme that threatened her life as well as the lives of those closest to her.
Please welcome our guest Junker, Jimmie Rae Murphy.

Me: “Jimmie Rae, thank you for taking the time to talk to us today."

JR: "It's my pleasure. Thanks for asking me."

Me: "How long have you been an antique dealer at Blessings Antique Mall?”

JR: "Well, I've always been drawn to anything  old. It's just what I love. The stories items from the past hint at fascinate me. Maxine and I have had our booth Junk Chic for about five years now. It’s helped me pay the bills while my no-good-ex-husband was goofing around in law school. Even better though, Maxine and I get to hang out on the weekends and go junkin’ around Niceton. We also meet in Athens and head up to Canton to the huge Trade Days there.”

Me: "Isn’t that where you found Evelyn Sue Dinsmore?"
JR: Well, yes. Actually I found her outside of the official First Monday market. But yes, we were there on a junkin’ trip that went terribly wrong.  Who knew my mentor and once-third-grade-school teacher had a past?

Me: Oh really? That sounds intriguing. Care to elaborate?
JR: No. If you don’t mind, I’d really rather not discuss that now.
Me: "Oh, of course. Sorry. So what’s your favorite flea market?"

JR: "Well, I love them all! Here in Texas, I enjoy First Monday in Canton and then twice a year there’s a mega-junkin’explosion down at Warrenton-Round Top-Marburger Farm! Days of junkin’—although usually I only have a few hours since I work full time at the Armstrong Browning Library. "

Me: "What especially makes you want to go junkin'?"

JR: "The sense of adventure—the treasure hunt. I especially adore anything Victorian, of course. So, I’m always on the lookout for anything from that time period. Here in south central Texas there are some awesome Victorian items since this is the area that was first settled by the Germans and Czechs around the 1840s."

Me: "I had no idea. I’ll bet you’ve come across some cool stuff. What has been your favorite thing?"
JR: "Well, that’s really difficult to say—I have several beautiful Victorian books. That’s mostly because my Grandmother Star owns a bookstore in Niceton. She raised me, so I’ve spent most of my growing up years curled up on her bookstore's tufted sofa reading the days away. I enjoy Victorian literature because the language is more formal and the plot-lines are complicated, yet elegantly simple. It was such an interesting point in time on so many different levels." 

Me: "I’ll have to check out some of those old books myself. So you mentioned you and Maxine have an antiques business together.  Junk Chic, right?"

JR: "Yes."

Me: "I know lots of dealers are also vendors at Vintage Markets. Do you two do any vintage shows?"
JR: "Yes. We’ve just started taking our stuff on the road. We’re scheduled to do a City-Wide Garage Sale in Austin and a local smaller market, called Farm and Flea this summer."

Me: "That sounds great! I know both of those shows. I’ll be looking for your JUNK CHIC booth."

JR: "It’d be great to see ya! I’d best be getting back to shopping now. Peace, love, and all the good stuff to ya!"
If you’d like to get to know Jimmie Rae and follow her adventures, be sure to download your own e-copy of FIRST MONDAY MURDER available soon from Amazon and Smashwords.

Trade paperback copies will also be available for purchase through Amazon and many other wonderful e-store merchants .

In addition, FIRST MONDAY MURDER will be available at Petticoats on the Prairie Under the Big Top Vintage Market in Waxahachie, TX March 16 & 17 and at Plucky Maidens Junk Fest, April 27 & 28 at the Columbia Conference Center in Portland, OR.
Peace, love, and
 happy junkin', y'all!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


(I've added a few updates and am reposting "Cookin' Up Some Love" from a couple of years ago in honor of the day of LOVEHappy Valentine's Day!)
Hey, Y'all!
Valentine's Day is often celebrated sharing a meal or special dessert with the ones we love. Cookin' up some love is one of my favorite things to do! I've been collecting cookbooks since my hubby and I tied
the knot 31 years ago. Back then, my "go-to" cookbook was one his momma put together for a church fundraiser. Imagine my surprise when I saw she had included a recipe from me for BAGELS!!
This is pretty funny because I could barely make toast back then. Regardless, since we were stationed overseas I found myself using it faithfully to recreate my husband's favorite dishes. I learned a lot about cooking during those years we lived so far away.

I learned how breaking food with strangers can create a sense of community and family.

Once we were back in Texas--this time as new parents, I turned again to cookbooks. However, this time it was so I could lose my pregnancy "baby fat." I subscribed to Cooking Light magazine and was a faithful viewer of Graham Kerr's low fat cooking show. I learned cooking healthy was tasty especially with the use of fresh produce and herbs.

As our children grew up, I began to branch out and try new cookbooks by famous chefs. My favorites included (and still include) Jamie Oliver, Giada De Laurentiis, and Alton Brown. In addition, now I've also discovered Rachel Khoo's Little Paris Kitchen and Texas Hill Country's Rebecca Rather's cookbooks.

My collection includes cookbooks purchased road-trippin' from many of the great restaurants we've eaten at including: The Loveless Café, Royer's Round Top Café, The Bluebonnet Café, The Pantry,  and Matt's El Ranchero.

I have cookbooks from the schools our kids attended, mom's groups, and several from churches we've attended. My cookbook collection reflects our life journey from one city to another and from our children being babies to now young adults. My maternal grandmother's cookbooks are now on our shelves as well. 

I enjoy reading cookbooks as much as I enjoyreading novels. Each recipe gives a hint of a family's or individual's story--a glimpse into their intimate family life at the dinner table.

Orphan recipes hold a special place in my heart.  I have a folder full of these single hand-written recipes passed down to me from family members who are now gone. Touching the worn papers once lovingly written by my grandmother or my husband's grandmother brings a smile of memory to my lips. These well-used recipes are stained and yellowed, but each time I see their beautiful penmanship, I feel a little tug at my heart and know immediately what I'll be fixing for dinner.
Now that I'm living in Texas again ,I find myself preparing simple soups and salads for my vegetarian Sweet Girl, but every once in a while comfort food is what's for dinner. Sweet Girl calls it 
the "comfort food trinity" -- homemade macaroni and cheese, collard greens, and cornbread. We also enjoy Sweet Hubby's Gumbo he makes using my Grandmother's faded recipe. 

No matter what we make for dinner, it's our time to put away the electronics and enjoy each other's company. There's just nothin' like cookin' up some love!

Until next time,
Peace, love, and cook
up some love, sweet friends!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Ready to load the GARDEN
Hey, Y'all! Just back from Hillsboro, OR where the Funky Junk Sisters hosted another fabulous

La Chic shopping cart from JUST CHIC--AWESOME!
JUNK SALVATION VINTAGE MARKET.  Friday night's Breast Cancer Awareness early buy market
A unique cozy industrial look
was a wonderful success as was the next day's market.
Embracing the farmhouse look by the GARDEN CAT.
Welcome Spring! Bless The Blooms!
Both the shopper and her cart were wonderful.
She wore a vintage RED hat to match her cart!

With more than 80 of some of the best vintage
My dear friends, Jennifer and Kim, of
JUST CHIC. Love their great look!
and antique vendors in the Pacific Northwest represented, there was definitely something for everyone.
Susan of BEAUCOUP had an eclectic assortment of
 vintage goodies. She can be found at Monticello
Antique Marketplace in Portland.
Thanks to Linda and Dixie for another amazing JUNK SALVATION Vintage Market!

Peace, love, and all the good stuff, y'all!