‘Tis the Season, Home Accessories, & Gift Giving;

Hello again; It’s that time of the year, and we are all casting about for unique and different ideas for gift giving. We recently decided in our family that we would draw lots for a family member to buy for, instead of buying something for everyone, and watering down the quality of the gift we could buy for each person. I drew my brother in law. He is a retired architect. You would think that he would be relatively easy to buy for? Not so, until I discovered “gifts for men” and “for men only” on jogarrard.com. There are gifts that I didn’t even dream of. Architectural models, used in building some of the most famous buildings in Europe; a variety of authentic models of antique airplanes; (I didn’t mention that he is also a pilot). World globes and Wall maps of ancient London, or Paris, and New York. Writing sets with real ink and hand made papers; replicas of ww2 compasses, clocks & unique watches. Botanical models used for instructing students, not to mention some great furnishings & accessories for the guy in your life, and much much more. I couldn’t help but share this site, and these great finds. Michelangelo had several models created of the St Peters dome during the time he worked on it. These models are now a main attraction at the Vatican Museum. Many architects of renown collected models, not only for their exquisite workmanship, also for their value as decor in home & business.

Clocks, Globes, Armillarys

the den, models, globes, accessories for the discerning male.


The Flight of Lindbergh

Architectural Collectibles


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It’s all about loving your purchases; that fabulous Painting you just can’t live without. Do you love it? That gorgeous solid cherry wood table, do you really want it? and that fantastic area carpet which ties it all together; does it move you? That beautiful little sculpture accessory that you just love. How much do you really really want it? My purpose is to help people to make choices, coordinate colors, furnishings & accessories without pressure, It’s called “customer service”. Helping people means making shopping easier. In a world where small retailers compete with well marketed, deep pocketed Mega chain stores; helping people means you must make the shopping experience a visually satisfying experience. Room vignettes must be so visually appealing that the customer can visualize it in her most personal space – her home. Your little store can be the hero, giving the customer a unique, personally chosen, decor accessory, which with your helpful advice will be treasured. You the customer should leave the store feeling that you have a friend who is ready and able to help, and that you can’t wait to come back and see what’s new! However with an e-commerce store communication is the key! I communicate with my customer as much as possible and keep them involved in the process, with e-commerce shopping it’s the key to developing trust and keeping customers happy & loyal to your brand. My motivation for getting into Home decor, was to help people with a decorating problem, to help them to feel great about their decisions, whether for themselves or for a gift. I think my little Shop in Tutt Street Square accomplished that goal, perhaps my e-commerce boutique home decor & accessories store will reach that goal too!


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My title says it all! How many times a day are we bombarded with this type of mass marketing? Whether on the TV; newspapers, magazines, flyers in the mailbox, Shop in cities ; such as Shop in Calgary, or Shop in Vancouver, Shop in Toronto and so on. What is a legitimate small business to do? Join the fray or not? The expense of mass marketing is prohibitive! Word of mouth referrals; while perceived as the very best form of advertising for your business, takes time to build customer loyalty & trust ; so how does a Boutique Home decor shop, take its business e-commerce without losing its customer base? I am still the same person, I still have the same high standards of quality, uniqueness & fair pricing which brought you to my store in the first place! I owned a wonderful little store in Kelowna BC, however space was a huge issue. My choices were to seek a larger space; (higher overhead); opening 7 days a week, which meant hiring more staff ; (higher costs); a bigger space meant larger inventory & higher markups etc;etc; So this Unique home decor store decided to try the much vaunted marketing mantra; “e-commerce is the way of the future for shoppers”….I am still skeptical that consumers will buy online (however great the website graphics) Most people are “touchy feelly” about purchases. However lower overhead, reducing inventory, making drop ship arrangements for online purchases; I could reduce the prices, (substantially); everyone would be happy! It sounds good, however there are issues, “Trusting the site” trust goes both ways; For the Merchant; there are so-called bogus shoppers who delight in making phony orders; there are people who will try to shop with phony credit cards; shipping delays; back orders; drop shipping sounds great, but comes with its own set of problems. For the Customer; how honourable is the site? Is the site secure? Will I get my merchandise? Will I get it in a timely manner? return policy? shipping? The answer to all of these questions is; Fantastic customer service, Personal service, Easy access to a Live Person; even if you provide all of these comfort services, there is no guarantee that you will keep customer loyalty, more importantly that you will gain their trust as a reputable online merchant, without that face to face experience evident in a physical store. Having tried all kinds of marketing, online, newspapers, flyers, television, blogging, referrals; I think I will just keep on blogging about our wonderful little Unique Home Decor & Accessories Boutique Store, which just happens to be online E-commerce, with the nicest people at the other end of our toll free phone line to look after you!

germinating coconut on a tropical beach

Cheerio for now…. jo


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Years ago I used to own a picture framing shop; being an artist it was very beneficial owning a picture framing shop/gallery to properly display my art work. I also encouraged local artists to show their work in my gallery. It’s a very interesting field, picture framing. People bring you the most interesting items. Sometimes a collection of buttons; or medals from various wars; an Oriental Silk, embroidery of indeterminate origins, (could be vintage,or not). Family heirlooms, travel treasures, memorabilia, historical/antique collections.

The variety is limitless! There are a few do’s and don’ts in framing; some items can be framed under glass, some should never have glass. Most should have archival mat and/or frame. (acid free mats) a little more expensive but well worth the investment. Do you own an Original Water colour for instance? Archival framing is a must, framed under glass and sealed from dust and humidity, properly framed it should last for 30 to 50 years. An artist usually will frame (or not) in the most economical way, and the buyer will need to be aware that it is not necessarily the best way. Most artists unless they are well known, will be showing work which is unframed, and is usually lower in price., check out your local Art Groups and Societies; the public gallery in your town will usually have a list of local artists and art groups; What this dialogue brings me to is how to properly display Wall Art, Original Art, & Collections whatever the subject and medium; how to best incorporate it as a home decor accent & accessory.

Unique abstract of pictures in a variety of differing frames and sizes.mounted on a plywood backing and hung from heavy wire from the ceiling. Designed by Alexander Girard, this dramatic clustering of Greek and Russion Icons gives the icons a modern update, and required careful planning to give drama to the collection; Do you have a Chinese silk Antique embroidery? The embroidery is wonderful in itself and you won’t want to over shadow it with the frame. This is one of those collectibles which will benefit from Archival framing to preserve it.

Travel pictures, keeping your memories alive.



Here’s another idea. Instead of hiding away your travel photos in an album or on a memory stick, which you will never look at again. Make up a Travelers Memory board, your prints can be enlarged & mounted on a plywood board, part of your home decor theme; there for all to see & a great conversation starter. Collectibles can be grouped in the same manner as shown in the antique button collection. Should you have an antique of value to be framed, be sure that the framer is well qualified to do the work. Fine Art in your home decor really adds character to your home or office, and says something about the owner and their choices in home accents & accessories.


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MAGICAL M’dina Art Glass.

“Quotes) from Wikipedia; M’dina Glass was founded in 1968 by Michael Harris (1933-1994). Previously a tutor in glass blowing at the Royal College of Art London England. He became frustrated with the limitations of academia; this commercially minded innovator had perfected his studio glass techniques from Glass maker Sam Herman, who was invited to the college in the late 1960′s. Developed only a year or so earlier in the US, these techniques freed the creation of glass from the confines of commercial factories, even allowing individual glass makers to make glass under their own names. Putting his faith in both himself and such new techniques was a calculated risk; particularly when moving to a new country. However Harris was incredibly successful in a very short time. He quickly built up a thriving business that employed 15 or more people and was exporting to countries around the world. His designs being displayed alongside such notables as Lalique. Although vases and bowls are the most common forms his most desirable design is the ‘Fish’ which is really a sculptural display piece. While Vases may be priced anywhere from $50-$80 for a small work, and $400 – $600 for a larger work. A ‘Fish’ can demand much higher prices over $3000. More desirable than that is the ‘Crizzle Stone’ which was inspired by the’Fish’. It can fetch prices of up to $4000.

Michael Harris ran M’dina for only four years, he departed Malta to found the Isle of Wight Studio Glass in 1972. The company continues today and produces many of his original designs. However it is those original designs produced during those four years at Mdina that tend to be most collectible among glass collectors. A Challice with its craggy stem, from those years may may be in the $150 – $200 range. A later piece would price at half of that. A knowledgeable collector will always carefully scan the base of the piece. Those pieces signed by Harris with his name, can be worth considerably more, as much as three times more, as he signed very few of his works. Those he signed are also likely to have been made by him, or under his supervision.

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Hello again! Have you ever tried to find the perfect gift for the “man in your life?” It can be tough; There is so much “junk” out there; I will qualify that and say “poor quality”. It used to be that when you bought tools, clothes, or leather & wood products, they lasted a life time. Now they are made to wear out; (built-in obsolescence) having been outsourced to other countries who maybe don’t have the same standards as they used to have. Now it’s all about the almighty bottom line! However, I have found some products to appeal to the guys, which are very well made, and relate to the campaigns of India, Africa, the East Indies etc; The Victorians knew how to travel in style, and the furnishings that they took with them were built to take rough handling. Rugged, top quality, well designed campaign furniture and accessories. Architectural models in Victorian times were built to test the design for flaws; as well as to show the potential client how the finished project would look. No 3D Computer Graphics in Victorian times, everything was hand made to scale, just like these models. Now these heirloom quality antique reproductions are used as accessories & Interior decorating Just For Men Accents. You can find these in our online home accessories catalogue. There is the Commercial style Cast aluminum drop ceiling light, & the very versatile Travel Trunk Table. All well made antique reproductions of the age of travel in Victorian times. Antique reproductions of the compass, and the sextant, an early navigational tool; ships bells, the hourglass,telescope with brass stand; all of excellent quality! Through centuries of exploration these tools, were all they possessed to navigate the world; guided only by the compass, astrolabes and the stars of the night sky, terrifying and exciting. Discover & enjoy an unbelievable collection from past eras. The “Just for Men accents & accessories” at jogarrard.com

Architectural Collectibles




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What to write about when you’ve drawn a blank?

I really have writers blank! Not writers Cramp! well let’s see what we can do about that. I have recently been checking out a lot of blog sites, on the advice of a veteran blogger. He says to post, post, and post some more! Well that’s easy to say! So here goes. I recently viewed a gorgeous house online, in Coogee Australia. Wow! If ever there was a house that I could call my dream home, that was it. Just a little green I am, I am!…. enough of the dreaming and let’s get on with it! The last ‘episode’ was about being an immigrant. First to Australia and secondly to Canada. Oops! I missed England, maybe I’m just a gypsy at heart! I wrote about a coconut, and a pineapple, and various home decor articles featuring people who’s design gifts I admire. So what else is there to talk about? I have a small boutique online web store, with all kinds of great home decor accessories, check out jogarrard.com. On our site you will find many items from well known suppliers; Our Current offers, which includes some rare collectibles, some discontinued & affordable Art accessories; Christmas is coming, want to spruce up your home? Take a peek! Also check out our Fine Art Selections, all are one of a kind, original art works. Not reproductions, or mass produced factory offerings! We don’t like that at jogarrard.com; We want originality, & uniqueness, combined with affordability and quality. It seems I am rambling on here, however I will eventually get to the point where I can delete half of my ramblings, and come up with something which will be of interest to all and sundry! Voila The King of Fruit the luscious Pineapple! It seems that I had done the research, but not the post. So, Pineapple lovers, this is for you! Research shows that the pineapple motif has been used as decoration for Gate posts; Great Houses; Door Lintels; Fabric design: Sculptures in wood and in stone by architects, craftsmen, designers, and artisans since the 14th century. However, it was not until the 16th century that growers learned how to propagate the plant, and make it more accessible to people other than the very wealthy.

Carved pineapple table base,

King of Fruit- the Pineapple; luscious & juicythis is for you!

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The Pineapple: Christopher Columbus is credited with its discovery on the Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe in 1493. Pineapples became an expensive and rare delicacy in Europe. They were a symbol of Power, Wealth, and Hospitality. The Pineapple was later adopted as a motif by artisans & craftsmen in their carvings of stone & wood. Architects and builders sculptured its motif into door lintels, weather vanes, gate posts, etc. The Motif also was featured in interior decor, fabrics, and carved into furniture. The Dunmore Pineapple Folly is perhaps the most spectacular use of the pineapple motif, and is said to ‘rank’ as the most bizarre building in Scotland. The building is one of the architectural wonders of Scotland. It was such a rare delicacy, and until the process of reproduction and growing it in England and Europe became common place, only the very wealthy could afford to offer it to their guests; it was considered an item of prestige as well as hospitality when displayed on the dinner table. It was also viewed as good luck to have a pineapple motif, carved into furniture, or features of the household. and is often seen on the Family Crest. It is said that King Charles posed for a painting of himself receiving a gift of a pineapple.

King Charles receiving the gift of a pineapple

Pineapples as a decorative motif, by architects, artisans and craftsmen,

Pineapple motif carved into a tea table;

Pineapple carvings, as decoration.
Often carved into stone & wooden gate posts also.


The Dunmore Folly, ranked the most bizarre building in Scotland






Note the intricate carvings on the table base and the ornamental pineapple sculpture




The Intricately carved stonework pineapple, is situated between two staff residences which housed the gardeners and care takers of the grounds of Dunmore House and its walled gardens. Very elaborate, it gave the visual impression of hospitality which the owner of the house wished to convey to visitors and guests.

I have really enjoyed researching the history of Pineapples and Coconuts, I hope that it has been interesting, as well as educational for you the reader. Perhaps you too will find the Pineapple an interesting design choice.

cheers jo

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Emigration & Immigration!

A very long time ago, I was an emigrant; firstly to Australia, where I finished my education. When we were there it was officially an Anglican Church boarding school for country students, and immigrants, & which in my opinion, was the best thing (the way things were in Britain after the war), that my parents could have done for my sister and brother & myself. It was, (for me), an exciting adventure! A sea journey without our parents; and a chaperone to look after us on the trip. Their fare paid, if they chaperoned children going to school in foreign countries. That trip was a lot of fun! I learned to swim in the ships pool, met all kinds of other people also emigrating to a new country, & those returning home after the war in Europe. If this makes me sound old, well I was only 12 years old at the time & responsible for keeping an eye on my siblings, which onboard ship, is not a hardship! However we were not to know how long it would be before we saw our parents again. We faithfully wrote letters at every port of call. It was exciting to see all of those exotic places on our route. Naples, Navarina, Port Said; Port Aden; Ceylon, and finally Fremantle Australia! All of the sights and sounds of that trip have never left me! Arriving in Fremantle it was mid January, the height of summer it was v e r y hot! We were met by a staffer from the school, who escorted us to Perth. We were settled into our age appropriate houses; given school uniforms, allocated a bed and a locker. We didn’t meet again until dinner time which was held in the dining hall. We made a pact to meet every evening to talk about things, whatever was worrying to us; or just to talk and stay close to each other. My brother and I joined the choir, he had a wonderful soprano voice, before puberty broke it. It was an idyllic time of my life, once I got used to the idea that we may not see our parents for a very long time. In fact I had graduated from school, before they arrived in Australia! Dad had been released from the British Army and was unable to find work in Britain, but had been offered a job if he would move to Australia or Canada. I didn’t know it at the time, Mum told me later; Dad tossed a coin to decide to which country they would go, Australia won! The irony was that I would meet my future husband who was on a working holiday in Australia, (Canadian) and so I would end up in Canada. I personally think that my mother’s many family members already in Australia, might have influenced Dad’s coin toss!! Immigration? Well that’s what they call you after you arrive in your new country (immigrants). However, think about this; consider the Norsemen, they migrated all over Europe, intermarried with the natives they conquered, and often settled in the conquered country. The British, who settled in America, India, and Africa in the 16th to 18th centuries So Emigration and Immigration is not a new thing, they called them Settlers instead of Immigrants. I still love to travel, to search for those exotic, and unusual treasures to bring back home, some to show to my clientele, some to keep for my own pleasure. That’s what home decor is all about, ferreting out those little treasures that finish off, or add to the decor and make it your own personal space… jogarrard.com is the unique boutique e-commerce Home Decor store which can bring those personal touches to your home with accessories which bring out your personal taste, and add your personality to your home.


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Interior design elements, accessories, decor, trends.

Highlight your treasures, show them off!

Just recently I was invited to attend a cocktail and interior design presentation. Every designer in our community was present, who wouldn’t be when cocktails and appies were on offer? The trends projected for 2013 were presented; not as you would think, about ‘interior design’. However it was an interesting presentation put on by a well known paint company. (Benjamin Moore). The trends in color were at issue. It would seem that the present trends to hot and bright, cool & calm, warm & cosy, & the soft pastels combined with the “new” gray neutrals are the big thing for 2013! So are these colors a continuing trend for the next year or two? The last phase of pastels for example, lasted in some cases for years, and have never really been discontinued. I would question that these are the ‘new’ trends of today; what makes them new? Is it the juxtaposition of the ‘new neutrals’ in what I had previously known as ‘contrasting’ or ‘feature’ colors? The business trend to Reworking with New terminology by todays’ younger business executives is at the root of this. Don’t you know people, that it has all been done before?!! Giving it a new name doesn’t make it new! You might fool the younger generations, but not those experienced designers who have been through it all before; and many times over I might add. However I will drop in a couple of pictures to show how color can be used in your home or business, and how not to get stuck in the neutrals, without adding some contrast colors for interest. In a previous blog I used the color wheel to explain, so I will not repeat.

“some ideas for utilizing color”

Green, always right for Spring


These are four examples of using color with your accessories, and furniture groupings. Of course the individual taste may not always be to Wall art, perhaps sculptures, textiles, or mobiles. the minimalist/modernist may prefer metal or Industrial style accessories rather than collectibles. It comes down to personal taste. In the picture to the right with the green chairs, note the painted floor carpet. These were a fairly common feature during the “great Depression” and the craft became very popular, as a replacement for the more expensive manufactured carpet, and became quite an art form. Another Art Form was the emergence of woven textiles as wall art, to brighten up an otherwise bleak period of the time. Necessity is the mother of invention, and it showed in the diversity and imagination of the human spirit to enhance his home with color and texture; eg; ancient wall paintings from pre-historical times found on archeological expeditions. Which by the way you will likely observe at some time, if you do any traveling.

Enjoy, Jo.


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