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Make the Best of What’s Underfoot - Criteria and Caring for Area Rugs

By Mustafa Salemwalla on Mon, Apr 23, 2018 @ 12:57 PM

Area rugs offer many practical benefits, from providing cushion underfoot to warmth to protecting floors from scuffs and scratches to separating cold, hard surfaces from tender bare feet. Area rugs also offer aesthetic value by framing a space and adding color and interest. Of the considerations when purchasing an area rug, two in particular stand out: criteria for selection and caring for the carpet.

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B is for Bowl - The Most Versatile Vessel Ever

By Penny Baldwin-French on Sat, Jan 20, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

Almost every definition of a bowl goes pretty much as follows . . .

a round, deep dish or basin used for food or liquid

But we beg to differ!

Pangoli

Pangolin Bowl
The Ardmore Collection

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T is for Teapot - A Brief (but Fascinating) History

By Penny Baldwin-French on Mon, Jan 08, 2018 @ 08:30 PM

We've been using teapots for thousands of years.
No kidding, thousands!

Ardmore Goose Teapot

Goose Teapot
The Ardmore Collection

 Teapots were invented back in the Yuan Dynasty (in China). The design likely progressed gradually from ceramic kettles and wine pots made of metals. Prior to that, only cauldrons were used to boil tea which was then served in bowls.

By the Ming Dynasty, use of the teapot was widespread in China

Early teapots were small in comparison to what we use today, as they were usually designed for a single tea drinker. Believe it or not, once the tea was brewed, they usually drank it straight from the teapot spout! If I'd done that as a child, my grandmother would have clipped my ear! Different strokes for different folks, indeed.

They might have actually been onto something, as single portions of tea are easier to control with regard to flavour and are easier to repeat consistently.

From the 17th century onward, tea was shipped from China to Europe, along with exotic spices and other luxuries.  Porcelain teapots, often painted in the familiar blue and white we associate with many Chinese ceramics, were also shipped out.  

Here's a fun fact! Because porcelain is completely vitrified, it can stand subjection to seawater without harm. Therefore the teapots could be stowed below deck.  The tea, however, had to be stowed above deck in order to remain dry.

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Got To Go There - Swaziland - One of the Last Remaining Absolute Monarchies

By Penny Baldwin-French on Thu, Dec 28, 2017 @ 08:30 PM

Swaziland is a small, landlocked monarchy in Southern Africa - best known for its wilderness reserves and festivals.

Source:  Creative Commons, Labeled for Reuse

The borders of delightful Swaziland are shared with Mozambique and South Africa. The Lebombo Moutains, Mlawula Nature Reserve and the Hlane Royal National park are all fascinating spots to visit. Diverse wildlife including lions, hippos and elephants can be spotted throughout Swaziland.

Swaziland is known for civility and peacefulness, making it a great place to begin to experience Africa.  

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Seven Thousand Years of Skill-Building? A Brief History of Tuareg Silver Jewelry

By Penny Baldwin-French on Mon, Sep 25, 2017 @ 10:53 AM

The Tuareg silversmiths of Azel are a group of African artisans who truly excel at the creation of exquisite fine silver jewelry and leather artifacts. Tuareg history goes back 7 thousand years!

TZILA Cross Necklace

There are 21 styles attributed to this Cross Of Agadez,
aka The Southern Cross

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Time to Spruce Up for Fall? It's Just Natural!

By Penny Baldwin-French on Fri, Sep 08, 2017 @ 11:16 AM

Fall is nature's second "rejuvenating period". Just like Spring, in the fall our thoughts naturally turn to refreshing, cleaning, sprucing things up.

And there's a psychological history behind this instinct! In our prehistory, it was natural to make sure that everything was safe and in order before cold weather set in. Our intimate connection with nature dictates our behaviour!

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Want a New Look for Fall? Decorate with Accessories!

By Penny Baldwin-French on Thu, Aug 24, 2017 @ 12:09 PM

Decorating with accessories is a terrific way to give your home a little lift - without breaking the bank!

Any designer will tell you that rugs, art, sculptures, throw pillows and blankets can have a considerable influence. The trick is knowing how to use them.

First and foremost, choose quality items. While mass-produced items are plentiful and inexpensive, they aren't really what you want to surround yourself with. One or two quality pieces are far better than a vast array of run-of-the-mill pieces easily found in your local discount décor store. 

Quality home décor accessories will also stand the test of time far better than mass-produced items of inferior manufacture

Look for unique pieces. You're unique - reflect that in your personal environment.

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A stunning wall-mounted Impala
sculpted from recycled steel
is a unique piece you won't find just anywhere!

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Go Ahead - We Dare You - Monkey Around!

By Penny Baldwin-French on Thu, Aug 03, 2017 @ 02:02 PM

How many times (as a child) did you hear "Quit monkeying around"? 

Well, now we're telling you we think you should! The holidays are coming up fast and we can think of no better way to present your lovely holiday culinary creations than on our beautiful one-of-a-kind Mandrill Platter.

We guarantee this platter will be a conversation starter at your holiday table!

Mandrill Platter

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How to throw the best tea party ever? Invite a Hyena!

By Penny Baldwin-French on Wed, Jul 19, 2017 @ 08:10 PM

If you want your guests to "tell the story" about the best tea party they ever attended, invite a Hyena to your table.

A Hyena Teapot from Ardmore Collection is the best conversation starter we've ever dreamt up!

African Hyena Teapot

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I Wish I Was A Giraffe - or at least could sleep like one!

By Penny Baldwin-French on Tue, Jul 04, 2017 @ 10:02 AM

A giraffe sleeps only about two hours per day. Just imagine how much I could get done!

And they are so loved - the world round. The number of visitors to websites featuring the imminent birth of a baby giraffe is just astounding. And, who can forget the unbelievable response to the baby toy 'Sophie the Giraffe"? It was difficult to get your hands on one!

And, how can we forget the ubiquitious TOYSRUS mascot - Geoffrey the Giraffe? My grand-daughter can't get enough of the terrific children's book Giraffe's Can't Dance by Giles Andreae.

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A Guide to Family Tree Style Makonde Sculptures

By Penny Baldwin-French on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 @ 08:43 PM

 One of the most popular and fascinating forms of Makonde art is sculpture – especially Makonde Family Tree sculptures. These pieces have become extremely popular today with art collectors and homeowners alike. Considering they come in many shapes, sizes, and types of carvings, it’s not surprising they are popping up all over the world.

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