Aug 10, 2011

Little Additions

I love souvenirs from a trip.  We don’t travel that often, so it makes the places we go all the more special.  And I love having things around the house that bring back happy memories every time I look at them.  However, as a pack rat, souvenirs are a slippery slope.   To curb my enthusiasm (and spending so we don’t end up broke with a house full of memory-filled junk I can’t throw away), we have a strict criteria about what can come home.

For starters there are some practical guidelines - it needs to fit in the car or suitcase without requiring shipping.   And nothing too expensive, in case it breaks on the way home.  It also needs to have a place, purpose or use - something that can fit in with our decor, something we could pull out seasonally, or something we can enjoy and use up (like coffee, local fruits, etc).  Giant wooden pelican sculpture?   No.  Free seashells from the beach in unique shapes and colors?  Yes.  Or sometimes it will be a distinct piece of jewelry or a cool book or a scarf or something totally unique and special...  like these:

These hand-blown jellyfish paperweights are from the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, one of the highlights of our trip (we are both big Chihuly fans).  They have an open glassblowing studio where you can sit and watch artists work for hours using the traditional Venetian methods.  It was incredible to watch and I found a whole new appreciation for the time and effort it takes to create glass sculptures.  While we were in the studio, the visiting artist and team were making stripes - a surprisingly arduous process.  The delicate tentacles of the jellyfish will always remind me of the experience.  And they also happen to look pretty in our house.

We also like prints of hand-drawn maps when we can find them (like this one of St. Lucia in our sun room).  While we were in the San Juans, we were lucky enough to find this vintage map of Orcas Island (where we stayed).  It was printed in 1946 and is incredibly charming.  Plus it only cost us a donation to the local food bank - definitely win-win.  I’m hoping to frame it hang it in the office.

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