Monday, January 14, 2019

Decorating With Vacation Memories

I can't believe that the vacation we waited so long for, our Mediterranean Cruise, is now just a memory.  But what a wonderful memory it is.  One we will never forget.  And just in case we do start to forget, we made sure we took plenty of pictures to jolt our memories.  Another memory jolter is the souvenirs we brought home with us.  

I brought home at least one souvenir from each country we visited.  A couple of the souvenirs were Christmas ornaments.  Some of my favorite souvenirs are the Christmas ornaments I've gotten over the years on special vacations.  We love reliving those vacations as we hang each ornament on our Christmas tree.

Sometimes I find other Christmas items that make me happy when I decorate my house at Christmastime.  This year, I found a santon that I knew would make me smile every time I decorated with it each Christmas.  

Before I left on vacation I researched the things I should seek out in each country to bring home.  In France, one of the items were a santon.  They are little figurines that are used to decorate a nativity.  We found a shepherd boy that we loved.  He didn't fit into our nativity, because our Jesus, Mary and Joseph are very big and look like giants next to him, but he looks right at home next to a house that decorates our shelf at Christmastime.

In Montenegro, I found a very beautiful and colorful Santa and he fits in perfectly with the two that I have already.  He's the Santa in the middle!

Four years ago we celebrated my mom's 94th birthday by going to Japan and brought 20 of our friends and family with us,  My friends, who live in Japan, were nice enough to arrange an overnight trip for us to the countryside where two of them live.  They rented a bus and planned a full day of activities. 

The restaurant they reserved for us to have lunch in was a wonderful experience for all of us.  We had a traditional lunch served in bento boxes and sat cross legged on a tatami floor while we ate it.

On our way out of the restaurant, my daughter Lisa noticed a collection of owls sitting in trees of different sizes and they were for sale!  Me and my friend, Heidi were right behind Lisa when she saw them and we stopped to buy one along with Lisa. 

I have my owls sitting on our kitchen counter.

Lisa has hers, the tallest of the three, on her fireplace mantle.

And I love the way Heidi has hers sitting on a shelf along with her other vacation memories.

My mom is Japanese and that is the reason we all wound up in Japan to celebrate her birthday.  Because we have lots of family and friends there, I have been visiting Japan regularly since my first trip when I was 12.  I have special memories of  spending the entire summer there visiting family and friends, seeing the sights and shopping! 

I love shopping in Japan.  Everything is so kawaii (cute).  One thing I loved to buy was the kokeshi dolls.  My collection decorates our guest room in Florida.

My newest collection, which is not much of a collection yet, are wood signs I find in souvenir stores on our travels.  I got a couple on two separate trips we made to Gatlinburg, TN.  I have plans to have a collage of them decorating my kitchen wall one day.

Lots of times when I enter someone's house, the thing that catches my eye happens to be something they picked up on vacation somewhere.  I love the way my sister, Sandie, decorated one of kitchen walls with a small shelf that holds the cutest little houses she found in Monterosso, one of the five towns that make up Cinque Terre in Italy.  The map of the area that she put above it works so nice 

I also like the way Sandie used the photos she took, while on her family vacations, to create two fun collages.  One wall of her living room is decorated with her pictures of Italy...

and she has her pictures of Japan on the other.

One of my favorite decorations in my home is in the laundry room. 

For almost twenty years we would go camping for a week during the summer with a group of friends.  Many of our trips were planned around beach towns.  I am not sure where I got these bright, colorful fish but all the memories of those fun times come rushing back to me every time I see them.

I also enjoy the two hanging coastal decorations that we have in our screen room.  One
we got on our vacation in Mexico and the other is a souvenir from our daughter and son-in-law's beach vacation.  I liked the way our souvenir from Lisa and Pete looked hanging in the room so much that when I saw something similar in Mexico, I had to buy it.  I do have room for a couple more so I  keep a lookout for one when I am near a beach. 

Sometimes the only souvenirs I come back with from a beach vacation are shells and sand.   It's amazing how many ways you could use shells and sand to decorate.  I've seen both in lamp bases and other things made out of clear glass containers.  My Aunt Joyce uses shells to decorate frames around mirrors. 

I turned our free souvenirs into beautiful decorations that we enjoy every day.  We collected sand from about 10 beach vacations and I turned it into sand art  (You can find out how I did it here!) and simply put our shells in a small glass bottle.   I display them together in my bathroom.

If you are going to decorate your home anyway, why not do it with souvenirs that will remind you of the wonderful time you had on vacation!

Do you decorate your home with your vacation memories?  We would love to hear about it!

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