Sunday, November 24, 2013

Vacation Keepsakes

Multiple times during our New England vacation, Bob and I would find ourselves attracted to a souvenir, waiting for one person to make the move to purchase. Then we would shrug and say, "eh, we're on vacation, let's get it!"

We've got a pretty good track record of sentimental keepsakes from our vacations. We bypass the touristy shops filled with snowglobes and picture frames, and instead focus on finding decor for our home. I will admit that while in London I sought out a tiny telephone booth and walked into every tourist shop I could to find the perfect size. And I still ended up buying one that is actually a toy bank.
In Egypt, we set our sights early in the trip on bringing home a set of alabaster vases. These were all over the place, complete with Tourist Trap attractions to test out making your own.
We found this set of three at a bazaar, and after some tough negotiations they were all ours. The vases glow when a tea light is placed inside, and we've used them for table decor during dinner parties and holidays to help set the mood.
We also bought a papyrus that eventually got framed for our hallway. More about the story of this papyrus here.
Our honeymoon trip to Belize gave us this little wooden bird, who now lives on a shelf in our living room. 
So now it was New England's turn to make us some memories. In Vermont we found ourselves stopping at a giant warehouse of a store called The Christmas Loft. Sure, it was September, but as a girl obsessed with ornaments and holiday decor, I knew this had to be a stop. We walked away with a little Jim Shore Halloween ornament who fit in quite nicely on the mantel this year.
I had to snap a picture of the Jim Shore wall for my sister. She collects the Santas and I think her collection is starting to rival The Christmas Loft's!
I've wanted a Nutcracker for awhile now, but haven't been a fan of the glitzy and glittery ones I always see in the stores nowadays. When we saw this little fellow (he stands just about 11 inches) and felt how soft his fur hat was, we looked past the $90 price tag and had him wrapped up. "Eh, we're on vacation. Let's get it!"
As we prepared to leave Burlington, Vermont, we stopped at the Farmer's Market to see what the area had to offer and to grab a snack for the road. You don't usually see booths set up selling alcohol, let alone giving out samples at 10 in the morning, but the allure of gin infused with honey was enough for Bob to plunk down the Visa for this offering from Caledonia Spirits
At the Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire, Bob and I followed the 90 minute tour up with a gift shop stop. I've always loved Shaker furniture - I think it goes back to a high chair we always had in our house growing up made in the style. We picked up a medium sized wooden box in light blue. Still looking for the perfect place in the house for this one.
I couldn't pass up this carefully crafted wooden ornament. I really need to watch myself this year. I think last holiday season I was gifted or bought myself at least 10 ornaments. Our trees need to get bigger if I'm going to be going at this rate.
The cute shops in Bar Harbor, Maine were plentiful. Bob was drawn to some canvas paintings he saw at a shop called Spruce & Gussy. This one by Linda Rowell-Kelley found a place on our wall.
Wait, let me give you some size perspective. Can you find it? Small but mighty, we noticed after putting it up that the lamplight shines perfectly onto it like a little spotlight. 
What do you tend to buy when you are on vacation? Are you adding to a shot glass collection, or maybe going the Christmas ornament route? Am I being too judgmental of the tourist stores that seem to have an endless supply of witty t-shirts ("Unbelizeable!") and magnets shaped like states?

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