How to: Take Your Travels Home

One-of-a-kind finds make a home stand out from its neighbor's, especially when they are collected from your travels &mdash not found in a nearby big-box store. A home comes to life with these paintings, decorative objects and other items. How do you remember your travel escapes in your home?

I used to pick up tchotchkes from our family vacations: key chains, piles of postcards, stuffed animals. Over time, my pile of once-sentimental memorabilia grew and grew. Now I know better. My new rule for traveling is that I get to choose one souvenir for the home, something that will be displayed or used. Here are more suggestions...

Buy a coffee table book from a particularly memorable museum exhibit or tourist destination. I found a beautifully illustrated book of Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales at The British Library in London, when they had an exhibit on Anderson. You could also put together your own coffee table book of photos through photo printing Web sites, such as Snapfish.

Find prints that go with your decor &mdash much more meaningful then buying generic art to fill your walls. The print in the image is titled "Stand By" by Antoine Chapon, a St. Martin island artist.

Buy decorative objects. We have bowls from Malawi, Africa, where my husband spent some time.

Find everyday kitchen and home necessities from your travels. I have a set of old-fashioned glasses etched with the Oxford College logo that come out for cocktail parties.

Collect a certain object. I have fun mugs from places such as Las Vegas, St. Martin and Mystic, Connecticut that we use instead of a matching set. I have filled in the colorful collection with a few white mugs to calm down the chaos.

Make a t-shirt quilt with all of the t-shirts you have bought over the years. I've yet to do this, but I have a pile of t-shirts that I don't want to wear, but can't bear to throw out.

Any other ideas? What do you bring home from your travels?

21 Comments