Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Souvenirs ~ Decorating The Stone House on the Hill

sou·ve·nir  [ˌso͞ovəˈnir], noun,
a thing that is kept as a reminder of a person, place, or event.

We long ago quit buying knickknacks, postcards, key chains and other nonsensical items on our travels. In recent years we’ve been cleaning out our Pacific Northwest home of such collections and discarding the travel memory clutter.
  
‘If we can’t eat it or drink it – we won’t haul it home’ has been our rule of travel.

We refocused and redefined 'souvenir' when we purchased The Stone House on the Hill and began decorating it. We wanted a home that reflected ‘us’ and might inspire and entertain those who stayed with us. What better reflects ‘us’ than travel? Why not start buying things for the house on our travels? Practical, or useful souvenirs, you might say. We've seen it used in those decorator magazines for years. . .

P1010802You long-time readers probably recall we had an extra suitcase on our Middle East cruise which was designated for those types of purchases and. . .then. . .

. . .added yet another filled with Turkish rugs.  We hauled more luggage that trip than we've ever taken anywhere! 

So many of you wrote saying you wanted to see our souvenirs and how they’ve been put to use in Greece, that I thought this week I'd take you on a home tour of sorts and show you where some things and have come from and where they are being used:




Turkey

Let’s start with those Turkish rugs we bought at our last port of call, --  Alanya, Turkey, that magnificent place with the stunning old fortress wall --  on our Magic Carpet ride of a cruise through the Middle East last spring:

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Alanya, Turkey at night from our Oceania Cruise ship Nautica
We purchased three rugs, one for in front of the fireplace, one for a hallway and one for the den.

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Turkish rugs for the den, hallway and living room
Jordan


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Petra, Jordan - a favorite highlight of the cruise
One of my favorite rugs came from Jordan – where Petra and the Wadi Rum were highlights. The purchase of the rug helped support the foundations and charities that are favorites of Queen Noor. (Queen Noor of Jordan is an American woman who is the widow of King Hussein of Jordan. She was his fourth spouse and queen consort between their marriage in 1978 and his death in 1999.)
The purple and green in its design matched perfectly with the colors of our ‘guest level sitting room and bedroom’.
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Guest room at The Stone House on the Hill
We also found an easy decorating item and souvenir to bring back is a pillow case.  The day bed in the guest room has pillowcases in the center that we purchased in Singapore. The goal is to fill that bed with ‘travel pillow cases’.

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Pillow cases make great souvenirs
While in the guest level of our home, lets move into the sitting area and . . .

India


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We went local and rode tuk tuks to see Cochin, India
Our first cruise port of call in India was Cochin, where we explored the town independently from the back of a tuk-tuk, similar to the one above. On one of our stops we couldn’t resist this throw and pillow that now decorate the beige couch in the guest suite.

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Throw and pillow from Cochin, India

Egypt


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Safaga, Egypt our port of call 
Our introduction to this fascinating country of Egypt came with a cruise tour that took us from Safaga to Luxor and during that trip our guide told us the story of the importance of the Scarab beetle in Egyptian myths and legends. She held up a papyrus painting and I immediately ‘had’ to have one.  It only cost $7US and the framing (done in Greece) was another 20 euros – it is one of our favorites.

PicMonkey Collage
Scarab beetle brings memories of Egypt 
While 'de-cluttering' the Pacific Northwest, I happened upon some oversized postcards that I purchased several years ago in Provence, France. Instead of dumping them, I took them to Greece and got them framed (35 euros) by the two talented ladies who run my favorite gallery in Kalamata –  and they now are on display above the kitchen table.

Provence


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A taste of Provence
While we’ve prided ourselves in purchasing ‘useful’ souvenirs for our Greek home, I have to admit – we did give in to temptation and filled our refrigerator door with . . .magnets, one from each country in which our Magic Carpet landed. They surround my favorite saying:
Life is not measured by the
number of breaths we take,
but by the number of moments
that take our breath away.
Now, every room in The Stone House on the Hill features something to remind us of those breathtaking moments!

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Memories to take our breath away
That’s it for this week.  Thanks for coming along on the tour and we hope you’ll be back again soon.  I’ll do another post one day and show you some of the items we've found during our travels in Greece that now are part of our furnishings and decorations.  Do you collect souvenirs? If so, tell us about them in the comments below or shoot us an email!

Safe travels to you and yours~

Linking up this week with:

Mosaic Monday – 
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration





57 comments:

  1. I really loved this peek at your practical souvenirs. I have rugs and sculpted wall plaques based on museum pieces from Greece. Pillow covers from Greece, New Zealand, and Hungary. I have a small painting from Brugge. But I also have painted tiles from just about everywhere. Those with hangers are on a kitchen wall, but I haven't figured how to use others. Table runners embroidered in Crete, cow bells from Switzerland and water buffalo bells from Cambodia. Shadow puppet from Thailand, miniture boats from anywhere with water....and on and on

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    1. Isn't it fun to be reminded of your travels? We keep saying we need to return to certain countries just because of certain items of shopping that we've done. You've given me some ideas with your list above. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. I really loved this peek at your practical souvenirs. I have rugs and sculpted wall plaques based on museum pieces from Greece. Pillow covers from Greece, New Zealand, and Hungary. I have a small painting from Brugge. But I also have painted tiles from just about everywhere. Those with hangers are on a kitchen wall, but I haven't figured how to use others. Table runners embroidered in Crete, cow bells from Switzerland and water buffalo bells from Cambodia. Shadow puppet from Thailand, miniture boats from anywhere with water....and on and on

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  3. That's a very interesting collection.I have a few tasks myself while I visit a country - 1) Buy a Sunday newspaper, Collect some currencies, 3) Buy anything that is special to the country like Ceylon tea from SriLanka, Kaya Jam from Singapore. I have also started sending postcards to a few friends back home. That experience to post the card itself can be adventurous for me. :-)

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    1. We've have found that mailing something from a foreign land can be one of the most memorable travel experiences we had there. Good for you, for sending postcards to friends! And one of our favorite things to do is to spend a lazy Sunday morning reading an English version local paper! Thanks for the visit - please come back again!!

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  4. Jackie, each room is full of treasures from your travels. There is such beautiful detail to each of the rugs. And the pillows are absolutely exquisite. I also like that you framed the postcards. I always like to have personalized artwork in my home, something that speaks to me, instead of just generic things. Now the stone house on the hill has truly become a home.

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    1. Yes, Mary, those rugs are treasures of our travels. My goal this summer is to clean out more 'junk' in the US but when we get back to Greece I can hardly wait to head out on some jaunts and do some shopping for the house there, that we really do think of as home now. Thanks for the lovely comment - happy week ahead!

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  5. Thank for taking us along with you for a delightful photo journey and for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2016/06/circa-1953-and-now.html

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    1. As always, thanks for hosting such an amazing collection of bloggers!

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  6. Wonderful shots of the place. Great place to visit.

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  7. Love all the textiles, such a nice choice for souvenirs. I usually buy jewelry when I travel. Thanks for sharing and the tour. I love your house.

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  8. I love you for sharing those purchases you make on FB - it always makes me smile! And thanks for stopping by today~ Happy Weekend!

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  9. I love to have such travel souvenirs around me. We usually don't buy often nor very much, but if we get something it has to be practical or of real decorative value. Some of my treasured things include a colorful paper mache parrot from Mexico, a large wall carpet from Peru, and some weird lava tubes (just rocks really) found in Afghanistan.

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    1. ...and I forgot: a charcoal drawing of a typical tango scene from Buenos Aires.

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  10. Loved the tour and that carpet/rug from Jordan is my favourite too. Did you also decorate your North-west home with souvenirs? We have purchased souvenirs on our travels, some which were worthwhile and others not so much, but we do enjoy looking at them and remembering.

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    1. We've got just a couple of things in our Northwest home and can't explain why we haven't made an effort over the years to fill it with decorative souvenirs other than we usually travel light with no more than two small checked bags and haven't had room for them (nor a desire to ship anything home). We did - long ago - buy a set of rattan furniture in Thailand and have it shipped here and still use it in our family room. Maybe that experience cured us of the desire. ;-)

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  11. Whoa! You got a lot of nice souvenirs on your trips! Those are my kind of rugs. We also stopped "souvenirs" a long time ago. I tend to get some postcards to share with friends or to frame them. I like to get unique jewelry too since I know I will use it.

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    1. Ruth, love the idea of jewelry as it does fit so well in a carry on bag (or on the body) doesn't it? I found though that I seldom have too many places where I wear jewelry these days, so have also cut down on it as well. Thanks for the visit!

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  12. What an eclectic, memory filled life you live!

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    1. The crazier the better, is my motto! Thanks for stopping by~ Happy Weekend ahead to you.

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  13. I really love that throw and pillow from India. Quite unique :)

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    1. Glad you like the throw and pillow - I had wondered if it would 'fit' in terms of look and then laughed, as it all is so eclectic that I thought, of course it does!! Thanks much for the visit today~

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  14. What a fun post, Jackie...I loved seeing your rooms and how you are using your travel goodies...your house is sooo cute.

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    1. Wish I could give you the tour in person, BJ. We'd sit outside and sip coffee and indulge in some of the bakery's best pastries to start . . . Thanks for the visit via the virtual world anyway! Hugs, J.

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  15. You are rich in terms of travel experience and souvenirs! :)
    I too bring back souvenirs along with memories of foreign lands. I like the variety you have presented cool theme for a travel blogger's post. :)

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    1. We are both rich and blessed in terms of travel experiences and souvenirs, Indrani. It is a good feeling to surround yourself with memories of wonderful people and places that have enriched your life along the way. Glad you enjoyed the post!

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  16. I also like decorating my home with souvenirs that I pick up when traveling. A long time ago, I used to feel weird that they didn't have the name of the place emblazoned on it and that I was really the only one who remembered where it came from. But as the years have gone by, I've realized that not having labels keeps the look more timeless and less "gift shop."

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    1. You are so correct Michele. I figure when the time comes for someone to clean out our stuff (hopefully still a few decades away) that some of these 'nameless items' might appeal to them and not just be pitched into the charity giveaway boxes. Thanks for the visit.

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  17. How fun to get a peek at the stone house and some of your travel purchases, Jackie! I'm quite taken with the Jordan rug and its lovely design in green and purple and grouping your lovely postcards in one frame was a great idea. Since we carried everything we owned for a few years we're having fun picking up an item here and there that's decorative as well as useful. My weakness at this point are handmade baskets for organizing/containing clutter and a mix-no-match assortment of everyday plates so I can pick what suits my mood. After being surrounded by collections that we'd begun years and years ago we've found our taste has changed (drastically) and it really is fun to start all over again.

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    1. So funny you should mention baskets. During our house scouting trips we were taken by some gypsies (as the locals called them) who sat near the beach weaving baskets. I told Joel that if we ever found a house, I'd be buying one of every size. Wouldn't you know? We buy the house, the weavers have disappeared and I am having a dickens of a time even finding a basket to buy! As for tastes changing - ditto. Our US home is cluttered with things that we've acquired through the death of relatives and that we'd never part with but not necessarily things that we would have chosen had we started from scratch as we are doing in Greece. It is like having a playhouse, but wait. . .that is next week's topic! Thanks for the visit!!

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  18. I love your collection of practical souvenirs. My souvenirs are either small (no, I don't need a fully functioning oxcart - I'll take that one that fits in the palm of my hand) so that I can fill a small shelf with memories or functional as yours (rugs, pillow cases, ottomans, clothing).

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    1. Oh Rhonda, that made me laugh as we have seen some beautiful oxcarts on our travels and always have said, "if there was a way of getting it home" but then what? Memories are great whether in your heart or on a shelf! Thanks for the visit~

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  19. Every country has some authentic thing that determine this country. your photos are wonderful tips for travel beginers ) elefants took my heart. )

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    1. We do love the elephants - between them and cats, I could decorate my house and have it look like a menagerie! Thanks for your visit, Maya, please come back again.

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  20. ‘If we can’t eat it or drink it – we won’t haul it home’ Brilliant. Love the things you have bought

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    1. We are pretty good about that eat or drink it mantra when traveling in the States, but still have a bit of decorating to do in Greece so shall keep looking for 'practical treasures' Thanks Margaret for stopping by today!

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  21. We can't purchase and haul souvenirs or home decor purchases, homeless as we are. I'm living vicariously through everything you do at this house. :)

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    1. Oh Betsy and I am living a wonderful vagabond lifestyle vicariously through your travels. Keep those adventures of yours coming~

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  22. Thanks for inviting us in for a tour! We're kind of at the same place with souvenirs. But we've bought carpets in India, Turkey, Morocco, and Jordan so we are done with carpets. Or at least I am. Of course that's what I thought before Corinne bought the Berber carpet in Morocco!

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    1. Oh that makes me laugh Jim because I have commented a few times that IF we should get back to Turkey or Jordan or somewhere, that maybe, just MAYBE we should take that foldup suitcase the carpet salesman gave us just in case we found something else we (me) couldn't live without! Thanks for the comment - I am still smiling!

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  23. How lovely to have your home decorated with such beautiful memories. I really like the throw and pillow from India.

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    1. And to think we almost talked ourselves out of it, but then thought, "why not??" Thanks much for the visit, Donna!

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  24. Hi Jackie. I love your rugs. Impossible to pick a favorite. I know when I get to Turkey that rugs are high on my list. That will have to be after Korea, since they are not practical when you have in-floor heating. I love your postcards as well; great idea. I buy mostly textiles when I travel, and if I ever stay in one place long enough my walls will not be lonely! I also have quite a magnet collections. I'm a fan of purchasing art work magnets from museum visits. Once again, sorry for being so late. I'm listening to and marking 100 final English presentations this week. (final is the encouraging word!) Thanks for linking up. #TPThursday

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    1. Wow, I still can't believe how fast this year has sped past! You were just starting the new job and now you are using the F word: final! Glad you enjoyed seeing the rugs. . .they are among my 'treasures'.

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  25. What wonderful souvenirs! I love that you are able to see and enjoy these lovely rugs rather than storing them out of sight. And what a fun project to decorate with these rugs!

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    1. We had needed rugs, Sharon, and those we'd found in our area of Greece all tended to be in colors that we found 'boring' . . .we want the Stone House to be vibrant both in color and atmosphere, so it was a real treat to find a rug shop in Turkey and in Jordan that provided just what we were looking for -- at extremely reasonable prices! Thanks for the visit.

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  26. Oh gosh - what a multicultural home you have! I will have to come and visit you in your little part of Greece (given I'm not far away, in Athens) and also as I'm a Pacific North West fan...and take in all your souvenirs!
    A veritable little treasure trove.

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    1. I was thinking not long ago that we really should try and get together since we are almost 'neighbors' in Greece. Let's make that a goal this fall, we plan to return in September!

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  27. Such a great idea! We will be settling in our home, too, next year and we can start now! I can visualize our bew home. Thanks for your inspiration. We have enough ref magnets!

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    1. Nothing like walking on a rug that immediately reminds you of the Magic Carpet ride of a cruise you took when you bought it. Thanks for stopping by, Carol.

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  28. I usually buy souvenirs that I can decorate with, too, and whenever my eye catches one of them, it never fails to make me happy! It was really fun to see your purchases, and where you got them from.

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    1. Oh Amy, I am still green with envy over those lemon-decorated ceramics you found in Italy and have a goal to do a shopping trip there in hopes of finding some for the Stone House one day! Thanks for the visit~

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  29. What a lovely collection of souvenirs! I especially like your elephants.

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    1. I am surprised at the number of comments that have taken note of the elephants. If you could have seen us debating that one purchase. . .did we really want elephants, did it reflect India, did we like the colors. . .guess we chose well as it seems to be liked by all!

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  30. You sure put your finger on the problem of collecting souvenirs at a time of life when we value experiences more than things.

    You did a great job of finding souvenirs that have enhanced your home and serve as a recollection of your wonderful travels~ Thanks for inviting us "in"!

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    1. You nailed it, with 'a time of life when we value experiences ore than things', Irene. I look around our Pacific Northwest house and think of all that would need to be cleaned out after years of accumulation should we ever decide to give up the here/there lifestyle and think maybe it is better to keep it as a 'storage unit' . . .seriously, it is a time of experiences over things, isn't it? And aren't we all lucky to still be of the health (mental and physical) to be out collecting experiences instead of things.

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