The difference between the plastic back scratcher and an oil painting from Italy is mega bucks. So, it’s my purpose today to show you some of the great keepsakes that fall somewhere between the scratcher and the painting. The word “souvenir” in Latin means “to come to mind,” and that is the purpose of all souvenirs. As I walk through my house and pause to look at an object collected on a special trip, I can dream for just a second that I am back there, enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of that far away place.
Now, we are as guilty as the next person of purchasing those little novelties that end up gathering dust or being stored away. We’ve packed our suitcases with coffee mugs, key rings, t-shirts, Christmas ornaments and beach towels. But, it’s the items that are handmade by a local artist or can be used every day that always end up being my favorites. Let me add that when our Christmas tree was 9 feet tall with numerous branches that needed filling, purchasing an ornament was part of every vacation. As we downsized our home, our tree was downsized as well and so we no longer have room to purchase more ornaments. Still, we stop with each little trophy and reminisce about that trip.
Instead, we’ve begun to focus on unique tokens of memorabilia for each journey. We look for things that have been part of our experience. Here are just a few examples as you plan your holiday travels. Some of these items make great gifts as well.
Sheep dotted the fields as we drove through Wales on a recent trip to the UK. I purchased this in an art gallery in the Cotswolds. I also learned that the artist was a young mother with sickness that prevented her from working outside the home. She made these sheep to supplement their income. One of my all-time favorite purchases.
This Olive Board was purchased in Volterra, Italy and is made from olive wood from the region.
This oil and vinegar set of jars was purchased in the small village of Greve in Chianti, Italy. I fell in love with this pottery as we had just driven through the hillsides of Tuscany. We use this set every time we make salad dressing.
Aceto or Vinegar
Olio or Oil
A common scene in the Tuscany region.
Most everything we need for salad dressing is one place. We now purchase all of our oils and vinegars from a favorite shop in Fairhope. The Happy Olive imports their oils and vinegars from Italy. Best tasting and healthiest choice for salad dressing. And a wonderful memory of the great food we had on our trip.
The items above are as follows:
- A picture frame from Volterra which reminded us of the architecture of the village.
- Corkscrews from the wineries we visited.
- An Etruscan horse which was a gift to my husband from his brother. We had been looking for one throughout the trip and he found it in the airport as we were leaving. They had visited the Etruscan Museum together in Volterra. Now it is special for two reasons.
- A small statue of Romulus and Remus with the Shewolf. This is a symbol of the legendary founders of the eternal city of Rome.
- Another view of my English sheep.
An antique map of Venitia.
A trio of prints from Venice.
And now last, but not least are the Italian street numbers that we purchased in Ana Capri. Everywhere we walked throughout the villages of Italy, we saw these ceramic tile numbers used for street addresses.
I’m so excited to finally be using them. I’ve been thinking for months about how to use them in a unique way. I bought white, square planters made from PVC pipe that has a lifetime warranty and glued our numbers to them.
We measured the planters and the tiles, centered and marked the placement of the middle number and it was a breeze to put them together.
Mr. Cozi helped me measure for the first tile on Football Sunday! I’m a lucky lady.
We marked the top and the side of the center tile.
Once the first number was in place, the rest were easy.
I used this industrial strength, permanent craft adhesive on both the tiles and planter.
These planters will soon be filled with poinsettias and greenery and placed on our porches. And now with every seasonal change of plants, I’ll dream of Ana Capri.
Who needs a back scratcher with this kind of memory?
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