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Travel decorating
on the C
by Rachel Vine
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I am a souvenir-o-holic. My walls read like a back issue of National Geographica baleek vase from Ireland, a hand-woven Scottish wool throw, a cuckoo clock from Germany, a reclining Buddha from Thailand. Thats some of the nicer stuff. The collection goes downhill as I venture towards the tacky, the trailer trash, the truly tasteless. On my coffee table lies a set of coasters from Lake Arrowhead, California, a deck of playing cards with the Las Vegas skyline circa 1975, a bathtub ashtray from British Columbia ("I had a tub o fun in BC"), and a keychain of a couple copulating purchased near Cuzco, Peru. My Disneyland mug sits next to a toy elephant with "A gift from Seaside, Oregon" painted on its back (a gift from Grandpa). Then there are the salt-and-pepper shakers, ornamental plates, magnets, and trivets, plus my most prized possession: a mug from Key West shaped like a mans buff torso (it houses my pens and pencils). For me, the best part of traveling is decorating my happy home with the souvenirs. Byzantine-era architecture and famed royal palaces are all wonderful in the moment, but Im more apt to remember the location of that night market with the awesome tablecloths than who built what, when and why.

My souvenir compulsion took root at an early age, on family vacations where Mom and Dad footed the bill, and the hardest decision I ever had to make was choosing a color. Now Im in my twenties, and it ultimately comes down to that crazy candleholder or the dinner check. So I take a different approach. I look for goods that still capture the feel of a certain place and time without costing a small fortune. Below are some of the best cheapie souvenirs for decorating a home, little touches that add up to one funky Travelodge

Textiles | Countries known for their cloth and weaves can be the source of amazing textile bargains. Shop for wool in Ireland and Scotland, alpaca (a type of llama wool) in Peru and Chile, silk in South East Asia. Look for lace in Italy, and striped blankets in Mexico. And India (as well as Indian markets around the world) offers gorgeous, shimmery fabrics for prices lower than what youd find in the States. Use textiles as throws, blankets on your bed, curtains, pillows, or a slipcover for the couch. Reupholster your chairs or create floor cushions. Use as wall hangings. Weave together a rug or make a small quilt from the scraps. Hang from the ceiling, attach weights to the bottom, and create a portable, colorful wall divide.

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