Decor – Displaying Hawaiian Vacation Souvenirs

Hawaiian vacation souvenirs

As I mentioned in a previous Décor Post, Displaying Travel Souvenirs, in the library of our home nestled among the books are several items that we have collected over the years during our travels across the United States and other distant places such as Europe and Asia.  I have found that shadowboxes are an excellent way to display these travel souvenirs.

One of the keys to displaying travel souvenirs is thinking about how the items will be framed.  For items that have some depth, I have found that shadowboxes are an excellent way to display those souvenirs.  An example of using a shadowbox for travel memorabilia is the shark tooth weapon that we got at the Polynesian Culture Center in Hawaii.  This wonderful piece of craftsmanship is beautifully displayed in a shadowbox but the real purpose of the frame is to that the sharp edges of the shark teeth are enclosed to prevent anyone from handling this dangerous weapon.  (For more information about the Polynesian Culture Center located on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, please click on the link)

Hawaiian weapon and lei

In front of the shadowbox is a piece of driftwood draped with a Hawaiian shell and nut lei.  On the same shelf is a photo of our daughter dressed in her Hawaiian outfit that was taken at the Polynesian Culture Center display in a frame embellished with bamboo and palm trees, also displayed on the shelf is the artificial Hawaiian floral that she is wearing in the photo.  On the other side of the photo is a small glass jar filled with black sand from Hawaii and shells we had gathered from the beach during our trip.

Hawaiian photo and black sand    Hawaiian souvenirs

Also displayed on the bookshelf is a small trinket made of seashells and straw that I bought in Honolulu, it was a very inexpensive item but it is given more importance by displaying it in a small shadowbox.  Two more Hawaiian souvenirs are displayed on the wall of our library near the bookcases; they are more framed Hawaiian souvenirs.  The first is a framed sheet music cover of “Aloha Oe” I had purchased at the small gift shop at the Iolani Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii.  This song was written by Princess Lili’uokalani in 1877 and has become synonymous with Hawaii.  The second piece is hung below and is a beautiful print of the Hawaiian Islands (formerly known as the Sandwich Islands) that was purchased at the Polynesian Cultural Center.   Tucked under the framed “Aloha Oe” music cover is an interesting item from one of the demonstrations at the Polynesian Cultural Center, it is an intricately woven palm leaves shaped into a bird.

Hawaiian framed artworkAll these items are a wonderful way to remember our fantastic trip to Hawaii and are an example of grouping travel souvenirs that tell the story of a vacation trip.  (For some great travel suggestions on what to see and do in Hawaii, please click on the link)

Decor – Decorating a Girl’s Bedroom (from birth to teenager)

When I look back on the photos of my daughter’s bedroom throughout the years, I see how she has changed and grown.  When she was a baby/toddler we lived in California and her room was decorated in soft colors with stuffed animals and porcelain dolls on the shelves.  As a small child, most of the decorating style was determined by me.   Then when we moved to the Midwest her room was decorated first decorated in soft blue and green (even briefly a leopard and tiger print phase!) for a pre-teen and then bold dark pink and black chalkboard paint for a teenager.  As a teenager, she had very definite opinions about how she wanted her room decorated and she selected everything.  In this post, I will discuss how her bedroom decorations have changed over the last sixteen years.

 Baby/toddler bedroom –

Before our daughter was born I knew I wanted soft colors to decorate her first bedroom, so I selected pale sage green, rosy pink and white.  The furniture in the room included a simple crib of light wood accented with dark wood and two matching dressers.  The large closet had mirrored sliding doors with plenty of room inside to hang clothes and store her numerous toys, our daughter loved to play dress-up and dancing in front of the mirrors.  For some reason I could not find a photo of the crib, but it was made with sage green sheets and a baby bumper.  Later a twin bed was exchanged for the crib as she grew older.

Positioned above the crib was a long white shelf with several of our daughter’s stuffed animal collection on display, attached to the shelf was a long rod which was used to hang a quilt.  The shelf and rod unit was made by my husband and it was a great project for him to get involved in decorating our daughter’s room.  The project was very easy and it only took him the weekend to assemble.  He used two wooden brackets, a long wooden plank cut for the shelf and two additional pieces cut to attach the brackets, a long wooden rod, two wooden finials and a can of white paint.

2000 Cassie bedroom 2

On either side the crib were two tall and narrow shelves with cabinets.  On the shelves I placed several porcelain dolls, picture frames with favorite photos of our daughter and other decorative items.  I love to fill the rooms of our home with photos that were taken of special occasions or to capture a moment in our lives; my daughter’s bedroom was no exception.  The dolls were collected for my daughter and I hope that someday she will have them to look at and have some beautiful memories of her childhood.

2000 Cassie bedroom 3    2000 Cassie bedroom 4

On the other side of the room, placed below the window was a dresser.  On top of the dresser was an antique crocheted linen, a table lamp, a small piggy bank (every child needs one right?) and a basket filled with Boyd’s Bears.  Above the window was a wooden cornice painted white and attached was a twig spray floral arrangement.  I enjoy making floral arrangements and I have several throughout our home, it is one of my favorite hobbies.  For my daughter’s room, I used a twig spray as the base and I decorated it with ivy, eucalyptus, white and pink floral sprays and accented with a sage green bow.

2000 Cassie bedroom 62000 Cassie bedroom 5

On the walls of the bedroom were framed artwork, two special ones which commemorated our daughter’s baptism and her first birthday.  These were a very easy craft project using gold mats, scrapbook paper signed by the guests at the events which were placed in gold frames.  (For more information, please click on the décor post – Not Your Normal Wall Art!)

Childhood events framed

Also on the wall around the room were several Brambly Hedge plates, the decorative plates featured scenes from the charming children stories written by Jill Barklem.  I enjoy decorating our home with special plates and I have several different series – for more information about Decorating With Plates, please click on the link.



 Pre-teen / teenager bedroom –

After our family moved to the Midwest, our daughter was a pre-teen.  Our daughter now had very definite opinions about how she wanted her bedroom decorated.  We bought her a beautiful queen-sized sleigh bed and a matching dresser and side table for her new room.  She used the bedroom set for a few years and when she became a teenager she wanted something different so everything was moved to our guest bedroom.  Then, we found a simpler headboard for her bed; we also bought a desk and chair for her to do homework and two tall narrow bookshelves and a CD tower to hold all her things.  The furniture in her bedroom in California had been light wood or painted white and now the furniture was dark wood or painted black.  To complete the bedroom, I bought a new bedspread which was very colorful and reminiscent of a Vera Bradley fabric.   To complete the bed, we found pink flower lights and strung them on top of the headboard and at night they provide a great glow to the room!

2014 Cassie bedroom 1a2014 Cassie bedroom 1

One of the first things she changed in her room after becoming a teenager was that we painted her room a wonderful shade of dark pink, it as a bold choice but she really like it!  We painted the fourth wall with blackboard paint; another interesting choice because she wanted to write on the walls with chalk and it has been great fun for her and her friends.

Next to the bed, in the corner of the room is a painted board that I made to mark our daughter’s height throughout the years.  Most often parents will mark their children’s growth with marks on a door frame or wall, this is what a relative did and when they moved it broke their heart to leave those behind.  Before our daughter was born I knew at some point in our lives we would be moving and I wanted to preserve those memories, so I made a height marker for her room.  It was a simple wooden board, painted white with winding ivy and flower buds for decoration.  I am so glad we have the height marker and it is something our daughter will have.  To add more interest in the corner I painted large letters to spell our her name.

2014 Cassie bedroom 3

Recently, I created several special framed artworks to hang in her room.  Our daughter has participated in several plays and I framed the t-shirts from each of the plays as a reminder of the fun see had during these school productions.  I addition to those ones, I framed t-shirts commemorating graduation from elementary school, middle school cheer team and a t-shirt from her high school.  Also, with our daughter being on a competition cheer, she has collected many bows.  To have a place for her to hang them I created a special board with a framed logo from an old jacket.  (For more information on these projects, please look for future craft posts)

On either side of the dresser we positioned the two tall bookshelves, some of the items such as framed photos had remained the same but other items were more grown-up.  By the time she was a teenager the items in her room changed from stuffed animals, toys and games to numerous books and CDs, a keyboard and an electric guitar.  Scattered around the room were trophies and cheerleading items and more colorful frames with photos of her and her friends.  After a recent trip to Cancun this summer we came back with a colorful Mexican blanket and we added it to the dresser.

2014 Cassie bedroom 2

2014 Cassie bedroom 4    2014 Cassie bedroom 3

I like both her child and teenage bedrooms, they are so different.  But what I love about our daughter’s room now is that her bedroom shows her personality, her hobbies and the things that are important to her.


Decor – Tea Table Displays

Several years ago on a trip to Asheville, NC I purchased a lovely antique tea table which is now placed in the corner of our formal dining room.  Our dining room was already furnished with a beautiful dining table with 8 chairs and matching china cabinet.  Also in the room was a tall cherry wood cabinet where I store silverware and table linens.  I had been searching for a long time to find a piece of furniture to complete the room’s furnishings and the addition of the antique tea table was the perfect piece.

So what does a person place on a tea table?  A china tea set of course!

The china tea set that I placed on the tea table was purchased several years ago when I worked in a small retail store that sold home decorative items and various collectibles.  The white china tea pot has pretty pink roses and ivy, on the front are printed the words “And the greatest of these is Love”.  The two teacups and saucers also feature pink roses and ivy, trimmed in gold.  The words, “Love, Faith and Hope” are printed on the front of each teacup.  I search and was able to find gold teaspoons that I placed on the saucers to match the gold trim.  The saying on the teapot has a very special meaning to my husband and me because at our wedding we had the 1 Corinthians 13:13 verse read during the ceremony.

China Teapot, cup & saucer set

Hanging above the tea table are two framed items that will continue the story of our wedding and complete the decorations in this area of our dining room.  The first is a framed print of the Marty Bell painting “Sweetheart’s Gate”.  I love the vivid colors of print and if you look closely there are hidden hearts which Marty Bell painted into many of her paintings.  Below that framed print is another framed item; it is the custom label from the wine served at our wedding.  Before we got married my husband and I took a wonderful trip to the Napa Valley and toured several of the wineries.  Knowing that we would be married in a few months we order several bottles of wine from a small winery in the area and had custom labels made with our names and the wedding date.  I had a few extra labels and I decided to mat and frame one of the labels to create a unique wedding keepsake.  (Décor Tip:  When decorating an area of the home, think about displaying related items that tell a special story, this is what I did in the corner of our dining room)

Artwork above tea table

As most of the readers to my blog know, I love to decorate for the different seasons throughout the year.  In this post, I will show how I have decorated the tea table with various seasonal items.

Spring/Easter –

Shown below is a photo of the seasonal decorations I used for Easter.  I keep the china tea set on the tea table and then placed a special holiday decoration.  The used a white feather tree and placed it in a cute cracked egg white vase that I found in my local craft store.  Then I decorated the feather tree with sparkle egg ornaments in pastel colors and for a little bit of whimsy I also added a few small white bunny wearing pastel colored tutus.  For another touch of merriment I place a small stuffed duck into one of the teacups.

Tea Table Easter 2013

Fall/Thanksgiving –

Shown below are two different seasonal decorations for fall.  The first photo shows a lovely floral arrangement of golden roses and greenery placed in a crystal vase, this arrangement usually sits on the dining room table.  To add an extra festive touch, I added several peasant feathers to the arrangement.  The second photo shows a unique decoration that I made especially for the year that we hosted Thanksgiving dinner for several family members and since the holiday season is a time of celebration and remembrance I wanted to create a special “Memory Tree”.  I used a small tabletop artificial pine tree which I decorated with family photo frame ornaments, golden feathers and bronze jingle bells.  (For complete instructions on creating a “Memory Tree” for your home, please click on the link)

 Tea Table Fall 2013    Tea Table Fall 2012

Christmas –

Shown below is the special Christmas decoration that I made.  Inspired by the cranberry topiary that I had seen in the Red Room on the HGTV White Christmas special a few years ago I decided to create one for the tea table in our dining room.  It was very easy to make and I used two different Styrofoam pieces, artificial pine, pinecones and artificial cranberries.  When I completed the decoration, I placed is on a silver pedestal to add height.  (For complete instructions on creating a Cranberry Topiary for your home, please click on the link).

Several years ago on one of our antique shopping adventures I came across old sheet music of “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”.  I thought that it would look wonderful framed to match the other two framed sheet music that hang on the wall on either side of the china cabinet.  So, for the Christmas season I remove and store the framed Marty Bell print and the framed wedding label that usually hang above the tea table.  Also to match the other two framed sheet music, I add artificial pine boughs and pine cones placed above the frame.

Tea Table Christmas 2012    2012 Christmas  Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer sheet music

Decor – Framed Family Handprints

My basic decorating style in my home is to surround me and my family with items that have special meaning in our lives.  Sometimes these items can be gathered during family vacations or memorabilia from special family events like weddings, baptisms or birthday celebrations.  Our house is also filled with family photos because I like looking at them and remembering people, places or things that we have done together as a family throughout the years.  (Yes, I guess you could say I am a sentimental old fool!!)

One of my favorite decorative items that relates to family is the “Three Generations” photo frame which holds a picture of three hands.  When I saw the photo frame while shopping one day I knew that the photo would look great in it!  My young daughter’s hand is so small and there is paint on her finger, my hand is slightly larger and my mom’s hand is more wrinkled.  The photo was taken just a few years before she passed away and to me it tells the story of three generations of women in my family.  (We also used the photo as the title page for the video that we played at my mom’s funeral service and it was perfect to reflect the feeling of family)

00- -Title

Another favorite family decorative item that we did very recently was the family hands craft project which was quick, easy and inexpensive.  We started by taking three pieces of scrapbook paper and trace each of the hands of the members of your family.  For a smaller family you can lay each of the hand tracings on top of each other or for a larger family the tracings can be laid overlapping side by side.  Shown below is another variation for the family hands craft project is using paper for a wonderful overlapped look.  (Craft Note / Tip: I hung this on the wall in our home next to another craft project, Words into Art.  Be sure to write the names and date that the hand tracings were taken. Please click on the link for a list of craft supplies and complete instructions)

Family hands

Shown below are more family hands craft projects that I have made as decorative art for our home –

Framed childhood handprints with special poem

Child's handprint

This was originally posted in May 2013 and it is a great craft project to do with the kids to create a very sentimental Mother’s Day gift or it is a great gift idea for the grandparents for Christmas or Grandparent’ Day.  Children handprints, especially when they are very young, always make interesting art work for a home especially when framed with a special poem.  (For more information about Childhood Handprints, please click on the link)

Framed Zoo Animal Handprints

Zoo hand prints - tiger  Zoo hand prints - lion   Zoo hand print - flamingo

This was originally posted in April 2013 and it is another inexpensive craft project to do with the kids to create whimsical zoo animals with family handprints.  Several handprints of the same animal are great for the whole family (create a herd of elephants walking across the savannah, a group of monkeys hanging from a tree or a group of ducks swimming on the water)  Be sure to include individual animal prints for separate family members that expresses their personalities. (maybe a lion for the father, a tiger for the mother, a monkey, zebra, giraffe, elephant or flamingo for the kids)  Frame each print in a white mat and simple black frame which won’t distract from the colorful prints.  Take the time to label the prints with the names of each family member and be sure to include the year.   Several of these individual prints along with one group print would look great to create an interesting wall display in a family room.  (For more information about Zoo Animal Handprints, please click on the link)

Decor – Framed Fashion Items


One of my favorite ways to decorate our home is with unusual items such as travel souvenirs, family memorabilia or framed collectibles.  I think it adds personality to a home and it also is an excellent way to open conversations with visiting family and friends.  My husband loves to give guests a tour of our home explaining the various items throughout the many different rooms.  For more information about those decorative items mentioned, please click on the links)

In this post I will give several examples of framed fashion items that are on display in our home.  But, before I start ….

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is to stop at roadside antique stores to browse through the many aisles filled with booths displaying all kinds of vintage items.  To me, it is almost like having a history lesson looking at the various household and clothing items and wondering how they were used in the years long past.  When shopping in these stores I always look for unique items with the intention that I could display them in our home as interesting and unusual “pieces of art”!

So, I will begin a tour of the framed fashion items displayed in our home by going into the large walk-in closet adjacent to our master bedroom.  In this room, directly in front on the far wall is wooden shelving that I use to store my shoes.  At the top I have displayed two framed fashion items, the one to the left is a women’s silk collar and cuffs with crocheted trim set which are pinned to the padded fabric backing of a black shadowbox and the other one to the right is a pair of men’s black felt spats which are attached in the same manner in a matching shadowbox.  I know it seems strange to display or hang decorative framed “pieces of art” in a closet but our walk-in closet is a very large room and when I found these two items in the antique stores I knew that they would look great!


The next items are not articles of clothing but framed fashion sketches that were originally from a Barbie calendar.  I selected five sketches of various styles of clothing and made color copies on my printer.  Next, using glitter glue, I embellished and highlighted certain features, such as the hem of the skirt.  This provided just the right touch to add an additional dimension to the sketches.  The five sketches were put into ivory mats and then matching wooden frames and set on top of the closet shelving.  I also felt that these sketches were appropriate pieces of framed “artwork” to display in our walk-in closet.


Barbie fashion sketch detail

Fashion items do not always have to be displayed in a frame or shadowbox.  Another item that sits on the shelf in our master bedroom walk-in closet is a lovely green leather purse which holds a floral arrangement of pink roses.  This type of arrangement would also look wonderful on a bedroom dresser, nightstand or dressing table.  For more information on how to create one for your home or possibly to make as a gift for family or friends, please click on the link Floral Purse Arrangement.

Floral purse green 2

The final item that hangs on the wall in the walk-in closet is a blue evening purse but this lovely fashion item was not acquired from an antique store but purchased at a very inexpensive price in a local retail store.  Ever watchful for a bargain, I originally bought the purse in anticipation of using it at a formal occasion but since it was a clearance item on sale after the holiday season, it was in need of some improvement.  I removed the rhinestone handle and replaced it with a string of matching blue pearls with rhinestone roundell spacers that I felt would enhance the appearance of the purse better.  To finish the purse, I added a rhinestone brooch for extra sparkle.  Since formal occasions are attended infrequently, I decided to put in in a shadow box so I could look at it every day. (Craft note: Before considering this change, I confirmed that there was a metal loop that I would be able to attach the new string of pearls)

Blue Purse shadowbox

Below are shown two more examples of framed fashion items that are on display in our home.  The first one is very sentimental item; it is our daughter’s baby outfits which she had worn at her baptismal party and it is pinned to the fabric backing of a white shadowbox.  I also included a baby photo of her in a small gold frame placed in the right bottom corner.  The second one is a black shadowbox which contains our daughter’s 5th grade graduation t-shirt and it is hung in her bedroom, she likes looking at the names and remembering her classmates.  Displaying family memorabilia is a wonderful way to keep special moments and memories alive.

Cassie shadowbox 2    Cassie shadowbox 1

Be sure to check out this month’s Craft post, Framed Fashion Item, for an easy project using a pair of ladies gloves.