As requested by reader Divya of Sound Horn Please (see her beautiful colorful tile redesign of a plain ol’ mirror, wonderful results!!) … here are hotel luggage stickers I collected about six years ago, mentioned in the steamer trunk post. We were in Minneapolis moving to Chicago then, and our new house had a guest room to decorate. Oh goodie! Of course a guest room is the perfect place to indulge my love of travel. Ad nauseum! (That’s probably so, but all who’ve stayed in that room are too nice to say if it’s so.) So for awhile I surfed eBay and other sites for vintage luggage stickers. Here’s what I got:
While many of these are now affixed to luggage, the original intent was to frame them. That’s what I’d do to decorate a huge piece like the steamer trunk desk I blogged about a few days ago. I’d frame some luggage tags and hang a series of frames on the back of the steamer trunk, so that when it’s closed it’s decorative and evocative of what it represents, rather than a large dark hulking presence that seems like it could feel foreboding, looming over a room. This framing of luggage tags is similar to what I did for our ground floor bathroom in our Chicago home:
About ten years ago we visited a post office in Chiang Mai, Thailand and found sumptuous stamps there. It was a kid in a candy shop moment! The stamps are works of art, featuring gold and the tiniest of details. I framed and hung a series of them, and chose to put them in our ground floor bathroom which is a tiny room so you can see the stamps up close. I’ve even toyed with the idea of adding a wall-mounted magnifying glass so guests can see the details of these stamps:
After we bought these stamps, I was clutching the precious paper bag in my hands (precious not for the cost as they were cheap but precious in beauty) and had my first experience with crossing a street of heavy traffic, on foot, lane by perilous lane! My husband had already crossed, having had much more experience at that than I. It took awhile, sort of like the times when I was a kid taking swimming classes and I had to be coaxed to jump off the highest diving board. In the end, we do survive all these things. After I successfully crossed the street, there was a reward awaiting us — the most beautiful banana flower that was hanging right there near my head, the first banana flower I’d seen in person. We got a picture of that. Then we embarked on a long walk across a bridge to a row of shops and restaurants in Chiang Mai where we ate lunch in a tiny courtyard lined with brick walls and trees and orchids in pots. It was beautiful. The details you remember when you look at travel mementos! That’s why I love them.
By the way, I framed these stamps inexpensively. I bought four matching frames on half-off sale at Joann, found a huge matt in a color I liked in their remnant matt section, also at huge discount, and then took it all to the framing counter where they were happy to assemble these pieces in the ready-made frames. Because it was too hard to cut the matt precisely around the tiny stamps, they mounted the stamps on foam instead. Originally the frames had Italy scenes that we discarded; the value was in the frames which were the perfect size and depth with antique gold finish that I envisioned for these stamps.
So, back to the luggage stickers and where they “live.” Our guest room is always ready for people who drop in to Chicago and need a place to stay. It’s full of luggage (one old, the rest “new made to look old” mostly from TJ Maxx HomeGoods although Hobby Lobby is loaded with them too), globes, sari fabrics, wood mirror from India, Hundi lanterns, elephants, and an eclectic mix of things from places we’ve been: Thailand, New Mexico, the San Diego Zoo. There are also far-flung things others gave me, such as a Japanese wallet gifted by a woman I worked for during a summer job back in undergrad days. I hesitate to say how long ago that was now! It was flattering she thought of me while on her trip, this young girl who typed the invoices (yes this was back in days of typewriters). She said she hoped I could see Japan someday. Even the “privacy/please clean” sign on the guest room doorknob was found at a resort in Laos. Their signs were so cute, the resort sold them in their shop:
Hey! I just got an idea. Why not create a luggage tag for our own guest rooms? After all, no matter how much we sometimes want to travel somewhere else, our homes really should be the best destination.