I love animals; I love all kinds of animals! If you read this blog long enough, you are sure to see a lot of conversation about my cat, my two dogs and the two horses I have remaining from my herd of seven a year ago.
Besides my domestic menagerie, I have a penchant for African animals. My dream trip would be safari in Africa, seeing the great herds scattered across the savannah. Of course, I want the kind where the white-coated servants have the wine chilled when you return from photographing, and where there is turn-down service and hot water for a shower. Truthfully, any safari for me will likely remain a dream.
I love other wildlife, too. I read about grizzlies, I love tigers, and I think the American Bison is truly magnificent. The many times I visited Yellowstone, I never got jaded about Bison. They thrilled me no end every single time I came across them--which is a lot when you're in the park.
Now, this is going to feel like a change of subject to you, but bear with me: I am not a decorator. My house is usually passably clean (passably), but it will not ever make the pages of House Beautiful or the like. This is not because I don't appreciate beautifully-decorated homes; I do. It is because 1) I just, quite simply, don't have the time for the care required to achieve "the look;" and 2) My decorating is displaying things that are meaningful to me. Rarely (maybe never) will you catch me looking for decorative accessories. Those are compiled from things that my family has collected by hand-me-down or on trips and such; or they are just things I love.
So, back to animals. I have discovered two lines of animal figurines (toys) that just attract me like magnets. The brands are Schleich and Safari. I have a hard time passing them by in the toy store and in one big discount chain. In fact, in moments of high stress I have actually made a special trip a time or two to high-end toy stores just to get a "fix" (last fix consisted of a Baboon and an Okapi).
You know, I'm really too old to actually play with these, which made me think about what I do want to do with them. So, I thought, "You love them; display them!" And so I did, right in my hallway for all to see--as you, too, can see from this photo.
The reaction to my decorating idea has been varied. One of my best friends (not V, of course; she understands these things) was transparently put off by the whole thing: "But, they're toys!" She sniffed. "Are they rubber or what?"
My seven-year-old niece, on the other hand, was ecstatic. She gets them down and plays with them every time she comes over. The beauty of this is that I think of them as art, but they're rugged and practically indestructible (except, maybe for my Malinois' jaws, heaven forbid). My niece and I have worked out a system to soothe her covetness. She gets to take one of her choosing home with her each time, bringing it back to exchange for another. She does not yet know that she's getting her very own collection at Christmas. I cannot let that kind of appreciation go unrecognized.
I know my decorating is unorthodox, but you'd be surprised how much pleasure I get from these inexpensive animals! (See the matted and framed picture displayed with them--scissored out of a National Geographic! I fell in love with the picture of these little elephant baby friends). I have "nice" things, too, which usually translates into "expensive."
I guess you could put this article under our little section on "cheap tricks," and I probably will, now that I think about it. But "cheap" is just the wrong word in my opinion. They don't cost much, true; and the picture cost less than $3.00, including the frame. I just think we need to let the cost and orthodoxy things go by the wayside. My advice: display the things you love seeing when you walk into your home! It works for me! --C 11/29/2008 P.S. - If you love to read about animals, as I do, see my suggestions on our book lists. Also, see information on the animals on our "Cheap Tricks" section! Ungawa!