Thursday, December 18, 2014

Oh Dear, Oh Dear...Oh Deer.

WARNING: If you are greatly opposed to hunting, even for the sole purpose of feeding one’s family, you might not fully enjoy this post. However, know that this is coming from someone who has screamed at her husband in the car if even a mouse is running across the road. David has learned to shout “Close your eyes!!!” at any sighting of a deer or other animal lying on the side of the road, and he has also learned that tears are likely to flow if I spot any dead creature. We once had a day trip near ruined because two lovely Labradors had run from their (broken) fenced farm onto a major highway. I was sobbing for ten minutes and then crying for a good twenty; I simply could not shake the sight of those once-beautiful dogs or the thought of their owners’ heartache. That recollection can still bring tears to my eyes.

I have such a tender heart toward animals that it borders on nonsense. When I was a child, my mother brought home the movie Where the Red Fern Grows, and in my little girl voice, I very solemnly said to her “Great. Another dead dog movie.” If someone mentions the movie War Horse . . . get ready to console me. And if I ever knowingly meet someone who has mistreated an animal in any way? Well, you might not want to be around.

My love for animals began as a toddler. It’s nearly impossible not to develop that love after being raised on a horse farm that also (at different times) had calves, cows, kittens, cats, puppies, dogs, one lamb (so sorry, Brenda), one pig, and a donkey named Henry. My brother, Brian, hunted with my father from a very young age, and there was one rule. THE rule. I can still hear it being exclaimed by my mother: “Brian, ANYTHING you kill, you MUST eat.” The belief was that God created some animals as food provision but not for the simple sport of killing. Brian ate a few squirrels in his day (as well as chased after me and my childhood best friend, Lesa, with the detached squirell tails) and later provided our family with a 40 pound Thanksgiving turkey and, finally, venison prepared many different ways. Brian continued to provide food for his daughters until the day his life was taken in an automobile accident. It took me nearly two years after his death to allow one of his last bags of frozen venison meat to be thawed and eaten (the very last one is still in my parents freezer, and I know it will never be used). I can remember the day as if it were yesterday. I’ll now introduce my twenty-one-year-old stepson, David, (how I love that boy) who is obviously a Junior. We nicknamed him DJ, because while he lived with David and me, they both simultaneously answered every call of mine from “David” to “Honey” to “Sweetheart.” My husband David does not care for venison, so together DJ and I ate the last pieces of venison sausage through silence and tears. It may seem silly to others, but DJ and I shared something very special with that meal. 

With all that being explained, let’s move on to some decor. Decor?? Yes. About two years ago, David and I were wandering through HomeGoods, and I spotted a shiny white deer head. This white deer head is shown below. (And, yes, he is wearing a scarf for the winter months. It is quite cold in upstate NY, not to mention our home being drafty because we need new windows. Scarves offer warmth and style. Don’t judge.)

As I held this glossy, ten-point buck, my eyes welled up with thoughts of my brother, and I presented the deer in my shaking hands to David. He graciously said, “Of course.” This deer (I am accepting all suggestions for a name for him in the comments below) has been in many different places in our home, bearing his leopard scarf in the fall and winter and shedding it for the spring and summer. Unfortunately, the Christmas tree is blocking some of the collage wall, but you get the general idea (after the tree is down, I will take some photos of the house in its non-decorated state).

Shown without apparel.

This one deer began a, shall we say, slight problem? You see, I didn’t realize that home designers were placing antlers everywhere at the time. For me, it was sentimental; I had no idea that it was actually the beginning of a seemingly long-term design trend. And because of this design trend, deer/antlers in any form are easily accessible at TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Target, boutiques, stores online . . . pretty much everywhere.

Before the onslaught (no pun intended) of photos are presented: be prepared. I have placed a . . . few more antler/deer items in our home. Some were gifts, but the rest have been proudly purchased (on clearance!!) by me. I will sum up this entire post in one thought: If a hunter walked into our home, he or she would very quickly discover any undiscovered ticks they might have. I can see facial twitches, bulging eyes, uncontrollable scratches, reaching for nonexistent guns or bows . . . you get the picture. Here we go.

This is a print by Charmaine Olivia titled “Deer Wearing Gym Socks” (Urban Outfitters). It makes me smile every time I look at it. Brian wore this exact type of gym socks in high school, and I know this is something he would have allowed me to decorate his home with.

White snow globe (TJ Maxx) and a genuine antler from one of Brians deer. I have a full box of these, and I am planning a very special, homemade antler project.

Antler candle snuffer (TJ Maxx)a gift from David last Christmas.

Large metal catch-all bowl by our main entry. I waited patiently for this to go on sale and purchased it for only $10 (reduced from the original TJ Maxx price of $59.99)

Cynthia Rowley teak candlestick holders (Marshalls). These are normally in the center of my dining room table, but I am still enjoying some birthday flowers!

My newest addition: a recent birthday gift selected by my brother-in-law (also named Brian, which is quite special to me). Remember, Brian (aka Hazel), the one concerned about my placing him on Craigslist? Hazel and my sister-in-law, Kay, found this treasure of a bottle stopper in a lovely home boutique in Skaneateles. Kay also gets the credit for this blog posts title.

In between our dining room and kitchenwhat girl doesnt need an awesome deer hook for her handbag? (TJ Maxx)

This has an oval metal base and is actually meant to be mounted to a wall, but we are currently enjoying it above our newly painted kitchen cabinets (HomeGoods).

This is my current favorite piece: a plate that my husband discovered and bought for me last month in Georgetown, D.C., at Anthropologie. We spent Thanksgiving in D.C. with my husbands niece, Nicole (who is also one of my best friends), and her handsome husband, Steve. We made many great memories over the holiday weekend, and they come to mind each time I look at this plate, which is placed over one of my and Davids wedding photos. I named her Georgette (Georgie for short).

This antler has been around! It doesnt stay in one place very long, but it is currently in the second bedroom/Rachels room/my office.

This little guy (from Lowes) is meant to be a Christmas ornament (which a second one is being used as), but I have turned it into a ring holder, and it sits on my vanity.

Finally, in Breannas room, we have this lovely guy that David bought at HomeGoods last spring, knowing Breanna would love it above a cherished photo of her and her dad. 

There we have it! For now (I am not denying the possibility of other deer entering through our front door). I hope you enjoyed the stroll through the woods . . . I mean house. Do you have any sentimental decor items? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to give me some name suggestions for my very first, very special, scarf-bearing buck. 



  1. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I love hearing the history behind your design choices and even more so when they are a result of special memories. I have ALWAYS loved the "Deer Wearing Gym Socks" print; in fact, it's one of the first things I loved about your house. I also adore the deer print in Breanna's room as well as your original piece from HomeGoods (I think you should name him Rupert) . . . and Georgie! And although I am in no way a fan of hunting personally, I AM a huge fan of the way you've used the antlers-and-deer theme throughout your home. Love it! Keep the posts coming! :)

    1. Thank you, Nicole. "Rupert" will be the first name that goes into the selection bag. I certainly know where you got the idea. Ron-Ron, with his red hair and emotional range of a teaspoon :)

  2. Wonderful, enjoyable reading. Since many of those memories are my memories as well, I also have tears in my eyes.

  3. I'm so glad you are enjoying the blog, Mom, because I am of course writing in part for you and Dad. I love you.