Friday, June 19, 2009

My Carthage Trip - Part 1

Yesterday was the big day! I thought I’d be able to tell you about my trip yesterday, but it was a long and exciting day, and I was so tired at the end of it! I drove from Tulsa to Carthage to visit the Precious Moments Chapel. Oklahoma and Missouri are beautiful. There are lot of rolling hills with cattle and horses along the roads. When you get off the interstate to go the chapel (by the way, there is an interstate sign for the chapel) you go onto some really small roads. I was sure I was headed to nowhere when suddenly the Chapel Welcome Center came into view. The grounds are immaculate, and there is a lot of parking on both sides of the road.

It sure was HOT! The high in Carthage yesterday was 95, and the chapel dedication was scheduled for outside. So, they ended up cutting some of the festivities short because it was so uncomfortable. It was a beautiful day, but very warm. The grounds were very impressive. I had seen pictures and a video, but the photos didn’t do the grounds justice.

First, I saw the Welcome Center. It is a very interesting building that has a little village atmosphere in the entry. There is a cafĂ© and several gift shops – a Christmas store, an area for figurines, a kid’s area, and an area for apparel. And they also have other collectibles besides Precious Moments – lots of angels and inspirational items. The gift stores are very spacious, and I enjoyed looking at all of the figurines without feeling rushed or cramped.

After walking out of the chapel, I went into a museum that houses some of Mr. Butcher’s original artwork, a display of the Original 21 figurines which are so beloved by collectors, an area of artwork that Mr. Butcher has done for his children, and lots of other things. One of the interesting collections in the museum is a room full of figurines that were donated by a lady from Illinois. There were probably at least a thousand (I didn’t count them), and a story about the collector donating them to Mr. Butcher. She always bought 2 each of every released figurine – I thought that was so interesting that she wanted to have 2 of each. She gave her “extra” ones to the museum, and Mr. Butcher visited her in her home to show his appreciation.

After looking through the museum, it was time to head to the Chapel. The walkways, fountains and statuaries were lovely. There is a sense of peace and tranquility there that I can’t exactly put my finger on. First I walked around to the back of the chapel to see the “playhouse” that Mr. Butcher built for his grandchildren. Now to call this a playhouse is a huge understatement. It is a stone structure that is on an island in the middle of a small pond. I know it would have been a lot of fun to play there. The Chapel itself is very interesting. There are guided tours all day, everyday. A lady explained each mural that Mr. Butcher has painted. Mr. Butcher paints there regularly and made additions just this week! Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any photos inside the Chapel. It was against the rules, but I am sure you can find photos online. The largest mural has a story for each child depicted. Mr. Butcher pays tribute to families and people that have touched him with the stories of their lives or losses. The Chapel seems to be a place that people come to honor people they have lost. There is a room in the Chapel where you can write about someone you have lost, and all of the stories are kept in volumes in the Chapel for anyone to read. People were so moved by the displays that people were crying as they walked through. I could go on and on, but I’ll save it for another post.

The Chapel re-dedication began at 2pm. My next post will give more detail on that, and I’ll also share the program with you – stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Today's the day!

Today’s the day I start my trip to the Precious Moments Chapel. I fly into Tulsa and then drive to Carthage tomorrow morning. I saw on the Precious Moments website that the event has sold out, so at least 1,000 people are going to be there tomorrow for the re-dedication of the chapel. I am so excited about the trip, and I am especially excited about seeing the chapel, which I have only seen in photos.

I will post something tomorrow to let you know how the event went as well as some pictures if I am able to take them.

Check back tomorrow for all of the details!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My Precious Trip to Carthage

Those of you who are familiar with The Hamilton Collection are aware that one of our most valued product lines is Precious Moments. Precious Moments is a wonderful tradition that started with the art of Sam Butcher. Mr. Butcher’s art has been interpreted into figurines for 31 years. The figurines are all painted in soft pastels, and the eyes of each figurine are tear shaped, giving them very innocent and sweet faces.

I have been learning about Precious Moments over the last 3 years, and I have grown to love the meaning and beauty of each of the figurines that is created. But I am about to get to do something that every Precious Moments collector wants to do. I am going to be visiting the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, Missouri in June for the 20th Anniversary celebration. June 18 is the 20th anniversary of the Chapel’s dedication, and Sam Butcher will be there painting in the chapel. I can’t tell you how excited I am. When you spend so much of your time talking about and admiring a person and his artistry, it is an absolute pleasure to finally get to meet that person. It's like meeting your favorite musician. I will even be able to get a figurine signed by Mr. Butcher. I already have one that has been signed by Gene Friedman, so this will be a great addition to my collection.

The children of Precious Moments are wonderful representatives of The Hamilton Collection. Our customers relate to them as their grandchildren, children, and friends. Some of our most popular figurines have been purchased for grandchildren to give to their grandmothers (or the other way around). The children are engaged in all sorts of activities and special occasions that we all relate to as the events that shape our lives – birthdays, graduations, baking cookies with grandma, little league, trips to Disney World, you name it. Collectors have figurines that remind them of all of the milestones of their lives – all of the “Precious Moments.”

Obviously I have become very attached to the Precious Moments children. And my trip to the Chapel caps off my experience. I will be sure to let you know how it goes. In the meantime, if you want to attend the event, check out the Precious Moments website.

Talk to you again soon!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Frog Wild

Hi, fellow collectors! At The Hamilton Collection we take great pride in our collections being inspired by the collectors that we serve. Hence our motto, “Collectibles Inspired by You.” Those inspirations can come from many places, but mostly we like to hear directly from our collectors. We serve a lot of collectors who are motorcycle enthusiasts, and we recently designed a very unique product - Frog Wild.

Sometimes we aren’t sure how collectors will react to an idea, and this product introduction was one of those times. We thought it was a super design – you could actually see this frog coming right out of the pond, putting on his leather vest, bandana and sunglasses, and hitting the open road. (Of course, he’ll have to stop occasionally to cool off in a nearby puddle or something.) As you can see, imagination is an important part of our design process. You can find a frog sitting on a lily pad anywhere, but a frog on a motorcycle! You have to go to The Hamilton Collection for that!

So, Frog Wild is the product we’re talking about this week. I hear there is even some discussion about where this little guy will be headed on his motorcycling adventure. That will be fun to watch. We’ll bring you his adventures here on this blog on a regular basis. You can also visit him at Flickr: Frog Wild.

Until next time…move one of your collectibles from the back of the curio cabinet to the front. You’ll feel like a new person.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Collections...To Name a Few

Hello again! I want to talk about collections. At The Hamilton Collection ( we organize all of our collectibles into “collections” so that our customers can have a beautiful display without having to visit lots of different stores or websites.

I personally have collections of lots of things. The one my husband understands the least is my collection of pitchers. I have about 25 glass pitchers that I have collected over the years. In our last house, I had a great place to display them on the top of my cabinets in my kitchen. Our current house doesn’t have a great display area for them, so they are in the cabinets just waiting to be used when we have guests. I also collect cats, and I like to have lots of different looking ones. So, each time we design a cat collectible at The Hamilton Collection, the designer asks me if it will make my curio cabinet. If I say yes, they know they have a winner. Cat people are very similar. We just enjoy the beauty of cats and their movement. I smile every time I see a cat. I collect state quarters, presidential dollars, brass leaves, anything glass, seashells…and the list goes on and on. My collections make me happy, and each time I add something to one of them, it makes it new again.

That’s why Hamilton’s collections are so unique. We design things that go together but make the collection different and new each time you receive a collectible from us.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Welcome To The Curio Cabinet

Welcome to The Curio Cabinet—my personal spot to chat about collecting and collections. I’ve wanted to blog for quite some time but, and I’ll go ahead and make this confession now—I wasn’t exactly sure how to do it. Once I figured out the how, then I wasn’t sure about what to say (or that I wouldn’t be able to make the time). Well, here I am—I’m finally doing it.

My name is Kelli (yes, with an i. My parents wanted to torture me). I am the General Manager of The Hamilton Collection ( which designs, manufactures and markets beautiful collectibles for varied interests. It is an absolutely fascinating place. We interact with collectors who are so passionate about the items they choose to display in their homes. And think about it…if you are going to display something for all of your friends and family (as well as the cable guy) to see, you want it to represent your values and interests. So that’s where we come in. We offer collectors highly valuable items that they can feel proud to display. We serve a wide variety of interests from beautiful lady figurines to cats and dogs and other animals to NASCAR die cast collectibles. No matter what different subject matter interests our collectors, they all have one very important thing in common – a passion for the things they collect.

So, this blog is intended to let you know what we are working on at The Hamilton Collection and also understand what you like to collect.

And what are the newest items that collectors are responding to, and what is coming next?

In a word: Fairies! Fairies are hot right now. It could be their beauty, their mysticism, or their small size and whimsical nature. Look around, and you’ll notice these little creatures are making their presence known in catalogs, magazines, children’s books, and in retail. Here at Hamilton, I can easily say that Tinker Bell is the fairy of the day. We have collaborated with Disney on designing several Tinker Bell collections (More on collections in my next blog…you have to have the collection!) that look beautiful displayed together and really exude “Tinkatude.” And we all have a little “Tinkatude,” don’t we?

We have also collaborated with exciting fantasy artist, Jasmine Becket-Griffith, to offer figural representations of her artwork. Check her out at Her creations are adorable and translate so well to 3D that you can’t resist them.

From time to time I’ll be posting about collecting—including my own personal collections. I hope you’ll come back to hear more about it, and I’d also love to hear about what you like to collect and what interests you. What’s in your curio cabinet?