Monday, January 25, 2010


Inspire Your Heart With Art Day

When: Always January 31st

Inspire Your Heart With Art Day celebrates art and the effect it can have on your heart. Art is valued and appreciated for all sorts of reasons.
Look at a piece of art and ask yourself: What is it telling me? How does it make me feel? What emotions is it evoking (if any) within me?

I am not a connoisseur of art. I had my one obligatory art history class. But I know what I like. And art, in any form, causes us to have an emotional reaction. And isn’t that what life is all about? Those emotional responses to beautiful things give us a little buzz. In my role here at The Hamilton Collection, I see so many beautiful things. I am inspired by the artists, product developers and graphic designers who work for the company because I don’t have any creative talent. These folks can take an idea and turn it into a beautiful product that touches thousands of people’s lives. I don’t think they understand how special that gift is.

The Hamilton Collection is in such a unique situation to create lots of different emotions through art: our pieces are fun, whimsical, beautiful, charitable, sassy, touching, you name it.

By the way, my personal taste in art leans toward the abstract. I like to see what I want in the art, not have it be so literal. The best story about my taste in art is when my mother-in-law saw the prints I purchased to go over our sofa. She said, “Those prints look like the landfill.” And you know; she was right. That’s what she saw—not too inspiring. But that’s the beauty of abstract. You can see what you want it to be. To me those prints were pictures of beautiful mountains and streams and lakes.

Before I go, I am going to talk about another form of artistry I love that inspires me: the written word. I read a lot—mostly fiction. So, I thought I would tell you what I am reading. I just finished Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon. It is a novel with what seems like three separate stories that become intertwined in the last three pages in a surprising way. It was pretty good. Now I am moving on to a book of short stories called Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle. She is a North Carolinian, so I am excited to see how she uses the South in her stories.

Until next time,

Monday, January 18, 2010

Meet "Yankee Girl"

In our office we’re talking a lot about movies since The Golden Globes and The Oscars are coming up. Our local theatre has been running a $5 special for any movie all day on Sunday, so we’ve been taking advantage of that great price. I saw The Young Victoria last week with Marianne, our director of marketing. She loves all things British and takes her vacations there quite often. She also is from Connecticut, and around the office she is affectionately known as “Yankee Girl.” So, each time that a palace or garden would come on the screen during the movie, she would tell me that she has been there or that’s the wrong building. I do think it makes a movie or any event different if you have been to the place. I have never been to England, but I was inspired by the costuming and the beautiful women in the movie. The Hamilton Collection has introduced Victorian era fashion ladies over the past few years, and our collectors love them. So, I thought it would be nice to have Yankee Girl write the blog this week specifically about the Victorian era, England, and her experiences there. Here are her thoughts:

I guess most people would identify me as an Anglophile. I have traveled to England many times. I love the people, the beautiful countryside, palaces, manor houses and gardens. When I’m back here in the States, I watch a fair amount of BBCAmerica and PBS to get my England fix—I’ll watch most any costume drama movie because the clothing and buildings are usually unbelievably lovely.

Just last week, I went to see the recently released Young Victoria movie with Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend as Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The movie was set just prior and in the early part of Queen Victoria’s reign. I knew Victoria’s history before seeing the movie, but as it’s a timeless romance and coming of age story, I never get tired of it. The movie was entertaining and beautifully shot—and the costumes and locations were gorgeous. As the movie got rolling, I became consumed with the locations and realized I’ve visited a number of the buildings and gardens on prior visits.

In fact, on my last trip to England in October 2009, I visited Ham House, which the film used as the setting for Kensington Palace. Ham House is a beautiful 17th century manor house on the outskirts of London. The house has magnificent gardens which were used in the movie as well. It’s fun to visit the buildings and gardens used in movies. Some of my friends think I’m quite strange to plan my vacations around former movie sets, but I’m not alone. The British Tourist Authority offers a printed map, which is a guide to places in the UK used in film and television.

Here I have posted some pictures of Ham House from my visit this year. You can wander around the gardens and the interior at your leisure (for a fee). Actually, some of these pictures were used professionally for two of The Hamilton Collection’s newest “Pretty Lady” collections. One of my pictures was used as a background photo in the advertising materials (albeit very hazy). Just keep a look out in your mail box—you never know what you’ll find.


Yankee Girl

Monday, January 11, 2010

Just call me Figurine Girl

A funny thing happened to me this week. I was setting up an “identity” on some website this week—you know username/password questions as usual. I didn’t really want to use my name because that is so boring. I see all these great screen names that people use, and I thought what could my name be? I spend the majority of my waking hours talking about and looking at figurines. And if you could see my office and all of our offices here at The Hamilton Collection, you would understand why we dream about figurines on lots of nights. So, I decided that I would be “Figurine Girl.” It’s a very appropriate name. And I am attaching a few pictures so you can see why.

Here in The Hamilton Collection offices we have a sample of all of the figurines created because we want to have an archive, and also we want to see how the collections look together and how they will look in your curio cabinet. We keep things in our offices that we especially like. For example, in my office right now I have cats (which I also collect at home), fairies, frogs, angels, beautiful ladies, Elvis, dragons, M&Ms, Precious Moments, Dale Jr., Tony Stewart, and on and on and on. The most of any one thing I have is definitely cats, as you can see from the above photos. Our product developers know that I love cats, and I always get one of our samples in my office. Many are one-of-a-kind sculptures, so I am really excited about those. A lot of mine also have very early numbers in our limited editions. I have lots that are hand numbered below #5, and since most of our figurines are limited to 95 casting days, those are especially valuable. If you own our collectible figurines, check your curio cabinet to see what numbers you have.

So, Figurine Girl has lots of figurines. I hope you do, too. Because they make me so happy to admire and collect, and I am sure they make you happy as well.

Check back in a few days for more news from Hamilton.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

This is the time of year when everyone makes resolutions. Not only is it a new year, it’s a whole new decade! And each year, just about everyone resolves to make their life better in some way, whether it’s to save money, lose weight, spend more time with family or finish those unfinished projects around the house.

I’ve made a New Year’s resolution, too. This year I am vowing to be better about reaching out to everyone through this blog. There’s so much to talk about and so much I want to share with you, but it just comes down to finding the time to sit and write about it.

While the New Year provides the perfect spark for making changes, we all know the really big challenge is keeping those promises we make to ourselves. We start off with the very best intentions, but then as the days and weeks pass, we slip back into old habits and forget what we resolved to change.

There are two well-known sayings that come to mind with all this resolution talk. You’ve heard that the pen is mightier than the sword? In other words, write it, don’t say it. I’m serious this year, so I’ve written mine down. And I’ve shared it with others, too. Second, it has often been said that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so to make sure I keep my resolution this year, I’ve planned out my schedule and set dedicated time each week just to blog. I’ve made a list of things I want to write about, too. I like lists—they keep me focused.

When it comes to resolutions, I think the important thing is to recognize all the good things we already have – that’s what I tell myself anyway. Because every year I say I am going to exercise and lose weight, and something always makes me give it up. So, this year I am going to say I am going to lose weight but also feel very lucky to have my family, my job, food on the table and a warm place to live. If I feel grateful for all of these wonderful things, maybe giving up chocolate cake won’t feel so bad.

Have you made a resolution this year? Share it with me here as a comment, or if you really want to “put it out there,” you can share it with all of us on Facebook. Together, let’s vow to keep our resolutions and make 2010 the best year yet!