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September 12, 1998
Site Update I've posted loads and loads of goodies for your enjoyment. First, you'll want to check out some rare and quite amazing snow babies by clicking on the link on the Home Page under the button matrix. SnowBaby Vicky is our Spotlight! featured collector this time. She's got her own Snowbabies web site and you'll find her displays quite interesting. There's three new pages of oldbabies you can access from the Pictures page or directly from here: 1, 2, and 3. I've finally got around to posting July, August and September's updates to the Did You Know page. There's a wealth of new information there and you won't want to miss any of it. We've got some new links for you on the Links page, most notably, the Department 56 SnowBabies Friendship Club web site. While you are there be sure to go to SnowBaby Di's web site (Di's Marvelous Mini's) to see her display ideas and products. As always, enjoy the place!
PS - I got more stuff to post here but its late and I'm tired so check back in a couple of days for my SRG recap, Ship of Dreams developments, news from Michael Winters (aka D56Pride@aol.com), some heads ups on the coming snowbabies exclusives, and some sketchy information I've got on a rumored Disney related snowbaby in the works.
August 2, 1998
Site Update Well ... the authentication scripts on the chat rooms proved to be a real nuisance for most so they are done away with entirely. Anyone can access the chat rooms anytime without any authentication passwords, etc. We've also got the Snow Baby Bulletin Board up and running and I hope you will enjoy posting and reading tidbits about your favorite collectibles here :).
Christmas In July I confess to a last week of July fit of despair over all the hot weather. I took comfort by visiting several neat Christmas shops I found along Route 81 on a business road trip I took. I didn't buy anything as most of the new releases had not hit these stores as of my stop. But I got to see some beautiful displays and met some nice folks. All in all it was a nice way to recapture my sense of well being until the cooler weather arrives :) A special thanks to SnowBaby June for meeting me at a convenient location along the route so I could buy more stock for the Collector's Shop ... a pleasure doing business with you even in the heat!
July 21, 1998
Site Update To paraphrase the great Mark Twain ... rumors of my demise have been grossly exaggerated. I know some of you have been wondering if I had lost interest in this place or, worse yet, had met with an untimely fate only to be memorialized forever on a frozen in time web site. The reality is that my server host would never ever permit a memorial to me forever on the web (but they'd probably leave it there until my advance payments to them ran out ;) Anyhow, I am fine and thank you for the emails expressing concern. I have been extremely busy creating essentially a new web site to extend the interactivity here. I think you are going to love it, and I hope you will be patient with me while I continue to create a real internet community at this site. For now, I've got the beginnings of it working and you can now enjoy SnowBaby Chat with other collectors. A great big thank you goes out to SnowBaby Holli for her many evenings of assistance and opinions as I developed the chat room. Another thanks goes out to SnowBaby Nancy for very early on suggesting the idea and getting me to begin thinking about the issues and feasibility of internet chat. You can access the new Private Features Area from the Home Page just under the public area feature buttons. Be sure also to check out the new Spotlight which I'm certain will delight as SnowBaby Cyndi has done an excellent job creating her own internet photo album. All of the other features still need to be updated and I will get to it in time. My top priority at the moment is fleshing out the Private Area ... the rest can wait. Finally, I purchased two very large collections recently and numerous small lots of snowbabies. I'll update the Collector's Shop with the new stock and prices when I can, but in the meantime feel free to order off the stale listings as I have most of the items in stock at the same or close pricing. And by the way, thanks to those of you that have patronized Collector's Shop especially the repeat customers ... I'm not getting rich ... but it sure is helping to defray the costs of running this place :) As always ... enjoy!
June 3, 1998
Site Update Well ... traffic has been steady ... but participation has dropped. Folks must be thinking "pina colada by the pool" instead of "snowbaby display and a nice flame in the fireplace". I've taken advantage of the lull to move to my very own domain to make it easier for people to find us. I've also created a new entrance which is search engine friendly. The image maps on the home page cause the spiders to cease indexing which may explain why its hard to find this place in the search engines. Rather than change the Home Page radically I simply made it the second page that newcomers access through a new front entrance. If search success doesn't improve with the new entrance I'll have to study up some more on how to publicize a web site. You'll find that you can access the new Mid-Year releases from the Home Page. The Did You Know ... page has been updated with an absolutely fascinating bit of information I recently discovered on the net. Check out SnowBaby Holli's Spotlight! page, and don't forget to change your Bookmarks and Favorite place folders to the new Home Page address :)
CyberD56ers Internet Club There's a new NCC sanctioned club which is the first of its kind; a collectors club that has its headquarters on a web page and an entirely online membership roll. I know many of the folks (mostly village collectors but they are very SnowBaby friendly :) that have put together this initiative to bring D56 collectors across the internet together, and this promises to be a neat idea. Check it out and join the club if you like the idea - the application is easy and the cost is only five bucks. You can get there by clicking here: CyberD56ers.
May 10, 1998
Site Update There's a really, really ugly snow baby to be viewed by the curious accessible from the front page. You also find some new tidbits on the Did You Know ... page. What use to be the Easter page now formulates the nucleus for a new D56 Snowbunnies pictures page. SnowBaby Matt's Easter Animal page, Mary Morrsion's new temporary snow baby and christmas jewelry page, and a bunch of online D56 Quarterly Snowbabies articles I found are all accessible from the Links page. The new Spotlight! page will be delayed as I have not been able to touch base with the anticipated featured collector for awhile now ... I do hope she is still online. And of course, we've got some more tips and wonderful comments from site visitors on the Visitor Speak page. To all the Moms and Grandmoms out there a very special and happy Mother's Day. Be sure to read about Lancaster and the Friendship Club Member Exclusive piece below. Rumors are that D56 will not be at the New York Stationary Show this month ... hopefully its not true but we'll have more on that later in the month. Enjoy!
Lancaster The Lancaster D56 Gathering was a great time spent with many, many online friends. Well over 130 AOLers were there at least part of the weekend, and I had the pleasure of enjoying the company of many of them at various times. The show was chock full of seminars and activities and included a giant Swap and Sell, lots of Rooms Hops and hundreds of drawings for D56 items donated by the many dealers, clubs and secondary exhanges participating in the show. For village collectors Jeanne Marie Dickens was at the show signing D56 Signature Series pieces, and she was even kind enough to sign SnowBaby Annie's and Rick's baseball caps. There were also lots of guest speakers and well knowns in the D56 collector world, including Judith Price of D56 who also signed the baseball caps while trying to grab a bite to eat in the official Lancaster AOLer meeting place (otherwise known as the bar!). Kudos to the PA-56000 folks who worked so hard to make the show the success that it turned out to be. SnowBaby Holli left the show with alot of loot; she got a Snowbaby Friendship Kit signed by Snowbabies artist, Kristi Jensen Pierro, courtesy of yours truly :), a village piece won in Village Bingo, and two large, beautifully arranged baskets of porcelain including this wonderful Snowbabies Basket won in separate drawings! Congrats to Holli ... not bad for a first show and hope to see you at many more D56 Gatherings to come! As for me, I won a village piece in a drawing, but not being a village collector I gave it to a most appreciative SnowBaby Gail from Michigan (she hates when I call her SnowBaby Gail). I also came away with a Snowbaby Nite Lite that I found for a very reasonable price from a collector that, as it turns out, lives just three towns away from me. So now I've got a piece I always wanted, and a new collector friend to boot :) Finally, a very special thank you to Snowbabies Rosie, Annie, Alice, John, Kelly, Glenn, Cyndi and Bob, Vicky, Holli, Rick, Pat and Bob, Janice, Hess, Danny, Gail, Maria Elena (hope I spelled that right), Jim, Randy, Pat, Roger, Guide Nix and all the rest of the gang (hope I didn't forget anyone) for the pleasant company and fun throughout the weekend.
Snowbabies Friendship Club While at the Edison show I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the D56 reps who was kind enough to answer a few questions and clarify what has been heard around the internet on the Member Exclusive piece. Contrary to what has been previously reported here and elsewhere, the Member Exclusive is not available to charter members only. The piece will be available at least through 1998 (and maybe into 1999) to anybody that buys a membership kit. Therefore, the only benefits that are afforded those who joined the club prior to January 31, 1998 are a special charter member charm and a special notation on the membership certificate (I know ... big deal). This is good news to those that were under the impression that the Member Exclusive was for charter members only. However, do not be under the misguided impression that the Member Exclusive promises to take on high secondary market values down the road. I was informed that there are already over 15,000 membership kits sold and D56 expects many, many more to be sold through the year as more collectors learn of the club. So is it safe to assume that there will be at least 25,000 of the Member Exclusives made and sold ... I know one collector that thinks so :) On a separate note, if you are one of the collectors who obtained a membership certificate with a mispelled name (like my daughter though mine was fine and sent it simultaneously???) then just call the SB hotline, 1-888 SNOWBABY and the certificate will be resissued promptly I'm told.
April 10, 1998
Next Update Let's see ... I haven't done my taxes yet, fishing season has begun, there is the Edison and Lancaster shows this month, I bought a new computer and have to shift all of my software and kewl stuff to the new comp, I'm in the midst of helping my in-laws move, the yard work needs doing and I'm sure that there are a bunch of other things my wife would like to see done this Spring. All of that is my way of saying that you can expect that updates to the site will probably suffer a little bit for awhile. But I'll post stuff when I can so stay tuned, and have a very happy, healthy Easter and Passover season!
Site Update Poke around in the Collector's Shop to see updated retired D56 offerings and the new antique christmas bisque collectibles and snow babies for sale. Snowbaby Cyndi has two new additions to the Hall of Fame on the Pictures page, and while you are there check out the bunch of new oldbabies images posted. Did You Know ... has been updated, and I think you'll find a few tidbits worth knowing there. SnowBaby Ken and Genny are our latest collectors featured on the Spotlight! page, and I think you'll get a real kick out of the Easter page. Finally, I have an article appearing in Village Pride this month so for those of you that don't subscribe that would like to read about the new Snowbunnies and D56 easter Annual then make a stop in to the Vanity page. Enjoy! :)
Edison & Lancaster I will be at both of these shows, and alot of you have asked to meet me. Look for a middle-aged dork wearing glasses and two snowbabies pins, and there will be a 98% probablility that you found me :) The pins are "Give Me A Push" and "Noel". I'd wear the other one too, but I don't own it, LOL. Please say hello if you see me, and tell me how I know you online (screen name, etc.) Also, if you'd like to purchase something from the Collector's Shop and will be at the shows in Edison or Lancaster, email me well in advance and I'll bring the pieces to the shows. You save on shipping if you do it that way :) Looks like the wife won't be able to make it to Lancaster after all. She's helping out with her company's WalkAmerica program that weekend. I guess that means I'll have to be especially good that weekend so nobody tells stories about me on AOL.
Snowbabies Friendship Club The first club newsletter has made its way to members; not bad for a first issue. The Snowbabies Show case section is a real delight showing pictures of the new tikes on the way to your dealers. Make sure you read the information about renewing your membership annually. Its hard to believe that that kind of info would appear in the first issue, but please remember that there will only be two newsletters sent this year so its probably good foresight on D56's part to talk about that now. There is still confusion about the Charter member vouchers for the Charter member exclusive piece ... you must take these voucher to a dealer that serves as a redemption center in order to obtain your Charter exclusive. Oh yes ... and you also have to pay the purchase price for the piece; a whopping 75 bucks in American ... ouch! :)
March 13, 1998
Site Update Thanks to many of you for the warm reception to Collector's Shop which is now in full swing. As you know, I only do this in my "spare" time and maintenance of the Collector's Shop is particularly tedious. I've decided updates there will only be monthly at best, but feel free to email your want lists as many items are sold to collectors that correspond regularly before I can even post them. I am completely out of the oldbabies I had for sale ... listings are needed as there has been much interest from the antique collector crowd. Be sure to check out SnowBaby Holli's and SnowBaby Barb's great tips on Visitor Speak, and get your dancing shoes ready for the Saint Patty's Day surprise accessed from the Home page. I know, I know ... the Did You Know page is getting stale. Stay tuned as I do have some stuff to post there (hopefully by the end of the month). Enjoy! :)
February 24, 1998
Upcoming Events There are several large gatherings and events coming up that you should get started on making arrangements for if you are going to attend. A big thanks to SnowBaby Michael Winters for granting permission to link directly to his events page on the Village Pride web site [Sorry - This site has been closed].
February 21, 1998
Collector's Shop Check it out to see if there's anything you simply must have! There are tons of items for sale and more to be posted. If you don't see what you want send email as it might not be posted yet. Some pieces are brokered at 8%, but I also have many pieces on hand for immediate delivery from my own investment in stock. My wife has me in the dog house :( for buying up collectors' pieces and dealers' discounteds to get the Collector's Shop started so please take a peek in there from time to time and order if you find something to your liking.
February 12, 1998
Site Update! I hope you are noticing the continuing development of the site as I've added a Spotlight! feature and formalized access to the Newly Retired and Collector's Registry pages. SnowBaby Cyndi is our first featured collector in the spotlight, and she has some marvelous pictures posted. I've also spent a great deal of time with many more transparent changes that better allocate server space and add speed to the downloads. I've finally figured out that my HTML software has a Bandwidth Buster included. As soon as I figure out how to use it you should see improvements in the speed in which images download. Hope you are enjoying the midi selections I've made to add music to the pages that take longer loading. If you've got tips or comments on difficulties you experience visiting the site pass them on. On some browsers folks have reported that not all the features appear within their screen and they have to scroll to access or view portions of the site. This is in all probability a function of your resolution settings which can usually be adjusted (if you need help email me). The site is best viewed with at a resolution of 800x600. Everything on a page will display nicely, and convenience will be best enhanced, at that setting, but this is a matter that you can experiment with to find your personal preference.
January 17, 1998
Site Update! Hard Copy and Visitor Speak were updated today, and I made some type error corrections around the site. Lots of folks have asked about D56 value guides so check out the better known handbooks now featured there. Also, I've finally had a chance to post the information promised about Ray Early's out of print antique snow baby book. Some more pictures from SnowBaby Danny's collection can be accessed from the Home Page. For the time being I'm not adding to the Pictures page as its starting to slow down unacceptably. After a little reorganization, I'll put up a bunch more that came in since the holidays. If you'd like to post a picture or two, but don't have a scanner, just send them to me by snail mail. I will scan them, return them to you unharmed, and shortly after that a piece of your collection will be available here for all to enjoy.
December 18, 1997
Site Update! Visitor Speak and Did You Know ... were updated today. I've got lots more stuff ready to go up and a few more things on the way. I've got some listings to post in the Collector's Shop and I'm planning some format additions to help collectors seeking pieces. But I probably won't have that fully operational until sometime after Christmas. So if you are looking for particular pieces you can't find elsewhere, send me an email and maybe we can help. I'm also working on establishing a couple of ways to get current pieces available to you at below issue so that you won't have to wait until it retires and hits the secondary :) Also, I am talking to a couple of antique snow baby collectors looking to sell their collections and maybe we'll see some nice selections of those becoming available for purchase soon. Finally. I'm sure there will be a seasonal surprise coming to the front page soon, hehe.
December 16, 1997
A Snow Baby Lost I lost a very dear snow baby last night to the ravages of time. My grandma was born 96 years ago to Finnish and Danish immigrants. In her waning years she was literally a little old weathered snow baby, but she was priceless to me. She passed away last night in her sleep in a nursing home tucked away in the woods of upstate New York; a setting very much like her birth place. Forgive me this indulgence, but I wanted to post this little memorial to her memory. She was a very special lady to me, and I will always love my grandma.
December 12, 1997
Coming Soon!I have another great Hard Copy announcement in the works for you antique snow baby collectors. Ray Early, author of a long out of print snow baby book which is quite hard to find, was recently introduced to me by Mary Morrison. I spoke with Ray today, and confirmed that he does indeed have a supply of books that never sold which he will let me make available here. Keep an eye on the Hard Copy page as this will be a very exciting opportunity for you to get your own copy at a VERY reasonable price. As soon as my own purchase arrives and I can scan the cover I will post the full details. Now you don't have to search all those library rummage sales and dingy rare book stores anymore (like you know who :)
December 10, 1997
1997 PostcardsI hope you didn't forget to ask your dealer for one of the postcards that were used to announce and market this years club and retirement event. I was fortunate to get one in the mail from a dealer that was looking for me to appear and buy, buy, buy. In a one store search today I was able to obtain one that had not been used by the dealer. Here's what they look like: 1997 Snowbabies Postcard.
Event Piece Boxes I am still shopping around for my event piece "1987-1997 Celebrating A Snowbabies Journey ... Let's Go See Jack Frost". You see I am one of those picky people that must have an untarnished box when the packaging is so beautiful. Almost every dealer I have been to has these pretty gold boxes neatly stacked waiting for purchasers. But they are taped shut ... apparently by Department 56 themselves! If you have one of the taped boxes, DO NOT attempt to remove the tape. The gold foil pulls away from the cardboard making an unsightly messy wave appearance. Its much better to leave it as it is. I am seeking one of the shrink wrapped boxes which are not taped. This week I found them at a major retail store in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, every one had been razored open and the stores' stickers were randomly applied by clerks that have unknowingly defaced them. Keep looking ... the perfect box is out there. And if you have one for sale PLEASE email me :)
December 5, 1997
Friendship Kits The new Friendship Kits are a real bargain at the regular price of $35.00. However, make sure that you take great care with some dealers, particularly the large retail stores where sales clerks are reportedly not familiar with the club application process, and apparently in some cases, even the proper price for the kit and club piece. If you are having trouble finding a kit, fret not. Pick up an application at your favorite dealer and send it in to Department 56 before January 31, 1998. You will still be considered a charter member if you are in that time frame and your kit and club piece will arrive by mail beginning in January. Or if you are the impatient type, email me for the latest on availablity of kits at my or other collectors' costs. I have one extra on hand right now waiting for the the first email to arrive, and I am still shopping around for more of the unsold kits out there. If you know of a kit available at a dealer near you, email me and I will maintain a list for collectors still seeking.
Retired and New Pieces Posted on the front page you will find the 1997 retirements as well as pictures of the 1998 new releases (scroll all the way to the bottom of the page for the Snowbabies pictures). Start saving your rubles because there are alot of new delightful pieces coming that you'll no doubt feel compelled to purchase. Hey ... wouldn't it be nice if there were no releases one year? Nahhhhhh! Make sure you look at "Ship of Dreams".
The Missing List! Last night's casually organized online Snowbabies Retirement Party was a fun time. There was only one glitch ... the early unofficial clandestine release of the retirement announcement never took place. At least two errant lists were posted in the chat room during my attendance times, and as late as 10:30 EST collectors were still congregating and speculating about what security measures the folks at Department 56 had initiated to prevent early release. One unconfirmed rumor was that the "source" was nabbed in the act of attempting to get the list. Well ... so much for that ... it is after all suppose to be a secret until retirement day :)
November 28, 1997
Snowbabies Retirements Only one week left until the official release of Department 56's 1997 Snowbabies Retirement Announcement in the December 5th issue of USA Today. Rumors abound that the list will be available on the AOL Department 56 Forum as early as 3:00 EST :) ... keep your eyes open wide and share the list with your offline dealers ... it really helps them to prepare for retirement day crowds when they get an early warning from we online collectors. Remember that most retailers will be having events that day, and that you'll want to sign up for the new D56 Snowbabies Friendship Club. Membership kits have already been delivered to dealers which include a certificate entitling members to a special club piece. Collectors are reporting early releases of some kits, new Snowbabies and pins, but don't panic ... I'd be surprised if you have a hard time getting a membership kit! Finally, if you are an America Online subscriber do join us on December 4th, 7:00 PM EST in the AOL Dept 56 Chat [This link only works with AOL browsers] for an unofficial cybergathering of snow baby collectors.
November 13, 1997
A Very Special Day I'm nearly jumping out of my skin to report a wonderful development today. Mary Morrison, author of Snow Babies, Santas and Elves, has become our first site sponsor. Many of you know of Mary's authoritative, beautifully illustrated study of antique snow babies and other vintage Christmas bisque figures. For those of you that do not know of this great work, hurry over to Hard Copy to learn more. Look for more of Mary featured here as she has agreed to share with us from time to time her knowledge, creativity and enthusiasm for snow baby collecting! "Oh, what a beautiful day. Oh, yeahhhh!" (sung Louie Armstrong style :)
November 11, 1997
Site Update! The Vanity Page, Links page, Hard Copy are now up and running. We need author and publisher sponsors, and links to sites that feature snow babies in a big way. Please start sending your favorite links, especially any collector pages that you or a friend maintain. The Collector's Shop needs listings and plenty of links for you to comparison shop. With only two pages left to build, I am on schedule for full roll out by 11/15. I've begun to publicize to get more folks participating. Please tell your friends we're here and to join us!
November 9, 1997
Site Update! The Pictures page is now officially in operation. SnowBabyDanny and SnowBabyGlenn have got some great pictures posted for your enjoyment. The Geek Stuff and Legal Stuff pages are also finished, and there have been minor improvements to the other pages. Send in a picture or two of your favorite snow baby or snow baby display. If you don't have a scanner, send email to learn how you can particpate on the Pictures Page.
November 7, 1997
Site Update! The Surprise! page is now officially in operation. Got a favorite silly site to share? Send it!
Great Party AOLer's had a great time meeting and chatting last night about the Department 56 village retirements. I was there for about an hour, and attendence never fell below 100 collectors with a steady flow of people coming and going and room hopping. Lots of fun, contests and discussion of some of the more surprising retirements. The retirement list was posted on both AOL and Prodigy yesterday, and the "official" list from Department 56 appeared this morning in USA Today. Look for news later in the month about the online AOL party being planned for Snowbabies collectors. Prodigy folks ... send me your plans, and I'll publicize them for you here.
November 5, 1997
Site Update! The Visitor Speak page is now officially in operation and awaits your comments. Got a favorite snow baby ... a recent find ... a neat snow baby display tip to tell the world? Send it!
Countdown Only two days until Department 56's 1997 village retirement announcements. Remember ... this is only for the villages and accessories with Snowbabies retirements to be announced later in December. See also details on the AOL live chat Retirement Party at the November 3rd post.
November 3, 1997
SnowBaby Cyndi from Birmingham, AL has been keeping an ever watchful eye on the magazine racks and reports that the November, 1997 issue of "Collector's Editions" (inside front cover; pp.24,48) has an article, outstanding pictures of Department 56 Snowbabies and collectors club information that you'll want to check out, and she also reports that there is a great picture of an antique German snow baby on p. 61 of the October, 1997 "Country Living Holidays". SnowBabySP: Thank you, Cyndi!
Retirement Day Don't forget this Friday, November 7, 1997 is the day Department 56 announces their 1997 villages and village accessories retirements in "USA Today". If you are a subscriber, you'll also want to join your fellow village collectors in America Online's Department 56 Chat Room for the Retirement Party scheduled at 7:00 PM EST. Thursday, November 6, 1997. Go to AOL Dept 56 Chat for the party or collector chat. :-)