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Newsletter
March 2006

Letter From The Editor

It has been very exciting here at The Plate Lady
™ ® of Tampa Bay. Our new Collectibles Forum (Message Board) is finally completed and ready to be used. It is meant to be a communication conduit where collectors can find answers to their questions. We also added two helpful sections for trading: A Collectibles Wanted section and a Collectibles For Sale section..

Other sections and forums can be easily added as well. Anyone interested in becoming a forum moderator should Email their request to us from the Message Board, along with their qualifications. We are happy and proud to be able to offer this service for the use of serious collectors, as well as those who are new to collecting.

The fastest way to contact us is still via Email but we have had to make changes, due to the tremendous amount of spam that we receive. We are asking website visitors who have never ordered from us to use the new Message Board to ask their questions about collectibles rather than Emailing us. That will save us from having to answer the same question again and again.

We still provide a direct Email link on order confirmations, for the convenience of our customers who want to check on the status of their order. Be assured that we check Email daily and do our best to be fast and efficient in answering all inquiries that are relevant to our web site, so check to make sure your Email went through if you do not hear from us within 24 - 48 hours.

We still want our visitors to feel welcome to Email us or use our Message Board whenever they have any type of question about Limited Edition Collectibles.

On a lighter note, a Limited Edition Collectible Plate Appraisal page has finally been added to our web site. We have been doing plate appraisals for almost 30 years now, but we did not have a way for our web site visitors to order appraisals online. Therefore a page was created to explain the pricing and method for ordering appraisals. As always, our offer still stands that we will do one FREE APPRAISAL for anyone who has never used our appraisal service before. There is never an obligation to have further plates appraised, we just want to help people understand how valuable an official appraisal can be. Please do not consider the selling prices on this web site, or any other web site, to be a true appraisal of the value of your plate. You could sell yourself short. Retail prices are often fixed by other factors than plate value. Our advice to anyone who owns collectibles, of any type, is to at least have them cataloged for insurance purposes and at best have them appraised to record their official value.

This month we are featuring Jody Bergsma as our Artist of the Month. You can read her Artist's Profile below. Jody creates fascinating fantasy art that is sure to delight your creative inner child and transport you to a wondrous place where your imagination can soar free. The Plate Lady™ ® is delighted to be able to offer Jody Bergsma's new line of fairy figurines on our Fairy & Unicorn page. Her fairy figurines are intricately designed with elf-like majesty and a whimsical flair that only she could create. She has captured the intriguing mystery of Fairy Glamour in fairies that glide gently through nature and fly about on butterflies, dragonflies, and hummingbirds.

This newsletter also contains three articles that may be of interest to our readers. The first one is titled "12 Ways To Beat The Winter Blahs", the second one is titled "Spring Break", and the last one is titled "A Guide To Clean Up, Spruce Up & Fix Up For Spring". We hope these articles will get everyone excited about the approach of the spring season.

We are always looking for good articles that are relevant to Art, Collectibles, Holidays, Seasons, and Gift Giving to include in this newsletter. If you would like to see your writing talent displayed here, please send us an Email and we would be happy to review your work for possible publication. In return for using your article, we will give you a one-way link to your web site within the body of your article.

Best Wishes From The Plate Lady™ ® staff.

Don't forget to let spring fill you with the joy of living and the spirit of renewal.


Artist's Profile: Jody Bergsma

Jody Bergsma is an internationally acclaimed artist from Bellingham Washington, where she operates two Bergsma Galleries. She also has an Online Art Gallery at http://www.bergsma.com, where selections of her work can be viewed. She has authored and illustrated at least three children's books titled "Faerie", "Dragon" & "The Little Wizard". In addition, she has illustrated books by other authors including "The Right Touch", "Dreambirds" & "Sky Castle".
The name of her personal publishing company is Gallery Press Publishing, Inc. which is located at 1344 King Street in Bellingham, WA 98229

Jody was born in Bellingham and raised on the shores of Lake Whatcom. She began drawing at the age of 3. Her early works were inspired by her dreams, a quality that has carried over and developed into her extraordinary style. At the age of 14 she sold her first two paintings in a local shoe store, where she later worked and designed window displays. After that she began selling her paintings at outdoor art sales around the Northwest. By her 20th birthday she had already earned a loyal following. Her watercolors are highly sought after by collectors.

Jody releases two art collections each year : the "Dreamkeepers" collection is released in the spring, and the "Natural Elements" collection is released in the autumn. For inspiration, Jody studies wildlife, as well as native myths and symbols, that she adeptly transfuses into her unique style. Most of her art work includes ethereal native imagery, big-eyed children, unicorns, fairies, dragons, and animals of every sort.

Jody Bergsma's art is truly the stuff dreams are made of.


12 Ways To Beat The Winter Blahs
by Jayme S. Ganey

Falling temperatures and the shortage of sunlight during the winter months can make us feel like hibernating until spring. But there's a way to get over those blues, says Michael Faenza, CEO of the National Mental Health Association. To weather the season with a smile, try these expert tips:

1 Bring the outside in. Add green plants or a vase of fresh flowers to your decor; they supply oxygen, color and energy.

2 Get active. Go for a walk (outside or on your treadmill), do jumping jacks, or pop in an exercise video. Exercising during the day may increase your levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that lifts your mood, says Lexie Pfetzing, coauthor of 60 Second Blues Busters (New Horizon Press).

3 Turn up the volume. Whether it's singing along to your favorite song or beating a makeshift drum, "rhythms change your mood and give you energy," Pfetzing says.

4 Let in some light. Our biological clocks are set up to respond to sunlight patterns. Arrange your home to allow in more sunlight, such as opening the blinds or curtains.

5 Make your own sunshine. Those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression that may be linked to deprivation of sunlight, can reenergize by sitting in front of light boxes that mimic the sun (try Brite Lite IV, $279, by Apollo Health; [800] 545-9667). Full-spectrum light bulbs, which can be found at your hardware store, could also produce the same effect.

6. Pick up a spare-time activity you've pushed aside. Now's the time to finish that juicy romance novel you swore you'd never put down. Or to experiment with Grandma's apple-pie recipe. "Use the time to do what you wouldn't ordinarily have time for," says Jane Cranston, a life coach for the New York Center for Coaching.

7 Give yourself a present. Buy little gifts (bubble bath, pretty stationery) and wrap them. When you're feeling down, open one. "Gifts say you're loved and valued," Pfetzing says.

8 "Net" work. Connect with friends and contacts via E-mail, instant messenger or video messaging. Play a serious game of Internet checkers with friends, or forward some silly photos from your digital photo library.

9 Indulge in dessert! Dark chocolate and bananas are rich in antioxidants and magnesium, which are believed to relieve stress. (Banana split, anyone?)

10 Clean house. An organized and clean space does wonders for your mood. "It puts you back in control of at least part of your environment," Pfetzing says. If your budget allows, hire a cleaning service to do the heavy lifting while you relax.

11 Get ready to exhale. When we breathe with our bodies--engaging our lungs, back, belly and diaphragm--we deliver oxygen and stimulate blood flow.

12 Take a winter break. Embrace the cold weather by participating in a fun winter activity such as siding or ice-skating, or plan a long weekend getaway to a warmer climate.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Essence Communications, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale Group


Spring Break
by David Kalmansohn

WILL YOU NOTICE the spring this year?

It is, of course, nature's ultimate metaphor for rebirth, renewal, and at least (27) other concepts that start with re. The symbolism is so blindingly obvious that many of us are indeed blinded to it.

The season becomes a chronological habit, something that happens whether or not we're paying attention. Or we treat it with a disdain reserved for the overly familiar. As Dorothy Parker once observed, "Every year, back comes spring, with nasty birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants."

But there's good reason to raise our awareness of the earth's annual regeneration. It's a chance to shake off the stasis that is such an addictive byproduct of modern life, and to accept the potential for our own healing as well.

"Habit relieves us of the need to be present or to deepen our understanding, while awareness teaches us to see each moment, event, and person anew," says Christina Feldman, author of Heart of Wisdom, Mind of Calm : Guided Meditations to Deepen Your Spiritual Practice. "If we conclude someone is boring or obnoxious and freeze them into that assumption, we feel no need to probe our own reactivity nor seek to find a greater tolerance, acceptance, or patience within ourselves."

Reflect on activities where habit may be most present, suggests Feldman, and undertake them as if for the first time. Feel textures and temperatures as you wash the dishes; note every detail of a familiar path; treat a conversation as if it's your only chance to know that person. "Sense how the commitment to awareness has the power to dissolve habit in a moment, allowing a new depth, sensitivity, and vitality to emerge," she says.

It may end up feeling a bit like the return of spring - in all its mucky, yapping glory.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Weider Publications
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group


A Guide To Clean Up, Spruce Up & Fix Up For Spring

It's spring again. Every homeowner and apartment dweller knows there is plenty of work to do to get his or her home in shape after a long winter of closed windows and accumulated clutter. But where do you start? The dust bunnies under the bed? The dusty windowsills? Or the towering stack of newspaper that's occupying valuable space?

Don't be overwhelmed. Plan your work, and work your plan, perhaps beginning outside -- planting colorful flowers, clearing old leaves, washing windows and screens, and touching up those areas that need to be painted.

Most of the focus, though, will probably be inside your home, beginning with the clutter. Interior designer, Christina Callaway, the owner of Inner Piece Designs in Atlanta and the decorator of the home of rapper Ludacris, says to begin by throwing away anything that is broken or damaged. She recommends using labeled storage bins for items you want to save. Another trick, she says, is to box items destined for charity, so that the donations will be ready to be shipped or picked up by your favorite organization.

"Spring cleaning is often viewed as a dreaded but must-do task, but it can be made enjoyable," Callaway says. "Ladies and fellas, you want to be comfortable. Dress in loose clothing that you don't mind getting sweaty. Turn on your favorite CD and open up the windows to let in fresh air."

After you clear the clutter, here are some simple steps to help you clean and organize. (There may be some overlap as you go from room to room.)

LIVING ROOM

* Vacuum underneath and behind big pieces of furniture.

* Vacuum sofa frames, cushions and pillows, using a vacuum with attachments.

* Vacuum and air out rugs.

* Dust picture frames. (To avoid damaging your photos and art work, do not spray cleaner on the frame or glass.)

* Dust bookshelves. Remove books and dust those, too. Dust the entertainment center, including DVD player, stereo and television, using a mild cleaner.

* Dust end tables. Clean sofa slipcovers, using the upholstery attachment of a rug cleaner. Clean rugs according to manufacturer's instructions.

* Clean drapes according to manufacturer's instructions. Dust molding, baseboards and ceiling fans.

* Dust and clean lamps, and other home furnishings.

* Dust and clean windowsills, and wash windows.

* Throw out periodicals over three months old. If you haven't read them by that time, you're probably not going to.

* Mop floors.

BEDROOM

* Vacuum under bed and dresser.

* Mop.

* Dust dresser, headboards and nightstands.

* Switch to spring-themed bedding. Store blankets.

* Air out pillows.

CLOSETS

* Sweep and mop closets.

* Remove spring clothes from storage, and store winter clothes. (Make sure everything is clean before storing.)

* Give away clothes that no longer fit after a year.

* Store winter shoes and boots in their original boxes (if you still have them).

KITCHEN

* Wipe down counter tops, refrigerator, stove and cabinets--inside and out. Toss duplicate seasonings and expired condiments, etc.

* Clean decorative items that have accumulated grease and dust.

* Wipe down the inside of the refrigerator and freezer.

* Toss out leftovers that are no longer edible.

* Clean microwave inside and outside. (If it's a stand-alone, don't forget to clean underneath.)

* Remove finger marks from toaster or toaster oven.

GARAGE

* Store gardening supplies in storage bins and label them (fertilizer, seeds, etc.) so that they can be easily found.

* Sweep and hose down the floor to wash away leaves, cobwebs and other residue from the winter.

* Organize and wipe down tools.

* Clean grill before hauling it out for the season.

Spring cleaning is a big job. Interior designers and organizing experts urge homeowners to make a checklist to work on projects throughout the winter. They also suggest that homeowners establish weekly or bimonthly cleaning routines so that dust doesn't have time to accumulate.

They encourage homeowners to stay organized. For example, a good way to avoid piles of newspapers, Callaway says, is to "clip favorite articles from newspapers and magazines right away and store them in a portfolio beside your favorite reading chair so that they are easily accessible. But overall, don't let anything pile up. Work on it year-round."

COPYRIGHT 2005 Johnson Publishing Co.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group

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