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November 2005
Letter From The Editor

The coming of Thanksgiving means the beginning of the Holiday Season, the busiest time of the year for our company. We are preparing by finding more ways to make your shopping experience as pleasant and hassel free as possible.

You may have noticed that we added a 'How To Use Our Site' page to provide immediate support and assistance to visitors who are having trouble browsing and ordering, or who just want to know what our policy is on shipping charges. We are also adding new picture Gallery pages so that more items can be browsed through easily and quickly. You won't want to miss our new Legends & Tales art gallery page that includes Russian Fairy Tales and Legends or our new Star Trek art gallery page.

The newest addition to our site is our 'Dragons' page. We decided to depart from the restriction of only offering Limited Edition collectibles so that we could offer a broader range of figurines and related products. We added pegasus and unicorns to our 'Fairies' page too. Look for more special treats in the near future as we continue to expand our offerings.

We also redesigned our Plate List to make it easier to update more frequently and we made it sortable by the artist's last name, the plate name, the plate series, or the manufacturer's name. The platelist makes it easy to search for any given plate with your available information. It is an extensive list of every plate in our inventory so please be patient while it loads for the first time, it will be well worth the wait.

Our featured artist this month is Sandra Kuck. We hope you find her Artist's Profile informative and interesting. You won't want to miss seeing her two new plates in the 'Wings of Love' series of Angel Art Plates. Her new 2005 Christmas plate is also now available. She has a new line of Angel figurines as well and her new Christmas Tree Figurine is ready for delivery. She even has a line of Christmas Angel Ornaments that are simply enchanting. Sandra has been very busy.

We have also included a few articles that you may find interesting or useful in preparing for your Thanksgiving dinner. There is an article about Teddy Bears, one about how to plan a stress free party, another one about how to give a toast, and the final article is about Thanksgiving traditions.

Have a happy and joyous Thanksgiving from The Plate Lady™ ® of Tampa Bay!!

Artist's Profile: Sandra Kuck

Sandra Kuck was born in East Liverpool, Ohio. Her extensive collections of art work can be found on canvas and on porcelain. She has even designed award-winning collections of dolls, ornaments, and figurines.

Sandra has the ability to create scenes of serenity and joy with rich colors and a delicate sense of light. Her subjects are mostly women and children, which she paints exquisitely in scenes that evoke the romantic charm of the past. Her heavenly angels have a playful elegance and are much beloved by collectors.

In 1983 Sandra was awarded Plate of the Year, Print of the Year, and Artist of the Year by the National Association of Limited Edition Dealers. Since then she has had the repeated honor of being awarded "Artist of the Year" numerous times. In 1991 she was the International Collectable Artist of the Year. She has also been honored in the Plate Artist Hall of Fame (Bradford Exchange) and the Print Artist Hall of Fame (U.S. Art).

Sandra has been selected to be "Woman of the Year", by the Council of Cerebral Palsy and recently she was commissioned by the National Archives in Washington, D.C. for an art series commemorating American women.

The History of Teddy Bears
By David Chandler

Teddy bears have been around since 1902. The teddy bear came to being when President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a black bear held captive by his hunting party. Also worth noting is that President Roosevelt's refusal to shoot this captive bear became a very popular political cartoon by Cliff Barryman.

A Brooklyn shopkeeper was inspired by the cartoon. The shopkeeper then asked President Rosevelt his permission to name a toy bear "Teddy". Thus became the creation of the teddy bear.

It is also worth noting that the teddy bear was born in Germany between 1902 and 1903.

The first teddy bears did not have cuddly faces or smiles, in fact, the first teddy bears had expressions which could best be described as stoic. Teddy bears were also quite stiff, the bendable arms and legs and soft, plush bodies came much later.

Now teddy bears are still the number one item to give babies as their first toy, the prize to win your girl on your first date, and most importantly, the toy of choice for law enforcement to give to children in sad, unsafe situations to help them calm down and feel safe.

The market for collectible teddy bears has seen significant growth in the last several years. A collectible teddy bear is very different than the typical store bought teddy that you might give a child. The industry defines collectible teddy bears as hard, not floppy, and fully jointed (meaning arms, legs, and head are moveable). The artists however, also determine collectibles. Steiff teddy bears and others have a very high collectible value.

For more information, visit

Article Source:

(Sandra Kuck used Teddy Bears as the subject for her series "100 years of Love".)

Stress-Free Party Planning
By Lisa Hartwell

It's a fact; most of us feel immediately stressed and harassed at the thought of having to organize a party or special dinner.

We spend hours trying to make everything perfect, preparing the most elaborate dishes, struggling over fiddly, expensive decorations, spending more money than we can afford to impress our guests...

And then the outcome is we are too tired, stressed and worried about things going wrong to actually enjoy the event and the company of our friends, relatives and colleagues.

Wouldn't you like to be that host or hostess at a party who seems to sail through everything effortlessly, remains calm, never looks stressed, and always provides wonderful food, good conversation and a relaxed atmosphere?

In "101 Best Party Recipes," Edith M Barber says one of the keys to a successful party is that the hosts enjoy the event. This makes a lot of sense; after all, if your guests sense you are feeling hassled their enjoyment will be lessened.

Here are just a few simple rules to ensure your party is a success without the stress:

- plan your event well in advance

- attempt only what can be carried out successfully and with apparent ease

- be realistic about your skills

- ensure that your time at the party is not occupied by long spells in the kitchen

- never be afraid to ask for help - use the skills of those around you

- keep notes

- always look for the easy way to achieve something

- above all, keep things simple!

Follow these guidelines and you will be well on your way to becoming a successful party host.

Lisa Hartwell is a writer, broadcaster and voiceover. She is the publisher of "101 Best Party Recipes" and webmaster at "Ultimate House and Home".

Article Source:

The Art of Giving a Toast
By Mary Gardner

Today one of my clients is throwing one of her good friends a 40th birthday party. She actually used to date him and now they’re good friends. She has the perfect dress, has supplied the beautiful country club for the party, and now she is considering whether or not she should also give a toast!

My answer to her? ALWAYS give a toast if you can!!!

First of all, whoever is throwing the party has a responsibility of welcoming people to the event. It’s nice to publicly introduce yourself and welcome everyone. It also establishes your credibility when you speak in front of people

Next, it’s an opportunity to show off! When people see you completely composed in a somewhat stressful situation, they’re impressed. Little do they know how much preparation when on behind the scenes. You can make it look like you pulled the toast out of thin air!

When writing a toast, there are a few things to do that will make your job easier.

How do you want to come across? Do you want the toast to be fun, lighthearted and funny or do you want it serious? This will help you determine the “story” that you share during the toast.

How do you feel about the person? What do they mean to other people? How do people respond to them as individuals? Are they funny, articulate, smart, a great dresser or a terrific story teller? Be specific and write down all of the adjectives that you can to describe this person.

What is a funny story or a really great story that you can tell about this person? Is there some secret passion that this person has that causes them to spend excessive time on something? Was there a time that the two of you were together that impressed you or made you laugh? What story can you think of that EXPLAINS what this person is to you? This can be lighthearted or serious, depending upon the tone that you want to create in the room and with the toast.

Lastly, what does this person mean to YOU? Do you want to honor them? Do you love them? Do you admire them?

After you’ve put together your toast it should look something like this:

“Welcome to the 40th Birthday party for our friend Clyde. It’s great to see everyone here. For those who know Clyde, you’ll know that he is a determined, fun and successful individual. But there is something that you might NOT know about Clyde!!

Tell funny or poignant story here…. And when the laughter dies down..

“So tonight, we wish to honor you Clyde, for who you are to all of us. We appreciate you, we love you and we wish for you many more happy and healthy years to come.”

The story that you tell is extremely important. But even MORE important is how often you practice this speech! Practice it in front of the mirror dozens of times until the words role off your tongue gracefully. Tape yourself as you practice and rewrite it as you go along. Practice visualizing yourself in the room beforehand, and practice looking at people in the eyes so during your speech you’ll be able to do that with ease. During the last part, when you’re bringing honor to the person, look at that person RIGHT in the eyeballs with as much sincerity as you can muster up, to let them know that you genuinely do care.

If you do all of these things, you’ll blow the people away. The response you’ll get is “wow, I wish I could just pull something like this out of my hat” and “that was such a great toast… good job”.

No one has to know that you practiced over and over until it felt right. No one has to know that you changed the toast dozens of times until you got the story right. But what you and everyone else WILL know is that after you’ve given the speech and knocked it out of the park, your status will be elevated.

By presenting an incredible toast you will have created a great memory for the person you are honoring. And THAT is who its all about, after all!

Mary Gardner, The Charisma Coach! is an Executive Communications Consultant and Trainer. She works with, coaches and trains individuals, sales teams, executives, and celebrities. She owned and operated one of the first coaching institutions on the east coast, CCI, in NYC, Philly and NJ. Mary has appeared on ABC’s 20/20 and has self published a book on public speaking. Mary is married to Sway and is mommy to Jeremy 5, and lives in Orlando, FL.

Article Source:

Thanksgiving Traditions
By Matthew Keegan

Pia Morelli loves Thanksgiving. It is the one holiday of the year that the Mendham mother of eight and grandmother of eighteen sees her entire family. Not even Christmas brings as many people to her home at one time.

"My children are scattered up and down the east coast. Between flying in and driving over, they need several days to make the trip, visit, and to return to their homes. I would love to have everyone here for Christmas, but that just doesn't happen, especially when the holiday falls during the middle of the week and people are unable to take extended time off from their jobs."

Since her husband, Joe, died in 1995 Thanksgiving has taken on an added meaning. "Prior to Joe's death we would get together, but not under one roof or at the same time. We would see some of the children at Thanksgiving and the rest at Christmas or get together between the holidays. It wasn't the same. Joe died suddenly and unexpectedly and each of my children have insisted on this annual reunion. What better time than Thanksgiving?"

While her family members would prefer to go out to eat, Pia insists otherwise. "I'm retired, living with Cocoa [her terrier] and have plenty of time on my hands. I start baking my pies on Sunday and by Wednesday the gravy, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, and green bean salad are done. On Thanksgiving morning, my daughter, Lisa, comes over and puts two turkeys in the oven. Joe Jr. and his wife bring the hams, while the stuffing and other fixings are completed by me in the morning. All the setting up, serving and cleaning up is done by the children. I kick back and watch football while eating pumpkin pie!"

Kyle McGathry will be continuing a tradition that has been going on in his family for nearly 50 years. With sons Kevin and Michael in tow, McGathry will be sitting in the stands watching a high school football game between Ridgewood and Paramus. "When I was a kid, it was Ridgewood-Fair Lawn. Years later Paramus replaced Fair Lawn and for awhile it was Bergen Catholic and Ridgewood." The Ridgewood native looked at the Ridgewood- BC rivalry as hopelessly one sided. "Most of the games were never played on Thanksgiving because it was a given that BC would still be alive in the playoffs and would have just played the Saturday before. I think we had to wait until Saturday and it usually meant that Ridgewood was massacred."

At this point in the season, Ridgewood is still alive in the playoffs with a scheduled meeting against Morristown on December 6th at Giants Stadium. "I know that Ridgewood just had a big battle with Hackensack on Saturday, but I think they'll be ready. Funny thing, I think this is one Ridgewood team that could beat BC!" After the game, McGathry will be going to his mother-in-law's house in Paramus. "My wife graduated from Paramus a year after I graduated from Ridgewood. She isn't much of a football fan and stays home with our youngest. Fortunately, the rivalry isn't dividing our family," he noted.

Anne Chomesky doesn't "do" Thanksgiving at least in the traditional sense. For years the single 40-something woman served food at a soup kitchen in Newark every Thanksgiving day. This year she will still be serving, but over at a friend's house in Cedar Grove. Her friend, Clare, lost her father, who was her only living relative, this past Summer and Anne felt that she could be more useful spending the time with her. "The holiday season is very difficult for those without family. Clare's father died in June and he was all that she had as far as family goes. Eight of us who either no longer have family or can't be with them will be gathering together at Clare's home to keep her company and to give thanks for what we do have. I thank God for this opportunity to be with friends who have become like family to me."

However, wherever and with whomever you choose to spend the day, Happy Thanksgiving to all!

This article originally appeared on, a defunct site managed by Matt Keegan. It was part of his "Life in New Jersey" series of articles.

Matthew Keegan is the owner of a successful article writing, web design, and marketing business based in North Carolina, USA. He manages several sites including the Corporate Flight Attendant Community and the Aviation Employment Board. Please visit The Article Writer to review selections from his portfolio.

Article Source:

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