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Latest News: Series2018-03-12T11:56:47-06:00

KOC Convention App Reveals 2019 Mayor’s Christmas Tree Ornament Details

Since 1981 Mayor’s Christmas Tree Ornaments have been sold to help in raising money for the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund. From 1981 through 1986, the designs of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree commemorative ornaments came from the Hallmark ornament line and were revised in limited editions with the Mayor’s Christmas Tree inscription. Since 1987, each ornament has been an original, designed by Hallmark artists and creative staff and made from the wood of the previous year’s Mayor’s Christmas Tree. Proceeds from the purchase of these commemorative ornaments benefit the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund, a Kansas City charity since 1908, which benefits thousands of Kansas City’s less fortunate each year.

Here Comes Christmas
The Mayor’s Christmas Tree Ornament

The 2019 ornament, “Here Comes Christmas!” was designed by Hallmark Keepsake Artist Tammy Haddix. Be sure to fill out a pre-order form and bring it to Crown Center Customer Service, located on the 2nd level of the Crown Center Shops!

Pre-orders will be processed at the end of November, before the ornaments go on sale to the public. The 2019 ornament will be $15.95 each (plus tax) with $9.95 shipping.

Previous year’s ornaments are still available. These one of a kind ornaments are in limited quantity, once they are gone they are gone forever. While you’re in Kansas City for the Convention, don’t miss out on an opportunity to be a part of this time-honored tradition.

August 7th, 2019|1 Comment

Artist Journal: Anita Marra Rogers

Monday, July 29, 2019

Hallmark Keepsake Artist Anita Rogers has always considered herself to be more of a sculptor than an artist who draws. “I usually end up drawing an idea, then redrawing again and again,” she said with a laugh. “My sketches almost never come out like what’s in my head the first time. I don’t really think I draw as well as I sculpt!”


Anita Marra Rogers’ Toster Oven

Thankfully, Anita honed her knack for sculpting and has been an integral part of the Keepsake Studio for more than 30 years. And because she sculpts by hand, instead of digitally like other artists, she’s got a unique set of tools to help her in her day-to-day work. “I use a toaster oven!” she said. “I turn it on a low temperature to warm up my wax before starting a sculpt. Once I have the rough shape created and it cools off and hardens, I have a hot tool with various sizes and shapes of tips to melt and move wax around. I also have some metal sculpting tools to carve with—some especially made for sculpting—as well as other tools homemade from old paint brushes, razor blades, and even dental tools!”

Those unconventional tools have turned hundreds of designs into the ornaments for which Anita is known best. Sometimes, though, ideas are presented that never actually become an ornament. “I always keep some old drawings in my files,” said Anita. “Who knows, maybe they’ll still become ornaments some day!”

Besides making ornaments for three decades, Anita has also flexed her creative muscle by crafting. “I don’t really sketch for fun,” she said. “But I do love to tie-dye, and even make a little money doing it!”

Over the years, whether crafting fabrics or creating ornaments, Anita has looked to her fans for inspiration and she’s looking forward to seeing collectors at this year’s KOC Convention in Kansas City. “I am always inspired by the fans and getting to meet with them,” she said. “They are the most awesome group of people and they keep me going. I am always trying to do my best for them!”

July 29th, 2019|1 Comment

Jeep used as Model for 2019 Hallmark Ornament

Bill Heins of Lyon County, Kansas is a Jeep fanatic.

1982 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler
25th in the All-American Trucks series.

He has five of them in working order and several more that are in parts. Now, he has one that’s much smaller — small enough to hang on a Christmas tree.

One of his Jeeps was used to as a model for a 2019 Hallmark Christmas ornament.

Heins got in touch with Hallmark after a friend of his, Mike Starkebaum of Topeka, learned that Hallmark was looking for a stock Jeep Scrambler to model an ornament after.

“Mike knew mine was 100 percent stock,” Heins said. “So he contacted me.”

It had the dimensions Hallmark was looking for in a model.

They arranged a day for Heins to drop off his Jeep at Starkebaum’s store, 4×4 Land, so some representatives from Hallmark could come down and get the vehicle’s specs.

Heins dropped his vehicle and went to run another errand in Topeka. When he came back, the Hallmark representatives had been and gone.

Though the ornament was just released July 13, all this happened quite a long time ago. Hallmark ornaments are planned at least 18 months before they come out, as Heins learned when his Jeep became one.

Heins is honored to have something based on his Jeep hanging on Christmas trees all across the nation this coming holiday season. He’s especially honored to be able to gain recognition for Scramblers such as his and further the cause for such vehicles.

“Just to have a Scrambler ornament was quite a privilege,” he said.

Heins is a member of the Scrambler Owners’ Association, a national group open to those who own Scramblers, which were only built from 1981 to 1986.

Three of Heins’ Jeeps are Scramblers.

“When you’re wanting to see something preserved, you try to take the opportunities to allow it to happen,” he said.


Bill Heins of Lyon County, Kansas (right) stands with Steve Farley, Hallmark President of Retail Business in front of Heins’ Jeep Scrambler.

When the ornaments were released to the public for purchase, Heins was invited up to a Hallmark store in the Kansas City area, where the company is headquartered.

“The manager is a Jeep person and had found out about my involvement,” he said.

The manager, Misty Heitman, wanted to have one of the vehicles at her shop to draw attention to the ornament reveal and to let shoppers get a good look at it before buying a miniature version.

Heins agreed to drive up to the shop, purchase a few of the Jeep ornaments, and show people his Scrambler. Another friend who owns a similar Jeep also attended.

“We believe in preserving the Scrambler Jeep and this is just a small way to make sure it happens,” he said.

The ornament is part of a series Hallmark has been creating each Christmas for years, based on vehicles.

According to Heins, the 2019 ornament is the first one the company has ever made that was based on a Scrambler.

It is white with a Christmas tree and a large, wrapped present in the bed of the truck.


A Jeep Scrambler belonging to Bill Heins was used as the model for the 2019 Hallmark Christmas Ornament.

The ornament differs from Heins’ Jeep in some ways. Heins’ Scrambler is brown, for one thing. But it’s the preservation of the Scrambler that counts, as far as he’s concerned.

“Mine was just a small part of it,” he said.

The ornaments are currently available for purchase in Hallmark stores around the country.

By Lydia Kautz [email protected]

Reprint of: “Lyon County man’s Jeep used as model for 2019 Hallmark ornament”

July 27th, 2019|0 Comments

2019 Reveal: Holiday Barbie™ Dolls

Here are pictures of the 2019 Holiday Barbie™ Dolls that inspired this year’s Holiday Barbie™ Ornaments.

Barbie shines in an elegant gown with a red and white striped peppermint print and silvery sparkle detail. A beautiful bow adorns the gown’s shoulder and complements a dramatic red train. Her long, blonde hair is styled in waves with a chic side part, and silvery chandelier earrings complete the look.

2019 Holiday Barbie™ Dolls

July 3rd, 2019|1 Comment

2019 Companion Ornaments: Better Together

When the Keepsake Studio brainstorms new ideas for ornaments, the same thought is always shared: “How great would it be to tell the story between two characters?” From this thinking, the studio creates limited-quantity companion ornaments.

Pinwheel Sweetness
Christmas Cupcakes
1oth in the series.

That’s Snow Sweet!
Special Edition

That’s Snow Sweet A companion to Pinwheel Sweetness, these two frosted treats prove there’s always room for a little more dessert.

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Majestic Cardinal

Majestic Lady Cardinal – Cardinals are a classic Christmas icon. And this year, we’ve brought both the male and female cardinal to life in a metal form with splendidly intricate detail.

Majestic Lady Cardinal
Special Edition

Summer Tanager
The Beauty of Birds
15th in the series.

Lady Summer Tanager
Special Edition

Lady Summer Tanager – Keepsake Artist Edythe Kegrize always tries to keep in mind the coloring of the female bird that corresponds to the male in her Beauty of Birds series. And this year, the mate to the male Summer Tanager is a beautiful shade of yellow.

Father Christmas
16th in the series.

Father Christmas’s Reindeer – Father Christmas #16’s trusty companion, this reindeer was inspired by Keepsake Artist Joanne Eschrich wondering what animals would be present with someone like Father Christmas.

Father Christmas’s Reindeer
Special Edition

Golfer Snoopy
Spotlight on Snoopy
22nd in the series.

Golfing with Woodstock
Special Edition

Golfing with Woodstock – Golf club covers never looked so cute. Snoopy tees off while a familiar face gives pointers and adorns his clubs.

Mickey’s Circus (1936)
Mickey’s Movie Mouseterpieces
8th in the series.

Wild Lion – What’s a ringleader without his trusty lion? This companion was inspired by the classic Disney short “Mickey’s Circus,” created in 1936.

Wild Lion
Special Edition

Mario

Piranha Plant
Special Edition

Piranha Plant – This pesky plant has been a thorn in Mario’s side for years. And now, you can relive beloved gaming memories with these two classic characters on your tree.

July 1st, 2019|1 Comment

2020 Sneak Peek: 2nd in series

Why start a new series?

There are so many reasons to start a tradition with a first-in-series ornament—new storytelling, never-before-seen concepts and unique design styles to look forward to year after year! Get the behind-the-scenes scoop on some of our newest series, straight from the Keepsake artists, and take a look at sketches of next year’s ornament.

Cozy Lil’ Critters – “The first in this series is the first from the Cozy Critters series that started in 2017. I changed the details in the clothing and the pose and other subtle changes to make it different from the original. What I love is that they get even cuter when they’re smaller; I like to think of it as the little brother to the original.”

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Cozy Lil’ Critters (2019)
1st in the series.
(Available at Ornament Premiere)

Cozy Lil’ Critters (2020)*
2nd in the series.

Holiday Parade (2019)
1st in the series.
(Available at Ornament Premiere)

Holiday Parade – “My dad was an auto body guy, and he liked to restore old cars. He even got me out there helping him. So it was really fun to get out there with my dad and restore old trucks back then, and so a truck series just seemed like a really fun thing to do.”

Holiday Parade (2020)*
2nd in the series.

Noble Nutcrackers – “Each nutcracker’s staff, crown and attachments are unique to their domain; this first-in-the-series has a bottlebrush tree crown, rope garland and real twine. I tried a lot of different kinds of roping for the trees, and I really liked the red and white because it was so Christmas-y and iconic. My hope is that this nutcracker can bring the wonder of nature to your tree.”

Prince of the Forest (2019)
Noble Nutcrackers
1st in the series.
(Available at Ornament Debut)

(2020)*
Noble Nutcrackers
2nd in the series.

Sugar Plum Fairy (2019)
Nutcracker Sweet
1st in the five-part series.
KOC Exclusive
(Available at Ornament Debut)

Nutcracker Sweet – “As I first started working on the ornament, I had this wonderful opportunity to visit the Kansas City Ballet as they prepared to do The Nutcracker performance. I think what amazed me the most was the up-close look I got at the tutu of the Sugar Plum Fairy and how wonderfully reflective and glittery it was. And to bring some of that magic to my ornament, I added fabric attachments and beads to make the ornament as sweet as a sugar plum fairy should be.”

Snow Queen (2020)*
Nutcracker Sweet
2nd in the five-part series.
KOC Exclusive

July 1st, 2019|0 Comments

2020 Sneak Peek: Season’s Treatings Special Edition Series

Each ornament in this new four-part series will help celebrate holidays and seasons throughout the year. Designed by Hallmark Artist Sharon Visker. Catch a new ornament each month, starting in January 2020.

Collect all four to complete the series!

Sweets for My Sweet
Season’s Treatings Special Edition
1st in the series.

Good Luck Sweets
Season’s Treatings Special Edition
2nd in the series.

Easter Sweets
Season’s Treatings Special Edition
3rd in the series.

Patriotic Sweets
Season’s Treatings Special Edition
4th in the series.

July 1st, 2019|2 Comments

Reveal: Keepsake Artist Series: Ken Crow Puzzle


Keepsake Artist Series: Ken Crow Puzzle

Ken Crow, a toymaker at heart, is always looking for new ways to surprise and delight his fans. “I like to learn what has been done before and then put my own twist on it,” he says. When Ken works on a Keepsake, he always approaches it with a “brand-new” mindset so people will experience the ornament in the most magical way possible.


1000 interlocking pieces
30″ w. x 24″ h.
$19.99 USA

May 28th, 2019|0 Comments

Artist Journal: Kristina Gaughran (Kris’ Penguins)

Tuesday, May 7, 2017

Keepsake Artist, Kris Gaughran loves penguins—a fact that’s easily seen in her “Petite Penguins” miniature series and the trio of penguins she sculpts every year as a full-size ornament. “It seems that I’m sketching penguins most of the time,” she says. “To get one idea, I’ll sketch up a number of things before landing on something I like. Sketching is probably one of the things I struggle with the most, but that just means I need to do it more often!”

Kris’ Penguins Sketches

It’s Kris’s sketches that help her larger Keepsake team to understand the idea behind her next ornament. “Sometimes the sketch helps to convey the idea to the team,” she says, “But most of the time, it’s just a sketch. The sculpt always evolves as I’m working on making it the finished product.”

Kris also likes to bring her penguins to life in other ways that help her come up with ideas for her ornaments. “I’m always trying to come up with fun situations for the penguins in my ornaments,” she says. “I currently have many little projects in the works,” she says. “I’m even working on some needle felted penguins!”

And lucky for Kris, she has some inspiration at home as well. “My oldest son, Finn loves to do art with me,” she said. “I hope he’s inheriting a sculpting talent. I’m not biased or anything, but I think he’s the best little sculptor around!”

May 7th, 2019|0 Comments