Making a sparkle friend at Hallmark

When my friends see an adult with a limb difference, many tend to almost immediately speak to that person and mention Born Just Right. 

Original post August 11, 2014

If they see an article or story about an adult with a limb difference, they make sure I see it.  These little moments and stories often give me an opportunity to meet, connect and follow the stories of many people within the world of limb difference.  That's how Jordan fell into a chance to visit the Hallmark headquarters.

A friend was looking at a photo of a Hallmark Keepsake artist, Tammy Haddix.  That's when she noticed Tammy has one hand.  She's part of a incredibly creative team of people who create Hallmark's very popular holiday ornaments.  The pieces fell together and Jordan was invited to meet Tammy and learn more about Hallmark.  We spent a half day at the headquarters and I feel like I could write four or five posts about our experience.

We started the day with a personal tour of the Hallmark Visitor Center.  Our fabulous guide, Carole, shared some of the stories behind the displays of archived Hallmark products.  We also had a chance to watch a video that explained the history of the company and the Hall family.  Jordan did such a great job listening to the stories behind the displays.  She really enjoyed a machine that shows how bows are made and crown artwork that included an interactive photo booth.  I think it was so cool to learn about the company and its history before we spent time inside the headquarters.  Thanks again, Carole!

Inside Hallmark, after a snack, Jordan got to explore some of next year's line of cards.  (They are going to be SO cool).  And finally, we got to walk over to the keepsake artists area to meet Tammy.  Honestly, just walking into the area made it feel like we had fallen into a festive world.  There were toys and art and fun everywhere.  Jordan loved checking out Tammy's workspace because it feels like you're walking into a Christmas scene.

Jordan loved the many sweet ornaments and we even learned how Tammy sculpts her work from wax.  (It's a messy process.) It's also really cool to see how Tammy starts with a sketch and her work evolves eventually into an ornament you buy at the store.  Another discovery Jordan enjoyed: Tammy loves adding sparkles to her work.  And that was perfect for Jordan.  Even the stripes on Jordan's dress were sparkly.  The combination of sparkles at Tammy's workspace and Jordan's outfit helped them decide they could be sparkle friends forever.

We weren't done...  Tammy took the time to introduce Jordan to many of her co-workers.  Jordan was able to meet so many creative artists who work on the ornaments that hang on your tree or decorate your holidays.  We learned how some people work with wax (one person still uses clay) and others are using 3D computer designs and then print out their work on a 3D printer.  (Which is something we LOVE.) Jordan pretty quickly decided that she wants to move to Kansas City when she is older so she can be a keepsake artist.

After lunch and a surprise trip to shop in the Hallmark Store, Jordan was given the ultimate gift from Tammy: Her friendship and a gift of a box that included hand-crafted ornament pieces and all the art supplies needed for Jordan to create her own snowman ornaments.

The time we spent with Tammy was fantastic.  Getting the chance to learn more about her work and the work of the other artists in the keepsake division was inspirational to Jordan.  We already visited our local Hallmark store since our visit and looked for more of the work of the artists we met.  (Yes, we bought another Tammy-created ornament.) Jordan and I are both thankful for such an amazing visit and we can't wait for the next time we see Tammy!