Glenda Propst has all the stuff good nannies are made of, as well as a Jim Shore collection that would make fans of the American folk artist, drool.
A regular Mary Poppins, Glenda has recently turned 62 years of age and is celebrating more than 30 years in the nanny industry. Having worked as a professional nanny and managed several blogs about life in the industry, this married woman and owner of spoiled cat LeRoy finally decided it was time to do something for herself, by collecting something that she loved.
A Spoonful of Sugar
Glenda started her Jim Shore collection in August of 2002:
“I was in a Hallmark store looking for a birthday gift for my best friend. I saw a Jim Shore snowman and fell instantly in love. I came straight home and started googling - trying to find out everything I could about Jim Shore and his work.”
By the time Glenda’s birthday arrived in October, she had already compiled a list of Jim Shore pieces that she wanted to collect. That year, she purchased one special piece – the ‘Count Your Blessings’ pumpkin.While Glenda took it slow to begin with, her addiction to everything Jim Shore soon set in:
“The following year in April, I took my mom to Harmony, Indiana and we wandered into a little shop. I had my eye on the Jim Shore Nativity at Christmas time. I talked to the woman in the store who gave me a 20 per cent discount on the piece. The rest is history.”
Glenda has recently begun to downsize her collection, but at its peak, it came close to 200 pieces. Of her 200 pieces, Glenda has a favorite from each season. Her favorite angel is a Hallmark Exclusive called “The Mother of All Angels”.
“It’s special to me because I have always felt that God called me to love all of his children, not just a child of my own, and this angel reminds me of all the children in my life that played such an important role.”
She also has a favorite Jim Shore cat piece that bears an uncanny resemblance to her own cat LeRoy. Her favorite fall pieces are a Halloween ‘witch and cauldron’ piece which her mother gifted to her as well as her favorite thanksgiving pieces the Man and Woman Pumpkin Pilgrim.
While Glenda enjoys Jim Shore pieces from every season, she has a particular affection for the autumn themed pieces:
“I own a lot of Fall and Halloween décor because my birthday is in October so I always ask for Jim Shore for my birthday and for Christmas. Jim Shore's Fall Pieces are my favorite of all the pieces that I own.”
As well as her fall collection, Glenda also owns Christmas pieces including Santa Claus pieces, snowmen and the nativity. She owns a large amount of angels as well as several cats, a clock and a set of bookends. Of course, no Jim Shore collection is complete without the entire first set of Seasonal Baskets and the Seasonal Dioramas and every piece of the Heartwood Creek Village – all of which have a home in Glenda’s collection. And let’s not forget the beautiful Nursery Rhymes collection:
Since my life has always involved working with children in some capacity, I had to have Jim Shore's Nursery Rhymes collection. The thing about Jim Shore's work that always amazes me is that you can see in a store or online and like it, but when you take it home and hold it and really look at it, you can appreciate all the details and beauty of the colors and design.
The first nursery rhyme I purchased was "The Old Woman in a Shoe", the next was "Hey Diddle Diddle", then came "Humpty Dumpty" and then "Wynken Blynken and Nod"
Though Glenda loved these pieces, she loved some special children in her life more:
“I used to own all the Nursery Rhymes but I gave them to my great nieces and nephews and the children I nannied for.”
Now that Glenda’s collection has grown so much, she has conditioned herself to be more selective about which pieces she needs in her life:
“I have the Chinese Checker Game from the Masterpiece Collection. I love it because it can hang on the wall as a beautiful piece of art or we can take it down and play.
As my collection grew out of control, I had to try to buy things that were functional not just pretty.”
It’s a Jolly Holiday
Glenda’s passion for Jim Shore products have not only led to a beautiful collection of his artwork in her home, but to a blog which she set up in his honor. Though she hasn’t added any recent content, Glenda’s blog “Is It a Collection or an Addiction?” still includes articles about her own collection pieces as well as the best places to get hard-to-find Jim Shore pieces:
“Jim Shores’ work is so unique and so beautiful. Someone needed to do a blog about it. I decided it was me.”
In June of 2012, Glenda heard that Jim Shore would be making an appearance at a store in Branson – a town four hours’ drive from where she was currently living. Eager as ever to meet her artistic inspiration, Glenda and her husband packed up and left for Branson. Since it was their anniversary weekend, it seemed like the perfect time to getaway and fulfil a dream!
“This is something that I have always wanted to do, but he has never been close enough for me to actually do it.”
With Jim Shore scheduled to make his appearance at 12pm that day, Glenda wanted to be prepared. In the door just after the store opened, Glenda purchased her blue and white snowman and secured her place third in line to meet her muse. After four and a half hours of standing in line, Glenda finally had her moment:
“Let me tell you….it was worth every minute. I met Jim Shore in person!”
Once it was her turn, Glenda took her place at the signing table and addressed Jim:
“I don't get excited about many things, but I was definitely excited about this. My turn came quickly. I walked up to the table, having no idea what I was going to say, stuck out my hand and like a 15 year old meeting Paul McCartney, and said ‘My name is Glenda.............and I am your biggest fan!’
That was really lame, but I finally found the words to say ‘You know I love your art, and I love your work but mostly I love the things that you represent in your work and how much heart each piece has in it’. He reached out and hugged me and thanked me and said ‘I love it when people understand that.’”
After signing her snowman and having Jim reveal that he may be producing a line of Mary Poppins figurines in the future, Glenda got another hug and her photo taken with the man of the hour.
“I had so much fun, and he was so kind and so genuine…I told my friends in the line that I only wanted to meet him once to say that I did it, but it was a lot of fun - I might be willing to try it again!
Some people are disappointed when they meet someone that they admire, I am happy to say that Jim Shore is exactly who I always expected he would be. A genuinely nice person, who cares about the people who buy his work, loves God, and values his heritage, his country and family.”
Having grown up in small town Missouri, Glenda appreciates family values – something that she feels is embedded deeply into every piece of Jim Shore’s creations:
“When I look at my Jim Shore pieces they make me so happy. They truly bring me joy. I had a grandmother, a mother in law and two sisters in law that quilted and Jim Shore’s art and the way he works the quilt patterns into his work just speaks to my soul. I have always been happy to support Jim Shore and his work because to me his work is based on the principles I was raised with: God, Country and Family.”