Saving Graces Doll Shoppe/Diane's Dolls Signing - Provo, Utah - September 17, 2005

My digital photos (click on the photo above)

Page One of My 35mm (click on the photo above)

Page Two of My 35mm (click on the photo above)

Page Three of My 35mm (click on the photo above)

It was such fun, but a lot of hard work!! They had about 275 various dolls to be signed prior to the signing for the shop. On Friday, I ended up organizing the staging of the dolls, getting all the boxes opened, the dolls flipped over inside with their heads turned and their right ears exposed ready to be signed. There was room for about half the dolls to be laid out and the other half would have to be switched out to be signed. We had two rooms with all the dolls. Tracy from Charisma had said that only Diane and Maria could be upstairs with Marie while she signed. I was a little disappointed, but what can you do. That evening, Lisa had invited Diane and Maria to dinner with Tracy, Lisa and Marie. Wish I could have gone to that! Tracy came by on Friday to make sure everything was ready and she and I went over the staging and how it would work to switch out the dolls to get them all signed. On Saturday, we were getting ready to go over to the shop and Tracy was parked next to us in the hotel parking lot. She offered a ride, so I jumped in her car and headed over with her. At the shop, we were setting the foyer up where Marie would sign for the collectors. I told Tracy that if she wanted help upstairs with the switching of the dolls, I'd be happy to do it and then laughed and said I wouldn't gawk at Marie. She hesitated and then said, fine, but just me. We had arranged for Marie to come in the back door, but no, she drives right up to the front and strolls in. Everyone was lined up outside waiting and we had been giving out water to them. Marie stops to chat with people and finally we get her upstairs. I just hang in the background not talking to anyone. Marie starts right in signing the dolls and Lisa is flipping the lids for her as she signs. The new boxes have the lids attached and the bands printed on them so Marie would sign the doll, Lisa flipped the lid over and the next doll was ready. Marie gets on her cell and I hear her say "hi, daddy, I'm doing a doll signing right next door. Come on over and dress nice cause everyone will want your picture. I'm calling Virl to come get you." Then she calls Virl and asks him to bring her dad over. Marie kept calling people and asking them to come see her. She signs so fast, I was amazed. She whipped through the first room, moved to the next and I started pulling doll boxes from the table and trying to get other boxes staged. Tracy was helping, but Diane and Maria were busy in the shop. I asked Tracy if we could get one more person to help and she got Teresa's friend, Nenita. Teresa was guarding the prototype table with the October dolls on it. So Nenita and I bustled around swapping out dolls as Marie signed. Maria had brought in some food from a caterer and had a table filled. Marie signed everything in 45 minutes so she had time to relax for a bit. I had gone downstairs to get my lipstick and ran back up to the ladies room. Opened the door to find Lisa and Marie freshening up so I hastily backed up. At that point, Mr. Osmond and Virl arrived. They brought him upstairs and settled him in a chair with a drink. He told me he was going to be 88 (which I knew) and was happy to be there. Marie came back and we were all having a snack, when Diane pulled me over and made a point of introducing me to Marie and telling her about my site. Marie said she needed me to organize her life. I told her I would, only I live 3000 miles away. She started talking about the fire and how important it is to have a record of your belongings. At this point, it was time to get started with the signing. We started it early since Marie had to leave on time to do hair and makeup for Rachael and five friends for the homecoming dance that night. It was Rachael's first date. Marie had talked about how they went to find a dress and they have to have their shoulders covered only all the dresses were strapless or spaghetti straps so Marie bought two of a dress and used the second one to remake the top of the first. Any how, Teresa, Nenita, Kristin Ryan and I were going first in the signing so we could then help out. The signing area was just the little foyer of the building so there wasn't room for people to hang around. I was first so I had my dolls on the table, Marie came over and signed the tiny tots I had, then a friend came in and she ran off to show them the dolls in the shop. She came back and signed Abigail Blessing Day then we took a picture. I didn't get to chat at all but that was fine since we had talked upstairs. I had on a MOD Squad shirt that Maria had made up for the workers. You'll see it in the photos. For much of the signing I was taking peoples cameras and snapping their photos. It got chaotic sometimes cause M'lissa Virginia showed up with a couple of her kids, Kesti and her husband and son came. Kesti is expecting another son in December. Marie's admin, Amy was there. She's married to Lisa's brother. Karen Seamons and Paula Hart (she dressed the Babies a Bloom series and Boo Who) were there. A lot of the time these people were out walking the line and signing dolls and chatting. Virl walked the line chatting with people. I had talked to him upstairs and told him I had purchased one of the family photos that are signed by the whole family and thanked him for making those available to fans. He was very sweet and told me he would be sure to let his wife know that it was appreciated. I totally forgot he was deaf till later! At one point during the signing Marie ran up to the bathroom. They tried to get her to take the elevator and have someone with her, but she laughed and said she thought she could handle it. I then had to block people from going up to the bathroom till Marie came back. Every once in a while, I'd grab my camera to get a few shots, so I did get a couple of rolls done, but basically I was using other's cameras. Teresa was taking some photos for people who didn't bring cameras. We got down to the wire on time and had to start the power signing. We set up another table and were putting dolls on one table, Marie signed while we set up the next person on the second table. It got a bit crazy, but we got it done. They were down to the last few and I offered to bring bags out to the car of stuff people had given Marie. Lisa's daughter and her friend were out at the car. I brought out one batch, went back for more and Lisa gave me Marie's purse to bring out. I started out and heard "heh, pick up the phone. Talk to me, heh." coming from her purse. I went back in and told Marie her purse was yelling at me. Lisa laughed and said that was Marie's ring tone so go ahead out with it. Tracy had walked Mr. Osmond out to the care and Marie and Lisa headed out and they left honking and waving to everyone. I went upstairs and there hadn't been a trash basket so there were plates, cups, soda cans, napkins every where. Lisa's kids, M'lissa kids, etc had all hung out up there during the signing. It wasn't bad, just that they had no where to throw the stuff so it was all over. I found a trash bag and Kristin and I cleaned it all up. Then I started closing the 275 doll boxes so they would be ready for shipping. As people started wandering upstairs, they all started helping so we got that all done. I went down and brought up the ropes and stands for the line for Marie. Tracy was leaving and I got a hug from her with thanks for helping out. Maria was saying she didn't know what she would have done if I hadn't organized the doll signing part upstairs, that she hadn't realized how much work it would all take and she and Diane had been busy with customers. I felt good that I had contributed and hopefully if they do it again, they will include me. I came downstairs at one point and Lisa was back. She said she helped Marie do the hair and makeup for the girls and it worked out fine (Marie had left 40 minutes late) and she had brought her girls back to clean up the mess they left upstairs. I told her I had already done it. She went off to talk to Diane and Maria.

Saturday night we did the MDF dinner at Fridays. Linda Queen organized the dinner and a little gathering later in the hotel lobby. It was fun to talk to different people. Linda did a great job and had brought prizes for different things like who came the farthest, which I won for within the US. Claudia Lewis came from Egypt so she won overall. Sunday we were back at the shop packing up the dolls for Diane's shop and packing up our own dolls to ship. We did a lot of chatting too which was nice. We left at about 4pm to go to Salt Lake to stay at a hotel close to the airport for our morning flights. Nenita left Sunday night so it was Diane, Teresa and I at the hotel. We had a quick dinner at Perkins then watched Diane repack her suitcase a few times. I think it was nervous energy that kept her at it. Monday morning we headed home. Diane and I were on the same flight to Minneapolis and then parted there. It was a fun trip, tiring, but fun.