Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Big Sale Starts VERY Soon (and Then I Can Start Baking) . . .

It is the day before Thanksgiving . . . and I have been given a lengthy baking/preparing to-do list (cheeseball, chocolate mint cookies, gluten/dairy-free brownies, pumpkin cheesecake lasagna) that I need to accomplish between now and 3:00 p.m. tomorrow.  But first, I need to finish the work stuff – and as s0on as I do, the following will begin . . .


I hope to have everything ready to go before I leave the mail center this afternoon.  So by 6:00 p.m. EST it should be official – if you see this graphic on our homepage, the sale is on! 

So please save a little time in your busy holiday weekend to browse our site and submit your orders.  From the experience of the past few years, I know that we’re going to be overwhelmed for a while – so please be patient with us and we’ll fill your orders just as fast as we can.  And if a portion of your order is for a holiday gift, please put a note in the comments section at checkout – we’ll do our best to make sure those go out promptly.  Thanks!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fun and Frivolity at Home . . . and a Winter Wonderland (?) in Wisconsin

It’s a big weekend at our retail store in Dayton – they’re calling it the “Holly Jolly Holiday Affair” – the beginning of a week full of sale items, Make & Takes, and more.  And it begins tomorrow with two full days featuring Anthony Gilbert from Anthony’s Paper Craft – two classes and two Make & Takes – and he’s bringing a trunk show with his entire stamp line.


You can get more information about this weekend and all of this week by clicking on this link . . .


Meanwhile, I’m in Madison, Wisconsin this weekend for the One of a Kind Rubber Stamp & Scrapbook Show at the Alliant Energy Center – and it may just be a Winter Wonderland here.


The weather weasels are predicting 6”-10” of the white stuff from Friday night into Saturday morning.  Now I realize two things – weather weasels are notoriously wrong, and the good folks of Wisconsin, Chicagoland, and all points around are quite used to getting around in winter weather.  But since this is the first predicted snowfall of the season here, I might tend to worry.

So I’m counting on all of you to gas up your snowmobiles and get out here tomorrow and prove my fears wrong . . .

Friday, November 13, 2015

I Am Completely Out of Style - and I Don’t Care . . .

During the day, I usually listen to sports talk radio – I became an old fogey on the music scene a long time ago, and most days “regular” talk radio is too controversial for my tastes.  Sports talk is like the toy store of life.  But the sports squawkers just hit my hot button . . .


They were making fun of jean shorts – or “jorts” as they are often called.  I have heard this for years, but no one has ever given one good reason why they are so uncool.  I wear jeans all winter long, and I have never heard a negative comment about them.  But the shorter version of the same thing during the summer is a social faux pas?

And then it got worse on the same radio segment – I am now told that cargo shorts are out of style.  I just bought my first couple of pairs of those (small side pockets, though – not the baggy ones) a few weeks ago – mostly to wear on golf courses that don’t allow denim.

I really don’t know – or care – who on the East and West Coasts makes these decisions (sorry, Middle America – we don’t get a vote) – but I suspect this has more to do with trying to shame us into throwing our entire wardrobes in the trash and buying whatever “they” say is in-style.

Sorry – I stopped playing that game a long time ago.  Probably not long after I escaped the ‘70s and leisure suits and really short shorts and socks that went up to my knees. 

The only people who get a vote on my wardrobe now are the person who looks back at me in the mirror, and the wife who has to put up with it.  If it’s comfortable, and I like it – I wear it.

And I really like jean shorts.

Now that my rant is out of my system, I will move on with my life. 

Thank you for indulging me – have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Birthday, Karen . . .

Today is Karen’s birthday – and at the store any occasion such as that is a good excuse for a carry-in.  Today, it was a cake carry-in – there were three of them.  And I got a text this morning inviting me to come up and partake – so I did.


Karen wanted to know why I had my cell phone tilted – I was trying to get all three cakes into the picture.  But I failed.  So when everyone came back behind the classroom  to line up, I asked them to gather behind the table so I could climb up on a chair and get a shot of all of them with all three of the cakes, just before they sang to her.


I still missed half of one of the cakes.  I also missed all but the arm of the extraordinarily nice lady who moved the outlet box that hangs down from the ceiling.


I say “extraordinarily nice” because Marsha has put up with me for more than 30 years – she works at my optometrist’s office.  Marsha is a hoot – and her brand of sarcasm is almost a perfect match for mine.  When I learned that she enjoyed crafting, I urged her several times over the years to stop by our store – so I was surprised and delighted to see her there today.

Friday, November 6, 2015

November Distress Color . . . and a “Heads Up” for the Locals

If it’s the first Friday of the month, it must be time for another Distress Ink Color of the Month.  Is anyone else besides me wondering if this will continue into 2016?  As popular as it has been, wouldn’t it be nuts if it doesn’t?  That said, here it is . . .


Lucky Clover is the November Distress Color of the Month.  As always, you can order all six items for 20% off the MSRP with free shipping in the Continental U.S.


While you’re at it, I also created an “item” on our site for Distress Minis Kit #15 – the last four colors of 2015 – which will be released at the same time as the December color on the first Friday of December.  You can order yours now, or wait and do both in December.


And here’s a “Plan Ahead Alert” for the locals – Marco’s “Holly Jolly Holiday Affair” begins in our store in Saturday, November 21 with two days of classes and make & takes with Anthony Gilbert from Anthony’s Paper Craft.  That’s just the beginning of a whole week of fun and frivolity (not to mention sales, classes, make and takes and more) including Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.  So click on the link or the graphic, clear your calendars, and plan to spend the week at our store.  You won’t need an absence excuse to spend Thanksgiving with your families, but other than that . . .

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Filling Your Trick or Treat Bag . . .

In the past, we haven't started this until mid-November -- but a conversation about "trick or treating" led us to put this in your treat bag a little early!


From now through December 16, all retail orders $30.00 or more ship FREE in the Continental U.S.  For orders from outside the Continental U.S., we'll ship by Priority Mail for 1/2 the rate the USPS charges us (there will be some exceptions to areas were the Priority Mail rates are just outrageous, but this should work easily for Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Canada, etc.). When you are asked to "calculate shipping & handling" in your cart, make sure to click on the button that says "Free Shipping"

Friday, October 30, 2015

Drawing the Red Lite-Brite Peg After 34 Years . . .

I live in a town that is known as “The Antiques Capital of the Midwest” – there were once 75+ antique shops on Main Street – but I am not an antiquer.  I have just a few heirlooms in my house – and each of them has a story associated with a member of my family. 


This is the first one I ever got – a little ceramic bulldog wearing a sailor cap.  It belonged to my great-grandma and I always noticed it when I was growing up.  After she died, her possessions went to the family, with first choice going to the children and then the grandchildren.  So when the great-grandchildren’s turn came, I was thrilled that the only little piece I was interested in was still there.

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Years later when my mom’s parents downsized and moved into an apartment, I picked up the trunk that my great-grandparents “set up housekeeping in” and my grandma’s old Singer sewing machine and cabinet.

But my favorite (and least favorite) story of family heirloom furniture started in 1981, a few weeks after my dad’s father died (his mom had died four years earlier).  Dad and his three siblings gathered to disperse the furnishings before Grandpa’s house was sold.  In the interests of fairness, my dad brought along four of my brother’s old Lite-Brite pegs – three clear ones and a red one.  As the kids went to each piece of furniture, if more than one wanted it a Lite-Brite peg for each was put into a bowl – which was held high as each pulled one out.  And whoever got the red Lite-Brite peg won the prize.

Since I was about a year from getting married, Dad asked me if I was interested in any of the furniture.  There were only two pieces that I really wanted – the old console radio in the spare bedroom, and to a lesser degree the china cabinet in the kitchen.  With my interest in broadcasting, the radio was fascinating to me – a huge floor model that stood about four feet tall, with pushbuttons to switch from AM to FM to shortwave to TV audio (which was amazing to me since TV didn’t exist yet when it was built).  Alas, Aunt Jean got the radio and Uncle Orris got the china cabinet.

I didn’t think about it for years – but one night Dad and I were talking about those Lite-Brite pegs and I mentioned how much I had wanted that radio.  The next day, he called Jean to tell her in case she ever decided to part with it – and found out that two days before she had pulled it out of the barn loft (seriously?) and donated it to her church rummage sale.  Oh, I was crushed – even considered trying to track down the buyer to see if I could get it back.  I didn’t – but to this day I still regret not voicing my interest sooner.

All of this brings me to Tuesday of this week, when Dad called to tell me that Orris and his wife Patty were downsizing and wanted to know if I was interested in the china cabinet.  They live about three miles from our mail center – I was there within an hour.  The cabinet was in a part of their house that I had never entered when I visited – but it looked exactly like it did the last time I had seen it 34 years ago.  During the process, I learned more about its history – it originally came from the Sears Roebuck catalog (in the days when you could order a house – and practically anything else – from Sears) and was assembled by my great-grandfather, who died before I was born.


Last night, I loaded it into our company truck and it came to my house – where it fit perfectly into a corner of the dining room.  It didn’t come with a red Lite-Brite peg, but I am thrilled after all these years to have a part of my grandparents’ heritage in my home.