Monday, February 8, 2016

Prayers for Our Friend . . . and Yours

I am home after a whirlwind weekend in Georgia and Florida.  And I will devote two or three posts over the next few days to everything we encountered.  But one thing I learned took my breath away and is so important that I want to share it in a post of its own.


A lot of you know Ellen from Tessler Stamps & Stencils – I took this picture last year after she caught a shoplifter at the show in Indianapolis.  Ellen is such a sweetheart and I love her dearly – and in the past few weeks her life has been turned upside down.

I stuck my head into the Friday Night Make & Take in Clearwater and another vendor said “Did you hear about Ellen?”  I knew that Ellen wasn’t in her usual spot at the show in Grapevine, Texas last month (her sister Cristina and Cristina’s husband Mickey were) but I didn’t think anything of it.  But I got bits and pieces of the story in Clearwater and then confirmed them with Cristina yesterday in Lawrenceville, Georgia.  And she gave me permission to share the story.

Ellen is fighting for her life – she suffered a brain aneurysm about the first of the year.  She spent quite a bit of time in intensive care and a portion of her skull waas removed to relieve the pressure – and it won’t be replaced for a couple more weeks.  Cristina told me that we almost lost Ellen a couple of times, but she is a fighter and wants to live.  And she will have to learn how do talk, walk and do almost everything we take for granted all over again.

And she will have to do it with a heavy heart – 20 days after the aneurysm, Ellen’s husband Brian died unexpectedly.  I don’t have a picture of Brian, but you may remember him as the guy in the cowboy hat running the cash register while Ellen demoed and tended to customers.

Ellen’s sisters (I think there are three of them) are looking out for her, and another vendor suggested that we pass the word so her friends and customers can shower her with prayers and cards of support.  What we’re looking for here are “Get Well Cards” – not the Sympathy variety.  Ellen is looking forward and needs our support as she fights to return to us.

Ellen Sedgwick
8814 Prichett Dr.
Houston, TX 77096


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Two Weeks Late(r) . . .

I did promise to share a few images from the Grapevine show a couple of weeks ago, but I have been so busy trying to get new items on our site and the time just slips away.  If you haven’t had a chance to take a look at my efforts, I encourage you to go to our website at and look at the new item banners – right after you finish reading this.

Since any pictures of little ones are almost always adorable and since I have several of those from Grapevine, here goes . . .

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We start our people young – Lucia McLaughlin was part of our setup crew in Grapevine when she was less than a year old, and she spent part of Saturday at our demo table putting a junior spin on Adult Coloring.  The irony in this is that Lucia now lives with her parents and two brothers only about three miles from our mail center in Ohio, yet I rarely see her except when she’s visiting her grandparents in Texas.


We do seem to attract the kids – I put this shot on our Facebook page and said something about Marco’s Paper and Daycare . . .

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But Lucia wasn’t always at the demo table.  See that billowing curtain to the right of our booth?  A peek around the corner gives you a view of the playhouse it became . . .


The adults got a kick out of coloring, too . . .


There were fun things going on all over the Grapevine Convention Center.  If you look very closely, you can see the customer-blown bubbles that were causing Dave Carlson from Heirloom Productions to recoil.


The highlight of my weekend was a drive to Waco (about 120 miles south of Dallas-Fort Worth) to meet with dear friends from my college days.  Dave Nelson was my roommate for two years at Miami – Laurie lived a floor above us in the dorm, so I was there to watch their relationship bloom and was in Cleveland to watch them get married 35+ years ago.  They have lived in Austin for many years, so Waco was the halfway point for a long overdue reunion with them and their son, Ricky.

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This is what greeted me the day after I got home – no, this is not Superstorm Jonas that pounded the east coast last weekend.  But it looked like it at times.  These pictures were taken from the same vantage point – and I took them five minutes apart.  I know I have already posted those snow pics, but they amazed me so much that I couldn’t resist sharing them again.


One last image – Sharon Lindquist-Skelley gave me a selection of dog treats for Zoe just before Christmas, and I promised her a picture when she “opened” her gift.  But we had so many treats that I put them in the freezer for a couple of weeks.  And I really thought I might be able to get Zoe to sit still for an instant while I snapped a picture.  You’ll note that most of her is in focus – but that head just couldn’t wait . . .

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The View Outside My Window . . .

I got home from the Grapevine, Texas show last night (more on that in a day or two).  Today, I am sitting in my sunroom at home, working on getting all of the new items from CHA on our website -- and there are lots of them.

Most of what I have been working on today and while I was gone are in two categories on our site (some are in both) . . .

For New Items from Ranger, click on this link

For New Items from Tim Holtz, click on this link

Neither of these categories is finished, so check back often to see more!

But it's hard to concentrate on all of this when the view outside changes every few minutes.


A few minutes ago, I looked outside the window and almost couldn't see the house next door.  The wind was whipping the snow sideways.


And then five minutes later, the same view looked like this. Only in Ohio . . .

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Sincere "Thank You" as 2015 Ends . . .

We appreciate each of you so much – I hope that’s obvious, but I still feel the need to say it.  You are so much more than mere customers – many of you have become friends over the years, even if we have never met in person.

I can’t count how many times this year I received an e-mail that started with “I don’t want to be a pest, but . . .”  And my response started with “You are not a pest – you are the reason I have a job.”

You are also the reason I get to travel – which I love – and the source of so much strength and support for my family (and our pets) as you share our milestones.

So for all of those reasons and more, Thank You.

I end the year by sharing an image that I encountered last night as I was finishing my New Year’s Eve baking . . .

This is Nala’s new favorite spot, no matter where we put it.  Last night, it happened to be in the living room.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Short, Sweet, and to the Point . . .

Something fun for the very end of 2015 and the very beginning of 2016 . . .

One Week Only -- Ends Monday, January 4

30% Off Almost Everything on Our Site and Free Shipping with a $50 Purchase -- online and phone orders only -- go to now!  Thanks!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

How to Draw a Crowd for the 1:00 Make & Take . . .

Today was the annual Marco’s Paper Carry-In Luncheon in our store – it’s held after the 9:00-11:00 Morning Free Make & Take Project and before the 1:00-3:00 Afternoon $1.00 Make & Take Project.  I didn’t get there until 12:30 so I can’t attest to the size of the morning gathering.

But there was still plenty of food left and several didn’t arrive until after I did.  But the business of the day continued – Pat Hobson was cutting paper for a customer, and as folks visited the dessert table they got to make a fuss over Marian Henrich’s eight-month-old granddaughter.

Out in the classroom, there was plenty of eating and visiting.  Terri has that “gotcha” look on her face because I was trying to avoid her in the other shot because she was scraping leftovers into a garbage can – but I swung my cell phone around and snapped off a quick second shot.

And by the time Judy Davidson started the afternoon make & take, all of the classroom seating was full and there were folks standing off to the side waiting their turn.  Back in the back, others were clearing off the serving tables – and Karen had already laid claim to the leftovers from the cheeseball I had sent up earlier in the morning.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Holiday Feeling of Distress . . .

Yesterday was so busy – we are just swamped with your orders from the Thanksgiving Weekend Sale (this is a very nice problem to have).  And then I spent quite a while yesterday working on something that I usually put on the blog as well – but I forgot.  So that feeling of distress has a double meaning . . .


The final Distress Color was announced on Friday -- no word whether this will continue in 2016 (stay tuned).  Candied Apple is the twelfth in this year's series, and you can order all six pieces at 20% off the MSRP with free shipping in the Continental U.S. (or individual pieces at MSRP) by clicking on this link.


Reminder -- the release of the final Monthly Distress Color means that the third set of four Minis is now complete and should arrive at the same time as the December color -- you can place your advance order now at 20% off the MSRP with free shipping in the Continental U.S.


For those of you who have held off on jumping on the monthly Distress bandwagon -- and for those who need a great gift -- we are offering full sets of all 12 monthly pads, pads and reinkers, markers, and even the whole set of six pieces for each month.  You can see all of them by clicking on this linkThey are all 20% Off the MSRP with Free Shipping in the Continental U.S.