Monday, January 26, 2015

Holiday Monday . . . With a Retro Twist

I have promised pics from the family holiday gatherings – hopefully, I’ll get to that this weekend.  But I’ll share a couple today because they fit in with a story that I have been trying to figure out a way to tell properly.

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This is from our annual Christmas Cookie Night back in December.  Ryan and Emily were not present – they were not feeling well and we still don’t take chances around Mom, even though it has been nearly three years since her chemo ended.  My dad realized that afternoon that everyone who would be in attendance had a connection, either as a graduate or a current student,  to Miami University (that would be the real Miami, in Oxford, OH – founded in 1809 – where they sell a t-shirt that states “Miami was a university when Florida still belonged to Spain.”).  So he suggested that we all wear appropriate garb.

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And this was from Christmas Eve Eve – where I was finally promoted to a small corner of the patriarch/matriarch bench.  I suppose this also translates to “I’m getting old.”

Sharp eyes will notice two people in these pictures who have not been seen in these posts before.  One is my nephew Tyler’s girlfriend, Jordan.  The other is my wife of nearly 33 years, Carla.  Yes, he said “wife” – which answers a question that more than one has asked over the years.  Here is the explanation – when I started this blog six years ago, and it quickly became obvious that posts about my family were going to be part of it, Carla specifically requested that she not be included. 

And I have honored that request.  It was hard when Ryan and Emily got married – I had to pick and choose which pictures I shared with you, and even then Carla appeared, uncredited,  in one of the pics from the rehearsal dinner.  We didn’t get the formal wedding photos until early December – when she realized that I would want to share some that would include her and gave her permission for a limited release (and I will do that at some point).  Same with the Christmas pictures.

All of this is a prelude for a trip into the Wayback Machine . . .

Like today, January 26, 1976 was a Monday.  In those days at my high school, fourth period was the lunch period and was broken into three 25-minute segments — you ate during one and went to class the other two.  I ate during “first lunch” at 10:30 and then went to Government class.  About 11:45, I told the teacher that I needed to go talk to my mom in the administration building and left class.  I headed to the cafeteria instead, heart pounding, trying to get my nerve up.  And failing — 20 feet from the door, I decided to walk right past and head back to class.  Then Carla walked out of the cafeteria — suddenly we were somehow alone in a usually-crowded hallway.  It took only seconds — I asked her to go to the basketball game that Friday night and to a restaurant afterward and she said yes. 

Amazing how life changes in an instant . . .

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Masses Have Spoken . . .

One thing I truly love about putting a question on this blog asking for your opinion . . . is the response!  We learn so much from our customers, and it really means a lot when you take the time to let us know what you think.

Such was the case a few days ago when I asked about the new Tim Holtz Distress Color of the Month . . .

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The majority of you – at least 75% – want to see each month’s color before deciding if it fits into your own personal color scheme.  And that leaves almost 1/4 of you who want all 12 of them and would like to get it out of the way now so you don’t have to think about it each month.

So here’s what we have decided to do . . . and hopefully it will make everyone happy.

I have created an “item” on our site for each Distress Color of the Month – you’ll find all of them by clicking this link.  Of course, right now only one of those 12 has a color attached – but another will be updated each month once the color is announced.  You’ll be able to order single items (ink pad, reinker, paint, stain, spray stain or marker) at the MSRP – or all six for 20% Off the MSRP – and either way, we’ll ship them free in the Continental U.S.

For those of you who want all of them sight unseen, you have two options – you can place your order online for a single month or all twelve (again, single items at MSRP or all six at 20% Off).  If you place the order online, you’ll pay for everything at once and be done with it.  The other option is to place your order by phone at 1-888-433-5239 (wait until Monday – we aren’t there now), tell us what you want each month (single items or all six), and then we’ll charge your card for each month’s items as they ship.

I hope this makes sense – it was confusing me as I typed it but I’m really trying to provide every possible option.

One last thought – which I think will answer a question that at least a few of you might ask.  I considered setting up one bulk item so you could order the whole year at once – but many of you have already ordered the January color and I decided it would get confusing.  So I listed each month individually.

Now, I need to get back to work – there are lots of new releases that I’m still discovering.  And thanks to those of you who have been letting us know what they are!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Question . . . And a Picture I Thought I Would Never See

The question first – concerning the release of a new Distress color each month this year . . .

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Most of you already know about this – Tim Holtz and Ranger are unveiling a new Distress color each month (January’s was Cracked Pistachio), in Ink Pads, Reinkers, Paint, Stain, Spray Stain, and Marker.  I have received requests from a couple of customers that I set up something on our site to allow them to order each color for the year – sight unseen.  I assumed you would want to know the color before you ordered it each month – was I wrong?  Please take a minute and hit the “reply” button if you’re getting this via e-mail – or put a comment at the bottom of this post if you aren’t (or if that’s easier for you).  Thanks!

And the picture I thought I would never see . . .

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This is Karen – this morning – actually sitting at a table in the classroom doing the Wednesday Make & Take in our store.  Who woulda thunk it?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I Know . . . It Has Been a Month . . . Have You Missed Me?

A month.  I have never gone a month without posting on this blog.  But I have never had a month like the past one.  It all started the day after Thanksgiving when Gary’s wife Peggy had an auto accident.  It could have been so much worse, especially considering the life squad had to cut her out of the car – but when one foot is broken and the other knee is messed up, it’s nearly impossible to get around.  So Gary has spent a lot of time at home playing caregiver, and everyone else has been running ragged to help pick up the slack.  Somehow, filling your orders and trying to enjoy the holidays seemed more important.  But now it’s time to catch up – a little at a time.

First things first.  CHA was last weekend and there are hundreds of new items on our site – and lots more to come.  You’ll find a few banners on our homepage . . .

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Click on any of them and you’ll learn a lot.  There are also new tools and platforms from Sizzix, along with 12 new Stickles colors.

I'm still working on adding new items from Ranger, We R Memory Keepers, and more -- but there are so many more new items out there.  Some we're thinking about (and frankly aren't sure whether you would like them or not) -- and others we simply don't know about yet.  This is where you come in --what is new and exciting that you simply must have?  Just hit the "reply" button and let us know!

Some of you wondered, since I was in Dallas-Fort Worth last weekend for a show in Grapevine with my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes playing for the National Championship less than 20 miles away . . . no, I didn’t go to the game.  The “cheapest” ticket I could get was $370 and that was just too much for my tastes.  Nikki from Heirloom Productions suggested that I put a “tip jar” in the booth with a sign that said “Send Greg to the Game” (she even donated $6 to the cause) – but there was no tip jar and I returned her donation the next day.  But since the promoters hail from Oregon, a shrine in my booth was too much to resist . . .

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But I got home in time to watch the game on TV – and when it was over, I rolled over and went to sleep.  Yes, I regret it a bit now and I know it was “once in a lifetime” – but I can’t change who I am.  And “practical” is who I am . . .

I’ll share some holiday pics from our family gatherings in the next few days, when I get a break from adding more and more new stuff to our site . . .

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

We Do More Than Just Crafting in Our Classroom . . .

Two or three times a week, we have these Free Make & Take Projects in the classroom of our retail store – and they draw quite a crowd.  But two or three times a year, we have carry-ins – and they draw quite a crowd.  Today was one of those days . . .

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I had a couple of appointments through the noon hour, so I passed through just as the food was being laid out on tables in the back room.  Apparently the main course had not yet arrived, so folks gathered in the classroom as they waited for the gong to be sounded.

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This was the crowd just as I arrived – by the time I left, there were twice as many in attendance, and small tables were being set up in strange places to accommodate the overflow.  Or as I put it – places to sit if you misbehaved . . .

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I did notice that the only male in attendance got a spot very near the serving tables so that he could go to the head of the class once everything was ready . . .

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Burning the Midnight Oil . . .

Four or five years ago, on a whim or a hunch we decided to try a Thanksgiving Weekend Sale and were overwhelmed by your response.  So we did it again . . . and again . . . and again . . . and by now I think some of you have gotten the idea that we’re going to do it every year.  So we were pretty sure that it was going to be a busy couple of weeks.  We had no idea . . .

And so it was that my supervisor and I arrived at our store shortly after 6:00 on Friday evening to gather materials needed to fill your orders. It’s hard to stay on task during the work day – something else needs my attention, the phone rings, a customer has a question . . . you get the idea.  In the evening, it’s quiet and uninterrupted – I didn’t even have a ballgame on the radio to distract me.

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The supervisor checked on me every now and then as I matched items with orders, and boxes started filling so that I could take everything back to the mail center – where today I am going through them again to see which orders are ready to ship and which need an item or two that we need to order.

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Unlike me, the supervisor occasionally got distracted . . .

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Eventually, six boxes and Zoe were ready to leave.  I loaded all of them into my truck and went back to turn out the lights.

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And took one last glance at the clock on my way out the door . . .

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

They Were All Winners . . .

For the past several years, we have had a “Coupon Contest” in the store starting the day after Thanksgiving – for two days, customers could get 30% off in-stock items by making their own coupon.  And we promised prizes for the most artistic entries – on top of that 30% off they got for creating the card in the first place.  This year, the response was so good on Friday and Saturday that Karen and Gary decided to let it spill over to Monday.  Last Monday afternoon, I took a picture of the “entry board” . . .

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Tuesday afternoon, Karen sat down to judge the entries – and decided she couldn’t do it.  She knew who had created most of the entries, and wanted someone completely impartial to select the winners.  So she recruited the owner of the beauty shop next to Marco’s Too, and these were the winning entries . . .

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First place was a tie between Linda Pritchett and Judy Schneider.

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Second place went to Sarah Caudill, and third place went to Judy Smith.  Thanks to all who participated.

I did miss one small detail – I have no idea what you won.  But I’m sure Karen will be in contact with you soon . . .