Monday, May 15, 2017

Story Time . . .

I spent a large portion of the past week in Novi, Michigan for the 18th Annual Great Lakes Mega Meet.  Every time I turned around, I saw something that just demanded a picture and a story.  Didn’t have time to take all of the pictures or tell all of the stories, but here are some of the best, in a very “stream of consciousness” order . . .


I thought I would get one good story when I saw this mother teaching her daughter about Copic Markers in front of our display.  I was wrong – on two counts – the daughter was teaching her mother, and I got the first of four stories . . .

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I learned that Isabella (age 10) is a Copic expert – she has watched all of the YouTube videos and is making it her mission in life to collect all 180 colors of Copic Ciao Markers (which to me seems much more useful than collecting Pokemon).  We had so much fun while Isabella searched along with her mom, aunt, and grandma – and her personality just sparkles.


Ten minutes later, I found another mother/daughter tandem scouring the Copics.  I was sure that Elyse was about 16 – wrong again – she is 22 and just graduated from the University of Michigan.  Elyse and her mom went to Las Vegas for graduation – and she got carded on the casino floor because security thought she was underage.  I told her that she may be offended now, but she will love it when she is still getting carded on her 40th birthday.

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Another ten minutes passed, and I met Bree and her mom – Bree is eight and just starting to learn about Copics.  It was so much fun to watch all of these families interact and spend quality crafting time together in our booth.


Could I have one of every color, please?

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Anthony Gilbert from Anthony’s Paper Craft was again demoing in our booth – and he attracted customers of all ages.


We donated a couple of door prizes each day that the promoter announced on the loudspeaker.  This was the first winner – and she had three friends helping her to decide which colors she wanted from our sale cardstock shelves.

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The calm before the storm, just before the show opened on Thursday . . . once promoter Kate Griswold took pictures from way up on a ladder (maybe I need one that size for our giveaways?) and counted down the last few seconds, it was off to the races . . .


This nice lady came through my line on Thursday. As I was ringing up her purchases, she said "I have your love letter on my phone"... and I stopped short for a second... until I realized she was referring to our e-mail with the $2.00 off coupon. And then I laughed, as it has never been called that before... but that's really what it is... and describes so well how we feel about our customers and friends.


This is Shawn . . . I know this because two of her friends were trying to get her attention from next to my cash register Thursday (Shawn was in a long line in the next booth)... they kept calling "Shawn! Shawn!" but she didn't hear them. So I decided to help them out . . . my voice carries (imagine that) . . . one "Shawn!" from me and her head snapped up, with an immediate look that said "Why is this stranger calling my name?"  A few hours later, she won a prize in our giveaway... and of course I said "Shawn won a prize!"  Saw her again Friday morning . . . "Good morning Shawn!" . . . and took this pic.  Our customers are good sports . . .


A lot of you may feel this way – thankfully, you don’t let it stop you from keeping us employed . . .


Told this nice lady that I had never seen a "frontpack" before.  Anthony corrected me . . . not without a child in it.  She said she had been wearing it on her back, but every time she turned she swatted someone with it.  So it became a frontpack and less dangerous . . .


Doesn’t help much to have a concession line intended to get the vendors back to their customers quicker . . . if it’s closed . . .


The nice lady on the right rolled her eyes on Friday when I gave her a ticket to our giveaway, and proceeded to explain how unlucky she is at such things.  Once she was at a bowling banquet – there were 81 people there – there were 80 door prizes – and she was the one who walked out without a door prize.  Sure enough – Friday she didn’t win.  But Saturday was another story . . .


Baked before I left home last week, at the suggestion of Phil Krebs from Art Impressions – I shared some with Phil and Bonnie last fall in Tennessee, and two weeks ago in Akron, Phil asked me when I was going to make them again.  Since I needed something for Mother’s Day that would go in the freezer, I put half of them away and brought the rest to Michigan . . .

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Five views of the same delightful Michigan sunset, taken over a span of about 45 minutes during teardown on Saturday . . .


Rolled into my cul-de-sac about 1:00 on Sunday morning – just in time to catch a few hours of sleep and pick up Mom for church on Mother’s Day.  I actually took this shot last week to show Dad that we had arrived safely – Mom broke her foot two days before they came home from Arizona and was just learning how to get around on her scooter.  Those things are so much better than crutches . . .

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Finally, two shots from our family Mother’s Day gathering – proving that grandparenthood and great-grandparenthood look good on my brother and our parents . . .

Thursday, May 4, 2017

More New Goodies . . .

Some of you have been waiting for me to get my act together on these for a week.  Thanks for the reminders – the Akron show was hectic, getting ready for MegaMeet in Detroit next weekend is hectic, and in-between I sometimes even do stuff at home.  But finally . . .


Seven New Framelits Die Sets from Sizzix are headed this way in June.  Two of them (Flutter and Flower Jar) match corresponding Stampers Anonymous Cling Mount Sets.  The rest are sets of Stitched Circles and Stitched Squares, two sets of Alphanumerics, and the fourth in the Mixed Media series.

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Click on the graphics to see the sets individually, or click on this link to see all of them at once.  As usual, advance orders are 20% off the MSRP with free shipping in the contiguous U.S. until the first shipment of each item arrives.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

They Grow Up So Fast (and Other Akron Sightings) . . .

Twenty years.  That’s how long we have been attending Adventures in Stamping in Northeast Ohio – first at the Holiday Inn in Independence until the show outgrew it, and since 2002 at the Knight Center in Akron.  This show was Bill Petal’s dream, and became his legacy – Bill died in 2002, just a month or two before the show was first held in the Knight Center.  Bill’s wife Cindy and his best friend Fred Barbetti (along with Chris and Nora, Don and Eileen, and the rest of Bill’s firefighter buddies) have turned it into one of the best shows in the country.

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This caricature of Bill Petal is still on the back cover of the program every year – a customer was looking at it on Saturday, just as Bill’s son John walked past our booth.  And, in an instant, I realized that a little boy who lost his dad way too soon has become the spitting image of his father.  I looked for him later in the day so I could take his picture, but he was already gone – so I swiped this from his Facebook page.


Here’s another one who is all grown up – Jillian Vance is graduating from high school this year (she has already finished two years of college).  I walked by their booth while she was near this sign.  She is another of the kids who have grown up on the show circuit.

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Here are two images from the Knight Center that you will never see.  The “porter” vest is on the back of a cart used during setup and teardown – and because of it, I couldn’t get the theme from “My Mother the Car” out of my head.  For those of you who are not well-versed in really bad ‘60s television, My Mother the Car was a 1928 Porter.  And where else will you find a pay phone and a Bat Phone side-by-side?  Yes, I realize that the actual Bat Phone didn’t have push buttons . . .


In our booth, Anthony Gilbert made his first appearance at our demo table.  I learned very quickly that in Northeast Ohio, everyone knows Anthony – and that is probably one of the reasons why our booth rocked all weekend.

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Also seen at our demo table – this young lady is the future of crafting (and our hope of continued employment).  Talent and missing front teeth make an adorable combination . . .

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

All Prayer Warriors on Deck . . .

There is a special place in my heart for all of you who have loved my family over the years.  You lifted my mom’s spirits when she was battling cancer, shared the joy of my son’s wedding – and yes, even enjoyed the humor of my dog’s run for president.  Many of you have become so much more than customers – you have become friends.


Patty Hays is one of you.  She and I first became acquainted years ago when she e-mailed to see if I would bring a care package to a show in Indianapolis.  Then I noticed that she lives in Nashville, Indiana – the home of Brown County State Park, a lovely area where we camped when I was a kid.  That began conversations that have continued to this day.  Patty almost always sends me a cheerful note when I post something about my family on the blog.

I received an e-mail from her last Saturday – as usual, it started with a comment about a blog post with my old medical records from 1959.  But then the tone changed – last week, Patty was diagnosed with terminal inoperable cancer which has spread through most of the organs from the base of her skull to her pelvis.  She started chemo last week, but the doctors tell her that even with that, she probably has less than a year.

And if that’s not enough, her husband Jim has been in and out of the hospital since shortly after Thanksgiving, and spent some time on life support and dialysis.  He is home now, but not completely out of the woods – and yet he wants to take care of his wife.

Patty and Jim have a strong support system from their church and friends, and they believe in the power of prayer and a healing touch that goes far beyond modern medicine.  So do I.  If you feel the same, please include them in your prayers, and by all means send a note of encouragement to them at


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Celebrating a Life Well-Lived . . .

For the locals . . . we have a heavy heart today.


Our friend and matriarch Judy Davidson finished a nearly 20-year battle with cancer yesterday evening. If you have ever been in our store, you surely have met Judy -- she truly was the spice that added flavor to Marco's Paper.

Visitation will be Sunday, April 30 from 2:00-5:00 at Westbrock Funeral Home, 5980 Bigger Road, Kettering.  Funeral will be Monday, May 1 at 10:30 at St. Charles Borromeo, 4500 Ackerman Blvd., Kettering.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Catching Up . . .

I have been essentially off the grid for the past 2 1/2 weeks.  Would love to be able to show you some fascinating thing that I have accomplished during that “down time” – unfortunately, I have merely been sick.  An icky chest and throat doesn’t sound like much – but for me, “sick” usually lasts for a couple of days and barely slows me down.  This time, I missed 2 1/2 days of work (which hasn’t happened in at least 30 years) and had next to no energy for the next ten.  Finally, I am approaching human again – with a very random array of tidbits to share with you . . .


Spring has arrived in Ohio – this from the dogwood in my backyard last weekend.  My white dogwood is really pretty, too – but the pink one is amazing.


The pipeline for Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Ink Pads has finally reopened – the handful of orders including them that have not shipped are because we are waiting for something else to arrive.  Should have plenty of them in our booth at Adventures in Stamping in Akron next weekend!

And here’s an update on the Tim Holtz Stamp Platform, which was originally supposed to arrive this month – Tonic Studios (the manufacturer) announced last Tuesday that the launch has been delayed until early June.  We will ship advance orders in the order they were received as soon as the platform arrives here.

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These pics are actually related.  While I was sick, I went to the doctor – and was informed that the practice is closing next month.  For the first time in my life, I am going to have to look for a new one, so I asked for my records.  The last nine years or so are computerized, but I picked up the rest – starting with my first visit (aged six months) on April 4, 1959.

This "calendar block" is my souvenir from the practice – it has been at the receptionist's desk for the past 25 years. The date was a day off when I went in last week, and as I corrected it, I was reminded of my son. When Ryan was little, he always checked it when we went to the doctor, and if the date was wrong he would update it. It got to the point where the receptionist and nurses would mess it up on purpose so that Ryan could correct it as we checked out.  It's a silly little thing that has no value -- but to us, it is priceless.


Made sour cream drops one evening when I had a bit of energy – actually mixed the batter and baked a couple of sheets one evening, then baked the rest four days later.  Discovered for the first time that these things are amazing straight out of the freezer.

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Emily stopped by the mail center yesterday so I could help her install a new tube on her bike tire.  Zoe was much happier then than she was this morning after I helped with her spring shedding . . .

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What I do with your change at shows – my nephew Conner collects coins, so any of the older ones that I discover eventually find their way to him.


For the locals – a week of Faber-Castell fun next week in our store, leading up an appearance by Jennifer Spoden from Faber-Castell Design Memory Craft and the beginning of the Spring Spectacular (Friday, April 28 through Saturday, May 6).  Here’s a link to a page on our site with all kinds of fun that’s in store for you at Marco’s over the next couple of weeks.