Thursday, June 21, 2018

Once in a Great While . . .

It is rare, but every now and then we have a “cardstock party” and put all of it on sale.  And the first hot weekend of summer seems like a good time – so . . .


Yep – 25% Off All Marco’s Cardstocks through Sunday, June 24!  There is very little fine print – retail only, online only, previous purchases not included – so save a little computer time for us this weekend!


I planted a tree in my side yard last fall – noticed while mowing last week that a nest had been strategically placed in the only place that could support it.  I almost missed it, and it was above my line of sight so I had to use a periscope (my cell phone) to see what was inside.  Looks like we’ll have new life on our block soon . . .

Monday, June 18, 2018

Height Adjustment . . .

I love working with Sally Lynn MacDonald from Gel Press.  She is friendly and talented – and she knows everyone.  She also wears the colors that she demos with on her hands.


And Sally Lynn likes to demo while standing, which is not easy on her back because she was blessed with height.  So when she mentioned at the end of the first day in Syracuse a few weeks ago that her back was barking at her, I knew where I was heading after getting a bite to eat.

Even when I am on the road, I try to get my home improvement items at Lowe’s so I can support the company that employs my son.  It took about 20 minutes in the plumbing department before I found what I thought would do the trick.  I made sure to get to the show early on Sunday and surprised her when she arrived.

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She was very happy . . .

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Even Dee took it for a spin, though from this angle you can’t tell that one table is taller than the other.

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Those “legs” came in handy two weeks later in West Springfield.  They will probably be seen next in Cincinnati when Sally Lynn comes to town for Stampaway – and for an appearance in our store.

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This may be the last time we see the Syracuse show from this angle – Onondaga Community College moved its graduation to “our” weekend next year so the show will be held on the same weekend at a different location a few miles away.  Steve and Michelle have not announced the location yet, so I will leave that to them when they are ready.


One other Syracuse view that I wanted to share – some of the workers from the college were bringing tables back to the building, and I thought their choice of “fork lift” was interesting . . .

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Some Family Members You Get to Choose . . .

I have said many times over the years that one of the best perks of my travels is the friendships I have made.  But some of them go way beyond friendships – they become family.  And there is something special about family that you get to choose . . .

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And something special when you get to spend quality time with them.  Cal and Dee Ruger and Melinda Doster and I spent a special evening after the first day of the West Springfield, Massachusetts show a couple of weekends ago.  Sam Solis from Stamp on It told us about a restaurant he found at the edge of town – and with Cal’s love of all things automotive, we had to check it out.  How cool – along with lots of pictures and logos and such, some of the seats were carved out of the front or back or old cars.

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I knew when we walked into Classic Burgers that I was going to enjoy it – the old-style gas pump measured gallons rather than dollars, and was the type my dad used when he worked at a gas station years ago.  He said when a customer drove up and simply said “five,” he would have to ask them if they meant five gallons or five dollars.

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After that, we all drove (three vehicles) 15 miles or so for dessert – no trip to this area is complete without some peppermint stick ice cream from Dairy Creme near the Hartford Airport.  Dee started out with a single dip – and then sent Cal back for seconds.


I got both of my dips at once.

I just noticed that I typed “dips” – it’s a midwestern thing, like saying “pop” instead of “soda.”  I remember years ago I went to the window at Dairy Creme and asked for “two dips of peppermint in a cup” – and the girl taking my order looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.  She asked me to repeat it – I did – she gave me the same look – and her manager leaned in behind her and said “he wants two scoops” – then looked at me and said “I’m from Chicago – we say dips there, too.”

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The other neat thing about Dairy Creme is the train car on its side behind it.  No idea why – it was there the first time I came here 15 or so years ago.

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This is another thing I tell friends at home about my yearly trip here – the cottonwood seeds pile up like snow next to the curbs and sidewalks.  I drove into “cottonwood flurries” a few times along the New York Thruway.


Those flurries made it inside the fairgrounds building during setup, too.


Something else I saw along the New York Thruway while I was putting diesel fuel in the truck – Chucky and Jonathan from Gary Burlin were in the truck in front of that black trailer . . .

I saw a few things at the show, too . . .

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More young’uns in the booth – I’m seeing them at every show.  And they are creative . . .

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Still on “T-Shirt Watch” . . . and Nancy Knies paid her usual homage to Darlene, Picasso, and Fred.


The “Lunch Bunch” had to set up near the concession stand because the booths were closer to the front door than usual (because Chucky unloaded the Gary Burlin booth the day before so he could fly home for his son’s high school graduation, and put everything inside the booth map).


This was really fun – all four of these nice folks have been coming to the show as long as we have been coming to the Big E (that would be 19 years) – and they all won prizes in the giveaway on Saturday.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Another Ice Cream Story . . .

June 11, 1982 -- Mom's first suggestion for the rehearsal dinner was the Golden Lamb (Ohio’s Oldest Inn – you can look it up) -- I don't think she had even finished "Golden" before I said "I don't do dinner -- I do ice cream!" 


So we had the rehearsal dinner at my kind of place -- the Village Ice Cream Parlor in Lebanon, Ohio.  It was featured in the movie “Harper Valley PTA” in 1978 – a lot of that movie was filmed in Lebanon.

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After dinner, the owner let us go behind the counter and make our own sundaes -- mine was a marshmallow sundae with chocolate ice cream and whipped cream, no nuts or cherry.  These are two of my favorite pictures of the occasion. 

The picture at left is an example of the ties that bind in a small town.  Dave Stubbs (left) and I grew up together – our parents used to double-date back in the 50s and he and I used to double-date in the 70s – he is now the mayor of our hometown and four years ago he officiated at Ryan and Emily’s wedding.  Dave’s wife, Joy, was eight months pregnant when this picture was taken – I have teased their daughter all her life that she was present at my wedding (Ashley, her husband, and three children now live three doors down the street from me).  And of course, my brother (right) has been present at every meaningful event in my life since I was eight years old.

The picture at right is my favorite shot of my grandpa and me – it combines our love for each other and our love of ice cream.  I recreated it 16 years later at my 40th birthday party – which was also held at an ice cream parlor.  He is the reason that I love to make homemade ice cream – I spent practically every summer Sunday evening eating it on his front porch.


Yesterday, Carla and I went back to the Village Ice Cream Parlor -- 36 years later -- same table in the corner -- same sundae -- but with the lighting we had to take the picture from a different angle.  Carla usually prefers that her picture not be a part of this blog, and I have honored that over the years – but she told me last night that I could use this one if I wanted.  So I did . . .

Monday, June 11, 2018

A Young Lady of Many Talents . . .

Three shows in four weeks have left me with several stories to tell.  I started with the ice cream story yesterday – the first one today has to do with golf and gel plates . . .

Beth Wilkinson has helped me in our booth in Collinsville, Illinois (near St. Louis) for a long time when her schedule has allowed it – she even traveled to a couple of shows to help out when Sue Rothamel from USArtQuest was on the road with us a few years back.  I have been keeping up with her 12-year-old daughter Grace’s successes on the golf course, and as Beth and I were making plans for the two of them to work in our booth this weekend, I knew that there was a possiblity that Grace might have a tournament on Saturday morning.

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Sure enough, Grace had an 8:00 tee time – won the tournament (!) – and by 11:30 was sitting with her mom at our demo table teaching customers how to make backgrounds with Gel Press and Distress Oxide Ink Pads.  Found out later in the day that the PGA tournament is being held near St. Louis this year – and a few days after Grace will be playing a match on that championship course.  I am more than a little envious . . .

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During the morning hours, I had set up the demo tables – so ended up with several “guest demo artists” who helped themselves.  And you’ll notice that the last two stuck around while Grace was getting settled and watched her version as well.


On Sunday, we started the day by dispensing with the leftover ice cream from the vendor gathering the night before . . .

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Later in the day, Grace asked me if she could draw the winning tickets for the giveaway.  So I told her, “Yes, you can be Vanna White” – and then had to explain to her who Vanna White is . . .


This weekend also marked a reunion of sorts – I have known Kim Schallenberg and Cindy Chilton for years (yes, they are sisters), but have never seen them in the same place.  So once a year in Collinsville (Kim), and twice a year in Florida (Cindy), I kid one of them about finally making a trip to go to a show with the other.  And it finally happened.  In three weeks, I will see Cindy again in Florida – along with their other sister Patti and niece Andrea.  And one of these days, I will probably be surprised to see Kim there, too.

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Cindy bringing treats for Zoe was not a big surprise – that happens all the time.  But another customer bringing treats for me was definitely a surprise – and she even inscribed the wrappers.


Rick Holland from Our Daily Bread Designs sent this St. Louis Cardinals superfan over to our booth to rub it in – it’s not easy being a Cincinnati Reds’ fan these days . . .


Every year, this guy wears a different message on his chest . . .

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Our friend Jane Steiger won the grand prize at the end of the day on Saturday.  On Sunday, she won one a bit smaller in our giveaway.  Needless to say, she was thrilled on both occasions . . .