Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Family Memories . . .

Last Thursday, I had another of those “I’ll remember it for a lifetime” days.  Hocking Hills State Park in South Central Ohio has always been special to me – my dad took me camping there shortly after my brother Blake was born in 1966 (one of those “he’s gonna get most of the attention but you’re still special” events) and I still have fond memories.  It’s about two hours from home, and I have gone back for a visit every five or ten years since.  But not like this . . .


Many of you have seen pictures from the Arizona hikes I have taken with my dad and my brother.  But this time we planned ahead so we could take along our sons as well.  Left to right: me, my son Ryan, Dad, Blake’s son Conner, and Blake.  Blake’s son Tyler was supposed to be there, too – but the band director at Springboro scheduled a freshman orientation at the last minute and Tyler is a section leader.

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We left home at 4:30 in the morning and were there and on the trails by shortly after sunrise.  Made for some really pretty shots as the morning sun came through the trees.

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Hocking Hills is actually a series of six or seven parks within a few miles of each other, so even though we hiked more than ten miles, they were all short hikes and ended up back at the car where the food was!

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Between us, Blake and I probably took nearly 250 pictures.  Some of the best were when one of us got a long distance view of what the other was seeing close up . . .

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Or the view from the bottom of those with the guts to climb the fire tower – and the view from the top of the wimp who didn’t . . .


We seem to always find a warning sign that is worth a shot or two . . .

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Dad really enjoyed getting to spend quality time with his grandsons doing something he loves.

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Ryan and Conner enjoyed playing with the old pumps.  I can remember when there was one of these at every Ohio rest area – I loved them, too.

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Conner loves the natural “balance beam” – Ryan loves hanging on signs . . .

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Of course, tight spaces are always inviting . . .

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Mostly, we just enjoyed walking, exploring, and spending quality time together.  I could post a hundred more pictures, but you get the idea.  It was a great day . . .

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Newspaper Came in the Mail Today . . .

I got home from the Grapevine show yesterday evening after a long day of driving. Didn’t even bother to take the truck to the mail center, just parked it at the house and took it in this morning.

There was a surprise when I walked inside the building – a small Priority Mail box sitting on my desk, addressed to me. I moved closer so I could read the return address – it was from Darlene Clark. My first thought was “It’s too small to be a newspaper.”

(If this doesn't make sense to you, go back and read one of my blog posts from last June -- http://marcopaper.blogspot.com/2009/06/random-act-of-kindness-by-guardian.html)

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But I was wrong – it was a newspaper, printed on the back of a t-shirt. Darlene has become quite good at surprising me with random newspapers – after the original act of kindness in Orlando last year, she left one at the front desk for me in Greenville, SC in September. But this is the topper, and absolutely made my day!


I had planned to mow the grass this afternoon, but I think it can wait for a while. Thanks, Darlene!

(and thanks to my son, Ryan, for snapping the pictures before he left for work)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fun in Grapevine and a Class Reunion “Texas Style”

After torturing many (at least that’s what I kept hearing) with several days of looks at what we’ll be doing in our store during the Stamping Gala next month, it was time to cut you a break. So I headed for Grapevine, Texas and Karen & David headed for Syracuse, New York. Haven’t heard anything from Syracuse, but I assume you’re having as much fun up there as we are here.

Our booth in Grapevine has been on the “stage” for several years. Good thing – when I pulled in Friday morning, the promoters weren’t there yet. They were a little startled when they showed up nearly an hour later and found us already hard at work!

We have had the same group of helpers in Grapevine for a long time – Jane, Ann, Margo, Natalie and Suzanne know what they’re doing and setup is always very smooth. Jane, Ann and Margo are sisters, and Natalie is Jane’s daughter-in-law -- she and her husband are missionaries for Athletes in Action and will be heading to Mexico on a new assignment next month. Suzanne is a teacher, and her students would be pleased to know she takes directions as well as she gives them. This time, we had a couple of extra helpers as well . . .

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Jane’s grandchildren Jenny and Devon were visiting from Colorado and jumped right in. Jenny had a hand in everything, and even helped me bag customers’ purchases on Saturday morning. Devon’s task was to hang the molds from Ten Seconds Studio – we assumed that a good bit of “adjustment” would be required later, but we actually moved very little.


We always need scissors, and can never find them. Suzanne solved that problem . . .

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Since Sue Rothamel had other duties in Michigan this weekend, her January “Girl Friday” Jessica took her place at the USArtQuest demo table. I couldn’t resist taking a shot when I realized that Jessica’s parents appear to have lost the “don’t wipe your hands on your pants” child-rearing challenge . . .


Suzanne took on the role of “Girl Friday” . . .

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This was the only picture I had time to get at the front demo table – Ann was doing a Make It/Take It with the “Tweety Jill” products. Words do not describe the job she did – but the empty spots on the gridwall that were very full on Saturday morning tell the story. I tried to get a shot of all three sisters at the table, but Jane got up and scooted as soon as she saw me raise my cell phone!

You may remember that when I was here in January, I rekindled a friendship with Becki Begley – we grew up as adversaries (more or less) in Ohio and “grew up” again in our 50s. For six months, I have looked forward to seeing Becki and her husband again. Often, when you look forward to something for six months, it’s really hard for it to live up to expectations. But not this time . . .


A couple of weeks ago, I sent Becki a text and asked if they wanted me to bring along anything that can only be found in Ohio. Five minutes later, I got the shopping list – Montgomery Inn barbeque sauce, Skyline Chili seasoning mix, and Mike-Sells potato chips. Thank goodness she didn’t ask for Esther Price Candies – they wouldn’t have traveled well in 100-degree heat.

Early this week, I got another text from Becki with a special treat. Our classmate Devela and her husband Brett have also recently moved to the Fort Worth area, and were joining us for a cookout on Friday evening. Growing up, Devela and I got along just about as well as Becki and I didn’t.

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I won’t bore you with a bunch of pictures of people you don’t know – suffice to say we had a wonderful evening. The husbands were very patient while we told stories of our childhood, and even joined in with stories of their own once we moved on to adulthood again. Becki’s daughter Rhiannon was also there and tolerated us well.

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The star of the show was probably Becki & Bill’s dog Jake. He kept us entertained all evening – and we found out that he really likes my homemade ice cream!

Once again, it was a great evening and I can’t wait to come back again in January.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stamping Gala Tease – Final Day

The day after the Cincinnati Convention is always a big day in our store – lots of the out-of-towners want something to do before they head home, and even the locals need something to help with the withdrawal after a full day of frenzy at the Sharonville Convention Center.  So we plan accordingly . . .

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10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Free Hands-On Demo with Libby Friel (Embossing on Metal)
Join Libby and learn to create or fine tune your skills with Metal Art. Using rubber stamps and stencils, you will be amazed at the different images you can create using Ten Seconds’ metal effects tools!  Libby’s method is a little different than Cheryl Darrow’s (Ten Seconds Studio), so stop by and discover another method of creating Metal Art!

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12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Free MITI with Connie Vogt (Color Dusting)
Music Mosaic Card:  Learn to make a colorful background using Eclipse tape, color dusters and dye ink pads – it will make the perfect foundation for your favorite verse.

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2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Halloween Fun in Wonderland – Spooky Tag Collection with “Tweety Jill” Haglund from TJ Designs ($18)

BE the FIRST TO COME PLAY AND CREATE with the NEW Graphic 45 and Brand NEW stamp collections from TJ Designs!!!  Jill and her daughter, Lindsay visit Marcos, to help you create a Halloween Tag Collection. They will combine Graphic 45 NEW “Halloween in Wonderland” papers with TJ Designs TWO BRAND BRAND NEW TJ DESIGNS RUBBER STAMP SETS (Wonderland Silhouettes and Through the Looking Glass), combined with the six original Alice in Wonderland Stamp Series for fun, fabulous and SPOOKY Stamped up Halloween Tags -- one for every friend!  Lots of fun!  Embellished with charms, fabric, images, papers and tags!  A class to die for....... R.I.P.!  Sign up at www.marcopaper.com or in the store.

Here’s a reminder of our special store hours during the Stamping Gala:

Monday, August 9 – 8:30 – 7:00
Tuesday, August 10 – 8:30 – 8:00
Wednesday, August 11 – 8:30 – 7:00
Thursday, August 12 – 8:30 – 7:00
Friday, August 13 – 8:30 – 6:00
Saturday, August 14 – 9:00 – 7:00
Sunday, August 15 – 10:00 – 6:00

Surely the past six days have been enough to whet your appetite!  For those of you who can, now your job is to get here! 

Of course, we’ll have our usual booth at the convention, but in a different location – look for us against the far right wall as you enter the upper floor of the Sharonville Convention Center!

Now, I’m off to Grapevine, Texas, and Karen and David are off to Syracuse, New York – we’re doing two shows this weekend!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stamping Gala Tease – Days Five & Six

Today, you get two for the price of none – the Stamping Gala calendar is a little quieter on Friday and Saturday since many will be busy getting their costumes ready for the Friday Night Preview Party or the Cincinnati Convention on Saturday (both at the Sharonville Convention Center, just 40 minutes from our store.  But some of this stuff is so good it’s just scary . . .

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9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Friday, August 13
-- OR -- 
1:30 – 6:30 p.m. Saturday, August 14
Don’t Overthink the Ink, My Creative Journey with Donna Weibel ($50)
Too late to sign up for the Tim Holtz classes at the convention? We have just the class for you! Donna designed this very creative book using many of Tim’s exciting stamps, inks, products and design techniques that she learned from him at Creative Escape. This journal will document your “creative journey” featuring your works of art. The book is 4 1/2” x 7 1/2” and has 36 journal/photo spots with pocket pages and tags in each pocket. It will be a fast-paced class, so come prepared to work!  Sign up at www.marcopaper.com or in the store.

(Editorial Comment – I have seen this class because Donna did it twice in our store earlier this year.  It is too cool for words.  Donna has taken what she learned during two trips to see Tim Holtz at Creative Escape in Arizona and turned it into some amazing classes.)

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12:00 – 3:00 p.m. Friday, August 13
Free Hands-On Demo with Libby Friel (Embossing on Vellum)
Libby creates beautiful works of art with embossed vellum. Join her and get hands-on experience learning the techniques she is known for!

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Saturday, August 14
Free Demo with Libby Friel (Stamping 101 – Back to the Basics)
If you’re new to stamping, this is a great chance to learn the basics from someone who knows.  And if you’re planning to go to the convention for the first time, you might want to come here first so you’ll understand better what’s going on when you get there!


10:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Free Demo with Peggy Gould (Cosmic Copics)
Peggy’s spending the morning with us before she comes down to the convention – stop by and see what you can do with Copic markers!

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10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Free MITI with Lou Ann Ewing (Liquid Pearls & Plastic Wrap)
I had to type that when I saw it and I’m not completely sure I know what it means!  All I know for sure is that it’s a Faux Pearl technique using Liquid Pearls – and if Lou Ann’s doing it, it will be worth your time.

Tomorrow, you get the big finish – the Sunday after the convention . . .