Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Embarrassment and Apology . . .

I found out last night (and thanks to Connie Riley for catching it) that I misread the MSRP on some of the 27 new Spellbinders dies that were released earlier this month.  All of the new S2 series dies have an MSRP of $9.99, so our price on them should have been $7.99 (and not the $10.39 that was listed on our website until yesterday). 

Please accept my apology – the first 80+ dies in the S2 series all had a $12.99 MSRP and in my haste to get the new ones on our site I assumed they would be the same.  I have played the Wedding Card enough in the past few weeks to explain stress, fatigue, and more – I think I’ll just leave it in the deck this time and simply say “I’m sorry” . . .

I have spent most of the morning processing refunds to those of you who placed orders for them since I first listed them on June 12.  It may take a day or two for those refunds to appear on your statements.  As I type this, I still have a few to go, but I’ll get caught up soon.

It might be worth your while to take a look at these new dies again – they may be more enticing at $7.99 than they were at $10.39 . . .

Monday, June 23, 2014

Spellbinders Declares That Life Is a “Celebra’tion” . . .

Spellbinders released a new line of dies, folders, stamp sets, die and stamp set combinations, ink pads, silk luster inks, linen thread, and paper packs (try to say all of that without stumbling) today.  It’s called “Celebra’tions” – I don’t know why they included an apostrophe and I didn’t ask . . .


Spellbinders sent out a cutesy video showing all sorts of projects made with Celebra’tions and one pair of hands in fast motion.  With this line, they seem to be expanding their horizons beyond the usual dies, folders and media mixage.  Here's the description in their words -- "Creating a heartfelt greeting or event has never been easier.  Inspired by his passion for paper crafts, event hosting and handmade greetings, Spellbinders' Richard Garay designed Celebra'tions to help paper crafters and hostesses achieve beautiful results every time."

Here’s a glance at some of the Celebra’tions products.  Take a look at everything by clicking the graphic above or this link . . .

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The whole line is about creating A-2 cards, with lots of coordinating dies and folders -- and stamp sets and die and stamp combinations for the first time. The dies, folders, and stamp sets are already on their way to us and we'll have them in our booth at the show in Orlando this weekend!  But this time, there's more to the story . . . with coordinating ink pads, linen thread, silk luster inks, and paper packs.

 And with that, we need some help from you!  I was just going to ask you to take a look at the new line, hit the reply button and send us some feedback on this new line -- and especially let us know whether you have interest in the new coordinating items.  But I decided to try out the survey creator in this program -- so please click on the link below and help us serve you better!

Click Here to Take the Celebra’tions Survey


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wedding Round-Up . . .

I could probably tell wedding stories for a month – which judging from the reaction would make some of you very happy, and (to paraphrase the vows) would creep some of you out.  So I’ll finish off the week with a grab bag of pictures and such, and then we’ll finish with another warm feeling . . .


From the reception.  Two things of note – the bottle of lemonade and the big fan next to the table.  Ryan started overheating as soon as they came in, and shedding his jacket didn’t help matters.  We had several bottles of his favorite pink lemonade in the refrigerator, so he started on one of those while I went to the house and picked up the fan – he started feeling better as soon as the breeze hit him.  While I was at it, I picked up Zoe for a few pictures with the happy couple (and one or two with me) – I am looking forward to seeing those along with the other formal wedding pics when they’re ready.

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First dance.  Very tender – and unseen by most of the guests.  I don’t think I have ever been to a wedding where the bride and groom were among the last to leave – they were having such a good time, and by the time they got to this there were only a handful of us in the room.

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Out of focus, but it was the best I got of the bouquet toss – by this time, the only single ladies left were my nieces.  Emily threw the bouquet straight up and it hit the ceiling and broke into pieces – Ryan found use for two of them.

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Times have changed – I have talked to the kids a lot while they have been on their honeymoon.  This was one of their favorite activities – they went zip lining for a couple of hours in the mountains. 

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I have spent the week watching the grandkitties (coined by my friend Judy Uchida) – allow me to introduce you to Casanova and Freya.  In-between, there have been other activities of note . . .


Ryan asked me to come up with something with their vows on it that they could display in their home – this is my first attempt and they will find a small version of it when they get there later today.

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We had a “microburst” hit our little town in the middle of one night this week, and I woke up to this in my front yard.  Loved that hard maple – dug it out of a fence line when it was only knee high and watched it grow over the past 15 years or so.  It had beautiful leaves in the fall.

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But two hours of work with a set of limb loppers and a chain saw the next evening reduced it to this.  And I discovered an interesting shape in the stump – a friend said that it looked like an angel.


I leave this week of wedding frivolity with an image that is about 60 years old.  My dad brought me this picture a couple of weeks ago to scan and print for him – it’s from his brother Orris’ wedding in 1954.  The bride is my Aunt Patty, my Grandma Smallwood is in the dark dress at left – and you might recognize the little bridesmaid standing in the back right.  Yep, that’s my mom – about two months short of her 15th birthday.


This is that same little girl last Thursday, as she visited the oncologist for her six-month checkup.  I was busy and I almost skipped it – but there is something special in hearing "You're doing great ... I'll see you in six months" in person.  It was well worth the time . . .

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Vows . . .

At this point, I have only two pictures taken during the ceremony.  I asked Jodee for them so I could work on a project while Ryan and Emily are on their honeymoon – because what they said when they made their vows to one another was what made the wedding magical, and I am making something so the vows can be displayed in their home.

Ryan and Emily decided a while back that they wanted to write their own vows – and that neither would share them with the other until the wedding.  I had not seen Ryan’s until five minutes before we left for the church – he had decided to add a line to his handwritten page, and was afraid that by squeezing it in he might miss it.  So he asked me to type them.  About two lines into my typing, I told Ryan he would need to read them to me – I could no longer see the page through my tears.

I asked their permission, and they allowed me to share their vows with you.  And if you read the story about the wedding cake yesterday, the fishing reference will make sense . . .



Ryan’s Vows to Emily . . .

“I know this sounds strange, but I have been in love with you since the first time I started to like girls.  I looked for you every day and even prayed that you were safe and happy.  Then one day, when I had lost all hope of ever finding you, I found you on Match and then proceeded to do the creepiest thing I could possibly do by “liking” you without sending you a message.  But you decided to find out why this creepy man was stalking you and because of this I got to meet the girl I had been looking for all of my life.  And despite me being very awkward on our first date, you were able to see me for me and that’s where our fairy tale love started.  This love has grown and matured over the years we have been together.  But in some ways our love is still very childlike.  I don’t know how many pet names I have made for you because of situations that we don’t even remember.

The rest of my vows will be in the childish language of our love.  I love you Emma Gar and I promise to fish for you and be your fisherman.  Please go home with me tonight and live in my fish tank with our gar kitty friends.  You put a song in my heart Emma Gar and I will sing my silly songs to you everyday for the rest of my life.  I promise to love you this much — not that much but this much.  I love you this much this much this much!!!  I promise to steal more kisses than you say I can have at bedtime.

On a somewhat more serious note, I promise to love you until the day I die and I also promise to haunt you until you die if I die first.  I waited my whole life for you Emma Gar and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.  I love you.”


Emily’s Vows to Ryan . . .

“Ryan, when you first saw me on you favorited me.  Most women would probably get creeped out by someone doing this without saying a word.  Some would probably have even blocked you.  Well luckily I’m not like most other women and I let my curiosity get the best of me.

Now thanks to that moment of overpowering sense of curiosity, I have the man that is my best friend and the one man that could tame the wild filly that I used to be.  Thanks to you, I have become closer with God.  I pray more often and I believe much deeper and harder than I ever have.

Ryan, you have been such a great supporter and companion the two years we’ve been together.  I’ve had you by my side at a moment’s notice when I am having one of my trips to the hospital or other minor emergencies.  And though I haven’t had much chance to reciprocate, you know through the times that you’ve been sick or your car was broken down that I will be there for you too.

Ryan, I hereby vow on this day to honor you, support you, cherish, love you, believe in you, trust and respect you for all of eternity.”


When they finished, Dave Stubbs said “Those were wonderful” and the audience applauded.  It was all so moving that it took him two tries to find his place so he could continue the ceremony.

And through his unending tears, the father of the groom said “I can’t believe they both used versions of ‘creepy’ in their vows.”

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sneak Peeks . . .

I should have known better – each time I “tease” what I’m going to post the next day, something better comes up.  As it did last night . . .


This is my cousin Jodee Ball with her teenage daughter Ally.  Jodee is a person of many talents – mother of three, schoolteacher, and more and more these days she is gaining a reputation as an amazing photographer.  And when she was her daughter’s age, she had a very special relationship with my son – her mom watched Ryan a couple of days a week when he was little and Jodee would race home from school to play with him.  So it was only fitting that in a wedding full of special touches from family and friends, Jodee would be the photographer.  And if you happen to be a local, allow me a shameless plug for JP Ball Photography . . .

A few days after she does a photo shoot, Jodee puts a few “sneak peeks” out on her company Facebook page – and yesterday was the day for the sneak peeks from Ryan and Emily’s wedding.  So here we go . . .


This was the “act like you’re all carrying on a conversation while Ryan and Emily kiss” shot just after the wedding.  Every time I look at this, I have three thoughts . . . 1) I am very proud of my son and his wife . . . 2) I am so pleased that they included me in the wedding party . . . 3) Who is the old man in that picture?

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Ryan loves “Transformers” – from the cartoons when he was a kid to the movies today.  So Emily got him Transformers cufflinks to add a touch of individuality to his tuxedo.  They look exactly like the metal decals I got for his Jeep for his birthday two years ago.

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Awwwwww . . . Jodee took several shots of Ryan and Emily outside the church, and I got behind her and shot the one on the right.  Can’t wait to see the rest of the pics – I love “what he saw . . . what she saw” types of pictures so I hope to get the exact same shot from her camera so I can put them together on an album page.

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Personalized M&Ms in a bowl at the reception.  Jodee got the color better than I did (they are lavender and silver) when I shot a few of them on my counter at home (that’s why she’s a pro and I use a cell phone).  I saw these at M&M World in Orlando back in February – I stopped there on my way to pick up Ryan at the airport when he flew down to hit the theme parks with me after the Clearwater show.  They aren’t cheap – but a Groupon coupon came via e-mail a couple of months later and Emily’s mom and I both took advantage of it.


The bridal bouquet (which I am quite proud to say Emily and I made together), and their rings on top.  Again, Ryan is a huge Lord of the Rings fan, so his wedding ring is a replica of the One Ring.  When he saw it, the first words out of his mouth were “My Precious” . . .


And the wedding cake.  This one needs to be explained -- hopefully I will get it right. In the early days of their relationship, Ryan and Emily were watching a show called "River Monsters" and the main character was fishing for something called an "Alligator Gar". Ryan turned to Emily and told her he was fishing for "Emma Gar" -- and he has called her that ever since. So the toppers on their wedding cake were Ryan fishing for Emma Gar with a wedding ring as bait.  Red Velvet – yummmmmmmmmm . . .

No more teases that I may or may not follow through on.  I’ll do something tomorrow and something will probably happen today that will change my mind.  And yes, I’m almost done – a couple more days of this and we’ll go back to the usual routine.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Big Day Arrives . . .

Wedding Days start early . . . so much to do and so little time before the big event at 2:30.  I will have lots of pictures eventually as the official wedding photos arrive, so for now I’ll share those shot by family, friends, and me during the pre-ceremony hours . . .


6:30 – I was up and at it working on a program for the wedding.  Ryan was sound asleep upstairs.


9:00 – Emily and her sister Brittany were at a salon getting their hair done.  Ryan was sound asleep upstairs.


10:30 – Zoe and I took a walk up to the school to check on the progress of the artificial turf that is being installed (this is the field where I announce in the fall).  Ryan was sound asleep upstairs.

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11:30 – The rest of my family was already at the church taking pictures.  I was upstairs dragging Ryan out of bed.


11:45 – Emily was already at the church visiting with my cousin Jodee (our photographer) and Jodee’s daughter Ally (the photographer’s assistant).  I left the house once I was convinced that Ryan was conscious.

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1:30 – Conner’s fiancee Gina (their big day is in six weeks) was putting the finishing touches on Emily’s makeup.


1:45 – Katie, Emily and Emi were ready to go.

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2:15 – Ryan was passing the last 15 minutes of his bachelorhood by watching Mythbusters videos on his phone while Conner and Tyler were seating the guests.

And finally 2:30 came.  Since we don’t have wedding pictures yet, at this point I had intended to share some of the wedding video that we shot on my camcorder, but the kids called last night and said that I could share as many pictures as I wanted, but they would prefer that the video be private.  My apologies, but of course it is their wedding.

So tomorrow we’ll tackle the reception – and at some point down the road we’ll take a pictorial walk down the aisle . . .