Monday, July 21, 2014

“Yep, I Made It!”

I know that quite a few of you have been waiting for a report on Walter’s 100th birthday celebration.  I intended to get a couple of pictures when I got back from last weekend’s show in Texas – but I spent all day Monday at an International Trucks depot in Memphis while repairs were made on our company truck.  So this will have to suffice.

I talked with Gary on Saturday, and he said that a nurse at the facility where Walter recently moved greeted him on Friday morning – “Good morning Walter, it’s your 100th birthday!”

And Walter’s response was “Yep, I made it!”

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Here are a couple of shots of the big card that was made in the store so that customers and friends could add a personal greeting.


And a shot I took of the box where your cards for Walter were being gathered as they arrived – I suspect it was overflowing by the time the day actually arrived.

Thanks to all for being part of this special celebration!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

They Grow Up So Fast . . .

One of the best perks of traveling as much as I do is the acquaintances I have made along the way.  Every time I return to an area, there are faces I look forward to seeing again – and the show is not complete until I see all of them.  Over the years, some of those acquaintances have become good friends . . .

In September 1999, we went to Greenville, South Carolina for the first time.  And in those days, the first time we went to an area meant we got a big stack of cards with new names and addresses for our mailing and e-mail lists.  I usually glanced at the card as the customer handed it to me, to make sure I could read the e-mail address so I could type it correctly when I got home.  So it was when I encountered a nice lady with a daughter a year or two younger than Ryan tagging along – I glanced at her mailing list card and the e-mail address started with “MarisaNMom”.  So I pointed at her daughter and asked the obvious question – “Is this Marisa?”


It was.  I have no idea if they were dressed identically that day (it wouldn’t surprise me), but I enjoyed visiting with them and that e-mail address stuck in my mind.  So a year later when we returned to Greenville, I saw that same mother and daughter and greeted them with “Hello, Marisa!”  I also saw the startled look on her mom’s face and felt the need to explain why I remembered Marisa’s name – and my friendship with Kathy Markwardt was born.

I honestly don’t know if I have actually seen Marisa in person in the past 14 years – but I have seen lots of her pictures at shows in Greenville and Atlanta when Kathy and I have crossed paths and updated each other on our children’s activities.  Through our conversations, I learned that her husband took a job in Wisconsin for several years while the rest of the family stayed in South Carolina, but he has been back in the south for a couple of years so I should have been caught completely off-guard last weekend when Kathy walked into our booth at a show near Milwaukee . . .

Kathy was in Wisconsin visiting family and they all came to the show together – but Kathy’s cousin beat her to our booth and told me she was the the room!  So I wasn’t surprised to see her, but Kathy still had a surprise for me . . .


Marisa is engaged, and the lucky guy’s name is Louis.  Kathy and I spent several minutes reliving Ryan’s wedding and talking about her plans for Marisa’s.  And I felt a little older with the realization that the catalyst for our friendship is now preparing for a walk down the aisle.


Here we are, 15 years later, and our friendship endures.  And her e-mail address still starts with “MarisaNMom” . . .

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It Begins Again . . .

Twice a year – every year – the New Product Waltz begins.  January and July, centered around the CHA show which is usually held in California.  This year appeared that it might be different – there was only the one “big” CHA show in January with a smaller show in July in Atlanta.  And some of the January releases were spread all the way into August and September.  So I wondered during the spring if we were finished with the July dance of new products.

Silly me . . .

I started seeing previews of new items a month ago.  Spellbinders has new dies but I can’t show them to you until July 28.  We R Memory Keepers has a new punch board and I can’t tell yet if I can show it to you or not.  Tim Holtz has lots of new stuff – some I can show you now (which is already on the site) and some that I can’t show you until July 28.  And I’m sure I’ll learn of more over the next couple of weeks.

Oh wait – I glossed over that one statement – “some I can show you now” . . .


Tim Holtz announced 14 new Stampers Anonymous Stamp Sets and 5 new Layering Stencils a few days ago – just as I was walking out the door to head for a show in Milwaukee.  So it took me a couple of days to get time to sit down at my laptop and get them on our site.

The good news is these are already shipping so we should have them very soon – but we’re doing the usual 20% Off the MSRP with Free Shipping in the Continental U.S. through the end of July.


There are also three new Stickles colors from Ranger – Tickled Pink, Rose Gold and Seafoam.  And from what I can tell, it also appears that nine Stickles colors are being discontinued (or perhaps already have and I missed the announcement) – Aqua, Baby Blue, Burgundy, Cotton Candy, Fruit Punch, Midnight Blue, Mystic Green, Pink, and Patina.  Ranger still shows these as available on their wholesale page (they are no longer listed as available colors on, but I don’t know how long we’ll be able to get them – for now, I have moved all of those colors to a separate “discontinued” Stickles item on our website.


And two more Tim Holtz items from Ranger – a tin to hold Mini Distress Inks (if you’re in the process of collecting all 12 sets of four, you’re going to need four of these), and a matte coated Specialty Stamping Paper in quarter sheets.

Rather than doing individual links from each item to its page on our website, here’s a link to a section where you’ll find all of these new items along with others that have been coming out during the summer

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Apologies to Collinsville . . .

I have received several e-mails from friends and customers who have noticed that we are not on the vendor list for the show in Collinsville, IL on July 26-27.  It’s true – we won’t be there this year.  But I hope you’ll agree that I have a good excuse . . .


My nephew Conner is getting married on July 26, my son is one of the groomsmen, I’m shooting the wedding video – and some events in life just can’t be missed. 

When Barbara announced last fall that she was going to have to book a different weekend for Collinsville (the show was in August last year and in June for more than ten years before that), I told her about the wedding and that I wouldn’t be able to make it if she moved it to July 26-27.  But she had no choice – and sent me an e-mail as soon as she scheduled so I know she tried.

I will miss seeing all of you, and I hope you understand.  Hopefully, next year our schedules will cooperate.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Your Invitation to Honor a Fantastic Century . . .

I have been planning this post for almost a year – actually, I have been planning it off and on ever since I started writing this blog more than five years ago.  But because of a suggestion made by a customer at last weekend’s Orlando show, I am writing it two weeks early . . .

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God willing, July 18 will be Walter White’s 100th birthday.  These pictures of Walter and his children, Jim and Peggy, were taken five years ago at his 95th birthday party in the classroom at our store.  I have written about him at least twice over the years – on his 95th birthday in 2009, and last year when I wrote about the dollar packs that he has made in our back room for several years.  And I talk about him, directly or indirectly, a lot at shows when customers come to the register with a pile of those dollar packs.


Walter hasn’t made many of those dollar packs recently – age has taken its toll and he has been in an “assisted living facility” for nearly a year.  More than once over the winter we thought his time was coming, but each time he rallied.  But once he made it past the first of April, I told Gary that I was certain Walter would make it to 100 – Walter loves baseball as much as I do and there is no way he wouldn’t finish out the season once it started.

Next week he is moving into a new facility – partly because Walter and his family realize that he needs to be doing something to keep his mind sharp and the facility where he is now is not providing opportunities for him to do so.

And what does he want to do?  Put together more of those dollar packs . . .

So Gary made arrangements with the new facility to leave several boxes of scraps like you see in the picture above, and when Walter is feeling up to it they will help him get him set up so he can work on them for a while.  Sounds like a “win-win” situation for everyone (including you!).

Anyway, at the Orlando show last weekend I was telling Walter’s story and his approaching 100th birthday to a customer – and she said “Why don’t you put that on the blog a couple of weeks early so we can send him cards?”  I felt like an idiot – it had never occurred to me.  As I have said many times, most of our best ideas come from our customers.

Therefore – if you are so inclined, please take a moment and send a card to our store (or if you prefer, send an e-mail to  A lot of you will probably be able to create cards with scraps that have passed through his hands over the years.

We’ll make sure that Walter gets all of those cards and e-mails on his big day . . .

Walter White
Marco’s Paper
25 West Whipp Road
Centerville, OH 45459