Monday, August 31, 2015

Birthdays Are Always Special . . .

Friday was Mom’s birthday.  Birthdays are always special in our family, but as the family grows it gets harder and harder to get everyone together at the same time to celebrate.  We ran into that this weekend – Ryan and Emily both work retail and had to work, and early afternoon on Sunday was the only time we could get everyone else together.  So Carla and I will take the kids and the grandparents out for ice cream in a few days and that way everyone gets a Grandma fix.

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And yesterday, we had food and most of the family and homemade ice cream and brownies (and you get the idea) . . .


And afterward, we got a “Teacher and Pupil and Supervisor” moment as Blake let me take a spin on his riding lawn mower – I am considering this for the first time, after 30+ years of mowing my acre with a walk-behind.  I have reached the point in life where those three hours are better spent on other tasks – and with all of the rain we’re getting, twice a week means I have to spend way too many hours on mowing to get anything else done.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Random Thoughts . . .

No specific theme here – just random thoughts with pictures to illustrate.  If one doesn’t interest you, keep going – the next one might.

Yesterday was the first day of school in my hometown.  So Facebook was awash with “first day of school pics” – how in the world did we function before we had a place to share our lives instantly?  I thoroughly enjoy them – but after the 20th or 25th picture, my warped brain started sparking . . .


And this was what came out – I added a comment underneath that said “Do not adjust your set – this page was left intentionally blank.”  But this morning, I decided to play along . . .


I took all of those pictures in the same spot over the years and assumed I would eventually find a use for them.  They became the focal point of the thank you notes Ryan sent out when he graduated.  And the stone became Dobie's grave marker a few months after the last picture was taken.


Speaking of Ryan, he is now into his second week at Lowe’s and loves it – seems to be fitting in well.  I did not take the mug shot – it’s hard to get him to smile – but it was nice to get to see him in his new vest.


Last week at the golf course – out of focus but terribly cute.  These two fawns were feeding as we came down the fairway toward them – weren’t the least bit concerned about us as we approached.  We assumed that momma was close by – and she was, just a few yards away in the brush.

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The death of a local landmark – Der Duetchler (later Der Dutchman) was a local restaurant that attracted out-of-towners for years.  The kitchen and entryway were destroyed in a fire two or three years ago, and the owners decided not to rebuild.  So it sat vacant – from the road it looked like nothing had happened.  But vandals eventually got to it and this week the demolition began.  These pics are of the banquet room side of the building – a lot of memorable occasions were celebrated in that space during its lifetime.  And I even went to church there for a few years.


And the monsoons continue (apologies to those of you out west – I wish we could send it to you).  This was yesterday evening, as rainwater washed down the steps of the bank parking lot at the main intersection in my hometown.  I’m sure this has happened before, but I had never seen it – so I went around the block and got out to snap a picture.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Little Extra Time . . .

During the summer, it seems I am always doing one of three things . . . getting ready to leave for a show, working at a show, or just getting home from a show.  Sometimes it seems like I am doing two or three of those things at the same time.  It’s hectic, but sometimes it makes life a bit easier because I don’t have time to think about or do much else.

But now that the Cincinnati show is done and I have finished the “just getting home from a show” phase (it applies – even though Cincinnati is the “I get to sleep in my own bed show”), I am home for several weeks – our next show is not until the first weekend in October.

It feels strange – I actually get to think about what I want or need to do next.  But it has allowed me to do some things that I have not had time to do all summer, like . . .

  • Mow my grass more than once a week – with apologies to those of you out west, it has rained here since it stopped snowing.  As such, my lawn needs a trim every three or four days – but this summer it has been more like every seven to ten days.  And that makes for lots of unsightly clumps.
  • Put my suitcase in the attic – I have not actually done this yet, because this summer Nala has decided that it’s her favorite place to sleep when she and it are in the house at the same time.  I have gotten used to traveling with white fur clinging to my suitcase.
  • Take Mom to church with me on Sunday – this past Sunday was only the second time this had occurred all summer, since the other weekends I was either out of town at a show or I had video duty at church (which puts me behind a camera all three services on Saturday and Sunday).
  • Sit on my front porch and just relax – I picked up a really nice ergonomic lawn chair from Cabela’s a couple of years ago, so I can do this without risking my back.  When we built our house, a front porch was my only requirement.  I have not used it nearly enough over the past 25 years.
  • Get more new items on our website – I put the new Dylusions releases on our site on Monday.  The past two days I have been working on the new Memory Box dies, and if all goes well I should finish those today.
  • Write a post on this blog – if you have missed me, this is probably why.  If you haven’t, now you probably think I need to get busy again.

I am not saying that the pace of my life is any slower – not by a long shot.  But it feels that way, just a bit . . .

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Rest of My Weekend . . .

Last weekend wasn’t all aprons.  There were a few other memorable images that are worth sharing.


Friday afternoon – the first official booth update picture since about 2001 when we started building our booth out of video store gridwall.


Friday afternoon during setup – Ted Cutts of the Royal Acme Conglomeration of Companies (that would be Art Gone Wild, Inky Antics, Stampers Anonymous, and Darcie’s Heart and Home) does his best unintentional Tim Holtz imitation while his daughter Katie does her best to get out of the shot.


Also Friday afternoon – the new Monthly Distress Color was announced, so I had to slip out to the hotel next door so I could use its wifi for a few minutes to update everything on our website.  Order yours now – all six pieces in a bundle for 20% off the MSRP with free shipping in the Continental U.S. --


And while we’re at it – with the announcement of the eighth Monthly Distress Color, the second set of Monthly Distress Minis is complete and should release in September.  So you can now place your advance orders --


Saturday afternoon – Steve Lindeman of Toomuchfun took a break on the customer side of our demo table to see what his daughter Alana had been doing all afternoon.  To Steve’s daughters, Keia Arnold is like the Pied Piper – where she goes, they follow.  So they spent most of the day at our booth visiting with Keia while she demoed.


Friday afternoon – the Sharonville Convention Center is about two miles from the Best Buy where Ryan has worked for the past eight years.  And Friday was his last day there – so I drove over about 4:00 and sat in the parking lot for about 20 minutes so I could get this picture as he walked out of the store for the last time.  Today, he started the next chapter of his personal adventures as an Appliance Sales Specialist at Lowe’s in Xenia, Ohio.

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Sunday evening – my semi-surprise birthday gift to Carla.  This is Music Hall in downtown Cincinnati – and for five nights it was transformed into a giant screen for a video presentation that went along with performances by the Cincinnati Pops and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.  They call it “Lumenocity” – it has been going on for three years but this was our first experience.  We got there more than two hours early and an obstructed view was the best we could get – the best spots were staked out 5½ hours in advance.  Once the skies darkened and the lights dimmed, the show was spectacular . . .

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And the finale was dedicated to all of the things that make Cincinnati special . . .

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I took pictures of just a few, and enjoyed the rest.  And of course my finger got in the way from time to time . . .

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cooking Up a Great Weekend . . . the Stampaway Costumes

“Cooking Up a Great Weekend” was the theme for the Stampaway USA XXIII Preview Party on Friday evening – and the customers and vendors were encouraged to wear their favorite aprons.  Of course, this led to a variety of interpretations, and I took as many pictures as I could so the experience could be shared with those of you who couldn’t attend, or relived with those of you who could.

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A few I caught from our booth – and what caught my eye wasn’t always an apron.  The mother/daughter tandem at left are collecting autographs from luminaries in the crafting world (and yet they asked for mine?)

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Buckeye aprons are in fashion this season, of course . . .

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Bill from Repeat Impressions is always a hoot – someday I need to pull out the picture I took of Wendy and Bill dressed as Cinderella and a Wicked Stepsister at a convention with a Halloween theme many years ago.  And Russell from Gary Burlin & Co. had his own in-house artist – his daughter made aprons for both of them.  I really liked what Rick, Kelley, and Josh from Our Daily Bread Designs did – it was a patriotic theme with stars and stripes – but the picture I tried to take came out a blurry mess.  Thankfully, Connie got one . . .

At 9:00, the customers who chose to participate gathered in the lobby for the judging – I took pictures of everything that caught my eye.

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There were so many that Connie kept turning around in circles – and finally had all of them march around in a circle so she could see each one.

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Two of my favorites – the lady at right brought a platter of stamps and supplies (and there was a rubber chicken as well).

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Some aprons with mileage on them – the one at left was created in 1938, the one at right in the mid ‘60s

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If you’ve come this far, then you probably are expecting/hoping/dreading ours.  Karen decided to use an apron designed by our instructors in a class or project years ago.  She offered one to me, but it just didn’t seem to be my speed.  So I got on Amazon and looked for “novelty aprons for men” or some such search term.  Most of what came up in the results was just this side of obscene, but one did catch my eye.  So without further delay . . .

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I told several people that this is the only chance I will ever have to have muscles and a six-pack.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

We Are Busy Little Beavers This Week . . .

The week between the Novi (Detroit) show and the Cincinnati show is the busiest week of the year in our store.  Customers coming in early, vendors doing the same (for many, it just doesn’t make sense to go home and then head back to our area three days later).  So our store is hopping – and every day is a lot like today has been . . .


Today, Lisa and Nader from Local King Rubber Stamp came in to spend the day. 

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They taught two classes and held a trunk show in the store.  I got there just as the first class was winding down – I had to pay attention where I was going so I didn’t bump into someone with an armload of goodies . . .


Meanwhile, Libby Friel was holding court in the front corner of the store – her “Think Outside the Box” demos are always a hit during The Stamping Gala – and there will be one every day through Saturday.

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The front door was filled with all kinds of signs – some with the specials of the day, the free make & takes, and such – and others with upcoming events that I didn’t know about yet.

I learned today that on Sunday after the show there will be a bit of a “mini-convention” at Marco’s, with appearances complete with trunk shows from Anthony’s Paper Craft, Stamps by Judith & Heather, DRS Designs, and Stampland.  On Saturday, the show ends at 5:00 but our store is open until 7:00 – and on Sunday the store is open from 10:00-5:00.  So you’ll have plenty of opportunities to make a full convention weekend of it.

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Here’s something else new in the store – we brought back a whole display of Our Daily Bread dies and paper packs from the Novi show – some of them will only be around for a limited time.

I know this is completely unfair to those of you in the hinterlands who can’t get here this week – but most of the time, the posts on this blog are of happenings from around the country that the locals don’t get to experience.  And it’s not too late to gather a carload and start traveling!