Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More “Grape Vines” . . .

Gotta clean out the images left on my cell phone from the Grapevine show last weekend.  Some of them are worth sharing here . . .


For fellow vendors and former Stamp Camp enthusiasts -- Mary Kay DelaFuente is alive and well and paid a visit to see us in Grapevine last weekend.

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One thing I really like about our booth at the Grapevine Convention Center is our position on the “stage” – which means instead of covering everything at the end of the day, I can just pull the curtain . . .


Jane McLaughlin’s granddaughters Ginny and Devyn spent a little time at the demo table.  Ginny helped with setup and teardown and was our “runner” all weekend – we ran her ragged.


This lady had three of these little critters in her handbag – she told me what they were twice but my memory isn’t what it once was.  Friendly things – she said she has close to 20 of them at home.


And since the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex is the easternmost point where you can get them, no trip is complete without a fix . . .

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

More Goodies from the Toy Store . . .

I got back from the Grapevine show last night about 9:00 last night – with three hours before the midnight deadline (after which I could post all of the new Tim Holtz stuff from Sizzix) and lots of work still to do.  Because there is only so much free time on a show weekend and some of it simply must be spent sleeping.

I made it with a minute to spare and they all went on our site shortly after midnight.  The Halloween items are supposed to arrive in August, the Christmas/Winter items are supposed to arrive in September – and then there is this additional “crazy thing” that is supposed to arrive in October . . .


Actually, it’s a Crazy Things Die Set from Sizzix to match the Crazy Things Stamp Set from Stampers Anonymous.  If the response is anything like it has been for the Bird Crazy Die Set, you’ll want to order yours early . . .

But there are lots of other Halloween and Christmas goodies – instead of listing all of them here (and since I have to get out my machete and chop down the grass in my yard), here’s the link to the page where all of the new Tim Holtz releases are landing as they’re announced.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Trader Joe’s Bag Ladies . . .

My best memory from Saturday at the Grapevine show deserves a post all to itself.  It started within a few minutes after the show started, with a customer checking out at my register who announced that she didn’t need a bag for her purchase.  She was carrying a Trader Joe’s bag to carry her goodies.  And so was the next customer . . . and the next customer . . . and the next customer.


Now they didn’t all come one after the other . . . but there were eighteen of them.  I found out during the process that they were from all over the country, and they scheduled a retreat at a nearby hotel around a trip to the show.  Such a nice bunch of ladies, and in the process came a nice surprise for me . . .


One of those 18 is the lady leaning over to look at the sample book on the demo table.  Cher Blasengame is from Spokane, Washington and she has been on our e-mail list for nearly 20 years.  We have carried on an occasional conversation answering product inquiries and such over the years, and what always caught my eye was her e-mail address – which was usually a version of “Nurse Cher” or “Cher the Nurse”.  I think we met in person once before at a show somewhere, but she stepped up to the cash register yesterday she started the conversation with “You probably don’t remember me, but you might if I said ‘Nurse Cher’ . . .”  And I lit up . . .


It took all day to finally get a majority together so I could get a shot of them with their bags.


The one thing that all of them mentioned during the course of the day was the conference room that they had taken over at their hotel – so after the show I ran some errands and then stopped by to take a look and thank them for stopping by our booth.  Can’t wait to see all of them again next year.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Following the Rules . . .

It is New Release Season – we find out about new releases almost every day.  If you see something that you think we should be carrying, please take the time to let us know.  Most of the best new product ideas come from our customers.

Sometimes I have known about new items for months, but there are release dates that we need/choose to follow.  That’s the case with Sizzix’ new Tim Holtz Alterations releases – Tim is “sneak peeking” them on his blog this week, but in accordance with the following notice from Sizzix, they will not appear on our site until Tuesday, July 21 . . .

"Please do not post or share any Sizzix and/or Tim Holtz images of new products or project samples on your website, in print, newsletters or in any form of communications anywhere until the day of show July 21st, 2015."

In the past, they have told distributors that their orders will be cancelled if the images are released early.  While it may not actually happen, it isn't worth the risk.  So we follow the rules.

On a related note, Spellbinders’ holiday dies will be a part of their July release that we can make available to our customers on Wednesday, July 15 – so be watching for them on our site tomorrow.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

New Items, Setup Changes, and Birthday Wishes . . . and They’re All “Crazy”

I am in Collinsville, Illinois (home of the world’s biggest “catsup” bottle – which I assume is different from the world’s biggest “ketchup” bottle) this weekend.  To say this has been a crazy week would be an understatement . . .

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It started on Monday with the announcement of three companion Cling Mount Stamp Sets for the wildly popular Bird Crazy set released at CHA in January – continued on Friday with the announcement of a companion Framelits Die Set from Sizzix – and continued even more on Saturday at the show, where the whole crazy craze was one of the main topics of conversation (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a link to a page on our site where you can see all of them).


And of course we’re taking advance orders, so I taped all of this together and put it on one of the demo tables in our booth.  It takes only a little bit of imagination to see the drool marks on the tablecloth . . .

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All of that crazy stuff gave me a limited amount of time to deal with my own craziness – oh the booth it is a-changin’.  You may not notice it so much, but my longtime setup/teardown helpers are probably drooling just as much as the Tim Holtz addicts – the smaller items like Spellbinders, Tim Holtz, Faber-Castell, Adhesives, etc. are now on carts that can roll right into place in the booth without unpacking boxes and stocking the shelves at each stop.  Most of the other vendors have been doing this for years – but change happens slowly at Marco’s.

I did not build these, though I have wanted to for a long time and something more pressing always got in the way.  The catalyst this time was a text about three weeks ago from Rick Holland (Rick and Kellie are “Our Daily Bread Designs”).  There was a time when Rick and Kellie took two full booths on the road, but they decided that the simpler life was less hectic and cut it back to one – which left them with several homeless carts that Rick had built.  He wanted to know if I was interested in them – and my response was that I had been lusting after them ever since he first built them.  I thought about it while I was at StampFest in Florida, contacted him when I got back, and we quickly agreed on a price that I cleared with Gary.  I met Rick and Kellie halfway at Cabela’s in Columbus about ten days ago and suddenly had a lot of work to do (with the 4th of July Weekend smack dab in the middle).  There will be adjustments, but for a first effort I was thrilled with the results this weekend.  And several vendors came by during setup on Friday to welcome me into the 21st century . . .

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And then there is this – it started a little over a month ago when I saw this picture of masks being prepared for a performance by Picasso and Darling Darlene from Stampland at a gallery in Massachusetts the day after the Springfield show (a picture from the performance is at right).  I had only a three-word response – “I want one.”  And Friday, I got it . . .

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Left to right: a closeup of the mask, a shot of me with mine, and a shot of me with Joel from Heartfelt Creations.  I will treasure it always.  When Picasso and Darlene brought mine to me during setup, I quickly snapped a picture when I saw this . . .


. . . and then when I remembered that Saturday was the Man in Black’s birthday, I posted the following on his Facebook page.


During the giveaway on Saturday, we all sang “Happy Birthday” to him.  Picasso tried to act like he was embarrassed, but we all know that he loved every minute of it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Summer New Releases Begin . . .

It started on Monday with the first “sneak peek” from Tim Holtz and will run for the next couple of weeks – the Summer New Releases.  That doesn’t always mean you can get them right away – but it always means that you can place advance orders and then we’ll get them to you as they arrive.

So far, we have seen seven new Cling Mount Sets and two Layering Stencils from Tim Holtz and Stampers Anonymous (actually I have seen more, but can’t show them to you until I’m allowed).  Some of them continue the “crazy” theme that was so popular in the January releases.

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There will be more – so instead of linking each picture, here’s a link to the page on our site where all of the new Tim Holtz goodies will appear as they’re announced.  I know there will be more crazy stuff there before the weekend . . .

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Addendum – we just (meaning just a few minutes before the e-mail version of this blog was supposed to send) received a shipment from Memory Box, with 27 new dies that I didn’t know about.  Just finished loading them and we’ll have them in the booth this weekend in Collinsville, Illinois – so come and see us if you’re in St. Louis and the surrounding area.  For those of you who aren’t, here’s a link to the page where they will appear as soon as I can get the appropriate graphics and info and such.

Friday, July 3, 2015

A New Distress Color . . . a Unique Planter . . . a Party Animal . . . a Riddle . . . and a Blast from My Past

You can probably tell from the heading that you’re getting everything but the kitchen sink today (but you will be getting something from the bathroom).  Let’s get started . . .

This actually came out on Wednesday morning – but we didn’t know it until late Wednesday afternoon.  I loved the tone in the release that made it sound like the color was being announced a couple of days early as a holiday treat – especially after I found out that Ranger was going to be closed Thursday and Friday (so it was more likely their holiday treat).  I barely had time to make the adjustments on our website before leaving for the day (Wednesday is Golf League Day – priorities, you know). 

Then I spent all day yesterday picking up some display pieces for the booth that should make setup and teardown sooooooo much easier (more on those next week sometime).

So here we are on Friday – even though I’m technically two days late, in the actual release schedule I’m right on time . . .


The July Distress Color of the Month is Blueprint Sketch – I’m still waiting for purple, but I really like this shade of blue.  As usual, if you want all six pieces (ink pad, reinker, marker, paint, stain, and spray stain), they’re 20% off the MSRP with free shipping in the Continental U.S.


I’ll bet you don’t have a geranium planter like this one – but my friend Christine Yoder does.  I stopped for a visit on my way home from the Lakeland show last weekend and couldn’t resist.  The fencing is to keep her dogs from disturbing the foliage . . .

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Meet “Spuds MacKenzie” (not his real name, I suspect), the Original Golf Party Animal... started tagging along with our group on the 11th hole in Tennessee on Tuesday and stayed with us all the way in. Led the way from tee to green... with occasional detours to chase a squirrel. The locals said he does it all the time.

No picture for this one – but I read it in USA Today on Wednesday at lunch -- tried it when I got back and the answer is funny. So if you have an iPhone or an iPad, pull up Siri and ask "What is zero divided by zero?"  And do it before you read the next paragraph, which is the response (for those of you who don’t have toys from Apple) . . .

“Imagine that you have zero cookies and you split them evenly among zero friends. How many cookies does each person get? See? It doesn’t make sense. And Cookie Monster is sad that there are no cookies, and you are sad that you have no friends.”


And the blast from my past . . . July 3, 1988... Carla woke me up at 12:30 am on Sunday morning and told me it was "time"... and in typical male fashion I asked her if we could get a few more hours of sleep and go to the hospital in the morning. Yeah, right... off we went. Ryan arrived at 11:08... and a few minutes after this picture was taken, I called each set of parents at their respective churches to inform them that they had become grandparents.

Have a great Independence Day Weekend – and thanks to all of the vets who make it possible.