Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Ends With Our Thanks To You . . .

Another year ends – hard to believe that as of earlier this week, I have gone to the same place to work for 37 years.  But so much has changed over the years – I may work at the same place, but it is definitely not the same job.  All of you were directly involved in one way or another, as we transitioned in the mid-90s from a small print shop in Southwestern Ohio into whatever it is we are now.  And we are grateful – thanks for your continued support over the years.


This year’s family Christmas picture again had a theme – the next generation makes its debut in just four weeks.  There has not been a baby on my side of our family in nearly 23 years, and there has not been a girl baby in – forever!  Nothing will ever be the same – and we can’t wait.


I took this picture of Zoe and my niece, Natalie, a year ago.  I love both of their smiles.  Zoe’s year was quite full – no surprise to any of you who followed her presidential campaign.  So now she is taking it easy as she waits for another opportunity to serve our nation.

Have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve – and an even better 2017.  Again, thanks for being part of our lives.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Thanks to Those of You Who Played a Part in This . . .

A couple of weeks ago, I shared an article about a boy from Southwestern Ohio who wanted to receive Christmas Cards to decorate his room.  The Dayton Daily News posted an update on Wednesday . . .


He has now received about 50,000 cards from the United States, with more expected from Europe, Asia, Japan, and China, where the story spread last week.

Thanks to all of you who played a part – you can click here to see the update.

Because Gary Said So -- 30% Off Practically Everything On Our Site Through January 4!

Gary walked in this morning and reminded me – we had talked about this again late last week, and because it was so popular last year, he wanted to do it again.  So here we go . . .


Save 30% on practically everything on our site through Wednesday, January 4!  The fine print is minimal – retail purchases only, online and phone orders only, excludes gift certificates, classes, Spellbinders closeout dies (they are already 50% off) and previous purchases.  And free shipping in the Continental U.S. with a $50 purchase.

So now you have something productive to do while waiting for (or escaping from) football this weekend – a break from preparing for New Year’s Eve – a task for that Monday holiday.  Go to and save!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

End-of-Year New Items . . .

There have been quite a few new items announced during December, but I have been so busy trying to do my job, my Christmas shopping, my Christmas baking, and such that I neglected to mention them here.  So here goes . . .


Ready to move on from this Holiday Season to the next?  Here is a good start – Memory Box announced lots of Valentine-themed dies and we’ll have them very soon . . .


Spellbinders announced the first December releases that I can remember, with six D-Lites and eleven Stamp/Die Combos . . .


This is a rerun – but it isn’t – Spellbinders also added 30+ dies to the discontinued list and they’re available at 50% off the MSRP . . .


And this is the answer to several questions we have received over the past few weeks – yes, we have Hampton Art’s Stamp Perfect Tool . . .

Finally, a tease for a post that will come sometime between now and the end of 2016 – containing a picture of a family milestone coming early in 2017 . . . stay tuned.

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Chance to Make Someone’s Holidays Brighter . . .

Judy Schneider just sent me a link to a story from our local news outlets – she thought it might be a nice opportunity to put our talents to good use.  So if you have an extra Christmas Card lying around, here is a way you can use it to make an eight-year-old boy in Hamilton, Ohio feel special . . .


You can click on this link to see the article

Andrew’s address is at the end of the article, but here it is again just in case . . .

Andrew Little
4181 Weathered Oaks Lane
Hamilton, OH 45011

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Limited Seating Available . . .

Wednesday was the annual Holiday Carry-In Luncheon at our store.  While practically everyone knows that I am not a foodie, it is fun to see how the creativity seen in our classroom all the time translates to the kitchen.  And the crowd was massive . . .

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It was no surprise to see tables full of food and a classroom full of folks enjoying the feast while they visited.  But everywhere I looked, there were more of them . . .

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There was seating in the prep area in the back room, seating at the wedding invitation table up front . . .

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Even seating at Marco’s Too next door.  Of course, any adorably cute grandchild deserves a close-up . . .


There were some who either didn’t find seating, or preferred to visit from one seating area to another . . .


And, of course, the obligatory picture of the elves . . .

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter Wonderland . . .

Just because I know those of you who live in warmer climates love to see seasonal photos without the accompanying shiver common in northern states . . .


This is what I encountered on my way back from lunch today – actually pulled into a Taco Bell parking lot so I could get a closeup to share with you.  If we have to live through it, it might as well be at least a bit artistic . . .

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Prayers for a Friend Who Is Always Paying It Forward . . .

There are people in this world who just naturally think of others before they think of themselves.  I’m sure you know a few – they are the ones who hear of hardship and are immediately there with a kind word or a meal or a hug.  And they are the ones who don’t stop at one kindness – they follow up even years down the road to make sure all is going well.


Nami Nakamura is one of those people.  You probably know her from DeNami Designs, as a smiling face and bundle of energy on the show circuit.  I know her as the angel who sent the first card to my mom when she started chemo five years ago – the angel who still checks on her every time we speak – the angel who did/does all of this even though she has never met my mom.  Nami encouraged me to share Mom’s story with you, and when my very private mother agreed, we were showered with notes and prayers and support from so many more people who have never met my mom.  And we will always be grateful.

It has already been a stressful year for Nami and her husband, Gary – Gary had a major stroke at the end of February, but thankfully he has made a full recovery.

Now, it is Nami’s turn.  She gave me permission to share this message that she posted on her Facebook page a couple of days ago – it is a message of fear, hope, faith, and love.


“Health diagnosis:
I had scar tissue removed recently and they did a biopsy as procedure. What I didn't expect to hear was that they found a form of skin cancer developing. They told me to come in again to remove a wider area, which will happen beginning of January.

I texted my dad and he had these sent to me the next day. You see, my dad is not demonstrative or emotional at all. He is logical and has a PhD in science. This touching gift meant so much to me because of it. My dad was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, so I worry more about him.

My friend asked me how I'm doing.

My response was, "I have too much living to do to worry about dying."  You see, as a born again Christian, I have been thinking about death ever since I learned about eternal life, which was over 30 years ago. I have thought about my purpose for living when I discovered God's purpose for me.

Me regarding death? "Ain't got time for that!"

For those of you who haven't considered where death will lead, seek Jesus and God's purpose for you. Your life will be fuller than you dreamed, will be deeper than you imagined, harder than you expected, but will be more joyous than you can dare to experience. Saying this, you would imagine I never experienced trouble in life, but I can assure you that you will likely find the ones that are most joyful have experienced more pain, darkness and sorrow than most, but have overcome because of Jesus.

I will have sorrow and tears through this journey, but today I celebrate life and God's love through the love of my dad.”

I encourage you to shower this beautiful friend with the same love and support that she gives with so much joy in her heart every day.  You can send messages to her at – thanks.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Some Perspective from the Smokies . . .

If you live in the eastern half of the country (especially in the midwest), you likely spent a lot of this week glued to the news reports coming from the Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, Tennessee.  I know so many people like me who have been there at least once or twice (or perhaps more like twenty times), stunned as they heard about, and later saw what was left of, so many places that have been a part of their lives.

But there is more to the story. 


I talked with our friend Janet Winkle yesterday.  A lot of you know Janet – she works at Your Scrapbook Superstore in Sevierville.  Janet has taught at our store several times and is one of the driving forces behind the show we attend in Sevierville in October.  And she has a plea to those of you who love the Smokies – and love to visit there for the holidays . . .

“Sevierville is OK, but we did have some structures burned. They could not defend all the structures. They made a stand on the main street of Gatlinburg and around Dollywood and Dream More to try to save something.

We need people to know we are open for business in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge and Dollywood reopened today. People are canceling reservations left and right and that is not what we need right now. If you could encourage people to visit us, we would appreciate it.

Also donations can be made to the Dollywood Foundation for the Chimney #2 fire victims. They will provide the families who lost their homes $1,000 a month for 6 months.”

So if you want to do something positive to support these nice folks, do what you can to help them keep their jobs . . .

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thanksgiving Coupon Contest Winners

Over the weekend, our store had its annual Thanksgiving Coupon Contest – 30% off in-stock items if you creatively designed your own coupon – with prizes for the most creative entries.  The winner received a $25 Marco’s Gift Certificate – and there were prizes for the runners-up as well.


Top Left – First Prize Marge Reising
Top Middle – Second Prize Robyn Trimble
Top Right – Third Prize Jeanette Alley
Bottom Left – Fourth Prize Sharon Twardowski
Bottom Right – Fifth Prize Marty Osterday

Congratulations, ladies!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

You Have Been Warned . . .

One message – short and sweet . . .


Last day – don’t delay – tomorrow will be too late!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Something to Keep You Busy After the Thanksgiving Meal . . .

If your family is like mine, we do the Thanksgiving meal at lunchtime.  Then we have time between that and desserts with my brother’s family in the evening.  How to fill that time wisely depends on the individual – there is (of course) football, or visiting, or napping.  And for some of you, I hope you will spend some time today – or some time through the weekend into early next week – shopping on our site during our Annual 25% Off Sale.


From now through Wednesday, November 30 at – we’re combining all of the holiday weekend events into one.  So whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, or any other event – everything on our site is 25% off.  There are a few exceptions – classes, gift certificates, Spellbinders Closeout Dies (those are already 50% off) and previous purchases.  And we’ll ship your order free in the Continental U.S. if it’s over $50 (and for only $5.95 if it isn’t).

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Weekend of Nostalgia . . .

Spent the weekend in “Half Hot, Half Cold, Gets Dark Way Too Early, But Thankfully Not Snowing” Madison, Wisconsin.  When I got there on Thursday, it was 72 glorious degrees outside – but at 4:00 in the afternoon it was already starting to get dark outside (and by 4:30 it was pitch black).  It stayed in the 60s most of the way through setup on Friday.  Then the wind machine turned on – and by Saturday morning, it was in the 20s and stayed there the rest of the weekend.  But unlike last year, there was no snowstorm to scare off our customers and friends.

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This was one of the highlights of my weekend.  These sentries were protecting our friend Chris Mode’s booth, the product of the talented (and retired) mind of Denise Pernetti.  This is my kind of art.


Here is another that’s even better – I looked up from setting up the booth on Friday and saw Jerry and Jane Stevens setting up their own booth.  Hadn’t seen them in at least four or five years, since they gave up the show circuit to concentrate on Jane’s fight with cancer.  She is doing well and they are back among us


My favorite t-shirt of the weekend – spotted during setup on Friday.

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Spotted on the doors leading onto the convention floor . . .


One of those evenings that makes traveling worthwhile . . . when I first met Roy and Tyra Smith, their kids were all ten and under... now their daughter Kara has her own little family and lives in Madison.  Made more memories with seven members of their family and introduced them to a favorite board game of mine.   This is one of those great situations in life where you get to choose to be family . . .

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I was greeted on Sunday morning by a mysterious Christmas Tree of Rolos.  I am more of a Nestle chocolate person, but Rolos are pretty good and when splitting the promoter’s goody bag with my demo person, I kept the Rolos and she got the Kisses.  But I ate mine during the day, so the origin of these was a mystery.


I accused a couple of friends of being the culprits before Jenny from The Hobby Home ‘fessed up.  She had heard me when I was splitting the Rolos and Kisses, and decided the tree was a nice payback for the clipboard I loaned her to use during the show.  I agree . . .

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Show Promoter Ann Lee brought a photo album by on Sunday, and thought I might want to take a look.  It had lots of pics from the first three years of the show, including this one taken 14 years ago when the vendors had a picnic on Saturday evening.  I was deep into my walk down Memory Lane when I felt a tap on my shoulder . . .


. . . and saw our friend Zana Clark (Stamp Zia), who retired from the show circuit years ago and decided to stop in for a visit.  It was great to see her.


Last pic, completely unrelated – taken last night as the sun set perfectly between a house and garage a block or so over from mine . . .

Monday, November 14, 2016

Free Shipping, Gift Ideas for the Young’uns, and Another New Tim Holtz Item . . .

It seems to happen every year about this time (at least for the past several years) – but it seems to take an inquiry from a customer every year to make us think about it.  So it was again this year . . .


I flipped all of the necessary switches on our site this morning – for a limited time, we’ll ship free in the Continental U.S. on orders over $50.00 – make sure to choose the “free shipping” option at checkout.

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Here are just a handful of nineteen great gift ideas for the kids from Faber-Castell, ranging from $5.99 to $49.99 (most are under $20.00).  Quantities are limited on some of these – and from what we can tell so far, the Tassel Bracelets are incredibly popular.


And here’s another new release from Tim Holtz (again, brought to my attention by a customer – I love it when you folks serve as my eyes and ears) -- Tim Holtz® Kushgrip Nonstick Micro-Serrated 5" Mini-Snips are coming very soon and have the same great features as the other three sets of snips introduced previously.  As usual, 20% off the MSRP with free shipping in the Continental U.S. until the first shipment arrives.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

New Tim Holtz Items and a Catch-Up . . .

Most important things first – because as much as it might seem otherwise at times, this is a business blog . . .


Several new Tim Holtz items from Ranger were announced late last week – including Distress Crayons Sets #6 & #7, and three styles of Distress Mixed Media Heavystock (110#) – these are coming very soon and, as usual, until the first shipment arrives advance orders are 20% Off the MSRP with Free Shipping in the Continental U.S.  Click on this link and take a look!

Now one or two of you might be asking why it took me five or six days after they were announced to get around to getting them on the website and blog.  I was at a show in Birch Run, Michigan – and the pace of the week left no time or energy to get on my computer until after I got home.  So I didn’t find out about them until late on Monday.

But I did see a few things of note in Birch Run . . .

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At left, what the boys did while Mom shopped in our booth – at right, a perfect t-shirt for a boy (and a button that adds a touch from Mom).


Our friend John Eberly from Purple Daisy Designs approached me during teardown with a prayer request.  He is scheduled for hip replacement surgery on January 6 – even though he knows this is a very common procedure these days (and even though he has been in pain for a long time), even two months away he is more than a little concerned.  Your prayers would be appreciated.


Quite the sunrise, the morning I left for Birch Run . . .


It seems that there was this little presidential election yesterday – Zoe and her family took advantage of early voting.  Even though the media is convinced that she didn’t win, Zoe remains committed to uniting our nation.

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Scenes from our annual pumpkin carving night – a family tradition that lives on . . .

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The pumpkins came in handy on our front porch on Halloween.  Zoe had quite an evening – there are lots of little kids on our street, and Zoe thinks there is nothing better in the world when they come to visit.