Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Adorably Cute . . . Then and Now

Sunday was my mom’s birthday.  Unlike many, the numbers don’t bother her – she turned 77.  I have always enjoyed having young parents, though I could never have done it myself.  I have fond memories of Mom’s 40th birthday – I was just starting my senior year of college, and announced that it was her 40th.  My roommate turned to me with a look of surprise and said “My sister is older than your mom.”


This is the adorably cute picture that I put on my Facebook page on Sunday morning to wish Mom a happy birthday.  Her baby pictures look a lot like mine, and I have always been told that I look a lot like my grandpa.  So I went digging for a couple of other old pictures and came up with an insert for Mom’s birthday card . . .


We are all different ages in the pictures, but I was pleased with the result.  And the ornery smile on my grandpa’s face is one that he carried throughout his life.


Later in the day, the family gathered at my brother’s house, and I got an action shot of Mom blowing out her candles.

I am truly blessed that I still have both parents and am able to share this event in our lives.  So many of you were part of the “support team” when Mom went through chemo five years ago – and we will always be grateful.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Very Full Saturday . . .

I already knew that my Saturday was going to be full – but it got even “fuller” when the high school football game I was announcing on Friday evening was suspended by lightning.  The athletic directors, coaches, and officials met and determined that the game would resume at 10:00 on Saturday morning.  And I started sweating – because I knew that I needed to be on the road by 11:00 to fulfill I very special commitment I had made.

Thankfully, the game ended in an hour on Saturday morning – and by 11:01 I was on my way to the car.  I arrived at Havenhurst Park in New Haven, Indiana (150 miles and 2½ hours away) just as another high school football game was starting . . .


This game was between the Grand Valley Christian Patriots and the Tri-State Christian King’s Crusaders.  Grand Valley was the team I came to see – from Grand Rapids, Michigan, they traveled about as far as I did.  You can’t make him out in this picture, but the quarterback carrying the ball on this extra point attempt is at the bottom of the pile (under #4 in maroon) – and he is Jesse Solis, son of Deb and Sam from “Stamp on It.”

I have known Jesse and his sister, Talia, since they were little – and when I found out a year ago that Jesse was going out for football, I told him that I wanted to come watch him play this fall.  I knew that last season they had played a couple of games in Indiana, so I bugged Jesse all spring and summer for a schedule.  Once he finally got it, I knew this game was my best chance – their other two Indiana games this season are close to South Bend and that’s another 1½ hours each way for me.


Deb has to be the Number One Patriot Fan – she was shooting video of the game (both for Sam – who was at a show in Buffalo, and for the team to watch a few days later).  I walked the sidelines watching the action, but wherever I was I could hear Deb screaming “Let’s Go Patriots – Wooooooooo!!”

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I was taking pictures with my cell phone and texting a play-by-play of the action to Sam.  In the picture on the left, Jesse got hit just as he threw – but the pass was completed.  In the picture on the right, Jesse had better protection and I got him just as he released the ball (it’s just to the left of the orange first down marker) – that pass was completed, too.


After the game, I got a chance to spend a few minutes with a very tired, battered, and sore quarterback before we headed our separate ways.  I suspect he is still sore today.

Friday, August 19, 2016

I Have an Absence Excuse . . .

I was out of the office yesterday.  For once (rare this summer), I am not away at a show.  But when I turned on my computer this morning, many of the messages that I read asked the same question – “Why aren’t the new Tim Holtz Crayons on your site yet?”

Thankfully, I have an absence excuse . . .


I spent the morning and afternoon at Kings Island (massive amusement park just north of Cincinnati) with Ryan and Emily.  While there, I learned a very important lesson – I am getting too old for thrill rides.  I have always been susceptible to motion sickness, but could avoid it at amusement parks as long as I didn’t eat anything.  No more – my head and stomach were not happy.  But we still had fun . . .


And the best image of my day came from behind.  I got home in time to let my system settle before the evening activities . . .


Announcing the final scrimmage before the high school football season begins next Friday night.  Living in a small town, this is the best view of life in the fall – and this is where I will find almost everyone I know.  I put this picture on my Facebo0k page last night, and a high school friend from New Zealand (he was an exchange student and played football at our school in 1975) mentioned that he would like to come back to see a game and hear me announce.  I told him that I only plan on doing this through the 2049 season – anything over 70 seasons just seems greedy.

But enough about my day – I started catching up on the work stuff this morning . . .


There are new Distress goodies from Tim Holtz on the horizon – and the first shipment should arrive on Monday!  Two new sets of Distress Crayons, a Distress Ink Kit, a Distress Crayon Watercolor Kit, and more.  There are also new Dylusions Stencils and some other items I’m still finding.  So click on this link to see what’s new – and check back in a day or two to see what else I have found . . .

Friday, August 12, 2016

Just Another Weekend on the Road . . .

You get the best of our weekend when you go to our booth at a show.  But I hope you realize that for us it is a working weekend – we spend a lot of time on Friday getting our booths ready for you, and often our evenings involve much more than dining out and socializing and such.

Take this weekend, for instance . . .


I drove from Dayton to Detroit on Thursday afternoon – through multiple construction delays and two detours – and arrived at my hotel just as it started pouring rain.  This was the view of the remnants of that little cloudburst shortly after it departed the area . . .


Friday morning, we started setting up our booths.  Now I won’t kid you – not everything we do seems like work.  This image of Mitra and Chris from Impression Obsession was much funnier in real life – Chris was turning himself into a contortionist working on that piece of gridwall while Mitra supervised . . .


Once the booth was set up, I went outside and took some more pictures . . .


Because this is a new location for us and I wanted to put some info on our Facebook page to make it easier for customers to find us on Saturday and Sunday.

Got back to my hotel about 7:00 and watched the Olympics while I checked our e-mail – where I discovered that Tim Holtz had been busy today . . .


Which necessitated some time putting new items on our site and making some banners and such to promote them.  And in case you might like to see them, click on this link . . .

And with that, I had better call it a night – because I’m looking for a whole crowd of you in our booth tomorrow and Sunday!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Join the Movement . . .

What started as a weak attempt at humor – in what has become an ugly political season – has started to gather a bit of steam.  And it has truly been fun . . .


I had this great picture of Zoe looking regal, and saw a banner at the YMCA soliciting donations for underprivileged kids, with the idea that the Zoe (a little girl) in its campaign could grow up to be president in 2064.  And I thought, “That’s 48 years away – my Zoe can run now.”  So I put a graphic on the blog, and printed a couple of 6” x 11” pictures of it – one for my refrigerator at home, and another that I put near the cash register in the booth in Collinsville, Illinois.  A customer there suggested that the “Vote Zoe” movement needed its own Facebook page . . .


So on Friday evening in Collinsville, I created the Vote Zoe 2016 Facebook Page.  If you haven’t seen it yet, by all means click on the graphic or the link – take a look at it and “like” it!

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Within a day, friends and customers started sending me pictures of their dogs (just a few of them pictured here) to be considered as potential vice presidential candidates . . .


And Mary Kay (who used to be Stamp Camp) sent me a picture of her cat.  The “vetting” of running mates has been such a blast – I have shared all of them on the Facebook page.

Then the next week, I put the picture in our booth in Grapevine, Texas – where the show promoter saw it and said, “Oh, I thought this was bigger – I was expecting a banner.”

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So when I got home from Grapevine, I went online and ordered a banner – which went up in the booth in Cincinnati last weekend.

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And with the Friday night theme being “Create Your Own Tiara” – it seemed only logical . . .

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Ginger from our store wanted one – so did Pat from Northwoods, who wore hers in their booth all evening . . .

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Constituents of all ages (and genders) wanted one – a lady even had the campaign on her phone!

I told my wife a couple of nights ago that I have had more fun with this campaign than any I could remember – and it had absolutely nothing to do with the candidates from the “other” parties. 

You are invited to join the fun – go to Facebook and “like” the page – and if you’re interested, you can send a picture of your dog (or cat) with a short description of qualifications so I can post it there for “vetting” as a potential running mate.

Monday, August 8, 2016

More Stampaway Fun . . .

Here’s a sampling of Stampaway fun that wasn’t tiara-related . . .


This was one of the coolest things I saw all weekend – and at first I thought it was just a nostalgic sign.  Laura from Creative Vision Stamps is actually able to make a stamp for you while you’re shopping at a show – I checked with her later on Saturday afternoon and she only had one spot left.


This shopper had her priorities in order . . .


The obligatory photo of the quartet from Christy’s Main Street Memories in New Concord, Ohio (though the fourth – on the left – is new) – along with the chocolate mint cookies that Leanna brought for us (made from the recipe I shared with her years ago).

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Robin and Keia Arnold have helped us at shows since Keia was about ten years old (she is a third-year teacher now).  Keia didn’t really need the cart to get around, though her little toe got more than a little boo-boo on Thursday evening and she was limping around Friday and Saturday.


Robin works part-time at McDonald’s – I guess one of the perks is a fancy water bottle . . .


What better way to spend your birthday than at a show – with friends who made sure that everyone knew?


This nice lady didn’t see our baskets next to the demo tables – but she did find an empty box from the books we gave away earlier in the day and made her own . . .

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I turned around mid-morning and saw a familiar face demoing for Simply Said Rubber Stamps – Barry Payne works part-time at our store.  Then I turned around later in the day and Barry had been replaced by his wife, Maureen . . .