Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Last Day of Our Annual Sale . . .

I didn’t realize until yesterday that I neglected to put a note on this blog about our annual sale – and today is the last day!  So if you haven’t seen this yet, you have until I get up on Thursday morning and click all of the appropriate buttons to turn it off to get 25% off practically everything on our site . . .


And free shipping while we’re at it . . .


Please go to and save!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Coupon Contest Winners . . .

Tough choices every year – the locals get really creative when we have our annual “Make Your Own Coupon” Contest.  And the best part for me is that I am not one of the judges – I merely take pictures and report the results.  I also don’t know what the prizes are – winners can pick those up at the store.  So without further delay . . .


First Place – Created by Laura Jack


Second Place – Created by Diane Stilwill


Third Place – Created by Marge Reising (my picture does not do the 3-D effect justice)

20171127_162042_resized honmention1

Honorable Mentions – Jeanette Alley and Sharon Twardowski

20171127_161432_resized 20171127_161458_resized
20171127_161503_resized 20171127_161517_resized

And a look at the rest of the entries.  Thanks to all who participated!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Learning to Read . . . Filthy Fingers . . . and Gridiron Marketing

I was invited to a birthday party on my block a couple of weeks ago – my friend Aeridan turned seven.  Birthday wish lists are easy these days – his was posted on Amazon.  Looked through it and found something that appealed to me – a couple of clicks later, it was on its way to me.  Then I wrapped it and took it to the party.


Got this pic a few hours later from Aeridan’s mom – and decided that I needed to get a second copy for another of my favorite seven-year-olds.


Gave it to her during setup for the show in Madison, Wisconsin last weekend.  Alana Lindeman is part of our traveling minstrel family – she and her big sister, Noelle, have been on the road with Steve and Michelle and the Toomuchfun booth since they were born.  Michelle told me later that Alana had been reading aloud the whole weekend.

20171119_100313_resized 20171119_163907_resized

Alana spent her usual time at our demo table during the weekend, but during teardown I noticed that she was reading again, so I snapped a picture over her shoulder when she wasn’t looking.  Later, I took a break and sat down with her while she read me a story from the book and I fought back tears.  They grow up so fast . . .

boothdemo 20171117_204708_resized

The weekend also resulted in a couple of sights rarely seen at a show – me at a demo table during the Friday night event, and the resulting handful of discolored digits.

20171119_142900_resized boothipad

This is much more my style – Brian from Craft Fancy had football on the big screen during the show on Sunday.  He didn’t have an antenna on Saturday, so college games were on the small screen above my cash register.  I told several customers that this was not just a way to keep the vendors occupied – with customers stopping by regularly to check on the score, this was creative marketing . . .

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

2018 Date Changes . . .

I know that some of you plan far ahead and travel long distances to come and see us at shows – so I am probably going to say this several times over the next few months . . . most of the Heirloom shows are going to be Friday/Saturday in 2018.  This will not apply to the January show in Grapevine, Texas – it will still be Saturday/Sunday.  But the following shows will be affected . . .

Friday/Saturday, February 2 & 3 – Lawrenceville, GA (Gwinnett County Fairgrounds)

Friday/Saturday, March 23 & 24 – Danville, IN (Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds – replaces Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis)

Friday/Saturday, April 6 & 7 – Allentown, PA (Allentown Fairgrounds)

Friday/Saturday, June 1 & 2 – West Springfield, MA (Eastern States Exposition)

Friday/Saturday, July 13 & 14 – Grapevine, TX (Grapevine Convention Center)

Friday/Saturday, August 3 & 4 – Port Huron, MI (Blue Water Convention Center – replaces Gibraltar Trade Center in Mount Clemens)

Friday/Saturday, October 12 & 13 – York, PA (York Expo Center)

The rest of the shows that we regularly attend are unaffected – most are Saturday/Sunday except New Port Richey, FL (Saturday only), Novi, MI (Thursday/Friday/Saturday), Cincinnati, OH (Friday Evening/Saturday), and Birch Run, MI (was already Friday/Saturday).

Friday, October 27, 2017

Pumpkin Night 2017 . . .

It’s one of our favorite family traditions, every year since Ryan was little.  In late October, we plan a night to carve pumpkins.  Ryan and I were always “freehanders”, but when Emily joined the mix, she introduced us (mostly me) to stencils.  And we got more creative . . .


As usual, our supervisor was on duty . . .

20171024_201930_resized 20171024_201938_resized

Emily likes really BIG stems on her pumpkins, and was so excited about carving them this year that we got two for her.

37111 20171024_204005_resized

This is probably the biggest challenge that I have ever attempted, and I came up with the idea in the few minutes before Ryan and Emily arrived.  This is the athletic mascot from the local high school (yes, stolen from Michigan State years ago – I always preferred the old one, but it would have been impossible to carve into a pumpkin).

37119 20171024_210130_resized

And then we took them outside and displayed them on the front porch . . .

20171024_212704_resized 20171024_205826_resized

With a few family shots . . .


And one for my Facebook page.  Hope you and your little beggars have great weather, and a safe and Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Random Musings, Part 2 . . .

More thing I have observed during the past few weeks . . .


This nice lady won a door prize to our booth at the show in Fort Wayne three weeks ago – she is 86 years old, and said this was the first time in her life that she ever won anything.  Her second time came much faster – she won a prize in our giveaway later that afternoon.


This lady was helping out in Riley & Company’s booth in Fort Wayne (for the uninitiated, Riley is a moose), and brought appropriate cookies to setup on Friday.

20171007_101617_resized 20171026_103758_resized 20171026_103808_resized

Found this leaf on the floor in the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne.  It was mine – I used our company truck to deliver a tree to the house in mid-September.  It’s called a “Wildfire Blackgum” – supposed to have spectacular red leaves in the fall.  Of course, I have hoped for this with several trees in the yard over the years without success – though the picture I took this morning of the first red leaf makes me hopeful.


Spotted while refueling in eastern Ohio on the way to York, PA – this one was headed on a long and winding trip across the country, making multiple promotional stops along the way until it reached its new home on the west coast.


Got to my hotel in York on a Thursday evening, assuming that I would be channel surfing between the baseball playoff game and the Thursday night football game.  Instead, I got two big TVs in my room . . .


Steve Lindeman’s pen collection – spotted in the lobby outside the show in Fort Wayne.  Apparently he really wants customers to fill out those door prize cards . . .


My daughter-in-law Emily at her knitting club – I was her designated driver because her car was being repaired . . .


Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I became a year older – and got my two birthday wishes fulfilled once again.  I got a phone call from Mom and Dad at 6:53 a.m. (the time I was born), singing Happy Birthday to me.  And I got to enjoy lunch with my parents and my brother – we have done this every year for more than 2o years – it’s how we started and I cherish our time together, just the four of us.  By the way, if you’re wondering – no, my parents don’t call my brother on his birthday at the time he was born, and he appreciates that – he was born at 1:52 a.m.


Apparently the folks at the fairgrounds in York really want people to know where the exit doors are located . . .


This is really random – the lineup caught my eye and for some reason I felt compelled to take a picture.


Obligatory crowd shot – this is also from York . . .


Celebrity Emeritus sighting in our booth in York – Maria Repsher used to be one of us.  You might remember her as “Another Stamp Company” – it was really good to see her again.

20171015_145334_resized 20171015_170834_resized

Finally, no trip east would be complete without some fun with my dear friends Dee and Cal Ruger.  They saw this enormous (think as big as a cookie sheet) Rice Krispie Treat at Cracker Barrel and couldn’t resist – I often eat the mini version while working at shows, and they have brought me a box of those in the past.  I couldn’t help but laugh – I had seen the same thing in a Cracker Barrel in Ohio just a few days before.  And Dee found a semi-deflated balloon floating around during teardown and just had to attach it to Cal . . .

And now, I think I am caught up – tomorrow, we’ll carve pumpkins . . .

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Random Musings . . .

I think I need to do more “single thought” posts, rather than waiting for several things to share at once – because by the time I have several things to share at once, I’m busy getting ready for a show (or I am already there).  And then time passes . . . you get the idea.

For now, here are some random things I have seen over the past several weeks . . . it will probably take me several days to get through all of them.  When I get to the point where all I have left are the pics from my family’s annual pumpkin carving night, you’ll know that I am up-to-date . . .


I took a picture of this lady’s phone at the show in York, PA – it reminded me to update those of you who voted for Steve Lindeman’s video on Audible.  Steve says he made the cutdown to the final 100 entrants – from there, Audible employees apparently pick the winner.  So he still has a chance to win the grand prize (a Volvo) – I told him that if he wins, I should get his Escalade for my efforts . . .

20171021_085859_resized  20171019_183727

Steve again – this time at last weekend’s show in Sevierville, TN, with some of the advertising he did to try to draw a crowd in an area where there are a lot of tourists.

20171021_095704_resized 20171021_095728_resized

Looks like it worked – this was the crowd outside the convention hall just before the show opened on Saturday, while the booth sat waiting idly by just inside . . .


The Lemondrop Kids – last weekend in Sevierville.  There were actually seven of them, but I could only get six together at one time.

20171021_101205_resized 20171021_100050_resized

Guess who was across the aisle from me in Sevierville?  Yep – our good friends Darlene and Picasso, out of retirement for one weekend since they now live 20 minutes away from the show.  I shot the pic of Darlene’s video playing on continuous loop in their booth and remarked that her hair was a lot shorter then – Darlene said “Yeah – it was a lot darker, too.”

20171014_115209_resized 20171020_115423_resized

Bounce briefly back to York, where our longtime customer Nancy Knies was lamenting the lack of her two favorite demo artists (Darlene and Sue Rothamel from USArtQuest).  I mentioned that Darlene and Picasso were going to be in Sevierville the next weekend – Nancy already knew, and had tried without success to get time off work to attend.  But she showed me two buttons that she wears all the time, which I had never seen before, paying homage to Darlene and Fred.  So in Sevierville, I grumped long enough to get a complete set of my own . . .


Friends move, but never get completely out of range.  Suzanne Reed helped in our booth in Grapevine, TX for many years, but her family moved to East Tennessee about three years ago.  So now we catch up one weekend a year in Sevierville.


My “niece-in-law” Gina is a huge Harry Potter fan, so I couldn’t resist sending her this shot when I saw it in the booth in Sevierville.


One final relaxing shot, mostly for me – the convention hall in Sevierville is right next to the 18th green of the adjoining golf course.  I played it with three Tennessee friends on Thursday, then sat on the patio on Friday during setup while eating my lunch.  The weather was simply gorgeous all weekend, and I knew from the long range forecast that I was going home to rain and chill.

That’s enough for today – come back tomorrow and I’ll tell some more stories . . .