Monday, May 15, 2017

Story Time . . .

I spent a large portion of the past week in Novi, Michigan for the 18th Annual Great Lakes Mega Meet.  Every time I turned around, I saw something that just demanded a picture and a story.  Didn’t have time to take all of the pictures or tell all of the stories, but here are some of the best, in a very “stream of consciousness” order . . .

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I thought I would get one good story when I saw this mother teaching her daughter about Copic Markers in front of our display.  I was wrong – on two counts – the daughter was teaching her mother, and I got the first of four stories . . .

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I learned that Isabella (age 10) is a Copic expert – she has watched all of the YouTube videos and is making it her mission in life to collect all 180 colors of Copic Ciao Markers (which to me seems much more useful than collecting Pokemon).  We had so much fun while Isabella searched along with her mom, aunt, and grandma – and her personality just sparkles.

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Ten minutes later, I found another mother/daughter tandem scouring the Copics.  I was sure that Elyse was about 16 – wrong again – she is 22 and just graduated from the University of Michigan.  Elyse and her mom went to Las Vegas for graduation – and she got carded on the casino floor because security thought she was underage.  I told her that she may be offended now, but she will love it when she is still getting carded on her 40th birthday.

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Another ten minutes passed, and I met Bree and her mom – Bree is eight and just starting to learn about Copics.  It was so much fun to watch all of these families interact and spend quality crafting time together in our booth.

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Could I have one of every color, please?

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Anthony Gilbert from Anthony’s Paper Craft was again demoing in our booth – and he attracted customers of all ages.

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We donated a couple of door prizes each day that the promoter announced on the loudspeaker.  This was the first winner – and she had three friends helping her to decide which colors she wanted from our sale cardstock shelves.

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The calm before the storm, just before the show opened on Thursday . . . once promoter Kate Griswold took pictures from way up on a ladder (maybe I need one that size for our giveaways?) and counted down the last few seconds, it was off to the races . . .

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This nice lady came through my line on Thursday. As I was ringing up her purchases, she said "I have your love letter on my phone"... and I stopped short for a second... until I realized she was referring to our e-mail with the $2.00 off coupon. And then I laughed, as it has never been called that before... but that's really what it is... and describes so well how we feel about our customers and friends.

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This is Shawn . . . I know this because two of her friends were trying to get her attention from next to my cash register Thursday (Shawn was in a long line in the next booth)... they kept calling "Shawn! Shawn!" but she didn't hear them. So I decided to help them out . . . my voice carries (imagine that) . . . one "Shawn!" from me and her head snapped up, with an immediate look that said "Why is this stranger calling my name?"  A few hours later, she won a prize in our giveaway... and of course I said "Shawn won a prize!"  Saw her again Friday morning . . . "Good morning Shawn!" . . . and took this pic.  Our customers are good sports . . .

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A lot of you may feel this way – thankfully, you don’t let it stop you from keeping us employed . . .

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Told this nice lady that I had never seen a "frontpack" before.  Anthony corrected me . . . not without a child in it.  She said she had been wearing it on her back, but every time she turned she swatted someone with it.  So it became a frontpack and less dangerous . . .

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Doesn’t help much to have a concession line intended to get the vendors back to their customers quicker . . . if it’s closed . . .

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The nice lady on the right rolled her eyes on Friday when I gave her a ticket to our giveaway, and proceeded to explain how unlucky she is at such things.  Once she was at a bowling banquet – there were 81 people there – there were 80 door prizes – and she was the one who walked out without a door prize.  Sure enough – Friday she didn’t win.  But Saturday was another story . . .

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Baked before I left home last week, at the suggestion of Phil Krebs from Art Impressions – I shared some with Phil and Bonnie last fall in Tennessee, and two weeks ago in Akron, Phil asked me when I was going to make them again.  Since I needed something for Mother’s Day that would go in the freezer, I put half of them away and brought the rest to Michigan . . .

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Five views of the same delightful Michigan sunset, taken over a span of about 45 minutes during teardown on Saturday . . .

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Rolled into my cul-de-sac about 1:00 on Sunday morning – just in time to catch a few hours of sleep and pick up Mom for church on Mother’s Day.  I actually took this shot last week to show Dad that we had arrived safely – Mom broke her foot two days before they came home from Arizona and was just learning how to get around on her scooter.  Those things are so much better than crutches . . .

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Finally, two shots from our family Mother’s Day gathering – proving that grandparenthood and great-grandparenthood look good on my brother and our parents . . .

Thursday, May 4, 2017

More New Goodies . . .

Some of you have been waiting for me to get my act together on these for a week.  Thanks for the reminders – the Akron show was hectic, getting ready for MegaMeet in Detroit next weekend is hectic, and in-between I sometimes even do stuff at home.  But finally . . .

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Seven New Framelits Die Sets from Sizzix are headed this way in June.  Two of them (Flutter and Flower Jar) match corresponding Stampers Anonymous Cling Mount Sets.  The rest are sets of Stitched Circles and Stitched Squares, two sets of Alphanumerics, and the fourth in the Mixed Media series.

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Click on the graphics to see the sets individually, or click on this link to see all of them at once.  As usual, advance orders are 20% off the MSRP with free shipping in the contiguous U.S. until the first shipment of each item arrives.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

They Grow Up So Fast (and Other Akron Sightings) . . .

Twenty years.  That’s how long we have been attending Adventures in Stamping in Northeast Ohio – first at the Holiday Inn in Independence until the show outgrew it, and since 2002 at the Knight Center in Akron.  This show was Bill Petal’s dream, and became his legacy – Bill died in 2002, just a month or two before the show was first held in the Knight Center.  Bill’s wife Cindy and his best friend Fred Barbetti (along with Chris and Nora, Don and Eileen, and the rest of Bill’s firefighter buddies) have turned it into one of the best shows in the country.

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This caricature of Bill Petal is still on the back cover of the program every year – a customer was looking at it on Saturday, just as Bill’s son John walked past our booth.  And, in an instant, I realized that a little boy who lost his dad way too soon has become the spitting image of his father.  I looked for him later in the day so I could take his picture, but he was already gone – so I swiped this from his Facebook page.

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Here’s another one who is all grown up – Jillian Vance is graduating from high school this year (she has already finished two years of college).  I walked by their booth while she was near this sign.  She is another of the kids who have grown up on the show circuit.

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Here are two images from the Knight Center that you will never see.  The “porter” vest is on the back of a cart used during setup and teardown – and because of it, I couldn’t get the theme from “My Mother the Car” out of my head.  For those of you who are not well-versed in really bad ‘60s television, My Mother the Car was a 1928 Porter.  And where else will you find a pay phone and a Bat Phone side-by-side?  Yes, I realize that the actual Bat Phone didn’t have push buttons . . .

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In our booth, Anthony Gilbert made his first appearance at our demo table.  I learned very quickly that in Northeast Ohio, everyone knows Anthony – and that is probably one of the reasons why our booth rocked all weekend.

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Also seen at our demo table – this young lady is the future of crafting (and our hope of continued employment).  Talent and missing front teeth make an adorable combination . . .