Monday, July 31, 2017

Your Message in Fabric . . .

I see lots of t-shirts when I am traveling – some pledge allegiance to sports teams, some to brand names (I am always amazed that people pay for shirts that advertise for Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Under Armour and more).  But t-shirts with unique messages are the ones that catch my eye.  Here are a few that I have seen recently . . .

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These were spotted in Colllinsville, IL this past weekend.  The fellow on the left said he has lots of t-shirts with messages (he wore a different one on Sunday) and enjoys how people react to them.  And Christy says she is often asked to “pose” for a picture when she wears this shirt.


This is the 15th year a show has been held here in Collinsville... Janice and Susan worked with us at the very first one!  I told Susan that I appreciated her advertising . . .


Here’s one from the show in Shakopee, MN a few weeks ago – this is my kind of a balanced diet.


Sometimes, we get a trip down Memory Lane – I posted this one on the blog a year ago when we were in Lakeland, FL – it’s from the first StampFest back in 1996.  My string of perfect attendance there began with the first show we ever did there in 1997.


And some of them are handmade – these are also from last year in Lakeland.  I promised them last year that I would use this picture on the blog – this year, they reminded me about my promise and thought I hadn’t used it then.  Just found it – I did – but it’s worth repeating and hopefully they will see it this time.


These aren’t t-shirts, but they have a message – Deb Buchanan set up a Facebook page promoting the Collinsville show and encouraged folks who joined the page to wear “chalkboard nametags” so they could meet each other.  She even brought prizes – a couple of times each day, the promoter asked for ladies wearing chalkboard nametags to gather at the front entrance and a prize drawing was held.

I didn’t have a chalkboard nametag, but I “won” a prize – Deb and her friend Mary (center) helped me tear down the booth at the end of the show!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

60 Years . . .

I have so much catching up to do – this seems to happen every year during the summer show season.  I think my best bet is to try to sit down each day and share a few images that I have observed over the past few weeks, interspersed with new releases and the Stamping Gala in our store that’s only about a week away.  So let’s begin with a milestone . . .

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June 28 was my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary.  The celebration was held just last weekend, and it was my fault – I left for a show in Florida on their anniversary, and last weekend was the first one I had been home since then.  Thankfully, everyone else was available then as well.

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Amazing how little has changed since 1957 . . .


And how much has changed.  There was a time that doesn’t seem so long ago when I was the little one sitting on their laps – now I get to sit on the Old Folks’ Couch with them and Amelia has the prime seat location.


Of course, no family occasion would be complete these days without a picture of Grandpa with his pride and joy . . .

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Tim Holtz Stamp Platform Update

It is said that good things come to those who wait – and a lot of you have been waiting for the Tim Holtz Stamp Platform since January 17, when we started taking advance orders for it.

It is here – and the general consensus is that it was worth the wait.

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These are not promotional pictures – a small shipment arrived minutes before I left for Texas for a show this weekend and I took several shots with my cell phone (before I edited them, a few showed my foot in the background).  I brought a couple along to demo in the booth and take orders, and the customers raved about them today.

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Yep, still reversible.

Since Wednesday, we have received confirmations from suppliers that at least 800 and perhaps more will arrive next week (at present, we have taken advance orders for more than 1,000).  Given some time, that should get us through several months of orders – I will be back at the mail center by midweek and will jump in to help Debbie and Patti get them out quickly.

If you haven’t taken the plunge yet, this is your last chance to take advantage of the advance order price of $31.99 (20% off the MSRP with free shipping in the contiguous U.S.) – when I get back to the mail center, it will go to the MSRP and usual shipping charges will apply.


And thanks to several of you who asked about the Tim Holtz Stamp Platform Zipper Sleeve and wanted to carry their platforms in style . . . hadn’t heard about that one yet – but we found it.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Future Is Still Bright . . .

Every show so far this year, I have seen more and more young ladies in our booth – and they are excited to learn more and more about crafting (some of them are teaching their moms and grandmas what they are learning).  Down the road, they are going to keep all of us employed . . .


This was last weekend in Kissimmee, Florida – Rennae brought her own money and knew exactly what she wanted (and exactly what she was going to do with it).

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Minnesota was no different – lots of talented young ladies working on backgrounds at our demo stations.  It is so much fun to watch them create – and their excitement is contagious!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

My Heroine -- and Likely Yours as Well . . .

I am in the midst of a run of six shows in seven weeks.  Doesn’t leave much time for anything more than traveling and doing the show.  So I am sitting in a hotel room in Minnesota this morning, a week behind in telling stories from last weekend’s show in Florida – with next weekend’s show in Texas already staring me in the face.

But there is an incident from the Florida show that needs to be discussed – and one of our customers who needs to be applauded.


This was the view from my cash register about half an hour after the show opened in Kissimmee last Saturday.  Nothing unusual – the booth was packed, I was running the cash register, Anna Ely was at the demo table, and Melinda Sutton was running around in the booth helping customers and answering questions.


And then Ivette Rodriguez entered the scene, waving to get my attention as she walked up to the cash register, and telling me that I needed to chase after two women who had just walked past me and were headed toward the door.  I didn’t get it at first – so she continued – “They have your stuff in their bags!”

So I walked quickly into the lobby and as I reached the two women, I could easily see two large rolls of Scor-Tape in one of their shoulder bags.  So I escorted them back into the hall and waved for Sandy from StampFest to follow me.


I have a full picture of the two women that clearly shows their faces – really wanted to post it to let them absorb the embarrassment, but I have heard various opinions of the legal ramifications since ultimately no charges were filed.  So I have cropped it to simply show what these two thought they were entitled to take from us (and ultimately, YOU!).  Ivette got my attention again during this process to make sure that I understood that the second woman had exactly the same thing in her shoulder bag – and that she had overheard one telling the other “Oh yes, you need this!” as they were slipping the rolls of tape into their bags.

So they paid for their “purchases” – honestly, would you risk having a criminal record for the rest of your life for $40 worth of crafting tape? – and I asked Sandy to escort them to Debby Drabik (the StampFest promoter – and the angel who gave us our first opportunity at a show 20 years ago, when no one outside of Dayton, Ohio had ever heard of us).  Bluntly, I had Sandy take them to Debby because I had customers patiently waiting for me, and I knew that Debby would scare the hell out of them before she kicked them out of the show – and she did.

But this story is more about Ivette – we rely on honest people to be our eyes in areas that we can’t see during a busy show.  Ivette could have chosen to look the other way, or simply not to become involved.  And I am grateful that instead, she chose to protect us.


I am not a Karma guy, but I find it amazing – and fitting – that later in the day Ivette Rodriguez won two gift certificates to our booth from the StampFest folks.  And I posted on our Facebook page a picture of Ivette with a brief summary of what she did for us – it has been viewed nearly 12,000 times.

Sometimes it truly does pay to be a Good Samaritan . . .