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National Stationery Show Set-Up

So, I'm back at home and trying to remember last week. It went by so slowly, yet feels like it didn't really happen. I'm trying to remember all of it - the good and the painful (my swollen feet and ankles!!) - to share, but my brain is back on Texas soil and time.

I thought maybe I would blog from there, but set-up was too busy to write - and I had to pretend to help my husband do all the work. I have a jacked up shoulder, so lifting anything above my head wasn't gonna happen. My range of motion kept me from doing most things. So, boy, was I lucky my big, strong fella was there with me! And believe me, I thanked him over and over.

Once set-up, I felt weird posting from in the booth. Didn't want to look detached or uninterested. And in the evenings, Casey and I went to dinner and walked around the city. The evenings were chilly, but so worth the adventures. I may write a post just on where we ate!!

Anyway, the set-up.

It started with the crate fiasco of 2019. It was seriously a first-world problem, but caused logistics issues. I won't go into the details, I'll just say that it cost us a little extra time before we could start laying the floor, which was the first thing to do. Casey got right to work on that. About halfway through, he realized they could have been locked together in a consistent pattern, whereas he had laid them out as he went, causing a puzzle look. At that point, I knew there would be bigger things that would require I time so I said fuck it, and had him leave the floor as it was. A  lot of people are probably surprised to read that - not because I cussed, but because I didn't let it bother me. It bothered Casey far more than me. Somehow, I was able to just let things be. I think all of the planning and prepping led me to feel the bigger picture was what mattered. Next time, however, we will put the floor in the right way - or I'll get a new floor without a set pattern to it. I actually have a few new floors picked out...

Then came the lights (up above so shoulder said nope) and the s-hooks for our hanging card slats. I couldn't do that stuff, so I "supervised" until we got to slats that were low enough for me not to have to raise my arms as high as the sharp pain announced. (I do plan on getting the MRI my doctor told me to get, by the way.)

The slats are the cool way we came up with to display the cards without hard wood or foam core walls. They hang from the mentioned s-hooks from the pipe and drape set-up that comes standard with the booth. The slats, made of a thin wood, are strung up with a really tight fishing line and little alligator-style clips keep the slats from sliding down the line. Each slat has several hooks hammered in and the cards are hung by those. 

I decided against hard walls because of cost and ease of set-up and take-down. I just happened to inherit wood walls after planning dates off and travel, so walls wouldn't have fit into the time we had, so I have the walls stored for another time. OR - if the right buyer comes along, I am thinking of selling the walls. 

You see, I was able to get up close and personal and hear of some alternate sources of foam core walls than I'd heard of before. A source that's 1/2 the cost as the company I'd heard of. Knowing the walls are way cheaper than I first known, and because they go up and come down so easily, I may sell my walls and just do the foam core. NOTE to future exhibitors: the walls MUST be flame-proof, so you have to pay extra for retardant foam core.

After we hung the slats, Casey got to work on the dresser I used to hide my crap and display my novelty items like decals, an enamel pin, pencils, etc. We planned on taking it back apart for storage but later decided it was OK to donate it to someone who could use it. It was a cost I had to eat, since I planned on reusing it, but so much can change between now and the next show, that I decided it was an OK decision. That was another thing Casey was great at - letting me bounce ideas off of him and having him actually listen and provide good feedback. I wouldn't have blamed him for being a zombie, but he really was 100% present for me. I love that man!

While Casey put the dresser together, I hung product. That was a tricky thing for me, because I don't do a lot of occasion cards. Most of my cards are everyday or can be used for multiple occasions. My "Bring it" card is popular and can be used for birthdays, weddings, new jobs, babies, and so on. So I can't really pigeon-hole my stuff into categories. So I decided to display by collection. And I did have holiday cards that I hung together by date of event.

After set-up, we headed out for dinner and to rest at the hotel. And the next day was a whole new beginning to my National Stationery Show reality. Up until then, it was a dream I worked toward for months. On that Sunday, when the doors opened, so did my eyes!

And that's a post for another day.