We knew Army Andy would be home sometime in January...as it turns out he arrived on Saturday, December 29. (For once the Army pace was faster than expected. Bless them.) I made a flying trip to see him over the New Year's holiday. I left Saturday morning and came home New Year's Day, driving more than 1400 miles in all. It was worth every. single. mile. I drove to put my arms around that boy again. He's taller and bulkier than I remember, and he walks differently. And yes, he's a little cocky. Would we have it any other way? LOL! It was just good to be near him for a bit.
It was also very nice to see the rest of my family and spend some time away from home alone. During Christmas I missed my family so much...I was so glad to see them. I almost never get to spend time with my parents without my children...it was a nice change and an added bonus. Driving alone is a very relaxing thing to me. I can turn up the radio and sing like an idiot without caring about who may be listening. I can stop or not stop, depending not on who needs to "go", other than myself. I can shop in peace along the way.
Speaking of shopping...
On Saturday, I stopped in Jackson, TN at Memory Boutique and at both of the scrapbook stores in Memphis--Archiver's and Eclectica, the new chain store and the inde store, respectively. Unfortunately, Memory Boutique was going out of business. What they had was half price, although there wasn't much left. That stop only took about ten minutes. It's sad that they are closing...but the owner I spoke to said that they are hoping to find a place with less expensive rent and re-open. I hope that works out for them.
This was my first adventure into an Archiver's (this Memphis location has been open since September I think) and I have to say, it wasn't bad. I confess--I didn't really want to like it--my heart is always with inde stores, and Archiver's is a chain--but, dang. They had everything! And then some. I did some damage and even found several things I've been searching for locally without success. (Mostly things I think Scrap It would have offered if they were still around...boo hoo.) It was not a personalized experience like visiting an inde store usually is, but it was hugely stocked. There were a ton of people there and a serious crop going on in the crop area.
My greatest discovery was an iridescent white glitter paper from the new Smitten line by K&Co. Even at a whopping $2 a sheet, (insert the super-big-eyed "oh my goodness" emoticon here) it's awesome because it is thin enough to be used with the QK Revolution die for Snowflakes! Love that! (Other glitter papers I have tried have been too thick.) I've already started making glittery snowflakes with the Revolution flake die and they are positively yummy. I tried taking a picture but I can't capture the "glittery-ness" so you'll just have to use some imagination. :)
I also picked up the giga-sized scalloped circle punch from Marvy-Uchida. Talk about a freakin' big punch! The scalloped circle punch is just a hair shy of three inches across! I've been eyeing it for a while but didn't want to have to pay the outrageous shipping costs to order it online. (Cheapness...sorry.) I do love it tho. I'm using it right now for my cards for the Valentines Swap at Scrap'n Memories. Punches have always made me giddy and this one--even tho it probably weighs more than my actual heart--is no different.
Archiver's was (until Saturday) well-stocked on buttons, but not so much anymore...I indulged in those pretty packages of buttons like there was going to be a shortage. LOL!
In my time as a scrap shopper, I've been to all kinds of stores. Little stores, big stores, in-between stores, well-stocked stores, poorly-arranged stores, stores with Bazzill and stores without (don't bother)...but I rarely (like never) get overwhelmed. It just doesn't happen...but I must say that visiting Archivers in Memphis was almost overwhelming. I got to the half-way point and seriously considered sitting down for a rest. It's a very full place and while most of the product was familiar, I didn't want to miss anything! As I noted earlier, it was a very busy place too. The aisles are one person wide and getting around was a little uncomfortable. A few people were trying to maneuver strollers around and that didn't work out very well at all.
The staff was friendly and the bathroom clean and well-stocked. I'm not a fan of stores that are arranged by theme (boys, girls, Christmas, beach, etc) usually...and this case was no different. The lovely bag of pink buttons was in the "baby girls" section...why wasn't it in the Valentines section and the snow section as well? And the buttons section too? Anyway, it's a "thing" with me...but it obviously doesn't stop me from shopping. LOL!
One thing that did strike me as really weird and lacking in fore-thought--right in the front door was a large display of Christmas stuff that was being reduced for quick sale (since Christmas was over). Unfortunately, much of this product was in baskets on the floor, under the edge of the table, so in order to shop this merchandise, a deal-seeker had to bend over or squat down. Ummm, I like a good deal as much as the next girl but I don't really want my backside to be the first thing someone sees when they walk into the store. (blushing emoticon here.) LOL!
Samples on the walls were a little sparse. Signage was ok. Prices seemed a little higher than normal. I noticed that cat eye ink pads were $2.29 there when most everyone else sells them for $1.99. Stickles was $2.25. Other places sell Stickles for $1.99. No Bazzill. I did appreciate a larger than usual selection of 8.5x11 cardstock, tho. The $1.99 bins were fun but the clearance section was a pain to shop. The discounted paper is basically impossible to shop unless you sat in the floor. Aisles were very narrow.
Eclectica is always awesomeness! I enjoy going there so much.
(I'll finish this in a bit.)