Pictured at the right is Mark Rice of Displays That Pay installing the SHOWCloud interactive marketing display at the Schnarr’s Hardware Webster Groves location. I’ve been working with Mark since 2005. I work for both Schnarr’s Hardware and Displays That Pay which gives me an exciting opportunity to experiment with Display’s That Pay’s SHOWCloud marketing communications application to best serve Schnarr’s customers.
If you want to stop by Schnarr’s Webster at 40 East Lockwood to see the new display, it’s located on top of the drinks cooler across from the registers. It’s also been playing for some time toward the bottom of the front page of the Schnarr’s web site – my presentation can be embedded within a web page. That’s one of the things I really love about using SHOWCloud – versatility. A wide variety of devices that have the capability of running a web browser or that have an HDMI port can run my SHOWCloud presentations. Such devices include laptop computers, desktop computers, iPads, smartphones, e-book readers, and flatscreen TV’s. Sometimes when the computer in the paint department at the Schnarr’s Ladue store is not in use I’ll go over to the paint counter and open a window to this url so that paint department customers can see it: http://www.daasx.com/chasenfratz/ladiesnightpreview
As you might guess from the URL (web address), I started out using this presentation to promote one of Schnarr’s past Ladies’ Night events. Over time the content has changed and will be ever evolving and updating. If needed I can make multiple presentations tailored to different locations or different devices within one store. For example, if a store has different departments there could be different content at each station. The application can show more than just slides – I can add in web pages, video, live content and fun interactive applications.
Any place with access to wireless Internet can display SHOWCloud. Here is a picture of me last fall at Missouri Botanical Garden using an iPad to show a presentation promoting the Master Gardener program and the topics prospective participants would study. If you want to see the slides close up, here is the url: http://www.myshowcloud.com/chasenfratz/stlmg
Below is a picture of me and my Displays That Pay colleague Jason at the Startup Connection 2016 event held in November at Washington University. There are a variety of examples in our booth showing how SHOWCloud can be used on different devices, including a multi-screen variation that gives additional flexibility, functionality and impact.
I can also update these presentations from anywhere that has an internet connection – from home or on the go. That’s very convenient and is a quick way to get timely information to our customers. I’m excited about the possibilities! Stop in to Schnarr’s Webster to see how we’re using this great new tool!
I’ve been having lots of fun and keeping busy since I joined the teaching team at the JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts store in the Deer Creek Shopping Center in Maplewood, MO. Last weekend we were having a rubber stamping and paper sale, so I came in to demonstrate how to make greeting cards with rubber stamps. On my demo table I also showed some products that are good for card-making and in the shadow box are samples of upcoming classes that I will be teaching. My upcoming classes include Kid’s Hand Sewn Initial Letter, Kid’s Beaded Wish Bracelets, Make an Art Journal, Easy Button Bracelet and Kid’s Hand Sewn Bee Art. Go to my Classes and Events page for my schedule of classes and demos.
My own sewing skills can always use improving, so I took the Comfy Pants class from instructor Miss Kate. I had a great time and made my first ever handmade clothing item (unless you count the Barbie doll clothes I made when I was young). I did a lot of sewing when I was a kid but I was afraid to use a sewing machine and did not learn how until I was around 40 years old. I have done some sewing on a machine but I sewed simple things made from my own patterns such as table runners, scarves, fabric pouches, laundry bags, pillows and the like. Making clothing from a commercial pattern was something I had never done before and I’m thrilled to learn how to take my sewing to the next level! Kate knows a ton of things about making high-end clothing or simple clothing like my new Route 66 themed pajama pants!
I hope you can join myself, Miss Kate and the other teachers at our Open House this weekend!
Teacher Open House Date: February 11 and 12, 2017 Time: 11:00 am – 3:00 pm Location: Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts
3200 Laclede Station Rd.
St. Louis, MO, 63143
Join myself and other members of the teaching team at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts for an open house! See what projects we’re working on and find out about upcoming classes.
The Schnarr’s Hardware store at 9800 Clayton Rd., St. Louis, MO 63124 has a very active shipping department that does UPS shipping and sells a selection of shipping supplies. Greeting cards are also offered and I have some of my own cards on the rack there for sale now. They are all handmade and blank inside. The current selections include cards for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, as well as Birthday, Thank You, and multiple occasion cards. I decorated the cards with a variety of paper craft techniques including collage, stenciling and rubber stamping.
Some of my cards are also available with other handcrafts in my online store in the Handmade by Carolyn section.
I recently lost the art studio I had been renting and combined with some other much worse sad things that happened in my life around the same time, I have had a rough time lately. When you’re feeling bad, one of the quickest ways to make yourself feel better is to help someone else. Artists First studio in Maplewood is a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities. Their mission is to foster independence through self-expression. These clients need access to an art studio even more than I do. Helping them reminds me that I have a lot of blessings even though I’ve had some bad losses also. I’ve been doing some volunteer work on my last couple of visits helping to organize supplies in the paint room. I don’t know what my next assignment will be but it’s likely in the future that I’ll be teaching the clients how to use some of the supplies. I have some previous experience teaching art on a volunteer basis to people with mental illness and mental disabilities.
For more information about the Artists First studio, here is their web site: artistsfirststl.org. This is a great cause if you have any time or resources to contribute.
It was only a few days after my participation in Operation Clean Stream on the Meramec River that a fellow member of the St. Louis Adventure Group Meetup suggested a float from Sunset Hills to Arnold. Kelly was trying to experience some sections of the Meramec that he had not yet floated and I’d never been on that stretch either so I agreed to join him on September 2, the Friday before Labor Day.
This part of the Meramec would not be everyone’s idea of a great place to paddle because it doesn’t have the fast-moving crystal clear water that many of our Missouri streams are known for but I enjoy large rivers and bodies of water that require a lot of paddling. I don’t mind semi-urbanized areas because I enjoy exploring around bridges and other large scary structures. When I was a kid, on occasions when my Dad would take us boating on Lake of the Ozarks or Table Rock Lake, if he piloted the boat too close to a dam or bridge I would scream and cry. I don’t scream and cry if I get close to a bridge now but I do get a weird kind of thrill from it. I probably would scream and cry if I got too close to a dam – even the little tiny one at Creve Coeur Lake gives me a queasy feeling!
Kelly’s plan was to meet at what would be our takeout point, Arnold City Park, where his neighbor would meet us to kindly help us with our shuttle. Our put-in point was at Minnie Ha Ha Park in Sunset Hills, a 10 mile float by river but only a 10 minute drive from one point to the other. This route is a very efficient way to get in a lot of paddling for a small expenditure of driving time.
On the left is Kelly with our boats at Minnie Ha Ha Park. Since it was a weekday and the holiday weekend had not started yet there were a few people fishing but not much traffic on the river – most of the time we had it to ourselves with only fish, turtles and birds for company. The picture on the right is of George Winter Park, located where the river bulges out in a strange manner as you can see from the map at the top of this article. Kelly explained that much sand and gravel has been and is being mined from the vicinity causing lake-like sections that are a lot of fun to explore.
A few times during the day we pulled onto a gravel bar to stretch our legs a bit or eat lunch. There are banks that are too steep or muddy to climb out of the vessel but also plenty of gravel bars that are just right. The picture on the right shows the Hwy. 21 bridge in the distance. This section was toward the end of our float and we’d been paddling against the wind for quite awhile so a little time to sit back and drift while taking pictures was welcome.
This last pair of photos shows the remains of the boat ramp at Arnold City Park on the left and the Lemay Ferry Rd. and Hwy. 55 bridges on the right (the Hwy. 55 bridge is the one in the distance). Flood damage has rendered this boat ramp pretty useless to all but small watercraft like ours. If you can’t hand-carry your boat down to the water look for another boat ramp to use. The rocky shoreline was not that easy to disembark from either, I did it without falling on my butt but it was close. My footwear for the day was imitation Crocs – something sturdier would have been safer for scrambling around on the rocks and debris.
Our float took about five hours including a stop for lunch and maybe an extra hour and a half or so for shuttling, loading and unloading. We could have added more padding miles by more thoroughly exploring all the little coves and inlets but we only did a few. If you float this section, a map would be a good idea because the geography can be confusing. There is not a lot of shade along the way so make sure you have plenty of sunscreen! Watch out for jumping Asian carp – I don’t know if there is anything you can do about them but be aware just in case. None hit me or jumped in my boat but a group splashed me pretty good and put a momentary scare into me! The myriad of parks along the Meramec are worth exploring on foot and by bicycle. The natural flood cycle of a river can take things away but it also gives by making some land suitable for recreation rather than development. Enjoy!
The Lower Meramec River, which runs from Sullivan, MO to the Mississippi River, is not one of the most popular sections to paddle. If you enjoy lake paddling or exploring large rivers, you might want to take another look at the Lower Meramec. I paddled two sections recently and enjoyed it tremendously.
On August 27, 2016 I joined some other volunteers to participate in Operation Clean Stream, sponsored by the Open Space Council. On this day there were several locations we could pick from. I brought my own kayak this time so I chose a route that was not serviced by an outfitter.
I checked in at Castlewood State Park in Wildwood and met a great group of people at the put-in point on the beach. This fun and hard-working group of volunteers and I headed downstream toward our eventual takeout point at Green Tree Park in Kirkwood.
At one point I had to paddle upstream for awhile to go back to that sandbar because I thought I had lost an item there. It turned out I hadn’t lost it but I did learn one thing – it’s pretty easy to paddle upstream (perhaps up to Route 66 State Park?) so it’s possible to go for a solo paddling outing from here without worrying about a shuttle. Just paddle upstream for awhile then downstream again to get back to your vehicle.
Taking photos like those above could be hazardous to your safety if you are not careful! The current is pretty swift here so I probably should have concentrated on steering the kayak. It was pretty awesome to see all the logs stuck in and on the bridge from the Flood of 2015 which was of historic proportions – can you believe the water got that high? This bridge is not far from Simpson Lake, where I participated in flood cleanup in February.
I’m pictured at the left with Eric and Kim. On the right are Simon and Tim at the takeout point at Greentree Park, displaying part of our haul. It’s only about a six mile float from Castlewood State Park to Greentree, but it took us a good part of the day because we stopped a lot for trash. Trying to retrieve trash from a boat in a current will really test your paddling skills – you have to be able to maneuver in and out of tight spots, enter and exit frequently without tipping, be able to approach and dock alongside obstacles safely and have a good idea how far over you can lean to grab something. You’ll exercise different parts of your body than you’re used to – a great workout!
On August 14, 2016 I joined a number of other paddle sports enthusiasts at Ozark Outdoors Riverfront Resort in Leasburg, MO for a day of cleaning trash from the local streams as part of Operation Clean Stream. We had our choice of different route lengths. I selected the 9 mile route which placed me with a few recreational floaters on the Bluffs section of the Meramec River. Other volunteers who opted for shorter routes were taken to put-in points on the Courtois and Huzzah rivers. Ozark Outdoors provided breakfast, trash bags, vessels, paddling gear and transportation. At the end of the day we dropped off our trash and equipment on the beach at the resort. Since I was the only volunteer to choose the long route, I was one of the last if not THE last to finish.
It rained for nearly the entire day, which I didn’t find to be a bad experience at all. My nylon rain poncho eventually soaked through but it was warm enough for me not to get cold and my torso was warmed by my life jacket. The rain was quite soothing and beautiful and it’s nice to see the river in different conditions. Rainy weather proved to be no impediment to picking up trash, in a way it made it a little more pleasant because at least the trash was fairly clean! Every time I stopped to clean up a sandbar I had to bail out the canoe with a Gatorade bottle that I found but that was no big deal. I didn’t bring my phone because it doesn’t hold a charge very well these days so my only photo of the day is of the trash pile (at the end of this article) when I was able to recharge the phone enough to get a picture. The Ozark Outdoors Facebook Page has some photos of the event.
The Bluffs section is very scenic and I recommend it for a great float. I have floated that stretch before but did not use the same outfitter so my put in and take out points were not the same. Ozark Outdoors used land they own for both so I’m not exactly sure where the put-in point is on the map at the beginning of this article. It was at the former site of a resort called The Bluffs which no longer exists.
Ozark Outdoors is practically right across the river from Onondaga Cave State Park. If you’re camping at the park, the resort has a well-stocked store if you need to make a run for more provisions. The resort is large and has a lot of services – cabins, camping, pay showers, ample restrooms, canoe and kayak rental and more. The staff seemed to be organized, friendly and committed to promoting responsible enjoyment of our streams.
Moving sale: 50% off my entire inventory of handmade gifts and craft supplies!
Studio:art is closing and the more I sell the less I have to move!
Come to Studio:art at 7403 Manchester Road, Maplewood, MO before August 25 (the date I have to be out) and enjoy huge 50% off savings! You can pick out something for yourself or get an early start on your holiday shopping if you know someone who likes handmade things or makes art and crafts! Here is a sample of what I have on sale.
Jewelry findings, scrapbooking supplies, rubber stamping supplies and tools, paper crafting supplies!
Items handmade by Carolyn on sale: Bracelets from $5-8. Artwork from $4.50-32. Necklaces from $6-27. Earrings from $4-5.50. Ankle bracelets $4.25-7.50. Decorated wood boxes – $4.50-22. Ceramics – $6.50-27. Wood garden signs – $32. Greeting cards – $2-5. Decorated fabric bags – $3-32. Ornaments – $6-12.50. Matted 8 x 10 photos – $9.
Jewelry tools, stencils, brayers, more!
I’ll be adding more photos of sale items to my Instagram as I get them priced, but all my items are 50% off even if they aren’t marked yet – the studio manager knows to charge 1/2 price. I hope you can come and get some great deals!
I hope you can join me for my next class at my new Studio! Learn rubber stamping and other paper craft techniques as we make St. Patrick’s Day cards. Participants will be provided with enough paper and cardstock to make at least two cards, two different card sketches and written instructions to take home.
I will have paper, cardstock, templates, rubber stamps, punches, decorative scissors, ink, stamp pads, paper cutters, stamp mounting blocks, tape, glue sticks, tracing paper, embellishments and other tools and supplies available for you to use during the class. If you have any of the following tools or supplies, it would be helpful to bring them – there will be less wait to use tools if participants bring some – but it’s not a requirement. If you bring tools please mark them to indicate ownership.
Optional tool and supply list:
Clean scrap paper
Craft knife and blades (X-Acto or something similar)
Rubber stamps (St. Patrick’s Day or Celtic themes if you have any – spirals are good too)
Stamping ink pads and re-inkers in the following colors: Dark brown, shades of green
Acrylic stamp mounting blocks
Awl or needle tool
Small hole punch
If you have any questions about the class please feel free to contact me.
If you choose to pay ahead of time to get the discount for pre-paying, I will send you a PayPal invoice via email. Alternately if you prefer to pay by Square I can take your information over the phone. Credit card processing at the studio will be with Square. Beginner stampers are welcome. Children under 18 must be enrolled with a parent as I think parents are best able to judge their child’s ability level and what tools they should be allowed to use.
Supplies for the class are included in the class price. I will have some paper crafting supplies available for purchase the day of the class in case you see anything you want to add to your stash but you will not need to purchase anything additional to make the class project.