"Time" For New Products From Uppercase Living

Lisa Asay, one of Uppercase Living’s creative divas, put together this description of one of our newest products – UL Clocks!  These are so cool, and I just had to share her posting with you…

I wanted to share a bit about a new product from the 2009 Fall/Winter Idea Catalog that I am completely in love with—the UL Clocks! They are so much fun! And what a unique product concept. Let’s face it, what clock can you purchase and then customize in your choice of 45 colors? On top of that, we offer two very different styles, so you’re sure to find one that fits your taste.

Here’s the Traditional Clock pictured in a living room setting, but what’s great about this clock is that the design is so simple that it can fit into almost any room in your house.

And how fun is this? We put it in a playroom setting for our Convention display, but this funky design isn’t just for the kids. With the right color choice, this clock will fit perfectly in any home with a more modern or contemporary style.

If you’ve been wondering about the difficulty of installing the clock mechanism, it couldn’t be easier. Each clock comes with a set of instructions, and it truly only takes a few minutes to install. In addition, each design has two little dots in the center indicating where you need to insert the screws, so there’s no guessing involved! And at only $39.95, these clocks are sure to be a hot item at  all of the Uppercase Living Open Houses this fall.


August 13, 2009 at 9:50 pm Leave a comment

Get Creative With Your Family Tree

Summer is the hot season for family reunions and other gatherings, and a great opportunity to get creative and decorate!  To help you get the ideas flowing, Christina Stark, Uppercase Living’s creative diva, created a quick and easy “family tree” design that includes a number of unique ideas you can use for any occasion. All you need is a few minutes to create your own version of this using our all-new MyDesign Suite™.  When your order arrives, you’ll have the perfect design for an eye-catching welcome as guests walk through the door!

To begin her design, Christina opened the MyDesign Suite, which can be found on my website under the Products tab.  She first prepared a Blank Surface using the drop-down boxes at the bottom of the screen, matching the color and dimensions of her on-screen “virtual wall” to those of her actual wall. Then came the fun part—adding expressions! She formed the foundation of her design with a 22”x42” Majestic Tree (item #16500; Part 1: Antique Bronze; Part 2: Shoreline Blue) from the UL Exclusive Expression list. Next, she added a personal touch with three short custom expressions. First came her chosen family surname, “Parker” (Murray Hill, 5.5”, Antique Bronze), followed by “Family Reunion” (Souvenir, 2”, Terra Cotta) and the event year, “2009” (Souvenir, 3.5”, Shoreline Blue).

Now for her favorite step of all—photos! To make her design special and memorable for every guest, she selected 7 high-quality family photos and used UL’s elegant Scalloped Frames (4496004, 4”, Terra Cotta) to frame each photo on her tree. She wasn’t able to upload the photos into MyDesign Suite, but it was still easy to create the look she wanted with just the frames.

Wow, that was fast! After only a few minutes, her on-screen design looked just the way it does in this picture. After printing the design for reference, she saved the design and ordered it.  When the order came in, she used her printed layout as a guide to help her apply the designs to her wall.

Every expression Christine created in MyDesign Suite is applied separately, so she started with the tree (starting just below the table top) and then applied her custom expressions. Before applying her photo frames, she sized and printed her photos so that the photos’ edges were slightly larger than the frames’ inside openings. Next, she peeled off the backing paper of each frame and placed each photo face down on the vinyl. The frames could then be applied to the wall with the photos in their proper place. With a few finishing touches—a classy lamp to balance out the height of the tree and a few decorative twig globes—her design was ready for the family gathering.  Isn’t this awesome?  The great part is anyone can look this creative with the MyDesign Suite!

There are many ways to use this kind of design. Turn your child’s room into a forest with a number of differently sized Majestic Trees. Use any UL Frame to display your favorite family photos or your child’s growing years—whether for a birthday party or for a permanent home design. The possibilities are endless, so take what’s provided here and make it your own!

*Make sure to use either duplicate photos or high-quality photo copies (not originals) that are of light-weight material (not cardstock) for this project.

August 12, 2009 at 12:52 am Leave a comment

Dad's Final Trip to the West Coast

As executor (executrix?) of my dad’s estate, part of my duties include fulfilling his wishes regarding his final resting place.  Or, in my dad’s case, places.  You see, my dad was one of those people who are so giving and loving, so family-oriented, that sharing themselves just comes naturally.  And so it was to be with his cremains: part to rest with his first wife in St. Joseph, MO; part to rest with his second wife in St. Louis, MO; part to rest with his mother and sister in Seattle, WA; and part to his favorite spot in the world at Ecola State Park, OR.  Last month, we embarked on a trip to bring the West Coast ashes to their final home.

On July 17th, my husband and I flew to Seattle with 3 suitcases and 4 carry-ons of varying sizes.  In one of the suitcases and one of the carry-ons were things from my dad’s apartment (and most recently my garage) that we were taking to my sister and a cousin in the Seattle area.  In one of the tote bags was a small box of my dad’s ashes and a larger, water-soluable urn of ashes.  All of these bags and totes made us look like we were moving instead of just visiting.  But American Airlines was quite happy to take our $55 for checked-luggage fees.

One of my cousins picked us up at the airport and, after spending several hours in her lovely home in Tacoma (and delivering her lamp), she drove us to Lake View Cemetery near Volunteer Park in Seattle.  There, on top of one of the hills, we gathered with my sister and her husband, other cousins, and even second and third cousins, to bury a small portion of Dad’s ashes between his mom’s and sister’s headstones.  It was a stunning day, and the cemetery is in a lovely setting overlooking the city.  Each of us said a few words and added flower petals around a wonderful photo my brother-in-law had taken at that very spot several years earlier when we visited Dad’s family site.  How incredibly fitting it was to return him there with that photo, nestled between two of his favorite women.

After this simple, touching memorial, we all went to one of the cousin’s house for a wonderful cookout/potluck.  It was such a treat to spend time with everyone, telling stories and catching up, laughing and picking on each other, and sharing great food and drink.  Long into the evening we chatted, eventually finding the men on the deck around a patio fire and the women inside comfortably ensconced on the couches.  It had been years since I’d seen some of my second cousins, with marriages and new babies filling in the intervening years.  What a blessing this evening was for us all.

The next day, my sister and brother-in-law drove us to Portland, OR where we stayed with one of the cousins who had come up for the Seattle memorial.  Once again we had a wonderful evening together at their lovely home.  The next day, after picking up a rental car, we drove out to Cannon Beach, the charming coastal town near Ecola State Park.  It was windy and overcast with the morning fog bank, so we bundled up and gathered up the tote bag containing Dad’s urn and the remaining flower petals.  The beach wasn’t crowded as it was still early and cool.  I saw children playing at the surf’s edge, dogs chasing seagulls, and a group on horseback up the coast towards the tall peninsula from which one can see stunningly beautiful vistas of the Oregon Coast.  Turning to look down the beach, I could see in the mist the famous “haystack” rock sitting out in the water that is the icon of Cannon Beach.  It brings back memories of other times I’d been here with my parents, and makes me ache that it’s Dad’s last visit to a place he’d always loved.

With shoes in one hand and the totebag in another, I waded across a small, shallow river that was also making its final journey to this beach.  A soft spot in the river’s sandy bed brought me to my knees in the chilly stream, laughing and sputtering.  After pouring the water out of the totebag, I realized that not only had I gotten the urn wet prematurely (remember, it’s water-soluable), but I had also dunked my little purse which contained my phone.  Smart phones are no longer smart, or functional, when immersed in water.  Knowing there was nothing I could do about it at the time, we continued out to the waves.

My Seattle cousin had been wise enough to suggest we  consult the tide chart before doing this.  Whipped by the wind, we stood at the water’s edge and talked of Dad and his love for this Coast.  We cried and laughed and said good-bye to a wonderful man.  Then my cousin walked the now cracked urn out into the surf and placed it in the the cold Pacific Ocean.  Immediately it was swallowed up, and Dad was released to the sea.

Godspeed, Dad.

August 6, 2009 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

Happy Birthday, America

I love living in Munster, Indiana at this time of year.  Actually, I like living here just about any time of year, but particularly around Independence Day.  It is the small-town America that you see in the Chevy ads, and its activities and decorations make it a joy to live here.

Somehow it seems the whole region gets decked out in red, white, and blue, with flags hung from porches and banners fluttering along the main streets.  Little kids still decorate their bikes and trikes with flags and crepe paper, and families still line the streets for the parades.

And what parades they are.  First come the firetrucks and police cars with their sirens waling and their horns blaring.  Then the politicians in the convertibles tossing out Tootsie Rolls and Laffy Taffy to the kids lining the route.  Marching bands playing patriotic tunes follow with the flag team tossing their banners high.  The crowd still stands and applauds when the VFW honor guard passes, but I notice most of the gentlemen ride now because they can no longer walk so far.  I tear up every time I see this group, smaller each year, thinking of my dad and all of the WWII vets that are no longer with us.

This year was the first without my dad, who loved to come with us to picnic in the park while we waited for the fireworks, and who always stood up as the veterans passed by in the parade even when he struggled to do so.  He proudly wore his Navy baseball cap during these events, and I can still see him smiling and tearing up when things turned particularly patriotic.  I find I do the same thing these days.  More and more, I tear up at anything that’s moving or inspiring.   Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s that things are more precious to me than ever.  I don’t know.

What I do know is that I love Midwest America around this time of year.  I love the fireworks, I love the community concerts in the park, I love the little league kids on the parade floats, and I love the spirit of freedom and gratitude that seems to seep out of the very pores of this region.

May God bless America and keep us safe and free.

July 4, 2009 at 11:47 pm Leave a comment

Make any event a one-of-a-kind memory!

Tis the season for milestone events like babies and weddings, but who says you have to spend a fortune on run-of-the-mill shower decorations, party favors, and gifts? With a little bit of creativity, you can create personalized, inexpensive gifts and decor that your friend or loved one will cherish for years.

I’ll start you off!  Some of the Uppercase Living corporate staff recently held a baby shower for an employee, and here’s what they came up with for an “It’s a Boy!” baby shower display:

As with any good design, they started their display with the very basics: color scheme, graphics, and text. They chose two coordinating colors (Sky Blue and Green Tea) and a neutral color (Bright White), then picked out their embellishments—Elephant (size 5” and 12”; item #4482105 and 4482112) and Face Card Heart (size 2”; item #4485002).  MyDesign was the next step—and a huge help in creating an expression that was meaningful for their shower recipient. They created a 2” custom expression—Welcome Baby Boy Olsen—in a playful, perfect-for-a-baby-shower font called Jot.

On their wall, they created the ideal focal point—a mommy/ baby pair—using two differently sized Elephants (one mirrored, so they face each other), three hearts (grouping items into threes, or any odd number, is a popular technique), and their custom expression. Repetition is essential in design, so they also placed their 2” Elephant embellishment on their favor boxes.

To round out this darling display, they purchased a metal tin (you can find similar gift items for a steal at Wal-mart or Target) and decked it out with a series of alternating-color alphabet letters in a boyish font called Princetown (2” Sky Blue ACEGIK; 2” Green Tea custom BDFHJL; 5” Sky Blue B for the top).  They embellished the tin lid with a 9” Hollow Circle embellishment—once again, Sky Blue—and repeated the primary font, Jot, in a custom “is for baby” expression.

The last item on the list was the memory-keeping keepsake for mom. They found a white photo album and turned it into a pretty baby book with two embellishments: a Sky Blue B (2.5” B in Jot) overlaying a Green Tea Round Medallion (size 3”; item #4476803).  A touch of ribbon, a plush teddy bear, some chocolate candies (of course!), and a few balloons were the perfect final accents needed to finish off the design with style.

That’s it!  Custom décor for any shower. Now that you’ve got your next party idea in the bag, let the oohs and ahhs begin!

Want even more wonderful designs?  Check out my website!  http://WordsWithMelissa.uppercaseliving.net

June 23, 2009 at 9:57 am 1 comment

Uppercase Living named Ernst&Young finalist

I wanted to share some exciting news with you!  Uppercase Living was recently selected as a western regional finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program and was featured at an awards banquet last Friday.  We were named one of the three finalists in the “Emerging” category, a category which features young companies that have achieved impressive results in their early years.

Some of our executives attended the awards evening and had an enjoyable time celebrating the accomplishments of our company as well as the accomplishments of entrepreneurs from all industries.

Thank you to all of the customers, demonstrators, and staff who make Uppercase Living a company worthy of this distinction!

For more information regarding the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program, please visit their website at http://www.ey.com/US/eoy.

June 20, 2009 at 4:01 pm Leave a comment

Graduation day

What a weekend!  It start with us loading up a big truck with Scott’s stuff Friday night, then driving it to Indianapolis Saturday morning to unload it at Scott’s new apartment.  We made a hasty drive back that afternoon so that we could pick up Ken’s mom at Midway Airport.  Then today, we all went to Adam’s high school graduation in the afternoon and out to dinner to celebrate.

I guess it didn’t really hit me until I saw Adam standing there in line, ready to process into the field house in his red cap and gown, that this was really it.  Our last child was graduating from high school and we had no more kids in the Munster school system.  All of the years in the elementary, middle, and high schools were over.  How could this be?  It seemed only yesterday that Scott was starting at Munster High and now both he and Adam have graduated.

Adam looked so tall and handsome in his graduation garb.  He was fretting because they gave him a silver stole to wear draped around his neck rather than a gold one (which showed he only earned “honors” instead of “high honors.  “Only”?)  While I could certainly understand him wanting the credit he was due, the important thing is it showed up on his diploma and transcripts as “high honors”.  That, and the knowledge inside of what he accomplished, is all that really matters.  He has really worked hard to get where he is, and we’re so proud of him.

One of the highlights of the day happened just before we left the house to go eat.  Adam’s godmother went to the graduation and was coming with us to dinner, so we were sitting at home chatting about the day.  Harriet, Adam’s godmother, gave him a small gift with card that explained the significance of the gift.  The gift was a wonderful gold ring inset with ivory carved into the head of an eagle.  This ring had belonged to Adam’s godfather, who had it made as an eagle-lover, and he wore it regularly.  Now John’s eagle ring was going to Adam on this milestone day.  I’m sure John would have been thrilled that his ring was going to Adam (who, incidentally is an Eagle Scout), and I know Adam was truly touched that Harriet gave him such a treasure.  While it may be a while before he will wear it, I know this will remain a special memento for him.

So now what?  Well, Adam will be attending DePaul University in Chicago come September, studying Gaming Design and Development.  He is really excited about it, and it looks like a great program.  DePaul awarded Adam the Dean’s Scholorship, which will definitely help with the v-e-r-y large tuition bill, but coming up with the rest of the funding is going to be a challenge during these next four years.  I know that Adam will do what it takes to make it happen, as will we, and that it will be an awesome experience for him.

The years go by, our children grow up, and milestones pass one by one.  Days like this are what parents live for, whether their children realize it or not.  I guess they won’t until they are parents themselves.  And if they are very lucky, they will themselves be sitting in the stands in the high school field house, listening to Pomp and Circumstance being played over and over by the school orchestra, and seeing their child in the mass of graduates ready to launch into their new life.

I hope they bring tissues.

June 8, 2009 at 12:17 am Leave a comment

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