FLOAT ABOUT... © Copyright Sun/July 23, 2000 Issue #26

Whether you were flipping tofu or hamburger... over the 4th of July weekend, I trust everyone had a good time? I know the weather didn't cooperate in many regions. If that was so, you need only wait until Labor Day for your next chance. Retailers are stocking their shelves for Back to School so Labor Day can't be too far behind. In or outside the USA, I sincerely hope everyone is enjoying the summer season. So much has happened since last we spoke, I feel like I best dive right into it.

Dumbo in flight over Circus grounds (see New Arrivals/Disney/Movie set of 10...)

New Disney designs... were expected to appear at company Stores in Chicago, New York and Las Vegas in 2000. The year is half over... where are they? Bill and I were in the Chicago area this month. I was unable to visit the main store downtown, but the Oakbrook store was dry. I also thought Disney designs would surface in Florida, but I haven't heard a peep. Since USA Disney seems to be void of pens, Miranda helped me obtain several Disney movie sets from a Netherlands distributor. You will find them under New Arrivals/Disney. If demand exceeds supply, I may be able to get more. I was obligated to purchase them by-the-set, so it is necessary for me to offer them exclusively in sets. So very sorry I do not have any of the movie pens in singles. I am anxious to hear about any new Disney designs you may uncover.

Someone mentioned that all of the Disney Stores in Germany have closed their doors. Is it true?! London, Paris and Rome are going strong. In fact, they are offering their own sets of three pens that depict monuments in each of their cities. I have the Rome and London sets in my collection... Paris is on the way. They are all twist n clicks, but very nice. Brian tells me Disney Stores in Florence and Venice have sets as well. Looks like American collectors will have to travel extensively or arrange for foreign trades to get their Disney pens, at least for now.

Eskesen's Visitors Day... a big hit! Even though most of us were unable to journey to Denmark, a large group of collectors from around the world made their way to the May 29th celebration. A young lady from Japan, a family from England, several German and French collectors, and of course, many Danes... chose to honor their invitations. Finn Sorensen, accompanied by his children, visited for 8 hours. Brian and wife, Gitte, brought their daughter and 2 grandchildren in for the day. Brian measured the success of the event by the mass amount of pastries, hot dogs, beer and soda that were devoured.

Visitors were given the opportunity to take several tours of the facility. I get goose bumps just thinking about walking the factory floor while the pens are in production. Eskesen's owner, administrative staff and factory employees were in attendance and mingled with the collectors. The company is always impressed by the enthusiasm and loyalty of their fans. With 13,000+ pens in his collection, Mr Zanat of France, holds the Guiness World Book title. He was a welcomed and honored guest.

Well the festivities have ended for yet another year. Perhaps next year will be your turn to party. Even if that isn't likely, it's fun to think about it. Happy Anniversary Eskesen!

MEDIA SIGHTING, well... almost! Sunset will release a new edition of their Interior Decorating with Color book this fall. They took several photos of Sandra Watkin's loft apartment in San Francisco. One includes her table display of float pens. Details to follow in issue #27. Speaking of Ms Watkins... she is in Holland and plans to meet Miranda on Monday. Our global community pulls us closer together every day.

Islands magazine... to feature float pens. Leslie Elman has put the finishing touches on her article which is scheduled to appear in the November 2000 issue of Islands monthly magazine. And by the time November rolls around you might forget all about it. That's ok... it will be my pleasure to remind you.

The Scoop on the Collectors Pen.... Contrary to popular belief you do not have to own a giant float pen collection to be included in the collectors pen project. For inclusion you need only be a float pen enthusiast and have $50-$55 to invest. Each participant will receive at least 30, as many as 40 pens, shipping charges included.

The final cost will be determined by the number of people involved in the project. As many as 21 names can be squeezed onto each pen. There will be two pens, so there is room for 42 participants, maybe a few more. We have to consider the combined effect of long names plus short names. I currently have 30 interested collectors. At this point there is room for 12 more + four alternates.

The prototype is pictured. The background panel was accidentally flipped. If you look closely, you will see a globe hiding behind the hot air balloon. There will be two globes positioned below the balloon. One for North America... the other features Europe. There has been some discussion about running the year '2000' between the two globes to date the creation of the pen. With minor revisions the pen will be ready for production.

In the scan, I allowed the four float pens (that float) to fall all the way to the bottom of the window. There are three float pens that remain stationary in the foreground. The picture will be the same on both pens. Only the names included in the caption panel will differ from one pen to the other. My name will not appear on either pen, but my website will be on both. Listing the website will provide a contact link to the group.

The caption panel on the back of the pen will appear as follows:
'Eskesen (picture of a float pen) Collectors United...' followed by 20+ names in alternating bright colors.
The pen ends with '... www.FloatAbout.com'

Names will be accepted through midnight August 1st. They will be considered in the order they are received. After August 1, all potential participants will be provided with the final details. Until the details are reviewed and accepted, there is no obligation to stay in the project. Payment must be received by August 21st to guarantee inclusion. To save shipping expenses I will be handling the USA parcels... Miranda is going to deal with the European packages. List of names to date. Should your name be on the list?

The Bosfolk Folk Dancing pen... is a reality! Miranda had 550 pens manufactured by Eskesen for an annual celebration held in Holland. I am offering these unique pens at an introductory price of just $3. When issue #27 is released the price will likely increase. Get them while they are hot, or should I say before they are NOT. Miranda also has them for trade and sale. The pens are not going to be reissued. If you are interested in some Disney Winnie the Pooh designs also contact Miranda mwittebol1970@kpnmail.nl

Bad trades make for bad blood... among collectors. It saddens me to relate this depressing news, but considering our numbers, this problem was bound to arise. As I mentioned in a special email bulletin, we may have a bad apple in our midst. Two collectors have told me they attempted to complete trades in good faith with an Irish collector. They tell me that they each shipped their trade pens and received nothing in return. They both pursued the collector with several emails, which were not returned, simply unanswered. It doesn't appear to us that the Irish collector intends to complete the trades. If you are approached by a trader living in Ireland, I suggest that you contact me or Jean-Yves Arnoult before you proceed. If you have had a similar experience please let the rest of us know about it.

Don't become a victim... of theft in the workplace! Two collectors have related horror stories about some of their favorite pens disappearing from their work desks. If you feel you must take your pens to work, secure them in your absence. Why tempt your fellow co-workers, security or the cleaning staff? In their place, could you possibly resist?

Oh... before I forget ... Linda McCormick picked up a copy of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion-Collections. In the chapter dedicated to Globe Trotter's Souvenirs Mary E states, 'If you crossed a lava lamp with a snowdome, you'd probably get a floaty pen - in which moving scenes are suspended in a gelatinous liquid. An inexpensive modern-day collectible, they could appreciate considerably in value over the coming decades.' A picture of float pens displayed in a test tube rack is featured. Thanks so much Linda.

Quickie Displays... are my favorite. The door to my pen room screamed for something campy. This retro Hawaiian Hula Girl (aka Layla) measures 37" from the top of her head to the tip of her curled up toes. So far, she has about 20 pens on her skirt, with room to grow.

The first step is to reinforce the hole that the display is suspended from. A piece of thin cardboard was applied to the back of Layla's head (covering the original hole). Double stick tape is a quick and easy means of attachment. One snap with a hole punch and it's ready to hang again.

Strategically placed slits, cut all the way through the display with an X-acto knife, provide a place to clip the pens. Hang the display backwards in a window, or over a glass door. The sun shining through will allow you to see exactly where you want to make your cut marks. Before you cut anything, mark your cuts with a pencil. Lay a piece of masking tape over each pencil mark. Then make your cuts. The tape will make the cut more durable. Tiny pieces of tape on each corner of the slice will prevent the slot from tearing open.

Layla was purchased at a thrift store, but any party supply store will have something similar for under $5. In time my collection may exceed Layla's capacity. I can add pineapples or related theme items and load them with pens. If the Hawaiian motif doesn't make your hips wiggle, there are a variety of themes to choose from. Make your first stop one of those half-price party stores. A penny saved is an extra penny towards your next float pen. (That is exactly the kind of logic that keeps me in trouble.)

The USS Missouri... affectionately known as Mighty Mo, was the last battleship built by the United states. She served in battle through World War II, Korea, and most recently, the Persian Gulf in Operation Desert Storm. Today she rests in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii as a Battleship Museum. Buy the float pen at Float About. Visit ussmissouri.org to shop for related items.

On the Road Again... Bill and I have participated in three craft fairs so far this year. I was thrilled to meet Norm Kautt at the Old Orchard show in Skokie, Illinois this May. Norm is a serious collector. He also provides me with sources for cool pens that he finds in his travels. Norm is extremely supportive of my endeavors and I treasure his words for encouragement. It was a joy to finally 'see' him. Sorry I missed his pen buddy Chris... maybe next time.

Float About posted late because we had two shows this month. We were in Oakbrook, Illinois the weekend of July 8th. A customer was browsing the items on our table when she looked up and asked 'Is your name Diana?'. When I replied 'Yes' she smiled. Kaye McDonald is a steady Float About customer. She was so surprised to find us in her neighborhood. I was delighted to meet her face-to-face. In the future, I will be sure to mention exactly where we are going to be set-up. Maybe we will get a chance to meet you too.

As summer winds down... we make that last mad dash to our favorite hunting grounds. Elizabeth Blondefield, hubby and kids weathered a whirlwind tour of Southern California hot spots. She relates the story of her trip to the Movieland Wax Museum. 'With my husband and two pre-schoolers in the van, I ran to the ticket counter to ask if I could just go into the gift shop. The clerk responded 'No, you have to buy a ticket to go inside ($12.95).' I told her I just wanted one thing. Again... 'Sorry Ma'am, you HAVE to buy a ticket'. So, I said, 'but I just want to buy a pen'. 'A FLOATY?' she asked!!! When she said that, I knew I had her! She called the gift shop and had them bring out one of each (they had two designs) for me! BINGO! I scored!' And I hope that sums up your summer hunting experiences as well.

Zamboni on ice... is nice. I received an email notice from Sandra Wychgel last Friday. The pen is finished, posted and ready to order. Zamboni Merchandising, Inc is offering it for sale on their website. Visit http://www.zamboni.com Click on Novelties. Warning... by our pricing standards, this one is expensive. I also recommend combining orders with other collectors to justify the shipping charges.

Pens Past, Present and Future... Danish writer, Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales have been commemorated in a set of float pens. Well, at least five of his most treasured tales are represented: The Emeror's New Clothes, Little Mermaid, Thumbelina, Tinder-Box and The Ugly Duckling. I wish I could give you more details, but I haven't seen the pens. They could arrive as early as Friday/July 28th. I will scan and post images immediately upon receipt. $15/set or $3.50 each. Reserve now if you wish.

Special Offers.... First, glitter pens. Your choice of any glitter pen in stock for $2. I am going to discontinue all of the plain glitters and continue to carry only the pens that include graphics. Secondly, Scripto Float Lighters are going on sale for just $3.25 each, until they are sold out. These lighters are made by Eskesen. They refill with a standard Scripto cartridge. They are very attractive and extremely collectible. Retail price is $4.50. Save $1.25 per lighter, while they last.

Float Aways... the latest addition to my category index. Pens that fall into this category are in short supply and will soon disappear from my list. For practical purposes I am going to trim the list down to 500-550 pens. Currently there are over 650 items and keeping track of it all wears me out. Cutting the inventory means less storage space needed too. It also frees capital to invest in new designs. Regarding quantities... there are 10 or fewer of each design included in this category. Some have been marked down. Pens that do not sell by the release of issue #27 will eventually end up on eBay. Visit Float Aways first.

New Arrivals ... of the Advertisement variety include: A media blitz from KRT Knight Ridder/Tribune and a new pen from the Nasa Glenn Research Center (formerly the NASA Lewis Research Center). Are you moving/buying/selling a home? Check out SOLD Real Estate. For clock watchers everywhere ... Time Watch Co (t&c). This one is a bird watcher's delight from the Wild Bird Center (t&c).

Animals... gotta love those Wiener Dogs
Casino... play blackjack in Las Vegas!
Events... A popular favorite, Welcome to the World Little One, has a new caption panel. It is now wallpapered with Teddy Bears and toy blocks.
The latest brides & grooms... features Eileen & John and the Harrell's

Humor/Messages... includes a new whimsical series of message pens:
Let's be Friends, Dreams Can Grow, Love Conquers All, I Don't Do Mornings, My Best Friend, Even a Teddy Needs Love. The set of six will sell for $15/set, or $3.25 each. But that's not all... continue to tickle your funny bone with Robots in Space and Always Use a Condiment.

Politics... Herbert Hoover reeling for fishes
Religion... (Pictured right) Anima Sola... A lone soul in Purgatory. (Fabulous)
Ships... For WWII and battleship buffs, the USS Missouri
Sports... I'd rather be Golfing.
Locations/Foreign... Hear the steel drums of Trinidad?
Location/USA... California dreamin' in San Diego and I should receive a new CA/Los Angeles/LAX airport pen any minute. The Presidential Seal floats over the lawn of the White House in the newest addition for DC.

The Future... Technically issue #27 should be released Sept 22. That is impossible. September is our heaviest craft show month. If we survive the Yankee Peddler Festival, Bill and I are tempted to sneak away for the first two weeks in October. We haven't had a vacation since 1997 and it is starting to take it's toll. Our trip would include San Diego (to see my only brother), San Francisco (to visit friends and do some sight seeing), and Seattle for business and pleasure. Our last two vacations have totally revolved around float pens and float pen business. Bill has asked that this time I try to slow down and have a real vacation. Even so, I would still like to set aside one day in each city to get together with collectors. If the vacation becomes a reality, I will certainly provide details.

Much to our astonishment... Bill and I enjoy our Tuesday and Thursday trips to the gym. Some of you have asked how it is going. Josh, our 25 year old instructor (or should I say babysitter?) is very patient and takes excellent care of the members in our group. We have met many wonderful and interesting people. I haven't lost an ounce or an inch, but I feel much stronger and energized. Our experience has been very positive. Oh! and the blood pressure meds continue to keep me migraine free. Life is good. How are you doing?

Just in from ... Linda McCormick. The July 24th issue of Time magazine contains a tongue-in-cheek article entitled Camp Dick. Go straight to page 20 to see three Richard Nixon float pens. What fun!

One more thing... I am looking for a new server and home for my website. Any suggestions?

Hasta la Vista my Floaty Friends!

The August Bulletin below was issued as a follow-up to issue #26.
May 2015 the August Bulletin was tagged to the bottom of issue #26, as a matter of convenience.

FLOAT ABOUT... © Copyright Sun/August 20, 2000 Bulletin

There is so much going on right now, I just couldn't wait until October to tell you! Consider this an interim bulletin between issues of Float About. I will make this brief.

Disney Update... direct from Eskesen. I have been told the reason we are not seeing pens in the Disney Stores is because they are 'sold out'! This fall we should find pens at Disney Stores in both New York and Chicago. Souvenir stands in Florida and California should also have inventory by autumn.

Peeps from collectors... Like many of us, Linda McCormick can really relate to Elizabeth Blondefield's experience at the Wax Museum. (Reported in issue #26) Linda and husband frequently park at a tourist site just long enough for one of them to run in and hit the gift shop. They refer to their hit-or-miss shopping style as 'drive-buys'.

Beverly Broadstone... lives in the Los Angeles area. Even so, it is still a surprise for her to see a celebrity. So she's driving along the freeway and spots Angelyne... the Billboard Queen! Beverly reports that Angelyne is exactly as pictured in her billboards and float pens. What a hoot!

The latest on the Collectors Pen.... 52 collectors signed on. Unfortunately there was only room for 42. We are trying to squeeze an extra name or two on each pen. Artwork revisions and caption panels have been submitted to Eskesen. It's possible the pen will be ready in time for the next issue of Float About.

Not exactly water turned into wine... but the USPS has accomplished something almost as mysterious. I shipped a Priority package to Laurie W in California. The box contained 10 Disney pens, a handful of misc designs and an invoice. When Laurie opened the package she did not find any float pens or any paperwork. The original contents had been replaced by a brand new, still-in-the-wrapper, Jewish prayer shawl.

For those amateur or professional detectives that may be listening... how would you explain it? LW returned the box to me for examination. I deliver packages to the Post Office every day, except Sunday, to have them hand-canceled. The postmarks confirm that the box is definitely the one that I shipped to Laurie... only the contents have changed.

Replacement pens were sent to LW. The package was uninsured so any hopes of reimbursements are futile. I will certainly file a complaint. In the meantime, someone is still awaiting the delivery of their prayer shawl and I will never know what happened to the first set of float pens. I have but one more clue. The box has a stamp on it that indicates at some point the package was at the Los Angeles LAX airport. Do you have any theories?

We are upgrading to ... Roadrunner, a cable server, on Monday/September 21st. I am told it will not interrupt my current service. I just hope that is true.

Pens Past, Present and Future... the Float Aways category list is getting shorter by the minute. Many designs have already disappeared. Most of the pens that remain in this category have three or fewer pens remaining in inventory. This is your last chance to grab them before they are removed from the list. When issue #27 is released a new group of Float Aways will be presented.

All of the pens that publication in issue #26 ... have arrived. The Hans Christian Andersen set of five is in. CA/Los Angeles/LAX airport has also landed. The Presidential Seal floats over the lawn of the White House in the newest DC addition. The 'Three Stooges' set of five is back in stock (under the Celebrity category).

Brand new additions... All of these pens are under the New Arrivals category at the top of the pen list.

The 2000 Republican National Convention pen is in-hand. I simply could not wait until October to introduce this one. It sells for $3.75 and don't wait, I am sure this is going to be a 'sell out'.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Harris Lindenfeld commissioned the Lindenfeld L2K pen for his annual family reunion. The four floating faces, (in Mt Rushmore fashion), belong to his father and three uncles. Lake Michigan provides the backdrop. The doorway that appears on the caption panel is the entrance to his parents' home in St Joseph, MI. Very personal, extremely unique... and delightfully humorous. Also in short supply!

The Future... is bright, but we have had a few rough spots. A series of wicked storms blew through Mansfield on Sunday, August 6th. We were saddened to lose our favorite maple tree, but at the same time very grateful we had only minor damages. The wood will not go to waste. Bill will eventually turn parts of the tree into beautiful wooden bowls and vases. The remainder will warm our house in the winter months. Even so, we will miss our old maple tree for a long time to come.

We are working around the clock to produce enough inventory to get us through the Yankee Peddler Festival in September. It takes place in Canal Fulton, Ohio at Clay's Park Resort. Three consecutive weekends of Colonial costumes, demonstrating and manning our craft booth. It is a fabulous event and even though it is really hard work it is well worth the effort. Our son will come in from Pittsburgh to assist us each weekend. It's a family affair.

If we survive Yankee we are determined to take an October vacation. Updates will follow. Cities still include San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. Not sure about any of the details yet. I need to hear from my brother before we can schedule. Issue #27 will certainly not be posted before the middle of October.

Until we meet again... wishing you a successful hunting season! Diana

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