Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Looking back at 2014

First off, Merry Christmas to everyone! I know my annual "year in review" post is a little early, but I find myself sitting at work on this quite and rainy Christmas Eve with nothing but time on my hands.

2014 has been a big year for me and my family. For this blog...well not so much. I hadn't planned for my activity to plummet as it did a few months into the year, but sometimes those things just kind of happen. Looking back over my posts from the year it was pretty easy to recap here we go.

The first card package I received in 2014 came from no other than The Collector's Crack and was a Topps Finest card of Tim Hudson my collection was missing.

January brought the end of my Carolina Panther's playoff run, losing to the hated San Francisco 49ers. I was a great ride so of course expectations were pretty high for the 2014 season. Well if you follow the NFL at all then you should know by now the Panthers season hadn't gone as expected. However by some sort of divine intervention the Panthers are playing the Falcons in Atlanta this Sunday for the NFC South title. The Panthers are 6-8-1 going into this game. Crazy to think a team with a losing record can win the division, but then again I've seen crazier things happen. At least I have something else to look forward to after Christmas this year.

The start of the new year also means new Topps baseball cards. Turns out this was one of two boxes I bought for the entire year! Where did my excitement go? Well I have to say as much as I liked the base design of 2014 Topps, the inserts didn't excite me. Now before you go and say that you don't collect the flagship brand for inserts, I guess the "work" of collating cards and such that goes with set building was starting to take it's toll. Collecting should be fun and not feel like work. However I started to realize I was biting off far more than I could chew. I was trying to build too many sets. Too many insert sets. Ultimately trying to do too much.

One of my goals in 2015 is to get myself organized, get rid of some cards and clean up my trade lists. I sorely miss trading with others, but I'm not in the right place to try and resume that activity. I may buy a few random packs of 2015 Topps, but I'm getting out of set building. I'll try my hand at A&G later in the year, but I'm drawing the line there. Some of the sets I was working on I'll try to finish (someday), but others on my want list will be disappearing soon.

2014 saw only one Affordable Group Break. Sad I know. I took a lot of pride in offering past group breaks on a near consistent monthly basis. However I found these breaks, while a lot of fun, took me away from my own organizational time and cards I needed to catalog and scan started to pile up.

I really enjoyed the return of Donruss and I wanted to jump into the second series Panini offered later in the year, but I never quite got around to it. I am eager to see what Panini's plans are for the Donruss brand in the coming new year.

Perhaps one of my favorite posts all year on the blog was when I interviewed a friend of mine who was asked to supply some sketches for 2014 Topps Museum Collection (and several UFC products). I don't feel as if I have many talents, so of course I'm jealous of people who can write, sing, build things or in this case, draw. James Michael-Smith is an incredibly talented guy and it was a lot of fun talking with him and seeing some of his final work, not to mention watch him sketch these images.

May 20, 2014 is the day the Charlotte Hornets returned to the Queen city of Charlotte, NC! Thus far in the NBA season it's been a bumpy ride for the Hornets, but it's so refreshing seeing the teal and the purple on the court again. For those of you outside the NC/SC area you may not understand what the big deal of a name change is, but for those of us in the area it's been a pretty big thing. Now let's just see if the team can repeat what the former team, the Bobcats, did last season and make the Playoffs!

Being out of the everyday cardboard loop, the return of the Stadium Club Firebrand inserts cards were a welcomed sight. While I still have yet to finish the set (chalk it up to laziness), this was one of my favorite insert sets of the year.

I believe it was around August I got a small bubble mailer from My Cardboard Mistress. (honey, if you're reading this that is the name of a blog! I swear I'm not cheating on ya babe!) Inside was a nice patch type card of the Charlotte Knights (the local AAA baseball club) mascot, Homer the Dragon, a autographed patch card of a Carolina Panthers Wide Receiver bust (Joe Adams) and the above auto of "Googs". Adam remembered that I'm a fan of NC State and sent along a beautiful card of one of my favorite alums.

In late August my wife and I took a trip down interstate 85 to Atlanta to catch a game at Turner Field against the Oakland A's. My wife scored us some great seats in right center field, first row. We were basically just to Jason Heyward's right. It was fun all around. It was Zombie night at the park so there were a lot of cool looking people walking around. Several home runs were hit, a few near where we sat, the guy next to me heckling the A's Josh Reddick was actually funny...and oh yeah, the Braves won the game. 

Little did I know that was the last game I'd attend and see Jason Heyward (and Justin Upton) in a Braves uniform.

Even though my Braves had another horrible second half crash and missed making the Playoffs again, I enjoyed most of the season (minus September). I picked up a few nice cards throughout the year. One of the best things of the season was watching the hometown kid, Alex Wood find his own on the mound.

Looking back it seems as if not a lot went on in 2014, but that couldn't be more wrong. Not related to this blog necessarily, a lot of changes happened with my family. Perhaps the biggest was my wife returning to work! She went back to the elementary class room to teach 3rd grade this time around. Her teaching license for North Carolina had expired so it proved challenging getting her back in the classroom, but she eventually made it...a whole 3 days before the new school year started! This also meant we had to find a place for our two daughters. It was tough on us emotionally as the girls had stayed home w/ my wife since their birth. However we got them enrolled in an awesome church program nearby and the girls quickly adapted and accepted the change. It's so awesome to see them learning classroom skills, but also about Jesus. They have friends now and of course this means welcome to the world of children birthday parties galore!

I was also introduced to the world of camping earlier this year as my wife twisted my arm and purchased a pop up camper with part of our tax return. I do have to say it is nice being able to easily take a trip to the beach or wherever whenever we want. I believe we camped down at Myrtle Beach, SC 3 times this year for less than it would have cost us if we had stayed in a hotel room for a few nights! It was also a blessing that the girls really enjoy being outside and getting dirty while camping. Who would have thought that?!

On the blogging front, my first blog, Random Toy Reviews, really took off. I started getting some real exposure in the toy collecting community which brought on a lot of interesting conversation. I didn't have any real big toy purchases to speak of, but I did eclipse the mark of 100+ toy reviews. I also started a side project I call the Transformers Bio Card Database. Over the years many Transformers toys would come packaged with trading cards, especially the Japanese releases. Being a card collector these cards really appealed to me. However I couldn't find a real resource out there for these cards I created one...or should I saw I'm creating one. Lastly I recently created my 4th blog. This one is called Rugged Music. Over the last handful of months I've been actively re-visiting a lot of the music I listened to while in high school and stuff I discovered via my old church youth group. It's all Christian oriented and mostly rock, hair/heavy metal stuff. I know I don't have a lot of extra time, but it has been fun working on it thus far.

As for 2015 and this blog goes, I hope to get myself better organized. I hope to continue to share cards of my interest with others and even return some of the generosity I was shown throughout this year. I don't see myself getting back to where I was a few years ago for several reasons, but I'm not ready to let go of this creative outlet I call Cardboard Collections.

I appreciate all my fellow bloggers who have kept me on your blogroll. I appreciate all the comments and cards people have sent my way. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The baseball card community has some of the best people hands down I've ever "met on the internet". Here's to an awesome 2015!


  1. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours. You'll stay on my blogroll till the cows come home.

  2. Great recap - hope you had a great Christmas and Happy New Year! Love the Smoltz sketch card and can't go wrong with most any card that has Ron Gant on it - provided he is wearing his BRAVES uniform :)