Friday, 21 July 2017

Name that Fairy!

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in.
Day 5 of the Crowborough Retreats, 
and another wonderful group of Friends Reunited!
So I have exactly 20 minutes to blog before I go to join them all at the Spa Hotel. 

Whilst cleaning the blending mat this morning after project 1,
I decided to make a bloggy background...

That’ll do very nicely, thunk I.

Perfect for showcasing those wonderful Fairy Stamps which are being launched on HOCHANDA TV tomorrow evening at 6pm 
by lovely Rosie.
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Just 2 will do for this little idea.

Very lovely, don’t you think? See the butterfly wings?

And how useful are the masks!? 
Right down to the tiny toadstools.

Mmmm.... Dry blue brush required.
I didn’t even add ink - just used the dry blue brush.

Remove the masks for the magic.

Good enough to wrap around an A6 canvas board, methinks.

Stop the clock. 10 minutes.

Time to go eat with the others.
But in the meantime, let’s have a little blog candy, shall we?


Leave a message below, naming our two delightful little characters.
Then on Sunday, I shall randomly pick a winner.
And that winner shall receive the little canvas here -
and a £20 Clarity Gift Voucher.

Love & Hugs,

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Fairy Fairy Exciting....

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in!
What a smashing day we had today at the Clarity retreat.
Well, I certainly enjoyed it, and the vibe was great.

Rossella (aka Rosie) joined us this time, as a guest.
She was in her element - she helped massively with the picot cutting on Day 1, and had a blast with the Gelplates and stamps on Day 2. It was great to see her so relaxed and enjoying herself. 
She just took off back up north, to get ready for her One Day Special on Hochanda, which starts on Saturday evening at 6pm.

Oh boy ! Have we got a treat for you !
A Fairy special treat in Groovi AND Stamp.

Two brand new, exquisite sets of Fairy stamps,
illustrated by our Mel
(here’s one...)

This masterpiece was created by our Ann Ruffles,
who was also at the retreat!

In addition, there are six A6 Fairy Plates plus a verse spacer.

Our Jane Telford designed this lovely piece.
She was at the retreats Monday and Tuesday!!

Rosie is launching both Stamps and Groovi on Saturday evening, so do tune in. Methinks she will be busy. 

Do you somehow get the feeling that we are all good mates?
Good! Cos we are!
Our Clarity family is close. I love that.
I have spent the last four days in the company of some of our oldest and dearest friends and customers. 
I know most of them personally, too.

It has been brilliant for me. Hard work of course, and I wouldn’t want to try it without Churchy there all the way!! It’s a bit of a marathon for us. But just to be able to catch up with friends and spend a little time together. We should do it more often!!

I was sad to see this group go this evening.
But that’s life. I look forward to welcoming a new group tomorrow. 

Tme to go to sleep now.

Love & Hugs,

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Purple Sea.

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
Day 3. Tick.
Just had a lovely day with a lovely group, 
and now it’s time for supper.
Here we are, following Dirty Dave.

We don’t actually know him.
It’s not my Dave, but Rosie decided we ought to investigate. 
What’s she like?!

On the subject of Dirty, here’s a mop up off the brown craft mat from yesterday. Mel suggested it, so I rolled a load of Viva Decor paint over the  craft mat and then pulled it off onto copy paper. 

Very cool.

Now I have got precisely 30 minutes to do this ’ere blog, 
so ’ere goes!
Out with the boy....

Black Archival ink.

Wrap around a 6" x 6" Canvas board.

This is delightful now.
Looks like a purple sea, with the sun setting in the distance, 
and the reflection off the water.

Gotta go.

Love & Hugs,

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Too late.

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in. 
It’s way too late to blog anything substantial really.
I left the artwork i wanted to show you at the Community Centre, so I shall have to share it with you tomorrow. 
Just got in from supper at the Spa with a few of the crew,
and now, to be frank, I’m fit to drop.

Today was excellent - well, for me it was!
The projects went down well, and it was so good to see folks get genuinely excited when they nailed a particular skill.
That’s what it’s all about really. 

It’s not that I am particularly talented or better than any of the retreat participants. Really not. I have just done it all a few more times than them. So my job as I understand it, is to present a number of interesting and informative projects, and help them achieve proficiency whilst having fun and not feeling as though it is a task.

It is always fascinating to have our lovely friend and illustrator  extraordinaire, Melanie, in the room. She perceives things so very differently, and because she isn’t a crafter but more of a fine artist, she just LOVES what we mere mortals achieve with her designs!
Mind you, this is the same woman who uses the stencils she designs as window dressings in her cottage! 
Yep. Like Cafe Curtains!

So as we wave goodbye to the first lovely, lovely group, we say hello to the next incoming group. I already bumped into a bunch of them at the Spa this evening! All full of apprehension and excitement. I reckon we are going to have a blast. Especially now we’ve gone through everything once and know where the pitfalls are !!  Thanks to the first group for being so patient and gracious.

Love & Hugs,

Monday, 17 July 2017

Day 1: A Pleasure

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in.
Just got in from the first day of the retreats, and can’t stop long - 
we’re meeting for supper at the Spa Hotel.

I think it went down well.
I think the projects were well received.
I think the guests all had a good time. 

Tell you what thought; it was more like Friends Reunited than a Craft Workshop! Nearly every single person who came through the door was a buddy, everybody had been before, and they mostly knew each other too! So much hugging and kissing! 

The new venue is excellent;
the screen is like an imax 

My set-up looks more like a DJ spot!
But it worked really well.

Inky morning, Groovi afternoon.

Blimming hot darn sarf too!
It’ll be fun to see how the paint reacts to the heat tomorrow....

Must dash (said the Mexican)

Love & Hugs,

PS. Don’t forget to go nominate us for a Craft Award or 10 if you get a chance, or feel we are worth it.
The door closes tomorrow, so we didn’t really get much time to rally the troops!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

It’s Time to Retreat!

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in.
Spent most of the day getting the room ready for Day 1
of the Clarity Retreats.

This will be our home now for 8 days, back to back.

Good size screen?!

Linda, Gail and Jilly turned up early to pitch in, 
and then a few other guests came at the last minute, 
just checking the location.

 I’ve got a drill, and I’m not afraid to use it!

So let the games begin.
I do hope our visitors enjoy the projects.
There’s something for everyone.

But now it’s time to retreat, to curl up with my favourite man.
And Dave. He can watch Poldark with me if he behaves.

Love & hugs,

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Let’s go back to the beginning....

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in.

Apologies for the late show today;
went to a very special lady’s very special birthday party today,
and only just got in.
Thanks Sheila! And congratulations! xxx

Lately, we’ve been talking about firing up the Clarity YouTube Channel again. Did you know we have a substantial reference library of projects, ideas and inspiration?

Thing is, when Groovi came along, we got SOSOSOSOSOSO busy, that Jim and I had to knock You Tube Tuesday on the head for a while. Two years, in fact!

But now that things are more under control (NOT!)
we are thinking about resurrecting it.
I thought I’d have a quick look at what we actually got up to back then, and I came across the very first YouTube video we recorded. 

What a giggle pot I am.

The videos do improve - I promise!
I’m actually thinking of applying for a job as a news reader.
I reckon I could do it.
The 6 o’clock news might take till midnight to spit out, 
but at least it wouldn’t all be doom and gloom.

Anyway, the random winner of the 


Well done Jilly!
A BLACK framed picture and a £20 gift voucher will be winging their way to you next week.

We set up for the week’s retreats tomorrow.
Many many friends and guests will be wending their way towards Crowborough over the coming days.
If you are joining us, please have a safe trip.

Love & Hugs,

Friday, 14 July 2017

Award Nominations

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.

It’s that time of year again.
I hope you consider us worthy of being nominated again.

Last year you nominated us for so many awards!
Best Blog
Best Stamps.
Best New Product
Best Overall Designer
Best Workshops
Best for Quality
Favourite Craft Celebrity
Best Colouring Book

and many more.

We received the Silver Finalist in every one above, 
except the Colouring Book, which we won!

It was lovely to receive the recognition.
Thank you!

So this year, once again, we would love it if you nominated us to be in with a chance to win. There’s nothing like a pat on the back for spurring you on, is there?

Here is the link for you to use to go to....

Or just click the buttons below....
If you think we’re worth it.

If you think I’m worth it.

Love & Hugs,

Thursday, 13 July 2017

A quick Build and More Blog Candy xx

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in.
Had a great day in London.
Really excellent business meeting.
More will be revealed....

In the meantime, I was playing with that Inca Gold Wax Paste yesterday, which both Maria and Rosie swear by.
I decided to figure out how to use it myself.
Well it IS very good, and I DO highly recommend it!

Take a super duper Clarity Stencil designed by Mel,
House Stencil
and drag some texture paste through it 
The Viva Decor paste is very good.

Allow to set dry.

Rub some of the blue colour Inka Gold Wax paste over the dry paste.

Then get the gold wax paste out! WOWOWOWEEE!
Not flipping you off! Just showing you my gold finger!
You don’t need much that’s for sure!

See how some of it went onto the black background?
You can clean it off the shiney card really easily with a wet Q-Tip or similar. See?

And you can scrape a highlight into the paste with a blade too.
All very simple, but very effective.

5 minutes of smearing and scraping.... 

Doesn’t look like much - until you frame it.
Did you know we sell packs of Mountboard which fit this perfectly?


Let’s decide which colour mount we prefer, shall we?





You tell me.
Decide which you prefer, then tell me below.
I will pick a random winner on Saturday,
and that random winner shall receive this little piece framed in the colour of their choice - plus a £20 gift voucher to spend on Clarity!

Must dash.
Got things to plan....

Love & Hugs,

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Don’t interrupt me! I’m thinking!

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.

Been spinning like a top here today.

Not helped by constant interruption. You know when you really need to concentrate on something? When something really requires your undivided attention? 
But the phone rings, the email pings, the doorbell dinglings, and it takes forever to get back to where you were on your train of thought. I am sure there are plenty of you who know exactly what I mean. Your focus is broken, and it takes time to re-engage with your thought process. 
In fact, the project takes longer, and there is a risk of error, so you have to go over it again and again. Sheesh.

Interruption can’t be avoided really, unless you crawl to the back of a remote cave, and don’t tell anybody where you’re going!

But I do have a lot more influence over it than I am admitting.

For one, I can set the phone to silent.

I can leave a message saying “I am tied up at the moment, 
but will be able to chat between Christmas and New Year. 
Would you like to make an appointment?”

I can set the pinging to silent too. (Only just figured that one out!)

I do come home and work from here if it’s crucial, 
which I did today. B u t   t h e y   f o u n d   m e .....
And you really can’t tell people to sling their hook 
when they are just trying to do their jobs, can you?

Do you work with music on?
I can’t ! Way too much distraction.
I know a lot of people can. 
Suppose it depends what work they are doing.
In my old life I used to do a lot of translation work.
German to English mostly. Well believe me when I tell you the LAST thing you need when you are translating from one language to another is music! 
I recently invested in a really expensive set of head phones which block out noise. But I just cover my ears with them! 
I don’t actually plug them in anywhere! The lead goes into my back pocket!

On the other hand, if I’m doing something which doesn’t require much focus or concentration, then I LOVE listening to Stephen Fry read me the Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes.
Only another 500 hours to go....

It’s a busy, noisy life in Barbaraland, it sure is.
But I wouldn’t swop with a single soul. Nobody.
Nobody I know, and nobody I don’t know. 
I am ok with my lot.
It could always be better.
But it could be one hellahellahella of a lot worse.

How about you?

Time to switch off for a few hours. 
No headphones, no Stephen Fry, no work.
Just sit in the garden with Dave and listen to the birds.
That’ll do me just fine.

Love & Hugs,

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Twas the Night before Maria’s Show....

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
Just got home after THE BEST DAY!
You know those ones where everything just feels right, 
goes right and is right?

It’s like you go to push a door and it opens before you even touch it. Effortlessly. Almost as if there are hands unseen delving into our lives.

So tomorrow our Maria is on TV with a rather splendid set of Groovi Plates:  The Twas the Night Collection.

And the Universal framer is just right to frame them all,
and it comes FREE with the set.

I drew these years ago, when the kids were small. 
Each little baby plate captures a verse from the wonderful Christmas poem written many, many moons ago by
Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863)

Here’s a little card I made last year.
Check out the frame. See all the family?
I enjoyed making this one...

(Go to Thursday 7th July 2016 for a step by step blog project of this card if you like) 

I have been saying I would draw another 3 for years, 
but every year I run out of time!
I think this year I WILL DO IT.
As soon as the retreats are over next week.

But in the meantime, I really look forward to seeing Maria get clever with them tomorrow.
I do hope you can keep her company 
at 12 Noon and 4 pm on Hochanda.
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Love & Hugs,