Saturday, 30 November 2013

Saturday's blog a new technique? Not so much new as a challenge...

I have been asked by several blog readers to go over the nail varnish remover transfer technique. So many of you have tried it and cracked it, whilst others struggle to get a good transfer. 

Two ingredients are essential to get it right: the printer and the nail varnish remover.  Let's take a look.

You will need:
Any white card - Claritycard, Theuvacard. Coated or non-coated are fine.
Nail varnish remover - cannot tell you much, except the one from Sainsbury's works really well, but the one I have used here is from Superdrug and works great too. It is a bit hit and miss, but mostly, the cheap acetone with no oils will work best.
The Printer - I use an old Brother Inkjet. Laser no good. Photocopy no good. On a happy note, when you find the right printer ink, the transfer pretty much falls off!

So now all you need to do is find a lovely photo, scan it and make a few prints. Here's a set of old pics from my Mum and her Mum, my Oma. Beautiful German women. Ooh, and you can just see my Opa, too. Very handsome man; looked just like John Wayne.

Stamp the Easel with Sepia Archival.
The easel makes a great frame for any photos.

Add some nail varnish remover to a cotton wool ball.

Lay the picture you want to transfer face down on
the easel and wet the back with nail varnish remover.
The picture will show through to the back.

Rub or burnish the image with the flat of a spoon;
this will help transfer the image well.

Lift the paper and bingo!

Now just add a little flavour to the background.

You can add people who weren't in the original photo!
So you could make a whole family tree!
Or a whole collage of friends!

This would make a great trick for Christmas.
Here is another one I did with Grace and Mark,
when they were nippers.

Again I used the easel with a lovely Christmas verse.

And there's that cheeky little robin from the Christmas Miniatures...

On another note, I think this message stamp is lovely!
Says it all really!!

And this Christmas, both Mark and Grace are coming
home.  If there's one thing in my life I do struggle with,
it's that my kids live so very far away. But there we are.
Can't do much about that, so might as well get
over it, eh. Have another mince pie and smile! 

I hope you find the nail varnish remover you need.
If you do find a brand that works well, please do
come and share in a comment.


Friday, 29 November 2013

It's Friday, and I can see you.....

It's Friday Private peak Blog, and the day before Clarity TV weekend, so as usual, the artroom looks like a bomb has hit it. Whether you believe it or not, I spent 2 hours clearing my corner up first thing today, just so that I had a work surface! 10 hours later, and I think I've just about managed to pull every ink pad, every stamp and every piece of card out of its little home. 
Industrious or industrial! 
Either way, Hi-Viz Jackets, a hard-hat and Totector boots are advisable!
I'm in there somewhere!

Who do you suppose works in a shambles like this...

There she is! But wait, is that a drill in her hand? Has she finally lost the plot???

Dave’s side of the room's no better!
Desk? What desk?

And as for Jim, well he just wanders around aimlessly after dark...

All good, positive, uplifting and creative though. 
Which is just how I like it.  
See you tomorrow! 

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Thursday Garden Heart Show in November ?!

Hello there,
Thought I would share a new stamp with you. I drew it last week, and the finished effort - one super, large Claritystamp - landed on my table today. So I had to try it out, and I have to say, it is absolutely delightful! So much so, that I decided to showcase it here, on Thursday the Blue Blog day.

Why the blue? Our stamps are indexed with blue. 
Always have been. 
There's a perfectly logical reason for this. Nay! There are three! 
Firstly, it's a great quality control method. 
If there is an imperfection on the clear stamp, it is difficult to detect, it being see-through and all that.
As soon as we index it, we can see the details. Now although we seldom make a dodgy stamp, this is our way of keeping them in the building!
Secondly, although we have developed a way of handmaking the stamps without having to handcut them all, there are still some images which are handcut. 
We need the blue indexing to see what we are cutting! 
Let's take a closer look....

 Thirdly, it helps you see what the image looks like, too. Once you get it home, you can wipe the indexing off easily with nail varnish remover or by rubbing well with a baby-wipe, but with Claritystamps, it's all in the detail. 
Shall we get in a little closer?

So now we have established why they're blue, let's enjoy the artwork. I am very happy with the way this heart came out. I was worried it might be too busy, but it really does stamp up well.

I used a new Archival inkpad here, called Cornflower Blue
It is lovely second generation inked, too. 
In other words, blot it first before you stamp it!

There is a darker Archival blue called Cobalt, but it yields a very different blue at any generation.
Anyway, I do hope you like the artwork. When I get a sec, I shall turn it into a nice card. Bit busy just now, getting ready for TV this  weekend. Hope you can join me.
Just had a thought. Wonder if it would shrink well....

Have a great day!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Wednesday’s Blog is something NEW!

What is it with candles this week?! I even sent Dave (nicely) to Morrisons to buy some, so that I can make a candle on Telly on Sunday afternoon! But here's one of our lovely new Stained Glass stencils - The Candle!

What you need:

Candle Stencil
or check out 5 for the price of 4
Stained Glass Stencil Windows
Finger Sponge
Blue Card 
(actually, I used the blue paper stencil insert! It is lovely, and it was lying all forlorn on the table, begging to be dressed up!)
Talc and brush

Right, here goes. 
Remove the white wax paper from the sticky sheet and place the stencil in the centre-ish!

Sprinkle Large Gold Gilding flakes over the window onto the sticky.

Using a sponge finger, buff to a glossy finish.

Peel the stencil off. 
Takes a bit of coaxing, but we can do it, and the stencil will be fine xx

Remove the yellow wax paper 
and lay down the very sticky candle onto the blue paper.

Dust with talc

Wipe with a baby wipe and cut out, ready to mount.

The red window? Red paper? Nope. 
White card, then coloured in from the front with a red Promarker.

Which one do you prefer? Red or Blue?
Go on, say it: Green!

I hope you enjoy this trick. The stencils are brilliant for this job.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Folsom Chili Cook-Off

Been thinking about getting home and writing this blog all day! It’s funny how a trip down memory lane once a week can be so enjoyable! 
Last Tuesday, I was telling you about the Rhyme Charts and how they came to be, and we touched on P for Price, remember? Well this week, I wanted to talk to you about P for Placement. Because let’s face it, you may have created the loveliest hand-knitted scarves and gloves in the world, but if you are trying to sell them in July, outside a swimming pool in Florida, don’t hold your breath. I learned about P for Placement the hard way...
So as I was telling you last month, I was living the dream - or so it seemed - in Monterey. The kids were beautiful, 

and my brother Steve and I were selling our Rhyme Charts and Stamps in Northern California mostly. 
Now you may or may not have heard of Folsom? Johnny Cash put it on the map with his Folsom Prison Blues, but Folsom will remain forever etched in my mind as the Business lesson to learn about Placement. Many of you who do Table-top sales will totally understand this, but what possessed me to book the Folsom Chili Cook-off as a venue I will never know.

We found our spot on the boardwalk, and set up our lovely stand. It was a bit daunting when we noticed that as far as we could see, to the left and to the right, all we could see was camp stoves and huge vats of chili. Yes, you heard right, spicy, hot, steaming Chili. And then there was Steve and myself with our lovely, laminated Victorian Rhyme Charts. 
For us Brits, this was a pretty unique experience. People were pouring through the street, going from stall to stall, from vat to vat, tasting all the chilli as they went. When they got to us, they would look at us quizzically, and check out the rhyme charts, put them down and walk on to the next chilli vat. Anybody who has had even a little taste of this soul destroying, embarrassing, frustrating, rejecting, depressing and downright humiliating experience, will love what happened next. 
I was trying to keep smiling, because that’s what it said in the Handbook, under "What to do when in Folsom at a Chili Cook-Off when you haven’t sold a single Rhyme Chart’. And all the time, my brother was sitting behind me in the shade, watching this debacle. (It must have been 100 degrees!). So a couple waddled up and asked me, “What are these?”, and suddenly my Brother jumped up and answered, “They’re Funnels; English Chili funnels.” He proceeded to show them how you could hang them on your arm, roll them up and wipe them clean! And he sold one!! He actually sold one!! I don’t know whether the mad glint in his eye persuaded them, or the fact that he was 6ft 4" in his socks when he stood up, but who cares! A sale’s a sale!
Sometimes we got the placement right! I remember doing an open day at a really fabulous Children’s Toy Store in Sacramento; it was uplifting and successful - and as we know, days like these give us hope. 

Can I tell you about another dire P for Placement I got myself into? Sometimes, you may be in a good position at a show, but then you get the neighbour from hell! I remember a Street festival in San José. The sun was beating down, I had set up my Rhyme Charts, and stamps and bits n bobs, when this old couple turned up in a pick-up truck, pitched their gazebo next to me, and started unloading their gear. Their main products were old cowboy boots converted into birdhouses. You know, cut a hole out of the side for the door, and stick a little plywood roof on it. Fair enough. (and I cannot believe I still have a photo to mark the spot!!!). Go on, get your magnifying glass out..

But they also had these really primitive stakes lashed up to look like crosses, and on the crosses someone had written with a black marker pen, “Here lies the body of the last cat that sh*t in my Yard”. And they sold like hotcakes! He was making them up as fast as the wife could take the money! And I sat in the shade of my little gazebo, with my lovely, educational Rhymecharts and stamps, watching this, and it was actually then that I had another moment of Clarity. 
So farewell America, and hello Blighty! 
Next week maybe we can talk about P for Perseverance!
One thing’s for certain: I was not an overnight sensation! 
I definitely took the scenic route! 


Monday, 25 November 2013

The Kiss of the Sun for Pardon...

Monday rolled round fast, didn’t it! In case you are new to the Clarity blogging ‘One Day at a Time’, I thought I would recap the poem which I wrote and which I follow here, for my daily blog:

Monday’s Blog is trees and flowers,
Tuesday’s Blog rolls back the hours,
Wednesday’s Blog is something new,
Thursday’s Blog is always blue
Friday’s Blog, a private peak,
Saturday’s Blog, a new technique,
But the blog that is posted on the Sabbath Day is 
step by step and typically Gray!

We had a Comment candy giveaway, which Emma Burns won,
and we have an even bigger random giveaway, a £100 Clarity stash, when the blog followers reach 700. To qualify for that one, you have to attach the Giveaway Button to your blog and then leave a comment saying you have. And so the blog goes on...

Here’s a nice and simple one using a pretty flower corner and a wonderful verse.

You will need
Make up sponges

Secure the A6 card to a craft mat with low tack masking tape. Notice I have used the whole width of the tape at the top and half the width at the bottom. This will be my stamping guide.

Stamp the flower corner in black, using the tape to guide you. Notice the corners meet in the centre.

Stamp the lovely verse into the centre, using the black again.

Use the birds and the twig from the Joy Set to perch here and there. This little set is one of the loveliest in our whole collection. You should go and check it out. 

Colour in the flower corners with a selection of Promarkers.

Position a little sun mask punched out of a sticky Post It at the top, tear a hill from a piece of copy paper, and now add a little background landscape, using a make-up sponge dipped in the Lettuce and Butterscotch ink pads.
Trim the A6 white card so the all 4 edges sit right.
Layer your art on some pretty matching floral paper (or stamp some using the corner!)

Mount the art on a plain ivory card, and there you have it.

Are you a member of the Clarity New Designs Club?  
If you like the way I put it, and you like what you see here, 
why not become a member of the largest Stamp and Craft club in the UK? 
Every month you receive a brand new unmounted Claritystamp 
(we even sent out a beautiful stencil last month).
From this coming month, the format will change into photo step-by-steps. I just think it is easier to follow picture instructions than words. And the amazing response and feedback I have been getting from you regarding this Blog has shown me the way forward. 
NOW would be a very good time to join! Why?
The January Half-Price Members Sale is coming up again!
10% off anything you buy from Clarity - online and at Exhibitions (including the 2014 Barbara Clarity Workshops, which will be announced soon)  
So if you want to find out more, go to 
and join today!
And if you are in the Clarity Club, then leave a comment! 


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday's Blog shared with a friend...

Oh happy day! I had planned to do something completely different for the Sunday step-by-step, but something MUCH better came up to light the way! Yesterday evening, we were invited to dinner with friends, and I noticed a table full of fabulously elegant candles, all with our stamp designs on them. So I asked Debby how she made them, and she offered to show me. At which point, I grabbed my Ipad, followed her into her wonderful craftroom, and this blog ensued.
Before we begin, please allow me to introduce you to our 
good friend Debby Berry.

I am sure many of you know how to transfer  images onto candles. Well, this was new to me, and I was  delighted to be guided by Debby. What a great teacher! So whilst Dave and Gill played with guitars, we got candle-arty!

Ready, steady, go!
Stamp your image onto a piece of tissue paper using a Black Archival

Dry it with your heatgun.

Paint the image on the tissue paper with Perfect Pearls 
(Mica Powders) diluted with water.

Debby helped me here. I was looking for my glasses!

So we painted the pears gold...

Then coloured in the leaves with distress markers.

Next, we cut out the Pear tree. It was funny, because I was being Oh so careful! And Debby was saying politely, “No need to cut so close”, which I guess means “Get on with it for Pete’s sake!”

Now comes the magic ingredient: Wax Paper.

Oh. And a candle! Debby reckons Morrisons do really good, cheap ones. And she should know! She’s got a little production line going here!

So you have to lay the cut out tissue image onto the candle

and then wrap the wax paper tightly around it, and hold it tight at the back

Then it’s time to literally melt the tissue image into the wax. It only takes seconds. Debby said it’s best to go around the outside of the image first and then do the centre. 

It really only takes seconds. You see it bubble a little and start to look waxy.

Then, straightaway, peel off the wax paper

to reveal a very, very professional looking 

Peartree Candle!

It was going so well, Debby decided to show me another trick, using embossing powder this time.
So we stamped the image again in Black Archival on tissue, and sprinkled it with Detail Gold embossing powder.

It embosses really beautifully on Tissue Paper!

At this point, Debby offered to cut out the pear. I figure it was agony watching me labour around the leaves! So she whizzed round in seconds!

But I was allowed to do the Wax Paper + Heatgun trick!
We placed the image on the other side of the candle.

And Oh Boy! Was that impressive.

I had such fun! So many, many thanks to Debby for the lesson, 
and to Gill and Debby for the wonderful evening!

And I’m pleased as punch with both sides

of our new Christmas candle xxx